It appears that the drama is finally over.
After a couple of days worth of back and forth, Mike Anderson appears to have finally made a decision — he’s headed to Arkansas. There were rumors swirling this morning that he was leaning heavily towards Arkansas, and this afternoon Jeff Goodman and Sports by Brooks reported that Anderson has informed the Missouri Athletics Department of his decision. (Funny side note — in that SbB link, there is a picture of Anderson’s former parking spot, where the sign labeling the spot Anderson’s has already been removed.)
As you should be well aware by now, Anderson was a long-time assistant at Arkansas under Nolan Richardson. He will be taking over a program that has some decent talent returning and a loaded recruiting class that Anderson is going to have to work to keep. It will also be interesting to see if Phil or Matt Pressey, whose father is good friends with Anderson, follow him out the door.
For my money, the opening at Missouri is not the best job available, at least in the short term — we could probably argue the long term benefits of a gig like Georgia Tech, NC State, or Oklahoma. There is enough talent returning to immediately be considered a contender in the Big 12.
And if I’m the Tigers, I set my sights on VCU’s Shaka Smart.
Politics and salaries aside, when it comes to the basketball, Smart is the perfect fit for Missouri. The roster make up of the Tigers is ideal for the system he currently runs at VCU considering Smart’s system isn’t all that different from Anderson’s. Smart also presses and his guard-heavy teams also take quite a few threes.
VCU has a good history with coaches, as well. Jeff Capel took Oklahoma to the 2009 Elite 8 while Anthony Grant nearly got Alabama into the NCAA Tournament this season.
The month of March was quite friendly to Las Vegas.
According to ESPN, more money was bet on basketball during the month of March than in any month in the state’s regulated sports betting history.
And while the numbers produced by Las Vegas books don’t separate college and professional basketball betting, the money coming in on college hoops is pretty clear: $439 million was bet on basketball in March, more than double the $213 million bet on the sport in February.
It was profitable, too.
Those Vegas books kept more than $40 million dollars of the money that was gambled on basketball, which shattered the previous record of roughly $28 million in winnings.
Gonzaga capitalized on their run to the national title game by landing a commitment from French point guard Joel Ayayi, who announced the news on twitter.
Ayayi is an interesting long-term prospect, according to Draft Express. He has the size and the frame to eventually be a significant contributor in the college game, but he’s raw. His handle needs work, as does his ability to create off the dribble and find teammates off of the bounce.
That said, he’s 6-foot-4 with a 6-foot-7 wingspan and the ability to shoot it from the perimeter, and if Gonzaga can do anything, it’s develop players that enter their program.
Zion Williamson, one of the most sought-after recruits in college basketball, had himself a highlight-worthy moment at the Adidas Gauntlet event in Dallas over the weekend, breaking a defender’s ankles before hitting a three.
Illinois landed a very important Class of 2017 commitment on Wednesday as guard Mark Smith pledged to the Illini.
The 6-foot-4 Smith was previously a Missouri commit for baseball, but some issues with his arm caused him to look back into basketball last summer. A native of Edwardsville, in the St. Louis metro area, Smith came out of nowhere to win the Illinois Mr. Basketball award as a senior this season as he averaged 21.9 points, 8.4 assists and 8.2 rebounds while becoming a consensus national top-100 prospect.
Rivals rates Smith as the No. 52 overall prospect in the Class of 2017 as he could come in and earn immediate minutes at Illinois next season at either guard spot.
This is a very important commitment for head coach Brad Underwood and the Illini as the new head coach was able to hold off some elite programs like Kentucky and Michigan State for Smith’s services.
Northwestern landed a transfer on Wednesday as former Boston College wing A.J. Turner pledged to the Wildcats, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com.
The 6-foot-7 Turner just finished his sophomore season with the Golden Eagles as he averaged 8.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. A well-rounded wing who also shot 37 percent from three-point range, Turner will have to sit out one season due to NCAA transfer regulations before getting two more years of eligibility.
With Scottie Lindsay and Vic Law only having limited time left in Evanston, Turner provides a bit of insurance on the wing for the Wildcats for the future as he’s a proven rotation player coming from the ACC.