No. 7 Vanderbilt ’embarrassed’ by Cleveland State loss

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source: AP

How about we let senior Lance Goulbourne sum up how No. 7 Vanderbilt played against Cleveland State?

“I’m just embarrassed,” Goulbourne said.

The Commodores had plenty of skeptics entering this season. Not because of their talent (three NBA-caliber players) but because of their decent-to-poor defense and sometimes maddening effort. And that was before Sunday’s 71-58 loss.

It should be noted that Vandy played without center Festus Ezeli, who’s out until at least mid-December. He’s by far their best interior player and one of the SEC’s elite talents. But his absence alone can’t account for the Spiders’ 54.6 eFG% or Vandy’s awful guard play (21 turnovers).

To say coach Kevin Stallings was miffed would be putting it lightly.

“We continually tried to cross the ball over in front of them, and they just continually kept taking it,” Stallings said. “I wish they would have sent us a Federal Express package that said, ‘We are going to take your ball if you cross it over in front of us because we’re good.’ Apparently we didn’t get the memo because we kept doing it. I really liked how they played.”

The loss won’t sink Vandy’s season or do much in terms of NCAA tourney seeding. But it sure kills their reputation, though the first-round NCAA tourney losses the last two years haven’t helped either.

Call it one of those games when Cleveland State brought it (See: Syracuse in 2008) and Vandy didn’t.

“I was very impressed with them and very disappointed in us,” Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. “I would say it’s right in there about equally really impressed and really disturbed.”

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Creighton lands 2016 combo guard

Greg McDermott
Associated Press
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Sunday evening Creighton got on the board in the Class of 2016, as 6-foor-4 combo guard Davion Mintz made his pledge to Greg McDermott’s program. Mintz made the decision on the tail end of his official visit to Creighton, picking the Bluejays over Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Tulsa and Wichita State.

News of Mintz’s commitment was first reported by Rick Lewis of the Phenom Hoop Report, with Mintz confirming the news via Twitter shortly thereafter.

Creighton has just two seniors on its current roster in guard Jams Milliken and forward Geoffrey Groselle, but that doesn’t mean they lack for experience. Among the guards on the roster who will be around when Mintz arrives on campus are redshirt juniors Maurice Watson Jr., Malik Albert, and Isaiah Zierden, and Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster will be eligible in 2016-17.

Mintz, who attends North Mecklenberg HS just outside of Charlotte, can play either on or off the basketball. Creighton’s veteran guards should help Mintz with his transition to the college game when he arrives in Omaha in 2016. Mintz played for the Charlotte Nets grassroots program this summer.

Three-star power forward commits to WVU

Bob Huggins
Associated Press
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Three days after landing one power forward in Sagaba Konate, West Virginia received a verbal commitment from another big man Sunday evening.

6-foot-11 Mountain Mission School (Gurndy, Virginia) power forward Maciej Bender became the Mountaineers’ fourth commitment in the Class of 2016 on Sunday, with the Mountain Mission program announcing the news via Twitter. Bender is a native of Poland, and in addition to Konate he joins guards Brandon Knapper and Chase Harler in West Virginia’s 2016 recruiting class.

West Virginia will lose two forwards in TyQuane Goard and Jonathan Holton at the end of the 2015-16 season, and the additions of Konate and Bender will help the Mountaineers account for those departures from a depth standpoint. Bender can score around the basket, but he’s also capable of facing up and scoring in pick-and-pop situations out beyond the three-point line.

Bender officially visited West Virginia last weekend, and he was a player the WVU coaching staff wanted to get in the fold. Other programs to offer Bender included Arizona State (teammate Jethro Tshisumpa is an ASU commit), Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Providence. Bender played his grassroots basketball for the West Virginia Wildcats program this summer.