Pitino hopes Blackshear can alleviate Cards’ scoring woes

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Wayne Blackshear played 20 minutes in his Louisville debut on Feb. 11, but has logged 21 total minutes – including a DNP vs. Cincinnati – in the five games since.

That may soon change.

As the No. 19 Cardinals prepare to face No. 2 Syracuse on Saturday, coach Rick Pitino says playing the freshman wing is one of the few certainties the Cards have right now. Kyle Kuric might see more time at 2-guard. The hope is Blackshear can provide an addition scoring presence. That may be asking a lot.

The 6-5 forward was a 5-star recruit coming out of high school but injuries kept him off the court for most of the season. He hasn’t displayed much confidence in his return, which is showing in his shot and lack of playing time. Makes sense, though. Who wouldn’t be rusty missing that much time?

The move might seem slightly desperate for a team still fighting for a top 4 seed in the NCAA tournament, but Pitino clearly feels as if he has no choice. The Cards have scored more than 57 points just once in the last five games.

If that continues against Syracuse and into the Big East tournament, this scenario won’t be out of the question.

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Texas lands commitment from top 100 center

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James Banks announced on Thursday that he has committed to Texas, joining Jacob Young in Shaka Smart’s first recruiting class as the head coach of the Longhorns.

Banks is an interesting prospect. A 6-foot-10 center from Georgia, Banks is a still-developing prospect that was recruited more on his potential than his immediate ability.

“James Banks emerged as a good low post prospect this spring and summer,” NBC Recruiting Analyst Scott Phillips said. “With a good set of hands, some offensive potential and a frame that can add weight, Banks is a nice upside grab for Texas.”

He’s probably a few years away from having a major impact in the Big 12, but he may not have that much time to develop. Cameron Ridley, Prince Ibeh and Conner Lamert all graduate after this season, meaning that Banks is going to have to contribute immediately when he sets foot on the Austin campus for the 2016-17 season.

Texas has three commitments in the Class of 2015. Smart convinced Kerwin Roach and Eric Davis to remain committed to the program when he took over for Rick Barnes while he landed a commitment from Tevin Mack, who pledged to Smart when he was at VCU.

Memphis guard could miss season with shoulder injury

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Memphis just cannot catch a break.


It’s to the point where I almost feel bad for Josh Pastner.

Today, CBSSports.com reported that Kedren Johnson, a 6-foot-4 point guard that was on track towards being an all-SEC point guard at Vanderbilt, could end up missing the season due to a shoulder injury. If he can handle the pain he can avoid surgery and play with the injury, but at the very least, Johnson is going to be less than his best.

Johnson averaged 6.7 points and 2.7 assists last season for the Tigers. He sat out 2013-14 after leaving Vanderbilt and entered last season incredibly out of shape. There was hope that he would be able to make a bigger impact this season and help fill the void at the point guard spot.

This news comes on the heels of Memphis finding out that Jaylen Fisher is heading to UNLV. Who’s Jaylen Fisher? Well, he’s a point guard and top 40 recruit from Memphis that was Pastner’s No. 1 recruiting target that opted to leave the city for his college hoops instead of play for the Tigers.

That’s a bad sign, but not quite as bad as Memphis losing star center Austin Nichols — another local kid — to a transfer over the summer. Nichols transferred to Virginia.