Marquette University's Cadougan reacts after making his shot during NCAA game in Louisville

Marquette will need Cadougan, Mayo as the games get bigger

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To say that guards Junior Cadougan and Todd Mayo struggled in Marquette’s one game at the Big East Championship last week would be an understatement.

Neither played well in the Golden Eagles’ quarterfinal loss to Louisville, and it was imperative that those two raise their level of play if Marquette were to reach their goals in the NCAA tournament.

If the play of Cadougan and Mayo in Marquette’s 62-53 win over 6-seed Murray State is any indication, both are ready to be key contributors as the Golden Eagles look to return to the site of their most recent Final Four appearance (2003).

Cadougan scored eight points and dished out four assists with just one turnover and Mayo scored eight and grabbed six rebounds off the bench, with both getting their shot at guarding All-America point guard Isaiah Canaan.

They were two big reasons (along with Vander Blue) why Canaan made 4 of 17 shots from the field, scoring 16 points while Donte Poole scored seven on 3 of 13 shooting. And their play did not go unappreciated by their higher-profile teammates.

“I think everybody was able to see Junior Cadougan as the point guard of our team nationally,” said Darius Johnson-Odom of Cadougan. “He’s always been an elite player, but I think everybody who watches basketball was able to see it today.”

It would have been easy for them to get discouraged in the aftermath of the 84-71 loss to Louisville that featured a stunning 26 turnovers, but they didn’t.

Both continued to work, and at the current level they’re playing at Cadougan and Mayo are more than capable of helping Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder lead the Golden Eagles to the Final Four.

“And what about D.J.’s answer about Junior, after all you guys are going we need a point guard,” asked head coach Buzz Williams.  “You think those kids don’t pay attention?  You think those kids don’t want to fight?

“That a senior who’s a pro is talking about a junior who everybody jumped off the boat when we left New York.  Everybody jumped off the boat when Todd couldn’t make a shot.”

Cadougan finished the weekend in Louisville with nine assists to just four turnovers, posting an assist-to-turnover ratio (2.25) better than his ratio over the prior six games (1.5).

Mayo was also better in Louisville, averaging nine points and six rebounds after accounting for 4.5 points and 1.5 rebounds per game during that same six-game stretch.

Clearly Crowder and Johnson-Odom will lead the way if Marquette is to reach the Final Four, but based on what happened on Saturday and the reactions following it’s safe to say that they all understand that Cadougan and Mayo will be important as the games get bigger.

And in front of a pro-Murray State crowd, the two guys outsiders pegged to crack first showed no signs of doing so.

Raphielle Johnson is the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed at @raphiellej.

Top-25 guard trims list to six

Trae Young , Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images
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One of the top points guards in the Class of 2017 has trimmed his list of potential collegiate destinations to six.

Trae Young, a consensus top-25 recruit, listed Texas Tech, Kansas, Oklahoma, Washington, Oklahoma State and Kentucky as the schools he is considering as he readies to begin his senior year of high school.

The list of the 6-foot-2 point guard is largely provincial as it includes Oklahoma, whose campus is just minutes away from Young’s Norman North High School, and fellow in-state school Oklahoma. Another pair of Big 12 schools make the list in powerhouse Kansas and the Red Raiders, whose first-year coach, Chris Beard, has spent the bulk of his career working in Texas. Texas Tech is also Young’s father’s alma mater. Washington has been on a role sending its players to the pros and recently received the commitment of top-five 2017 recruit Michael Porter, Jr.

Kentucky, of course, needs no explanation as to its attractiveness to high-level players.

Top-100 guard commits to Xavier

Chris Mack has Xavier back in the Sweet 16 (AP Photo)
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Xavier has added a top-100 prospect into its 2017 recruiting class Wednesday.

Elias Harden, a shooting guard from Georgia, pledged to the Musketeers via social media to become the second member of Chris Mack’s next class.

“The recruiting process was not EASY AT ALL,” Harden wrote on Twitter. “I wanna thank all the coaches that took time to recruit me.

“WIth that being said I will continue my academic and athletic career at Xavier University.”

The 6-foot-6 guard is ranked 92nd overall by 247Sports and had offers from Auburn, Maryland, Texas Tech and Ole Miss. He joins Jared Ridder, a Missouri guard, as part of the 2017 Xavier class.

The Musketeers return the bulk of last year’s 28-6 team that narrowly missed out on the Sweet 16.

Clemson recruit to enroll early

Brad Brownell
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Clemson will get a four-star recruit on campus a year earlier than it expected, though his on-court debut for the Tigers will remain on schedule.

A.J. Oliver, a guard from South Carolina, will enroll early at Clemson and redshirt this upcoming season, he announced via social media Wednesday.

“I woke up this morning and realized that the greatest opportunity for me is to enroll early into Clemson,” he wrote on Twitter. “I will redshirt a year & start my college career early.”

Oliver, whose mother is the head women’s basketball coach at Clemson, was a consensus top-100 player in the class of 2017 who committed to the Tigers last December. Texas Tech and the College of Charleston were involved before his commitment.

A three-star shooting guard, Scott Spencer of Virginia, was previously the only member coach Brad Brownell’s 2016 class. While Oliver’s decision to redshirt will keep him off the court for the 2016-17 season, he’ll have spent a full season in the Tiger program before making his debut in 2017

The cupboard isn’t bare in 2017 for the Tigers due to Oliver’s reclassification because Clemson received a commitment from power forward Malik Williams, a consensus top-150 player, earlier Wednesday.

Kentucky used Calipari-Chaney fight in media training

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Kentucky Sports Radio
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Kentucky held some media training sessions yesterday, and one of the topics that head coach John Calipari used to make a point was … his blow-up with John Chaney. The moment was captured on SnapChat by a trio of Kentucky newcomers.

You remember that incident. Chaney, then the head coach at Temple, and Cal, who was coaching Atlantic 10 rival UMass at the time, nearly came to blows over the way that Cal handled officials during the game. Before the video below picks up, the two shared this exchange:

“Could I say this to you, please?” Chaney said, before the video above picks up. “You’ve got a good ball club. But what you did with the officials out there is wrong, and I don’t want to be a party to that. You understand?”

Cal responded: “You weren’t out there, Coach. You don’t have any idea.”

Chaney fired back: “You got a game given to you by officials right here with G.W. on three bad calls, O.K.? Then you send your kids out there pushing and shoving. You had the best officiating you could ever get here. And for you to ride them, I don’t want to be a party to that.”

And that led to “I’ll kill you”:

(h/t KSR)

VIDEO: Shaq’s son, Shareef O’Neal, with monster dunk in Vegas

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Shareef O’Neal is a top 50 prospect in the Class of 2018. In Vegas this past weekend, he threw down a monster put-back dunk.