Early Entry Breakdowns: Under the radar picks

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Read through the rest of our Early Entry breakdowns here.

G J’Covan Brown (Texas): Brown is a household name for many given the fact that he was the leading scorer as a junior at Texas. But with many projections placing him at the back end of the second round, he could end up being a pick that provides more value than expected. Brown averaged 20.1 points and 3.8 assists per game last season, both significant improvements from 2010-11. And while his decision-making could still use some refinement, Brown’s assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4) and turnover percentage (16.0%) in 2011-12 were the best of his career in Austin.

G Jared Cunningham (Oregon State): First-round athleticism but Draft Express has Cunningham slotted into the early part of the second round. That likely means that Cunningham is a player who could work his way into the first round with good workouts, provided he display the ability to consistently knock down perimeter shots. Cunningham shot just 33.8% from three as a junior and 34.4% for his career in Corvallis, but his scoring (17.9), rebounding (3.8) and assist (2.8) averages in 2011-12 were all career highs.

F Moe Harkless (St. John’s): With more names entering the draft Harkless slipped from teetering on the edge of the lottery to the latter stages of the first round. That may be a bit low for a guy who along with D’Angelo Harrison carried much of the offensive load for the Red Storm in 2011-12. And while the Big East Rookie of the Year didn’t experience a great amount of success in the wins department, Harkless’ versatility was evident on a nightly basis. And Harkless did this while playing at the ‘4’ on most nights; more freedom to roam at the next level could pay off for whichever team selects him.

F Hollis Thompson (Georgetown): Thompson improved both his scoring (12.8) and rebounding (5.5) numbers as a junior, but it feels like he left Georgetown without realizing his ceiling in college. At 6-8, the Los Angeles native is capable of being a match-up problem on the wing, shooting 47.7% from the field and 43.9% from three in three seasons. Thompson didn’t take too many shots at attacking foes off the dribble in college, and if he can show in workouts that he’s capable of doing so at the pro level Thompson could rise up draft boards.

F Royce White (Iowa State): White had an outstanding season at Iowa State, leading the Cyclones to their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2005. But pro drafts tend to also mean the digging up of past foibles (“red flags”), which could lead to a drop in his stock. And while there is a need for teams to do their due diligence that would prove to be a mistake with White. If teams were to use this as an excuse to drop White out of the first round, someone’s going to end up with a steal early in the second.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

IUPUI to become Horizon League’s 10th member

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The Horizon League officially announced this week that IUPUI will be replacing Valparaiso as the league’s 10th member. Valpo left to replace Wichita State in the Missouri Valley.

“We are excited to welcome IUPUI to the Horizon League family,” Horizon League commissioner Jon LeCrone said. “The Jaguars bring us tremendous competitive potential, particularly in men’s basketball, along with an engaged and energized city. Their addition solidifies our broad community partnerships in Indianapolis and is the right school at the right time.”

IUPUI — which stands for Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis — has been a member of the Summit League, which will be left with eight teams now that the Jaguars have departed. They’ve made it to one NCAA tournament, back in 2003, and have been a full-fledged member of Division I for 19 years. That was the year before NBA point guard George Hill enrolled. Current head coach Jason Gardner has been there for three years but has yet to record a winning season; IUPUI has not been over .500 since 2011, when Ron Hunter was still the head coach.

“We are excited about engaging with the other Horizon League member institutions to enhance the overall competitiveness of the league,” said IUPUI Director of Athletics Dr. Roderick Perry. “As an institution and athletics department, our mission, vision, and core values align closely with the Horizon League. This is an important step forward in the life of our athletics department.”

Former Louisville standout Chris Jones shot in Memphis

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Former Louisville point guard Chris Jones was shot while playing basketball in his native Memphis on Tuesday night.

According to a report from FOX 13 in Memphis, shortly after 11 p.m. shots rang out on in Halle Park after an altercation on the court. Two people were taken to the hospital, one with a head injury stemming from a fight. The other was Jones, who was shot in the leg twice, according to the Courier-Journal. His injuries are not life-threatening and he has already been released from the hospital, according to Steve Forbes, his former Junior College coach.

Jones played at Melrose High in Memphis before spending two years at Northwest Florida Junior College and two more seasons at Louisville.

This past year, he spent time playing professionally in Greece and in France, although he played just a grand total of three games in the two leagues.

Perhaps the craziest part about this story is that Jones was shot on a court that is next to a police station. This is a screengrab from FOX 13’s live shot from the basketball courts, and you can see the police cars in the station’s parking lot in the back ground:

Preaching patience, new Pitt AD says hoops program “a complete rebuild”

AP Photo/Athens Banner-Herald, AJ Reynolds
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Things did not go particularly well for Kevin Stallings in his first year at Pitt. The program, which essentially pushed Jamie Dixon out the door for being consistently good but not often enough great, struggled, going 16-17 overall and 4-14 in the ACC, just two games out of the cellar.

On top of that, six players prematurely left the program this spring.

Not great, especially when you’ve got a new boss that didn’t hire you, as is the case for Stallings with new Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke, who came aboard in March. In her first meeting with Stallings, Lyke asked a rather blunt question.

“Do you want to be here?” according to the Beaver County Times.

Stallings answered that he did, and his new athletic director would appear to be willing to give her predecessor’s hire time to reclaim and rebuild the program.

“It’s a steep climb, if you will,” Lyke said. “It’s not something that’s going to come easy and it takes an incredible amount of work.”

Stallings’ personal reputation took a significant amount of damage this spring when he attempted to block Cameron Johnson from an intra-ACC transfer to North Carolina. NBC Sports’ Scott Phillips called him a “town-deaf clown” in his attempt to keep Johnson from being a Tar Heel, a position he later relinquished, allowing Johnson to head to Chapel Hill.

Losing Johnson certainly won’t help Stallings and the Panthers recover from the difficult first season. Pitt didn’t hit any grand-slams in recruiting but is adding four-star guard Marcus Carr in its 2017 class.

The immediate outlook doesn’t look particularly bright, but Pitt appears to be positioning itself to exhibit some patience.

“If you look at the team, it is a complete rebuild,” Lyke said. “So I do think that (Stallings) is going to need a little time to develop it.

“But, we’ve got to be headed in the right direction. There’s some things that have got to get better and noticeable improvements. I’ve already seen those things start to happen.”

 

Miller Time: Indiana coach cashes in with $24 million deal

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — New Indiana coach Archie Miller will make $24 million under his seven-year deal — and potentially even more in bonuses.

Miller accepted the job in March, but the athletic department didn’t announce details of the contract until Tuesday.

He will receive a base salary of $550,000 per year and $1 million in deferred income each season. Miller also will receive an additional $1.85 million in outside marketing and promotional income — and will get a $50,000 per year raise each year through March 2024.

Miller can earn a $250,000 bonus for winning a national championship. He can earn an additional $125,000 for a Big Ten regular-season title, reaching the Final Four and producing multiyear Academic Progress Rate scores over 950.

Utah, BYU rivalry back on after one-year hiatus

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The BYU-Utah annual rivalry series will be back on this season after taking a one-year hiatus last year.

For just the second time since 1909, the Utes and the Cougars did not play in 2016-17 after Utah head coach Larry Kyrstkowiak asked for a one-year cooling off period stemming from an intense and emotional game against BYU in 2015-16. In that game, then-freshman Nick Emery was ejected as a result of this punch that he threw:

The last time those two teams did not play was due to World War II.

The game will be played at BYU on Dec. 16th.

Utah will also play Utah State this season, the first time that they have played the Aggies since 2011.