Joe Mihalich

Niagara’s Joe Mihalich adds two fellow Philadelphians to roster

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With a team that had just one senior and three juniors, Niagara was expected to have a tough time navigating the 2011-12 season.

But while the Purple Eagles did go 14-19 overall and 8-10 in the MAAC there were positives, most notably MAAC Rookie of the Year Juan’Ya Green (17.7 ppg, 4.5 apg), classmates Antoine Mason (15.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg) and Ameen Tanksley (8.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and sophomore Marvin Jordan (10.4 ppg).

But if there was one thing Niagara lacked besides experience it was size, with Scooter Gillette and Eric Williams being their tallest players at 6-8 (Gillette was listed as weighing 210 while Williams weight 225 pounds).

Niagara needed size and help on the boards heading into 2012-13, and in La Salle transfer Devon White the hope is that the Purple Eagles will improve in those areas.

A 6-8, 240-pound forward from Philadelphia, White averaged 5.8 points and 4.7 rebounds per game for the Explorers last season while ranking second on the team in blocked shots (30).

White, who will be eligible immediately for Niagara since he earned his degree at La Salle, averaged 10.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per game against opponents that both La Salle and Niagara faced last season.

Niagara also adds guard Tahjere McCall to the roster, and the 6-4 guard was labeled as a “classic late bloomer” by the Philadelphia Daily News according to the release.

Niagara was one of the poorer shooting teams in the MAAC last season and their defense left something to be desired as well.

But most importantly the Purple Eagles needed an infusion of bulk inside in order to improve their rebounding margin of -3.6 rebounds per game, a number that ranked ninth in the conference last season (opponents grabbed 36% of their missed shots).

It would be unfair to expect White to step onto the floor and dominate from day one, but for a team that could be a sleeper in the MAAC with improved work on the boards he’s a good addition.

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

VIDEOS: Rhode Island, Maryland exchange heated words in Cancun

Dan Hurley
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No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.

Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.

But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.

It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:

After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”:

Wayne Selden stars as Kansas wins the title in Maui

Wayne Selden Jr., Jeff Roberson
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The last time we wrote about Wayne Selden in this space, it was my colleague Scott Phillips who questioned, after a poor performance in the Champions Classic, whether or not Selden is capable of bring a primary scorer for a team with NCAA title aspirations.

At the time, it wasn’t an unfair question to ask.

Selden is a former top 15 recruit. He is a guy who was expected to go one-and-done that played poorly in the first big game of his third year on campus. But after three days it Maui, it appears that the old Wayne Selden is gone.

[MORE: Kansas got Cheick Diallo news today]

He capped an MVP performance in the Maui Invitational with 25 points and seven boards on 8-for-11 shooting as the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks knocked off No. 19 Vanderbilt, 70-63, in the title game. Selden was terrific for the entire weekend, averaging 21.5 points in the two games against Division I competition and shooting 12-for-17 from beyond the arc in the three game tournament.

It was the best that we’ve seen Selden play during his Jayhawk career, and it came in a game the Jayhawks desperately needed it. Vanderbilt is a damn good team. They’re ranked 19th, which may actually be too low, and they seem to clearly be the biggest challenger to Kentucky in the SEC. They jumped out to a double-digit lead on Kansas in the first half as the Jayhawks seemed to be sleep-walking early in the game.

Enter Selden. He drilled three threes in the first half and scored 13 of the 26 Jayhawk points to keep them close. In other words, he played like a star on a night Kansas desperately needed someone to step up and play like a star. Remember: this is a dude that had enough talent and potential in high school to be considered a McDonald’s All-American and a potential lottery pick. The ability is there:

(That move is filthy.)

The question has always been whether or not he is capable of putting it all together, of being the guy that can be relied upon to make the big play in the big moment, to carry a team with title aspirations.

And to be fair, the jury is still out in that regard. Are we just going to ignore those four free throws he clanged down the stretch?

But seeing Selden have this kind of performance in a game like this against a team that is this good is unquestionably a positive for Kansas moving forward.