The biggest losers from the NBA Draft

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Will Barton and Quincy Miller: I’m not exactly a proponent of returning to school for underclassmen, especially for guys that are guaranteed to get guaranteed contracts. I hate to make things so simple, but I truly believe that it is smart to capitalize on your potential; when the money is there, go get it. Miller and Barton were both a long way from being first round locks in the 2012 NBA Draft, and that became abundantly clear as they plummeted through the first round to the 38th and 40th picks, respectively.

Miller went pro after initially announcing that he would be returning the school, ending his collegiate eligibility after a mediocre freshman season in which he was coming off of a torn ACL. If he had returned for his sophomore campaign with the quickness and explosiveness that he had lost, I don’t think it’s even a question of whether or not he could have locked up a first round pick. Barton doesn’t have the same kind of upside that Miller does, but if he returned for his junior season at Memphis after spending the summer improving his handle and jump shot, he has the heart and the talent to be a first round pick. Instead, both players will have to play their way into a contract.

Indiana Pacers: The Pacer’s first pick in the 2012 NBA Draft ended up being Miles Plumlee. This wouldn’t have been terrible if Indiana didn’t have a first round pick, but they did. The 26th pick, to be exact. Now, I understand how impressive it is to see a man that stands 7-feet tall in shoes show off his 40.5″ vertical, I really do. But Plumlee averaged career-highs of 6.6 points, 7.1 boards and 20.5 minutes as a nearly-24 year old senior at Duke last season. And he just got a guaranteed contract. I don’t get it.

Milwaukee Bucks: I’m not a huge fan of John Henson’s professional prospects, but I don’t think he’s a horrible pick in the 14th spot. He is long and he can block shots at the NBA level. But I do think this is a horrible pick when a) Tyler Zeller is still on the board and b) the Bucks picked Larry Sanders just two years ago.

Anyone recruiting against John Calipari: The Wildcats had six players drafted. Four went in the first round — including the fifth straight Calipari freshmen point guard — and that included the top two picks. That ain’t bad. You know what ain’t worse? Kentucky has more players drafted during Calipari’s tenure the past three years (15) than the Big Ten (10), the Pac-12 (10) and the rest of the SEC (11). During that time, 11 of those 15 draft picks were first rounders. In the 15 YEARS prior to Calipari’s arrival, Kentucky had 15 players drafted and 10 first rounders.

Maalik Wayns, Hollis Thompson, J’Covan Brown, Dominic Cheek and Dominique Ferguson: These five players entered the NBA Draft with collegiate eligibility remaining, and none of the five were picked. They were far from the only underclassmen that went undrafted, but the others — Renardo Sidney, Tony Mitchell, Terrell Stoglin, etc. — had extenuating circumstances that made returning to school nearly impossible. Each one of these guys has the talent to put together a long career as a pro ball player, but it is a shame to see them leave school without a degree when the riches of the NBA aren’t waiting.

Memphis lands commitment from 2018 center Connor Vanover

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Memphis picked up its first commitment in the Class of 2018 on Wednesday night as unique center prospect Connor Vanover announced his decision on Twitter.

At 7-foot-2, Vanover brings elite size to the interior for the Tigers and he’s also skilled enough that he was a 43 percent three-point shooter during his stint playing with Pro Skills in the Nike EYBL this spring. Although Vanover needs to add strength and athleticism to adapt to the college level, he simply has size that you can’t teach. Pair that size with an intriguing perimeter jumper and it’ll be interesting to see how head coach Tubby Smith is able to develop Vanover the next few years.

A three-star prospect according to Rivals, Vanover averaged 9.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game during the spring. Originally from Arkansas, Vanover is spending his senior season of high school ball at prep school powerhouse Findlay Prep.

Bill Self unsure of how long he will continue to coach

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Kansas head coach Bill Self is one of the most decorated college basketball coaches of all time.

Recently inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this month, Self has won a record 13 consecutive Big 12 regular-season championships while also claiming a national title for the Jayhawks during his storied career.

But while most legendary coaches in contemporary college basketball have stayed around to coach well into their late 60s or early 70s, the 54-year-old Self doesn’t necessarily see his career playing out that way.

Speaking with ESPN.com reporter Myron Medcalf on Wednesday, Self acknowledged that he’s thinking about potentially retiring once his next contract ends after the 2021-22 season. With five more years left on his current deal, that would mean that Self would be retiring before he would even turn 60.

“I’ve said all along that if I could go to my late 50s, that’d be good for me,” Self said to Medcalf. “Now that I’m getting close to my late 50s, I’m like, ‘Well…’ but my contract runs until I’m 59, so I’ve got five more years left. I definitely want to do that. Then whatever happens after that I’d be happy with whatever. But I don’t want to [coach too late].”

While Hall of Fame coaches like Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim (72 years old), Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski (70 years old) and North Carolina’s Roy Williams (67 years old) are showing no signs of slowing down, Self acknowledged to Medcalf that coach, and specifically recruiting, has started to take its toll on him.

“With recruiting the way that it is, it just wears you down,” Self said to Medcalf.

With Kansas pursuing so many potential one-and-done prospects over the past few seasons, it means that Self usually has to recruit sizable recruiting classes

Self is certainly entitled to do what he wants with his career and his life but it would be a shame to see one of the game’s greats hang it up at that point in his career. Potentially retiring at that age means that Self won’t chase 1,000 wins or any additional longevity records

Ohio State lands second pledge in two days with 2018 guard Duane Washington

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Ohio State stayed hot on the recruiting trail on Wednesday as the Buckeyes landed a commitment from Class of 2018 guard Duane Washington.

The 6-foot-3 Washington is the second commitment for Ohio State and new head coach Chris Holtmann in the last two days after four-star forward Jaedon LeDee pledged to the Buckeyes on Tuesday.

One of the better shooters in the Class of 2018, Washington averaged 14.9 points per game on tremendous shooting splits (48% FG, 87% FT, 45% 3PT) playing with The Family in the Nike EYBL this spring. A Michigan native who now resides in California, Washington gives Ohio State a much-needed guard commitment in the Class of 2018.

With the Buckeyes needing to fill a lot of scholarships due to roster turnover, Washington is a solid start to their perimeter class. While Washington isn’t likely to play point guard, he can play multiple perimeter spots and should be a solid addition to the Buckeye rotation.

Syracuse walk-on accused of sexual assault

Syracuse Post-Standard
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Dominick Parker, an 18-year old freshman who was added to the Syracuse roster as a walk-on just 12 days ago, was arrested last Friday and charged with sexual abuse in the first degree, reports Syracuse.com.

Parker is accused of having sexual contact with an 18-year old female student while she was incapable of giving consent. His name and picture have been removed from the Syracuse athletics website.

“Sexual and relationship violence is not tolerated at Syracuse University,” the school said in a statement. “We are now doing all that we can to support and provide assistance to those affected by the alleged incident. As this is an ongoing investigation, Syracuse University will not be providing further comment.”

Wichita State to sell beer at Koch Arena

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As if it wasn’t already hard enough to win games at Koch Arena.

Starting this season, Wichita State fans will be able to buy beer during games at their home arena, a fact that should ensure that the raucous home environs that have made the Shockers so difficult to beat in Wichita remains the same.

That’s not a bad thing to add to a home court advantage while making the move into a new conference, the American, for the 2017-18 season.

Once a rarity, beer at college sporting events in a growing trend. Minnesota, Florida and Texas, among a number of others have added alcohol sales in recent years. Given the money that would seem likely to be generated, it’s a trend that will probably become even more pervasive in college athletics.

Let’s just make sure that everyone partakes in moderation.