The few D-1 college basketball programs in states such Wyoming, the Dakotas or Montana have to make friends with their travel agents and step outside the boundaries of their respective home turf to recruit. In that regard, Wyoming and South Dakota both netted verbal commitments from recruits who will be travelling north from Colorado as 2013 recruiting class verbal commitments.
Wyoming landed a pledge from 6-8 forward Alan Herndon of Widefield (Colo.), and fellow 6-8 forward Austin Sparks of Fairview (Colo.) made his call for South Dakota. In both cases, the schools where Herndon and Sparks have landed are burgeoning pipelines from Colorado, as Sparks will join a fellow Colorado player in Terrell Brown on the roster at South Dakota, and three players from south of Wyoming’s border line their roster.
There are a dearth of true D-1 talents in states like Wyoming and South Dakota, and they have to produce a clear recruiting strategy to fill in the gaps. Both Sparks and Herndon are athletic but relatively undeveloped at this point. A redshirt could be in either player’s future, but they each possess a skill set that is easier to find in a more populated state.
There is no shortage of success stories from smaller or lesser-known mid-major and below programs lately, and those with the most winning track records appear to have clear strategies on the recruiting trail. It is no doubt an uphill battle programs from states with small populations, but creative thinking and strategy can help overcome the inherent difficulties.
Kellon Hassenstab runs Hoopniks.com. Follow him on Twitter @hoopniks.
The Atlantic 10 invades NBCSN and the NBC Sports app on Saturday with two games that will air as part of a doubleheader.
It starts with Fordham at UMass at 12:30 p.m. and concludes with Rhode Island heading to Duquesne at 2:30 p.m.
CLICK HERE to watch the Atlantic 10 on NBCSN
During North Carolina’s blowout win over N.C. State on Jan. 8, the Tar Heels weren’t the only ones in the building who were feeling it.
As it turns out, North Carolina ball boy Asher Lucas was the hottest shooter of anyone in the building that night.
During halftime of that Jan. 8 game, Lucas nailed three consecutive halfcourt shots, as his father, Adam Lucas, a North Carolina columnist, released the video this week to YouTube. The video quickly went viral as Asher’s unreal streak of shots was all over TV and the Internet.
The Tar Heels have been struggling to find consistent perimeter shooting for the last few seasons, so maybe they need to start scouting Asher for a future roster spot.
Milwaukee picked up a Horizon League win on Friday night as guard Brock Stull knocked in a buzzer-beater to topple Cleveland State.
Stull only had four points on the night as he played 30 minutes and finished with five assists and six rebounds.
Oregon released a statement on Friday afternoon that said star forward Dillon Brooks had seen doctors and was in a walking boot, but gave no further update on his condition.
Brooks suffered what the program termed a “lower leg injury” on Thursday night against Cal. The injury was to his left leg – on replay, it looked like he rolled his ankle – which is concerning because his left foot is the foot that he injured over the summer, which caused him to miss the first three games of the season.
“He’ll be evaluated in the next couple of days and see where he’s at,” head coach Dana Altman said after Thursday’s game.
Allonzo Trier’s most recent drug test came back negative, meaning that the leading returning scorer for the Wildcats will be eligible to play on Saturday when Arizona plays a visit to UCLA.
Trier had been suspended for the first 19 games of the season following a positive test for a performance-enhancing drug. He appealed to the NCAA and actually won, claiming that he unknowingly ingested the substance after someone he trusted gave him a product to help him recover from a car accident during the offseason.
The NCAA’s stipulation, however, was that he could not play until the PED had cleared his system.
Trier averaged 14.8 points last season for Arizona. He’ll join a back court that already includes Kadeem Allen, Rawle Alkins and Kobi Simmons, as well as Kadeem Allen and Parker Jackson-Cartwright. Along with Lauri Markkanen, who has the look of a lottery pick, Trier was expected to be Arizona’s best player this season. While he has not been allowed to play this year, Trier has been practicing and traveling with the team. It may take him a while to work his way back into game shape and into the flow of the team, but it won’t be because he’s rusty.
The Wildcats are currently 17-2 on the year and 6-0 in the Pac-12. They play No. 3 UCLA in Pauley Pavilion on Saturday. The Bruins are a game out of first place in the conference standings.