Bruiser Flint

Quarterfinal worthy of a title game headlines the Anaheim Classic

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The Anaheim Classic was one of many in-season tournaments to announce its pairings on Thursday, and the event has provided a quarterfinal match-up that’s worthy of a final.

That would be Drexel, who returns the majority of last year’s CAA regular season champion squad, taking on reigning WCC champion Saint Mary’s.

Here’s the slate of games and a quick breakdown of the bracket.

Anaheim Classic schedule (all times Eastern)

November 22
2 PM Pacific vs. Xavier (ESPNU)
4:30 PM Drexel vs. Saint Mary’s (ESPN2)
9 PM Rice vs. Georgia Tech (ESPNU)
11:30 PM Drake vs. California (ESPN2)

November 23
3:30 PM Semifinal #1 (ESPN2)
6 PM Consolation #1 (ESPNU)
9:30 PM Consolation #2 (ESPNU)
Midnight Semifinal #2 (ESPN2)

November 25
1:30 PM 5th place game (ESPNU)
4 PM 7th place game (ESPN3)
6:30 pm 3rd place game (ESPNU)
9 PM Championship game (ESPN2)

Best quarterfinal: Drexel vs. Saint Mary’s
Rob Jones is the biggest off-season loss for the Gaels, but Randy Bennett’s back court should rank among the best out west with Matthew Dellavedova, Jorden Page and Stephen Holt all returning to Moraga.

As for Drexel their lone personnel loss from last season’s team was forward Samme Givens, and in guards Chris Fouch, Damion Lee and Frantz Massenat they have one of the best perimeter rotations around.

How well the front court players, such as Saint Mary’s Brad Waldow and Drexel’s Darryl McCoy, play could ultimately determine the outcome but the guard play makes for must-see TV.

Best individual match-up (that we know we’ll see): Dellavedova vs. Massenat
Dellavedova had the higher scoring average last season but Massenat is more than capable of putting up points. The only shame about this match-up (and the game) is that it has to happen in a quarterfinal.

Dellavedova’s field goal percentage (44.6%) was slightly higher than Massenat’s (42.9%) and he did average more than six assists per game, but the Drexel floor general had the higher three-point percentage (45%) of the two.

Best individual match-up (that we hope to see): Allen Crabbe (California) vs. Damion Lee (Drexel)
Crabbe is one of the nation’s best perimeter shooters, but in Lee he would go up against a player with the talent needed to one day win CAA Player of the Year honors.

Half of Crabbe’s shots last season were three-pointers, and while his versatility may be a bit underrated (5.7 rpg, 2.1 apg) this is the year in which Crabbe will need to be even more assertive offensively.

Lee was essentially a “jack of all trades” guy as a freshman, averaging 12.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. And even with the presence of Fouch and Massenat, Lee is capable of doing even more for Bruiser Flint’s team this season.

Winner: Drexel
Really think the winner of the Drexel/Saint Mary’s tilt goes on to win the title, but they won’t lack for challengers either. Xavier, now led by Dezmine Wells, adds a highly touted recruiting class led by point guard Semaj Christion and Cal has the tandem of Crabbe and Justin Cobbs to contend with.

Georgia Tech will have Kentucky transfer Stacey Poole after he sat out last season, but keep an eye on Rice. Seniors Arsalan Kazemi and Tamir Jackson are experienced leaders, and in Kazemi they’ve got one of the better front court players who wasn’t on the major networks every week.

In the end the pick is Drexel due to the amount of experience they return both on the perimeter and inside, which should help them navigate the graduation of Givens.

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