Western Kentucky v Mississippi Valley State

Morehead State picks up junior college guard Bakari Turner

Leave a comment

Even with two players sitting out this season per NCAA transfer rules, Morehead State will have a crowded roster in the first season of the Sean Woods era.

That roster became a little more crowded on Thursday, as it was announced that the Eagles have added junior college guard Bakari Turner.

Turner, a 6-4, 190-pound guard from Plano, Texas, was a NJCAA All-American at Cedar Valley College and helped lead the team to 23 wins and a national runner-up finish.

Originally a Baylor signee out of high school, Turner averaged 24.4 points and 10.5 rebounds per game last season. As a freshman at Blinn JC, Turner posted averages of 17.0 points and 4.8 rebounds per contest.

“Bakari is a big-time talent, and we’re excited about him joining our program,” Head Coach Sean Woods said.  “Bakari had several high-major programs recruiting him, and we’re happy he chose Morehead State in the end.  He could certainly be a difference maker for us in the near future.”

Turner’s arrival means that Morehead State will have ten newcomers in the program this season, but Mississippi Valley State transfer Brent Arrington and UNLV transfer Karam Mashour will both be sidelined.

Of the six returnees forward Drew Kelly brings the most production (last season) to the table, as he averaged 10.2 points and a team-best 4.8 rebounds per game.

Fellow forward Khalil Owens averaged 4.8 rebounds per game as well, while Milton Chavis (7.9 ppg) and Angelo Warner (6.0 ppg) are next in line behind Kelly from a scoring standpoint.

With Terrance Hill and Ty Proffitt moving on the Eagles were in need of perimeter scoring, and the addition of Turner should help in that regard.

“Bakari has the potential to play valuable minutes for us the next two years,” Woods said.  “He’s a hard-nosed competitor who is quick with the ball and has a knack for scoring.  He can also defend three positions for us.  I think he will fit in nicely with the up-tempo style we are going to play.

“We want to be among the Ohio Valley Conference leaders in scoring, field-goal shooting and three-point percentage this season,” Woods added.  “Bakari will help us in all of those categories.  His ability to score will help get us into a full-court press, where we can put pressure on opponents.”

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

VIDEO: Kris Dunn wills Providence to win over No. 11 Arizona

Kris Dunn, Elliott Pitts
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
Leave a comment

Kris Dunn spent the first 35 minutes of Friday night’s game against No. 11 Arizona in foul trouble, splitting his time between sitting on the bench and trying to avoid finding himself, again, on the wrong side the whistle.

With 11 minutes left in the game, and with Dunn yet to find a rhythm, the all-american point guard was whistled for his fourth foul as he battled for a rebound with Arizona’s Mark Tollefsen. Head coach Ed Cooley say his superstar beside his for six game minutes, time enough for Arizona to turn a 49-47 deficit into a 58-54 lead.

There were just over five minutes left when Dunn reentered the second semifinal of the Wooden Legacy, and he proceeded to show everyone in the country why he was named the NBCSports.com Preseason Player of the Year. Providence had nine possessions after he reentered the game. Dunn scored 11 points and had a pair of assists on those eight possessions, and if Ben Bentil had stuck a wide-open three — that was setup by Dunn — the Friars would have scored on all nine.

In total, Dunn was responsible for all 15 Friar points in a game-changing, 15-7 run in the final 4:30. It was capped off by this Kobe-in-his-prime-esque game-winner:

The win for Providence is huge for a couple of reasons:

  • Dunn showed a killer instinct against a marquee opponent, something that we didn’t necessarily see out of him a season ago. He wasn’t going to let his team lose, and given that Providence doesn’t have anyone else that can consistently create good shots, they are going to need that from him a lot this year.
  • It makes a statement for the Friars. Arizona is overrated at No. 11 in the country, yes, but going out on national television against an elite program and getting this kind of performance from Dunn is a confidence-booster and a tone-setter. Providence hasn’t been accustomed to winning in recent years. This is a way to set a trend.
  • Ben Bentil continues to play like a star. Dunn had 19 points and eight assists on Friday, but Bentil followed up a 24-point performance in the win over Evansville with 21 critical points on Friday.

This win sets up a matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence on Sunday night, which means that Denzel Valentine and Kris Dunn — the two best players in the country, sorry Ben Simmons — will be going head-to-head.

Oh. Hell. Yes.

No. 14 Cal goes 0-2 in Las Vegas Invitational

Jaylen Brown
AP Photo/Ben Margot
Leave a comment

After midnight on the east coast on Thanksgiving, No. 14 Cal blew a 15 point second half lead against San Diego State, allowing the Aztecs to use a 30-6 run to put away the game and advance to the final of the Las Vegas Invitational. That’s the same San Diego State team had scored 43 points in a loss to Arkansas-Little Rock last week.

Not 24 hours later, the Golden Bears were shredded defensively by the Richmond Spiders, losing 94-90 in the consolation game of a four-team tournament they were considered to be the heavy favorite in.

It’s a disappointing two-game stretch for Cal, who entered the season as a Pac-12 favorite and had looked the part for the first four games of the season.

And the issue appears to be on the defensive end of the floor.

Richmond is a good Atlantic 10 team. Terry Allen and Marshall Wood are high-major big men, Shawn’Dre Jones is a jitterbug at the point and Chris Mooney runs a Princeton-esque system that is very difficult to prepare for without a day in-between games. So it’s not really surprising that the Spiders gave Cal a fight.

But 94 points?

On the heels of giving up 44 points in the second half against the offensively-challenged Aztecs?

That’s a problem, one that I’m sure that Cuonzo Martin is going to address this week in practice. Martin has managed to put together a roster that is build for small-ball, with four talented perimeter players surrounding a first round pick in the post. But that’s not the style that he’s known for. Martin played his college ball at Purdue in the Gene Keady days. He cut his teeth as a head coach at Missouri State in the Missouri Valley. His team’s at Tennessee were known for being tough and physical defensively.

That’s how Martin coaches, which is part of the reason Cal had such hype entering the year.

The talents of Tyrone Wallace, Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, Jabari Bird and Jordan Mathews on a team with a coach that gets teams to defend the way Martin does? It’s no surprise that pundits would be optimistic.

But as of now, they have some work to do defensively if they want to live up to that hype.