Mike Montgomery

California lands its second 2013 guard as Jordan Mathews commits

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In what could be an interesting season for the California Golden Bears, head coach Mike Montgomery and his staff have now picked up two important wins on the recruiting trail.

Just one week after keeping five-star Bay Area prospect Jabari Bird home, Cal received a verbal commitment from Santa Monica, CA guard Jordan Mathews on Sunday according to Scout.com (subscription required).

Mathews is a player whose stock rose in the eyes of many recruiting analysts during the summer, as he was able to knock down shots from the perimeter as well as from mid-range.

Mathews helped lead Santa Monica High School to an 18-8 record as a junior, and he averaged 15.6 points per game in five games with California Supreme at the EYBL Finals at the Nike Peach Jam in July.

In the four EYBL events leading up to the Peach Jam Mathews averaged 14.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, shooting 46.3% from the field and 44.4% from beyond the arc.

The son of UCLA assistant coach Phil Mathews, Jordan also held offers from schools such as Colorado, Gonzaga, Kansas State, San Diego State, USC, VCU, Wake Forest and Wyoming according to Rivals.com.

Both Bird and Mathews will have the opportunity to earn playing time immediately next season, even with both Justin Cobbs (redshirt junior this season) and Allen Crabbe (junior) being able to return.

Brandon Smith is a senior this season and it remains to be seen what Missouri transfer Ricky Kreklow can provide after averaging 2.1 points per game in his one season in Columbia.

The Golden Bears needed a talent boost on the perimeter in the 2013 class, and landing both Bird and Mathews early is definitely a step in the right direction.

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

Rutgers hoping new duo can bring a spark

of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during their Big Ten conference game at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 8, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.
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Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.

With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.

“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”

Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.

While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.

LSU looking into starting lineup options

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - MARCH 7:  Head Coach Johnny Jones of the LSU Tigers watches his team play during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena on March 7, 2015 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Tigers defeated the Razorbacks 81-78.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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LSU football and Leonard Fournette are off to a strong start this fall, but the beginning of October also means that college hoops is right around the corner. If you’re a Tigers basketball fan, you also have plenty to be excited about on the hardwood this season with the arrival of a loaded freshman class headlined by forward Ben Simmons.

While the versatile Simmons has solidified a spot in the starting lineup for next season, it’ll be interesting to see how head coach Johnny Jones uses the rest of his talented freshmen. In a story from Sheldon Mickles of the New Orleans Advocate, he looks into some potential LSU starting lineups.

Freshman guard Antonio Blakeney, a McDonald’s All-American with Simmons, is also expected to start, but does another talented freshman guard, Brandon Sampson get a shot to start? And what of Arizona transfer Craig Victor when he’s eligible to play in December?

Mickles believes the early favorite for starting lineup is guards Tim Quarterman, Keith Hornsby, Blakeney, Simmons and center Darcy Malone. When Victor returns, Mickles said Victor could push Simmons into the “center” position, which would be a matchup nightmare on the opposition because Simmons would be very tough for many college centers to defend.

Sampson also gets a mention from Mickles of having the potential to start down the line. Overall, a good problem to have for Jones and he’ll have to experiment to see which lineups are giving him the most. Having a productive starting five is nice, but I’m sure Jones would love to find the five players he wants to close with.