The agonies of realignment keep roiling. When the ACC added Boston College to the fold, it seemed strange to see the likes of Duke and Clemson make road trips to Boston. It will be more so with Syracuse and Pitt on the schedule. Imagine how traditionalists will feel when the league tournament is staged north of the Mason-Dixon line.
That day is coming. We don’t know when, but we do know — thanks to David Teel of the Newport News Daily Press — that the first Yankee attempt to commandeer the league’s post-season spectacle has been made.
Teel notes that the ACC tournament has not been played north of Maryland in nearly 60 years of existence. That may change soon, as the city of Pittsburgh has reportedly submitted a bid to host the tournament at Consol Energy Center at some point between 2016-2021.
Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson and basketball coach Jamie Dixon told me the city’s Consol Energy Center submitted a bid. Home to the NHL’s Penguins, the arena opened in 2010 and last season hosted second- and third-round NCAA basketball tournament games. College hockey’s championship weekend, the Frozen Four, is scheduled at Consol for 2013.
“We’d sure love to have it here,” Pederson said. “Pittsburgh’s proven it can do great things. The NCAA tournament sold out here in a short period of time. The city gets behind it. One of the things that’s great is you can stay downtown and walk to the games. … And thanks in large part to what Jamie’s done, people here are enthusiastic.”
Dixon has coached the Panthers to eight NCAA tournaments in nine seasons. He knows prying the ACC’s signature event from its traditional base will be difficult, but hey, the league took the tournament to Tampa, Fla., in 2007, so why not the Northeast?
Teel notes that Greensboro, NC has a lock on the tourney for the next three years. The Greensboro Coliseum is a bit of an odd duck. It’s technically the home arena for the UNCG Spartans, a team that never comes close to filling the venue’s 22,000-plus seats. It’s more frequently used for concerts, NCAA tournament games, and, for some ungodly reason, a stage production of Tyler Perry’s Madea Gets a Job. It’s very central to the Tobacco Road schools that form the heart of the historical ACC, but there’s no telling what the future holds now that the northern carpetbaggers have entered the fray.
Five-star point guard Trevon Duval is the most electrifying lead guard in the Class of 2017. The native of Delaware dominated the Under Armour circuit this spring and is currently regarded by many as a top-five player in the class by most recruiting services.
Now he’s down to 10 schools as his recruiting is starting to become more of a focus. The 6-foot-2 Duval is down to Arizona, Cal, Kansas, Maryland, Oregon, St. John’s, Seton Hall, UCLA, USC and Villanova.
Things are still early in the process for Duval and it will be interesting to see if he schedules any official visits soon.
Ohio State has lost quite a few transfers and hasn’t had a lot go their way with regards to recent recruiting, but things could be changing after a good weekend.
The Class of 2018 is starting to look really good for the Buckeyes as they landed commitments from wings Darius Bazley and Justin Ahrens this weekend. The two in-state products are grassroots teammates together on King James and they give Ohio State three commitments in that class.
Bazley is considered a four-star prospect on Rivals while Ahrens checks in as a three-star. They join another Ohio native, guard Dane Goodwin, in the class as this could be the group that helps bring Ohio State back in regular Big Ten contention.
Butler picked up an important commitment on Monday as four-star forward Kyle Young committed to the Bulldogs.
A Class of 2017 stretch forward who can hit jumpers and has an improving skill set, the 6-foot-7 Young comes from Massillon, Ohio and he’s regarded as the No. 109 overall prospect.
Young was impressive in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer with King James as he averaged 15.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game as he shot 48 percent from the field and 36 percent from 3-point range.
This is a nice grab for Butler as Young is the type of versatile perimeter shooter that they like to utilize and he should be able to help a bit on the glass as well.
Young joins a class that includes guards Cooper Neese and Jerald Butler.
Earlier this summer, we told you the story of Collin Sexton, how the 6-foot-2 Georgia native went from being a mid-major recruit to a five-star prospect being courted by the likes of Kansas, Arizona, North Carolina and Villanova.
It’s because he’s a bucket-getter.
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He averaged 31 points in the Nike EYBL circuit, nine points better than Michael Porter, who finished second in the league in scoring. No one puts points on the board like he does, so it’s only fitting that he was the guy that made a shot from the balcony during ‘The Trip’, Nike’s effort to keep kids associated with their brand from Elite 24:
UCLA capped their three-game trip to Australia on Sunday night with a 94-91 win over the Brisbane Bullets, a game in which sophomore point guard Aaron Holiday finished with a team-high 17 points. Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton both added 16 points and freshman Ike Anigbogu finished with 13 points and 10 boards.
This win came just two days after the Bruins lost to Melbourne United, 89-84, when Hamilton — 18 points and five assists — and Holiday — 16 points — were both once again impressive. Alford also added 18 points in Friday’s loss.
It’s not surprising that the Bruins had some up and down performances abroad. Everyone does. It’s what happens when a team of college kids, with three freshmen playing key roles, heads to the other side of the world to square off against teams made up of professionals. Don’t go hanging the ‘Fire Steve Alford’ banners on anymore airplanes just yet.
There are, however, two interesting things to consider from this trip:
– Lonzo Ball, UCLA’s star freshman, was, at best, their fourth-best perimeter player. Seniors Isaac Hamilton and Bryce Alford and sophomore Aaron Holiday all played well and posted impressive numbers on the three-game trip. Ball? He didn’t shoot well. At all. In UCLA’s 47-point opening win, he was 3-for-9 from the floor and 1-for-3 from three, putting together was was by far his best shooting performance of the trip. In the three games, he shot a total of 25 percent (9-36) from the field and 19 percent (4-21) from three. He did average 5.0 assists and, in one game, notched 13 boards, but Ball’s ability to shoot will be something to keep an eye on.
– And then there’s this, from Bryce Alford:
UCLA needs to travel with more towels.