Chris Jones, Irvin Hollinger

Report: JuCo point guard Chris Jones commits to Louisville

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Rick Pitino cut ties with Cat Barber earlier this month, and many speculated that it was the result of the Cardinals targeting Northwest Florida’s point guard, Chris Jones.

It looks like that speculation has been proven correct.

Jones, the No. 1 JuCo player in the country, committed to Louisville on Monday.

Jones had taken an official visit to Louisville this past weekend, this third straight weekend on the road. He had also taken officials to Baylor and Oklahoma State. He’ll likely be the replacement for Peyton Siva at the starting point guard spot, fitting in with Russ Smith, Wayne Blackshear and Luke Hancock in the Cardinal’s perimeter rotation.

Perhaps the most interesting story line here is that Jones will finally be teaming up with Louisville’s sophomore guard Kevin Ware. Both players were top 50 players in the Class of 2011 that had signed with Bruce Pearl at Tennessee, and both left when Pearl was fired.

It will also be interesting to see what happens with Terry Rozier. Rozier was originally a member of Louisville’s Class of 2012, but he didn’t make it into school this year. He’ll be spending a season at Hargrave Military Academy, a prep school that Louisville has close ties with. Montrezl Harrell went there, Class of 2013 commit Anton Gill currently goes there and assistant coach Kevin Keatts used to coach there.

Did Jones just take Rozier’s spot?

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

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.