NCAA Basketball Tournament - Saint Louis v Memphis

What’s with all the commitments?

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This weekend had a number of big-time players making big-time commitments to big-time programs.

It started Thursday with Rondae Jefferson’s commitment to Arizona and continued with players like five-start swingman Robert Hubbs picking Tennessee and most recently, Northwest Florida State College point guard Chris Jones committing to Louisville on Monday morning.

In between, Malcolm and Marcus Allen picked Stanford (adding to a long list of twins to play in Palo Alto), Kendrick Nunn sprung for Illinois, RaShawn Powell made a commitment to Memphis, Moses Kingsley tabbed Arkansas as his college of choice and Cat Barber made his selection with North Carolina State.

There have been busy weekends in recruiting for sure. But with this many top-level prospects picking schools at this pace? What could possibly be the reason?

“I think the weird thing is, this year is different from the past couple of years, because we’ve had commitments right after the July evaluation period,” Scout.com Recruiting Analyst Evan Daniels told CBT on NBC. “Kids get on campus and you knew it was just a matter of time for them to start popping. But the last couple of days have been pretty wild, to be honest with you.”

Daniels said he hasn’t seen anything like this, with the amount of Top 100 commitments picking schools at this rate. Saying it’s been “quite a run.”

Verbal commitments are always shaky. Some more than others. Nothing is final until pen hits paper on a National Letter of Intent/Grant-In-Aid agreement, but to see these types of players going off at an alarming rate is something that seems unprecedented.

I imagine this trend will slow down as the seasons, both college and high school, get closer, with more time being focused toward actual games. But an episode like this can sure help build momentum toward mid-October and the official start of college basketball.

David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

Rick Pitino: ‘We should be penalized … but not this team’

Rick Pitino
(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
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One of the biggest storylines of Saturday’s college basketball schedule had everything to do with a team that no longer matters in the championship picture.

Less than 24 hours after being informed that the school would be imposing a postseason ban that will leave the Cardinals out of the ACC and NCAA tournaments, No. 19 Louisville tipped off against Boston College, and they did so without leading scorer Damion Lee, who is battling a knee issue.

How would the team respond to the decision — the despicable, shameful decision — that the university’s president made?

Well, it seems.

The Cardinals jumped out to a 19-2 lead in the first eight minutes and cruised to a 79-47 win over an overmatched Boston College team in the Yum! Center.

And head coach Rick Pitino, after the quote, said exactly what everyone is thinking.

“We should be penalized, no question about it,” he said. “But not this team. But the NCAA didn’t make that decision. We made that decision.”

He’s totally right. The school sacrificed the season — and the only shot that a pair of fifth-year seniors would get to play in the NCAA tournament — to protect the school, the brand and the bottom-line moving forward. Like I said earlier, it’s despicable.

But credit the Cardinals for responding.

Because they still have something on the line. They’re just a game out of first place in the ACC, and while an ACC regular season title isn’t a shot to play in the ACC or NCAA tournament, it’s still a banner that would probably mean more to Damion Lee and Trey Lewis than any league title has meant to a Louisville player before.

Oklahoma State without Jawun Evans, questionable moving forward

Oklahoma State guard Jawun Evans (1) goes up for a shot between Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31) and forward Perry Ellis (34) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. Oklahoma State won 86-67. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
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Oklahoma State’s star point guard was not in the lineup on Saturday against No. 13 Iowa State.

Evans injured his shoulder in the Cowboys’ loss at Texas Tech on Wednesday and was ruled out of Saturday’s game.

According to the school, his official status moving forward is questionable. The Pokes are just 11-11 on the season and likely need to earn the Big 12’s at-large bid to get into the NCAA tournament. It makes sense to let him get healthy.

Evans was averaging 12.9 points, 4.9 assists and 4.4 boards this season, but he had been arguably the best point guard in the Big 12 during league play, averaging 15.6 points and 5.6 assists.