NCAA Basketball Tournament - Cincinnati v Florida State

Cincinnati looking for increased production from guards Ge’Lawn Guyn and Jeremiah Davis III

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Mick Cronin’s Cincinnati Bearcats looked to be dead in the water on that fateful day at the Cintas Center in early December, but they proved many wrong by winning 26 games and reaching the Sweet 16.

And even with Yancy Gates and Dion Dixon gone there’s optimism amongst the Bearcat faithful as three starters and ten letterwinners return for the 2012-13 season.

But if the Bearcats are to not only return to the Sweet 16 (and possibly go further) but also become a leader in the Big East, they’ll need to develop depth that hasn’t been there during the Cronin era.

“For us to be a dominant program, our numbers are key for us the way our program is set up right now. We have 12 on scholarship and all 12 have to be able to play effectively,” said Cronin to Bill Koch of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

“We won six of our last eight all against great teams, but when you assess the Ohio State loss we expended too much energy to get back in the game and our lack of depth hurt us.”

Returning starters Cashmere Wright, JaQuon Parker and Sean Kilpatrick are known commodities for the Bearcats heading into the 2012-13 season.

Kilpatrick and Wright are Cincinnati’s two leading returnees in regards to minutes per game, with Kilpatrick averaging a team-high 34.5 mpg and Wright not too far behind at 31.2 mpg, and Parker averaged 26.7 mpg.

But to Cronin’s point about the team’s depth, two of the players who will need to increase their production this season are guards Ge’Lawn Guyn (2.3 ppg) and Jeremiah Davis III (2.5 ppg).

“It comes to a point where I can’t play 35 to 40 minutes a game. So one of them or both of them have to play if we’re going to try to get to where we want to go,” said Wright of Guyn and Davis III before the team’s first practice on Friday.

“There’s no way I’m going to be able to play those minutes and we make it to the Final Four and then still have all the gas in the tank. We’re going to need them and they are going to be a big help.”

With Dixon and Gates out of the picture more may be required of Wright from a scoring standpoint, and the emergence of a Guyn or Davis III at the point would allow the senior more opportunities to work off the ball.

Of the two players Davis III was more involved offensively, finishing the season with a possession percentage of 20.4% to Guyn’s 15.6% according to Ken Pomeroy’s numbers (subscription required).

But both finished the season averaging around one assist for every turnover (Guyn just about that mark, Davis just below), and that’s something they’ll need to change this season.

The Bearcats have the talent to be a factor in the Big East when considering not only their returnees but also front court newcomers David Nyarsuk, Titus Rubles and Shaquille Thomas (Thomas redshirted last season).

But how much of a factor Cincinnati turns out to be will depend on what they can get from two guards who weren’t asked to to be major contributors last year.

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

Florida State continues recruiting momentum with 2017 commitment

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Florida State has been active on the recruiting trail recently and the Seminoles continued that momentum on Wednesday with a commitment from in-state wing Wyatt Wilkes.

The 6-foot-7 Wilkes is considered a three-star prospect and ranked No. 113 in the Rivals 150 in the Class of 2017 as he gives Florida State its fourth commitment in the class.

A versatile and skilled forward who can knock down shots, Wilkes joins a Florida State Class of 2017 that includes wing Anthony Polite — who committed on Tuesday — forward Raiquan Gray and guard Bryan Trimble.

The last two recruiting classes, Florida State has done a nice job of focusing on its targets and landing them early. It’s hard to say if finishing the Class of 2016 early helped the Seminoles complete this group in a similar timely fashion, but it’s worth monitoring for the next class as well to see if this becomes some sort of trend.

Oregon lands Georgetown transfer Paul White

PORTLAND, OR - MARCH 19: Paul White #13 of the Georgetown Hoyas fights for position with Drew Brandon #22 of the Eastern Washington Eagles in the second half during the second round of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Moda Center on March 19, 2015 in Portland, Oregon.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Oregon pulled in a former highly-touted recruit via transfer on Wednesday as Paul White committed to the Ducks.

Spending his first two seasons at Georgetown, White battled injury problems as he only registered 67 total minutes last season during his sophomore year. As a freshman, the 6-foot-8 native of Chicago averaged 5.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.

A skilled wing forward who can handle the ball a bit, White is a good passer from the elbows and also isn’t afraid to help a bit on the glass. Offensively, White will have to figure out his calling as a scorer, but he’s versatile enough of an offensive players to get others involved while he’s on the floor.

Formerly the No. 50 overall recruit in the Class of 2014, White will have to sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules.

Oregon has had a lot of success with transfers under head coach Dana Altman, but it will be interesting to see how White looks when he’s able to play. With basically two full seasons off between competitive games, we’ll have to see how White looks, or if he’s added to his game, when he’s able to take the floor in 2017-18.

VIDEO: Dennis Smith Jr. dunks on N.C. State students

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Last week, it was North Carolina freshman Seventh Woods dunking on a crowd of his classmates late at night.

This week, it’s Dennis Smith Jr., the uber-athletic redshirt freshman for N.C. State.

Rutgers’ twitter ‘gaffe’ is a pretty standard recruiting technique

Stony Brook coach Steve Pikiell  congratulates guard Roland Nyama (24) after a play during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Vanderbilt on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey
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Rutgers has been the butt of quite a few jokes on social media the last 24 hours, as the school’s official men’s basketball twitter account posted the following picture late on Tuesday night:

That’s an image of six UConn grads and two Pitt grads with the title “$1.1 billion earned”, which, on the surface, doesn’t really make any sense, right? Those eight guys — names like Shabazz Napier and Ray Allen and Steven Adams and Rip Hamilton — have no connection to the Scarlet Knights beyond the occasional beating back when they were still in college.

It’s the Rutgers coaching staff that has a connection to them.

New head coach Steve Pikiell, who was hired from Stony Brook less than six months ago, used to be on the UConn staff. Karl Hobbs, who was an assistant at UConn for both Jim Calhoun and Kevin Ollie, joined Pikiell. Another assistant coach, Brandin Knight, a former star player at Pitt, was on Jamie Dixon’s staff with the Panthers last season.

None of those guys have coached a single Rutgers player yet.

And they won’t for another month, when practice finally starts.

So what do they have to pitch to recruits? How can they market the Rutgers program? How do they make it appealing to the loads of talent playing basketball in New Jersey high schools? By selling kids on what these coaches were able to accomplish with the players they actually have worked with, the stars from their former schools. If you don’t think that is what Rutgers’ new staff — or any new staff, for that matter — is using as a recruiting pitch then you don’t know a damn thing about recruiting.

Or Rutgers.

The program has no basketball history worth mentioning. None. But neither did SMU when Larry Brown took over, and he turned the Mustangs into a program perennially in or around the top 25 that literally beat out Kentucky for a recruit (Emmanuel Mudiay).

Do you think that Brown was selling players on SMU’s past or his past? Did he say “Come hoop at a football school in a football state” or did he brag about coaching Allen Iverson and the rings he won with Kansas in 1988 and Detroit in 2004?

The bottom line is this: The tweet missed its mark, highlighting player earnings over professional success, and the responses to it have been pretty hilarious.

But I also find it funny that people are up in arms about Rutgers promoting the players their brand new coaching staff has worked with, because if you don’t think that Jim Fox uses Steph Curry to recruit to Appalachian State or Rick Barnes references Kevin Durant in his pitches to Tennessee targets, I have a bridge in Brooklyn you can buy.

VIDEO: Western Michigan walk-on gets scholarship atop Eiffel Tower

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Yesterday, we brought you a video of South Dakota’s Logan Power, a walk-on heading into his third season in the program, receiving his scholarship while on the team’s trip to Spain.

Today, we have video of Western Michigan walk-on Ryan Wade getting a scholarship … at the top of the Eiffel Tower?

In a really cool moment, Steve Hawkins, WMU’s head coach, asks two players to try and read a piece of paper in French. He then has Wade read the translation of what the players were saying and … well … just watch:

What a cool moment.

If only there was a camera on the French people watching the crazy Americans sing and jump around a thousand feet in the air …