Tony Bland, Steve Fisher

Sacramento connections pay dividends for San Diego State as D’Erryl Williams II commits

1 Comment

Taking in “Madness on the Mesa” was apparently enough to convince another Sacramento native to commit to San Diego State.

2013 guard D’Erryl Williams II, who is a high school and AAU teammate of SDSU commit Dakarai Allen, made his pledge to Steve Fisher’s program (subscription required) on Saturday after his official visit to the Mountain West school.

Williams averaged 14.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists at Sheldon High School last season, helping lead the team to the CIF Division I state final (where they lost to Mater Dei).

Like Allen, who is seen by many as one of the best defenders in the 2013 class, Williams II can be a nuisance on that end of the floor (3.0 steals per game).

“He had a perception of how things would be here,” said D’Erryl Williams Sr., his father. “The reality was better than the perception. It doesn’t get any better than that. He said, ‘Dad, I don’t need to visit anywhere else.’”

In addition to commitments from Allen and Williams II, the Aztec program has two players from Sacramento on their current roster in senior shooting guard Chase Tapley and junior point guard Xavier Thames.

Adding Allen and now Williams II to the program are good moves for San Diego State, which is looking to make its fourth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance.

But the hope of Aztec fans is that they aren’t done in the Sacramento market, as 2013 shooting guard Darin Johnson has yet to make a decision with SDSU in the running.

While some naysayers have pointed to their pending move to the Big West as the beginning of a slide for the program, San Diego State’s work on the recruiting trail and it’s run of success on the court suggest anything but.

SDSU enters the 2012-13 season having won 20 or more games in seven consecutive seasons, and with the roster assembled an eighth could be on the way.

Tapley, Thames and reigning Mountain West Player of the Year Jamaal Franklin lead the way along with senior guard James Rahon in what is a very good back court.

The question for San Diego State in regards to making national waves: how much of an impact can their newcomers in the front court have?

Freshman Winston Shepard can play any position from the point to the four and is a very good defender.

Transfers James Johnson (Virginia; eligible in December), J.J. O’Brien (Utah) and Dwayne Polee II (St. John’s) will join Shepard and senior DeShawn Stephens in the front court.

It would be unfair to rate this group alongside the 2010-11 Aztecs (34-3 and a Sweet 16 appearance) before a game has been played, but San Diego State is more than capable of winning another Mountain West title.

And with their work on the recruiting trail it wouldn’t be wise to expect them to slip off into oblivion in the future.

“This is a Top 25 program,” Williams Sr. said to Mark Zeigler of the Union-Tribune. “D’s dream is to play in a Final Four. In order to do that, you have to play with a group of players and coach who has assembled something that allows you to do that. And that’s now in play for him.”

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

#CBTtop100: Counting down the Top 100 Players in college basketball

Leave a comment

We’ll be counting down the top 100 players in college basketball all week long. Be sure to check back here throughout the week as the countdown continues over @CBTonNBC.

Jalen Coleman-Lands cleared to practice

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Jarrod Uthoff #20 of the Iowa Hawkeyes defends against Jalen Coleman-Lands #5 of the Illinois Fighting Illini in the second round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

When Illinois takes on Southeast Missouri State in the opener of the 2016-17 season, the Fighting Illini should have it’s starting backcourt out on the floor.

According to Jon Rothstein, Jalen Coleman-Lands has been cleared for all basketball activities. The sophomore two-guard has been recovering from a broken bone in his right hand.

The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.

Coleman-Lands will team up with Tracy Abrams, a point guard who was granted a sixth year of eligibility after missing the past two seasons due to injuries.

This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.

The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.

NBC Sports projected Illinois to finish eighth in the Big Ten this season.

Curtis Jones jumps over Tom Crean

Tom Crean
Leave a comment

Indiana held its annual Hoosier Hysteria on Saturday night.

One of the highlights from the team’s dunk contest was when freshman guard Curtis Jones jumped over Indiana head coach Tom Crean.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a newcomer us his coach as a dunk contest prop. Last week, Rawle Alkins cleared Arizona head coach Sean Miller en route to a reverse jam.

Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.

WATCH: Edmond Sumner take off from the foul line

CINCINNATI, OH - FEBRUARY 03:  Edmond Sumner #4 of the Xavier Musketeers dunks the ball during the game against the St. John's Red Storm at Cintas Center on February 3, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Edmond Sumner is a big reason why Xavier is likely going to be a preseason top-10 team.

On Saturday night, during Musketeer Madness, Sumner won the team’s dunk contest when he took off from the foul line.

Sumner defeated freshmen Tyrique Jones and Quentin Goodin. J.P. Macura, the reigning Big East Sixth Man of the Year, took home the honors last year.

The 6-foot-6 redshirt sophomore is coming off a debut season in which he averaged 11.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.

WATCH: Duke goes crazy for Chase Jeter’s bottle flip

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Chase Jeter #2 of the Duke Blue Devils looks on in the second half against the North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The bottle flip has become an international sensation in recent months.

It’s as simple as it sounds: flipping a water bottle in the air, attempting to have it land upright.

Duke sophomore forward Chase Jeter, in front of 9,300-plus fans, successfully pulled off the bottle flip on Saturday night at Duke’s Craziness.

Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.