Memphis v Georgetown

Memphis hopes ‘cutthroat rebounding’ improves prowess on boards

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Anytime you hear the word ‘cutthroat’, chances are the meaning attached isn’t pretty. That applies to Memphis’ new rebounding drill.

An article by Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial Appeal details the Tigers’ new practice ritual for developing a killer instinct for hitting the boards.

It’s ‘Cutthroat Rebounding.’ An assistant fires a shot from the wing and all hell breaks loose. It’s four-on-four. Bodies get beaten, there’s tons of contact and the winner is the team that pulls in the rebound. Players are told to use two hands and jump off both feet. Points are awarded for a defensive rebound and the team that loses (doesn’t get the rebound) leaves the floor and rotates out. A team has to get a defensive rebound before they can switch to offense.

Not exactly a science, but rebounding is as physical as blocking in football, so the more contact a player can handle, the better.

“There’s going to be some fouling. It’s not going to be an exact fundamental drill,” Pastner said. “It’s more about, ‘When the ball is in the air or it’s a 50-50 ball, you better go get that sucker with two hands and you better jump off the ground with two feet.’ “

It’s no secret Memphis was average at-best rebounding last season, and has been in Pastner’s previous two seasons. In 2011-12, they were 96th in total rebounds, 179th in rebounds per game and as Smith shows in the article, the Tigers’ had a plus-1.3 rebounding margin, 136th nationally last season.

Fortunately for Pastner, this team doesn’t lack the beef inside. Tarik Black (6-9. 262 pounds) and Adonis Thomas (6-7, 240) return along with Ferrakohn Hall (6-9, 220) and now they add freshman Shaq Goodwin (6-9, 246). The problem is, two of the teams’ top rebounders, Will Barton (a team-leading 8.0 per game) and Wesley Witherspoon (third on the team with 3.7 per game) are gone.

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

Clemson recruit to enroll early

Brad Brownell
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Clemson will get a four-star recruit on campus a year earlier than it expected, though his on-court debut for the Tigers will remain on schedule.

A.J. Oliver, a guard from South Carolina, will enroll early at Clemson and redshirt this upcoming season, he announced via social media Wednesday.

“I woke up this morning and realized that the greatest opportunity for me is to enroll early into Clemson,” he wrote on Twitter. “I will redshirt a year & start my college career early.”

Oliver, whose mother is the head women’s basketball coach at Clemson, was a consensus top-100 player in the class of 2017 who committed to the Tigers last December. Texas Tech and the College of Charleston were involved before his commitment.

A three-star shooting guard, Scott Spencer of Virginia, was previously the only member coach Brad Brownell’s 2016 class. While Oliver’s decision to redshirt will keep him off the court for the 2016-17 season, he’ll have spent a full season in the Tiger program before making his debut in 2017

The cupboard isn’t bare in 2017 for the Tigers due to Oliver’s reclassification because Clemson received a commitment from power forward Malik Williams, a consensus top-150 player, earlier Wednesday.

Kentucky used Calipari-Chaney fight in media training

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Kentucky Sports Radio
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Kentucky held some media training sessions yesterday, and one of the topics that head coach John Calipari used to make a point was … his blow-up with John Chaney. The moment was captured on SnapChat by a trio of Kentucky newcomers.

You remember that incident. Chaney, then the head coach at Temple, and Cal, who was coaching Atlantic 10 rival UMass at the time, nearly came to blows over the way that Cal handled officials during the game. Before the video below picks up, the two shared this exchange:

“Could I say this to you, please?” Chaney said, before the video above picks up. “You’ve got a good ball club. But what you did with the officials out there is wrong, and I don’t want to be a party to that. You understand?”

Cal responded: “You weren’t out there, Coach. You don’t have any idea.”

Chaney fired back: “You got a game given to you by officials right here with G.W. on three bad calls, O.K.? Then you send your kids out there pushing and shoving. You had the best officiating you could ever get here. And for you to ride them, I don’t want to be a party to that.”

And that led to “I’ll kill you”:

(h/t KSR)

VIDEO: Shaq’s son, Shareef O’Neal, with monster dunk in Vegas

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Shareef O’Neal is a top 50 prospect in the Class of 2018. In Vegas this past weekend, he threw down a monster put-back dunk.

South Dakota State gets two commits

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Tuesday was a busy and productive one for South Dakota State on the recruiting trail.

The Jackrabbits secured two 2017 commitments from the state of Wisconsin in Ryan Krueger and Alex Arians, a source tells NBCSports.com.

Krueger is a 6-foot-5 wing player from New London, Wisc. while Arians is a 6-foot-4 guard from Madison, Wisc., who also held an offer from Wright State, which is coached by former SDSU coach Scott Nagy. Both players spend their summers playing for the Wisconsin Swing grassroots program.

The pair make it a trio of commits for the Jackrabbits in 2017 with another Wisconsinite, Alou Dillon, pledging to first-year Jackrabbits coach T.J. Otzelberger, himself a Wisconsin native, earlier this summer.

South Dakota State went 26-8 last year and the bulk of the team that made the NCAA tournament last year, including sophomore Mike Daum, who led the team in scoring and rebounding as a freshman.

Incoming Gator freshman ineligible for upcoming season

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Florida will need to wait a year before seeing 6-foot-11 recruit Gorjok Gak playing games for the Gators.

The NCAA ruled that the incoming freshman will be able to enroll at Florida this year and practice with the team, but will be ineligible for games this season, the school announced Tuesday.

Should he meet all his progress marks during his freshman year, he’ll have three seasons of eligibility remaining starting in 2017-18.

Gak’s eligibility issue centered on his playing games during his postgraduate year at Victory Rock Prep, according to his coach there.

“Following his graduate year from Australia, he was supposed to play from December to December,” Loren Jackson told the Gainesville Sun, “but instead played from December until the following May.”

Gak originally signed with Oklahoma State, but de-committed following Travis Ford’s firing in Stillwater this past spring. Gak averaged 13.8 points and 9.3 rebounds last season at Victory Rock in Bradenton, Fla.

Florida went 21-15 last season under first-year coach Mike White.