Is Georges Niang the next Doug McDermott?

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There’s more to Georges Niang than a basketball jersey and a funny name.

The Iowa State freshman wasn’t the biggest man on the Tilton School’s campus as a senior — that title would go to Nerlens Noel, both in height and athletic standing — but he may have been more important.

You see, Niang was Class President in his final year as a high school student. He initially put his name into the running as a joke, but once he won the position, he took his role seriously. That’s one of the many things that stood out to Cyclone head coach Fred Hoiberg when he was pursuing Niang.

“One hundred percent,” Hoiberg told the Eagle-Tribune. “It just shows he’s a well-rounded person. Then there is all the responsibility with the title. It’s a great experience. He’s such a popular guy. Everything he does and will do, he will be a success.”

While Niang was able to win the hearts of his fellow students, it took a little while longer for him to convince high-major recruiters that he was a guy that could play in a conference like the Big 12. Part of the reason is that he’s not all that tall (he’s listed at 6-foot-7) and he’s not overwhelming gifted athletically. But he’s a smart player. He’s got terrific footwork and post moves, he knows how to pass and how to gain position, he boxes out, he defends. What earned him the scholarship offer from ISU on Hoiberg’s first trip to watch him at an open gym was a bucket he scored over Noel in the post.

According to ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla, Niang will remind Cyclone fans of a player they should be quite familiar with: Doug McDermott, an Ames, IA, native.

The comparison runs deeper than simply ability on the court. As a high school senior, McDermott was overshadowed by teammate Harrison Barnes. McDermott averaged 14.9 points and 7.2 boards as a freshman, played for the USA’s U-19 team the following summer and was an all-american by the end of his sophomore season.

I don’t think Hoiberg would mind if that comparison ended up being accurate.

(Photo credit: ISU Athletics)

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

Clemson lands 2017 guard

Brad Brownell
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Clemson landed a quality commitment on Tuesday as Class of 2017 guard A.J. Oliver committed to the Tigers. The son of Clemson women’s head coach Audra Smith, Oliver is regarded as a three-star prospect, according to Rivals, although some others view him as a top-100 caliber player.

The 6-foot-4 Oliver attends nearby Daniel High School and should have some time to get acclimated with the players and coaches before he sets foot on campus. A versatile guard who plays hard, Oliver showed that he can make plays with the ball in his hands this summer with the Upward Stars.

Oliver is Clemson’s first commitment in the Class of 2017 and it’s a strong start for head coach Brad Brownell.

Arizona’s Tarczewski out 4-to-6 weeks

Kaleb Tarczewski, Sean Miller
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Arizona will be without senior center Kaleb Tarczewski for 4-to-6 weeks, the school announced on Tuesday. The 7-foot Tarczewski suffered a stress reaction and strained muscle to his left foot and he’ll have some time to heal before the main portion of the Pac-12 conference schedule.

The experienced Tarczewski was averaging 8.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game before going down with injury. Without the senior in the lineup, Arizona fell to Providence in the Wooden Legacy last week. Without Tarczewski in the lineup, the Wildcats could turn to center Dusan Ristic while forward Ryan Anderson has had some solid outings this season.

Missing Tarczewski for the rest of non-conference play will hurt but he’ll get to rest and recover for the stretch run while the Wildcats can mix in some new frontcourt pieces.