Josh Pastner

Late night snacks: What got you ready for the marathon

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This is the only night where Late Night Snacks serves as the primer for the college basketball day rather than the ending. I see absolutely nothing wrong with this and neither should you.

Games of the Night

1.) No. 1 Indiana 87, North Dakota State 61

There weren’t any nail-biters pre-marathon, so we’ll start with the top team in the land. Cody Zeller had 22 and nine rebounds. Remy Abell and Jeremy Hollowell chipped in 14 each and Hoosiers are living up to all the hype. Tom Crean has the team we all thought he had.

2.) No. 17 Memphis 81, North Florida 66

The curtain opened on what is supposed to be Josh Pastner’s best team since he took the job three years ago. They started off on the right foot. Joe Jackson had 14 points and six assists and the Tigers out-rebounded the Ospreys 45-30 in the victory.

3.) Virginia 54, Fairfield 45

The outcome was a win, but the Cavaliers should be doing better against a team that lost most of it’s talent off last season’s squad. Especially after blowing the season opener at home to George Mason. The loss of Tony Scott hurt, but this is a team that’s better than these scores. Or at least we all thought they were.

4.) Lafayette 98, LIU-Brooklyn 94 (OT)

Well, anyone want to figure these Blackbirds out? The got no bench play and allowed a guy no one saw coming to score 30 in the post against one of the best front lines in mid-(low?)-major college basketball. There’s going to be some major changes needed for Jack Perri’s team if they plan to contend for the NEC title.

Starred

Trey Burke, Michigan

A lot is riding on Burke this season. He hasn’t disappointed yet, including a team-high 22 points and nine assists with only three turnovers in a win over IUPUI. He’s an All-American candidate and he’s playing like it early on.

Dan Trist, Lafayette

You’ve got to love when a relative unknown gets his shine. He dropped 30 in a 98-94 victory over LIU-Brooklyn in overtime at home. Trist was 14-of-18 from the field overall, all twos. He’s teammate Seth Hinrichs chipped in 20 in the win.

Garrick Sherman, Notre Dame

The Fighting Irish will be looking for the compliment to Jack Cooley in the post. Maybe it’s Sherman. He poured in 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds in Notre Dame’s 84-57 rout of Monmouth. Sherman averaged 3.1 points and 2.6 boards for the Fighting Irish last season.

Jackie Carmichael, Illinois State

He was the dark horse for Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year. He more than likely will have to settle for first team all-conference, but the senior made a compelling case early with 27 points and 10 boards in a 100-72 victory over UC-Santa Barbara.

Stunk

LIU-Brooklyn

The favorite in the Northeast Conference is now 0-2 after a loss at Lafayette. It’s tough to imagine this team isn’t 0-4 when the Barclay’s Center Classic concludes with games upcoming against Kentucky and Maryland.

North Texas

So, Tony Mitchell isn’t going to be enough? New coach Tony Benford has some serious work to do. The Mean Green lost to Division II Alabama-Huntsville tonight. The score doesn’t even matter. I don’t care if the Chargers (UAH’s mascot, GSC represent) win the DII national title, you can’t have problems with inferior teams when the games count.

Stuffing the Stat Sheet

Kendrick Perry, Youngstown State

You’ll find out more about the actual game, but one of the favorite’s for Horizon League Player of the Year turned in one of the biggest nights for any player across all facets of the game. Perry finished with 23 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals on the road. He’s going to be the catalyst for the Penguins and he’s playing like he knows it this season.

Fanbases That Can Take a Breath

UNLV

Some of those fans had to be talked off the ledge after the Runnin’ Rebels needed overtime to beat Division II Dixie State in an exhibition game. Monday night, UNLV beat Northern Arizona 92-54 in their season opener. Five players finished in double figures led by Anthony Bennett‘s 22 points.

Florida State

The Seminole Nation was flipping out after their team suffered a season-opening loss to South Alabama at home and All-American candidate Michael Snaer went 2-for-9 from the floor. They rebounded with a satisfying 95-68 home win over Buffalo and Snaer had 19 points and was 4-for-7 from three-point range.

Fanbase That Had The Breath Knocked Out of Them

Georgia

Some of us thought the Bulldogs would be a one-man team with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Some of us were right (so far). KCP was the lone player in double figures for UGA with 27 points in a 68-56 loss at home to Youngstown State. If that’s the case, this team can feel free to make plans for the CBI or CIT.

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

White decides to return to Nebraska

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Nebraska’s second-leading scorer from last season will return for his senior season as Andrew White III announced Wednesday he will withdraw his name from the NBA Draft.

“I felt good about the pre-draft process, White said in a statement released by Nebraska. “It was encouraging, and I gained as much ground as anyone throughout the process. I wanted one more year to fine tune my game and put myself in better position for the NBA next summer.  

“I want to thank the teams who invited me their in-house workouts, and Nebraska for supporting me during this process.  It has been very helpful in gathering information in preparation for my future Thank you to everyone who has been following my progress throughout the spring and being understanding and supportive, as I evaluated whether to turn pro or return for my senior year.”

White, a Kansas transfer, tallied 16.6 points per game last season while shooting 48.1 percent from the floor and 41.2 percent from 3-point range. He also pulled down 5.9 rebounds per game.

“We are excited to have Andrew remain with our program,” coach Tim Miles said. “This has been a valuable time for him, as he has tested his skills against some of the best competition and received very important insight from key NBA personnel.  

“We look forward to continuing to help Andrew’s development to improve his NBA profile even more than he already has done through this process.  I believe next year could be our most complete team with a great opportunity for success in the Big Ten and NCAA tournament, I’m happy Andrew will be with us to go out and prove it.”

The news is certainly welcome for the Cornhuskers and Miles, who will be under pressure to show improvement after back-to-back disappointing seasons following an NCAA tournament appearance in 2014. Shavon Shields, last year’s leading scorer, has exhausted his eligibility and the Huskers will need White to help fill the void.

Trimble coming back to Terps

Maryland guard Melo Trimble (AP Photo/Matt Hazlett)
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Melo Trimble is returning to Maryland.

The Terrapin guard will be back to for his junior season in College Park, according to multiple reports.

Trimble went from freshman first-rounder to question mark after a rough end to his sophomore season for Maryland in which his points per game, shooting percentage (both overall and from 3-point range) and rebounding dipped from his first season. Only his assists per game showed any sort of improvement. He waited until the last possible day to announce his intentions to return to school, but really his options were limited after seeing his production drop.

His decision to come back to school gives him a shot to restore his draft stock while Maryland gets its floor general back to help ease the transition from last year’s Sweet 16 squad that lost Diamond Stone, Rasheed Sulaimon and Jake Layman. The Terps might not be a sure-fire top-25 team with Trimble back, but their NCAA tournament chances are now significantly higher.

Nevada lands Martin twins

Caleb Martin, Jordan Roper
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Eric Musselman keeps adding reinforcements to his roster. For the 2017-18 season.

Musselman and Nevada received commitments from N.C. State transfers and twin brothers Caleb and Cody Martin, according to multiple reports.

That brings Nevada’s sit-out transfer count for this upcoming season to four with Hallice Cooke (Iowa State) and Kendall Stephens (Purdue) already in the fold. Under NCAA transfer rules, the quartet will have to sit out the upcoming season before being eligible in 2017-18.

Caleb averaged 11.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists while shooting 36 percent from deep while Cody put up 6.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists, shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc.

The timing of having four sit-out transfers works well for the Wolf Pack given that two of the team’s three leading scorers from last year, D.J. Fenner (a senior) and Cameron Oliver (a sophomore), return while senior transfers Marcus Marshall (Missouri State) becomes eligible. Having those four experienced transfers begin playing in 2017-18 while all but two players from this upcoming team slated to return makes Nevada an interesting team, a year from now.

Louisville big man heading to NBA Draft

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After a day of mixed messages, Louisville’s Chinanu Onuaku finally made it official.

He’s staying in the NBA Draft.

“After talking to my family and going through the NBA process,” Onuaku wrote in an Instagram post, “me and my family have decided that it would be best for me to keep my name in the draft.”

The day started out with Cardinals coach Rick Pitino telling multiple media outlets that the 6-foot-10 sophomore would remain in the draft after he declared last month without an agent and attended the draft combine. Onuaku, though, appeared to at least mildly refute that with an Instagram post that said his decision wouldn’t come until later Wednesday evening. Which it did, confirming Pitino’s words.

The confusion may have been frustrating for observers, but Onuaku’s social media presence no doubt has benefited from the bizarre day.

Onuaku averaged 9.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.6 assists in 24.6 minutes per game last season, making his per-40 numbers, a metric NBA teams like to take into consideration, nothing short of fantastic. He also shot a not-so-shabby 62.0 percent from the floor. His size, athleticism and ability to score around the basket (he’s taken one 3-pointer in two seasons) make him a potential first-round selection in next month’s draft.

The 19-year-old Onuaku underwent a procedure on his heart last week due to Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. It has been described as a minor procedure that will not affect his ability to play long-term or work out with teams leading up to the draft.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, should be able to absorb Onuaku’s loss seemlessly as they return the bulk of last year’s team that went 23-8 and was ranked 10th in KenPom, but was banned from the postseason as a result of the Katina Powell bombshell. Newcomers Tony Hicks (Penn transfer) and V.J. King (consensus top-30 recruit) will also make for solid additions.

Swanigan staying for sophomore season

Purdue's Vince Edwards (12), Purdue's Caleb Swanigan (50) and Purdue's A.J. Hammons (20) celebrate during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against the Illinois in the quarterfinals at the Big Ten Conference tournament, Friday, March 11, 2016, in Indianapolis. Purdue won 89-58. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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Purdue will once again be rolling out a formidable frontcourt in the 2016-17 season.

Boilermaker big man Caleb Swanigan is withdrawing from the NBA Draft to return to West Lafayette for his sophomore season, the school announced Wednesday.

The NBA is right there and always will be,” Swanigan said in the school’s press release, “but you always have to have patience and do what’s best for you.”

Purdue is losing 7-foot senior A.J. Hammons, but will be once again teaming Swanigan with Isaac Haas (7-2) and Vince Edwards (6-8) that will allow them to roll out a supersized lineup that is sure to be a difficult one to face off against.

The 6-foot-9, 250-pound Swanigan, who likely would have landed as a second-round pick, averaged 10.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists and was a finalist for the Wayman Tisdale Award for the country’s top freshman.

“We are excited that (Swanigan) has withdrawn from the NBA Draft and will return to Purdue,” head coach said Matt Painter in a statement released by the school. “He has the potential to make a huge jump from his freshman season and will be a big part of what we do next year. He received great experience going through this process and will use the feedback he received to make him a more diverse player.”

Purdue is probably a rung down from Michigan State and Wisconsin at the top of the league, but the return of Swanigan pulls them closer to competing at the top of the league next season.