Chris Mack

Late Night Snacks: Tryptophan galore

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Given the holiday and the fact that there were just 14 games on Thursday, Late Night Snacks is getting a one night overhaul.

Today’s game recaps:

Leftover Turkey: Xavier

If you can figure out Xavier, please, do share. The Musketeers scored 117 points in their first outing and whipped up on Butler in during Marathon Madness. After Butler went out and knocked off Marquette before running over No. 9 North Carolina, we had to seriously reconsider whether or not Xavier is better than anyone had considered.

And then Chris Mack’s team went out and lost to Pacific, 70-67, in the first round of the DirecTV Classic. Because that makes complete sense.

Midnight Piece of Pumpkin Pie: Mike Dixon

Missouri needs him, and their win over Stanford in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis proves it. The Tigers won 78-70 thanks to 18 points and nine assists from Phil Pressey, but one can only wonder how many assists Pressey would have finished with if the open looks he got for Earnest Ross and Negus Webster-Chan had gone down. Those two combined to go 4-26 from the floor and 1-10 from three. Ross was 3-19 from the field.

Your Second Midnight Piece of Pumpkin Pie: Matthew Dellavedova

He finished with 32 points as St. Mary’s beat Drexel 76-64 in the first round of the DirecTV Classic, and he did it in a variety of ways: drives, threes, post-ups (seriously). The Dragons were missing some pieces, but that is still a Bruiser Flint-coached team, which means they are tough and defensive-minded.

And Dellavedova still got 32.

The Empty Carton of Ice Cream that forced your Pumpkin Pie to be eaten alone: Drexel

Drexel’s season looks to be headed on the same frustrating path that last year’s was. The Dragons were without Chris Fouch at the start of the season, as they lost four of their first six games, which meant that after winning 25 of their last 26 games, they were still deemed to be worthy of the NIT.

Drexel lost Fouch for the season this week to a fractured ankle. They have been without Damion Lee because of a concussion. And they are now 1-3 on the season after losing to St. Mary’s. The silver lining? Xavier lost, too, so at least they get another chance to be a quality opponent.

Booze. Lots of Booze: Kelly Olynyk

The scary part about Gonzaga’s rout of West Virginia is that they weren’t even at full strength. Kelly Olynyk, the 6-foot-11 long-haired Canadian, missed the first three games due to a suspension, but came back against Clemson and jumped straight into the starting lineup. And it worked, as Olynyk had 13 points in a 57-49 Gonzaga win over Clemson.

The Tigers did a good job of mucking things up with the Zags, taking a lead into the half, but in the end Mark Few’s team was just too talented.

Brussel Sprouts: Rice

Rice shot 11-48 from the floor, which is a cool 22.9%, in a 54-36 loss to Georgia Tech. As a team, they managed just two field goals from inside the arc, as they were 9-30 from downtown. And outside of Austin Ramljak, who was 6-12 from three, the Owls shot 5-36 from the floor. You may not know too much about basketball, but that’s really, really bad.

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

Jennings becomes seventh player to transfer from Kentucky

Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell watches his team during the team's regional semifinal in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament against Washington in Lexington, Ky., Friday, March 25, 2016. Washington won 85-72. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
(AP Photo/James Crisp)
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell has announced that sophomore forward Alexis Jennings will transfer, the seventh Wildcat to leave the program since last fall.

Jennings’ departure comes a week after Mitchell publicly addressed the mass exodus of players and assistant coaches and stressed the need for building stability. Jennings figured to be part of that process and the coach said in a release Wednesday night that “it saddens us that Alexis did not see a path for her at Kentucky. … She felt it was in her best interest to finish her career elsewhere and we owe her that opportunity.”

The 6-foot-2 Jennings started 18 of 33 games last season and averaged 10 points and 7.1 rebounds.

DePaul adds 2018 commit

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Wisconsin guard John Diener has committed to DePaul, his grassroots program announced Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-4 Class of 2018 guard ends his recruitment rather early with offers also from instate schools Green Bay and Milwaukee. He’s known as a shooter and becomes the first commit for Dave Leitao in the 2018 class.

Diener, who plays with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors in the spring and summer, commits to the Blue Demons with them coming off a disappointing campaign, Leitao’s first in Chicago. DePaul went 9-22 overall and 3-15 in the Big East, finishing only ahead of St. John’s.

DePaul has been recruiting the Midwest hard with incoming 2016 recruits from La Lumiere School in Indiana, Sagninow, Mich. and locally in Chicago.

Four-star guard Fisher commits to TCU

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Jamie Dixon’s presence is already being felt in the Big 12 and on the recruiting trail.

TCU received its first commitment of the Dixon era when four-star 2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher announced his decision to join the Horned Frogs on Wednesday.

“Due to how comfortable my family and I are with the coaching staff,” Fisher posted from his Twitter account, “and the emphasis the university has put on making basketball a priority, I’m committing to be a student-athlete at TCU.”

Getting a consensus top-75 prospect, who was once committed to UNLV, is a heck of a coup for being just a couple months on the job. It instantly shows the Frogs are going to be a player for some of the country’s top players, which is a necessity if you have designs on making a move up the ladder of arguably the country’s best league in the Big 12.

Maybe the most gratifying thing for TCU, though, is the reason Fisher publicly stated for making his decision, the school’s “making basketball a priority.” The hoops program has suffered immensely in the Big 12 (while the football program has flourished), winning a total of eight games in their four seasons (including a winless 2014), but the school sank $72 million into renovating its arena, made an aggressive move in firing Trent Johnson and then went out and got its dream candidate, Dixon, an alum. Fisher’s commitment is the first time those moves have shown that commitment to basketball paying off.

 

Report: Izundu’s San Diego State transfer ban rescinded

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Washington State transfer Valentine Izundu will be visiting San Diego State after all.

Coach Ernie Kent has rescinded his restriction on the 6-foot-10 graduate transfer from visiting the Aztecs, according to a report from the Spokesman-Review, citing an anonymous source. Izundu will also be reportedly visiting Fresno State and UNLV.

Izundu had previously been barred from considering the Aztecs by Kent because of suspcisions of tampering. Izundu vigorously denied that was the case as at the center of the dispute was a trip he made to San Diego for spring break. He publicly said he did not have any contact with the SDSU coaching staff , though he attended an Aztecs NIT game.

Kent, though, appears to have relented, as many coaches who have similarly faces public pressure in such situations before him have. In this era where so much attention is being paid to player rights and welfare, there only seems to be growing public sentiment against programs restricting transfers beyond the absolute bare minimum is rarely going to go over well. It may make things more difficult for coaches and programs, but it’s the deck is largely already stacked in their favor in most every other instance.

Ex-Michigan State player Keith Appling faces weapons charges

Keith Appling
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DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) Authorities say former Michigan State basketball player Keith Appling faces charges including carrying a concealed weapon after he was found in possession of guns and marijuana in suburban Detroit.

The Wayne County prosecutor’s office says 24-year-old Appling was arrested outside a Dearborn club on Sunday night. Club security called police after seeing a man pull a gun from the trunk of a car.

Prosecutors say Appling was in the driver’s seat of the car when police arrived. Officers found a handgun under the driver’s seat, a loaded weapon in the trunk and a small amount of suspected marijuana.

Weapons and marijuana possession charges were announced Wednesday.

The court says he doesn’t have a lawyer on record.

Appling played for the Spartans from 2010-2014 and plays for the NBA’s development league.