No. 2 Louisville had a tough matchup against No. 5 Duke in tonight’s Battle 4 Atlantis title game (NBC Sports Network, 9:00 PM ET) already, but the margin for error just got a lot thinner.
Gorgui Dieng, the team’s second-leading rebounder (8.0 rpg) and leading shot blocker (2.0 bpg), will sit out tonight’s game with a wrist injury suffered in the tournament semifinal against No. 13 Missouri, which the Cards won 84-61. Dieng injured his left wrist in a fall during the earlier game, in which he had 5 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and a block in 24 minutes of play.
Louisville SID Kenny Kline tweeted the bad news to fans at 5:00 PM eastern time.
Louisville C Gorgui Dieng (wrist injury) will not play in tonight’s #Battle4Atlantis championship game vs Duke. #L1C4
Kline also noted that 6’10”, 250-lb. sophomore Zach Price will take Dieng’s place in the starting lineup. Price is averaging a meager seven minutes and 0.3 points per game so far this year, so his start may be merely a formality, so that the team’s second-tallest player (after the 6’11” Dieng) can handle the tip-off. Expect to see much more of George Mason transfer Luke Hancock, who shook off his early struggles to score 19 points on 6-9 shooting against the Tigers on Friday.
Hancock’s shooting touch will be nice for Louisville, if it’s on like it was in the semis. But the lack of a skilled defensive big man in the middle may very well cost the Cards dearly against Duke’s Mason Plumlee, who has averaged a double-double so far this season against tough competition.
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
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.”
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.