Jarnell Stokes

Monday’s Pregame Shootaround: Tennessee looks for revenge

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Game of the night: Oakland at Tennessee, 7 p.m.: Believe it or not, Oakland actually has a two game winning streak against the Vols, but those wins came with Keith Benson and Reggie Hamilton still a part of the Golden Grizzlies. This season, Oakland will have to rely on the play of sharpshooter Travis Bader and Providence transfer Duke Mondy to help them offset the size of Jarnell Stokes inside. Tennessee has been a bit of a disappointment early on this season, but that can be attributed to the injury that Jeronne Maymon is dealing with.

Who’s getting upset: Texas A&M: The Aggies take on Northwestern State of the Southland Conference tonight. Billy Kennedy’s club survived Washington State in the consolation game of the CBE Classic over the weekend, thanks to a game-winner from Elston Turner, but they were run out of the gym by a short-handed St. Louis team the night before. Northwestern State can put up points in a hurry, and are coming off of putting a scare into LSU at LSU — they cut a 20 point lead to four with two minutes left.

Mid-Major matchup of the night: Towson at Loyola (MD): The Battle of Baltimore? Loyola is coming off of a season where Jimmy Patsos led the Greyhounds to the NCAA tournament while Towson is coming off of a year where they … well, let’s just that, at 3-2 this season, they’ve already tripled the number of wins they had a year ago. The Tigers have been bolstered by an infusion of talent, both in the form of transfers and high level recruits, so tonight will be a good gauge for where Towson is at this point in the season.

Five things to watch for:

  • Morehead State will be hosting Norfolk State tonight, the first time the Eagles have played since head coach Sean Woods had a dust-up with Devon Atkinson on the sidelines at Rupp Arena.
  • Savannah State has played six Division I games this season, including trips to Florida and Central Florida. No one has scored more than 60 points in any of those games. There were a combined 77 points scored in their win over Western Illinois. They play Robert Morris tonight at 7 p.m.
  • Isaiah Canaan takes the floor against Lipscomb, who has been smacked by both Belmont and Ole Miss early this season. Canaan is averaging 20.6 points this season, but he hasn’t quite gotten played his best basketball yet this season.
  • Three undefeated teams that the floor tonight. Colorado State is one of them. The other two? Texas Tech and East Carolina. Who had that?
  • I think there’s a new episode of How I Met Your Mother on tonight. I also have quite a bit of TV that needs to be watched on my DVR. With this slate, I wouldn’t blame you.

The rest of the top 25:

9:00 p.m.: San Jose State @ No. 12 Kansas

Other notable games:

7:00 p.m.: Chicago State @ Notre Dame
8:00 p.m.: UMBC @ Marquette

Florida State continues recruiting momentum with 2017 commitment

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Florida State has been active on the recruiting trail recently and the Seminoles continued that momentum on Wednesday with a commitment from in-state wing Wyatt Wilkes.

The 6-foot-7 Wilkes is considered a three-star prospect and ranked No. 113 in the Rivals 150 in the Class of 2017 as he gives Florida State its fourth commitment in the class.

A versatile and skilled forward who can knock down shots, Wilkes joins a Florida State Class of 2017 that includes wing Anthony Polite — who committed on Tuesday — forward Raiquan Gray and guard Bryan Trimble.

The last two recruiting classes, Florida State has done a nice job of focusing on its targets and landing them early. It’s hard to say if finishing the Class of 2016 early helped the Seminoles complete this group in a similar timely fashion, but it’s worth monitoring for the next class as well to see if this becomes some sort of trend.

Oregon lands Georgetown transfer Paul White

PORTLAND, OR - MARCH 19: Paul White #13 of the Georgetown Hoyas fights for position with Drew Brandon #22 of the Eastern Washington Eagles in the second half during the second round of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Moda Center on March 19, 2015 in Portland, Oregon.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Oregon pulled in a former highly-touted recruit via transfer on Wednesday as Paul White committed to the Ducks.

Spending his first two seasons at Georgetown, White battled injury problems as he only registered 67 total minutes last season during his sophomore year. As a freshman, the 6-foot-8 native of Chicago averaged 5.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.

A skilled wing forward who can handle the ball a bit, White is a good passer from the elbows and also isn’t afraid to help a bit on the glass. Offensively, White will have to figure out his calling as a scorer, but he’s versatile enough of an offensive players to get others involved while he’s on the floor.

Formerly the No. 50 overall recruit in the Class of 2014, White will have to sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules.

Oregon has had a lot of success with transfers under head coach Dana Altman, but it will be interesting to see how White looks when he’s able to play. With basically two full seasons off between competitive games, we’ll have to see how White looks, or if he’s added to his game, when he’s able to take the floor in 2017-18.

VIDEO: Dennis Smith Jr. dunks on N.C. State students

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Last week, it was North Carolina freshman Seventh Woods dunking on a crowd of his classmates late at night.

This week, it’s Dennis Smith Jr., the uber-athletic redshirt freshman for N.C. State.

Rutgers’ twitter ‘gaffe’ is a pretty standard recruiting technique

Stony Brook coach Steve Pikiell  congratulates guard Roland Nyama (24) after a play during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Vanderbilt on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey
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Rutgers has been the butt of quite a few jokes on social media the last 24 hours, as the school’s official men’s basketball twitter account posted the following picture late on Tuesday night:

That’s an image of six UConn grads and two Pitt grads with the title “$1.1 billion earned”, which, on the surface, doesn’t really make any sense, right? Those eight guys — names like Shabazz Napier and Ray Allen and Steven Adams and Rip Hamilton — have no connection to the Scarlet Knights beyond the occasional beating back when they were still in college.

It’s the Rutgers coaching staff that has a connection to them.

New head coach Steve Pikiell, who was hired from Stony Brook less than six months ago, used to be on the UConn staff. Karl Hobbs, who was an assistant at UConn for both Jim Calhoun and Kevin Ollie, joined Pikiell. Another assistant coach, Brandin Knight, a former star player at Pitt, was on Jamie Dixon’s staff with the Panthers last season.

None of those guys have coached a single Rutgers player yet.

And they won’t for another month, when practice finally starts.

So what do they have to pitch to recruits? How can they market the Rutgers program? How do they make it appealing to the loads of talent playing basketball in New Jersey high schools? By selling kids on what these coaches were able to accomplish with the players they actually have worked with, the stars from their former schools. If you don’t think that is what Rutgers’ new staff — or any new staff, for that matter — is using as a recruiting pitch then you don’t know a damn thing about recruiting.

Or Rutgers.

The program has no basketball history worth mentioning. None. But neither did SMU when Larry Brown took over, and he turned the Mustangs into a program perennially in or around the top 25 that literally beat out Kentucky for a recruit (Emmanuel Mudiay).

Do you think that Brown was selling players on SMU’s past or his past? Did he say “Come hoop at a football school in a football state” or did he brag about coaching Allen Iverson and the rings he won with Kansas in 1988 and Detroit in 2004?

The bottom line is this: The tweet missed its mark, highlighting player earnings over professional success, and the responses to it have been pretty hilarious.

But I also find it funny that people are up in arms about Rutgers promoting the players their brand new coaching staff has worked with, because if you don’t think that Jim Fox uses Steph Curry to recruit to Appalachian State or Rick Barnes references Kevin Durant in his pitches to Tennessee targets, I have a bridge in Brooklyn you can buy.

VIDEO: Western Michigan walk-on gets scholarship atop Eiffel Tower

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Yesterday, we brought you a video of South Dakota’s Logan Power, a walk-on heading into his third season in the program, receiving his scholarship while on the team’s trip to Spain.

Today, we have video of Western Michigan walk-on Ryan Wade getting a scholarship … at the top of the Eiffel Tower?

In a really cool moment, Steve Hawkins, WMU’s head coach, asks two players to try and read a piece of paper in French. He then has Wade read the translation of what the players were saying and … well … just watch:

What a cool moment.

If only there was a camera on the French people watching the crazy Americans sing and jump around a thousand feet in the air …