NCAA Basketball Tournament - St Louis v Michigan State

Saint Louis wins day after death of Rick Majerus

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Less than 24 hours after the passing of Rick Majerus due to heart failure, the Saint Louis Billikens stepped onto the Chaifetz Arena floor to take on a Valparaiso team pegged as one of the favorites to win the Horizon League.

Given the talent of players such as Ryan Broekhoff and Erik Buggs, this was a dangerous game for Saint Louis even before the tragic news of their former coach passing away.

They weren’t at their best early but the Billikens rebounded in the first half, going on to beat the Crusaders by the final score of 62-49. Dwayne Evans led three Saint Louis players in double figures and as a team SLU shot 55.6% from the field, which helped make up for their 18 turnovers.

Jordair Jett added 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists in the win, and defensively Saint Louis forced 18 Valparaiso turnovers and limited the Crusaders to 32.6% shooting. Valparaiso attempted 21 of their 46 field goal from beyond the arc, and when a team makes just five of those shots at the Crusaders did they’re in trouble.

Jim Crews’ Billikens were even better defensively in the second half, holding Valparaiso to 28% shooting and harassing them into 11 turnovers.

Broekhoff, the reigning Horizon League Player of the Year, made just four of his 12 shots from the field and finished with ten points and Buggs shot 2-of-8. Kevin Van Wijk and Matt Kenney joined Broekhoff in double figures, scoring ten points apiece.

But for all the statistics and the analysis of what Saint Louis will need to improve upon if they’re to contend in the Atlantic 10, Sunday’s game was about far more than the result.

Majerus won 517 games as a head coach at Marquette, Ball State, Utah and Saint Louis, but a look at the many stories and quotes from those who shared time with him reveals feelings far deeper than wins and losses.

For that reason it’s probably appropriate that Crews wouldn’t dedicate this result to Majerus.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Top-25 guard trims list to six

Trae Young , Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images
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One of the top points guards in the Class of 2017 has trimmed his list of potential collegiate destinations to six.

Trae Young, a consensus top-25 recruit, listed Texas Tech, Kansas, Oklahoma, Washington, Oklahoma State and Kentucky as the schools he is considering as he readies to begin his senior year of high school.

The list of the 6-foot-2 point guard is largely provincial as it includes Oklahoma, whose campus is just minutes away from Young’s Norman North High School, and fellow in-state school Oklahoma. Another pair of Big 12 schools make the list in powerhouse Kansas and the Red Raiders, whose first-year coach, Chris Beard, has spent the bulk of his career working in Texas. Texas Tech is also Young’s father’s alma mater. Washington has been on a role sending its players to the pros and recently received the commitment of top-five 2017 recruit Michael Porter, Jr.

Kentucky, of course, needs no explanation as to its attractiveness to high-level players.

Top-100 guard commits to Xavier

Chris Mack has Xavier back in the Sweet 16 (AP Photo)
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Xavier has added a top-100 prospect into its 2017 recruiting class Wednesday.

Elias Harden, a shooting guard from Georgia, pledged to the Musketeers via social media to become the second member of Chris Mack’s next class.

“The recruiting process was not EASY AT ALL,” Harden wrote on Twitter. “I wanna thank all the coaches that took time to recruit me.

“WIth that being said I will continue my academic and athletic career at Xavier University.”

The 6-foot-6 guard is ranked 92nd overall by 247Sports and had offers from Auburn, Maryland, Texas Tech and Ole Miss. He joins Jared Ridder, a Missouri guard, as part of the 2017 Xavier class.

The Musketeers return the bulk of last year’s 28-6 team that narrowly missed out on the Sweet 16.

Clemson recruit to enroll early

Brad Brownell
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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

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 12.41.16 PM
Kentucky Sports Radio
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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.”

And that led to “I’ll kill you”:

(h/t KSR)

VIDEO: Shaq’s son, Shareef O’Neal, with monster dunk in Vegas

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Shareef O’Neal is a top 50 prospect in the Class of 2018. In Vegas this past weekend, he threw down a monster put-back dunk.