Leonard Hamilton

Turnovers and poor shooting cost Florida State in their 61-56 loss to Mercer

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Given the fact that Florida State lost multiple veterans from last season’s ACC champion squad some ups and downs were to be expected. But few people would have expected the team that won the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in Brooklyn to drop home games to South Alabama and now Mercer.

In an ugly offensive showing for both teams the Bears came out on top in the end, with Travis Smith (13 points) and Langston Hall (ten points, five assists and five steals) leading the way in Mercer’s 61-56 victory.

Okaro White led the Seminoles with 14 points before fouling out late in the second half, but he was the lone double-figure scorer for Leonard Hamilton’s team. With the defeat Florida State drops to 4-3 on the season.

The Seminole guards struggled from the field, with Michael Snaer, Ian Miller, Terry Whisnant II and Montay Brandon combining to shoot 5-of-19 from the field, and forward Terrance Shannon (11.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg entering Sunday’s game) made just one of his seven shots from the field.

As a team Florida State shot 35.4% from the field and turned the ball over 18 times, opening the door for the team picked to win the Atlantic Sun in the preseason media poll.

Bob Hoffman’s team didn’t shoot much better from the field, making 37.5% of their shots, but unlike Florida State the Bears made up for that at the foul line. Mercer made 19 of their 23 free throws, including a 4-of-4 stretch in the final 23 seconds, while Florida State shot 16-of-26 from the charity stripe.

Florida State is now 2-3 at home this season with No. 7 Florida visiting on Wednesday night, and given the presence of losses to South Alabama and Mercer on their resume that game becomes even more important than your standard “rivalry game.”

The issue for Florida State hasn’t been shooting, as their field goal percentage ranked second in the ACC (not counting today’s result), but rather turnovers. Sunday’s game is the fifth in which Florida State has turned the ball over at least 17 times, and while they did win three of those games (Buffalo, BYU and North Florida) Hamilton’s young team has to take better care of the basketball.

The growing pains may not be done for the Seminoles given their overall youth, but they better grow up quickly with the Gators headed to town.

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

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

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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.

South Dakota State gets two commits

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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.