Kevin Ollie

Late Night Snacks: ‘The Day That No Ranked Teams Played’ Edition

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Get ready kids. The top five teams in the nation – Indiana, Duke, Michigan, Syracuse, and Louisville – are all in action on Saturday. There will be 20 of the top 25 in action on Saturday, including a great match up of two unbeaten teams: No. 13 Illinois at No. 10 Gonzaga. Both teams are 9-0.

Game of the Night

Fairleigh Dickinson 82, Lafayette 80: Sidney Sanders, Jr. scored on a last-second tip-in to lift Knights over the Leopards and climbing back to .500 at 4-4. Fairleigh Dickinson also had a 14-point lead in the first half and nine with under four to go. A 12-3 Lafayette run late in the game set up the dramatic finish. Two weeks ago, Fairleigh Dickinson had a game-winning bucket in the last seconds, also featured on Late Night Snacks. Might be a more exciting team than you think.

Marist 62, Manhattan 58: The Red Foxes almost gave this one away. After Jay Bowie’s 3-pointer tied the game up with 1:41 left, Chavaugh Lewis and Isaiah Norton could only make one of two free throws each, leaving the door open for the Jasper. However, Manhattan coughed the ball up with a second remaining. Devin Price was fouled and sunk a pair of free throws.

Important Outcomes

UConn 57, Harvard 49: Shabazz Napier entered the game averaging 18.6 points per game, but didn’t score until 7:41 remaining in the game. Didn’t matter because DeAndre Daniels carried the load with a career-high 23 points. Napier did well in other facets of the game with seven rebounds and nine assists. UConn bounces back from a loss to N.C. State on Tuesday and has three more non-conference games before Big East play starts.

VCU 83, Old Dominion 70: Havoc has won three straight after losing a pair of games in the Bahamas. VCU now has a week off and gets to take on 6-2 Alabama next Saturday, looking for another nice win in out of conference play.

Iowa 80, Iowa State 71: Iowa used an 8-0 run to start the second half to take control against their in-state rival. Aaron White led the way for the Hawkeyes with 18 points and seven rebounds. After getting blown out by Virginia Tech, Iowa, who is undefeated at have one three straight.

Starred

DeAndre Daniels, UConn: Daniels converted on his first five shots, carrying the Huskies’ offense to a 15-2 start. He added some crucial buckets when Harvard made it a one-point game in the second half. More importantly, he did this in a game when Shabazz Napier’s shots were not falling.

South Carolina three ball: The Gamecocks shot an incredible, 10-for-16 (63 percent) from behind the arc, which was eight percent better than South Carolina’s total field goal percentage. Brenton Williams did most of the damage with four 3-pointers on five attempts, while Brian Richardson came off the bench going 4-for-4 from deep. South Carolina won 91-74

Casey Coons, Taylor University: According to Matt Norlander of CBSSports.com, Coons scored the tenth point for the fourth time in his career at Taylor University’s annual “Silent Night” game. Must be a great feeling. Don’t understand? Click this link.

Struggled

Harvard second half shooting: The Crimson dug themselves into a whole early, down 15-2. Once the offense got going, Harvard started finding open shooters. Harvard connected on five 3-pointers to get within three heading into halftime. The Crimson would not hit from deep the rest of the night.

Jacksonville first half defense: The Dolphins gave up 57 first half points to South Carolina, en route to a 91-74 loss. The Gamecocks shot 55 percent from the field for the game. Jacksonville had no answer for the South Carolina perimeter shooting.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

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

Ernie Kent
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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.

UNLV transfer to finish career at Michigan State

UNLV forward Ben Carter, right, celebrates after his team defeated Oregon in an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, in Las Vegas. UNLV won 80-69. (AP Photo/John Locher)
(AP Photo/John Locher)
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Former UNLV center Ben Carter announced on Wednesday that he will be transferring to Michigan State to finish his collegiate career.

Carter, who began his career at Oregon, averaged 8.6 points and 6.0 boards in his one season with UNLV before tearing his ACL in late January. He spent two seasons with the Ducks before transferring to Vegas, which is why he’s eligible immediately for the Spartans.

And that’s the biggest reason that Tom Izzo and company targeted him.

The Spartans lost Deyonta Davis to the NBA Draft after one season, a fact that became an inevitability midway through the year but one that the Spartans didn’t necessarily plan for heading into last season. Carter isn’t going to be an instant impact kind of player, particularly not when he’s coming off of an ACL injury, but he is a big body and a veteran presence on a front line that wasn’t going have much of either.