Trevor Mbakwe,TrayVonn Wright

Late Night Snacks: Trevor Mbakwe’s back, Siyani Chambers FTW!

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Game of the Night

Harvard 65, Boston U. 64: Siyani Chambers won the “Battle of the freshman point guards that should be on national TV every night”, scoring 17 of his 21 points in the second half — and adding five assists — as the Crimson knocked off the Terriers in Lavietes Pavilion. After DJ Irving scored with nine seconds left to give BU a 64-63 lead, Chambers answered with a short jumper of his own with four ticks left on the clock (end of the video):

The other point guard in that matchup was Maurice Watson, who finished with 12 points, four assists and four steals.

Important Outcomes

Duquesne 60, West Virginia 56: Fresh off of a win over previously undefeated Virginia Tech, West Virginia traveled up to Pittsburgh to take on Atlantic 10 also-ran Duquesne … and lost? Making matters worse is that the ‘Eers blew a 13 point halftime lead, getting outscored 37-20 in the final 20 minutes as they shot just 28% from the floor. Bob Huggins has a number of pieces at his disposal, but it looks like he is still trying to figure out how to get all of those pieces to fit together. Juwan Staten led the way with 13 points, but he was just 5-16 from the floor. That’s a pretty good microcosm for the kind of night that WVU had.

Starred

Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota: Each and every time Mbakwe steps on the floor, he looks like he’s getting closer to being back to 100% after he had surgery a year ago to repair a torn ACL. In a 70-57 win over North Dakota State, Mbakwe went for 14 points and 18 boards, completely dominating the paint on both ends of the floor in the second half. He also threw down a pair of tip-dunks, and while he’s still not jumping quite as high as he was before the ACL injury, that is a good sign.

Matthew Dellavedova, St. Mary’s: St. Mary’s put up a 120 points on Jackson State, so there were a lot of Gaels that had good nights, but Dellavedova led the way as he finished with 31 points, eight assists and six boards. As a team, SMC shot 61.9% from the floor and hit 13-23 from long range.

Struggled

Brandon Paul, Illinois: When Paul is good, Illinois is good. See: Gonzaga. He went for 35 points on 10-16 shooting and the Illini won in Spokane. When Paul’s not good, Illinois’ not all that good. See: Norfolk State. He went for 14 points on 3-12 shooting on Tuesday night, and the Illini only beat the Spartans 64-54 in a game that was within one possession in the final two minutes.

Halil Kanacevic, St. Joseph’s: Kanacevic hit a three with about eight minutes left against Villanova in the rivalry known as the Holy War, and made the excellent decision to flip off the crowd afterwards. The Wildcats would go on an 9-0 run to close out the game — in large part due to a pair of turnovers from Kanacevic, a pair of missed free throws by Kanacevic, and a foul on Kanacevic — as the Hawks lost a road game they had complete control of. He had four points, four boards and five turnovers on the night.

The Rest of the Top 25

No. 3 Michigan 67, Binghamton 39

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Report: CBE Hall of Fame Classic headliners set

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The headliners for the 2017 CBE Hall of Fame Classic have been set.

UCLA, Baylor, Wisconsin and Creighton will highlight the bill for the annual event in Kansas City, according to a report from CBS Sports.

The CBE Hall of Fame Classic historically has included on-campus games and a flagship four-team championship round at the Sprint Center. This year’s headliners include Kansas, Georgia, George Washington and UAB.

Certainly securing four high-majors is a significant get for the event, which will also likely coincide with the induction of the 2017 class of the Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. The 2016 class is highlighted by Mark Aguirre, Doug Collins, Dominique Wilson, Jamal Wilkes and Mike Montgomery.

Coach Cal softball game raises $300K for La. flood relief

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John Calipari is known for his ability to amass talent. Over the weekend, that quality helped raise $300,000 for Louisiana flood relief.

The Coach Cal Celebrity Softball Classic brought Kentucky stars like Keith Bogans, Andrew Harrison and Karl-Anthony Towns and the likes of former UK quarterback Tim Couch and NFL Hall of Famer Chris Carter to Lexington to help aid Louisiana in conjunction with the Red Cross after the area suffered major flooding earlier this month.

“I didn’t want to really do a softball game,” Calipari said according to his website, “but then we decided to do it and then Louisiana happens and now you have a cause. … It’s kind of neat. You have a cause, you have a why.”

Towns’ team was the 18-12 victor over Team Calipari on the day.

“This is amazing,” Towns said on CoachCal.com. “This is something that we get a chance to rarely do. We get to help the community out but at the same time have fun. There’s nothing better than doing something that we would do for free but for charity. This is something we’re going to have a lot of fun doing today.”

The softball game was played the same weekend as the John Calipari Basketball Fantasy Experience which generated $1 million that will be shared with 14 charities.

‘Noles add legacy guard to 2017 class

ACC Basketball Tournament: Florida State v North Carolina
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Florida State has added another solid member to its 2017 recruiting class.

Anthony Polite, a 6-foot-6 guard from Florida, pledged to the Seminoles on Tuesday morning.

“Officially committed to Florida State University #Nole Nation,” Polite wrote on Twitter.

Polite chose Leonard Hamilton’s program out of a final top-five that also included Pitt, Memphis, Texas Tech and Miami. He also sported offers from TCU, Boston College, Kansas State and Utah, among others.

“It was a really tough decision,” Polite said according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “Miami had a great coaching staff. I just thought FSU would be the best fit for me and I had more of an opportunity to talk to the players at Florida State.”

Polite, whose father played for the Seminoles during his college career, averaged 21.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists last year as a junior playing for St. Andrew’s in Boca Raton, Fla.

“Anthony Polite is a skilled wing who can handle the ball and distribute a bit,” NBCSports.com recruiting analyst Scott Phillips said. “Florida State still needs to help Polite improve his perimeter jumper, but his commitment gives them another talented playmaker from the wing who can handle and attack the rim.”

Regarded as a three-star prospect, Polite join power forward RaiQuan Gray and fellow guard Bryan Trimble in the Seminoles’ 2017 class. It doesn’t have the star power of Hamilton’s group last year, which included five-star Jonathan Isaac and four-star Trent Forrest, but they can be important pieces for a Florida State team that has just one senior on the 2016-17 roster.

Kansas players make weight room gains – and losses – this summer

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - JUNE 18: Udoka Azubuike #105 in red runs back for defense the NBPA Top 100 Camp on June 18, 2015 at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Kelly Kline/Getty Images)
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Summer is the time to refine not only players’ skill sets, but also their bodies. Kansas’ highly-touted freshman duo of Josh Jackson and Udoka Azubuike have fulfilled the latter thanks to the Jayhawks’ strength and conditioning program.

Azubuike has dropped 27 pounds from his 7-foot frame while the wiry Jackson has added 17 pounds, according to the Kansas City Star.

“These guys have goals,” Adrea Hurdy, Kansas’ long-time assistant director for sports information, told The Star. “They come here in part because we have the resources to help them attain their goals.

“They want the challenge and want to become better people, better basketball players and better athletes.”

Only 16 years old, Azubuike arrived in Lawrence having been consistently listed as weighing around 270 pounds throughout his prep career. Getting leaner while still maintaining – and increasing – strength is a significant development for such a young player, who was a consensus top-50 player in the 2016 class.

Jackson, the country’s top rated incoming freshman, now weighs in at slightly over 200 pounds at 6-foot-8. Six-foot-10 forward Carlton Bragg,a sophomore, also got in on the body-changing as he’s put on 26 pounds to head into the fall at 247 pounds.

Kansas is a likely top-five preseason team with returners like Frank Mason III, Devonte Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk, and having newcomers like Jackson and Azubuike along with sparsely-used but talented returnees like Bragg making gains in the weight room will only make them more formidable as they look to capture an astounding 13th-straight Big 12 title.

 

Texas bolsters 2017 frontcourt

Texas head coach Shaka Smart calls a play during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan., Monday, Feb. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
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Shaka Smart has added another four-star forward to his 2017 recruiting class.

Texas picked up a commitment Tuesday from 6-foot-8 Jericho Sims of Minnesota, according to multiple reports.

Sims, who visited Texas this past weekend, is ranked in the top-50 by Scout and in the top-75 by ESPN and 247Sports. He joins Royce Hamm, a top-100 forward from Houston, as members Smart’s second recruiting class at Texas.

“Jericho Sims is a late-blooming big man who has a lot of room to grow in terms of upside,” NBCSports.com recruiting analyst Scott Phillips said. “A good athlete with a good frame to work with, Sims should help immediately on the glass and defensively but his offense will be a work in progress.

“Texas has a large recruiting class and targeted Sims later than many, so this is a nice commitment for the Longhorns.”

The commitment represents a significant get for the Longhorns, who beat out the likes of Kansas, Iowa State, Ohio State, Connecticut and Sims’ hometown Gophers, whom his father played basketball for in the 1970s and his brother football more recently.

Sims and Hamm both are players that could help Smart and his staff transition more back to the Havoc style of play Smart employed at VCU as both have the length, speed and athleticism to help the Longhorns dial up the pressure and push tempo.