Chris McCullough

Syracuse commit Chris McCullough is trying to reclassify to 2013

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The reclassification fad may continue in the next few months. In less than a year, the likes of Nerlens Noel, Wayne Selden, Noah Vonleh, Andrew Wiggins, and Karl Towns have all moved up a class.

Chris McCullough (Brewster Academy/Bronx, NY) is considered by Rivals.com as a top-10 player in the Class of 2014. The 6-foot-10 power forward has already committed to Syracuse and no longer wants to wait. McCullough confirmed on Saturday evening that he intends on reclassifying to the Class of 2013 to play for the Orange next fall.

“The chances are it could happen,” said McCullough following a loss to Northfield Mount Hermon (Mass.) on Saturday. “I’d say about 70 percent.”

To become eligible, McCullough will need to complete 16 core courses in order to receive initial eligibility by the NCAA. McCullough stated that by the end of the school year he would have completed 13 of those core classes and would have to make up the other three in the summer time. He went on to say that he meets with Syracuse on Thursday to discuss his options.

“[I’ll take those classes] at either Syracuse or a community college in the Bronx,” said the New York native.

The NCAA sliding scale requires 16 core credits include four English, three math, two science, one additional math, English, or science, two social science, and four additional core units.

“He’s got a lot of work to do academically if he’s going to do that,” said Brewster head coach Jason Smith. “I’d be happy to sit down with Syracuse and teach them about the sliding scale and how that works. He still has some work to do as far as initial eligibility.

“Everyone assumes that everyone goes back to their original class because it’s been the fad the last couple of years,” Smith added. “But you have to make sure you have your ducks in a row academically as far as the initial eligibility goes.”

McCullough has tremendous upside. He is extremely athletic and quick for his size, which he displayed on Saturday night. The Syracuse commit was held to just eight points, but had over 10 rebounds and three block shots. With his length and mobility, matched with his rebounding, he could be a huge presence at the bottom of Jim Boeheim’s famous 2-3 zone defense.

If McCullough can become eligible for the Orange next year, it only adds to an already impressive 2013 incoming class. Center Chinonso Obokoh (Bishop Kearney/Rochester NY), Forwards Tyler Roberson (Roselle Catholic, Union, NJ) and B.J. Johnson (Lower Marion High/Adrmore, PA), along with guards Tyler Ennis (St. Benedict’s/Brampton, Ont. CA), and McCullough’s Brewster teammate, Ron Patterson (Indianapolis, IN) have all committed to Syracuse for next season.

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

 

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown:

Niang, Morris lead No. 14 Iowa State past No. 24 Texas

Iowa State forward Georges Niang drives past Texas guard Tevin Mack, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
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After falling at Texas Tech for the second straight season midweek, No. 14 Iowa State needed to bounce back with No. 24 Texas visiting Hilton Coliseum. The return of Jameel McKay, who was suspended for two games, certainly helped the Cyclones and the play of Georges Niang and Monte Morris was key as well. But the biggest difference on this night was the fact that Iowa State was able to limit the effectiveness of Texas point guard Isaiah Taylor.

 

Taylor scored just nine points on 3-for-14 shooting from the field, and with Morris and Niang scoring 24 points apiece the Cyclones won by the final score of 85-75.

Taylor had multiple opportunities to make plays around the basket thanks to his ability to beat defenders off the bounce, but he struggled to finish. Add in a 0-for-4 night from three, and Texas’ most dangerous offensive option was unable to duplicate his performance in the first meeting between the two teams. In Texas’ 94-91 overtime win over the Cyclones January 12, Taylor scored 28 points and dished out six assists with just one turnover, shooting 11-for-17 from the field.

Four Longhorns finished in double figures, with Tevin Mack and Javan Felix scoring 18 apiece, but with Morris decisively winning the point guard matchup Texas was unable to pick up the win on the road.

For Iowa State the aforementioned tandem of Morris and Niang performed as they did in the first meeting, which should come as no surprise. What helped them, especially when it came to Texas attacking the basket, was the presence of McKay. McKay finished the game with eight points, seven rebounds and four blocks in 22 minutes of action, and to have their best interior defender back on the floor certainly helped the Cyclones on this night.

With their lack of depth Iowa State’s margin for error is small, especially when it comes to foul trouble, injuries and disciplinary reasons. Even with Texas’ size advantage Iowa State outscored them in the paint 48-34, and McKay’s defensive ability factored into that. The Cyclones can put points on the board with the best of them, but at some point they’ll need to string together stops as the games get even bigger.

Iowa State managed to do that down the stretch, with Morris and Niang running the show offensively. And that’s a good formula to be able to rely upon as the season approaches its most important month.