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Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame releases 2013 Cousy Award watch list

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Jabari Parker’s decision on where to attend schools wasn’t the only announcement made on Thursday, as the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame released its December watch list for the Bob Cousy Award.

The award is given annually to the nation’s best point guard, with North Carolina’s Kendall Marshall winning the award last season. The list released today will be narrowed down to 20 in early January.

“The Hall of Fame is proud to continue its mission with Mr. Cousy to celebrate and honor the top collegiate point guards in the country,” John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame, said in the statement.

“This list represents a large range of college basketball’s top student athletes from across the country. We are excited to recognize these players for their continuous hard work and dedication.”

The list of players on the first Cousy Award watch list:
Trevor Releford (Alabama)
Mark Lyons (Arizona)
BJ Young (Arkansas)
Jahii Carson (Arizona State)
Pierre Jackson (Baylor)
Kerron Johnson (Belmont)
Rotnei Clarke (Butler)
Justin Cobbs (California)
Kwame Vaughn (Cal State Fullerton)
Trey Freeman (Campbell)
Andrew Lawrence (College of Charleston)
Spencer Dinwiddie (Colorado)
Brian Barbour (Columbia)
Shabazz Napier (Connecticut)
JP Kuhlman (Davidson)
Kevin Dillard (Dayton)
Ray McCallum (Detroit)
Frantz Massenat (Drexel)
Quinn Cook (Duke)
Miguel Paul (East Carolina)
Troy Taylor (Evansville)
Kenny Boynton (Florida)
Scottie Wilbekin (Florida)
Derek Needham (Fairfield)
Montay Brandon (Florida State)
Devonta White (Georgia State)
Kevin Pangos (Gonzaga)
Siyani Chambers (Harvard)
Jordan Hulls (Indiana)
Jake Odum (Indiana State)
Korie Lucious (Iowa State)
Devon Moore (James Madison)
Elijah Johnson (Kansas)
Tyreek Duren (La Salle)
C.J. McCollum (Lehigh)
Mackey McKnight (Lehigh)
Peyton Siva (Louisville)
Anthony Ireland (Loyola Marymount)
Cully Payne (Loyola-Chicago)
Michael Alvarado (Manhattan)
Pe’Shon Howard (Maryland)
Chaz Williams (Massachusetts)
Shane Larkin (Miami)
Trey Burke (Michigan)
Keith Appling (Michigan State)
Andre Hollins (Minnesota)
Phil Pressey (Missouri)
Isaiah Canaan (Murray State)
Deonte Burton (Nevada)
Hugh Greenwood (New Mexico)
Kendall Williams (New Mexico)
Juan’ya Green (Niagara)
Dexter Strickland (North Carolina)
Lorenzo Brown (North Carolina State)
Stallon Saldivar (Northern Arizona)
Eric Atkins (Notre Dame)
D.J. Cooper (Ohio)
Aaron Craft (Ohio State)
Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State)
Ahmad Starks (Oregon State)
Tray Woodall (Pittsburgh)
Dylan Garrity (Sacramento State)
Kwamain Mitchell (Saint Louis)
Mike McCall Jr. (Saint Louis)
Xavier Thames (San Diego State)
Evan Roquemore (Santa Clara)
Bruce Ellington (South Carolina)
LaShay Page (South Carolina)
Nate Wolters (South Dakota State)
Anthony Collins (South Florida)
Neil Watson (Southern Miss)
Matthew Dellavedova (Saint Mary’s)
Chasson Randle (Stanford)
Anthony Jackson (Stony Brook)
Michael Carter-Williams (Syracuse)
Kyan Anderson (TCU)
Trae Golden (Tennessee)
Johnathan Jordan (Texas A&M – Corpus Christi)
Ricky Tarrant (Tulane)
Anthony Marshall (UNLV)
Erick Green (Virginia Tech)
Abdul Gaddy (Washington)
Trey Sumler (Western Carolina)
Malcolm Armstead (Wichita State)
Kendrick Perry (Youngstown State)

Five schools can claim multiple players on the list: Lehigh (C.J. McCollum and Mackey McKnight), Saint Louis (Kwamain Mitchell and Mike McCall), Florida (Kenny Boynton and Scottie Wilbekin), New Mexico (Hugh Greenwood and Kendall Williams) and South Carolina (Bruce Ellington and LaShay Page).

Arizona State’s Jahii Carson and Harvard’s Siyani Chambers headline the freshmen on the watch list. Three names that stick out due to their absence are Northern Arizona’s DeWayne Russell, San Francisco’s Cody Doolin and LIU Brooklyn’s Jason Brickman.

While Russell has been one of the most productive freshmen in the country, averaging 16.5 points and 4.0 assists per game, Doolin’s (11.7 ppg, 6.0 apg) play at the point is one reason why the Dons (5-4) have performed better than expected to this point in the season.

As for Brickman, the junior from San Antonio is averaging 11.0 points and 8.2 assists per game, a number that ranks fourth in the country.

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

UNLV’s Menzies fills out staff with 3 hires

New UNLV men's basketball coach Marvin Menzies smiles during a news conference after the UNLV board of regents  approved his contract, Friday, April 22, 2016  in Las Vegas. The boards voted 12-1 on Friday to approve a five-year, $3.75 million deal for Menzies.  (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP) LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT
(L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
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LAS VEGAS (AP) New UNLV men’s basketball coach Marvin Menzies has filled out his staff with three assistant coaches.

The school announced on Thursday the hiring of Andre LaFleur, Rob Jeter and Eric Brown.

Jeter was the head coach at Milwaukee for 11 seasons, winning 20 or more games five times. His record of 185-170 leaves him one short of the school record for most victories.

La Fleur spent the past five seasons as associate head coach at Providence under Ed Cooley after 10 years working for Jim Calhoun at Connecticut.

Brown has been an assistant coach at Long Beach State the last nine years.

Four-star 2017 shooting guard commits to Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech head coach Buzz Williams celebrates a play in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Virginia, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, in Blacksburg, Va. (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP) LOCAL STATIONS OUT; LOCAL INTERNET OUT; LOCAL PRINT OUT (SALEM TIMES REGISTER; FINCASTLE HERALD; CHRISTIANSBURG NEWS MESSENGER; RADFORD NEWS JOURNAL; ROANOKE STAR SENTINEL; MANDATORY CREDIT
Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP
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Recruiting, and on-court results, have picked up at Virginia Tech since Buzz Williams took over as head coach. In his second year at the helm the Hokies won ten conference games, and in reaching the Postseason NIT made their first postseason appearance since 2011.

Thursday night Virginia Tech landed its first verbal commitment in the Class of 2017, as four-star shooting guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker made his pledge.

The 6-foot-5 Alexander-Walker, who’s ranked 91st in his class by Rivals.com, also took official visits to Maryland and USC before making his pledge to the ACC program. Alexander-Walker attends Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but as a native of Canada plays his grassroots basketball for the Canada Elite program on the Under Armour Association circuit.

Good with either hand, Alexander-Walker can play either on or off the basketball. And that versatility should serve him well in a system that places a high value on “switch-ables,” or players who can fill multiple roles.

The Canada connection paid off for Virginia Tech in the recruitment of Alexander-Walker, with assistant coach Jamie McNeilly being a native of the country himself and having a connection to the Walker family. The Hokies will lose two perimeter players at the end of the 2016-17 season in Devin Wilson and Seth Allen, which will give Alexander-Walker the opportunity to earn minutes as a freshman.

Oakland lands former Oklahoma State guard Clark

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AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File
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When point guard Stevie Clark began his career at Oklahoma State in 2013, the Top 100 prospect was expected by many to be an impact player for the Cowboys. Things didn’t go as planned however, as off-court issues ultimately led to Clark’s dismissal from the program before his sophomore season. Add in a lawsuit filed by Clark in which he alleged that he was forced by the school to take psychotropic drugs, and it’s safe to say that his time in Stillwater was anything but smooth.

Clark ultimately landed at Arkansas Baptist College, and on Thursday it was reported by the Detroit Free Press that he’s committed to Oakland University to play for head coach Greg Kampe. Clark joins a program with an immediate need at the point, with All-American Kahlil Felder having entered the NBA Draft and hired an agent as well.

The obvious question regarding Clark is whether or not he’s managed to take care of business off the court, and in an interview with Mark Snyder of the Free Press the Oklahoma native made note of the benefits of getting away from home for college.

Playing in Rochester, far from his home, will serve him well, he said.

“Anywhere away from home is the best thing,” Clark said. “It’s just hard balancing everything being close to home.”

Clark will be one of the options Kampe has to choose from at the point, with incoming freshmen Brailen Neely and Billy Thomas also among the new arrivals, and sophomore Jaevin Cumberland looking to earn more playing time than the 5.6 minutes per contest he averaged as a freshman.

Creighton point guard Watson Jr. to return for senior season

Creighton's Maurice Watson Jr. (10) reacts after scoring during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Xavier in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. Creighton won 70-56. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Creighton’s chances of moving up the Big East standings and returning to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2014 improved a great deal Thursday, as starting point guard Maurice Watson Jr. announced that he will be returning for his senior season. Watson, who began his college career at Boston University, entered his name into the NBA Draft pool without hiring an agent but decided that another year in Omaha would be best for him.

Watson was one of the most impactful transfers in the country last season, as his play at the point was a major factor in the Bluejays winning 20 games and going 9-9 in conference play after being picked to finish eighth in the Big East preseason poll. Watson averaged 14.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game last season, earning second team All-Big East honors.

With Watson’s return the Bluejays will welcome back three of their top four scorers from last season, with center Geoffrey Groselle being the lone departure. Head coach Greg McDermott adds a talented shooting guard in Marcus Foster, who sat out last season after transferring in from Kansas State. With Watson and Foster working together, Creighton will have a formidable perimeter tandem leading the way in 2016-17 with the likes of forward Cole Huff and guard Isaiah Zierden also being key contributors.

In addition to what Watson can provide in games he’ll also serve as a good mentor for Kaleb Joseph, who will have to sit out next season after transferring in from Syracuse. Joseph, who will have two seasons of eligibility remaining, fell out of the rotation as a sophomore so the year in residency should benefit him as he works towards grabbing the reins in 2017-18.

h/t ESPN.com

UConn, four-star 2017 big man Brown part ways

Brown, Zach
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Back in mid-January UConn made waves on the recruiting trail by securing a verbal commitment from 7-foot-1 center Zach Brown, a player seen by many as one of the top prospects in the Class of 2017. That partnership came to an end Thursday, as the two parties decided to part ways. News of the mutual decision was first reported by Scout.com.

The Miami native is currently ranked 28th in the Class of 2017 by Rivals.com, and Thursday’s news opens up a spot in the front court that UConn head coach Kevin Ollie and his staff will now have to fill. Amida Brimah, who’s currently going through the NBA pre-Draft process, will be a senior next season should he return to Storrs as will Kentan Facey.

Among the interior options who will have eligibility remaining beyond next season for the Huskies are sophomore Steven Enoch and incoming freshmen Mamadou Diarra and Juwan Durham.

UConn was in the running for 2016 power forward Taurean Thompson, but multiple outlets have the Brewster Academy product considering Michigan State (which added UNLV grad transfer Ben Carter Wednesday), Seton Hall and Syracuse at this point in his recruitment.