Gotham Classic - Temple v Syracuse

College Hoops Player of the Week: Khalif Wyatt, Temple

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Player of the Week: Khalif Wyatt, Temple

I know that Wyatt didn’t play his best game on Wednesday. I know that he was 6-16 from the floor as the Owls lost to Canisius at home. I know that, and it doesn’t change the fact that he had one of the most impressive performances of the season — 33 points and four assists — in a win over Syracuse at Madison Square Garden. Wyatt was the best player on the floor in what was arguably the biggest win of the year thus far. That deserves recognition.

Wyatt carried Temple in the first half, when he scored 20 of his 33 points and kept the Owls within striking distance. In the second half, Wyatt hit a couple big jumpers and knocked down a number of free throws as Temple’s zone offense started to break down Syracuse defensively. As Syracuse began to focus in on him more, it allowed for guys like Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson and Anthony Lee to have big second halves.

Wyatt has one of the more interesting skill sets in the country. He’s not all that quick or explosive, but he’s very strong and can get where he needs to go with his dribble. He probably leads the country in “No, no, no, YES!” shots and has one of the most dominant mid-range games you’ll see at this level. He’s a good players.

The All-They-Were-Good-Too Team

G: Kevin Dillard, Dayton: On Wednesday, Dillard had to leave the Illinois State game early, which may have ended up costing the Flyers a win. No one expected him to be in the lineup on Saturday, but when the noon tip off came around, there was Dillard, lining up across from Murray State’s Isaiah Canaan. Dillard finished with 18 points and 10 assists, scoring 13 of the last 20 points for Dayton and sparking a game-changing 17-5 run.

G: Will Spradling, Kansas State: Spradling had eight points, five assists and four boards in a elatively easy win over Texas Southern on Tuesday, but that’s not why he made this list. It was the 17 points, six boards and five assists he scored in a win over then-No. 8 Florida that did the trick. Making the performance all the more impressive was the fact that Spradling was forced to play more of a point guard role as Angel Rodriguez battled foul trouble.

F: Laurence Bowers, Missouri: I’m not sure there’s a more improved player in the country that Bowers. After going 23 points, 10 boards and four assists in a win over Illinois, Bowers is now averaging 16.9 points and 6.7 boards while shooting 56.5% from three. He’s developed into a legitimate stretch four, and once he gets his full explosiveness back, he may end up being worthy of a first round draft pick.

F: Jackie Carmichael, Illinois State: Carmichael is probably the best big man in the country that you haven’t seen yet this season. After going for 25 points and 12 boards in a win at Dayton, he followed up that performance with 18 points and 11 boards in a win over Austin Peay. The Redbirds have now won four straight, a streak they desperately needed after losing three consecutive heart-breakers to Louisville, Northwestern and Wyoming.

C: Derrick Nix, Michigan State: Nix had his best game of his career on Saturday, finishing with 25 points and 11 boards — while hitting 11-13 from the free throw line — as the Spartans knocked off a scrappy Texas team.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Video: Coach K talks Team USA with Dan Patrick

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Team USA has blown through its competition in its first two exhibition games ahead of next month’s Olympics in Rio De Janeiro with wins over Argentina and China by a combined a combined 96 points.

Tonight, they’ll have a rematch against China, which they defeated 106-57 on Sunday, but it will also serve as the unofficial debut of Kevin Durant in front of his new hometown fans with the game taking place at the home of the Golden State Warriors, Oracle Arena, in Oakland.

“Excited for Kevin tonight to make his debut in front of the Golden State fans,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said Tuesday on the Dan Patrick Show. “He got a great reception (Monday) at a function. He was, as he should be, warmly welcomed.”

The team has been together since July 18 in the run-up to its first Olympic contest on Aug. 6 against China. For Krzyzewski, a couple of players have made an impression already.

“You see these guys on TV,” the Duke coach said, “but I don’t get a chance to see them in person. (Clipper) DeAndre Jordan is such a good player. A great athlete, a great guy. To see him run, defend, holy mackerel. He’ s really good.

“I haven’t seen Paul George in two years when he had that horrific (leg) injury in Las Vegas at one of our camps, and he’s so darn good. On defense, tremendous.”

It’s on the defensive side of the floor that Coach K believes his team can really make its mark even with the incredible collection of offensive talent the roster has.

“We’re very athletic so defensively we could be a very good defensive team,” he said. “We’ve shown a willingness to want to do that in the first two games.”

As usual, Team USA is the prohibitive favorite to bring back gold for the third consecutive Olympics, which will be Coach K’s last at the helm after taking over after the 2004 bronze medal debacle.

“I’m excited about the team,” he said. “It’s a short time. to see our guys working so hard and they get along so well, I’m excited about the team we might be in Rio. We’ll use tonight to get a little bit better.

“I kind of have the blinders on. You only have a short time. It’s a little over a month, and we want to win the gold medal in Rio.”

Rose’s transfer to BYU becomes official

Ge'Lawn Guyn, L.J. Rose
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His commitment came more than a month ago, but L.J. Rose’s transfer to BYU became official Tuesday.

The former Houston guard was officially announced as an immediately-eligible graduate transfer by BYU on Tuesday. He’ll bring much needed help to a Cougars backcourt that lost Kyle Collinsworth and Chase Fischer to graduation and Jordan Chatman and Jack Toolson to transfers.

“L.J. will add great experience and talent to our guard line,” BYU coach Dave Rose said in a statement released by BYU. “We’re excited about the leadership he will bring on the court and in the locker room. He will make us a deeper and more versatile team.”

As a junior, L.J. Rose averaged 9.8 points and 5.3 assists, but a foot injury limited him to just two games last season and allowed him to receive a medical redshirt and the opportunity to be a graduate transfer for his final collegiate season. He’ll be a big part of BYU’s attempt to build on last year’s 26-11 season as a former top-100 recruit, who began his career at Baylor, on a team in need of an infusion of talent after absorbing the losses from last year’s roster.

His father, Lynden, Sr., was a teammate of BYU coach Dave Rose at Houston during the program’s Phi Slama Jama era.

UCLA loses key forward to professional ranks

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02:  Dillon Brooks #24 of the Oregon Ducks steals the ball from Jonah Bolden #43 of the UCLA Bruins during a 76-68 Ducks win at Pauley Pavilion on March 2, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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UCLA announced on Tuesday afternoon that Jonah Bolden will be forgoing his college eligibility to turn professional.

“Jonah Bolden has informed the coaching staff that he has opted to play professionally this season,” the release said.

Bolden is a versatile, 6-foot-10 forward with some NBA potential. In his only season playing with the Bruins, he averaged 4.6 points and 4.8 boards while starting 11 games. His ability on the defensive end of the floor was something the UCLA staff was counting on this season.

A sophomore this past season, Bolden was ruled a partial qualifier by the NCAA as a freshman, meaning that he was allowed to be on scholarship and in class but could not play during the 2014-15 season.

He had two seasons of eligibility remaining. Without Bolden, T.J Leaf will likely be counted on to play more minutes at the four.

D.J. Harvey cuts list to ten schools

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With the July Live Period coming to an end, it’s time for schools to starts deciding who they’re going to target, who they’re going to offer a scholarship to and who they’re going to cut bait with.

At the same time, we’re going to see a flurry of players starting whittling down the number of schools they’re actually considering.

D.J. Harvey was once considered a top ten prospect in the Class of 2017, and while the DeMatha product has seen his stock slide a bit in the last year, he’s still a top 50 player that has a number of power programs knocking on his door.

Over the weekend, he announced that he has cut his list to ten schools: Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Duke, Texas, Villanova, UConn, UCLA, Maryland, Arizona and Louisville.

Rick Pitino: ‘We’re going to press more than we’ve ever pressed’

Louisville coach Rick Pitino shouts instructions to his team during the first half of its NCAA college basketball game against Florida State, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley
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Rick Pitino hopped on the air with 93.9 in Louisville recently and discussed the stuff you expect to hear a coach discuss on the radio in July.

He talked about the players that are improving (Jaylen Johnson). He talked about how he’s worried about how his team is going to score next season. He talked about the glut of big men on his roster and how none of them have done much to separate themselves from the pack.

It was all fairly typical.

But this line did catch my eye:

“Defensively, we’re going to press more than we’ve ever pressed,” Pitino said. “We’ve pressed a lot in the past but this team is very long, very athletic. I’m very bullish on this basketball team.”

Pitino’s teams have always pressed but he hasn’t been mentioned with the likes of Shaka Smart (Havoc) or Bobby Huggins (Press Virginia) because it isn’t an all-out press. Typically, the Cards run a 2-2-1 zone press that drops back to a half-zone/half-man amalgam that’s designed, in part, to confuse opponents as much as it is to force turnovers.

Is that going to change this year?

It would make some sense. This team is as athletic, long and versatile as any that he’s coached in recent memory. Think about the kind of physical tools that Ray Spalding and Jaylen Johnson and Deng Adel have. Think about what Donovan Mitchell can do if he’s allowed to ball-hawk the way Peyton Siva and Russ Smith did in the past.

This group can cause a lot of problems if they’re allowed to fly around the floor, and it sounds like Pitino may let them do just that.