In the second year of the Patrick Chambers era at Penn State, not too much was expected of the Nittany Lions given their overall youth. But Penn State did have a valuable asset in senior point guard Tim Frazier, a first team All-Big Ten selection as a junior.
Unfortunately for Frazier and the Nittany Lions his season came to a screeching halt in a loss to Akron at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off in November, as he ruptured his left Achilles tendon.
As he played just four games this season, the chances of Frazier receiving a medical redshirt look to be pretty good given the NCAA’s 30% rule (a player who doesn’t play in more than 30% of his team’s games is eligible for a medical hardship waiver).
With this being the time of year that children send letters to Santa Claus, one 8-year old Penn State fan had a simple request for Santa according to Ben Jones of StateCollege.com: that Frazier would get back to full strength and be able to return to the court.
Mackenzie Kelley, who has been attending Penn State games since she was 2 years old, met Frazier three years ago and even wears a custom “Timmy time” T-shirt to games.
Here’s the letter Kelley sent to St. Nick:
I just found out my favorite player for Penn State basketball and my friend Tim Frazier has to have surgery and will not be able to play all this year. I am sad. Not being able to play for the rest of the season will be like an eternity for Tim, and this is his senior year to play basketball, but he might be able to play next year as a redshirt. Santa, all I would like for Christmas is Tim Frazier to be able to play basketball for his last year. Santa, I know that you can’t make his leg better. The doctors need to do that and Tim needs to be patient and listen to the doctors to get his leg strong again. I am asking you please put in a good word with the people who decide if Tim can redshirt next year. Santa, Tim should definitely be on your good list, please put in a good word for him so I can watch him play his senior year the way he deserves.
Your sad little elf,
Kelley could have done what most children do and penned a letter asking for the latest toy on the market, but instead she asked for something that would benefit Frazier as well as herself.
Here’s to hoping that Mackenzie (and Penn State fans as well) gets her wish.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
As if it wasn’t already hard enough to win games at Koch Arena.
Starting this season, Wichita State fans will be able to buy beer during games at their home arena, a fact that should ensure that the raucous home environs that have made the Shockers so difficult to beat in Wichita remains the same.
That’s not a bad thing to add to a home court advantage while making the move into a new conference, the American, for the 2017-18 season.
Once a rarity, beer at college sporting events in a growing trend. Minnesota, Florida and Texas, among a number of others have added alcohol sales in recent years. Given the money that would seem likely to be generated, it’s a trend that will probably become even more pervasive in college athletics.
Let’s just make sure that everyone partakes in moderation.
Blue Ribbon, the college basketball bible, has released their top 25 and preseason all-american awards, the first publication to do so as far as I know.
Their top five — Arizona, Michigan State, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky — contains the same teams as my top five will, only in a different order. The only crazy ranking that I see in their top 25 comes with Miami checking in at No. 16. I have a feeling they are going to end up regretting that by the end of the season.
What is somewhat crazy, however, is Blue Ribbon’s all-american teams.
Bonzie Colson is their Preseason National Player of the Year. That’s not my pick, but it’s justifiable. But having Miles Bridges as a second-team preseason all-american? Angel Delgado as a fourth-team preseason all-american? I disagree with both of those picks.
But that will all play out during the season.
And, frankly, I haven’t exactly had the best track record predicting all-americans in recent years, not after I opted to rate Skal Labissiere as a first-team preseason all-american over Buddy Hield.
That was a miss.
It happens to the best of us.
But I feel pretty comfortable saying that Miles Bridges as a second-team preseason all-american will end up being a miss.
With Vince Edwards and Isaac Haas entering their senior seasons, adding front court options in the 2018 class was something that Purdue needed to do. Purdue added its second front court commitment in the 2018 class Tuesday evening, as four-star center Emmanuel Dowuona reportedly made his pledge. News of Dowuona’s commitment was first reported by the Lafayette Journal & Courier.
Dowuona, a 6-foot-11 big man who attends Westwood Christian School in Miami, joins fellow four-star prospect Trevion Williams in Purdue’s 2018 class to date.
Dowuona’s commitment comes just days before he was reportedly to visit Tennessee. Among the other programs to have offered Duwuona were Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami and UConn.
Dowuona played for the Team Breakdown program on the Under Armour Association circuit during the summer, averaging 7.9 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game while shooting 59.3 percent from the field. While still a bit raw offensively, the native of Ghana provides value as a defender and rebounder. Dowuona is joining a program that during Painter’s tenure as head coach has done a good job of developing big men.
Dowuona and the aforementioned Williams will look to compete for playing time in 2018-19 alongside current redshirt junior Jacquil Taylor and 7-foot-3 redshirt freshman center Matt Haarms.
Dayton announced Tuesday afternoon that one of the program’s incoming freshmen will not be eligible to compete this season. 6-foot-8 forward Obadiah Toppin has been ruled by the NCAA to have not met initial eligibility requirements, and he will have to sit out the 2017-18 season as a result.
Toppin will be allowed to remain a member of the team and participate in practices, and he will have four seasons of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2018-19 season. While the NCAA’s decision leaves the Flyers short a front court option in head coach Anthony Grant’s first season at the helm, it did not come as a surprise.
“We knew this was a possible scenario for Obi early on in the recruiting process,” Grant said in the release. “And if it came to pass, we saw this as a chance for him to utilize this year acclimate as a student and enhance his strength and skill as an academic redshirt. This is a great opportunity for Obi to develop as a player and student over the next 12 months, and prepare himself for a very successful college career.”
Toppin, who averaged 17 points and eight rebounds per game at Mt. Zion Academy last season, is one of five freshmen who have joined the program. Matej Svoboda and Jordan Pierce will look to earn minutes alongside returnees Josh Cunningham and Xeyrius Williams, and the same can be said for redshirt freshman Kostas Antetokounmpo.
Toppin being declared ineligible is the third hit Dayton has taken to its front court this offseason. Ryan Mikesell, who played in 32 games last season, will redshirt after undergoing two hip surgeries. And Sam Miller, who was also part of the team’s front court rotation last season, was suspended from school for the fall semester after he was arrested during the summer.
Ohio State is on the board with regards to the 2018 recruiting class, as Chris Holtmann’s program received a much-needed verbal commitment from four-star forward Jaedon LeDee. The 6-foot-9 Houston native announced his decision via his Twitter account Tuesday afternoon.
In receiving a verbal commitment from LeDee, Ohio State beat out California, Houston, Iowa State, LSU, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and UCLA. The Buckeyes hosted LeDee for his official visit the weekend of September 9, which coincided with the football team’s matchup with Oklahoma. Originally scheduled to visit Cal this past weekend, LeDee instead visited Texas A&M.
With LeDee’s commitment to Ohio State, visits to LSU (September 30) and UCLA (October 6) are likely off the board.
Currently attending the Kincaid School, LeDee played for the Texas PRO grassroots program on the adidas Uprising circuit this summer. The four-star prospect will likely be a combo forward for Ohio State, playing either the three or the four depending on the matchup.
With Jae’Sean Tate beginning his senior season and Keita Bates-Diop being a redshirt junior, Ohio State had a need to address in the front court. In landing a verbal pledge from Jaedon LeDee, the Buckeyes have done just that.
Among the front court players who will have eligibility remaining beyond the 2017-18 season are Bates-Diop, current sophomores Micah Potter and Andre Wesson, and freshmen Kaleb Wesson and Kyle Young.