Tom Izzo

Michigan State’s Tom Izzo to receive Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award

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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo will be the recipient of the 2013 Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award, set to be presented to him at 2013 Devon Energy College Basketball Awards on April 15 in Oklahoma City.

The Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award is presented annually to a member of the college basketball community who “has made a significant positive impact on society,” according to a release. The award is named after former Oklahoma star Wayman Tisdale, who passed away after a battle with cancer in 2009.

Television analyst and former coach Dick Vitale received the award in 2011 and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was given the award last season.

Izzo has achieved an 80 percent graduation rate among players who have completed their eligibility at Michigan State, and has also been active in a number of causes, including Coaches Vs. Cancer, Volunteers of America, Sparrow Hospital, and the V Foundation for Cancer Research.

“Few coaches in collegiate athletics have endured and excelled like Tom Izzo,” David Gillikin, 2012 chairman of the Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award Advisory Board, said in a statement.

“His record of achieving the highest levels of success on the court together with his focus and success in graduating his players and positively impacting the community make him the ideal selection and adds another very significant name to the growing list of Tisdale Humanitarian honorees.”

Izzo and Michigan State are 14-3 so far in the 2012-13 season and are ranked No. 18 in the country.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Texas lands commitment from top 100 center

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James Banks announced on Thursday that he has committed to Texas, joining Jacob Young in Shaka Smart’s first recruiting class as the head coach of the Longhorns.

Banks is an interesting prospect. A 6-foot-10 center from Georgia, Banks is a still-developing prospect that was recruited more on his potential than his immediate ability.

“James Banks emerged as a good low post prospect this spring and summer,” NBC Recruiting Analyst Scott Phillips said. “With a good set of hands, some offensive potential and a frame that can add weight, Banks is a nice upside grab for Texas.”

He’s probably a few years away from having a major impact in the Big 12, but he may not have that much time to develop. Cameron Ridley, Prince Ibeh and Conner Lamert all graduate after this season, meaning that Banks is going to have to contribute immediately when he sets foot on the Austin campus for the 2016-17 season.

Texas has three commitments in the Class of 2015. Smart convinced Kerwin Roach and Eric Davis to remain committed to the program when he took over for Rick Barnes while he landed a commitment from Tevin Mack, who pledged to Smart when he was at VCU.

Memphis guard could miss season with shoulder injury

Kedren Johnson
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Memphis just cannot catch a break.


It’s to the point where I almost feel bad for Josh Pastner.

Today, reported that Kedren Johnson, a 6-foot-4 point guard that was on track towards being an all-SEC point guard at Vanderbilt, could end up missing the season due to a shoulder injury. If he can handle the pain he can avoid surgery and play with the injury, but at the very least, Johnson is going to be less than his best.

Johnson averaged 6.7 points and 2.7 assists last season for the Tigers. He sat out 2013-14 after leaving Vanderbilt and entered last season incredibly out of shape. There was hope that he would be able to make a bigger impact this season and help fill the void at the point guard spot.

This news comes on the heels of Memphis finding out that Jaylen Fisher is heading to UNLV. Who’s Jaylen Fisher? Well, he’s a point guard and top 40 recruit from Memphis that was Pastner’s No. 1 recruiting target that opted to leave the city for his college hoops instead of play for the Tigers.

That’s a bad sign, but not quite as bad as Memphis losing star center Austin Nichols — another local kid — to a transfer over the summer. Nichols transferred to Virginia.