Player of the Week: Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati
The Bearcats picked up arguably their biggest win of the season on Saturday, as they held on to beat No. 25 Marquette 71-69 in overtime after the Golden Eagles had fallen behind by a score of 29-13 at halftime. Making the win all the more impressive is that Cashmere Wright say the game out with a sprained knee and Davante Gardner slowly but surely fouled out the entire Cincinnati front line.
Kilpatrick was the reason the Bearcats were able to hold on. He finished with a career-high 36 points, shooting 11-23 from the field. The rest of the Cincinnati went 9-35 from the floor. Kilpatrick aslo scored seven of Cincinnati’s nine points in overtime, including the game-winning bucket on a driving layup with six seconds left on the clock. All this came after he went for 18 points in a win at DePaul.
The All-They-Were-Good-Too Team:
- G: Ian Clark, Belmont: In two games last week, Clark averaged 22.0 point, 6.5 boards, 3.5 assists and 3.5 steals while shooting 14-26 from the floor and 8-15 from three. More importantly, he led Belmont to wins over both Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee State, handing both programs their first loss in OVC play while moving the Bruins into sole possession of first. Making things even more impressive? Over his last five games, Clark is averaging 25.0 points while shooting 68.8% from the floor and 61.1% from three.
- G: Corey Hawkins, UC-Davis: Hawkins had himself a night on Saturday. He led the Aggies to a win at Hawaii on Saturday night with a 40 point performance. More impressive? Not only was Hawkins 8-9 from the three, but he was 10-14 from the floor and 12-12 from the line. The 6-foot-3 guard also chipped in with 12 boards on the night.
- G: Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche, Syracuse: It’s impossible to differentiate the two, but they deserve recognition after leading Syracuse to a win over Louisville. As MCW spent the first 24 minutes playing like he was shaving points, Triche went off, scoring 18 of his 23 points in the first half on 7-7 shooting. MCW turned it up down the stretch, however, accounting for the Orange’s last 13 points and making the game-winning and game-saving plays in the final minute.
- F: Carl Hall, Wichita State: In just his second game back after breaking his thumb in practice and missing a month of game-time, Hall came off the bench to finish with 17 points and 13 boards, six offensive, as the Shockers knocked off No. 12 Creighton 67-64 on Saturday afternoon.
- C: Mike Muscala, Bucknell: In wins over Lafayette and Colgate this week, Muscala finished averaged 26.0 points, 12.5 boards and 3.5 blocks. He’s too much center for the Patriot League to handle.
- Bench: Dorian Green (Colorado State), Rodney McGruder (Kansas State), Darius Theus (VCU)
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
Steve Wojciechowski added a significant piece to his 2019-20 team over the weekend.
Koby McEwen announced his intention to transfer to Marquette from Utah State late Sunday evening.
“I would like to thank God, my family, inner circle and all the schools/coaches that recruited me during this process!” McEwen tweeted. “With that being said, I’m proud to announce that I’ll be furthering my college career at Marquette University.”
McEwen picked the Golden Eagles over fellow finalists Creighton and Grand Canyon after he decided to transfer when the Aggies announced South Dakota coach Craig Smith was taking over the program last month. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 15.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game while shooting 40 percent from the field and 30 percent from 3-point range as a sophomore.
After sitting out the upcoming season, McEwen will have to years of eligibility remaining. Marquette went 21-14 last season, but missed the NCAA tournament for the third time in Wojciechowski’s four years in Milwaukee.
Minnesota has added some depth for the future.
The Golden Gophers received a pledge from Vanderbilt transfer Payton Willis over the weekend, giving him a guard with two seasons of eligibility remaining starting in 2019-20.
Willis will sit out the upcoming season under NCAA transfer rules.
The 6-foot-4 guard played a limited role in two seasons in Nashville, never averaging more than 18. 5 minutes or 5.2 points per game. He scored in double figures in three games as a sophomore.
Willis was a top-150 prospect in the Class of 2016 coming out of Fayetteville, Ark. with offers from the likes of Tulsa, Rice and Dayton. Vandy and Minnesota were his two high-major offers.
After being ranked in the top-15, Minnesota was beset by injury and suspensions last season as they limped to the finish line in a 15-17 season that featured losses in 12 of its last 13 games.
Richard Pitino still has two available scholarships for the 2018-19 campaign.
John Calipari just landed a critical recruit for 2018-19, and he was already on the roster.
Quade Green, who averaged 25 minutes per game last season, is returning to Kentucky for his sophomore season, his mother told the Lexington Herald-Leader on Monday.
Given that six Wildcat players have entered the draft (Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Hami Diallo are signing with agents), getting the 6-foot point guard back for a second season is a massive deal for Calipari and Co. The Wildcats have always been at their best under Calipari with returning players as the cornerstones of the roster with talented one-and-dones providing the extra boost. Getting one such returner at the point guard position is even more critical.
Green, who came to Kentucky as a five-star recruit last year, averaged 9.3 points and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and a respectable 37.1 percent from 3-point range, an area where Kentucky continually needs help.
With Green back in the fold, Kentucky will now await the decisions of PJ Washington, Wenyen Gabriel and Jarred Vanderbilt, who are all going through the pre-draft process without hiring agents, which will potentially allow them to return to school and bolster a Kentucky roster has the look of a top-five team.
The NBA Draft Early Entry Deadline came and went on Sunday night, meaning there are now roughly 60 college players that have signed with an agent and another 100 or so that have declared for the draft while retaining their college eligibility. Who were the winners? Who were the losers? Who has the most on the line? Sam Vecenie of the Game Theory podcast joined Rob Dauster to talk through all of it. The rundown:
OPEN: What do NBA teams value in players these days?
10:00: Villanova has more on the line during this testing the water process than anyone
19:00: Just how important was De’Andre Hunter’s decision to return to Virginia
25:25: Gonzaga getting Rui and Killian Tillie back makes them a title favorite
32:10: Nevada has a top ten season on the line with the Martin twins and Jordan Caroline
36:15: #RANTALERT – The decision to turn pro is so much more complicated than “is he a first round pick”
48:30: Rapid fire: Maryland, Kansas, Syracuse, Nebraska, Purdue and Michigan. What do they have on the line?
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina junior Luke Maye has declared for the NBA draft but isn’t hiring an agent.
The 6-foot-8 forward was a third-team Associated Press All-American after averaging 16.9 points and 10.1 rebounds. He was named the Atlantic Coast Conference’s most improved player after increasing his scoring average by 11.4 points from his sophomore to junior seasons.
Coach Roy Williams says in a statement that it’s ”a great opportunity” for Maye to work out for NBA teams and get feedback on what to improve in his game.
The deadline for college players to declare early for the draft was Sunday night. Players who don’t hire an agent can maintain their college eligibility as long as they withdraw by May 30, which is 10 days after the NBA draft combine.