Three UCLA freshmen among 12 on midseason Wayman Tisdale Award watch list

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The United States Basketball Writers of America (USBWA) released its midseason watch list for the Wayman Tisdale Award, which is given annually to the nation’s best freshman as voted upon by members of the association.

Of the twelve freshmen on the list three play at UCLA: Jordan Adams, Kyle Anderson and Shabazz Muhammad. The Pac-12 leads the way with four players on the list as Arizona State point guard Jahii Carson joined the three Bruins.

UCLA is one of two schools with multiple candidates on the list as Michigan’s Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas are also under consideration.

Three Big 12 players are on the list, including Kansas’ Ben McLemore, and of the 12 players 11 hail from “BCS AQ” conferences, with UNLV’s Anthony Bennett representing the Mountain West.

The full list is as follows:

G Jordan Adams, UCLA (6-5, 220, Fr., Atlanta, Ga.)

G Kyle Anderson, UCLA (6-9, 235, Fr., Fairview, N.J.)

C Isaiah Austin, Baylor (7-1, 220, Fr., Arlington, Texas)

F Anthony Bennett, UNLV (6-8, 240, Fr., Brampton, Ont.)

G Jahii Carson, Arizona State (5-10, 175, Fr., Mesa, Ariz.)

G Kevin (Yogi) Ferrell, Indiana (6-0, 178, Fr., Indianapolis, Ind.)

G Ben McLemore, Kansas (6-5, 195, Fr., St. Louis, Mo.)

G/F Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA (6-6, 225, Fr., Las Vegas, Nev.)

F Nerlens Noel, Kentucky (6-10, 228, Fr., Everett, Mass.)

F Glenn Robinson III, Michigan (6-6, 210, Fr., St. John, Ind.)

G Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State (6-4, 225, Fr., Flower Mound, Texas)

G Nik Stauskas, Michigan (6-6, 190, Fr., Mississauga, Ont.)

Overall this is a good list, but as Jeff Borzello of points out St. John’s freshman forward JaKarr Sampson has a very good argument for inclusion. A five-time Big East Rookie of the Week selection, Sampson is averaging 14.2 points and 6.6 rebounds per game for the surprising Red Storm.

So if Sampson were to be added which player comes off the list? Ferrell would be the most likely option in that regard, but the freshman point guard has been solid in leading one of the nation’s best teams.

Duke guard Rasheed Sulaimon and Xavier guard Semaj Christon are two other freshmen who have played well this season, but here’s a third who hasn’t received much attention nationally: High Point forward John Brown.

The Panthers may be 10-10 (5-3 Big South) on the season but the redshirt freshman has been a bright spot for Scott Cherry’s team, averaging a team-best 17.4 points per game and also grabbing 6.5 rebounds per contest. Brown is shooting 51.9% from the field and combines with Allan Cheney to form arguably the best front court tandem in the Big South.

However, even with the arguments that can be made for a Sampson or Brown it’s tough to find any fault with this list (note: while a member of the USBWA, I did not have a vote for the midseason list).

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

Creighton lands 2016 combo guard

Greg McDermott
Associated Press
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Sunday evening Creighton got on the board in the Class of 2016, as 6-foor-4 combo guard Davion Mintz made his pledge to Greg McDermott’s program. Mintz made the decision on the tail end of his official visit to Creighton, picking the Bluejays over Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Tulsa and Wichita State.

News of Mintz’s commitment was first reported by Rick Lewis of the Phenom Hoop Report, with Mintz confirming the news via Twitter shortly thereafter.

Creighton has just two seniors on its current roster in guard Jams Milliken and forward Geoffrey Groselle, but that doesn’t mean they lack for experience. Among the guards on the roster who will be around when Mintz arrives on campus are redshirt juniors Maurice Watson Jr., Malik Albert, and Isaiah Zierden, and Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster will be eligible in 2016-17.

Mintz, who attends North Mecklenberg HS just outside of Charlotte, can play either on or off the basketball. Creighton’s veteran guards should help Mintz with his transition to the college game when he arrives in Omaha in 2016. Mintz played for the Charlotte Nets grassroots program this summer.

Three-star power forward commits to WVU

Bob Huggins
Associated Press
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Three days after landing one power forward in Sagaba Konate, West Virginia received a verbal commitment from another big man Sunday evening.

6-foot-11 Mountain Mission School (Gurndy, Virginia) power forward Maciej Bender became the Mountaineers’ fourth commitment in the Class of 2016 on Sunday, with the Mountain Mission program announcing the news via Twitter. Bender is a native of Poland, and in addition to Konate he joins guards Brandon Knapper and Chase Harler in West Virginia’s 2016 recruiting class.

West Virginia will lose two forwards in TyQuane Goard and Jonathan Holton at the end of the 2015-16 season, and the additions of Konate and Bender will help the Mountaineers account for those departures from a depth standpoint. Bender can score around the basket, but he’s also capable of facing up and scoring in pick-and-pop situations out beyond the three-point line.

Bender officially visited West Virginia last weekend, and he was a player the WVU coaching staff wanted to get in the fold. Other programs to offer Bender included Arizona State (teammate Jethro Tshisumpa is an ASU commit), Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Providence. Bender played his grassroots basketball for the West Virginia Wildcats program this summer.