Robert Nkemdiche

Can Ole Miss follow up a big college football signing day with a win on the basketball court?

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Ole Miss fans are likely feeling good about their school today, considering the football program had a successful signing day that included nabbing a signature from the nation’s No. 1 prospect, Robert Nkemdiche (pictured at right).

The Rebels signed 28 players, including two five-star prospects in Nkemdiche and offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil. It looks like, at least for the night, Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson won’t be the talk of the town.

But that doesn’t mean Henderson doesn’t have a job to do. He and the Rebels host Mississippi State at home in hopes of improving to 18-4 overall and 7-2 in the SEC.

Over the past two games, Ole Miss has hit a rough patch, losing to likely the conference’s two best teams, Kentucky and Florida. In those two games, Henderson had mixed results.

In the Rebels’ loss to Kentucky, he finished with 21 points, but shot 26 percent from the floor to get there. Kentucky center Nerlens Noel disrupted the Ole Miss flow offensively and double-double threat Murphy Holloway struggled as a result.

Henderson bounced back against Florida with 25 points, including 7-of-11 shooting from three-point range, but the rest of the team shot just 13-of-40 from the floor.

With that high-powered offense Wednesday, though, the Rebels should be able to create scoring opportunities for Henderson and Holloway, along with the rest of the offense. If not, coach Andy Kennedy might end up calling the football program to see if they can make use of the 6-5, 265-pound Nkemdiche for an added inside presence.

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

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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.