Allen Crabbe

Player of the Week: Allen Crabbe, Cal

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Player of the Week: Allen Crabbe, Cal

Let’s put aside, for a second, the shove that had the twittersphere in an uproar last night. Because when you focus solely on that interaction, you ignore the fact that Crabbe scored 14 second half points — including 12 in the final minutes — to lead the Bears back from a 15 point deficit to USC at home. A loss in that game would have been disastrous for Cal’s NCAA tournament hopes, especially when you consider that last Sunday’s win at Arizona and Thursday’s demolishing of UCLA had put them into a great position to make the Big Dance.

Crabbe had 23 points, 10 boards and six steals last night. He went for 16 points, five boards and five assists in the win over UCLA. He had 31 points, seven boards and five assists against Arizona. He’s one of the nation’s best-kept secrets, although if he keeps playing this way, he won’t be a secret for much longer.

The All-They-Were-Good-Too Team:

G: Russ Smith, Louisville: Smith averaged 19.5 points, 6.0 boards and 4.0 assists in two games this week, shooting 45% from the floor and 40% from three. Rick Pitino told reporters after a win over South Florida that “I thought Russ Smith played the smartest game he’s played in a long time.” Smith playing Smart is the difference between Louisville being a top three seed and Louisville being a national title contender.

G: Ben McLemore, Kansas: The Jayhawks desperately needed a big performance on Monday this week, and McLemore had one of his best games of the season, finishing with 30 points on 9-13 shooting as Kansas stormed past Kansas State in Phog Allen. He followed that up with 13 points in a blowout win over Texas on College Gameday. Not a bad way to snap a three-game losing streak.

F: Scott Wood, NC State: Coming off of a game-winning three to beat Clemson on the road, Wood scored 22 points and hit six threes as the Wolfpack narrowly avoided a disastrous loss to Virginia Tech in Raleigh.

F: Kenyatta Smith, Harvard: After playing a grand total of seven minutes in two games last week, Smith put together a pair of dominant performances as Harvard took a one-game lead on Princeton in the Ivy League race. Smith had 20 points, nine boards and 10 blocks against Penn, and then went for 14 points, seven boards and six blocks in the win over Princeton on Saturday. He also shot 13-14 from the floor and 8-9 from the free throw line.

C: Alex Len, Maryland: Len finished with 19 points on 6-8 shooting, nine boards and three blocks in Maryland’s one game this week, which just so happened to be a win over No. 2 Duke. But more importantly, Len helped the Terps shut down Mason Plumlee, which was the biggest reason they were able to pull the upset while committed 26 turnovers.

Bench: Ramon Galloway (La Salle), Dorian Green (Colorado State), Nick Minnerath (Detroit), Kelly Olynyk (Gonzaga), Marshawn Powell (Arkansas), Nate Wolters (South Dakota State)

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

DePaul adds 2018 commit

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Wisconsin guard John Diener has committed to DePaul, his grassroots program announced Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-4 Class of 2018 guard ends his recruitment rather early with offers also from instate schools Green Bay and Milwaukee. He’s known as a shooter and becomes the first commit for Dave Leitao in the 2018 class.

Diener, who plays with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors in the spring and summer, commits to the Blue Demons with them coming off a disappointing campaign, Leitao’s first in Chicago. DePaul went 9-22 overall and 3-15 in the Big East, finishing only ahead of St. John’s.

DePaul has been recruiting the Midwest hard with incoming 2016 recruits from La Lumiere School in Indiana, Sagninow, Mich. and locally in Chicago.

Four-star guard Fisher commits to TCU

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Jamie Dixon’s presence is already being felt in the Big 12 and on the recruiting trail.

TCU received its first commitment of the Dixon era when four-star 2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher announced his decision to join the Horned Frogs on Wednesday.

“Due to how comfortable my family and I are with the coaching staff,” Fisher posted from his Twitter account, “and the emphasis the university has put on making basketball a priority, I’m committing to be a student-athlete at TCU.”

Getting a consensus top-75 prospect, who was once committed to UNLV, is a heck of a coup for being just a couple months on the job. It instantly shows the Frogs are going to be a player for some of the country’s top players, which is a necessity if you have designs on making a move up the ladder of arguably the country’s best league in the Big 12.

Maybe the most gratifying thing for TCU, though, is the reason Fisher publicly stated for making his decision, the school’s “making basketball a priority.” The hoops program has suffered immensely in the Big 12 (while the football program has flourished), winning a total of eight games in their four seasons (including a winless 2014), but the school sank $72 million into renovating its arena, made an aggressive move in firing Trent Johnson and then went out and got its dream candidate, Dixon, an alum. Fisher’s commitment is the first time those moves have shown that commitment to basketball paying off.

 

Report: Izundu’s San Diego State transfer ban rescinded

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Washington State transfer Valentine Izundu will be visiting San Diego State after all.

Coach Ernie Kent has rescinded his restriction on the 6-foot-10 graduate transfer from visiting the Aztecs, according to a report from the Spokesman-Review, citing an anonymous source. Izundu will also be reportedly visiting Fresno State and UNLV.

Izundu had previously been barred from considering the Aztecs by Kent because of suspcisions of tampering. Izundu vigorously denied that was the case as at the center of the dispute was a trip he made to San Diego for spring break. He publicly said he did not have any contact with the SDSU coaching staff , though he attended an Aztecs NIT game.

Kent, though, appears to have relented, as many coaches who have similarly faces public pressure in such situations before him have. In this era where so much attention is being paid to player rights and welfare, there only seems to be growing public sentiment against programs restricting transfers beyond the absolute bare minimum is rarely going to go over well. It may make things more difficult for coaches and programs, but it’s the deck is largely already stacked in their favor in most every other instance.

Ex-Michigan State player Keith Appling faces weapons charges

Keith Appling
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DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) Authorities say former Michigan State basketball player Keith Appling faces charges including carrying a concealed weapon after he was found in possession of guns and marijuana in suburban Detroit.

The Wayne County prosecutor’s office says 24-year-old Appling was arrested outside a Dearborn club on Sunday night. Club security called police after seeing a man pull a gun from the trunk of a car.

Prosecutors say Appling was in the driver’s seat of the car when police arrived. Officers found a handgun under the driver’s seat, a loaded weapon in the trunk and a small amount of suspected marijuana.

Weapons and marijuana possession charges were announced Wednesday.

The court says he doesn’t have a lawyer on record.

Appling played for the Spartans from 2010-2014 and plays for the NBA’s development league.

UNLV transfer to finish career at Michigan State

UNLV forward Ben Carter, right, celebrates after his team defeated Oregon in an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, in Las Vegas. UNLV won 80-69. (AP Photo/John Locher)
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Former UNLV center Ben Carter announced on Wednesday that he will be transferring to Michigan State to finish his collegiate career.

Carter, who began his career at Oregon, averaged 8.6 points and 6.0 boards in his one season with UNLV before tearing his ACL in late January. He spent two seasons with the Ducks before transferring to Vegas, which is why he’s eligible immediately for the Spartans.

And that’s the biggest reason that Tom Izzo and company targeted him.

The Spartans lost Deyonta Davis to the NBA Draft after one season, a fact that became an inevitability midway through the year but one that the Spartans didn’t necessarily plan for heading into last season. Carter isn’t going to be an instant impact kind of player, particularly not when he’s coming off of an ACL injury, but he is a big body and a veteran presence on a front line that wasn’t going have much of either.