Player of the Week: Kendall Williams, New Mexico

Leave a comment

Player of the Week: Kendall Williams, New Mexico

A lot of players put up impressive performances this week, but there really wasn’t much of a discussion as to who the Player of the Week would be. Kendall Williams in a landslide. The junior point guard scored 46 points — shooting 12-16 from the floor and 10-13 from three — as the Lobos went into Moby Arena and knocked off Colorado State, 91-82.

The 26 points that Williams scored in the second half would have been a career-high. He scored 20 points after picking up his fourth foul midway through the second half. He hit three threes to cap off a game-winning, 14-2 run in the final five minutes. And, more importantly, he carried New Mexico to a win over the second-place team in the MWC despite the fact they were man-handled on the glass and gave up 82 points. The Lobos now have complete control over the conference race, taking a two-game lead with just four games remaining.

The All-They-Were-Good-Too Team

G: Trey Burke, Michigan: The Wolverines bounced back from a stretch where they lost three out of four to beat both Penn State and Illinois this week. And while the youngsters on John Beilein’s roster continue to have their ups-and-downs in their first season as collegians, Trey Burke is still putting up huge numbers. He had 29 points and five assists in a win over Penn State, following that up with 26 points and eight assists to beat Illinois. On the week, he was 17-27 from the floor, 5-7 from three, 16-19 from the line and committed just a single turnover in 78 minutes.

G: Victor Oladipo, Indiana: Oladipo was, once again, the star for the Hoosiers as they went into East Lansing and knocked off Michigan State, taking over sole possession of first place in the Big Ten. He had 19 points, nine boards and five steals in the win, including six points in the final minute and what turned out to be the game-winning tip-in with just under a minute left in the game.

F: Chris Crawford, Memphis: Crawford finished with 19 points, four boards and four assists in a win over Southern Miss on Saturday, which came a game after he nearly notched a triple-double against Houston. Crawford had 11 points, 13 boards, nine assists and three blocks against the Cougars. Making things all the more frustrating? Crawford could have had the triple-double had Adonis Thomas been willing to make a layup in the final seconds after Houston had conceded. Good sportsmanship prevailed, however.

F: Otto Porter, Georgetown: Porter has been simply sensational over the last seven weeks or so, but on Saturday, he had his breakout game. Porter scored 33 of Georgetown’s 57 points as the Hoyas went into the Carrier Dome and knocked off Syracuse. He added eight boards, five steals and two assists while shooting 12-19 from the floor and 5-10 from three. The win also gave Georgetown sole possession of first place in the Big East and thrust Porter into the National Player of the Year discussion.

C: Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky: Turns out that Kentucky’s season isn’t quite over yet, as the Wildcats beat both Vanderbilt and Missouri at home this week. Cauley-Stein had 20 points, seven boards and three blocks in the win over Vandy, following that up with 12 boards and seven blocks to help hold off the Tigers. He wasn’t the only Wildcats with a big week, but his emergence as a force in the paint helps to nullify the loss of Nerlens Noel.

Bench: Aaron Craft (Ohio State), Anthony Drmic (Boise State), Shabazz Napier (UConn), Rasheed Sulaimon (Duke)

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Ohio State snags third 2018 commitment in a week with four-star guard Luther Muhammad

Leave a comment

Ohio State continued a strong week on the recruiting trail on Friday night by landing a commitment from Class of 2018 guard Luther Muhammad.

Regarded as a four-star prospect, the 6-foot-4 Muhammad is a tough and rugged perimeter defender who can attack the basket. Also showing some ability to play on the ball as a secondary handler, Muhammad is a very solid addition to Ohio State’s recruiting class since they need to overhaul their roster under new head coach Chris Holtmann.

Muhammad is the third player to commit to the Buckeyes in the Class of 2018 this week as he joins four-star forward Jaedon LeDee and three-star guard Duane Washington in the current Ohio State recruiting class. Since Washington is a three-point threat and Muhammad is more of an off-the-bounce specialist, the two guards are a good start for Ohio State in this class as they will likely try to find a true floor leader to play with them on the perimeter.

Michigan lands four-star 2018 forward Ignas Brazdeikis

Leave a comment

Michigan added to an already strong Class of 2018 recruiting haul on Friday night as four-star forward Ignas Brazdeikis pledged to the Wolverines on Twitter.

The 6-foot-8 Canadian was one of the premier scorers in the Nike EYBL this past spring and summer playing with CIA Bounce as Brazdeikis averaged 21.1 points per game on 49 percent shooting from the floor. Well-rounded outside of his scoring, Brazdeikis also put up 7.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game while also showing a workable jumper that was 26 percent from three-point range.

With the job that Michigan head coach John Beilein has done developing forwards, most recently with the rapid improvement of players like D.J. Wilson and Moritz Wagner, it’ll be fascinating to see how Brazdeikis will look at the college level after some time on campus. Beilein’s offense is favorable for skilled forwards with a penchant for scoring and Brazdeikis could end up being a tremendous fit for the Wolverines.

Brazdeikis becomes the fourth member of Michigan’s Class of 2018 recruiting haul as he joins four-star forward Brandon Johns, four-star guard David Dejulius and three-star forward Taylor Currie.

Sex assault count dropped against ex-Creighton player Watson

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Prosecutors have dropped a first-degree sexual assault charge against former Creighton point guard Maurice Watson after questions arose about the accuser’s story.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine announced Friday that his office had dropped the felony charge, filed earlier this year when a 19-year-old woman accused Watson of assaulting her early Feb. 4 at a party in an Omaha home. Watson has denied that allegation.

The 24-year-old Watson pleaded no contest Friday to misdemeanor assault for an encounter the same night with a different Creighton student, who said Watson touched her thigh and tried to make her touch his genitals. Watson was sentenced to the five days he’d already served in jail.

Watson was a senior when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in January, just days before the party.

Storm damage forces Paradise Jam out of Virgin Islands

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Leave a comment

MIAMI (AP) — The Paradise Jam basketball tournament will not be played in the U.S. Virgin Islands this year because of damage caused by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria.

The tournament will be played in the U.S., with a new site expected to be announced by Sept. 29.

The Paradise Jam field this year includes Wake Forest, Colorado, Drake, Drexel, Houston, Liberty, Mercer and Quinnipiac, and each of those schools was given the chance to bid for the right to host the tournament.

Tournament officials say they looked at multiple other options, such as moving to another island and using a cruise ship for accommodations, before deciding to move the event to the U.S.

For now, the tournament is scheduled to be played from Nov. 17-20.

Kentucky lands commitment from five-star point guard

Immanuel Quickley (USA Basketball)
1 Comment

Kentucky landed a commitment from Immanuel Quickley on Friday night, a top ten prospect and arguably the best point guard in the Class of 2018.

Quickley picked the Wildcats over Kansas, who he visited earlier this month, and Miami, who he was scheduled to visit before Hurricane Irma struck south Florida.

The 6-foot-3 point guard is the first commitment in the class of head coach John Calipari, and it really comes as no surprise. He’s been considered a Kentucky lean for months, and Quickley played for Calipari on the USA U19 team during the 2017 FIBA World Cup.

While Quickley has the size and the build – he’s 180 pounds with broad shoulders and long arms – of some of Kentucky’s former elite point guards, he’s not the same kind of point guard as, say, De’Aaron Fox or John Wall. He’s more of a smooth athlete than an explosive one, and while his long strides allow him to get out into transition, he’s not the finisher at the rim that those two were. What he is, however, is an intelligent player. He’s good in ball-screens, he’s an excellent passer and facilitator and he is a good enough shooter that he forces defenses to stay honest. He also has the potential to be a plus defender given his physical tools and the fact that he’ll try on that end of the floor.

Where this commitment gets interesting is the current point guard in Kentucky’s back court, Quade Green. Green was a five-star recruit in his own right, but he’s not quite built as a potential one-and-done prospect. Calipari has maneuvered through two point guards in the past, and each of the last five national champions have played major minutes with two point guards on the floor at the same time, but if Green is back next season that will be something to monitor.

That, however, is a long ways away.

What matters now is that Kentucky has gotten this commitment out of the way, and it paves the way for them to also receive a commitment from Zion Williamson. There has long been talk of those two attending college together, and with Quickley on the board, that likely keeps Kentucky in the driver’s seat as they pursue the South Carolina native.

If Kentucky can also wrangle a commitment out of R.J. Barrett, the No. 1 player in the 2018 recruiting class, that would likely be the end of the discussion of whether or not Duke has surpassed the Wildcats on the recruiting trail.