Sean Miller

No. 11 Arizona’s defense is cause for concern again in loss to USC


No. 11 Arizona allowed USC to shoot an astounding 61 percent from the floor in an 89-78 loss at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, Calif., Wednesday night.

The Trojans, who came into the game ranked 212th in the country in field goal percentage at just over 42 percent, had five players in double figures, led by Eric Wise’s 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting. One bad night defensively wouldn’t make this a primary concern, expect for the fact that we’re seeing a trend emerge.

Arizona has lost five games in Pac-12 play and in those games, no opponent has shot less than 48 percent from the floor. Feb. 14 against Colorado, the Buffaloes shot 50 percent. Feb. 10 against Cal, the Bears shot 59 percent. UCLA shot 49 percent in its win over Arizona on Jan. 24. Oregon shot 48 percent in its victory Jan. 10.

If Arizona wants to win in the Pac-12 tournament and more importantly in the NCAA tournament, the defense on the perimeter needs to be tighter and defenders need to get out to shooters at the three-point line. Wednesday, they allowed an average three-point shooting team hit 6-of-10 from behind the arc.

Against elite shooting teams like Indiana, Duke, and Michigan, how will the Wildcats fare? The simple answer: not well.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

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.