D'Angelo Harrison

St. John’s suspends leading scorer D’Angelo Harrison for remainder of season

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One day after St. John’s received good news in regards to the status of forward Orlando Sanchez, head coach Steve Lavin suspended his leading scorer for the remainder of the season.

Sophomore guard D’Angelo Harrison has been suspended for conduct detrimental to the team, and he will miss the Red Storm’s final three regular season games as well as the Big East Championship and any postseason games following that.

“I had a productive meeting with D’Angelo yesterday. He has a bright future in basketball and I’m optimistic his time away from our team will be of value,” Lavin said in the release.

On the season Harrison, who was a Big East All-Rookie Team selection last year, averaged 17.8 points and 4.3 rebounds per game and shot 39.4% from the field (31.5% 3PT). Harrison had one of his worst outings of the season in the Red Storm’s loss to No. 23 Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon, scoring just six points on 1-of-12 shooting.

Harrison scored 20 points or more in 13 of his 27 games and earlier this season became the 48th player in the history of the program to reach the 1,000-point mark. As a freshman the Missouri City, Texas native scored 544 points, surpassing Erick Barkley (500 points in 1998-99) for the highest point total by a freshman in St. John’s history, and also set a school record with 76 made three-pointers.

With Harrison in the fold the Red Storm (16-11, 8-7) were a serious longshot to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Without him the odds are about as close as they can get to being insurmountable without being declared as such, as Jamal Branch has struggled with injuries of late. That means sophomore Phil Greene IV is the lone guard remaining in the rotation who is capable of creating off the dribble.

But what about 2013-14? Simply suspending Harrison leaves the door open to a return, but according to multiple reports he’ll need to earn the opportunity to return to the program due to what’s been termed as a “pattern of behavior.”

If all available players (including Harrison) return to Queens next season the Red Storm would be right at the 13 scholarship mark, which would lead to Lavin and his staff having to make room if they were to land someone like guard Rysheed Jordan (also considering Temple and UCLA).

But regardless of what the future may hold, without Harrison the Red Storm’s chances of earning an NCAA tournament bid don’t look good.

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

Auburn continues to stockpile talent, adds top 50 prospect in 2017

Bruce Pearl
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey
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Auburn’s hire of Bruce Pearl was almost universally lauded as the first step towards the return of relevance for the Tiger basketball program.

And while the results have yet to shine through on the floor, Pearl is unequivocally stockpiling the kind of talent that will allow him to push for trips to the NCAA tournament and maybe one day contend for a league crown with Kentucky.

The latest step came on Sunday, when Pearl landed a commitment from Chuma Okeke, a top 50 wing prospect out of Georgia.

“He is a versatile wing who can handle and score,” said NBCSports.com recruiting analyst Scott Phillips. “Coming off of a big July, Okeke could move up the national rankings and Auburn pounced on him right away.”

Okeke joins big man Austin Wiley, a top ten player in the class, and Davion Mitchell, who is likely one of the five best point guards in the country, in what is currently the nation’s best recruiting class in 2017. That’s before you consider that Pearl already has Mustapha Heron, a top 25 prospect, joining the mix this season.

“This group has the makings of a monster recruiting class for Auburn,” Phillips said.

Okeke picked the Tigers over Florida State, Georgia and a number of other programs across the southeast.

VIDEO: Watch Virginia freshman Jay Huff dunk from the free throw line

Tony Bennett
AP Photo/Nell Redmond
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Jay Huff is a member of Tony Bennett’s best recruiting class to date, a 6-foot-11 top 50 recruit from North Carolina.

He also happens to be pretty athletic.

Don’t believe me?

Check out this video that McDonald’s All-American Kyle Guy tweeted out on Sunday night:

Yup, that’s Huff taking off from the foul line to dunk.

Not bad, young fella.

Seton Hall’s Derrick Gordon won’t pursue pro basketball to become a firefighter

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12:  Derrick Gordon #32 of the Seton Hall Pirates celebrates after hitting a basket against the Villanova Wildcats during the Big East Basketball Tournament Championship at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2016 in New York City. Seton Hall Pirates defeated Villanova Wildcats 69-67.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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After a successful career that included stops at Western Kentucky, UMass and Seton Hall, Derrick Gordon, Division I college basketball’s first openly gay player, will not pursue professional opportunities and will instead become a firefighter.

The 6-foot-3 Gordon averaged 8.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a senior for the Pirates, helping the team reach the NCAA tournament during his graduate transfer year. By making the NCAA tournament with Seton Hall this past season, Gordon became the first college basketball player to reach the event with three different teams.

A tenacious perimeter defender who could have earned a pro contract if he stuck with basketball, Gordon will instead pursue a career as a firefighter in San Francisco.

“I’ve had an amazing basketball career and want to thank everybody who has always been there supporting me every step on the way,” Gordon said via his Instagram. “But I’m making a change in my career…I will now be working towards becoming a San Francisco Firefighter!! I’m excited about this and looking forward to having a long career!!”

While Gordon likely would have never made the NBA on talent alone, his defensive prowess would have likely given him a shot overseas or in the D League. It’s hard to say why Gordon is making this decision, but given what we saw with all of the attention surrounding Michael Sam when he tried to play in the NFL, Gordon was probably going to face a lot of scrutiny wherever he decided to play.

Hopefully Gordon finds his calling as a firefighter and brings the same energy and leadership that he brought on the floor to helping other people outside of basketball.

Washington guard Markelle Fultz pulls off sick spin and dunk at FIBA U18 Americas

Kelly Kline/Under Armour
Kelly Kline/Under Armour
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Washington incoming freshman guard Markelle Fultz is going to be one of the premier players in the country next season as his unique game is going to be fascinating to watch.

The 6-foot-5 Fultz is currently playing with the USA U18 team in Chile for the FIBA U18 Americas as he’s second on the team in scoring and first in assists as the Americans play Canada for the title on Saturday.

Against the host country, Fultz had an electric spin move in the paint and finished with an easy dunk. If you’re not willing to stay up late to watch this dude play this year, then set your DVRs, because Fultz is going to have some fun moments during the season.

(H/t: Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report)

POSTERIZED: Class of 2016 forward Chris Seeley has a massive dunk on defender

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The Las Vegas AAU events are all going on this week and it’s the final event for rising seniors.

At the Las Vegas Fab 48, forward Chris Seeley of the Splash City 17U team put down one of the best poster dunks of the summer as he skied over a defender for an emphatic finish.

The Class of 2016 forward attends Central High School in Fresno, California as he’s receiving plenty of buzz for his recent play.