Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins rooming with Kentucky commit at the Nike Hoop Summit

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Karl Towns (St. Joseph High/Metuchen, N.J.) committed to Kentucky on Dec. 4. He won’t be apart of the star-studded Class of 2013, though he will headline the 2014 group. There is still one player Kentucky is eyeing and by now almost everyone is aware its the top player in the country Andrew Wiggins (Huntington Prep/Thornhill, Ont.).

The two highly-touted recruits are teaming up at the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, Ore. this week. The two good friend are even rooming with one another, but don’t expect Towns to assist the Wildcats in persuading Wiggins to Big Blue Nation, according to Larry Vaught of the Adovcate Messenger.

“I haven’t talked to him about Kentucky at all,” Towns told Vaught. “He has so much talent, but we are good friends. I just wish him the best for any school he picks. I want to let him enjoy the time here and just be friends and talk basketball and play video games. Stuff like that.”

If you’ve followed Wiggins and his recruitment at all it’s clear the decision is weighing on him, and that seems to be taking a major move forward next week. The 6-foot-7 small forward is down to only four schools — North Carolina, Kansas, Florida State and Kentucky.

He’s already met with John Calipari before the McDonald’s All-American Game, and next week he meets with Roy Williams on Monday, Bill Self on Tuesday and Leonard Hamilton on Wednesday.

Huntington Prep head coach downplayed the significance visits in an interview with Adam Zagoria earlier this week. He went on to tell Zagoria not to expect a press conference or anything extravagant from the nation’s top recruit when it is time to make a choice.

“I don’t see a press conference,” Fulford told ZagsBlog.com at the Jordan Brand Classic. “He doesn’t need the attention….Knowing him he’ll just have somebody else tweet it for him.”

Towns, who played for Calipari on the Dominican Republic national team this summer, will play alongside the Canadian born Wiggins as part of the World Team in Saturday night’s showcase. The USA roster includes Kentucky commits Julius Randle and the Harrison twins.

The Nike Hoop Summit tips 7 p.m.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

 

Duke, Cincinnati lead Hall of Fame Tip-Off

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski gestures during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Florida State in Durham, N.C., Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) Duke and Cincinnati, 2016 NCAA Tournament teams, highlight the eight-team field for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament.

The participants for the Nov. 19-20 event were announced Wednesday.

Also in the field are Rhode Island, Penn State, Grand Canyon, Albany, Marist and Brown.

The teams, split into two four-team brackets, will play two doubleheaders at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Duke, Cincinnati, Penn State and Rhode Island will meet in the Naismith Bracket, while the others will play in the Springfield Bracket.

The teams will play two early round games at campus sites from Nov. 11 through Nov. 16.

Brandone Francis-Ramirez transferring out of Florida

Florida State center Jean Marc Christ Koumadje (21) fouls Florida guard Brandone Francis-Ramirez (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015, in Gainesville, Fla. (Matt Stamey, The Gainesville Sun via AP)
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Brandone Francis-Ramirez is transferring out of the Florida program, the school announced on Wednesday.

A former top 40 recruit, Francis-Ramirez had his two seasons in Gainesville ruined by an academic issues and a loss of confidence. He was academically ineligible in 2014-15, practicing with the team during the second semester. He was granted a redshirt for the year, but he struggled to find any kind of a rhythm this past season. There was a two-month stretch in the middle of the year where he shot 6-for-58 from the floor and 2-for-31 from three.

On the season, he shot 20.2 percent from the floor and 16.9 percent from three.

“I want it to work out for him,” Gators coach Mike White said in a release. “We really appreciate what Brandone did here and wish him the best.”

One of Villanova’s title game stars undergoes knee surgery

Phil Booth, Jack McVeigh
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The forgotten star of the national title game underwent an arthroscopic on his left knee on Wednesday.

Phil Booth, who scored a season-high 20 points in the 2016 National Title game, will be a junior next season and one of the guys called upon to help replace Ryan Arcidiacono, who graduated. He should be ready to go by the middle of the summer; according to a statement put out by the program, Booth will need 6-to-8 weeks to heal.

“Phil is as mentally tough a young man as we have had at Villanova,” head coach Jay Wright said in the release. “He continually impresses our coaching staff with his outstanding attitude. Phil will attack this recovery challenge with great determination, as he does everything in life.”

Booth averaged 7.0 points and 2.2 assists this past season.

Jennings becomes seventh player to transfer from Kentucky

Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell watches his team during the team's regional semifinal in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament against Washington in Lexington, Ky., Friday, March 25, 2016. Washington won 85-72. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell has announced that sophomore forward Alexis Jennings will transfer, the seventh Wildcat to leave the program since last fall.

Jennings’ departure comes a week after Mitchell publicly addressed the mass exodus of players and assistant coaches and stressed the need for building stability. Jennings figured to be part of that process and the coach said in a release Wednesday night that “it saddens us that Alexis did not see a path for her at Kentucky. … She felt it was in her best interest to finish her career elsewhere and we owe her that opportunity.”

The 6-foot-2 Jennings started 18 of 33 games last season and averaged 10 points and 7.1 rebounds.

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.