NBA releases the official early entry list

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The NBA released their official early entry list on Wednesday, and while there were no relevant surprises — Marcus Smart didn’t slide his name into the NBA Draft pool when no one was paying attention — but there were a handful of names that hadn’t made their way into the headlines. Here are the NBA Draft’s seven biggest surprises:

Nurideen Lindsey, Rider: Lindsey’s basketball career has been a long and winding road, going from Philly to a JuCo in Oklahoma to St. John’s and, finally, to Rider. But Lindsey opted to enter his name in the draft in part because he wants to help take care of his sick mother.

Trevis Simpson, UNC-Greensboro: After averaging 18.8 points as a junior for the Spartans, Simpson made the decision to bypass his senior season and begin a career as a professional. It’s not likely that Simpson will get drafted, but he’s talented enough that he should be able to make enough money to support his wife and daughter playing the game. Simpson may be best known for breaking a rim putting on a dunking clinic against Miami:

Tahj Tate, Delaware State: Tate left the MEAC school earlier this month with the intention of entering the NBA Draft in large part because he believes that he’ll be “a better NBA player than a college player”. Tate averaged 16.7 points as a freshman, but his production dropped to 12.8 points as a sophomore.

Adrien Coleman, Bethune-Cookman: Coleman will pass up his senior season at B-CU, where he averaged 17.8 points and 7.4 boards as a junior. But Coleman, who began his career at Nebraska and sat out one season as a redshirt, will graduate with a degree in May.

Christian Kabongo, Morgan State: Kabongo averaged 14.6 points as a sophomore at New Mexico State before transferring to Southern Miss and, then, Morgan State, where he never set foot on the court. Kabongo is best known for an, ahem, “obscene gesture” that got him suspended after a game at UTEP. He in Myck Kabongo’s cousin.

John Taylor, Fresno Pacific: Taylor averaged 27.5 points this season and scored 50 in an NCCAA tournament game. That’s the National Christian College Athletic Association tournament.

Joshua Simmons, Spartanburg Methodist: That’s a JuCo. He’s not even listed on the roster.

Here’s the entire list:

  • Steven Adams, Pittsburgh
  • C.J. Aiken, Saint Joseph’s
  • Anthony Bennett, UNLV
  • Vander Blue, Marquette
  • Lorenzo Brown, NC State
  • Reggie Bullock, North Carolina
  • Trey Burke, Michigan
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia
  • Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse
  • Adrien Coleman, Bethune-Cookman
  • Allen Crabbe, California
  • Dewayne Dedmon, USC
  • Gorgui Dieng, Louisville
  • Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State
  • Archie Goodwin, Kentucky
  • Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan
  • Grant Jerrett, Arizona
  • Christian Kabongo, New Mexico State
  • Myck Kabongo, Texas
  • Shane Larkin, Miami (Fl.)
  • Ricky Ledo, Providence
  • Alex Len, Maryland
  • C.J. Leslie, NC State
  • Nurideen Lindsey, Rider
  • Amath M’Baye, Oklahoma
  • Ray McCallum, Detroit
  • Ben McLemore, Kansas
  • Tony Mitchell, North Texas
  • Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
  • Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
  • Victor Oladipo, Indiana
  • Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga
  • Norvel Pelle, Los Angeles College Prep Academy
  • Otto Porter, Georgetown
  • Marshawn Powell, Arkansas
  • Phil Pressey, Missouri
  • Andre Roberson, Colorado
  • Joshua Simmons, Spartanburg Methodist (JC)
  • Trevis Simpson, UNC-Greensboro
  • Tony Snell, New Mexico
  • Tahj Tate, Delaware State
  • John Taylor, Fresno Pacific
  • Adonis Thomas, Memphis
  • Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State
  • BJ Young, Arkansas
  • Cody Zeller, Indiana

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.

 

N.C. State lands second transfer of day with Utah’s Devon Daniels

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A big recruiting day for N.C. State continued on Saturday afternoon as Utah transfer and guard Devon Daniels pledged to the Wolfpack.

Earlier in the day, N.C. State and new head coach Kevin Keatts landed another quality transfer in UNC Wilmington guard C.J. Bryce.

The 6-foot-5 Daniels just finished his freshman season with the Utes in which he put up 9.9 points 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 57 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Just like Bryce, Daniels will have to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations before he has three more seasons of eligibility.

N.C. State now has two potential starters on the perimeter for the 2018-19 season with the addition of Bryce and Daniels as it will be interesting to see what kind of talent the Wolfpack can get around them.

 

UNC Wilmington transfer C.J. Bryce follows Kevin Keatts to N.C. State

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N.C. State landed an impact transfer on Saturday as UNC Wilmington guard C.J. Bryce will be following former head coach Kevin Keatts to the Wolfpack, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com

The 6-foot-5 Bryce averaged 17.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game last season as he helped the Seahawks to an NCAA tournament appearance. Bryce will have to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations, but he’ll have two seasons of eligibility remaining after sitting out one season.

With N.C. State getting center Omer Yurtseven back for next season, and with the addition of Bryce, it means that Keatts has retained, or added, some talented players for the next few seasons. The Wolfpack still have to fill a lot of roster spots from last season’s team, but Keatts seems to be having a really good week.

Seven identified after threats made against referee John Higgins following Kentucky Elite Eight loss

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College basketball referee John Higgins received threats to his home and business in late March after some controversial calls in North Carolina’s win over Kentucky in the 2017 NCAA Tournament.

Seven people have now been identified for making threats against Higgins, according to an Associated Press report. The FBI’s Omaha, Nebraska field office said that information on the seven people will be referred to authorities in their jurisdictions.

An investigation over the last few months helped find the culprits, as the Omaha-based Higgins received emails, phone calls and voicemails to his personal home and roofing company following Kentucky’s NCAA Tournament departure. Wildcat head coach John Calipari might have ignited some of the anger in Kentucky fans by criticizing the officiating following the North Carolina loss.

“Based on the investigation’s findings, our office has determined that no local charges will be filed and that pursuit of any criminal charges would be best served by deferring to authorities in the appropriate jurisdictions,” Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov said in a statement to The Associated Press. “The length of the investigation was drawn out due in part to the large volume of potential evidence requiring analysis, and the multi-jurisdictional issues arising from the multiple states in which the communications originated.”

Polikov also said that at least two media outlets were exposing and promoting Higgins’ contact information.

“This information has been referred to the Federal Communications Commission for further investigation of the potential violations related to applicable federal communications regulations,” Polikov said.

Higgins received about 3,000 phone calls at his office in the two days following the game. Sheriff’s investigator Matt Barrall told the AP that an estimated 75 percent of the calls were from Kentucky area codes.

The roofing business that Higgins owns was also flooded with bad online reviews and negative star ratings, causing his Google rating to fall while also forcing Higgins to take down the Facebook page for his business.

Beilein still upbeat after Michigan loses another to NBA

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — For a major program, Michigan is a somewhat unlikely candidate for this kind of NBA-induced attrition.

The Wolverines have fielded some very good teams under John Beilein, but they haven’t been relying on prospects expected to jump to the pros as soon as they can.

“We’re not depending all our success on one-and-dones,” Beilein said. “Given that, our numbers right now are extraordinary.”

Beilein was referring to the number of players Michigan has sent to the NBA, particularly as early entrees. The Wolverines lost D.J. Wilson to the draft this offseason with two years of eligibility remaining, and now they’ll go through the familiar process of trying to replace a key player who turned pro.

The most significant early exodus occurred in 2013 and 2014, when Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary all went pro before their eligibility was up. Michigan won a lot of games with those players, reaching the Final Four and Elite Eight those two years, but their development made them attractive to NBA teams and shortened their college careers.

Wilson’s rise followed a similar pattern. He averaged only 2.7 points per game in 2015-16, and then increased to 11.0 this past season and became Michigan’s leading rebounder. His efforts helped Michigan win the Big Ten Tournament and reach the Sweet 16, and now he’s off to the NBA draft. The entire sequence of events would have seemed highly improbable a year ago.

The Wolverines won’t receive much sympathy from their Big Ten opponents, especially since Michigan will still have big man Moe Wagner, who tested the NBA waters but ultimately decided to stay in school. The 6-foot-11 Wagner averaged 12.1 points last season and shot 39.5 percent from 3-point range, showing huge improvement in much the same way Wilson did.

After losing senior point guard Derrick Walton, it will be interesting to see how Michigan’s offense operates if Wagner becomes even more of a focal point. When Beilein was at West Virginia, the Mountaineers achieved success behind center Kevin Pittsnogle, whose skill set and 3-point shooting ability was at least somewhat similar to Wagner’s.

“We’re not going to put him in that category yet,” Beilein said. “Let’s just say, having a big man who can shoot the ball like that changes a lot of things.”

Michigan was also able to add a new point guard recently in Jaaron Simmons, a graduate transfer from Ohio. Simmons is eligible immediately in 2017-18 and will move up from the Mid-American Conference to the Big Ten.

“A lot of the mid-majors are having this happen to them, and I don’t like it at all, but the fact is if Jaaron doesn’t come here, he ends up probably somewhere else in the Big Ten,” Beilein said. “He’s just fundamentally so sound. He’ll be here this summer. Just as a person, I just wanted to coach the kid after spending an hour with him — just the leadership, the desire to win.”

Simmons could help the Wolverines withstand the loss of Walton, and Beilein indicated he could serve as a bit of a mentor to players like point guard Xavier Simpson, who is entering his sophomore season.

“We went all-in with (Simmons), knowing we had that scholarship,” Beilein said. “We felt that was a huge need for us, is to just have a little bit more experience in the backcourt next year.”

Follow Noah Trister on Twitter @noahtrister