Despite the graduation of James Ennis and Peter Pappageorge, Long Beach State had the look of a team with enough pieces returning for the 2013-14 season to be considered a threat to win their fourth consecutive Big West regular season title.
However those hopes have taken a significant hit, as it was reported by West Coast Hoops Report that guards Keala King and Deng Deng and power forward Tony Freeland have all been dismissed from the program.
Freeland and King didn’t become eligible until late-December after transferring in from DePaul and Arizona State, respectively, but once eligible the two upperclassmen were key figures for the 49ers.
Freeland averaged 11.0 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest, and his addition allowed Ennis to move back to his natural position on the wing after having to play much of Long Beach State’s non-conference schedule as an undersized four.
King averaged 9.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, shooting 43.5% from the field. Deng, a freshman from Long Beach, didn’t start a game this season but finished fourth on the team with 33 made three-pointers. With the departure of Ennis (55 3PM) and Pappageorge (51), who led the team in three-pointers made, he stood to see an increase in opportunities in 2013-14.
However that won’t happen, and the end result is likely even more responsibilities offensively for rising junior point guard Mike Caffey. Caffey averaged 12.0 points and 3.8 assists per game last season, earning first team All-Big West honors.
Head coach Dan Monson also welcomes back forward Dan Jennings (8.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg), and UCLA transfer Tyler Lamb becomes eligible at the end of the fall semester.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
Stanford guard Marcus Allen will be out indefinitely after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot, the school announced on Monday evening.
“We want to make sure Marcus is fully healthy before returning to the court,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said in a statement. “Marcus played at a high level during our summer exhibition competition in Italy, where he was one of our leading scorers. We will certainly miss him as we continue to prepare for the season, but we are fortunate that this happened now and he will be back before he knows it.”
The loss of Allen is a potentially brutal blow in an already-thin back court. The 6-foot-3 Allen started 23 games as a sophomore last season, averaging 6.4 points and 3.5 boards. But he averaged 11.4 points and 5.4 boards as the Cardinal made a run to the NIT championship and looked poised to be able to replace the departed Chasson Randle’s production this year.
What’s worse is that without Allen, Stanford does not return a single player in their back court that averaged more than 11.5 minutes. Sophomore Robert Cartwright looks poised to step into the starting point guard role, but neither Dorian Pickens nor Christian Sanders looked like they were ready for that kind of role in the Pac-12 last season. Dawkins does return Malcolm Allen, Marcus’ twin brother, who sat out last season with a broken wrist.
The good news is that Stanford’s front court is strong enough to carry the Cardinal until Marcus is healthy. Rosco Allen, Reid Travis and Michael Humphrey will be able to hold their own against any front line in the Pac-12, while Grant Verhoeven and freshman Josh Sharma will provide adequate depth.
Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.
Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.
Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.