Jim Larranaga

Miami adds JuCo forward James Kelly, seventh player added

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Jim Larranaga and the Atlantic Coast Conference champs added a seventh newcomer for the 2013-2014 season in junior college transfer James Kelly (Owens Community College/Toledo, Ohio).

The transfer power forward Kelly averaged 18.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game while leading Owens CC to the NJCAA Division II tournament semifinals. Kelly was ranked as the No. 22 overall junior college player according to JuCoRecruiting.com

“James Kelly will be a vital part of the team this season because he provides us a power forward/small forward who can contribute both inside and outside,” Larranaga said in a statement. “He’s 6-7, 245 pounds and he’s big enough to battle the bigger teams in the ACC, but also quick enough to guard smaller players on the perimeter.”

Miami ended last season with a 29-7 record, but will not return its six top scorers, including five graduating seniors and sophomore point guard Shane Larkin who declared for the NBA Draft.

“Our recruiting class in the spring has added a lot of versatility and much-needed skills to our program,” added Larranaga. “We have graduated five outstanding seniors and lost Shane Larkin to the NBA Draft, so we have a lot of holes to fill.”

Kelly signed on Tuesday along with Emmanuel LeComte, a 5-foot-9 point guard from Belgium. The Hurricanes will try to get transfer point guard Angel Rodriguez to get a waiver to play next year after transferring from Kansas State.

The rest of Miami’s incoming class includes shooting guards Davon Reed (Princeton Day School/Princeton, N.J.) and Deandre Burnett (Massanutten Military Academy/Miami, Fla.) A pair of Miami football recruits — Derrick Griffin and Cornelius Elder — will join the basketball team at the end of football season.

The six players Miami lose from the 2012-2013 team accounted for an average of 62.9 points per game.

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

Kennesaw State blows eight-point lead in 16 seconds, loses to Elon

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Kennesaw State entered Monday night at 1-6 on the season, but with 19 seconds left, it looked like the Owls have their second of the season locked up. Kendrick Ray made a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left to put KSU up 89-81, and all they had to do was avoid a complete meltdown to get out with a win.

They couldn’t.

A Luke Eddy layup with 16 seconds left cut the lead to six, and after KSU’s Nigel Pruitt missed two free throws, Dainan Swoope his a three with seven seconds left to make the score 89-86.

On the ensuing inbounds, Kennesaw State threw the ball away … and then proceeded to foul Eddy when he was shooting a three. This is what that disaster looked like:

Eddy would hit all three threes before, shockingly, KSU turned the ball over again. Elon could not capitalize this time, sending the game to overtime, where the Phoenix outscored the Owls 14-4.

Elon won 104-94.

Here’s what the comeback looked like on the play-by-play:

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Rick Pitino: Louisville ‘just ignored’ in top 25 due of scandal

Rick Pitino
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Louisville beatdown Saint Louis at the Barclays Center on Sunday night, a 77-57 win that was much closer at halftime than the final score might indicate.

The win moved the Cardinals to 5-0 on the season, and that, in turn, got Louisville into the back end of both top 25 polls.

They’re 24th in the AP Poll and 22nd in the Coaches Poll, but that happened on Monday morning. On Sunday night, Pitino made sure to get a rant in about how this team is viewed and why pundits and voters should overlook the scandal currently plaguing his program.

“I think people are looking at that and they’re not really studying the team,” he said, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal, adding that he thinks the team is “just ignored” because of the accusations leveled by self-described madam Katina Powell in the book she published back in October.

And here’s the thing: he is 100 percent correct. Louisville was overlooked in the preseason because the scandal, when combined with the fact that the Cardinals are integrating so many new pieces into their rotation, made it tough to see how they would be able to compete at a level that we’ve come to expect out of Louisville teams.

I know that because it’s why my colleagues at NBCSports.com, against my wishes, refused to allow me to rank Louisville in the preseason top 25. In other words, I’ve had first-hand interactions with the haters. But if we’re going to be honest here, scandal or no scandal, Louisville probably wasn’t going to find their way into the preseason top 25, not when they had to replace Terry Rozier and Montrezl Harrell.

And scandal or no scandal, no team from outside the top 25 is going to play their way into the top 25 by beating the likes of North Florida and St. Francis (NY) without some shenanigans — like Fred VanVleet getting hurt, like Indiana collapsing, like Arizona and Cal and Notre Dame playing their way out of the top 20 — happening around the country.

So Pitino is right: the scandal probably did have an impact on how his team was viewed in the preseason.

But Pitino the scandal isn’t what kept them out of the top 25 until Monday.

That weak non-conference schedule and roster turnover was why.

And if we’re going to be honest here, it probably should have kept them out for another week.