SIU Athletics

Colorado State lands former Southern Illinois forward Dantiel Daniels

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With the departure of three key front court players from last season’s NCAA tournament team, it’s safe to say that Colorado State head coach Larry Eustachy is in need of some depth in the paint.

Gerson Santo returns for his senior season with Navy transfer J.J. Avila and junior college transfer Marcus Holt joining the program this summer, but they’re essentially all that CSU has in the front court to this point in the offseason.

While he won’t be able to help the Rams in game action this coming season, a commitment from former Southern Illinois forward Dantiel Daniels will help Colorado State down the line.

Daniels dealt with ankle and groin injuries for much of his sophomore season in Carbondale, averaging 7.7 points and 3.2 rebounds per contest. As a freshman the 6-5 forward led the Missouri Valley Conference with an average of 1.6 blocked shots per game.

According to Matt L. Stephens of The Coloradoan, Daniels knew that he would fit in at Colorado State before the completion of his official visit to the school.

“I really liked the community, and the town of Fort Collins is really nice. We went down to the strip (Old Town), and I was comfortable. I got a really good vibe from the coaches, too,” Daniels said in a phone interview.

“But I was sold on the town. It was crazy, because Friday, I hadn’t even seen the basketball part of it — just the town. I knew then and there, that this is a place I feel really comfortable with. I got to talking with coach (Larry) Eustachy and all the coaches and decided this was the best situation for me to be in.”

Given his height there may be more than a few who consider Daniels to be undersized, especially given some of the big men Mountain West school such as New Mexico (Cameron Bairstow, Alex Kirk) and UNLV (Khem Birch) can put on the floor on a nightly basis.

But consider what former CSU forwards Pierce Hornung (6-5, 210) and Greg Smith (6-6, 221) were able to accomplish during their time in Fort Collins.

Hornung averaged 8.7 rebounds per game and a junior and 8.9 as a senior, and Smith wasn’t too shabby on the glass himself with an average of 5.1 rebounds per game in each of his last two years.

Those two (in addition to 7-footer Colton Iverson, of course) played a part in Colorado State ranking second nationally in offensive rebounding percentage (CSU rebounded 41.2% of its missed shots) and first in defensive rebounding percentage (76.3%) last season.

Unfortunately for Colorado State Daniels has to sit out the 2013-14 season per NCAA transfer rules, so he can’t help them with the front court depth issue just yet. But with one scholarship remaining, don’t be surprised if CSU looks to grab a big man who can play next season.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

VIDEOS: Rhode Island, Maryland exchange heated words in Cancun

Dan Hurley
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No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.

Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.

But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.

It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:

After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”:

Wayne Selden stars as Kansas wins the title in Maui

Wayne Selden Jr., Jeff Roberson
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The last time we wrote about Wayne Selden in this space, it was my colleague Scott Phillips who questioned, after a poor performance in the Champions Classic, whether or not Selden is capable of bring a primary scorer for a team with NCAA title aspirations.

At the time, it wasn’t an unfair question to ask.

Selden is a former top 15 recruit. He is a guy who was expected to go one-and-done that played poorly in the first big game of his third year on campus. But after three days it Maui, it appears that the old Wayne Selden is gone.

[MORE: Kansas got Cheick Diallo news today]

He capped an MVP performance in the Maui Invitational with 25 points and seven boards on 8-for-11 shooting as the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks knocked off No. 19 Vanderbilt, 70-63, in the title game. Selden was terrific for the entire weekend, averaging 21.5 points in the two games against Division I competition and shooting 12-for-17 from beyond the arc in the three game tournament.

It was the best that we’ve seen Selden play during his Jayhawk career, and it came in a game the Jayhawks desperately needed it. Vanderbilt is a damn good team. They’re ranked 19th, which may actually be too low, and they seem to clearly be the biggest challenger to Kentucky in the SEC. They jumped out to a double-digit lead on Kansas in the first half as the Jayhawks seemed to be sleep-walking early in the game.

Enter Selden. He drilled three threes in the first half and scored 13 of the 26 Jayhawk points to keep them close. In other words, he played like a star on a night Kansas desperately needed someone to step up and play like a star. Remember: this is a dude that had enough talent and potential in high school to be considered a McDonald’s All-American and a potential lottery pick. The ability is there:

(That move is filthy.)

The question has always been whether or not he is capable of putting it all together, of being the guy that can be relied upon to make the big play in the big moment, to carry a team with title aspirations.

And to be fair, the jury is still out in that regard. Are we just going to ignore those four free throws he clanged down the stretch?

But seeing Selden have this kind of performance in a game like this against a team that is this good is unquestionably a positive for Kansas moving forward.