Sean Miller

Arizona incoming freshman Elliott Pitts encouraged to add weight

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Many enter their college lives hearing about the dreaded “Freshman 15” — the weight that college freshman sometimes add due to the freedom to eat and drink whatever they please once they leave home.

Most dread gaining the potential weight associated with the “Freshman 15” but for Arizona freshman shooting guard Elliot Pitts, adding that weight will become a necessity.

According to a story from the Arizona Daily Star, Pitts arrived on the Tuscon campus three weeks ago standing at 6-foot-5 but weighing only 170 pounds. In the physical landscape of major college basketball, a 170-pound two-guard simply isn’t going to cut it and when Pitts turned 18 last week, he was probably encouraged to take a few extra pieces of birthday cake.

Thankfully, after three weeks on campus, Pitts seems to be turning a bit of a corner and Arizona head coach Sean Miller is excited about his future.

“That’s very light,” UA coach Sean Miller said.

So, with Pitts on campus for just three weeks so far, the Wildcats have him up to about 175 already and the freshman shooting guard is expected to put on even more in the weeks to come.

“He checked into college as a 17-year-old,” Miller said Thursday. “With that, you know there’s a lot of upside. … His growth through the next three or four months will be fun to watch.”
Pitts is being joined on campus for the first summer session by fellow newcomer and Kansas transfer Zach Peters. McDonald’s All-American Aaron Gordon and another freshman forward — Rondae Hollis-Jefferson — are both participating on the USA U19 Trials — with Gordon making the team — and are expected to join the Wildcats during the second summer session in July.

Pitts could be counted on for bench minutes at the guard spot if he continues his development — especially early in the season during nonconference play before the conference play of the Pac 12 becomes more physically demanding.

Skal Labissiere has not been cleared by the NCAA

Kelly Kline/Under Armour
Kelly Kline/Under Armor
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While the timeline surrounding Cheick Diallo’s eligibility has made headlines for months now, another elite recruit at a blue blood program is still awaiting word on whether or not he will be allowed to play college basketball this season.

Kentucky center Skal Labissiere, the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2015 and a potential No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, has not yet been cleared to play this season. His guard, Gerald Hamilton, confirmed as much to ESPN earlier today.

“Not yet,” Hamilton said. “We’re just trying to get everything squared away. They are asking a few questions.

“They haven’t cleared him, but we’re sticking with our faith. There’s no real concern about anything from the Kentucky compliance people.”

Labissiere has more red flags than you can count, almost all of them pertaining to Hamilton. It was the worst kept secret in high school basketball that Hamilton more or less had Labissiere for sale. It’s why he played three different AAU programs and two different high schools in four years. Hamilton runs a non-profit called Reach Your Dream and, after a transfer rendered him ineligible for his senior high school season, Labissiere played for a team called ‘Reach Your Dream Prep’, which Hamilton founded simply to ensure Labissiere had a place to play.

Here’s how summarized things back in November:

Multiple coaches who have recruited Labissiere told Hamilton either directly indicated or strongly suggested pursuing Labissiere would mostly be a waste of time if they couldn’t offer assistance in helping fund his foundation. One coach from a prominent staff said: “We couldn’t even get in the door.” Another added: “We recognized what it was about early on and decided not to get involved.”

In other words, no one is surprised that the NCAA is looking into Labissiere’s situation, and it’s not hard to look at Kentucky bringing in Isaac Humphries and Tai Wynyard as a sign that they’re not completely certain that Labissiere will make it through this. The surprise is in how quiet that investigation has been over the course of the last few months.

The shame in all of this is that Labissiere is a sweet kid with an incredible back-story. He survived the devastating earthquake in Haiti despite having a house collapse on him. If he can get through this investigation, he’ll easily be one of the biggest and most likeable stars in the sport this season.

Xavier commit to enroll early, redshirt

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Xavier landed a commitment on Wednesday from four-star big man Eddie Ekiyor, a source confirmed to

Ekiyor, who picked the Musketeers over Miami and Florida, is a borderline top 100 recruit. He’s an athletic, 6-foot-8 post that shouldn’t have an issue adjusting to the pace and physicality of the game, although he needs to continue to develop offensively to be more than a catch-and-dunk big man down the road.

In other words, on paper, Ekiyor isn’t much different from the majority of high major big men. But what’s different about this situation is that Ekiyor will be enrolling at Xavier for the start of the spring semester, technically making him a member of the Class of 2015. Xavier won’t be rushing him through the process — he’ll redshirt the second half of the 2015-16 season — but getting him on campus early will allow him an extra six months of learning the Xavier system, developing in collegiate practices and working out with the Xavier strength coaches.

That should help him limit the adjustment phase as he transitions from high school. That’s important for the Musketeers, because there’s a chance that they could lose their starting front line — James Farr (graduation) and Jalen Reynolds (early entry) — after this season.