Report: Prime Prep products Jordan Mickey, Karviar Shepherd declared to be non-qualifiers

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Considered by many to be Top 100 prospects entering their senior year of high school, forwards Jordan Mickey and Karviar Shepherd helped turn the Prime Prep program into one of the nation’s best after following head coach Ray Forsett over from Grace Prep.

Both players were expected to have a similar impact at their respective colleges in 2013-14, with Mickey signing with LSU and Shepard making the move to TCU.

There’s now a chance that neither will suit up for their new schools in 2013-14.

According to a report from Jeff Goodman of, both Mickey and Shepherd have been declared to be non-qualifiers for the upcoming season by the NCAA. Per Goodman’s report, both Mickey and Shepherd were in good shape to qualify academically for Division I competition before leaving Grace Prep.

In January, Prime Prep announced that it had completed “all the preliminary steps necessary” to ensure that its student-athletes would be eligible to receive scholarships from NCAA institutions according to the report.

“We are pleased to announce that Prime Prep Academy has successfully completed all preliminary steps necessary for NCAA membership! As a result of this milestone, all prospective student athletes are eligible for individual review through the NCAA initial eligibility process. This will enable students to attend and receive scholarships from Division 1 and Division 2 college institutions. Once again, Prime Prep Academy continues to make strides for students both academically and in the athletic department. We anticipate a great partnership with the NCAA.”

Both players will have the opportunity to appeal the ruling, which they are expected to do. As John Infante noted in regards to the Chris Walker situation earlier this week, being declared a non-qualifier at this stage simply means that at this point in time they cannot play.

While Mickey and Shepherd will go through with the appeal process, both LSU and TCU are in a position where they need to plan for the possibility of not having these freshmen on board.

LSU, with the addition of McDonald’s All-America Jarell Martin, fellow freshman Brian Bridgewater and the return of Johnny O’Bryant III, should be fine inside and will have a shot at earning an NCAA tournament bid even if Mickey’s unable to play.

As for TCU, head coach Trent Johnson will have the services of two players who saw either little or no action last season due to knee injuries in Amric Fields (three games) and Aaron Durley (injured his knee in the preseason). Those two join junior Devonta Abron (7.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg) in TCU’s front court rotation, but losing a player of Shepherd’s caliber hurts the Horned Frogs from a depth standpoint.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.