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 ESPN.com, 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.

Report: Swanigan to stay in draft

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Caleb Swanigan is leaving Purdue and staying in the NBA draft, according to reports.

The Boilermaker big man held as much sway on the college basketball landscape with his decision as nearly any player who declared for the draft without an agent. After a season in which he became a double-double machine and averaged 18.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game, Swanigan would have been one of – if not the – favorites for National Player of the Year while also making Purdue right at the top of the Big Ten with Michigan State.

Instead, he’ll reportedly end his collegiate career after a pair of seasons and one Sweet 16 appearance in West Lafayette. As a professional prospect, Swanigan is an interesting case. He was as productive of player as college basketball has seen in recent years as a sophomore, putting up 20-20 games with ridiculous consistency. He’s got some range, but limited quickness and athleticism. The question will be how his game – and frame – will translate into the new NBA that prioritizes versatility, shooting and athleticism. Right now, not many have him pegged as a sure-fire first-round pick.

The loss for Purdue is hard to overstate given just how good “Biggie” was. There’s just no replacing that type of production in the lineup. Still, Matt Painter and the Boilermakers still have an intriguing group, with Isaac Haas and Vince Edwards both electing to return to school after dipping their toes in the NBA waters. There’s some other intriguing young pieces there that will keep Purdue interesting in the Big Ten race.

Florida State picks up late commit from McDonald’s All-American

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The losses sustained by Florida State have been numerous and significant. Three players declared early for the NBA Draft. Another two contributors were lost to graduation. All in all, the Seminoles haven’t had the greatest of springs.

Wednesday, though, they got some good news.

McDonald’s All-American wing M.J. Walker committed Leonard Hamilton’s program to give Florida State a late, and important, addition to its 2017 recruiting class, beating the likes of Ohio State, Georgia Tech and UCLA.

Walker, a 6-foot-5 guard, gives the Seminoles yet another five-star prospect after landing Dwayne Bacon and Jonathan Isaac in the last two recruiting classes. Walker will help Hamilton and Co. reboot after both Bacon and Isaac, along with Xavier Rathan-Mayes, all left school to pursue professional careers after the Seminoles’ 26-9 season that saw them advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Walker becomes the sixth member of Hamilton’s 2017 recruiting class that was previously headlined by four-star 7-footer Ikechukwu Obiagu. That group will be tasked to retool a team losing not only major NBA-level talent, but also major production. The Seminoles won’t return a single player who averaged double-digit points per-game last year and just one who played at least 20 minutes per night.

Michigan returns Mo Wagner, loses D.J. Wilson

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The best-case scenario did not take place for Michigan this week.

The Wolverines waited for four weeks to hear back from their pair of mobile big men, and the news on Mo Wagner was positive. The 6-foot-10 junior from Germany announced on Wednesday that he will return to school after testing the NBA Draft waters.

The news was not as fortunate with D.J. Wilson, who announced less than ten hours before the deadline that he will be signing with an agent and turning pro. Wilson is projected as a late first round or early second round pick.

Without Wilson in the fold, Michigan lacks some front court depth, which will probably be enough to keep them out of the preseason top 25.

Gonzaga to return Johnathan Williams III

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Losing Nigel Williams-Goss and Zach Collins to the professional ranks probably torpedoed Gonzaga’s chance of making another run to the NCAA tournament national title game, but after Johnathan Williams III announced on Wednesday that he will be returning to school and withdrawing from the NBA Draft, Gonzaga does appear to be a favorite to win the WCC title again.

Williams is now Gonzaga’s leading returning scorer and rebounder, anchoring a front court that also loses Przemek Karnowski to graduation. He was expected to go undrafted.

With Williams back in the fold, the Zags should be right there with Saint Mary’s in the race for the WCC title. Josh Perkins, Silas Melson and Killian Tillie all return as well.

ESPN was the first to report the news.

Injured Gamecocks point guard Blanton gives up basketball

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina guard TeMarcus Blanton is giving up basketball after struggling with a serious hip injury he suffered before his freshman season.

Gamecocks coach Frank Martin says Blanton told him he could not get his body to respond to a level that would allow him to continue playing basketball. Blanton is a 6-foot-5 junior from Locust Grove, Georgia, who hurt his hip during preseason for the 2014-15 season. He needed surgery and could not return to the court until his sophomore year.

Blanton played in 29 games, averaging 1.4 points a game.

He said on social media he is grateful to his coaches, teammates and South Carolina fans, “but my journey of basketball has come to an end.”

Blanton received a medical exemption from the Southeastern Conference to remain part of the Gamecocks’ program moving forward.