LSU freshmen enter summer school with high expectations

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Expectations are high for LSU and second-year coach Johnny Jones entering this season. The Tigers finished 19-12 last year and return some key veterans while also adding some significant pieces via their highly-touted recruiting class in the hopes of competing for an NCAA Tournament bid.

While incoming freshman wing Jordan Mickey was ruled a non-qualifer this week by the NCAA, LSU still boasts an impressive incoming recruiting class and a few of those pieces are already enrolled and practicing on the Baton Rouge campus.

McDonald’s All-American and 6’10 power forward Jarell Martin headlines the class and 6’6 point guard Tim Quarterman, 7-foot Australia native Darcy Malone and junior college transfer John Odo have also been on campus working with the team, according to The Advertiser.

Martin — who is expected to be paired in the frontcourt with junior Johnny O’Bryant — has already added 15 pounds, which he described to The Advertiser by saying, “it can be fat and lean combined together.”

Quarterman, meanwhile, has focused on point guard duties in drills and open gyms by working on his communication skills.

“At that position, you have to be,” Quarterman said to The Advertiser. “You got to tell people where to be at and what to do. You’ve got to communicate constantly on defense. You can’t be at that position and be quiet.”

Malone and Odo will give LSU additional depth in the frontcourt and Malone is already experiencing how physical major college basketball can be in the summer workouts.

“If there’s an open gym, I’m happy to call up Johnny and say, ‘Come bash me up in the post again,’ “ Malone said of O’Bryant and Odo. “Both those are really quite strong men, and it’s been great to say, ‘This is what I need to play like whenever I hit the floor.’”

Freshman forward Brian Bridgewater will also eventually join the Tigers and coupled with returning players like O’Bryant, junior Anthony Hickey, seniors Andre Stringer and Shavon Coleman and late-emerging sophomore Malik Morgan, LSU could have good depth at multiple positions in their attempt to make the NCAA Tournament.

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.