Scott Phillips/NBC Sports

Elite 2014 recruit Craig Victor has plenty of serious suitors

Leave a comment
LAS VEGAS, Nv. — Craig Victor is a wanted man.

The New Orleans native is being tracked by some of the premier programs in the country and as the No. 21 overall recruit in Rivals’ 2014 national rankings, Victor has a lot of coaches present when he takes the floor with New Orleans Elite at the adidas Super 64.

The 6’8″ forward told NBC Sports that Louisville, Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma State, LSU, Oklahoma, Miami, Florida, UConn, Texas A&M, UCLA,  and Oregon were among the schools that had offered scholarships.

Victor noted that a few schools were putting in a big effort to recruit him.

“Arizona’s real hard, LSU’s real hard and I hear from Kansas and Louisville a lot too,” Victor told NBC Sports.

During the game NBC Sports saw of Victor’s at Valley High School in Las Vegas, head coaches from Arizona, LSU and Louisville were present while Kansas also had an assistant coach. Victor said he notices which coaches attend his games.

“Oh yeah, of course, of course; (I notice who is watching) all the time,” Victor said. “I pay attention to all of that. That lets me know that the team really is interested in watching me.”

Now that coaches are able to text with prospective recruits, Victor also has a bevy of text messages to cycle through as he’s cooling down after a game.
After each game, Victor checks his phone to see which coaches have been in touch.

“(They tell me) ‘good game’ or what I did right, what I did wrong. They’ll tell you the truth and let you know if you did something wrong or need to improve something,” Victor said of the texts from coaches. “Most of the time they’re letting me know that they were here watching.”

One of the unique things about Victor is his enjoyment of big games and big matchups. While some prospects shy away from speaking about matchups or don’t wish to speak about them publicly, Victor openly embraces the chance to play good competition.

“It’s a blessing and a good opportunity for me and the other guy I gotta play because it’s going to be a battle,” Victor said. “The coaches come to see when I face guys like Kevon Looney or Leron Black. It’s matchups like that that people want to see so we’re going to come out and compete.”

Victor particularly enjoys the competition he gets when facing Milwaukee-native and top-ten prospect Kevon Looney. The two engaged in a tremendous battle at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in June and also faced earlier during the July evaluation period at the adidas Invitational in Indianapolis.

“I like facing Kevon Looney,” Victor said. “Not just the (NBPA Top 100 Camp game) but we played them in Indy too. I look forward to playing him again; hopefully in this tournament.”

It’s hard to say if Victor will face Looney in the adidas Super 64 — or another time in the future — but no matter the opponent, Victor will come out and play hard.

#CBTtop100: Counting down the Top 100 Players in college basketball

Leave a comment

We’ll be counting down the top 100 players in college basketball all week long. Be sure to check back here throughout the week as the countdown continues over @CBTonNBC.

Jalen Coleman-Lands cleared to practice

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Jarrod Uthoff #20 of the Iowa Hawkeyes defends against Jalen Coleman-Lands #5 of the Illinois Fighting Illini in the second round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

When Illinois takes on Southeast Missouri State in the opener of the 2016-17 season, the Fighting Illini should have it’s starting backcourt out on the floor.

According to Jon Rothstein, Jalen Coleman-Lands has been cleared for all basketball activities. The sophomore two-guard has been recovering from a broken bone in his right hand.

The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.

Coleman-Lands will team up with Tracy Abrams, a point guard who was granted a sixth year of eligibility after missing the past two seasons due to injuries.

This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.

The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.

NBC Sports projected Illinois to finish eighth in the Big Ten this season.

Curtis Jones jumps over Tom Crean

Tom Crean
Leave a comment

Indiana held its annual Hoosier Hysteria on Saturday night.

One of the highlights from the team’s dunk contest was when freshman guard Curtis Jones jumped over Indiana head coach Tom Crean.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a newcomer us his coach as a dunk contest prop. Last week, Rawle Alkins cleared Arizona head coach Sean Miller en route to a reverse jam.

Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.

WATCH: Edmond Sumner take off from the foul line

CINCINNATI, OH - FEBRUARY 03:  Edmond Sumner #4 of the Xavier Musketeers dunks the ball during the game against the St. John's Red Storm at Cintas Center on February 3, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Edmond Sumner is a big reason why Xavier is likely going to be a preseason top-10 team.

On Saturday night, during Musketeer Madness, Sumner won the team’s dunk contest when he took off from the foul line.

Sumner defeated freshmen Tyrique Jones and Quentin Goodin. J.P. Macura, the reigning Big East Sixth Man of the Year, took home the honors last year.

The 6-foot-6 redshirt sophomore is coming off a debut season in which he averaged 11.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.

WATCH: Duke goes crazy for Chase Jeter’s bottle flip

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Chase Jeter #2 of the Duke Blue Devils looks on in the second half against the North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The bottle flip has become an international sensation in recent months.

It’s as simple as it sounds: flipping a water bottle in the air, attempting to have it land upright.

Duke sophomore forward Chase Jeter, in front of 9,300-plus fans, successfully pulled off the bottle flip on Saturday night at Duke’s Craziness.

Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.