2014 point guard Larry Austin verbally commits to attend Tennessee


With Antonio Barton (who transferred in from Memphis) and Jordan McRae out of eligibility after the 2013-14 season, the Tennessee Volunteers had room for more talent on the perimeter.

The key word in that statement is “had,” because on Thursday 2014 point guard Larry Austin Jr. became the third verbal commitment in that class for head coach Cuonzo Martin. Austin, who attends Lanphier High in Springfield, Ill., joins shooting guard Jordan Cornish and power forward Phil Cofer in Tennessee’s 2014 recruiting class.

A 6-1 point guard who played this spring/summer with the St. Louis Eagles (alongside Texas commit Jordan Barnett), Austin is regarded as one of the top defensive point guards in his class. Tennessee, which will look to return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2011, beat out Illinois and Kansas State (Austin held offers from other high-major schools as well) for Austin’s pledge.

According to [Lanphier head coach Blake] Turner, Tennessee has been recruiting Austin “for quite some time.” Assistant coach Jon Harris began the recruitment, while Martin, who hails from East St. Louis, became heavily involved recently, helping close the door.

“Coach Martin has been a very strong recruiter as a head coach,” Turner said. “Out of all the schools that recruited Larry, I can honestly say that he’s been one of the top head coaches. It carries a little more weight when the head coach calls.”

In 2014 Austin and Cornish will join a backcourt that will have just two upperclassmen, Armani Moore (2.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg) and Quinton Chievous (2.5, 2.4). Tennessee adds two talented freshmen to the mix this season in shooting guard Robert Hubbs and point guard Darius Thompson, with even more likely being required of those two when Barton and McRae graduate.

The one question for Tennessee down the road is what they do in the front court. Jeronne Maymon, healthy after missing all of last season due to a knee injury, is a redshirt senior and there’s also the question of whether or not Jarnell Stokes would once again put off turning pro after deciding to return to Knoxville for his junior campaign.

The Vols have the highly-regarded Cofer coming in, but there isn’t a great amount of depth in the paint when looking past the 2013-14 campaign. With one scholarship left to be filled, chances are that Tennessee isn’t done on the recruiting trail for that very reason.

But with the three verbal commitments they already have, there’s no doubt that Tennessee is in a good position moving forward.

image from 247Sports.com

Wichita State’s Anton Grady improving after being hospitalized

James Woodard, Anton Grady, Ron Baker
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Wichita State senior forward Anton Grady received some positive news on Saturday as a neurosurgeon reviewed MRI results, which are negative for spinal cord trauma.

According to a release from Wichita State, doctors believed Grady suffered a spinal cord concussion during a collision on Friday after he was taken off the floor in a stretcher and taken to a hospital in an ambulance. CT and MRI scans on Friday both turned up negative, but the news of Saturday’s results are an even more encouraging sign for Grady.

The injury for Grady occurred during a Friday loss to Alabama during the AdvoCare Invitational as the senior’s condition has improved since the collision. Grady will receive physical therapy over the next few days and doctors will check his progress before he is released from the hospital.

Grady has been alert and responsive to questions and had feeling in his extremities on Friday, but the use of his arms and legs was limited. By Saturday morning, Grady had improved the use of his extremities.

The 6-foot-8 Grady has averaged 9 points and 6 rebounds per game this season in his first season with the Shockers. The Cleveland State transfer is shooting 39 percent from the field.

Colorado’s Tory Miller reprimanded by Pac-12 after biting opponent

Dusan Ristic, Tory Miller
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Colorado sophomore forward Tory Miller has been reprimanded by the Pac-12 and he also apologized for biting Air Force’s Hayden Graham earlier this week.

During Colorado’s win over Air Force on Wednesday, Miller was assessed a Flagrant 2 Dead Ball Technical Foul and ejected with 12:25 left in the second half after biting Graham during a loose ball.

In a release from the Pac-12, they announced reprimanding Miller, but he will not be suspended.

“All of our student-athletes must adhere to the Pac-12’s Standards of Conduct and Sportsman-ship,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in the release. “Regardless of Mr. Miller’s frustration and emotion, such behavior is unacceptable and he is being appropriately reprimanded.”

Miller also released his apology in the same release.

“I would like to apologize for my actions during the Air Force game. I would like to apologize to Hayden Graham, Air Force, my teammates and fans. It was a heat of the moment thing. I’m an emotional player, but I let my emotions get the best of me. I will use this as a learning experience and focus on helping my teammates and respecting my opponents for the rest of the season and beyond,” Miller said.

For Miller to not be suspended for this is good news for him and Colorado since he won’t miss any additional action, but did the Pac-12 make the right decision on this?