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Evolving as a point guard a continuous process for Sedrick Barefield

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. – At the end of the July evaluation period, 2015 point guard Sedrick Barefield had established himself as one of the better players in the class at his position. Possessing the ability to both create his own shot and provide for others, Barefield received attention from some of the nation’s premier basketball programs well before July.

But by no means does Barefield’s status mean that he’s done improving. In fact, July was simply the next step in a process that’s been ongoing for quite some time.

The ultimate goal for Barefield, whose team won the 16U division of the adidas Super 64, is one that many young point guards (and their coaches) have: achieving the level of understanding needed in order to have the proper balance between scoring and creating quality opportunities for his teammates.

“For him, he’s so talented, it’s about getting in and figuring out what’s going to be required of him each game,” Compton Magic Select coach A.J. Diggs told NBC Sports in a phone interview Sunday.

“There are going to be some games where he’s needed to score 25 to 30 points, and then there will be games where’s going to need to have eight points and 15 assists. That’s the next step in his development, to just continue to develop his point guard skills across the board.”

Sedrick has some quality sources to receive wisdom from when it comes to developing as a point guard, with both Diggs (Cal) and father Ray (San Diego State) having played at the Division I level.

“[Their playing experience] helps a lot,” noted Sedrick at last weekend’s adidas Super 64. “I get to hear it every day, so I know what have to do and what I have to work on. Now I just have to carry it over into games.”

For some parents, the need to balance offering their own words of wisdom with allowing the coaches to do what they need to do can be tough (or downright impossible). But that isn’t the case for Ray Barefield, who simply tries to allow the coaches to do their jobs without getting in the way.

“Earlier in his life [my experience] was a major influence, with us doing a lot of skill development daily,” noted Ray. “That’s always been there and I’m still helpful with that, but most of the stuff now is situation analysis.

“He has a great high school coach, and the Compton Magic staff does a great job of helping and mentoring him. As far as the game goes I just try to get in his ear little by little, just to help him with the knowledge of the game.”

With that comes the need to develop one’s leadership, and while many will look to point out the negatives that come with grassroots basketball it can also serve as a valuable training ground when it comes to the intangibles. Regardless of the level of basketball, few teams are consistently successful in a chaotic environment.

And as Barefield continues to progress as a point guard, he’ll become even better at knowing the pulse of his team and accomplishing the things his team needs in order to be successful.

“Being more of a leader and getting my teammates involved,” noted Sedrick when asked about the areas he’s looking to improve upon. “Just being a true point guard. You watch the [best] pros and they’re really good leaders, they run their team and they get everyone involved.”

Among the schools Sedrick mentioned when asked about his recruitment were “Kansas State, Boston College, San Diego State, USC, Fresno State, UConn and Michigan.” Rest assured that those schools, and many more, will be interested observers as Barefield looks to further refine his skills as a point guard.

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DePaul adds 2018 commit

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Wisconsin guard John Diener has committed to DePaul, his grassroots program announced Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-4 Class of 2018 guard ends his recruitment rather early with offers also from instate schools Green Bay and Milwaukee. He’s known as a shooter and becomes the first commit for Dave Leitao in the 2018 class.

Diener, who plays with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors in the spring and summer, commits to the Blue Demons with them coming off a disappointing campaign, Leitao’s first in Chicago. DePaul went 9-22 overall and 3-15 in the Big East, finishing only ahead of St. John’s.

DePaul has been recruiting the Midwest hard with incoming 2016 recruits from La Lumiere School in Indiana, Sagninow, Mich. and locally in Chicago.

Four-star guard Fisher commits to TCU

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Jamie Dixon’s presence is already being felt in the Big 12 and on the recruiting trail.

TCU received its first commitment of the Dixon era when four-star 2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher announced his decision to join the Horned Frogs on Wednesday.

“Due to how comfortable my family and I are with the coaching staff,” Fisher posted from his Twitter account, “and the emphasis the university has put on making basketball a priority, I’m committing to be a student-athlete at TCU.”

Getting a consensus top-75 prospect, who was once committed to UNLV, is a heck of a coup for being just a couple months on the job. It instantly shows the Frogs are going to be a player for some of the country’s top players, which is a necessity if you have designs on making a move up the ladder of arguably the country’s best league in the Big 12.

Maybe the most gratifying thing for TCU, though, is the reason Fisher publicly stated for making his decision, the school’s “making basketball a priority.” The hoops program has suffered immensely in the Big 12 (while the football program has flourished), winning a total of eight games in their four seasons (including a winless 2014), but the school sank $72 million into renovating its arena, made an aggressive move in firing Trent Johnson and then went out and got its dream candidate, Dixon, an alum. Fisher’s commitment is the first time those moves have shown that commitment to basketball paying off.

 

Report: Izundu’s San Diego State transfer ban rescinded

Ernie Kent
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Washington State transfer Valentine Izundu will be visiting San Diego State after all.

Coach Ernie Kent has rescinded his restriction on the 6-foot-10 graduate transfer from visiting the Aztecs, according to a report from the Spokesman-Review, citing an anonymous source. Izundu will also be reportedly visiting Fresno State and UNLV.

Izundu had previously been barred from considering the Aztecs by Kent because of suspcisions of tampering. Izundu vigorously denied that was the case as at the center of the dispute was a trip he made to San Diego for spring break. He publicly said he did not have any contact with the SDSU coaching staff , though he attended an Aztecs NIT game.

Kent, though, appears to have relented, as many coaches who have similarly faces public pressure in such situations before him have. In this era where so much attention is being paid to player rights and welfare, there only seems to be growing public sentiment against programs restricting transfers beyond the absolute bare minimum is rarely going to go over well. It may make things more difficult for coaches and programs, but it’s the deck is largely already stacked in their favor in most every other instance.

Ex-Michigan State player Keith Appling faces weapons charges

Keith Appling
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DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) Authorities say former Michigan State basketball player Keith Appling faces charges including carrying a concealed weapon after he was found in possession of guns and marijuana in suburban Detroit.

The Wayne County prosecutor’s office says 24-year-old Appling was arrested outside a Dearborn club on Sunday night. Club security called police after seeing a man pull a gun from the trunk of a car.

Prosecutors say Appling was in the driver’s seat of the car when police arrived. Officers found a handgun under the driver’s seat, a loaded weapon in the trunk and a small amount of suspected marijuana.

Weapons and marijuana possession charges were announced Wednesday.

The court says he doesn’t have a lawyer on record.

Appling played for the Spartans from 2010-2014 and plays for the NBA’s development league.

UNLV transfer to finish career at Michigan State

UNLV forward Ben Carter, right, celebrates after his team defeated Oregon in an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, in Las Vegas. UNLV won 80-69. (AP Photo/John Locher)
(AP Photo/John Locher)
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Former UNLV center Ben Carter announced on Wednesday that he will be transferring to Michigan State to finish his collegiate career.

Carter, who began his career at Oregon, averaged 8.6 points and 6.0 boards in his one season with UNLV before tearing his ACL in late January. He spent two seasons with the Ducks before transferring to Vegas, which is why he’s eligible immediately for the Spartans.

And that’s the biggest reason that Tom Izzo and company targeted him.

The Spartans lost Deyonta Davis to the NBA Draft after one season, a fact that became an inevitability midway through the year but one that the Spartans didn’t necessarily plan for heading into last season. Carter isn’t going to be an instant impact kind of player, particularly not when he’s coming off of an ACL injury, but he is a big body and a veteran presence on a front line that wasn’t going have much of either.