A few months before the FGCU Eagles went on their NCAA tournament run that captivated fans throughout the country, 6-7 forward Jordan Neff signed his National Letter of Intent to play for the Atlantic Sun school.
Having led North Cobb (Ga.) High School to a 26-5 record, the Kennesaw native was a newcomer many were excited about even with the change in head coach from Andy Enfield (now at USC) to Joe Dooley. However, plans have changed.
On Wednesday afternoon the school announced that Neff has decided to leave the program, citing family concerns as the reason for his departure. Neff, who averaged 16.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per game last season, will attend Gordon State College (Ga.) according to the Naples (Fla.) Daily News.
“I’d like to thank coach Dooley, the staff and my teammates for helping me improve on and off the floor the past few months,” Neff said in the release announcing his decision. “While this is a difficult decision for me to make, I know that at this time it is the right one for not only me but also my family. I wish my teammates and FGCU all the best this year.”
While the loss of a valuable commit is never celebrated, FGCU won’t be crippled by Neff’s departure. The Eagles lost just two seniors from last season’s team (guard Sherwood Brown and forward Eddie Murray), and with four starters returning there’s more than enough experience for coach Dooley to work with.
There’s also the addition of Marquette transfer Jamail Jones, who’s now eligible to play after sitting out the 2012-13 season per NCAA transfer rules. With Neff’s decision to leave the program FGCU will add just one freshman this year, 6-7 forward Logan Hovey, with three Division I transfers sitting out the 2013-14 campaign.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) Duke and Cincinnati, 2016 NCAA Tournament teams, highlight the eight-team field for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament.
The participants for the Nov. 19-20 event were announced Wednesday.
Also in the field are Rhode Island, Penn State, Grand Canyon, Albany, Marist and Brown.
The teams, split into two four-team brackets, will play two doubleheaders at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Duke, Cincinnati, Penn State and Rhode Island will meet in the Naismith Bracket, while the others will play in the Springfield Bracket.
The teams will play two early round games at campus sites from Nov. 11 through Nov. 16.
Brandone Francis-Ramirez is transferring out of the Florida program, the school announced on Wednesday.
A former top 40 recruit, Francis-Ramirez had his two seasons in Gainesville ruined by an academic issues and a loss of confidence. He was academically ineligible in 2014-15, practicing with the team during the second semester. He was granted a redshirt for the year, but he struggled to find any kind of a rhythm this past season. There was a two-month stretch in the middle of the year where he shot 6-for-58 from the floor and 2-for-31 from three.
On the season, he shot 20.2 percent from the floor and 16.9 percent from three.
“I want it to work out for him,” Gators coach Mike White said in a release. “We really appreciate what Brandone did here and wish him the best.”
The forgotten star of the national title game underwent an arthroscopic on his left knee on Wednesday.
Phil Booth, who scored a season-high 20 points in the 2016 National Title game, will be a junior next season and one of the guys called upon to help replace Ryan Arcidiacono, who graduated. He should be ready to go by the middle of the summer; according to a statement put out by the program, Booth will need 6-to-8 weeks to heal.
“Phil is as mentally tough a young man as we have had at Villanova,” head coach Jay Wright said in the release. “He continually impresses our coaching staff with his outstanding attitude. Phil will attack this recovery challenge with great determination, as he does everything in life.”
Booth averaged 7.0 points and 2.2 assists this past season.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell has announced that sophomore forward Alexis Jennings will transfer, the seventh Wildcat to leave the program since last fall.
Jennings’ departure comes a week after Mitchell publicly addressed the mass exodus of players and assistant coaches and stressed the need for building stability. Jennings figured to be part of that process and the coach said in a release Wednesday night that “it saddens us that Alexis did not see a path for her at Kentucky. … She felt it was in her best interest to finish her career elsewhere and we owe her that opportunity.”
The 6-foot-2 Jennings started 18 of 33 games last season and averaged 10 points and 7.1 rebounds.
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.