Deeper St. John’s squad to be without three players for European trip

Leave a comment

With their top six scorers from last season’s team back for another season in Queens, the St. John’s Red Storm have the talent needed to hit the ground running in the Big East this coming season. Steve Lavin’s program will hit the road later this month, leaving on August 19 to play games and take in the sights in France, Italy and Spain before returning on September 1.

Unfortunately for the Red Storm, three of the players expected to have spots in the rotation are unlikely to play in Europe for health reasons. Veterans Phil Greene IV (torn left hip labrum) and Felix Balamou (sprained left ankle) are both recovering from injuries suffered late last season, and freshman Rysheed Jordan has been dealing with back spasms. Those injuries certainly won’t help coach Lavin, especially when it comes to Jordan.

The Philadelphia native is seen by many as the missing piece for the Red Storm, who struggled last season (17-16, 8-10 Big East) due in large part to instability at the point. Adding the talented Jordan to the mix makes the Johnnies a better team at the point from a talent standpoint, but not having him available for the trip is less than ideal. Luckily for the Red Storm, they don’t lack for depth as they approach the start of their summer trip.

“It’s definitely less than ideal to not have Rysheed Jordan, Phil Greene and Felix Balamou’s services. On the flip-side, unlike previous seasons, we now have the depth to absorb some injuries or foul trouble in a game,” Lavin said during the team’s media availability Thursday.

“In the past, the combination of a thin bench and our inexperience made it difficult to overcome injuries. Now we’re at a point where we finally have a more seasoned roster and deeper bench. Naturally, it’s less than ideal to have injuries yet we feel optimistic about the quality and depth of our personnel.”

One of the returnees is junior guard D’Angelo Harrison, whose disciplinary issues didn’t help matters for the Red Storm last season. With a new lease on his basketball career, the high-scoring shooting guard returns with an improved attitude. The task now is to continue to build on the strides made during the offseason, which included spending time with John Lucas in Houston.

“Obviously I didn’t want to be suspended, but I made it the best situation I could,” said Harrison. “I was around the guys constantly. I went home and worked out with John Lucas. I was a part of this wellness program, I attended anger management sessions and pretty much came back a different person. I can honestly say that.”

Also returning for the Red Storm are forwards Sir’Dominic Pointer and JaKarr Sampson and center Chris Obekpa, and they’ll also gain the services of big man Orlando Sanchez and Harvard transfer Max Hooper. After a one-year absence from the NCAA tournament can St. John’s return to the field of 68? They’ll take the next step towards a return when they board the plane Monday.

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

Rob Carr/Getty Images
Leave a comment

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.

 

N.C. State lands second transfer of day with Utah’s Devon Daniels

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

A big recruiting day for N.C. State continued on Saturday afternoon as Utah transfer and guard Devon Daniels pledged to the Wolfpack.

Earlier in the day, N.C. State and new head coach Kevin Keatts landed another quality transfer in UNC Wilmington guard C.J. Bryce.

The 6-foot-5 Daniels just finished his freshman season with the Utes in which he put up 9.9 points 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 57 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Just like Bryce, Daniels will have to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations before he has three more seasons of eligibility.

N.C. State now has two potential starters on the perimeter for the 2018-19 season with the addition of Bryce and Daniels as it will be interesting to see what kind of talent the Wolfpack can get around them.