Four-star 2014 center Goodluck Okonoboh cuts list to five

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One of the nation’s top defensive players is one step closer to make a college choice.

On Tuesday, Wilbraham & Monson Academy (Mass.) center Goodluck Okonoboh narrowed his list of offers to (in no order) Duke, Florida, Indiana, Ohio State and UNLV. ESPN’s Adam FInkelstein first reported the news, followed by Okonoboh, who confirmed the list.

“These coaches were all visible this summer, as were several others,” Vin Pastore, Okonoboh’s Mass Rivals AAU coach told NBC Sports in a phone interview on Tuesday afternoon. “But I guess these were the ones he felt the most connected to.

“It was time. He’s gonna start planning his visits.Β I think [it will] be sometime in the near future.”

Okonoboh has taken a big step in the college process, which led Pastore to believe that his commitment could happen during the early signing period.

source:
WMA.us

For years, Okonoboh starred on the Tilton School (N.H.) and BABC frontlines along with his good friend and current Philadelphia 76er Nerlens Noel. Those BABC clubs were also made up of Kansas signee Wayne Selden and Iowa State rising sophomore Georges Niang. This season, after transferring to WMA and playing with the Mass Rivals for the second summer, Okonoboh established himself as a top 35 player according to Rivals, and is arguably the best shot blocker in the Class of 2014.

Looking at Okonoboh’s top five, one school stands out: Indiana. Last fall, Tom Crean got a commitment from another Mass Rivals product, Noah Vonleh.

“He’s friends with Noah, and Noah’s at Indiana, so we’ll leave it at that,” Pastore said.

Before Bloomington, Ind. prepares to be amazed by Goodluck’s highlight reel blocked shots, like this one, Pastore was quick to point out that based on recent recruitment developments, friendships might not sway Okonoboh.

“It certainly doesn’t hurt Indiana’s chances,” Pastore said. “But then again Syracuse didn’t make his list and they just got a commitment from Kaleb Joseph, and him and Goodluck were roommates this summer.”

Friendship, nor distance, seems to make an impact on the Boston native, who’s final five schools range in four different conferences, the closest one being a minimum of 700 miles away.

Okonoboh is ranked as the No. 32 player in the Class of 2014 by Rivals, and will be in action this Saturday as part of the 2013 Elite 24 in Brooklyn.

Ohio State lands second pledge in two days with 2018 guard Duane Washington

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Ohio State stayed hot on the recruiting trail on Wednesday as the Buckeyes landed a commitment from Class of 2018 guard Duane Washington.

The 6-foot-3 Washington is the second commitment for Ohio State and new head coach Chris Holtmann in the last two days after four-star forward Jaedon LeDee pledged to the Buckeyes on Tuesday.

One of the better shooters in the Class of 2018, Washington averaged 14.9 points per game on tremendous shooting splits (48% FG, 87% FT, 45% 3PT) playing with The Family in the Nike EYBL this spring. A Michigan native who now resides in California, Washington gives Ohio State a much-needed guard commitment in the Class of 2018.

With the Buckeyes needing to fill a lot of scholarships due to roster turnover, Washington is a solid start to their perimeter class. While Washington isn’t likely to play point guard, he can play multiple perimeter spots and should be a solid addition to the Buckeye rotation.

Syracuse walk-on accused of sexual assault

Syracuse Post-Standard
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Dominick Parker, an 18-year old freshman who was added to the Syracuse roster as a walk-on just 12 days ago, was arrested last Friday and charged with sexual abuse in the first degree, reports Syracuse.com.

Parker is accused of having sexual contact with an 18-year old female student while she was incapable of giving consent. His name and picture have been removed from the Syracuse athletics website.

“Sexual and relationship violence is not tolerated at Syracuse University,” the school said in a statement. “We are now doing all that we can to support and provide assistance to those affected by the alleged incident. As this is an ongoing investigation, Syracuse University will not be providing further comment.”

Wichita State to sell beer at Koch Arena

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As if it wasn’t already hard enough to win games at Koch Arena.

Starting this season, Wichita State fans will be able to buy beer during games at their home arena, a fact that should ensure that the raucous home environs that have made the Shockers so difficult to beat in Wichita remains the same.

That’s not a bad thing to add to a home court advantage while making the move into a new conference, the American, for the 2017-18 season.

Once a rarity, beer at college sporting events in aΒ growing trend. Minnesota, Florida and Texas, among a number of others have added alcohol sales in recent years. Given the money that would seem likely to be generated, it’s a trend that will probably become even more pervasive in college athletics.

Let’s just make sure that everyone partakes in moderation.

Blue Ribbon release college basketball preseason top 25, all-american teams

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Blue Ribbon, the college basketball bible, has released their top 25 and preseason all-american awards, the first publication to do so as far as I know.

Their top five — Arizona, Michigan State, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky — contains the same teams as my top five will, only in a different order. The only crazy ranking that I see in their top 25 comes with Miami checking in at No. 16. I have a feeling they are going to end up regretting that by the end of the season.

What is somewhat crazy, however, is Blue Ribbon’s all-american teams.

Bonzie Colson is their Preseason National Player of the Year. That’s not my pick, but it’s justifiable. But having Miles Bridges as a second-team preseason all-american? Angel Delgado as a fourth-team preseason all-american? I disagree with both of those picks.

But that will all play out during the season.

And, frankly, I haven’t exactly had the best track record predicting all-americans in recent years, not after I opted to rate Skal Labissiere as a first-team preseason all-american over Buddy Hield.

That was a miss.

It happens to the best of us.

But I feel pretty comfortable saying that Miles Bridges as a second-team preseason all-american will end up being a miss.

4-star center commits to Purdue

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With Vince Edwards and Isaac Haas entering their senior seasons, adding front court options in the 2018 class was something that Purdue needed to do. Purdue added its second front court commitment in the 2018 class Tuesday evening, as four-star center Emmanuel Dowuona reportedly made his pledge. News of Dowuona’s commitment was first reported by the Lafayette Journal & Courier.

Dowuona, a 6-foot-11 big man who attends Westwood Christian School in Miami, joins fellow four-star prospect Trevion Williams in Purdue’s 2018 class to date.

Dowuona’s commitment comes just days before he was reportedly to visit Tennessee. Among the other programs to have offered Duwuona were Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami and UConn.

Dowuona played for the Team Breakdown program on the Under Armour Association circuit during the summer, averaging 7.9 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game while shooting 59.3 percent from the field. While still a bit raw offensively, the native of Ghana provides value as a defender and rebounder. Dowuona is joining a program that during Painter’s tenure as head coach has done a good job of developing big men.

Dowuona and the aforementioned Williams will look to compete for playing time in 2018-19 alongside current redshirt junior Jacquil Taylor and 7-foot-3 redshirt freshman center Matt Haarms.