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. 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.


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.

No. 24 Cincinnati beats George Washington 61-56

Troy Caupain
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NEW YORK (AP) Troy Caupain scored 16 points, including the go-ahead three-point play with 1:38 to play, and No. 24 Cincinnati beat George Washington 61-56 on Saturday in the championship game of the Barclays Center Classic.

The fact the game came down to a three-point play was ironic as both teams took 22 3-point attempts and there were times it seemed a 3-point shooting broke out.

Caupain’s traditional three-point play gave the Bearcats (7-0) a 55-54 lead. After a missed 3 by the Colonials (6-1) Octavius Ellis, who chosen the tournament MVP, scored on a tip-in. Patricio Garino scored on a drive for George Washington with 29 seconds left.

The Colonials let the Bearcats pass the ball around and they finally fouled when Ellis touched the ball with 14 seconds to play. Ellis, a 56 percent free throw shooter, clinched his MVP award by making both for a 59-56 lead. Two free throws by Caupain with 6.1 seconds left capped the scoring.

Farad Cobb and Kevin Johnson both had 11 points for the Bearcats while Ellis had nine points and seven rebounds.

Garino had 15 points for George Washington, Tyler Cavanaugh had 13 and Joe McDonald 11.

The Colonials finished 11 of 22 from 3-point range, not bad for a team that came in shooting 27.9 percent (29 of 104) from there. The 50 percent doesn’t look so good when you consider the Colonials made five of their first six 3-point attempts and were 8 of 11 from beyond the arc in the first half. They went 16:42 between 2-point field goals but led 30-27 at halftime.

The Bearcats were 7 of 22 from 3-point range but their advantage came at the free throw line where they were 10 of 12 compared to George Washington’s 3 of 4.


George Washington: The Colonials beat Tennessee in the opening round and they were 3 of 15 on 3s. … George Washington was off to its best start since it was8-0 in 2005-06. … The Colonials finished 10 for 34 from 2-point range.

Cincinnati: The win gives the Bearcats a 13-1 all-time record against George Washington and this was their sixth straight. The last win came on Jan. 31, 1976. … Cincinnati is 7-0 for the fourth time in the last six seasons. … The Bearcats are 51-8 in and have won 24 of 25 in November under coach Mick Cronin. They have won 49 straight games when scoring over 60 points. The 60th point against the Colonials came with 6.1 seconds to play.


George Washington hosts Seton Hall on Wednesday.

Cincinnati hosts Butler on Wednesday.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady improving after being hospitalized

James Woodard, Anton Grady, Ron Baker
AP Photo
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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.