With Phil Pressey making the decision to enter the 2013 NBA Draft, Missouri head coach Frank Haith was faced with a dilemma. Who will take over at point guard for the Tigers as they look to return to the NCAA tournament for the sixth consecutive season?
Two of the players in the mix, Wes Clark and Shane Rector, are both freshmen who have yet to play a college game. But there is a third option to consider: 6-5 guard Jordan Clarkson, who sat out last season after transferring in from Tulsa. Clarkson may be bigger than your standard floor general, but a full season of working with and against Pressey in practice and a trip to the Chris Paul Elite Guard Camp last month has helped Clarkson’s development.
In a story written by Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star, Clarkson stated that in summer workouts he’s been playing both the point and the off-guard positions.
“I’m really not sure what we’re looking at as far as the depth chart goes, but in practice, I’ve been running both the one and the two,” Clarkson said. “They are not the same, but both are really ball-dominant roles. It’s an open system and it gives us a lot of freedom.”
In two seasons at Tulsa Clarkson was an important cog in the attack for the Golden Hurricane, with his possession percentage eclipsing the 27% mark in both seasons according to Ken Pomeroy’s numbers. And while there were some issues with turnovers as a freshman (turnover rate of 25.3%) Clarkson got better as a sophomore, dropping his turnover rate to a more respectable 18.0%.
The question for Clarkson: how well will he be able to set up his teammates when running the point? Clarkson averaged just 2.3 assists per game in his two seasons at Tulsa, but to be fair he was asked to do quite a bit when it came to scoring. That changes some with Missouri, as double-digit scorers Jabari Brown (13.7 ppg) and Earnest Ross (10.3 ppg) return to help carry the scoring load.
Clarkson’s size (and skill) gives him the ability to be a matchup problem for many of the Tigers’ opponents this season. If he can make good on that promise, Missouri’s more than capable of returning to the NCAA tournament.
Creighton took a big hit to its recruiting efforts late this week as Class of 2018 forward Ian Steere is decommitting from the Bluejays, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Steere’s decommitment was first reported by Julius Kim of Elevate Hoops.
The 6-foot-8 Steere is considered a four-star prospect by Rivals as he is coming off of a very solid spring and summer playing with Team Charlotte in the Under Armour Association. A plus athlete who isn’t afraid to bang on the interior, Steere showing an improving skill level throughout the spring and summer as he could see his recruiting soar after opening things up.
According to a report from Jon Nyatawa of the World-Herald, one of the reasons that Steere is opening up his recruitment is his desire to be closer to his native North Carolina. With so many top programs looking for quality help on the interior, it’ll be interesting to see which programs jump in and try to recruit Steere the second time around.
John Wall was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night as he delivered an emotional speech while talking to his mother.
The first inductee into the Hall of Fame to play for current Wildcat head coach John Calipari, Wall only spent the 2009-10 season in Lexington but he became the first national player of the year to play at Kentucky before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
Thanking his mother, Calipari, his family, friends and Big Blue Nation, the Washington Wizards guard gave a very moving speech, including an emotional part directed to his mother at around 4:35.
Ohio State continued a strong week on the recruiting trail on Friday night by landing a commitment from Class of 2018 guard Luther Muhammad.
Regarded as a four-star prospect, the 6-foot-4 Muhammad is a tough and rugged perimeter defender who can attack the basket. Also showing some ability to play on the ball as a secondary handler, Muhammad is a very solid addition to Ohio State’s recruiting class since they need to overhaul their roster under new head coach Chris Holtmann.
Muhammad is the third player to commit to the Buckeyes in the Class of 2018 this week as he joins four-star forward Jaedon LeDee and three-star guard Duane Washington in the current Ohio State recruiting class. Since Washington is a three-point threat and Muhammad is more of an off-the-bounce specialist, the two guards are a good start for Ohio State in this class as they will likely try to find a true floor leader to play with them on the perimeter.
Michigan added to an already strong Class of 2018 recruiting haul on Friday night as four-star forward Ignas Brazdeikis pledged to the Wolverines on Twitter.
The 6-foot-8 Canadian was one of the premier scorers in the Nike EYBL this past spring and summer playing with CIA Bounce as Brazdeikis averaged 21.1 points per game on 49 percent shooting from the floor. Well-rounded outside of his scoring, Brazdeikis also put up 7.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game while also showing a workable jumper that was 26 percent from three-point range.
With the job that Michigan head coach John Beilein has done developing forwards, most recently with the rapid improvement of players like D.J. Wilson and Moritz Wagner, it’ll be fascinating to see how Brazdeikis will look at the college level after some time on campus. Beilein’s offense is favorable for skilled forwards with a penchant for scoring and Brazdeikis could end up being a tremendous fit for the Wolverines.
Brazdeikis becomes the fourth member of Michigan’s Class of 2018 recruiting haul as he joins four-star forward Brandon Johns, four-star guard David Dejulius and three-star forward Taylor Currie.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Prosecutors have dropped a first-degree sexual assault charge against former Creighton point guard Maurice Watson after questions arose about the accuser’s story.
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine announced Friday that his office had dropped the felony charge, filed earlier this year when a 19-year-old woman accused Watson of assaulting her early Feb. 4 at a party in an Omaha home. Watson has denied that allegation.
The 24-year-old Watson pleaded no contest Friday to misdemeanor assault for an encounter the same night with a different Creighton student, who said Watson touched her thigh and tried to make her touch his genitals. Watson was sentenced to the five days he’d already served in jail.
Watson was a senior when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in January, just days before the party.