CIT E Carolna Weber St Basketball

East Carolina lands two 2014 verbal commitments

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It’s safe to say that this weekend was a productive one for East Carolina head coach Jeff Lebo.

This weekend the ECU head coach had two 2014 prospects on campus for official visits, and by Sunday Lebo had two verbal commitments as point guard Lance Tejada Jr. and forward Grant Bryant have both pledged to attend the school. Tejada and Bryant become ECU’s second and third commitments in the class, joining point guard B.J. Tyson.

Bryant, a 6-7 forward from Marietta, Ga., averaged 19.1 points and 12.5 rebounds per game at Kell High School last season. His best outing came in a 94-93 overtime win over Osborne High School on January 9, as Bryant tallied an astonishing 50 points and 35 rebounds. As for Tejada, the Hollywood, Fla. product currently attends Blanche Ely High School where he averaged 11.9 points and 8.2 assists per game on a team that finished the 2012-13 season with a 27-2 record.

ECU adds four newcomers this season with one (guard Antonio Robinson) being a junior college transfer. Adding Tejada and Bryant to the fold gives the Pirates some much needed depth at both the point and in the front court.

Currently ECU has two players at the point: Robinson and senior Akeem Richmond, whose three-pointer as time expired gave the Pirates a 77-74 win over Weber State in the tournament title game. With Richmond being out of eligibility after the 2013-14 campaign ECU needed to strengthen their numbers at the point, and receiving verbal commitments from Tejada and Tyson has done that.

As for the front court, ECU enters the 2013-14 season with just four options: freshman small forward Brandan Stith, sophomore power forwards Marshall Guilmette and Michael Zangari and senior Ty Armstrong. Armstrong (9.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and Guilmette (4.0, 2.3) had roles in the rotation last season with Armstrong, who began his career at Auburn, starting all 35 games for ECU. With their low numbers inside it was clear that ECU needed to experience some recruiting success in this area, and landing a commitment from Bryant is certainly a step in the right direction.

ECU has one more season in Conference USA before moving to the American Athletic Conference, and while that league does have some traditional powers to build around (UConn, Cincinnati, Memphis and Temple) every program will need to pull its weight if the conference is to be respected nationally. With this weekend’s developments, the Pirates have improved their chances of doing so.

Florida Gulf Coast’s Demetris Morant out 3-4 months

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Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior forward Demetris Morant is expected to miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, the school announced on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 blocks and 1.3 blocks per game in 33 appearances (18 starts) for the Eagles during the 2014-15 season.

“This is obviously an unfortunate setback for Demetris, but it was a procedure that needed to be done,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dooley said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to have it completed now to hopefully get him back for A-Sun play. It’s an opportunity now for other guys to step up in his absence, and I have confidence they’ll get the job done.”

The Eagles have the top frontline in the Atlantic Sun, one that returns Marc-Eddy Norelia and Filip Cvjeticanin, a 3-point shooter who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery. VCU transfer Antravious Simmons becomes eligible in the second semester.

Florida Gulf Coast begins the 2015-16 season on Nov. 14 against Ohio.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.