With three of their four scholarship front court players entering the 2013-14 season being underclassmen, the Maryland Terrapins can use some added experience inside. The lone scholarship upperclassman is Evan Smotrycz, who will play his first season in College Park after beginning his career at Michigan (senior John Auslander is a walk-on).
According to multiple reports Smotrycz was joined by another Big Ten transfer on Friday, as former Penn State power forward Jon Graham has transferred to Maryland. Graham, whose father Ernest played at Maryland, returns to his home state after spending three years in Happy Valley. After redshirting as a freshman Graham averaged 2.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game as a Nittany Lion.
According to Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post, there’s a chance that the school will file an eligibility waiver on Graham’s behalf with the hope that he would become eligible to play immediately.
According to the Maryland will file an NCAA waiver request on behalf of Graham, attempting to gain immediate eligibility. The Terps enter the season with a three-man front court of Shaquille Cleare, Charles Mitchell and Damonte Dodd, so even if Graham became eligible, it’s unlikely he would crack the rotation.
Regardless of where Graham would fit into the rotation (if eligible to play immediately), Maryland will need to account for the departure of center Alex Len. Len’s presence was one reason why Maryland led the ACC in rebounding margin last season (+8.6), and they also led the conference in both offensive (36.9) and defensive (72.1) rebounding percentages.
With Len no longer in the picture more production on the glass will be needed from Cleare, who averaged 2.7 rebounds per contest last season. Mitchell finished the season second on the team in rebounds, as he grabbed an average of 5.4 caroms per game. Rebounding isn’t as big of a question for Maryland entering the 2013-14 season as the point guard position (Seth Allen and Roddy Peters look to be the likely answers there) and perimeter shooting are, but it never hurts to add another big body to the rotation.
Cody Riley has cut his list to five schools, according to Scout.com.
A four-star four man, Riley is now considering just UConn, Kansas, Oklahoma, UCLA and USC.
Ranked the No. 29 player in the Class of 2017 by Rivals, Riley is an undersized-but-powerful forward. His bread and butter is on the block, where his strength and low center of gravity make him a nightmare to deal with, but he’s also skilled enough to do damage as a face-up four.
Riley is from California and will be playing his senior season alongside Marvin Bagley III, the No. 1 player in the Class of 2018, at Sierra Canyon.
Auburn’s hire of Bruce Pearl was almost universally lauded as the first step towards the return of relevance for the Tiger basketball program.
And while the results have yet to shine through on the floor, Pearl is unequivocally stockpiling the kind of talent that will allow him to push for trips to the NCAA tournament and maybe one day contend for a league crown with Kentucky.
The latest step came on Sunday, when Pearl landed a commitment from Chuma Okeke, a top 50 wing prospect out of Georgia.
“He is a versatile wing who can handle and score,” said NBCSports.com recruiting analyst Scott Phillips. “Coming off of a big July, Okeke could move up the national rankings and Auburn pounced on him right away.”
Okeke joins big man Austin Wiley, a top ten player in the class, and Davion Mitchell, who is likely one of the five best point guards in the country, in what is currently the nation’s best recruiting class in 2017. That’s before you consider that Pearl already has Mustapha Heron, a top 25 prospect, joining the mix this season.
“This group has the makings of a monster recruiting class for Auburn,” Phillips said.
Okeke picked the Tigers over Florida State, Georgia and a number of other programs across the southeast.
Jay Huff is a member of Tony Bennett’s best recruiting class to date, a 6-foot-11 top 50 recruit from North Carolina.
He also happens to be pretty athletic.
Don’t believe me?
Check out this video that McDonald’s All-American Kyle Guy tweeted out on Sunday night:
Yup, that’s Huff taking off from the foul line to dunk.
Not bad, young fella.
After a successful career that included stops at Western Kentucky, UMass and Seton Hall, Derrick Gordon, Division I college basketball’s first openly gay player, will not pursue professional opportunities and will instead become a firefighter.
The 6-foot-3 Gordon averaged 8.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a senior for the Pirates, helping the team reach the NCAA tournament during his graduate transfer year. By making the NCAA tournament with Seton Hall this past season, Gordon became the first college basketball player to reach the event with three different teams.
A tenacious perimeter defender who could have earned a pro contract if he stuck with basketball, Gordon will instead pursue a career as a firefighter in San Francisco.
“I’ve had an amazing basketball career and want to thank everybody who has always been there supporting me every step on the way,” Gordon said via his Instagram. “But I’m making a change in my career…I will now be working towards becoming a San Francisco Firefighter!! I’m excited about this and looking forward to having a long career!!”
While Gordon likely would have never made the NBA on talent alone, his defensive prowess would have likely given him a shot overseas or in the D League. It’s hard to say why Gordon is making this decision, but given what we saw with all of the attention surrounding Michael Sam when he tried to play in the NFL, Gordon was probably going to face a lot of scrutiny wherever he decided to play.
Hopefully Gordon finds his calling as a firefighter and brings the same energy and leadership that he brought on the floor to helping other people outside of basketball.
Washington incoming freshman guard Markelle Fultz is going to be one of the premier players in the country next season as his unique game is going to be fascinating to watch.
The 6-foot-5 Fultz is currently playing with the USA U18 team in Chile for the FIBA U18 Americas as he’s second on the team in scoring and first in assists as the Americans play Canada for the title on Saturday.
Against the host country, Fultz had an electric spin move in the paint and finished with an easy dunk. If you’re not willing to stay up late to watch this dude play this year, then set your DVRs, because Fultz is going to have some fun moments during the season.
(H/t: Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report)