John Brady

The unique story of Arkansas State junior college recruit Ronnie White

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Ronnie White didn’t play basketball in high school. In fact, he didn’t even have a full scholarship during his first season of junior college ball at Danville (Ill.) Area Community College.

But despite having a half-scholarship and no high school basketball experience, the 22-year-old forward was a force last season, averaging 10 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game in only 20.3 minutes per game while shooting 54.5 percent from the field.

Arkansas State took notice of White’s production and had him on an official visit to campus last weekend, and White committed this week to join Red Wolves’ 2014 class. The 6’9″ 230-pound White now attends Paris (Tx.) Junior College for his sophomore season.

Jeff Reed of the Arkansas State website State Nation has more on White’s interesting background, including how he was discovered by his junior college coach at a Fourth of July basketball tournament in Danville, Illinois.

After graduation he was working and playing recreational basketball until a trip to The Dustbowl Basketball Tournament in Danville. Ill., an annual event that attracts college-level and post-college players in a July 4 competition.

“Some friends called me and asked me to come play with them,” he said. “While I was there a coach from Danville saw me play.”

Upon learning he had not enrolled in college Danville offered him a half-scholarship, where he turned in a strong performance in just his first season of basketball.

“Arkansas State is getting a good one,” said Taylor. “I had two high majors (Kansas State and Iowa State) call about him last week. He has lots of offers but that is all a moot point now.”
White joins 6’4″ shooting guard Connor Kern in Arkansas State’s 2014 recruiting class.
There aren’t a lot of Division I basketball players that make it that far with zero high school basketball experience, but it certainly seems like White has a chance to earn some minutes for the Red Wolves when he steps on campus next season.

Rutgers hoping new duo can bring a spark

of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during their Big Ten conference game at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 8, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.
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Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.

With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.

“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”

Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.

While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.

LSU looking into starting lineup options

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - MARCH 7:  Head Coach Johnny Jones of the LSU Tigers watches his team play during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena on March 7, 2015 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Tigers defeated the Razorbacks 81-78.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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LSU football and Leonard Fournette are off to a strong start this fall, but the beginning of October also means that college hoops is right around the corner. If you’re a Tigers basketball fan, you also have plenty to be excited about on the hardwood this season with the arrival of a loaded freshman class headlined by forward Ben Simmons.

While the versatile Simmons has solidified a spot in the starting lineup for next season, it’ll be interesting to see how head coach Johnny Jones uses the rest of his talented freshmen. In a story from Sheldon Mickles of the New Orleans Advocate, he looks into some potential LSU starting lineups.

Freshman guard Antonio Blakeney, a McDonald’s All-American with Simmons, is also expected to start, but does another talented freshman guard, Brandon Sampson get a shot to start? And what of Arizona transfer Craig Victor when he’s eligible to play in December?

Mickles believes the early favorite for starting lineup is guards Tim Quarterman, Keith Hornsby, Blakeney, Simmons and center Darcy Malone. When Victor returns, Mickles said Victor could push Simmons into the “center” position, which would be a matchup nightmare on the opposition because Simmons would be very tough for many college centers to defend.

Sampson also gets a mention from Mickles of having the potential to start down the line. Overall, a good problem to have for Jones and he’ll have to experiment to see which lineups are giving him the most. Having a productive starting five is nice, but I’m sure Jones would love to find the five players he wants to close with.