SMU Athletics

Understated new floor the canvas of a resurgence at SMU? (VIDEO)

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Many programs across the country have unveiled new courts this offseason, with the designs ranging from simple to in some cases outrageous. SMU has joined the ranks, unveiling a new court that coincides with the renovation of Moody Coliseum that greatly improves the home of SMU basketball.

The court is simple to say the least, with the SMU logo across mid-court, the American logos just inside of the three-point line at each end of the floor and the athletic department’s web address on the sideline. But given their current run of luck on the recruiting trail, most recently landing one of the nation’s best point guards in Emmanuel Mudiay, the question for head coach Larry Brown’s program is whether or not the floor will serve as the program’s canvas for a resurgence.

The Mustangs endured their fair share of struggles last season, finishing with a 15-17 overall record and going 5-11 in Conference USA play. But that was an undermanned roster, led by guard Nick Russell (14.0 ppg, 4.3 apg) and forward Jalen Jones (14.0 ppg, 7.7 rpg). In addition to those two, the 2013-14 campaign brings significant help in the form of three transfers (Nic Moore, Crandall Head and Markus Kennedy) and a respected recruiting haul headlined by McDonald’s All-American Keith Frazier.

The competition in conference play will be tougher, as programs like Louisville, UConn and Cincinnati are now on the schedule, but SMU has the talent needed to place a better product on the Moody Coliseum floor. SMU hasn’t reached the NCAA tournament since 1993, so predictions of immediate greatness wouldn’t be the way to go.

But if the Mustangs have their way, the product on the court will make up for the lack of pizazz in the design.

Report: Four-star center reclassifying to 2015; down to three

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An interesting recruiting development hit on Friday as Josh Gershon of reported that four-star center Jayce Johnson is reclassifying to the Class of 2015 and looking to join a program at semester break.

The 7-foot native of California is down to Cal, Colorado and Utah and Johnson is on an official visit to Utah this weekend after transferring to a charter school this week. As Gershon notes, only Cal has a scholarship to offer Johnson this season, but the family is willing to pay a semester at the other programs if it’s the right fit. Johnson would like to redshirt and train with his future college while playing against more mature players.

But if Johnson is persuaded not to redshirt, he could be an intriguing big man off the bench later in the season for a couple of teams looking to make a postseason appearance. As the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson is a talented prospect and he isn’t afraid to score with either hand. With some time to fill out, Johnson can turn into a talented Pac-12 player down the road.

VIDEO: Utah Valley’s Mark Pope dances, lip syncs with daughters

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New Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope made quite an impression on fans at the team’s Midnight Madness celebration last night. That’s because Pope did a dance and lip sync routine with his four daughters that turned out to be pretty impressive.

The former BYU assistant looks to be the leader in the clubhouse for best coach dance so far this preseason. We’ll see if any other coaches pull out elaborate routines at madness celebrations the next few weeks.