With returnees Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson being sophomores, Houston transfer Joseph Young being a junior (either this season or next, depending upon the result of his request to be granted immediate eligibility) and junior college transfers Elgin Cook and Jalil Abdul-Bassit being juniors as well, the Oregon Ducks don’t lack for depth on the perimeter.
Dana Altman’s squad got even deeper on the perimeter Sunday, as Mount San Jacinto (Calif.) College wing Dwayne Benjamin verbally committed to the Pac-12 school. Benjamin, who joins point guard Casey Benson in Oregon’s 2014 class, took his official visit to Oregon this weekend.
Benjamin started 28 of their 31 games he played in last season, posting averages of 15.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Benjamin shot 46.7% from the floor for Mount San Jacinto, which finished the 2012-13 season with a 21-11 record. Benjamin’s season high in points was 29, a total he reached in two separate contests, and he posted seven double-doubles as a freshman. One of Benjamin’s best outings came in the second-to-last game of the season, as he tallied 28 points and ten rebounds in an 83-78 win over Ventura JC.
As noted above Benjamin joins a perimeter attack that has depth, with Artis, Dotson and Young in line to lead the way in 2014. Oregon loses UNLV transfer Mike Moser, whose versatility can be an asset when healthy (Moser averaged 14.0 points and 10.5 rebounds per game in 2011-12), and Benjamin has the look of a player who can help the Ducks in a similar fashion.
The Big South is moving its 2016 men’s basketball tournament out of Coastal Carolina and a new site will be figured out by November. According to a release from the conference the Big South is using a league bylaw that stipulates that members leaving with less than two years of notice are not eligible to host championships. Coastal Carolina announced this summer that it would be leaving for the Sun Belt as of July 2016, so the Big South wants to find a new location that benefits teams staying in the league.
The Big South men’s and women’s conference tournaments are now also going to be split into two unique events, with the men’s championships being held Thursday-Sunday, March 3-6. The women’s event comes the next week from March 10-13. Bids for both events will come into the league and a new location will be selected in the next few months.
It will be interesting to see if the site of the conference tournament is moved to a campus site or placed at a neutral venue. That type of thing could alter how the NCAA tournament autobid gets played out. With Coastal Carolina coming off of back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances, this obviously changes their approach to the postseason now that they have to leave their city.
Virginia Tech is trying to decide what to do with injury sophomore guard Ahmed Hill, who had surgery this summer to deal with a tear in his patella tendon in his left knee.
The 6-foot-5 Hill has still not been released to work out with the team, but he is about a week to 10 days ahead of schedule in his rehab. But the injury is still nagging enough that Hill might not be healthy enough to really contritbute this season. Head coach Buzz Williams is deciding soon whether he wants to redshirt Hill or not.
Hill started a team-high 30 games for the Hokies last season, averaging 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.
“I don’t have a decision on (Hill),” Williams said to reporters on Monday. “I will make the final decision. I’ll let (him) and his mom be a part of it, but I want to make a decision using the wisdom of doing this for a long period of time. If you let a kid make the decision, they always want to play.
“Right now, I don’t feel comfortable that I would want to play him. It’s just too early to be able to have much more of an answer than that.”
It’s still a rebuilding year for Virginia Tech, but they do get Maryland transfer Seth Allen, who is a talented guard who can score. The Hokies were hoping to have Hill and Allen as complimentary perimeter scorers, but now the plans might have to be altered. Williams went on to say that he would like to make a decision on Hill’s status by Halloween.