Legends Classic - UCLA v Georgia

Could Josh Smith be immediately eligible for Georgetown?

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Georgetown is facing some questions about its frontcourt as they enter the 2013-14 season. Greg Whittingham is out with a torn ACL and Otto Porter is in a Washington Wizards uniform now, so the Hoyas will rely heavily on junior Mikael Hopkins and senior Nate Lubick to play the bulk of the interior minutes early in the season.

But what about UCLA transfer Josh Smith? The former highly-touted recruit was a freshman all-conference choice in the Pac-12 but had a disappointing sophomore season before transferring six games into his junior season at UCLA across the country to Georgetown.

Smith arrived at Georgetown around 350 pounds, but was down to 310 as of early August as he strives for a playing weight around 290.

His weight and motor are the biggest questions marks, but as ESPN.com’s Dana O’Neil reported today from Georgetown’s practice, Smith’s return date is now a matter of speculation as well. Smith was scheduled to return second semester this season, but head coach John Thompson III told O’Neil that a decision from the NCAA is looming, which could mean Smith gets to play the entire 2013-14 season — or at least before the second semester begins depending on the ruling.

As of right now, Smith won’t be available until the second semester, but Thompson said he’s awaiting a decision from the NCAA, intimating there’s a chance Smith could play immediately.

Thompson declined to get into specifics to the nature of the request.

“We don’t know when or how long we’ll have him,’’ Thompson said. “But we think we should know pretty soon.’’

Having Smith for the entire season would certainly help Georgetown, as he could continue to play himself into shape and start to adapt to game speed and playing with new teammates in a new system.

But as mentioned before, the weight and dedication Smith puts into this season is still the overriding question. Even JT3 sounds as if he’s unsure what the final results for Smith will be saying to O’Neil, “He has to make a decision if he wants to be good or not. He has all the tools. He always has. When and if he commits, he’ll see the positive results. It’s a process.’’

As good as they’ve been, No. 3 Michigan State has yet to play their best

Bryn Forbes, Ryan Fazekas
Associated Press
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Sunday night’s Wooden Legacy title game matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence was billed as a matchup of the nation’s two best players, and rightfully so. Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine (17 points, six rebounds, five assists), who already has two triple-doubles to his credit this season, and Providence redshirt junior Kris Dunn (21 points, five rebounds, seven assists) have more than lived up to the preseason expectations and more of the same was expected in Anaheim.

And while both had their moments, it was Michigan State’s supporting cast that made the difference in their 77-64 victory. The scary thing for future opponents on Michigan State’s schedule is that Tom Izzo’s team is nowhere near being a finished product.

With Valentine dealing with first-half foul trouble Bryn Forbes stepped up, scoring 13 of his 18 points to help the Spartans take a two-point lead into the half. As for the 11-0 run that Michigan State produced to take control of the game late, a host of players stepped forward in regards to scoring, rebounding and defending.

Freshmen Deyonta Davis and Matt McQuaid combined to score nine points over the final 5:32, with transfer guard Eron Harris adding six of his 12 points during that stretch. The Spartans outscored the Friars, who aren’t as deep, 22-7 during that stretch to close out the game, hunting for quality shots and hitting the offensive glass while making things difficult for Providence on the other end of the floor.

The end result was a final margin that does not indicate just how close the game was. While Providence seemed to run out of steam Michigan State received contributions from multiple players, which is undoubtedly a good sign for this group moving forward.

The Spartans will return the currently injured Gavin Schilling later this season, giving them another big man alongside Davis, Matt Costello and Colby Wollenman. He was a player they missed Sunday night, as he can defend opposing big men both in the post and on the perimeter. His absence was a main reason Michigan State didn’t have an answer for Providence’s Ben Bentil (20 points, seven rebounds) defensively.

The key for this group is going to end up being role definition, which is especially true in the case of Harris. A transfer from West Virginia, Harris came to East Lansing with the reputation of being a big time scorer. He’s struggled through the first two weeks of the season, but he got on a roll on Sunday night, finishing with 12 points, three boards and three assists. He showed he’s capable of doing a variety of things on the perimeter, and fitting into a “Swiss army knife” kind of role would make Michigan State that much more dangerous.

There’s no denying that Michigan State has been one of the nation’s best teams thus far.

But there’s also no denying that the Spartans have yet to hit their ceiling, which is definitely a positive moving forward.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady returns home with team

AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.
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Wichita State forward Anton Grady was released from a hospital in Orlando on Sunday afternoon in time to return home with his Shocker teammates.

Grady suffered a spinal corn concussion on Friday when he collided head-first with an Alabama defender, snapping his head sharply to the side. He lay on the court motionless for 10 minutes after the injury and was taken off the floor on a stretcher.

[RELATED: Can WSU still make tourney?]

“I want to send out a big thank you to Shocker Nation and all of my friends and family for of the love and encouragement that I have received the past few days,” Grady said in a statement on Sunday morning. “I’ve been reading your tweets and posts and appreciate every last one of them. I have a lot of work to do to get back on the court, but with the help of such a great support system, I’m ready for the challenge.”

By Friday night, Grady had feeling in all of his extremities, but he has a long road of rehab ahead of him.