2013-2014’s Impact Junior College Transfers

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All month long, CBT will be rolling out our 2013-2014 season preview. Check back throughout the day, as we’ll be posting three or four preview items every day.

To browse through the preview posts we’ve already published, click here. To see the rest of our preview lists,click here. For a schedule of our previews for the month, click here.

Chris Jones, Louisville: Russ Smith will be starting once again in the Louisville backcourt. But who will be beside him, replacing Peyton Siva? The top junior college player in the nation from a season ago, Chris Jones is joining the program. Jones, originally a Bruce Pearl commit at Tennessee, had to take a different route, spending two years at Northwest Florida State while amassing a 62-6 record over two seasons and bringing his team to the national title game in both seasons. The 5-foot-10 Jones averaged 21.8 points and 5.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 3.0 steals per game and was named NABC Junior College Player of the Year.

Deshawn Delaney, New Mexico: Tony Snell averaged 12.5 points per game for the Lobos. But in May, before Snell got drafted by the Chicago Bulls, Craig Neal landed a commitment from Vincennes University (Ind.) wing Deshawn Delaney. The 6-foot-5 Delaney was a two-time All-American, averaging 15.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. With Cullen Neal recovering from an appendectomy, he should start early on for a team that returns Kendall Williams and Alex Kirk.

Kenny Chery, Baylor: Baylor’s frontline looks awesome, with Isaiah Austin, Cory Jefferson and Rico Gathers all back in the fold. The backcourt, on the other hand, will be the big question. Pierre Jackson and A.J. Walton graduate. Deuce Bello and L.J. Rose transferred. That leaves a hole for Kenny Chery, a product of State Fair Community College (Mo.), to fill this season as he looks to follow in the footsteps of Jackson, who went from being a JuCo transfer to a first-team all-Big 12 performer.

Jameel McKayMarquette: Buzz Williams has had a history of successful two-year players in the past. The latest could be Indian Hills (Iowa) forward Jameel McKay. He averaged 16.2 points and 8.9 rebounds per game this past season. He’ll be a presence in a solid frontline for Marquette. It’ll be interesting to see how he’ll develop, especially with Davante Gardner and Chris Otule graduating following this season.

Darius Carter, Wichita State: Cleanthony Early made the jump from JuCo to the Missouri Valley last season, Carl Hall the season before. Darius Carter will look to replicate that success this season. The new Wichita State forward averaged averaged 15.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game at Vincennes. The Shockers need to replace Carl Hall, who averaged 12.5 points and 6.8 boards during the Shocker’s run to the Final Four last season.

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DeVille Smith and Jelan Kendrick, UNLV: Jelan Kendrick is a junior that’s headed to his fourth school this season. He’s been to Memphis, Ole Miss, Indian Hills and is now a Runnin’ Rebel. Dave Rice lost quite a bit from last season, including guards Anthony Marshall and Katin Reinhardt. Kendrick is a risk, but he’s a former McDonald’s All-American point guard, too, and Rice needs a lead guard.

Kendrick isn’t the only guy Rice gave a second chance to. DeVille Smith, a former top 100 point guard, joins the program as well. He played one year at Mississippi State, where he averaged 4.2 points and 1.9 assists, and spent this past season at Southwest Mississippi Community College.

Elgin Cook, Oregon: Dana Altman lost Arslan Kazemi, E.J. Singler, Carlos Emory and Tony Woods. A big addition is one-year transfer Mike Moser, but another key fixture in the Ducks frontcourt could be Chris Jones’ teammate from Northwest Florida State and former Iowa State commit Elgin Cook. The 6-foot-6 forward averaged 14.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game. Oh, and he’ll probably be on Sportscenter’s Top Ten at some point.

Keanau Post, Missouri: Alex Oriakhi and Laurence Bowers combined brought down an averaged of 14 boards a game last year for the Tigers. Both are graduated, leaving two spots to fill for Frank Haith. Southwestern Illinois Community College forward Keanau Post will look to provide production in the paint for Mizzou. The 6-foot-11 Canadian native averaged 12.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game earning second-team Junior College All-American honors.

Joseph Ucehbo, Pittsburgh: With Steven Adams now a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Jamie Dixon will look to Joseph Uchebo, a former N.C. State signee, to help down low as the Panthers enter the ACC. The Chipola Community College (Fla.) product posted a double-double of  12.3 points and 12.3 rebounds a night for Chipola as a sophomore, and he missed part of the season rehabbing a knee injury.

Yanick Moreira, SMU: The Mustangs big season officially starts next season with Emmanuel Mudiay, but Larry Brown has his team ready to make strides again this year. The addition everyone knows about is five-star guard Keith Frazier. But on the inside, newcomer Yanick Moreira of South Plains Community College (Texas) will be a presence, as he averaged 18.2 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.3 blocks per game and was a first-team Junior College All-American.

Other names to know: Chad Frazier, UAB; Cameron Forte, Georgia; Desmond Lee, N.C. State; Algie Key, Alabama; Jamal Jones, Texas A&M

Following decommitment, four-star recruit makes eye-opening remarks about Ohio State

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Ohio State lost a four-star recruit on Wednesday when in-state Class of 2018 wing Darius Bazley opted to open up his recruitment.

As a rising senior who is just finishing his junior season of high school, Bazley’s decommitment isn’t going to immediately hurt the Buckeyes next season. But the 6-foot-7 wing’s comments about why he opted to open up his recruitment are pretty jarring.

In a story with Adam Jardy of the Columbus Dispatch, Bazley opened up about why he decommitted from Ohio State. Bazley’s eye-opening remarks include how the Buckeyes might not get him ideal NBA exposure and how Ohio State might miss the NCAA tournament in his freshman year.

“I was excited when I first got the offer,” Bazley said to Jardy. “Ohio State is still a great place. It’s nothing against the school or anything, but my one ultimate goal is to get to the NBA and I just didn’t feel as confident as I did when I first committed that Ohio State was one of those schools that could get me there. At the end of the day I’ve got to perform no matter where I go, but I think there’s other schools out there that could put me on a bigger stage and in a better position to show those NBA scouts when I get to college what I can do.”

Bazley also didn’t appear to be pleased at the recruiting class coming into Ohio State for the Class of 2017, which is the class that is coming in this season. Remember, Bazley is a Class of 2018 recruit who still has to finish his senior season.

“Ohio State, they didn’t make the NCAA Tournament this year,” Bazley said to Jardy. “They didn’t even make the NIT, which is unfortunate, but I looked into the recruits they have coming into next year, they didn’t look too good for the future. So I felt like when my class came in, yeah, we would’ve been OK, but good enough to make the tournament? I don’t know. I just felt as if I was to de-commit, actually take my time, figure everything out it would just be a lot better.”

Ohio State was once one of the major destinations for one-and-done players a decade ago so these remarks are very surprising. D’Angelo Russell was a top-five pick in the NBA Draft only two years ago, and while the Buckeyes might not be as successful in recent years as they once were, they still get plenty of national exposure with regards to producing NBA talent.

The NCAA tournament comments might carry some more weight though. The Buckeyes have missed the NCAA tournament in two consecutive seasons and things are also looking difficult for them to reach the Big Dance for next season. If Bazley wants to play in the NCAA tournament, then I could understand him wanting to open things up and explore more options.

Still, you don’t often see a player make comments like this about a school after decommitting–especially a program with as much national exposure as Ohio State. Bazley is likely going to face some heat for his remarks, but if those are his true feelings about a future life decision, then he should explore what else is out there.

Nevada gets transfer commitment from Omaha forward Tre’Shawn Thurman

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Nevada continues to build its roster through transfers as the Wolf Pack added Omaha forward Tre’Shawn Thurman on Thursday.

The 6-foot-7 Thurman will have to sit out one season before playing his senior season but he is coming off of a very good campaign for the Mavericks. The versatile forward put up 13.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while shooting 49 percent from the field.

One of the Summit League’s better players the last two seasons, Thurman should be a solid rotation forward for Nevada as he has a chance to be a breakout player with one more year of development. If Thurman can improve his 25 percent three-point shooting then he could be a major factor for Nevada.

D-League salaries, two-way contracts increase NBA Draft early entries

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Yesterday, I wrote a piece about how it’s dumb to criticize players for entering the NBA Draft without costing themselves their collegiate eligibility when the NCAA’s new NBA Draft rules are specifically designed for said players to be able to do that.

In that column, I mentioned that D-League salaries are on the rise and that the NBA’s new CBA instituted something called “two-way contracts,” and I wanted a chance to elaborate and clarify a couple of the points that I made.

Let’s start with the “two-way contracts,” which NBA teams each get two of. They are essentially a retainer that those teams can place on younger players they want to be the 16th and 17th men on their roster, holding their rights as they bounce between the D-League — where they will likely spend the majority of the year — and the NBA. The catch is that those players have to have less than three years service as a professional, and the point of it is to provide a financial incentive for younger players with the potential to reach the NBA to remain stateside while allowing those NBA teams to develop them.

That financial incentive is fairly large, as well: Two-way players will make $75,000 guaranteed and will be able to make up to $275,000, depending on the amount of time they spend with the NBA team.

That means there are an extra 60 jobs this season that can end up paying players with less than three years of professional basketball experience upwards of a quarter-of-a-million dollars.

That’s not a bad starting salary.

The other point that I wanted to address is the rising D-League salaries which, technically, will not be rising. There are still going to be Tier A and Tier B players, who make $26,000 and $20,000 respectively. But the NBA has something called affiliate players, which each of the now-25 NBA teams with a D-League affiliate can pay up to $50,000 for training camp. NBA teams are allowed a maximum of four affiliate players, who will still make their $26,000 salary from their D-League team.

In other words, that’s 100 more jobs available in the United States where a professional basketball player can make $76,000, and that’s before you consider that the five NBA teams that do not yet have a D-League affiliate will still have to play players to get them into training camp.

That $76,000 is not a life-changing amount of money. Neither is the $275,000 that a two-way contract can pay. But it’s a pretty damn good paycheck to make for an entry-level job into the industry that you always dreamed of being in.

Athletes have an unbelievably small window where they can capitalize monetarily on their gifts.

If a 21-year old sophomore decides that he wants to continue to develop his game and chase his NBA dream by making $76,000 as a D-League player, is that really all that crazy?

After all, 135 of the 450 players, or 30 percent of the roster spots, on NBA’s opening night were taken by guys that had spent time in the D-League.

There’s more than one way to make a dream come true.

A record $439 million was bet on basketball in March in Las Vegas

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The month of March was quite friendly to Las Vegas.

According to ESPN, more money was bet on basketball during the month of March than in any month in the state’s regulated sports betting history.

And while the numbers produced by Las Vegas books don’t separate college and professional basketball betting, the money coming in on college hoops is pretty clear: $439 million was bet on basketball in March, more than double the $213 million bet on the sport in February.

It was profitable, too.

Those Vegas books kept more than $40 million dollars of the money that was gambled on basketball, which shattered the previous record of roughly $28 million in winnings.

Gonzaga lands their first post-Final Four commitment

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Gonzaga capitalized on their run to the national title game by landing a commitment from French point guard Joel Ayayi, who announced the news on twitter.

Ayayi is an interesting long-term prospect, according to Draft Express. He has the size and the frame to eventually be a significant contributor in the college game, but he’s raw. His handle needs work, as does his ability to create off the dribble and find teammates off of the bounce.

That said, he’s 6-foot-4 with a 6-foot-7 wingspan and the ability to shoot it from the perimeter, and if Gonzaga can do anything, it’s develop players that enter their program.