Chris Jones

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

PHOTO: Nevada wearing pink jerseys to honor Coaches vs. Cancer this week

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Nevada announced that they’ll be wearing special pink uniforms for the next two games to promote cancer awareness.

The Wolf Pack will wear the jerseys on Wednesday (Jan. 25) on the road against Boise State and at home on Saturday (Jan. 28) against New Mexico.

“We are extremely excited and honored to release our new Pink “Cancer-Awareness” Jerseys. It was apparent very early in our time here, that many members of our Nevada Wolf Pack Basketball Program and in our Pack community have been affected or are currently being affected by cancer,” Nevada head coach Eric Musselman said in the release. “We could not be more proud to help support the cause and unite to fight this horrible and devastating disease.”

 

UCLA is no longer a Final Four contender if their defense doesn’t improve

LEXINGTON, KY - DECEMBER 03: Lonzo Ball #2 of the UCLA Bruins reacts after making a three-point basket against the Kentucky Wildcats in the second half of the game at Rupp Arena on December 3, 2016 in Lexington, Kentucky. UCLA defeated Kentucky 97-92. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Saturday’s win over No. 8 UCLA was massive for No. 7 Arizona for a number of reasons.

They got Allonzo Trier back into the fold. They remained undefeated atop the Pac-12 standings, keeping pace with an Oregon team that’s dealing with another Dillon Brooks foot injury and getting ready to make the nightmarish trip to the Mountain schools, Utah and Colorado, this weekend. They took a two game lead over the Bruins in the Pac-12 standings.

Perhaps more importantly, the Wildcats certified themselves as a legitimate threat to get to the Final Four. Their 17-2 record entering Saturday was pretty. A win at Pauley finally gave that résumé some substance.

So good for Arizona.

But that wasn’t the biggest story line coming out of Pauley Pavilion on Saturday afternoon.

UCLA’s defense, or lack thereof, was.

Ever since the Bruins went into Rupp Arena and knocked off then-No. 1 Kentucky, UCLA has been considered one of the very best teams in the country. Villanova’s up there, too. So is Kansas, and Gonzaga, and those Kentucky Wildcats. North Carolina probably should be in that conversation as well. Maybe Baylor, maaaybe Florida State.

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You get my point. The Bruins, for better or worse, were one of the handful of teams that everyone thought would enter the NCAA tournament as a favorite to win the national title, but it’s time for us to question whether or not that is actually the case. That’s how bad the UCLA defense has been this season, particularly of late.

Against Arizona, the Bruins were a train-wreck. They gave up 96 points on 1.315 points-per-possession, which, for those of you who aren’t into advanced stats, is atrocious. That game was the culmination of a four-game stretch where UCLA’s defense had gone from concerning-but-good-enough to a major red flag. In those four games – road trips to Colorado and Utah and home games against Arizona and Arizona State – the Bruins allowed an abysmal 1.153 PPP. For comparison’s sake, the 2015 Kentucky team that went 38-1, the best defense we’ve seen in the KenPom era, gave up 0.847 PPP. UCLA averages 75 possessions a game, which is a difference of 23 points over 40 minutes.

That’s a big deal.

And on the season, UCLA has fallen the way to 125th in KenPom’s defensive efficiency metric.

That’s a bigger deal.

For those that don’t know, KenPom.com is a website that ranks teams based on how many points they score and allow per possession, adjusted for schedule strength. It’s widely considered the best way to determine who the best offensive, the best defensive and the best overall teams are.

It’s been around since 2002.

And since 2002, given where UCLA’s defense is today, they would be the second-worst defensive team to ever get to a Final Four.

In 2011, VCU ranked 138th in defensive efficiency as of Selection Sunday*, and they are the only team to ever rank outside the top 80 in defensive efficiency and make it all the way to the Final Four. Only three other teams have ranked outside the top 50 and made it to the final weekend of the season: Marquette in 2003 (76th), Butler in 2011 (72nd) and Michigan in 2013 (66th). Two others ranked outside the top 40 and won at least four games in the Big Dance: Texas in 2003 (46th) and Wisconsin in 2014 (50th):

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*(All of this info is via KenPom.com and as of Selection Sunday in those given seasons. That’s important to note, because winning games against good teams in the tournament changes those stats.)

The precedent is there.

UCLA, unquestionably, has to get better defensively if they want to win a national title.

But all hope is not lost.

The two teams with the lowest defensive efficiency entering the NCAA tournament to win the national title – North Carolina in 2009 and Duke in 2015 – both had top three offenses nationally.

UCLA leads the nation in offensive efficiency.

AP Poll: Villanova, Kansas neck-and-neck for No. 1

VILLANOVA, PA - DECEMBER 13: Head coach Jay Wright and Jalen Brunson #1 of the Villanova Wildcats congratulate Josh Hart #3 of the Villanova Wildcats in the second half against the Temple Owls at The Pavilion on December 13, 2016 in Villanova, Pennsylvania. The Villanova Wildcats defeated the Temple Owls 78-57. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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Villanova maintained a slim lead over Kansas for the No. 1 spot in this week’s AP poll, with Gonzaga being the only other program to receive any first place votes.

RANKINGS: AP Poll | Coaches Poll | NBCSports Top 25

After losing to Arizona at home, UCLA dropped to eighth as the Wildcats vaulted them into No. 7 in the poll.

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1. Villanova (35 first-place votes)
2. Kansas (28)
3. Gonzaga (2)
4. Kentucky
5. Baylor
6. Florida State
7. Arizona
8. UCLA
9. North Carolina
10. Oregon
11. Butler
12. Virginia
13. Louisville
14. Notre Dame
15. Wisconsin
16. Creighton
17. Duke
18. West Virginia
19. Cincinnati
20. Purdue
21. Saint Mary’s
22. Maryland
23. South Carolina
24. Xavier
25. Florida

Coaches Poll: Kansas remains No. 1, Villanova No. 2

LAWRENCE, KS - JANUARY 21: Frank Mason III #0 of the Kansas Jayhawks drives to the goal against Andrew Jones #1 of the Texas Longhorns in the first half at Allen Field House on January 21, 2017 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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Kansas remained No. 1 in the Coaches Poll this week, getting 18 of the 32 first-place votes.

RANKINGS: AP Poll | Coaches Poll | NBCSports Top 25

Villanova sits at No. 2 in the poll, with Gonzaha in third, the only other team to receive a first-place vote.

After beating UCLA in Pauley Pavilion, Arizona jumped up to No. 9 but still sits two spots behind UCLA at No. 7.

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1. Kansas (18 first-place votes)
2. Villanova (11)
3. Gonzaga (3)
4. Kentucky
5. Baylor
6. North Carolina
7. UCLA
8. Florida State
9. Arizona
10. Oregon
11. Butler
12. Notre Dame
13. Virginia
14. Louisville
15. Wisconsin
16. Creighton
17. Duke
18. West Virginia
19. Cincinnati
20. Purdue
21. Sainy Mary’s
22. Xavier
23. Maryland
24. South Carolina
25. Florida

College Basketball Talk Top 25: It gets muddy after a clear-cut top four

VILLANOVA, PA - DECEMBER 03: Josh Hart #3 of the Villanova Wildcats reacts in front of Lamarr Kimble #0 of the Saint Joseph's Hawks in the first half at The Pavilion on December 3, 2016 in Villanova, Pennsylvania. The Villanova Wildcats defeated the Saint Joseph's Hawks 88-57. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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This week’s rankings were probably more difficult to put together than any week so far this season.

The top four, frankly, seem pretty obvious. I have Villanova No. 1, but I would have no qualms with ranking any of Kentucky, Kansas or Gonzaga in that No. 1 spot. I expect those to be the four teams that get votes for No. 1 in the AP and Coaches Polls this week.

After that, however, is when it gets difficult. Are you going to rank North Carolina above Florida State? UNC beat the Seminoles when they squared off this season but that was the Seminoles lone loss in a six game run against ranked teams. I went with Carolina over them because, simply, I think UNC is a better team.

Then there’s the question of what to do with the top three teams in the Pac-12. Arizona just won at UCLA and they got Allonzo Trier back. Oregon also owns a win over the Bruins, but there’s came at home on a buzzer-beater from Dillon Brooks, who is dealing with a foot injury again. And while UCLA has consistently proven to be one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the country, they are a nightmare defensively right now.

Where does West Virginia slot in after a pair of losses? What about Creighton without Mo Watson Jr.? Butler’s profile looks great but their performance on the floor has been less than stellar since their win over Villanova. Is Duke actually back?

You can find the rankings below. What did I get wrong?

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1. Villanova (19-1, Last Week No. 1)
2. Kentucky (17-2, 2)
3. Kansas (18-1, 4)
4. Gonzaga (19-0, 5)
5. North Carolina (18-3, 5)
6. Baylor (18-1, 7)
7. Florida State (18-2, 8)
8. Arizona (18-2, 16)
9. UCLA (19-2, 3)
10. Oregon (18-2, 10)
11. Louisville (16-4, 11)
12. Wisconsin (16-3, 13)
13. Purdue (16-4, 15)
14. Notre Dame (17-3, 17)
15. Cincinnati (17-2, 18)
16. Duke (15-4, 19)
17. West Virginia (15-4, 10)
18. Butler (17-3, 14)
19. Creighton (18-2, 12)
20. Saint Mary’s (17-2, 20)
21. Virginia (16-3, 22)
22. South Carolina (15-4, 24)
23. Maryland (17-2, 25)
24. Kansas State (15-4, NR)
25. Iowa State (12-6, NR)

DROPPED OUT: No. 21 Xavier, No. 23 Florida
NEW ADDITIONS: No. 24 Kansas State, No. 25 Iowa State