Jordan Vandenberg

Ankle injury to sideline N.C. State center Jordan Vandenberg 4-6 weeks

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While the N.C. State Wolfpack don’t lack for talent in their front court entering the 2013-14 season, they don’t have a great deal of experience. 6-foot-8 sophomore T.J. Warren is expected to be one of the ACC’s best after posting averages of 12.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per game as a freshman (Warren led the ACC in field goal percentage), and he’ll lead a group that includes freshmen BeeJay Anya, Lennard Freeman and Kyle Washington.

Unfortunately N.C. State will be without the services of their oldest big man, as the school announced on Friday that 7-foot-1 center Jordan Vandenberg will miss anywhere from four to six weeks after injuring his left ankle during the Wolfpack’s exhibition game on Thursday night. According to the release Vandenberg suffered the injury just over five minutes into N.C. State’s 96-85 victory over UNC Pembroke.

Last season, with Richard Howell and C.J. Leslie seeing the majority of the minutes inside, Vandenberg played an average of just 5.4 minutes per game. Thursday night Vandenberg got the start against UNC Pembroke, with Warren and Washington being the other two front court starters. Warren led all scorers with 26 points to go along with ten rebounds, while Washington (eight points, four rebounds in 18 minutes of action) and Freeman (three points, five rebounds in 21 minutes) saw solid playing time in their Wolfpack debut.

As for Anya, he played just five minutes, and his physical fitness was something N.C. State head coach Mark Gottfried discussed during ACC media day in mid-October. With Vandenberg sidelined for the time being, Anya’s progress in this department becomes even more important due to the Wolfpack’s lack of interior depth.

Depth isn’t a major issue on the perimeter however, with LSU transfer Ralston Turner (20 points, four assists vs. UNC Pembroke), sophomore Tyler Lewis (15 assists) and freshman Anthony “Cat” Barber (14 points) among the options at Gottfried’s disposal.

PHOTO: Ohio State’s new LeBron James shoe display

during the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium on January 12, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.
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Ohio State has capitalized on its close relationship with NBA superstar LeBron James over the years and now has a new shoe display that should come in handy during recruiting.

The Buckeyes put out a tweet late this week with the display, calling themselves “THE LeBron school.” While this is something small, recruits like that the Buckeyes are tied into the best player in the world and it’s cool to them that Ohio State gets some exclusive gear.

Rutgers hoping new duo can bring a spark

of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during their Big Ten conference game at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 8, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.
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Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.

With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.

“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”

Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.

While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.