Smart-Kaminsky

Late Night Snacks: Marcus Smart and Frank Kaminsky have career nights

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GAME OF THE DAY: Arizona State, led by its start point guard, Jahii Carson overcame a four-point halftime deficit to pick up an 86-80 road win against UNLV. Carson dropped a career-high 40, while the Rebels had all five starters score in double figures. This was a fun game to watch, mainly because of Carson, but also because it was a close one throughout. In the loss Roscoe Smith scored 18 points and grabbed 21 rebounds.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES:

No. 7 Oklahoma State 101, No. 11 Memphis 80: Let’s start with Oklahoma State. Marcus Smart reaffirmed his among the top college basketball players in the nation, but had an awesome supporting cast on Tuesday night.

No. 6 Duke 83, East Carolina 74: Not the Duke-Carolina game were are used to, but ECU kept it close, cutting it to 64-63 with under seven minutes to play. Duke got a scare, but behind 51 combined points from Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker, the Blue Devils advance to the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden.

Butler 85, Vanderbilt 77 OT: The Bulldogs picked up a win over an SEC program on Tuesday night, surviving Vanderbilt in overtime. Eric McClellan (29 points) had a chance to win it in regulation, but a travel turned the ball over for the Commodores with second remaining. Khyle Marshall  (26 points) and Kellen Dunham (16 points) led the way for Butler.

STARRED:

Marcus Smart: Smart dominated the Memphis Tigers, leading the way for Oklahoma State’s 101-80 beatdown of the No. 11 team in the nation. Smart, a 29 percent shooter from three last season, connected on 5-of-10 from deep, 11-of-20 from the field, for a career-high 39 points.

Frank Kaminsky: On any other night Kaminsky would have this night to himself. But the junior forward scored a Wisconsin record 43 points of 16-of-18 (6-for-6, 3-point) shooting in the Badgers’ 103-85 win over North Dakota. It was the first time since 1995 that Wisconsin hit 100.

Jahii Carson: Carson also went for a career-high on Tuesday night, with 40 points on the road against the UNLV Rebels. The Sun Devils trailed by four at half, to score 52 second half points. Despite going for 40, Carson still dished out seven dimes.

STRUGGLED:

Memphis and its back court: Some argued the Tigers had the nation’s best back court with the foursome of Michael Dixon, Joe Jackson, Geron Johnson and Chris Crawford. They combined for 8-of-34 shooting, 21 points and 10 turnovers. Damien Wilson led all Memphis guards with eight points in 20 minutes.

Ryan Harrow: Bad night for Harrow to have an off night. The transfer point guard played 32 minutes, ending with four points off 2-of-11 shooting in a loss to Alabama. Georgia State will not be going to Madison Square Garden.

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights shot 39 percent (27 percent from three) and coughed the ball up 14 times. The result? A 70-59 loss to Drexel. The Dragons will to go MSG for the NIT semifinals. “We were out-coached and we were outplayed.” That’s all Rutgers head coach Eddie Jordan said after the game to reporters, according to Brendan Prunty of the Star-Ledger.

NOTABLES:

  • Rodney Hood played all 40 minutes and went for 30, but did East Carolina show some flaws for the Blue Devils?
  • Staying with the Blue Devils, potential Duke-Arizona matchup at MSG is one step closer
  • Julius Randle goes for another double-double, while James Young erupts for 26
  • St. John’s erase a narrow first half deficit to defeat Bucknell 67-63
  • The mid-major game of the day didn’t disappoint as Canisius topped Elon 86-85
  • Montrezl Harrell went for 20 and nine off 9-of-12 shooting in Louisville’s win over Hartford
  • Nick Johnson stuffed the stats with 20 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in Arizona’s win over Rhode Island
  • Joel Embiid had his best game with Kansas so far, in front of his father from Cameroon, with 16 points and 13 boards
  • Drexel downed Rutgers. Dragons going to NYC for preseason NIT
  • Virginia Cavaliers winners of three straight since losing to VCU during the Tip-Off Marathon
  • Penn State knocked off La Salle, 79-72, behind a balanced scoring attack that saw all five starters score at least 13 points.

DePaul adds 2018 commit

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Wisconsin guard John Diener has committed to DePaul, his grassroots program announced Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-4 Class of 2018 guard ends his recruitment rather early with offers also from instate schools Green Bay and Milwaukee. He’s known as a shooter and becomes the first commit for Dave Leitao in the 2018 class.

Diener, who plays with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors in the spring and summer, commits to the Blue Demons with them coming off a disappointing campaign, Leitao’s first in Chicago. DePaul went 9-22 overall and 3-15 in the Big East, finishing only ahead of St. John’s.

DePaul has been recruiting the Midwest hard with incoming 2016 recruits from La Lumiere School in Indiana, Sagninow, Mich. and locally in Chicago.

Four-star guard Fisher commits to TCU

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Jamie Dixon’s presence is already being felt in the Big 12 and on the recruiting trail.

TCU received its first commitment of the Dixon era when four-star 2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher announced his decision to join the Horned Frogs on Wednesday.

“Due to how comfortable my family and I are with the coaching staff,” Fisher posted from his Twitter account, “and the emphasis the university has put on making basketball a priority, I’m committing to be a student-athlete at TCU.”

Getting a consensus top-75 prospect, who was once committed to UNLV, is a heck of a coup for being just a couple months on the job. It instantly shows the Frogs are going to be a player for some of the country’s top players, which is a necessity if you have designs on making a move up the ladder of arguably the country’s best league in the Big 12.

Maybe the most gratifying thing for TCU, though, is the reason Fisher publicly stated for making his decision, the school’s “making basketball a priority.” The hoops program has suffered immensely in the Big 12 (while the football program has flourished), winning a total of eight games in their four seasons (including a winless 2014), but the school sank $72 million into renovating its arena, made an aggressive move in firing Trent Johnson and then went out and got its dream candidate, Dixon, an alum. Fisher’s commitment is the first time those moves have shown that commitment to basketball paying off.

 

Report: Izundu’s San Diego State transfer ban rescinded

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Washington State transfer Valentine Izundu will be visiting San Diego State after all.

Coach Ernie Kent has rescinded his restriction on the 6-foot-10 graduate transfer from visiting the Aztecs, according to a report from the Spokesman-Review, citing an anonymous source. Izundu will also be reportedly visiting Fresno State and UNLV.

Izundu had previously been barred from considering the Aztecs by Kent because of suspcisions of tampering. Izundu vigorously denied that was the case as at the center of the dispute was a trip he made to San Diego for spring break. He publicly said he did not have any contact with the SDSU coaching staff , though he attended an Aztecs NIT game.

Kent, though, appears to have relented, as many coaches who have similarly faces public pressure in such situations before him have. In this era where so much attention is being paid to player rights and welfare, there only seems to be growing public sentiment against programs restricting transfers beyond the absolute bare minimum is rarely going to go over well. It may make things more difficult for coaches and programs, but it’s the deck is largely already stacked in their favor in most every other instance.

Ex-Michigan State player Keith Appling faces weapons charges

Keith Appling
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DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) Authorities say former Michigan State basketball player Keith Appling faces charges including carrying a concealed weapon after he was found in possession of guns and marijuana in suburban Detroit.

The Wayne County prosecutor’s office says 24-year-old Appling was arrested outside a Dearborn club on Sunday night. Club security called police after seeing a man pull a gun from the trunk of a car.

Prosecutors say Appling was in the driver’s seat of the car when police arrived. Officers found a handgun under the driver’s seat, a loaded weapon in the trunk and a small amount of suspected marijuana.

Weapons and marijuana possession charges were announced Wednesday.

The court says he doesn’t have a lawyer on record.

Appling played for the Spartans from 2010-2014 and plays for the NBA’s development league.

UNLV transfer to finish career at Michigan State

UNLV forward Ben Carter, right, celebrates after his team defeated Oregon in an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, in Las Vegas. UNLV won 80-69. (AP Photo/John Locher)
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Former UNLV center Ben Carter announced on Wednesday that he will be transferring to Michigan State to finish his collegiate career.

Carter, who began his career at Oregon, averaged 8.6 points and 6.0 boards in his one season with UNLV before tearing his ACL in late January. He spent two seasons with the Ducks before transferring to Vegas, which is why he’s eligible immediately for the Spartans.

And that’s the biggest reason that Tom Izzo and company targeted him.

The Spartans lost Deyonta Davis to the NBA Draft after one season, a fact that became an inevitability midway through the year but one that the Spartans didn’t necessarily plan for heading into last season. Carter isn’t going to be an instant impact kind of player, particularly not when he’s coming off of an ACL injury, but he is a big body and a veteran presence on a front line that wasn’t going have much of either.