With the number of contributors back from last season’s team and the addition of freshman guard Rysheed Jordan, more than a few people believe that Steve Lavin’s St. John’s squad has the pieces needed to return to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. But the Red Storm beat Monmouth on Friday night without the services of Jordan, whose suspension from the team for a violation of team rules was announced shortly before the game tipped off.
“We have high expectations for all of our student-athletes at St. John’s,” Lavin said in the release. “We are hopeful that moving forward Rysheed will be able to meet his responsibilities and be able to rejoin our team on the court.”
While it seemed as if the suspension would only be for one game, according to Zach Braziller of the New York Post the head coach doesn’t know when – or if – the preseason pick to be Big East Rookie of the Year will return to the court.
“If he takes care of business, he’ll be on the team,” Lavin said. “If he doesn’t, he won’t. … It’s a basic responsibility that our team members must adhere to, and if they take care of that aspect, they’re allowed to participate as student-athletes and if they don’t, they won’t. It’s real basic.”
“We want him back on the team.”
Jordan started all three of the Red Storm’s games prior to Friday’s contest, posting averages of 4.3 points and 2.3 assists per game. St. John’s does have experienced options in the form of juniors Phil Greene IV (12.0 ppg, 1.0 apg) and D’Angelo Harrison, with Harrison averaging 1.8 assists in addition to a team-high 19.8 points per game. And the team’s current leader in assists is senior power forward Orlando Sanchez, who’s averaging 2.5 helpers per game.
But for the experience and talent that those players possess, they’re better (and the team is as well) when the talented Jordan’s running the show. Losing Jordan for an extended amount of time wouldn’t lock the Red Storm in for another trip to the NIT, but it certainly won’t help matters as they look to get back to the Big Dance.
Cody Riley has cut his list to five schools, according to Scout.com.
A four-star four man, Riley is now considering just UConn, Kansas, Oklahoma, UCLA and USC.
Ranked the No. 29 player in the Class of 2017 by Rivals, Riley is an undersized-but-powerful forward. His bread and butter is on the block, where his strength and low center of gravity make him a nightmare to deal with, but he’s also skilled enough to do damage as a face-up four.
Riley is from California and will be playing his senior season alongside Marvin Bagley III, the No. 1 player in the Class of 2018, at Sierra Canyon.
Auburn’s hire of Bruce Pearl was almost universally lauded as the first step towards the return of relevance for the Tiger basketball program.
And while the results have yet to shine through on the floor, Pearl is unequivocally stockpiling the kind of talent that will allow him to push for trips to the NCAA tournament and maybe one day contend for a league crown with Kentucky.
The latest step came on Sunday, when Pearl landed a commitment from Chuma Okeke, a top 50 wing prospect out of Georgia.
“He is a versatile wing who can handle and score,” said NBCSports.com recruiting analyst Scott Phillips. “Coming off of a big July, Okeke could move up the national rankings and Auburn pounced on him right away.”
Okeke joins big man Austin Wiley, a top ten player in the class, and Davion Mitchell, who is likely one of the five best point guards in the country, in what is currently the nation’s best recruiting class in 2017. That’s before you consider that Pearl already has Mustapha Heron, a top 25 prospect, joining the mix this season.
“This group has the makings of a monster recruiting class for Auburn,” Phillips said.
Okeke picked the Tigers over Florida State, Georgia and a number of other programs across the southeast.
Jay Huff is a member of Tony Bennett’s best recruiting class to date, a 6-foot-11 top 50 recruit from North Carolina.
He also happens to be pretty athletic.
Don’t believe me?
Check out this video that McDonald’s All-American Kyle Guy tweeted out on Sunday night:
Yup, that’s Huff taking off from the foul line to dunk.
Not bad, young fella.
After a successful career that included stops at Western Kentucky, UMass and Seton Hall, Derrick Gordon, Division I college basketball’s first openly gay player, will not pursue professional opportunities and will instead become a firefighter.
The 6-foot-3 Gordon averaged 8.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a senior for the Pirates, helping the team reach the NCAA tournament during his graduate transfer year. By making the NCAA tournament with Seton Hall this past season, Gordon became the first college basketball player to reach the event with three different teams.
A tenacious perimeter defender who could have earned a pro contract if he stuck with basketball, Gordon will instead pursue a career as a firefighter in San Francisco.
“I’ve had an amazing basketball career and want to thank everybody who has always been there supporting me every step on the way,” Gordon said via his Instagram. “But I’m making a change in my career…I will now be working towards becoming a San Francisco Firefighter!! I’m excited about this and looking forward to having a long career!!”
While Gordon likely would have never made the NBA on talent alone, his defensive prowess would have likely given him a shot overseas or in the D League. It’s hard to say why Gordon is making this decision, but given what we saw with all of the attention surrounding Michael Sam when he tried to play in the NFL, Gordon was probably going to face a lot of scrutiny wherever he decided to play.
Hopefully Gordon finds his calling as a firefighter and brings the same energy and leadership that he brought on the floor to helping other people outside of basketball.
Washington incoming freshman guard Markelle Fultz is going to be one of the premier players in the country next season as his unique game is going to be fascinating to watch.
The 6-foot-5 Fultz is currently playing with the USA U18 team in Chile for the FIBA U18 Americas as he’s second on the team in scoring and first in assists as the Americans play Canada for the title on Saturday.
Against the host country, Fultz had an electric spin move in the paint and finished with an easy dunk. If you’re not willing to stay up late to watch this dude play this year, then set your DVRs, because Fultz is going to have some fun moments during the season.
(H/t: Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report)