“That’s not my legacy”: 12 years after Rutgers firing, Kevin Bannon is at peace (Newark Star-Ledger)
When he first took over as head coach at Rutgers in the late-1990s, Kevin Bannon has the look of a coach capable of leading the program to greater heights. But a free throw contest in which players had to remove an article of clothing for each miss resulted in Bannon’s firing. And while Rutgers continues its quest for a spot in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1991 Bannon’s moved forward in life.
NBA projections fall for star-studded lineup (Louisville Courier-Journal)
One aspect of the one-and-done era that has taken some getting used to is the immediate analysis of the draft potential of the nation’s best freshmen. Having played just one-third of the season doesn’t stop pundits from offering their thoughts and mock drafts, and in the case of Kentucky’s crop their stock has dropped some. But in all honesty this likely isn’t (and shouldn’t) be their focus right now.
BC’s Clifford still a question mark (Boston Globe)
Boston College center Dennis Clifford is a valuable piece for the Eagles, but unfortunately for them he’s been unable to play this season after undergoing a procedure during the offseason on both of his knees. Without their big man the Eagles have struggled defensively, and a decision should be made in the next couple of weeks as to whether or not he’ll be able to play at all this season.
Marist graduate Kristina Danella leading own college basketball team (Poughkeepsie Journal)
For many college graduates the job market can be tough to navigate, with the number of immediate opportunities in their chosen field being limited. But in the case of former Marist forward Kristina Danella, she’s now in charge of her own program (interim head coach at Urbana University) less than a year removed from college.
Sylvia Hatchell doing “really good” (ESPN)
North Carolina women’s head basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell’s been on leave since being diagnosed with leukemia in October, and her hope is to be back on the sideline running her program by the end of the season.
Henderson getting help as Rebels near SEC play (Columbus Ledger-Enquirer)
Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson receives most of the attention when it comes to the Rebels thanks to his shot selection and histrionics that fire up fans no matter when the game is being played. But as Ole Miss approaches the start of SEC play it should be known that he’s got some help, most notably a player in Jarvis Summers who’s much improved from a season ago.
Brandon Taylor’s heart outgrows his frame (Salt Lake Tribune)
Utah put together arguably its best performance of the season on Saturday night as they blew out rival BYU in Salt Lake City. The tandem of Jordan Loveridge and Delon Wright will receive many of the headlines but they aren’t the only key contributors at Larry Krystkowiak’s disposal. Sophomore point guard Brandon Taylor’s been key as well, and he’s becoming a vocal leader for the Utes.
Matisse Thybulle will return to Washington for his senior season after contemplating declaring for the NBA draft following a junior campaign in which he was named the Pac-12 defensive player of the year.
“The NBA is really enticing and it was definitely something that I seriously considered when the season was over,” Thybulle told the Seattle Times. “I talked it over with my family and we came to the conclusion that it would be in my best interest to stay and get my degree (in communications) and grow as a basketball player and take this last year to mature and fine tune everything so I can be fully prepared to take that next step when it’s time.”
The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 11.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game last season. He shot 44.5 percent from the field and 36.5 percent from 3-point range.
“I talked to coach (Mike Hopkins) and he gave me some good advice that was honestly something that helped in the grand scheme of things,” Thybulle said. “He told me that if I do it (enter the draft), then I should be all in because that’s what I’m going to be up against is a whole bunch of guys fighting for their lives. He thought it would be a better idea for me to stay in school until I’m at that point.”
Washington is awaiting the decision of Noah Dickerson, who declared for the draft but has not hired an agent. The 6-foot-8 averaged 15.5 points and 8.4 rebounds last season.
Steve Wojciechowski added a significant piece to his 2019-20 team over the weekend.
Koby McEwen announced his intention to transfer to Marquette from Utah State late Sunday evening.
“I would like to thank God, my family, inner circle and all the schools/coaches that recruited me during this process!” McEwen tweeted. “With that being said, I’m proud to announce that I’ll be furthering my college career at Marquette University.”
McEwen picked the Golden Eagles over fellow finalists Creighton and Grand Canyon after he decided to transfer when the Aggies announced South Dakota coach Craig Smith was taking over the program last month. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 15.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game while shooting 40 percent from the field and 30 percent from 3-point range as a sophomore.
After sitting out the upcoming season, McEwen will have to years of eligibility remaining. Marquette went 21-14 last season, but missed the NCAA tournament for the third time in Wojciechowski’s four years in Milwaukee.
Minnesota has added some depth for the future.
The Golden Gophers received a pledge from Vanderbilt transfer Payton Willis over the weekend, giving him a guard with two seasons of eligibility remaining starting in 2019-20.
Willis will sit out the upcoming season under NCAA transfer rules.
The 6-foot-4 guard played a limited role in two seasons in Nashville, never averaging more than 18. 5 minutes or 5.2 points per game. He scored in double figures in three games as a sophomore.
Willis was a top-150 prospect in the Class of 2016 coming out of Fayetteville, Ark. with offers from the likes of Tulsa, Rice and Dayton. Vandy and Minnesota were his two high-major offers.
After being ranked in the top-15, Minnesota was beset by injury and suspensions last season as they limped to the finish line in a 15-17 season that featured losses in 12 of its last 13 games.
Richard Pitino still has two available scholarships for the 2018-19 campaign.
John Calipari just landed a critical recruit for 2018-19, and he was already on the roster.
Quade Green, who averaged 25 minutes per game last season, is returning to Kentucky for his sophomore season, his mother told the Lexington Herald-Leader on Monday.
Given that six Wildcat players have entered the draft (Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Hami Diallo are signing with agents), getting the 6-foot point guard back for a second season is a massive deal for Calipari and Co. The Wildcats have always been at their best under Calipari with returning players as the cornerstones of the roster with talented one-and-dones providing the extra boost. Getting one such returner at the point guard position is even more critical.
Green, who came to Kentucky as a five-star recruit last year, averaged 9.3 points and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and a respectable 37.1 percent from 3-point range, an area where Kentucky continually needs help.
With Green back in the fold, Kentucky will now await the decisions of PJ Washington, Wenyen Gabriel and Jarred Vanderbilt, who are all going through the pre-draft process without hiring agents, which will potentially allow them to return to school and bolster a Kentucky roster has the look of a top-five team.
The NBA Draft Early Entry Deadline came and went on Sunday night, meaning there are now roughly 60 college players that have signed with an agent and another 100 or so that have declared for the draft while retaining their college eligibility. Who were the winners? Who were the losers? Who has the most on the line? Sam Vecenie of the Game Theory podcast joined Rob Dauster to talk through all of it. The rundown:
OPEN: What do NBA teams value in players these days?
10:00: Villanova has more on the line during this testing the water process than anyone
19:00: Just how important was De’Andre Hunter’s decision to return to Virginia
25:25: Gonzaga getting Rui and Killian Tillie back makes them a title favorite
32:10: Nevada has a top ten season on the line with the Martin twins and Jordan Caroline
36:15: #RANTALERT – The decision to turn pro is so much more complicated than “is he a first round pick”
48:30: Rapid fire: Maryland, Kansas, Syracuse, Nebraska, Purdue and Michigan. What do they have on the line?