The Chase for 180: Jarvis Summers making big strides at Ole Miss

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Who is the best shooter in the country?

It’s a tough question to answer, isn’t it? Does being a “shooter” simply mean merely being a high-level marksman from beyond the arc? Can a player who thrives in the mid-range but rarely ventures out into three-point land be eligible? How heavily should we be valuing stats like efficiency and effective field goal percentage when taking all of this into account?

One number that we like to use is “180″. How do you become a 180 shooter? By shooting 50% or better from the field overall, 40% or better from three and at least 90% from the charity stripe. From this point forward we’ll track this until the end of the regular season, providing weekly updates as well as a look into how some of the nation’s best find (and connect on) their quality looks.

Many of the discussions regarding Ole Miss basketball center around one player: Marshall Henderson. With his limitless range (and shot selection), and his being a polarizing figure amongst many college basketball fans, it’s understandable that the senior shooting guard would be the first player to come to mind when discussing Andy Kennedy’s team. But there’s another player we should be focused on, and that’s junior guard Jarvis Summers.

Entering the 2013-14 season Summers did enjoy some success, averaging just over ten points per game as a freshman and 9.1 points per game on a team that won the program’s first SEC tournament title since 1981. With the losses of Murphy Holloway and Reginald Buckner, who were second and third on the team in scoring last season, it was clear that players such as Summers and Derrick Millinghaus would have to step up if Ole Miss were to make a run at a second consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament.

And through 13 games Summers has done just that, and an argument can be made that he’s one of the most improved players in the country. Summers is scoring 17.8 points per game, and he’s done so in an efficient manner for Ole Miss as he currently has an offensive rating of 124.3 per kenpom.com. Summers is shooting 55.2% from the field and 54.5% from beyond the arc, with both figures representing significant improvements on his percentages from a season ago (40.4% FG, 34.0% 3PT).

The majority of Summers’ looks have come away from the basket (as expected, since he’s a 6-foot-3 guard), as according to hoop-math.com only 15.7% of his shots have been dunks/layups. Those two-point jumpers that more players seem to have issues with, leading to the many cries lamenting the “death” of the mid-range game? Summers has connected on 49.3% of those looks, which represent 51.5% of his field goal attempts to date. And if this production continues, increased attention will follow for Summers.

THE TOP TEN (Note: Players much be eligible to be ranked in FG%, 3PT% and FT%. And here’s a glossary that includes the stats you’ll see used in these posts. Tempo neutral numbers per kenpom.com.)

1) Matt Kennedy (Charleston Southern)
53.5% FG, 55.6% 3PT, 89.7% FT = 198.8
Shot %: 17.7
eFG %: 63.5
True shooting %: 67.8

2) Austin Tillotson (Colgate)
64.4, 59.4, 73.0 = 196.8
Shot %: 17.9
eFG %: 73.4
True shooting %: 73.3

3) Jason Calliste (Oregon)
49.3, 58.3, 89.0 = 196.6
Shot %: 13.6
eFG %: 62.2
True shooting %: 72.2

4) Nic Moore (SMU)
52.0, 54.7, 83.8 = 190.5
Shot %: 20.4
eFG %: 66.3
True shooting %: 69.0

5) Riley Grabau (Wyoming)
50.0, 53.7, 87.2 = 190.0
Shot %: 16.6
eFG %: 69.6
True shooting %: 73.3

6) Michael Frazier II (Florida)
50.5, 49.3, 87.0 = 186.8
Shot %: 19.7
eFG %: 6.8
True shooting %: 69.2

7) Anthony Brown (Stanford)
52.5, 54.3, 80.0 = 186.8
Shot %: 18.5
eFG %: 63.3
True shooting %: 66.3

8) Jarvis Summers (Ole Miss)
55.2, 54.5, 76.6 = 186.3
Shot %: 25.0
eFG %: 64.2
True shooting %: 67.7

9) Phil Forte III (Oklahoma State)
47.4, 48.7, 89.8 = 185.9
Shot %: 22.4
eFG %: 66.5
True shooting %: 71.9

10) Keawe Enos (Utah Valley)
50.0, 51.0, 83.3 = 184.3
Shot %: 15.1
eFG %: 66.7
True shooting %: 68.8

Inside the Arc (five or fewer three-point attempts)

1) Mamadou Ndiaye (UC Irvine)
FG%: 76.5
Three-point attempts: zero

2) Dominique McKoy (Duquesne) 
FG%: 70.1%
Three-point attempts: two (0-for-2)

3) Ladon Carter (Tennessee Tech) 
FG%: 68.4%
Three-point attempts: zero

4) Marshall Bjorklund (North Dakota State)
FG%: 68.1%
Three-point attempts: one (0-for-1)

5) Marquise Simmons (St. Bonaventure) 
FG%: 67.1
Three-point attempts: zero

Previous Installments
November 11
December 4
December 11
December 18

N.C. State adds grad transfer Sam Hunt

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N.C. State added its fourth transfer this offseason. Like ex-Baylor guard Al Freeman, the latest one is eligible to play next season.

Sam Hunt, a double-digit scorer the past two seasons at North Carolina A&T, officially enrolled at North Carolina State on Monday morning.

“Sam is a great young man and will bring much needed depth to our backcourt,” N.C. State head coach Kevin Keatts said in a statement. “I want guys who are excited about being a part of our program and Sam really wants to be here.

“Sam is a combo guard that can space the floor with his ability to shoot the basketball. He is a good fit for the system and will bring a wealth of experience to our roster.”

Hunt, the 6-foot-2 guard, averaged 12.7 points per game last season, a dip from the 15.4 points per game he posted for the Aggies as a redshirt sophomore.

Hunt joins a roster that lost its three leading scorers from a season ago, one that ended 15-17 (4-14 ACC). Dennis Smith Jr. is a member of the Dallas Mavericks. Maverick Rowan also pursued a professional career and Terry Henderson was denied an additional year from the NCAA.

The Wolf Pack bring back forwards Abdul-Malik Abu and Omer Yurtseven as well as Torin Dorn.

Keatts, who took over the program after leading UNC Wilmington to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments, has already built for the future. UNC Wilmington transfer C.J. Bryce, 17.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game for the Seahawks, has followed him to Raleigh. Utah transfer Devon Daniels committed to the Wolf Pack the same day as Bryce. Both will have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer rules. Bryce will have two years of eligibility while Daniels will have three.

LaVar Ball stars in an uncomfortably entertaining segment on WWE’s Raw

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LaVar Ball’s statements and antics over this past year always seemed better suited a professional wrestling ring.

It was only natural that the patriarch of the Ball family — and the head of the Big Baller Brand — made an appearance on WWE’s Monday Night Raw at the Staples Center for an awkwardly entertaining segment with WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz.

With sons, Lonzo — in his first appearance in the Staples Center as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers — and LaMelo looking on, LaVar was the center of attention. When The Miz mentioned something about a partnership between the two, the scripted interview went south. It resulted in LaVar saying nonsensical things like, “There’s only two dudes better than me, and I’m both of ’em!” before later taking off his shirt. When Dean Ambrose, a WWE superstar feuding with The Miz came out on to the ramp, LaVar didn’t quite grasp the concept that that was his cue to stop talking.

This segment was somehow entertaining and cringeworthy at the same time.

Now that Lonzo is beginning his NBA career, maybe it’s time LaVar try something different. A manager in the WWE may just be his true calling. He’s certainly had plenty of practice.

Maryland lands commitment from five-star 2018 forward

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Maryland added to its 2018 recruiting class with its second commit, the newest addition being a five-star in-state product.

Jalen Smith, a 6-foot-9 forward from Baltimore powerhouse Mount St. Joseph, committed to the Terrapins, making the announcement on Twitter.

“I believe that I can academically and athletically achieve my goals at home through my commitment to the University of Maryland … Go Terps,” he tweeted as part of a long passage.

Smith is listed as the No. 13 overall recruit in the Class of 2013 by Rivals. He joins four-star swingman Aaron Wiggins in Mark Turgeon’s current recruiting class.

Playing for Team Takeover on the Nike EYBL circuit, Smith is averaging 10.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks per game.

Recent grad’s joyride reportedly did $100,000 of damages to Mizzou Arena

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A recent graduate and temporary employee of the University of Missouri took an early morning joy ride that reportedly could rack up around $100,000 to Mizzou Arena.

According to Dave Mater of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Nathaniel J. Contant, 23, who graduated from the school in December 2016, drove his Volkswagen Passat through a gate and eventually on to the floor of the 15,000-seat on-campus arena.

At 7:15 a.m. Sunday, MU police were dispatched to Mizzou Arena for a report of property damage. Officers determined that around 4 a.m., the suspect drove his vehicle through a closed gate on the south side of the arena. He ran through a garage door and drove into a dock area where he damaged several golf carts that were stored in the area. He also drove his car onto the basketball court. The man couldn’t leave through the area he used to enter the building, so he drove through the arena’s press gate.

Contant, unsurprisingly, is no longer an employee of the university. He’s being charged with second-degree burglary and first-degree property damage, both of which are felonies. He was released on a $4,500 bond.

The motive for this early-morning joyride remains unclear.

Despite the hype surrounding the upcoming Mizzou season — one that includes the debut of new head coach Cuonzo Martin and the projected No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft Michael Porter, Jr. — Twitter users couldn’t help but poke fun at the dismal recent history the Tigers have had.

(h/t Kansas City Star)

Vance Jackson transfers to New Mexico

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With more than a handful of departures this offseason, New Mexico is set to have a new-look roster for the 2017-18 season. On Monday, Paul Weir, now at the helm of the program, landed a player who should make an impact in the three remaining seasons of eligibility he has left.

Vance Jackson, who spent this past season at UConn, decided to make the move from Storrs to Albuquerque, picking the Lobos over Rutgers, San Diego State, TCU, and Washington.

The 6-foot-8 rising sophomore will have to sit out next year due to NCAA transfer rules before resuming his collegiate career in the fall of 2018.

“The coaches — they trust in me,” Jackson told Geoff Grammer of the Albuquerque Journal last month during his official campus visit. “We’re on the same page. They see a vision.”

Weir, who led New Mexico State this past season to a NCAA Tournament appearance in his one and only season as head coach, succeeded Craig Neal in April.

This offseason has been headlined by transfers, though, those mostly were about players leaving the program. Jackson is the second transfer to land at UNM with Akron’s Antino Jackson electing to use his final season of eligibility with the Lobos. Antino Jackson is a graduate transfer, allowing him to play immediately next season.

Vance Jackson, who was rated as the No. 80 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals, averaged 8.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game while shooting just under 40 percent from three for the Huskies as a freshman.