joel embiid

Late Night Snacks: Kansas knocks off Iowa State for key Big 12 road win

Leave a comment

GAME OF THE DAY: No. 23 Duke 69, Virginia 65

This one got a lot closer than Duke would have liked. The Blue Devils led for the entire game until Malcolm Brogdon’s free throw with 37 seconds left gave Virginia its first lead of the game at 65-64. From there, Duke scored five consecutive points to close out the game, including an offensive rebound that led to Rasheed Sulaimon’s go-ahead three-pointer. Sulaimon’s resurgence was the overall story in this one though, as the sophomore continues to shake off his early-season slump as he scored 21 points in 24 minutes for a Duke team that regularly made lineup changes and even started freshman guard Matt Jones.

Jabari Parker continued to struggle, only scoring eight points on 3-for-11 shooting, but the Blue Devils earned a much-needed ACC win at home.

You can also read more on this one with Rob Dauster’s take on Duke and my take on Virginia.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) No. 15 Kansas 77, No. 8 Iowa State 70

The Jayhawks have played the toughest schedule in the country and you can tell by the way this young Kansas team was prepared for the Hilton Coliseum and No. 8 Iowa State. Andrew Wiggins (17 points, 19 rebounds) and Joel Embiid (16 points, nine rebounds, five blocks) both had great games, but it was the play of junior point guard Naadir Tharpe that but Kansas over the edge.

Rob and I also alternated angles for this game with Rob looking into Iowa State while I go into more detail about Kansas during its big win.

2) No. 2 Syracuse 69, Boston College 59

For awhile, the Golden Eagles had the unbeaten No. 2 Orange on the ropes in the second half before Syracuse stepped on the gas and got by to earn the ACC road win. Although Trevor Cooney has struggled with his perimeter shooting during ACC play, he stepped up with an 8-for-13 effort from the field, while shooting a respectable 2-for-5 from the three-point line, to lead the Orange with 21 points. Jerami Grant also continued his sound play off the bench as the sophomore forward went for 16 points and eight rebounds in 37 minutes of play, even though he didn’t start the game.

CBT’s own Terrence Payne was in attendance at this one and has more on the Orange’s win.

3) Texas 80, West Virginia 69

The only other power conference matchup of the night belonged to the Longhorns as Texas owned the glass with a 49-30 advantage in the easy road win in Morgantown. Texas held West Virginia to 37 percent shooting as Javan Felix had 19 points and Cameron Ridley registered a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds. After dropping its first two Big 12 games, Texas has rallied to 2-2 in the leagues and is now 13-4 overall.

STARRED

1) One of the nation’s premier scorers, Loyola (Md.) senior Dylon Cormier, went for 25 points and 11 rebounds as the Greyhounds raced to a 77-63 Patriot League win over Lafayette.

2) Kendrick Perry scored Youngstown State’s final 12 points to finish the game with 31 overall in leading the Penguins to a 67-66 home win over Horizon League opponent Cleveland State.

3) Alabama State’s Jamel Waters went the full 40 minutes, scoring 27 points and adding seven assists and four steals in leading the Hornets to a 77-64 home win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff in a SWAC victory. The game was tied at 58 in the second half before Alabama State went on a 19-6 run to close the game.

STRUGGLED

1) Southern Utah finished with only 36 points, as they allowed Big Sky conference opponent Northern Arizona to score 35 in each half on its way to a 70-36 loss at home. Northern Arizona started the game on a 12-0 run as Southern Utah only mustered 11 first-half points.

2) Delaware State faltered down the stretch during a home loss to Norfolk State as the Spartans escaped with a 58-56 road win. Delaware State had a chance to snap Norfolk State’s 23-game regular season conference winning streak — the longest such streak in the nation — before letting the game slip away in the second half after the game was tied 46-all.

3) Tennessee State allowed Tennessee-Martin to shoot 60 percent from the field and allowed 25 assists on 39 field goals as the Skyhawks pulled off the 100-88 Ohio Valley Conference win. Tennessee State started the game down 16-1 and are now 2-17 on the season after an 18-15 finish last season that included an appearance in the CIT

Illinois PG expected to be ready for practice

Leave a comment

Illinois point guards and injuries have been an unfortunate trend over the past two seasons with Tracy Abrams, who missed the past two seasons with a torn ACL followed by a torn Achilles the next year.

On Sunday, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports reported some good news for an incoming Fighting Illini floor general. Te’Jon Lucas, a three-star prospect from the Class of 2016, will be fully cleared for the start of practice, according to Rothstein. In February, Lucas had broke his fibula in his right leg in two places during a game.

Lucas had committed to Illinois the previous September.

Abrams received a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA in June, and he decided to remain in Champaign for his final season. If healthy, he’ll be the starter. Jaylon Tate is also back for another season. But they are both seniors, which makes Sunday’s report important for John Groce’s program. Lucas will be on the floor Day 1 of practice, being molded for the future by two experienced guards.

The 5-foot-11 Lucas is the only true freshman on the roster.

Illinois begins the 2016-17 season on November 11, hosting Southeast Missouri State.

Xavier adds to class with three-star center

Leave a comment

Xavier added a fourth piece to its 2017 recruiting class on Sunday morning.

Kentravious Jones, a 6-foot-11, three-star recruit, committed to the Musketeers. He announced the decision via Twitter.

Chris Mack’s current recruiting class is headlined by four-star swingman Naji Marshall. The incoming quartet also includes guard Elias Harden and forward Jared Ridder. But Jones’ commitment fits an area that needs to be addressed for the Musketeers moving forward. Xavier isn’t particularly deep when it comes to big men. That frontcourt only gets thinner once RaShid Gaston, a graduate transfer from Norfolk State, exhausts his eligibility after this season.

Jones, along with current freshman forward Tyrique Jones, gives Xavier a young foundation for the future. Jones is an old-school, big-bodied center. He’s got a nice back-to-the-basket game, and had his best stretch of the summer during the UAA Finals. In three games with the Atlanta Xpress, he averaged 15.3 points, shot 59 percent from the field, and grabbed nine boards per game.

Conditioning will be the emphasis for him over the course of the next year. However, we have seen Xavier work well with a big, skilled centers in the past (see: Stainbrook, Matt). According to Shannon Russell of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Jones has dropped 30 pounds.

Sunday morning’s news may not even be Xavier’s last score on the recruiting trail. The Musketeers have one scholarship remaining (two, or three if Edmond Sumner and Trevon Bluiett enter the NBA Draft this spring), and are in play for several coveted prospects like point guards Paul Scruggs, Quade Green and Matt Coleman, as well as forward Kris Wilkes.

Minnesota center to miss a month

ST. LOUIS, MO - MARCH 7: Reggie Lynch #22 of the Illinois State Redbirds and Fred VanVleet #23 of the Wichita State Shockers fight for control of a loose ball during the MVC Basketball Tournament Semifinals at the Scottrade Center on March 7, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Minnesota’s projected starting center is sidelined, but is expected to be ready for the season opener.

Reggie Lynch, the Illinois State transfer, had surgery on his left knee, the program announced on Friday night. According to Marcus R. Fuller of the Star-Tribune, the Golden Gophers are anticipating that Lynch is available for the season opener on Nov. 11 against Louisiana-Lafayette.

The 6-foot-10 Lynch has been in the news this offseason prior to his impending debut with Minnesota. In May, he was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault. On August 1, the Hennepin County attorney’s office was announced he would not face charges, citing insufficient evidence.

Lynch spent two seasons at Illinois State, averaging 9.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game for the Redbirds as a sophomore. He sat out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer rules. Minnesota is coming off a second-to-last place finish in the Big Ten with an 8-23 (2-16 Big Ten) record.

Women’s hoops coaches boycotting recruiting events

DENVER, CO - MARCH 31:  Head coach Muffet McGraw of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish directs her team during practice prior to the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Final Four at Pepsi Center on March 31, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Getty Images
2 Comments

For some high-major women’s basketball programs, the final evaluation period of 2016 is being used as a vacation from the recruiting trail.

According to a report from Lindsay Schnell of Sports Illustrated, are not attending events during this weekend’s recruiting period for a host of reasons.

First, many are fed up with the price of tournament packets, booklets of rosters that college coaches receive upon paying their entry fee. Packets are supposed to be chock-full of contact information for the prospects, but sometimes aren’t accurate or up-to-date. (This has become a well-documented issue on the men’s side of college hoops. CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish wrote on it this summer.) Furthermore, there are so many events now that college coaches are often forced to pay obscene amounts of money to watch just one player at a single event, and play recruiting hopscotch around the country, criss-crossing the nation to see so many events and spend thousands of dollars. One Power Five coach said her staff crunched the numbers, and found that in just two years, they’ve spent more than $4,000 more than they did in 2014 on packets alone. Another coach told a story of sending an assistant across the country for one day, to one event, to watch one team. When the assistant arrived, the team had left early for its next event. No refund was available for the college that had paid what turned out to be a useless entry fee. The head coach called it “exasperating.”

Jeff Borzello of ESPN, who spoke to Notre Dame head coach and eventual Hall of Famer Muffet McGraw for his report, estimated that the cost for one of the coaches packets — the ones that include player contact information, rosters, etc. — can cost each school an average of $600 per event.

This era of grassroots basketball has taken off in recent years with Nike, Under Armour and adidas all creating their own sponsored leagues. All three run exceptional events from the staff to the facilities, all the way to the three, free meals a day for coaches. Organizers of these events will argue that there’s a cost to running such high-end events. These packets, some of which are so in-depth they include players’ GPAs, help fund these tournaments (events, paying a staff, etc.).

Coaches, mostly mid to low-major coaches, will argue that these packets aren’t worth the cost, considering that every coach (head and assistant) must purchase them in order to gain entrance. And you will find packets where the information inside is either inaccurate, or missing or both. For elite programs, this isn’t an issue. You show up, you’re seen, you leave, you go to the next event, repeat. For mid to low-major coaches, this really puts a dent in their budget, especially when they have to travel to multiple events (buying packets at each one) because you have to land that “steal,” you have to find that player who is overlooked.

This protest, or boycott (or whatever you want to call it) will hurt those these events are intended to help the most: the players. If coaches continue to avoid these tournaments, that late-bloomer may miss out on a scholarship, or that player with mid-major offers won’t get the chance to play in front of high-major coaches.

According to Schnell, there is a proposal, voted on in April, to eliminate a live recruiting period in April and September. But many coaches in women’s basketball have made it clear this weekend how they feel about the issue.

USC lands commitment from three-star center

Leave a comment

USC added to its 2017 recruiting class with a commitment from a 7-foot big man.

Andy Enfield and the Trojans beat out Florida, Vanderbilt and Tennessee for the services of Calvary Christian Academy (Florida) center Victor Uyaelunmo. He announced his college decision on Friday afternoon.

“It was the best fit for me academically and athletically,” Uyaelunmo said according to David Furones of the Sun Sentinel. “The basketball coaches really wanted me to come, and I thought it was the best place for me.

“They told me how they were going to use me, and they have a couple of guys leaving this year, so I just fit in right.”

Uyaelunmo is regarded as a three-star prospect by Rivals, however, ESPN rates him a four-star recruit. He joins a two-man class which includes four-star forward Jordan Usher.

The departure of Nikola Jovanovic, the Trojans’ leading rebounder during the 2015-16, was a surprising one, and one that left USC with a hole in the middle. While Uyaelunmo still has one more year before arriving on the Los Angeles campus, the Trojans have a promising piece in the paint for the future; a long, athletic big man who has the potential, in time, to become one of the nation’s top shot blockers.

Uyaelunmo played for Nike South Beach in the EYBL this spring and summer. In 12 appearances, he averaged 5.0 points. 5.9 rebounds and 1.0 block in 17.6 minutes per game.