Former Utah State center Carson Shanks headed to North Dakota

Leave a comment

The plan for 7-footer Carson Shanks at Utah State was to redshirt this season, with the hope that the Minnesota native would gain some extra strength and as a result be able to compete with the more physical front courts of the Mountain West. However in December Shanks made the decision to transfer, with his father citing in a story written by Kyle Goon of the Salt Lake Tribune that the young center had a desire to play at a school closer to home.

On Wednesday afternoon North Dakota announced that Shanks has joined the program and will be eligible to practice immediately. According to the school Shanks will have three and a half years of eligibility remaining, and he’ll get to play in games once the 2014 fall semester concludes.

“We are obviously excited to add a player like Carson to our program,” North Dakota head coach Brian Jones said. “He is a skilled big man that has a basketball IQ that is off the charts. He passes the ball really well, shoots its really well and can score in bunches.

“But to me, what is even more impressive than his ability on the court, is the character this young man possesses. He is going to add a lot of value to our locker room and with him and Bryce Cashman coming in next season, our future front line will fit nicely against the ones we will be facing in the Big Sky.”

Once eligible to play Shanks with give North Dakota some additional size inside, and that’s a positive with Alonzo Traylor running out of eligibility at the end of the 2013-14 campaign. North Dakota will also lose wing Troy Huff, who has been one of the best players in the Big Sky this season.

North Dakota also has two signees in its 2014 recruiting class: the aforementioned Cashman, who’s a 6-foot-10 center, and point guard Geno Crandall.

VIDEOS: Rhode Island, Maryland exchange heated words in Cancun

Dan Hurley
Leave a comment

No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.

Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.

But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.

It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:

After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”:

Wayne Selden stars as Kansas wins the title in Maui

Wayne Selden Jr., Jeff Roberson
Leave a comment

The last time we wrote about Wayne Selden in this space, it was my colleague Scott Phillips who questioned, after a poor performance in the Champions Classic, whether or not Selden is capable of bring a primary scorer for a team with NCAA title aspirations.

At the time, it wasn’t an unfair question to ask.

Selden is a former top 15 recruit. He is a guy who was expected to go one-and-done that played poorly in the first big game of his third year on campus. But after three days it Maui, it appears that the old Wayne Selden is gone.

[MORE: Kansas got Cheick Diallo news today]

He capped an MVP performance in the Maui Invitational with 25 points and seven boards on 8-for-11 shooting as the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks knocked off No. 19 Vanderbilt, 70-63, in the title game. Selden was terrific for the entire weekend, averaging 21.5 points in the two games against Division I competition and shooting 12-for-17 from beyond the arc in the three game tournament.

It was the best that we’ve seen Selden play during his Jayhawk career, and it came in a game the Jayhawks desperately needed it. Vanderbilt is a damn good team. They’re ranked 19th, which may actually be too low, and they seem to clearly be the biggest challenger to Kentucky in the SEC. They jumped out to a double-digit lead on Kansas in the first half as the Jayhawks seemed to be sleep-walking early in the game.

Enter Selden. He drilled three threes in the first half and scored 13 of the 26 Jayhawk points to keep them close. In other words, he played like a star on a night Kansas desperately needed someone to step up and play like a star. Remember: this is a dude that had enough talent and potential in high school to be considered a McDonald’s All-American and a potential lottery pick. The ability is there:

(That move is filthy.)

The question has always been whether or not he is capable of putting it all together, of being the guy that can be relied upon to make the big play in the big moment, to carry a team with title aspirations.

And to be fair, the jury is still out in that regard. Are we just going to ignore those four free throws he clanged down the stretch?

But seeing Selden have this kind of performance in a game like this against a team that is this good is unquestionably a positive for Kansas moving forward.