Butler junior guard Alex Barlow has gone from being a walk-on who played in only 16 games as a freshmen to earning a spot in the starting lineup for 23 of the Bulldogs’ 36 games in 2012-13. This season Barlow’s started all 17 games for Butler, posting averages of 6.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game for the 10-7 Bulldogs.
Ahead of Butler’s game at Marquette on Saturday afternoon Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star told the story of Barlow and his late cousin Chrissy, who passed away in December after a lengthy battle with cancer.
She was Alex’s rock to lean on through every step of his basketball journey, amid every trial and triumph, as he went from a recruiting afterthought to a walk-on at Butler to, eventually, its starting point guard.
“I’ve always been the shortest kid on the team and the least athletic, and she was the one that was always there for me through the good and the bad,” he says. “She came to as many games as she could. And if she couldn’t, she’d text me as soon as it was over.”
The full story of Alex and Chrissy can be read here.
James Banks announced on Thursday that he has committed to Texas, joining Jacob Young in Shaka Smart’s first recruiting class as the head coach of the Longhorns.
Banks is an interesting prospect. A 6-foot-10 center from Georgia, Banks is a still-developing prospect that was recruited more on his potential than his immediate ability.
“James Banks emerged as a good low post prospect this spring and summer,” NBC Recruiting Analyst Scott Phillips said. “With a good set of hands, some offensive potential and a frame that can add weight, Banks is a nice upside grab for Texas.”
He’s probably a few years away from having a major impact in the Big 12, but he may not have that much time to develop. Cameron Ridley, Prince Ibeh and Conner Lamert all graduate after this season, meaning that Banks is going to have to contribute immediately when he sets foot on the Austin campus for the 2016-17 season.
Texas has three commitments in the Class of 2015. Smart convinced Kerwin Roach and Eric Davis to remain committed to the program when he took over for Rick Barnes while he landed a commitment from Tevin Mack, who pledged to Smart when he was at VCU.
Memphis just cannot catch a break.
It’s to the point where I almost feel bad for Josh Pastner.
Today, CBSSports.com reported that Kedren Johnson, a 6-foot-4 point guard that was on track towards being an all-SEC point guard at Vanderbilt, could end up missing the season due to a shoulder injury. If he can handle the pain he can avoid surgery and play with the injury, but at the very least, Johnson is going to be less than his best.
Johnson averaged 6.7 points and 2.7 assists last season for the Tigers. He sat out 2013-14 after leaving Vanderbilt and entered last season incredibly out of shape. There was hope that he would be able to make a bigger impact this season and help fill the void at the point guard spot.
This news comes on the heels of Memphis finding out that Jaylen Fisher is heading to UNLV. Who’s Jaylen Fisher? Well, he’s a point guard and top 40 recruit from Memphis that was Pastner’s No. 1 recruiting target that opted to leave the city for his college hoops instead of play for the Tigers.
That’s a bad sign, but not quite as bad as Memphis losing star center Austin Nichols — another local kid — to a transfer over the summer. Nichols transferred to Virginia.