Jahlil Okafor

37th Annual McDonald’s All American Game rosters announced

Leave a comment

On Wednesday the rosters for the 37th annual McDonald’s All American Game were announced, with the game scheduled to be played on April 2 at the United Center in Chicago. Two of the players showcased call the Windy City home, with Cliff Alexander (East) and Jahlil Okafor (West) both being named McDonald’s All Americans. Of the 24 players selected 22 have picked the college they’ll attend next year, with East center Myles Turner and West shooting guard Rashad Vaughn being the exceptions.

Duke and Kentucky lead the way from a college representation standpoint, with each school claiming for players in this year’s game. Duke will have two commitments on each team, with point guard Tyus Jones and small forward Justise Winslow playing for the East and Okafor being joined by shooting guard Grayson Allen on the West roster. As for Kentucky three of their commits are on the West roster (Devin Booker, Trey Lyles and Tyler Ulis) with center Karl Towns Jr. playing for the East.

North Carolina is next in line with three McDonald’s All Americans, with Kansas and UCLA having two apiece. In total 11 colleges are represented including SMU, which has a McDonald’s All American for the second consecutive year with Emmanuel Mudiay following in the footsteps of Keith Frazier. Given where the program was prior to Larry Brown’s arrival, that’s a notable achievement.

Below are the rosters for the two teams, listing schools, the player’s hometown and the college they’ll be attending.

EAST ROSTER

PF Cliff Alexander (Curie HS, Chicago, Ill.) Kansas
SG James Blackmon Jr. (Marion HS, Marion, Ind.) Indiana
SF Justin Jackson (Homeschool Christian, Tomball, Texas) North Carolina
PG Tyus Jones (Apple Valley HS, Apple Valley, Minn.) Duke
PF Kevon Looney (Hamilton HS, Milwaukee, Wis.) UCLA
SF Theo Pinson (Wesleyan Christian, Greensboro, N.C.) North Carolina
SG D’Angelo Russell (Montverde Academy, Louisville, Ky.) Ohio State
C Karl Towns Jr. (St. Joseph HS, Metuchen, N.J.) Kentucky
PG Romelo Trimble (Bishop O’Connell HS, Upper Marlboro, Md.) Maryland
C Myles Turner (Trinity HS, Bedford, Texas) Undecided
SG Isaiah Whitehead (Abraham Lincoln HS, Brooklyn, N.Y.) Seton Hall
SF Justise Winslow (Saint John’s HS, Houston, Texas) Duke

WEST ROSTER 

SG Grayson Allen (Providence HS, Jacksonville, Fla.) Duke
PG Joel Berry (Lake Highland Prep, Apopka, Fla.) North Carolina
SG Devin Booker (Moss Point HS, Moss Point, Miss.) Kentucky
SF Stanley Johnson (Mater Dei HS, Fullerton, Calif.) Arizona
PF Trey Lyles (Arsenal Tech, Indianapolis, Ind.) Kentucky
PG Emmanuel Mudiay (Prime Prep Academy, Dallas, Texas) SMU
C Jahlil Okafor (Whitney Young HS, Chicago, Ill.) Duke
SF Kelly Oubre (Findlay Prep, Richmond, Texas) Kansas
PF Reid Travis (De La Salle HS, Minneapolis, Minn.) Stanford
PG Tyler Ulis (Marian Catholic, Matteson, Ill.) Kentucky
SG Rashad Vaughn (Findlay Prep, Golden Valley, Minn.) Undecided
C Thomas Welsh (Loyola HS, Los Angeles, Calif.) UCLA

Indiana roster dealing with handful of injuries as practice begins

BLOOMINGTON, IN - NOVEMBER 20:  A general view of  the SMU Mustangs game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Assembly Hall on November 20, 2014 in Bloomington, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Indiana has been hit with the injury buy a bit during the start of practice and it doesn’t only involved the recent announcement of knee surgery for senior Collin Hartman.

According to a report from the Indiana Daily Student the Hoosiers are also dealing with a knee injury for junior college transfer forward Freddie McSwain and sophomore Juwan Morgan hasn’t been cleared for practice yet after offseason shoulder surgery.

The 6-foot-6 McSwain had a knee injury flare up when he came to Indiana and had surgery to clean it up. Crean told the Indiana Daily Student that McSwain was still a few weeks from returning.

That means Indiana has to find early practice minutes to replace Hartman, Morgan and McSwain up front which gives more reps to players like O.G. Anunoby and freshman big man De’Ron Davis.

Since Anunoby and Davis both dealt with some offseason injuries and guard Robert Johnson was recently cleared to return, Hoosiers head coach Tom Crean is remaining cautious during the early part of practice this season. Crean also has to monitor the return of starting guard James Blackmon Jr. after he missed most of last season with a torn ACL.

“We would have already practiced this morning and they would be ready to go tonight, if this were a year ago,” Crean said in the report. “We have to tailor make this thing. We can’t be in too much of a rush with these guys.”

Obviously, the frontcourt injuries are something to keep an eye on for Indiana during the early part of the season. None of the three injuries seem severe, but Hartman’s timetable to return hasn’t been listed and McSwain and Morgan are missing valuable early time in practice.

It’ll be interesting to see if this helps younger players like Anunoby and Davis get more acquainted with the first team early on since both could have an impact this season.

Texas lands four-star Class of 2017 guard Jase Febres

Leave a comment

Texas and head coach Shaka Smart continue to recruit at a high level, especially in the state of Texas, as the Longhorns landed a commitment from Class of 2017 four-star guard Jase Febres on Friday night.

The 6-foot-5 Febres is considered the No. 63 overall prospect in the Rivals national Class of 2017 rankings as he burst on the national radar this summer with some strong shooting performances. Febres shot over 40 percent from three-point range during the month of July after battling through injury during the spring. Besides owning good size for a wing shooter, Febres also takes pride in defending and he can rebound a bit from the wing as well.

Febres is going to have to improve his overall offensive package if a defense plays him off the three-point line, but he has upside as a three-and-D guy with the Longhorns.

The Class of 2017 is starting to round into shape for Texas as Febres joins four-star power forward Jericho Sims and four-star forward Royce Hamm. Since taking over the Texas job, Smart has done a great job of keeping local talent home as he now has five four- and five-star prospects from the state in the last two classes.

 

VIDEO: Kentucky fans get married in the ticket line for Big Blue Madness

Leave a comment

Kentucky fans have unique ways of making their annual Big Blue Madness event the most chaotic tip-off event of the season. While Big Blue Nation is waiting in line for tickets to this year’s festivities in Tent City, one couple decided to go the extra mile.

After securing the first spot in line for tickets, Ray Branham and Vicki Harvey opted to get married. According to a post from Drew Franklin of Kentucky Sports Radio, the couple had already been talking about tying the knot, but decided to make the move once they had the top spot in line. As you can see by the wedding video, it was a very Kentucky-themed ceremony as the duo got married in front of friends and other Kentucky fans.

I can’t say I’m surprised two Kentucky fans decided to get married in line for something like Big Blue Madness and this (unplanned) wedding gives this year’s event something unique that we will always remember.

Penn State loses freshman on day practice starts

Patrick Chambers
AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato
Leave a comment

On the day that college basketball practice is to start, Penn State head coach Pat Chambers announced that his roster would be changing.

Joe Hampton, a 6-foot-8, 290 pound power forward from Maryland, will be leaving the program.

“Joe has made the decision to leave the program based on personal reasons,” Chambers said. “We wish him the best of luck with his future endeavors.”

Hampton was a three-star prospect that missed his senior season at Oak Hill Academy with torn ACL, but he reportedly enrolled at Penn State in May, before the rest of the Nittany Lion recruit class.

Michigan State lands second Class of 2017 commitment

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 22:  Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans reacts against the Virginia Cavaliers during the third round of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 22, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Tom Izzo landed his second commitment in the Class of 2017 as big man Xavier Tillman announced that he will be attending Michigan State.

A 6-foot-7, 235 pound power forward, Tillman is a physical-if-undersized player that is rated as a three-star prospect. He’s not a one-and-done player, but he’s should be a good program guy for the Spartans.

“Tillman is another big and strong interior presence for Michigan State,” said NBCSports.com recruiting analyst Scott Phillips. “What separates Tillman from a lot of big men his size is his passing ability. Tillman is an intelligent player on the offensive end and he rebounds his area well.”

Tillman joins Jaren Jackson, his AAU teammate for Speice Indy Heat, in Michigan State’s recruiting class.

He picked Michigan State over Purdue and Marquette.