Davidson makes emphatic statement in pasting of Chattanooga

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Will Wade’s Chattanooga Mocs entered Thursday night’s matchup at Davidson on a 10-game win streak, with forward Z Mason (18.4 ppg, 9.5 rpg) leading the way for a team with four double-digit scorers and nine players averaging at least 11.5 minutes per game. It’s been quite the start for the first-year head coach, who’s still working to install the style of play he wants his Chattanooga program to be known for.

Chattanooga wasn’t expected to be a contender in the Southern Conference right away but there they were, walking into Belk Arena with an unblemished league mark with a chance to make a statement against the program that has set the standard in the SoCon for much of the Bob McKillop era.

Unfortunately for the Mocs, it would be Davidson that made the statement.

De’Mon Brooks got the job done on both ends of the floor, scoring 27 points and grabbing 12 rebounds while also being the primary defender assigned to Mason in the Wildcats’ 94-51 victory. Mason accounted for just seven points on 2-for-9 shooting, and as a team the Mocs were limited to 32.7% shooting from the field and failed to make any of their 13 three-point attempts.

Add in Davidson’s shooting nearly 60% from the field with four players scoring in double figures (Jordan Barham scored 16 off the bench), and the end result was the Wildcats using their best showing of the season to move into a tie for first place in the loss column (Chattanooga’s 8-1, Davidson’s 7-1).

“Without doubt, our best performance of the year,” Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. “Our consistency, from opening tap to the end of the game, both offensively and defensively, were very evident. It’s very gratifying to have this kind of success tonight.”

The Wildcats got off to a slow start in non-conference play, with a knee injury that sidelined Brooks for six games doing Davidson no favors. But after closing non-conference play on a five-game losing streak, Davidson’s won seven of its first eight games in SoCon play. And with four players scoring in double figures the Wildcats have the look of a team that has solidified its rotation after losing three starters from last season’s NCAA tournament team.

Davidson’s win over Chattanooga is big for another reason: due to imbalanced scheduling Thursday’s meeting was the lone regular season contest between the two teams, meaning that the outcome could impact seeding in the conference tournament. However with that event being more than a month away, it’s more important for Davidson that they’re executing well on both ends of the floor.

Texas lands commitment from top 100 center

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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 guard could miss season with shoulder injury

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Memphis just cannot catch a break.


It’s to the point where I almost feel bad for Josh Pastner.

Today, 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.