Maryland v Duke

CBT Roundtable: Last minute college hoops deals for the NBA’s trade deadline

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Today is the NBA’s trade deadline, and it got me to thinking: What if trades were allowed in college basketball? Why kind of roster adjustments could be made that would benefit contenders? And no, Duke cannot send cash considerations to Whitney Young to get Jahlil Okafor for the stretch run.

We take a look at that in our latest CBT Roundtable:

Terrence Payne: Kentucky sends Dakari Johnson to Duke for Tyler Thornton

Kentucky has talent all over that roster, those blending all those pieces hasn’t gone smoothly so far. The guys on the perimeter have score-first mentalities, so adding an experienced guard like Tyler Thornton could help the Wildcats backcourt. He’s a battle-tested four-year player, who could run the offense, and as we’ve seen in the past make the big shots with the game on the line, providing leadership to a young UK team.

Though Johnson has seen more minutes since the New Year, Kentucky still has Julius Randle and Willie Cauley-Stein. Send the freshman 7-footer to Durham. Duke’s defense and rebounding has improved since the start of the season when that looked like a major concern. The frontline is still undersized and although Johnson may not be the ideal rim protector he’ll have enough size to clog the paint.

Rob Dauster: Oklahoma State sends Brian Williams to Kentucky for Alex Poythress

Kentucky has enough front court depth to support two top 25 teams. I don’t think it’s crazy to say that Derek Willis and Marcus Lee, who are the fifth and sixth big men for the Wildcats, are better than the starting front line of half of the SEC. Oklahoma State? They had a thin front line before Michael Cobbins tore his achilles. Where the Pokes have a bit of depth is on the perimeter, and Brian Williams is probably the one guy that they can spare.

source: APWilliams is the prototype glue-guy for a wing player. He’s strong, he’s athletic, he defends and he’ll hit the glass. He can hit a 15-footer pretty consistently, and he’s not afraid to mix-it-up on either end. He’s exactly the type of wing that Kentucky needs to compliment scorers Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison and James Young. Poythress isn’t a prototype shotblocker, but he’s an effort guy with more size than Williams that will give Travis Ford more lineup flexibility. He can go big, using Poythress alongside Le’Bryan Nash and Kamari Murphy, or he can go small and play Poythress at the five. I think Poythress is a better option that Dakari Johnson at this point because he can get up and down the floor better, he’s a better defender and he can play on the perimeter, allowing Marcus Smart and Nash space to do work in the post.

Scott Phillips: Duke sends Andre Dawkins to Kansas for Jamari Traylor

I’m proposing a trade of Andre Dawkins from Duke for Jamari Traylor from Kansas — two 15-minute-a-game players that are of more vital importance to their new teams.

Kansas needs a shooter and at 47 percent beyond the arc, Dawkins gives them just that. As a senior, he’s a perfect shooter off-the-bench to give the Jayhawks an offensive boost with their slashers on the floor.

Duke gets the 6-foot-8 Traylor, an active and energetic presence that plays 15 minutes a game and shoots nearly 75 percent from the field while averaging 4.4 points and 3.7 rebounds. Traylor would get minutes over Josh Hairston and Marshall Plumlee — and maybe even alongside one or the other with Parker at the three and Hood at the two — and provide Duke more of an active punch on the interior with Amile Jefferson.

Duke has Rasheed Sulaimon playing better and they have to hope Matt Jones shoots the ball better with the added minutes to replace Dawkins but with two McDonald’s All-Americans, you’d like to think they can get it done.

Kansas can replace Traylor’s minutes with Tarik Black and more of Landen Lucas, who has had some solid stretches.

Raphielle Johnson: Tennessee sends Jeronne Maymon to Baylor for Cory Jefferson

For Tennessee this is about increasing their level of athleticism in the post. With Maymon and Jarnell Stokes they currently have two players who are more the “bruiser” type, and that can be an issue at times against more mobile, athletic big men. To be fair to that tandem they’ve been better against athletic front courts this season, taking greater advantage of their physicality. But I’d like to guard against this being a problem and I think the mobile Jefferson would help, especially defensively. Jefferson’s a better shot blocker than Maymon, and his mobility makes him a solid defender in ball-screen situations.

And for Baylor, they need to get tougher inside. And Maymon, who’s dealt with injuries and is still a productive and competitive player, would supply that in a big way. Some may ask, “why not send Isaiah Austin to Tennessee instead?” No. Tennessee has numerous perimeter options, and the last thing they’d need is a big who spends as much of his time offensively on the wing (if not more) than in the post. So Jefferson for Maymon it is, and I think both programs would benefit from this deal.

Matt Giles: Providence will send LaDontae Henton to Arizona for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

Arizona’s Brandon Ashley added a new element to his game to this past offseason. Before the forward was lost to a season-ending foot injury against Cal, Ashley had attempted 29 threes – an uptick from his three attempts a year ago; a small sample size, no doubt, but a significant one as the 38 percent he converted from deep helped space the halfcourt and prevented teams from sagging and closing driving lanes for Nick Johnson et al – it is not a coincidence that the Wildcats’ points per possession without Ashley on the court has shrunk to one PPP.

Enter Providence’s LaDontae Henton. The 6-foot-6 Henton has the classic old-man game: whether he is pulling up from mid-range or connecting from deep (35 percent in 2014), the left-handed Henton is tied with Bryce Cotton as the most offensively efficient Friar. The majority of his touches in ‘14 have come from the perimeter, and when Henton rolls and spots up following a pick, he is nearly automatic (1.3 PPP). A trade to Arizona would present Sean Miller with a long-range valve, a forward who causes a defensive imbalance because he can drift into a three-point make.

All the Wildcats would have to part with is Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. PC coach Ed Cooley is in a bind: Tyler Harris has to play because he is a defensive mismatch, but the wing, per Value Add, is among the team’s worst defenders. Cooley would like to give extra minutes to Carson Desrosiers (the team’s best defender), but the ex-Wake Forest big shrinks the halfcourt. The Zona freshman not only makes nearly 50 percent of his twos, but he is a budding lock down defender, posting a 3.6 percent block rate. A move eastward would give Cooley a player who would boost the team’s defense without any detraction on the other side of the ball.

UNLV’s Menzies fills out staff with 3 hires

New UNLV men's basketball coach Marvin Menzies smiles during a news conference after the UNLV board of regents  approved his contract, Friday, April 22, 2016  in Las Vegas. The boards voted 12-1 on Friday to approve a five-year, $3.75 million deal for Menzies.  (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP) LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT
(L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
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LAS VEGAS (AP) New UNLV men’s basketball coach Marvin Menzies has filled out his staff with three assistant coaches.

The school announced on Thursday the hiring of Andre LaFleur, Rob Jeter and Eric Brown.

Jeter was the head coach at Milwaukee for 11 seasons, winning 20 or more games five times. His record of 185-170 leaves him one short of the school record for most victories.

La Fleur spent the past five seasons as associate head coach at Providence under Ed Cooley after 10 years working for Jim Calhoun at Connecticut.

Brown has been an assistant coach at Long Beach State the last nine years.

Four-star 2017 shooting guard commits to Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech head coach Buzz Williams celebrates a play in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Virginia, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, in Blacksburg, Va. (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP) LOCAL STATIONS OUT; LOCAL INTERNET OUT; LOCAL PRINT OUT (SALEM TIMES REGISTER; FINCASTLE HERALD; CHRISTIANSBURG NEWS MESSENGER; RADFORD NEWS JOURNAL; ROANOKE STAR SENTINEL; MANDATORY CREDIT
Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP
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Recruiting, and on-court results, have picked up at Virginia Tech since Buzz Williams took over as head coach. In his second year at the helm the Hokies won ten conference games, and in reaching the Postseason NIT made their first postseason appearance since 2011.

Thursday night Virginia Tech landed its first verbal commitment in the Class of 2017, as four-star shooting guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker made his pledge.

The 6-foot-5 Alexander-Walker, who’s ranked 91st in his class by Rivals.com, also took official visits to Maryland and USC before making his pledge to the ACC program. Alexander-Walker attends Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but as a native of Canada plays his grassroots basketball for the Canada Elite program on the Under Armour Association circuit.

Good with either hand, Alexander-Walker can play either on or off the basketball. And that versatility should serve him well in a system that places a high value on “switch-ables,” or players who can fill multiple roles.

The Canada connection paid off for Virginia Tech in the recruitment of Alexander-Walker, with assistant coach Jamie McNeilly being a native of the country himself and having a connection to the Walker family. The Hokies will lose two perimeter players at the end of the 2016-17 season in Devin Wilson and Seth Allen, which will give Alexander-Walker the opportunity to earn minutes as a freshman.

Oakland lands former Oklahoma State guard Clark

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When point guard Stevie Clark began his career at Oklahoma State in 2013, the Top 100 prospect was expected by many to be an impact player for the Cowboys. Things didn’t go as planned however, as off-court issues ultimately led to Clark’s dismissal from the program before his sophomore season. Add in a lawsuit filed by Clark in which he alleged that he was forced by the school to take psychotropic drugs, and it’s safe to say that his time in Stillwater was anything but smooth.

Clark ultimately landed at Arkansas Baptist College, and on Thursday it was reported by the Detroit Free Press that he’s committed to Oakland University to play for head coach Greg Kampe. Clark joins a program with an immediate need at the point, with All-American Kahlil Felder having entered the NBA Draft and hired an agent as well.

The obvious question regarding Clark is whether or not he’s managed to take care of business off the court, and in an interview with Mark Snyder of the Free Press the Oklahoma native made note of the benefits of getting away from home for college.

Playing in Rochester, far from his home, will serve him well, he said.

“Anywhere away from home is the best thing,” Clark said. “It’s just hard balancing everything being close to home.”

Clark will be one of the options Kampe has to choose from at the point, with incoming freshmen Brailen Neely and Billy Thomas also among the new arrivals, and sophomore Jaevin Cumberland looking to earn more playing time than the 5.6 minutes per contest he averaged as a freshman.

Creighton point guard Watson Jr. to return for senior season

Creighton's Maurice Watson Jr. (10) reacts after scoring during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Xavier in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. Creighton won 70-56. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Creighton’s chances of moving up the Big East standings and returning to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2014 improved a great deal Thursday, as starting point guard Maurice Watson Jr. announced that he will be returning for his senior season. Watson, who began his college career at Boston University, entered his name into the NBA Draft pool without hiring an agent but decided that another year in Omaha would be best for him.

Watson was one of the most impactful transfers in the country last season, as his play at the point was a major factor in the Bluejays winning 20 games and going 9-9 in conference play after being picked to finish eighth in the Big East preseason poll. Watson averaged 14.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game last season, earning second team All-Big East honors.

With Watson’s return the Bluejays will welcome back three of their top four scorers from last season, with center Geoffrey Groselle being the lone departure. Head coach Greg McDermott adds a talented shooting guard in Marcus Foster, who sat out last season after transferring in from Kansas State. With Watson and Foster working together, Creighton will have a formidable perimeter tandem leading the way in 2016-17 with the likes of forward Cole Huff and guard Isaiah Zierden also being key contributors.

In addition to what Watson can provide in games he’ll also serve as a good mentor for Kaleb Joseph, who will have to sit out next season after transferring in from Syracuse. Joseph, who will have two seasons of eligibility remaining, fell out of the rotation as a sophomore so the year in residency should benefit him as he works towards grabbing the reins in 2017-18.

h/t ESPN.com

UConn, four-star 2017 big man Brown part ways

Brown, Zach
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Back in mid-January UConn made waves on the recruiting trail by securing a verbal commitment from 7-foot-1 center Zach Brown, a player seen by many as one of the top prospects in the Class of 2017. That partnership came to an end Thursday, as the two parties decided to part ways. News of the mutual decision was first reported by Scout.com.

The Miami native is currently ranked 28th in the Class of 2017 by Rivals.com, and Thursday’s news opens up a spot in the front court that UConn head coach Kevin Ollie and his staff will now have to fill. Amida Brimah, who’s currently going through the NBA pre-Draft process, will be a senior next season should he return to Storrs as will Kentan Facey.

Among the interior options who will have eligibility remaining beyond next season for the Huskies are sophomore Steven Enoch and incoming freshmen Mamadou Diarra and Juwan Durham.

UConn was in the running for 2016 power forward Taurean Thompson, but multiple outlets have the Brewster Academy product considering Michigan State (which added UNLV grad transfer Ben Carter Wednesday), Seton Hall and Syracuse at this point in his recruitment.