vanvleet

The Secondary Break: Wednesday’s Links

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How Fred VanVleet’s stepdad made him the perfect point guard for Wichita State (Bleacher Report)
Sophomore point guard Fred VanVleet has been a key figure this season for No. 2 Wichita State, making the move into the starting lineup without a hitch. One reason why the talented guard was ready to assume the responsibility that comes with the position is his stepfather, who kept on VanVleet as a youngster in Rockford, Ill.

Is Stephen F. Austin this season’s FGCU? (USA Today)
Last season FGCU both shocked and captivated the basketball world with its run to the Sweet 16, using an attractive style of basketball to beat both Georgetown and San Diego State before falling to Florida. One team some feel is capable of duplicating that run is Stephen F. Austin, a team that is 27-2 and hasn’t lost since November 23.

Before acting, KU senior Wesley left mark as key big (Lawrence Journal-World)
One front court player who hasn’t seen much playing time this season at Kansas is senior Justin Wesley, a walk-on who also played Wilt Chamberlain in the movie “Jayhawkers.” But this doesn’t mean the Lamar transfer didn’t have an impact on the program, as he was the first front court player off the bench for the 2011-12 team that won the Big 12 title.

Hood, Polson lived their dreams at Kentucky (WDRB Louisville)
No. 24 Kentucky picked up a much-needed win, outlasting Alabama on Senior Night. The two players honored prior to the gem were Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson, two in-state players living out the dreams of many by suiting up for the Wildcats.

SLU hopes to send off seniors with title-clinching win (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Saint Louis has dropped its last two games, but the Billikens remain in sole possession of first place in the Atlantic 10 entering Wednesday’s game against Dayton. And the team’s five seniors are looking forward to the opportunity to finish their home career with a win that would clinch at least a share of a second consecutive Atlantic 10 regular season crown.

Special night at Gampel for Napier, Giffey, Olander, Kromah (Hartford Courant)
UConn will honor its senior class on Wednesday night when the Huskies host Rutgers, and three of the players to be honored have a particularly special bond. At a time when players were transferring, the NCAA was about to hit the program with a postseason ban and the Big East would undergo its metamorphosis, Niels Giffey, Shabazz Napier and Tyler Olander all remained in Storrs. Loyal to the program, and loyal to each other, they’ve helped (to varying degrees) get UConn back on track.

Tony Bennett, Joe Harris reap rewards of their faith in each other (Sports Illustrated)
On Saturday afternoon Virginia guaranteed that it would finish atop the ACC standings for the first time since 1981, beating Syracuse 75-56. It was also Senior Day in Charlottesville, and one of the players honored was guard Joe Harris. Harris, a native of Washington, made the move across the country to play for Tony Bennett and the move has paid off for Virginia basketball.

Top-100 guard commits to Xavier

Chris Mack has Xavier back in the Sweet 16 (AP Photo)
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Xavier has added a top-100 prospect into its 2017 recruiting class Wednesday.

Elias Harden, a shooting guard from Georgia, pledged to the Musketeers via social media to become the second member of Chris Mack’s next class.

“The recruiting process was not EASY AT ALL,” Harden wrote on Twitter. “I wanna thank all the coaches that took time to recruit me.

“WIth that being said I will continue my academic and athletic career at Xavier University.”

The 6-foot-6 guard is ranked 92nd overall by 247Sports and had offers from Auburn, Maryland, Texas Tech and Ole Miss. He joins Jared Ridder, a Missouri guard, as part of the 2017 Xavier class.

The Musketeers return the bulk of last year’s 28-6 team that narrowly missed out on the Sweet 16.

Clemson recruit to enroll early

Brad Brownell
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Clemson will get a four-star recruit on campus a year earlier than it expected, though his on-court debut for the Tigers will remain on schedule.

A.J. Oliver, a guard from South Carolina, will enroll early at Clemson and redshirt this upcoming season, he announced via social media Wednesday.

“I woke up this morning and realized that the greatest opportunity for me is to enroll early into Clemson,” he wrote on Twitter. “I will redshirt a year & start my college career early.”

Oliver, whose mother is the head women’s basketball coach at Clemson, was a consensus top-100 player in the class of 2017 who committed to the Tigers last December. Texas Tech and the College of Charleston were involved before his commitment.

A three-star shooting guard, Scott Spencer of Virginia, was previously the only member coach Brad Brownell’s 2016 class. While Oliver’s decision to redshirt will keep him off the court for the 2016-17 season, he’ll have spent a full season in the Tiger program before making his debut in 2017

The cupboard isn’t bare in 2017 for the Tigers due to Oliver’s reclassification because Clemson received a commitment from power forward Malik Williams, a consensus top-150 player, earlier Wednesday.

Kentucky used Calipari-Chaney fight in media training

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Kentucky Sports Radio
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Kentucky held some media training sessions yesterday, and one of the topics that head coach John Calipari used to make a point was … his blow-up with John Chaney. The moment was captured on SnapChat by a trio of Kentucky newcomers.

You remember that incident. Chaney, then the head coach at Temple, and Cal, who was coaching Atlantic 10 rival UMass at the time, nearly came to blows over the way that Cal handled officials during the game. Before the video below picks up, the two shared this exchange:

“Could I say this to you, please?” Chaney said, before the video above picks up. “You’ve got a good ball club. But what you did with the officials out there is wrong, and I don’t want to be a party to that. You understand?”

Cal responded: “You weren’t out there, Coach. You don’t have any idea.”

Chaney fired back: “You got a game given to you by officials right here with G.W. on three bad calls, O.K.? Then you send your kids out there pushing and shoving. You had the best officiating you could ever get here. And for you to ride them, I don’t want to be a party to that.”

And that led to “I’ll kill you”:

(h/t KSR)

VIDEO: Shaq’s son, Shareef O’Neal, with monster dunk in Vegas

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Shareef O’Neal is a top 50 prospect in the Class of 2018. In Vegas this past weekend, he threw down a monster put-back dunk.

South Dakota State gets two commits

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Tuesday was a busy and productive one for South Dakota State on the recruiting trail.

The Jackrabbits secured two 2017 commitments from the state of Wisconsin in Ryan Krueger and Alex Arians, a source tells NBCSports.com.

Krueger is a 6-foot-5 wing player from New London, Wisc. while Arians is a 6-foot-4 guard from Madison, Wisc., who also held an offer from Wright State, which is coached by former SDSU coach Scott Nagy. Both players spend their summers playing for the Wisconsin Swing grassroots program.

The pair make it a trio of commits for the Jackrabbits in 2017 with another Wisconsinite, Alou Dillon, pledging to first-year Jackrabbits coach T.J. Otzelberger, himself a Wisconsin native, earlier this summer.

South Dakota State went 26-8 last year and the bulk of the team that made the NCAA tournament last year, including sophomore Mike Daum, who led the team in scoring and rebounding as a freshman.