sean obi

Report: Rice’s Sean Obi and Keith Washington to transfer

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Less than 48 hours after Mike Rhoades, Rice’s new head coach, first met his players in the school’s weight room, Rhoades will have to plan for the upcoming offseason and Conference USA slate without two of his top returning Owls. According to ESPN’s Adam Finkelstein and Evan Daniels of Scout, both Sean Obi and Keith Washington will transfer. The news seems surprising since Obi, a 6-foot-9 freshman center, told the Houston Chronicle that Rhoades’ hunger for success had transfused the team.

Obi was one of the conference’s top newcomers — he had been named to the C-USA all-freshmen squad — and his ability to consistently score within the arc would have likely been a cornerstone for Rhoades’ offensive plans: Obi made nearly 60 percent of his twos. He was also ferocious on the defensive glass, grabbing roughly 31 percent of opponents’ misses, a rate which ranked second in Ken Pomeroy’s database. Washington, a 6-foot-1 sophomore guard, wasn’t terribly offensively efficient, but he still recorded double-digits in several games this past season.

The speed with which high-major programs begin to contact Obi could shatter some windows in his hometown of Greenwich, Connecticut. There are quite a few teams in dire need of a big with good rebounding instincts and soft hands in the post, and it would not be surprising if Obi’s list of potential programs quickly grows. There hasn’t been an announcement regarding any possible restrictions for Obi or Washington.

Rutgers hoping new duo can bring a spark

of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during their Big Ten conference game at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 8, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.
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Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.

With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.

“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”

Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.

While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.

LSU looking into starting lineup options

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - MARCH 7:  Head Coach Johnny Jones of the LSU Tigers watches his team play during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena on March 7, 2015 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Tigers defeated the Razorbacks 81-78.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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LSU football and Leonard Fournette are off to a strong start this fall, but the beginning of October also means that college hoops is right around the corner. If you’re a Tigers basketball fan, you also have plenty to be excited about on the hardwood this season with the arrival of a loaded freshman class headlined by forward Ben Simmons.

While the versatile Simmons has solidified a spot in the starting lineup for next season, it’ll be interesting to see how head coach Johnny Jones uses the rest of his talented freshmen. In a story from Sheldon Mickles of the New Orleans Advocate, he looks into some potential LSU starting lineups.

Freshman guard Antonio Blakeney, a McDonald’s All-American with Simmons, is also expected to start, but does another talented freshman guard, Brandon Sampson get a shot to start? And what of Arizona transfer Craig Victor when he’s eligible to play in December?

Mickles believes the early favorite for starting lineup is guards Tim Quarterman, Keith Hornsby, Blakeney, Simmons and center Darcy Malone. When Victor returns, Mickles said Victor could push Simmons into the “center” position, which would be a matchup nightmare on the opposition because Simmons would be very tough for many college centers to defend.

Sampson also gets a mention from Mickles of having the potential to start down the line. Overall, a good problem to have for Jones and he’ll have to experiment to see which lineups are giving him the most. Having a productive starting five is nice, but I’m sure Jones would love to find the five players he wants to close with.