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Beginning in September and running up through November 11th, the first day of the regular season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2016-2017 NBCSports.com college hoops preview package.
Today, we are previewing the Summit League.
There are some changes coming in the Summit League this season. South Dakota State and Denver both have new head coaches. North Dakota State became the fourth program in the league to totally renovate their basketball facility. And, perhaps the biggest change of all, is that IPFW will now be branded as Fort Wayne.
What won’t change, however, is that the three best programs in the conference appear to once again be headed for the top of the league standings.
Fort Wayne’s chances at a special season took a major hit last January when Mo Evans was lost due to an academic issue, but the do-everything guard is back for his senior season, along with sophomore John Konchar, who led the Summit in rebounding. That will help ease the loss of Summit Player of the Year Max Landis and slides the Mastadons in as a Summit League favorite.
Mike Daum flirted with the idea of an up-transfer after coach Scott Nagy left for Wright State, but the big man decided to return to South Dakota State, giving new head coach T.J. Otzelberger one of the country’s best mid-major players and a chance at the Jackrabbits’ fourth NCAA tournament in six years. Daum averaged 15.2 points and 6.1 boards in less than 21 minutes as a freshman, numbers that will need to climb as the Jacks look to replace their back court of Deondre Parks and George Marshall.
North Dakota State failed to finish above .500 in conference play for the first time since 2012 last year, but the Bison return four starters from the team that still made the conference tournament championship game. Now in Dave Richman’s second season – his first playing on the program’s actual home floor – Paul Miller and A.J. Jacobson both return after averaging in double figures scoring last year and will help make NDSU one of the threats to claim a conference championship.
Jason Gardner gets Darell Combs back, but with so many new faces on his roster it’s difficult to project just how good IUPUI can be. Omaha brings back Tra-Deon Hollins, who led the nation in steals and sparks their uptempo offense, but losing two all-league players from a team heading into their second year of full Division I eligibility is difficult. Oral Roberts lost Obi Emegano, who averaged 23.1 points, but they do return five players that started 13 games.
Denver is looking at an adjustment period under Rodney Billups as they transition away from Joe Scott’s Princeton offense. Western Illinois has Garrett Covington … and not much else. South Dakota went 5-11 in league play last year and lost all five starters.
PRESEASON SUMMIT LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Mike Daum, South Dakota State
As a freshman, Daum averaged 15.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per game while shooting 55.3 percent from the floor. His decision to return to Brookings after briefly considering a transfer upon Scott Nagy’s departure could end up deciding the 2017 league champion.
THE REST OF THE PRESEASON SUMMIT LEAGUE TEAM:
- Darell Combs, IUPUI: Averaged 16.3 points last season for the Jaguars after transferring from Eastern Michigan.
- John Konchar, Fort Wayne: Led the Summit in rebounding with 9.2 per game while also scoring 13 points per night.
- Mo Evans, Fort Wayne: Before an academic issue sidelined him in January, Evans was averaging 16.9 points and 5.1 assists per game while shooting 42.5 percent from 3.
- Garret Covington, Western Illinois: The 6-foot-5 guard has put up increasingly strong numbers each year of his career, but the Leathernecks have only managed 28 wins over three years
ONE TWITTER FEED TO FOLLOW: @summithoops
1. Fort Wayne
2. South Dakota State
3. North Dakota State
6. Western Illinois
7. Oral Roberts
9. South Dakota
VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) Rihanna headlined the Made in America music festival in Philadelphia last month, and some of the national champion Villanova Wildcats wanted to go.
The Wildcat who runs this town tonight – and maybe forever – just felt like staying home.
Kris Jenkins needed a break from the fans who know him as Big Smooth. He just needed peace.
Could it be, Jenkins bigger than Jay Z?
“In this town,” teammate Josh Hart said, laughing, “definitely.”
Hart made the show and bumped into fans who suddenly recognized the Wildcats, not just because they were the big men on the Main Line campus, but because of their increased visibility as the reigning NCAA national champions.
Hart can’t blame Jenkins for his desire to keep a low profile.
“I’ll go out there and I’ll get stopped a couple of times,” Hart said. “I’m just like, I’m happy Kris isn’t out here. If I’m with Kris, I’m not going to be able to go nowhere.”
Jenkins is no longer just another Big East forward likely to be forgotten by all except to the program’s diehards fans. He is the big man on campus. The Big Shot. He is the reason the Wildcats will raise a national championship banner in a ceremony Friday night at the Pavilion.
His 3-pointer at the buzzer lifted the Wildcats to a 77-74 victory over North Carolina and the national championship.
Jenkins joined Christian Laettner, Lorenzo Charles, Michael Jordan and Keith Smart on the March Madness highlight reel of greatest game-winners in tournament history.
“When it first happened, I watched it a couple of times,” Jenkins said. “Recently, I haven’t really watched it. Just trying to put it behind us and put that shot behind me.”
Put the shot behind him?
Good luck with that.
Jenkins’ timely 3 led him to the White House and the red carpet at the ESPYs.
President Barack Obama made the traditional winner’s phone call to coach Jay Wright and said, “Congratulate all of them, and tell Jenkins that he looked pretty cool out there taking that shot.” Obama singled out Jenkins again when the team visited the White House and referenced him by his Big Smooth nickname. Of all the stars, athletes and other celebrities Jenkins met this summer, Obama left an imprint.
“President Obama was probably the only star-struck one,” Jenkins said.
But other All-Stars wowed Jenkins.
“Charles Barkley. DeAndre Jordan. Reggie Miller. All those guys,” he said. “That was pretty cool, too.”
Hart attended the ESPYs and introduced himself to famous athletes and A-listers, finding polite greetings on the other end. But even the big shots knew Jenkins.
“I am an ant in their world,” Hart said. “Kris Jenkins, he don’t really have to announce himself too much.”
He introduced himself to the college basketball world in April.
The shot that made him famous came on a play Villanova practiced daily: Jenkins made the inbounds pass to guard Ryan Arcidiacono. He worked it up court and forward Daniel Ochefu set a pick near halfcourt to clutter things up, then Arcidiacono got set for the feed.
Arcidiacono, cut this week by the San Antonio Spurs, made an underhanded flip to Jenkins, who spotted up a pace or two behind the arc and swished it with Carolina’s Isaiah Hicks running at him.
“I was running hard enough to get close to him and get in his vision so he could see me and hear me,” Jenkins said. “I had to sprint pretty far because he had a little head start on me. I think I’ve got a pretty good voice so the yells were pretty good.”
Wright calmly mouthed, “Bang.” Game over.
“Life changed a little bit,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins kept his sneakers from the game – though Hart has tried prying them away for his collection.
“He’s not letting me get nothing,” Hart said. “I want a pair of compression shorts or something. A sock. I want to get something signed.”
Wright has talked with Jenkins about how to handle the popularity that smacked the humble senior out of Maryland.
“Anywhere he goes, everybody knows who he is,” Wright said. “Even everywhere I go, they ask me about him.”
Jenkins, who averaged 13.6 points last year, downplayed the shot.
“I’m humbled by it,” the 22-year-old said. “I’m just ready to go for the upcoming year.”
The Wildcats will raise the banner and former coach Rollie Massimino will attend to also raise a new and modern 1985 championship banner.
Expect the loudest ovation to be saved for Jenkins.
“I’m low key, so I don’t really get caught up in being a star, or being what people say is a star, or the guy,” he said. “I just consider myself a young man who loves the game of basketball, who loves his teammates and will do anything to help out his guys.”
Especially if they need help on the last shot of the championship game.
Former Indiana coach Bob Knight is accused of punching a player with a closed fist, breaking a clipboard over a player’s head and grabbing players by the testicles and squeezing in a book authored by former Hoosier Todd Jadlow, according to a report from WTHR-TV in Indianapolis
“If (Knight) did those things today,” Jadlow told WTHR, “he would be in jail.”
The book, titled ‘Jadlow: On The Rebound,’ chronicles Jadlow’s time with the Hoosiers in the mid-to-late-1980s, including the program’s 1987 national championship, as well as his battle with drug and alcohol addiction.
What is likely to garner the most attention, though, is the alleged abuses from the Hall of Fame coach, who was accused of mistreating and berating players throughout his career.
Knight won three national championships and the 1984 Olympic gold medal but was dismissed from Indiana in 2000 after school president Myles Brand determined he had violated a “zero tolerance policy.” Knight went on to coach for seven years at Texas Tech before retiring.
“I’m a Knight guy,” Jadlow said. “I’m proud to have played for him and love him like a father; let’s not mistake that. But this was the life we led when we were playing for him.”
Jadlow’s claims aren’t exactly surprising given the history of allegations against Knight, but seeing them laid out is still rather disturbing. Among them in the book, according to WTHR, are as follows:
- Jadlow was punched in the back of the head by Knight during a walkthrough for an NCAA tournament game against Seton Hall.
- Knight broke a clipboard over Jadlow’s head in 1989 in a game against Louisville.
- Jadlow’s sides were left with bruises after Knight dug his hands into him.
- Knight “made a habit” of “grabbing players by the testicles and squeezing.”
- Knight grabbed Daryl Thomas by the neck and shook him after the 1986 NCAA tournament.
Certainly ugly stuff.
The degree of difficulty just went up for UCLA in a season that was already likely to be filled with intrigue.
Ike Anigbogu, one of the members of the Bruins’ highly-touted recruiting class, suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee and will miss 4-to-6 weeks, UCLA coach Steve Alford announced Tuesday.
The 6-foot-10 center is one-third of Alford’s top-10 2016 class, which also included five stars Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf. He wasn’t as highly regard as those two, but Anigbogu was a consensus top-50 recruit coming out of Corona, Calif. He averaged a double-double for UCLA during their foreign trip this summer.
“We’re optimistic we’ll have him back in four weeks so not going to miss a lot,” Alford said, according to Bruin Report Online. “The first three games probably.”
The Bruins aren’t without depth to weather the loss of Anigbogu as returning center Thomas Welsh averaged 11.2 points and 8.5 rebounds a game as a sophomore year ago and of course Leaf will play a major role.
Still, it’s a blow for a team that whose future appears so dependent on a group of freshmen, to lose one to start the season complicates the issue.
“Ike is doing a lot of good things,” Alford said. “Fortunately it’s a small tear. It’s not a major tear. I don’t think it’s going ot be a huge setback, but every time you have an injury there’s a setback.”
The timetable for Anigbogu’s return is interesting as if he’s able to hit the short end of the rehab window, which Alford repeatedly indicated they expected, he could be back for UCLA’s toughest stretch of non-conference games, starting with Kentucky on Dec. 3, then against Michigan on Dec. 10 and Ohio State on Dec. 17 before the Bruins open Pac-12 play against league favorite Oregon.
Duke freshman Jayson Tatum suffered an injury to his left foot during Duke’s pro day practice on Tuesday.
“We’re still not sure [of the severity],” Mike Krzyzewski said during his press conference at ACC media day. “We’ll find out more today. Hopefully it’s something minor.”
Tatum suffered the injury on what was a “routine landing”, according to someone that attended the practice, and it was immediately apparent he was in pain. Another source added that Tatum left the court without putting any pressure on the foot.
Tatum is a top five prospect in the Class of 2016 and a potential No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft. He’s been as impressive as any player during the first month of practice, multiple sources have said.
Duke is currently without their other top five prospect, as freshman Harry Giles III is still recovering from a knee procedure last month. It’s unclear just how much Giles will provide this season, as this was the third surgery on his knees.