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Ahmed Hill released from his National Letter of Intent to Marquette

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The star of Marquette’s 2014 recruiting class won’t be heading to Marquette after all.

Ahmed Hill announced on twitter on Thursday night that he had been released from his letter of intent and will be reopening his recruitment. Hill is a 6-foot-5 off-guard from Georgia that ranks as the No. 69 recruit in the country, according to Rivals.

Hill is the first of Marquette’s five-man recruiting class to make it official that he will not be a Golden Eagle under new head coach Steve Wojciechowski. Malek Harris and Marial Shayok are still considering Marquette while reopening their recruitment. Sandy Cohen, another top 100 guard, confirmed that he will still be attending Marquette while Satchel Pierce has said nothing publicly either way.

Hill tweeted to Marquette fans last night:

“To all the Marquette fans, students and alumni: I truly love Marquette and wish that I could have put on that uniform and played in front of you guys. Unfortunately, I chose Marquette because of the relationship me and Coach Buzz and Coach Chew had. I just didn’t feel that same relationship with the new coach. [Your] guys school was great, it truly was. I have been released from Marquette and I will choose a decide on another college. This was a difficult decision that me and my family thought and prayed about. Sorry if I let any of you guys down, sorry MU Nation, love you guys.”

First of all, that’s a class gesture from Hill.

Second of all, this is the second example in three days of a player committing to a coach instead of a school. Kingsley Okoroh committed to Tennessee on Monday. Cuonzo Martin left Tennessee for Cal on Tuesday. An hour later, Okoroh was committed to Cal.

Maybe one day the NCAA will admit as much, particularly when it comes to the signing of a national letter of intent.

And maybe one day I’ll be as rich as Bill Gates.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.