Cincinnati, Creighton among eight teams in inaugural Emerald Coast Classic

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There will be another in-season tournament in 2014, with the Emerald Coast Classic taking place this November. On Thursday Global Sports, the group running the event, announced the eight-team field with 2014 NCAA tournament participants Cincinnati and Creighton being the headliners.

“We are extremely excited about being in the Emerald Coast Classic this November,” Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin said in the release. “We have been in a number of multi-team events with Global Sports in the past and I am sure that Maury and his staff will put together a tremendous event.”

Also in the four-team group that will meet in the semifinals on November 28 at Northwest Florida State College are Ole Miss and Middle Tennessee. In one semifinal Cincinnati, which won a share of the American Athletic Conference regular season title, will take on Middle Tennessee with Creighton and Ole Miss matching up in the other semifinal.

The tournament concludes November 29, with the semifinal winners meeting for the title and the other two semifinalists meeting in the third place game. Also participating in the event are Eastern Illinois, North Carolina Central (which represented the MEAC in the NCAA tournament), Northern Arizona and Southern.

Texas lands commitment from top 100 center

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James Banks announced on Thursday that he has committed to Texas, joining Jacob Young in Shaka Smart’s first recruiting class as the head coach of the Longhorns.

Banks is an interesting prospect. A 6-foot-10 center from Georgia, Banks is a still-developing prospect that was recruited more on his potential than his immediate ability.

“James Banks emerged as a good low post prospect this spring and summer,” NBC Recruiting Analyst Scott Phillips said. “With a good set of hands, some offensive potential and a frame that can add weight, Banks is a nice upside grab for Texas.”

He’s probably a few years away from having a major impact in the Big 12, but he may not have that much time to develop. Cameron Ridley, Prince Ibeh and Conner Lamert all graduate after this season, meaning that Banks is going to have to contribute immediately when he sets foot on the Austin campus for the 2016-17 season.

Texas has three commitments in the Class of 2015. Smart convinced Kerwin Roach and Eric Davis to remain committed to the program when he took over for Rick Barnes while he landed a commitment from Tevin Mack, who pledged to Smart when he was at VCU.

Memphis guard could miss season with shoulder injury

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Memphis just cannot catch a break.


It’s to the point where I almost feel bad for Josh Pastner.

Today, reported that Kedren Johnson, a 6-foot-4 point guard that was on track towards being an all-SEC point guard at Vanderbilt, could end up missing the season due to a shoulder injury. If he can handle the pain he can avoid surgery and play with the injury, but at the very least, Johnson is going to be less than his best.

Johnson averaged 6.7 points and 2.7 assists last season for the Tigers. He sat out 2013-14 after leaving Vanderbilt and entered last season incredibly out of shape. There was hope that he would be able to make a bigger impact this season and help fill the void at the point guard spot.

This news comes on the heels of Memphis finding out that Jaylen Fisher is heading to UNLV. Who’s Jaylen Fisher? Well, he’s a point guard and top 40 recruit from Memphis that was Pastner’s No. 1 recruiting target that opted to leave the city for his college hoops instead of play for the Tigers.

That’s a bad sign, but not quite as bad as Memphis losing star center Austin Nichols — another local kid — to a transfer over the summer. Nichols transferred to Virginia.