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2014 shooting guard Patrick McCaw commits to UNLV

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One week after making an official visit to UNLV, 2014 shooting guard Patrick McCaw verbally committed to attend the Mountain West school according to Evan Daniels of Scout.com.

McCaw, a native of St. Louis, attended Montrose Christian Academy in Rockville, Md. for his senior year of high school. McCaw averaged 10.9 points per game for Montrose Christian, scoring a season-high 24 in a 91-62 win over A.D. Fontes on March 1. McCaw’s a good perimeter shooter, and that skill could be helpful for a team that ranked tenth in the Mountain West in three-point percentage (32.9%) in 2013-14.

McCaw becomes the sixth addition to the UNLV program this offseason, with its incoming freshman class ranking among the best in the country. McCaw joins a group of freshmen that includes guard Rashad Vaughn, forward Dwayne Morgan and center Goodluck Okonoboh. And head coach Dave Rice also has two transfers joining the program in point guard Cody Doolin (San Francisco) and forward Ben Carter (Oregon).

While Carter will have the sit out the 2014-15 season per NCAA transfer rules, the hope in Las Vegas is that Doolin is granted an immediate eligibility waiver. Point guard play was arguably the most glaring issue for UNLV last season, and the feeling is that the addition of Doolin will properly address that.

The one remaining question for UNLV is the status of junior Khem Birch, who is still going through the process of deciding whether or not to enter the 2014 NBA Draft. The reigning Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year, Birch has until April 27 (NBA deadline) to enter his name into the draft pool.

Stanford loses key veteran guard to stress fracture

Marcus Allen
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Stanford guard Marcus Allen will be out indefinitely after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot, the school announced on Monday evening.

“We want to make sure Marcus is fully healthy before returning to the court,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said in a statement. “Marcus played at a high level during our summer exhibition competition in Italy, where he was one of our leading scorers. We will certainly miss him as we continue to prepare for the season, but we are fortunate that this happened now and he will be back before he knows it.”

The loss of Allen is a potentially brutal blow in an already-thin back court. The 6-foot-3 Allen started 23 games as a sophomore last season, averaging 6.4 points and 3.5 boards. But he averaged 11.4 points and 5.4 boards as the Cardinal made a run to the NIT championship and looked poised to be able to replace the departed Chasson Randle’s production this year.

What’s worse is that without Allen, Stanford does not return a single player in their back court that averaged more than 11.5 minutes. Sophomore Robert Cartwright looks poised to step into the starting point guard role, but neither Dorian Pickens nor Christian Sanders looked like they were ready for that kind of role in the Pac-12 last season. Dawkins does return Malcolm Allen, Marcus’ twin brother, who sat out last season with a broken wrist.

The good news is that Stanford’s front court is strong enough to carry the Cardinal until Marcus is healthy. Rosco Allen, Reid Travis and Michael Humphrey will be able to hold their own against any front line in the Pac-12, while Grant Verhoeven and freshman Josh Sharma will provide adequate depth.

Utah lands top-75 center Jayce Johnson

Larry Krystkowiak
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Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.

Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.

Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.