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Arizona-signee Kadeem Allen named JuCo Player of the Year

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Kadeem Allen, an all-american guard for Hutchinson Community College the past two seasons, was named Junior College Player of the Year this week.

In two seasons at HCC, the 6-foot-3 Wilmington, N.C., native scored 1,425 points, averaging 25.9 points in the toughest NJCAA conference in the country. That was enough to pique the interest of Arizona head coach Sean Miller, who was able to get Allen signed and ready to enroll in Tucson next season.

Why is that relevant?

Because the biggest issue that Arizona had a season ago was their inability to create offense in half court sets. They were arguably the best defensive team in the country, even after Brandon Ashley was injured, but the only situation in which the Wildcats were consistently dangerous on the offensive end of the floor was in transition. And while Miller is bringing in yet another loaded recruiting class, headlined by top five recruit Stanley Johnson, he will once again have a team built around their defense but that is losing their best weapon in the half court: Nick Johnson.

That’s where Allen value is going to lie.

He may not end up starting for this group — my prediction on a starting lineup is that T.J. McConnell will be joined by Johnson, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski — but even playing the role of hired gun off the bench will be critical.

We had Arizona as the preseason No. 1 team in the country with the assumption that they would be losing Johnson and Aaron Gordon, and while he may not get as much hype as some of the other members of the team, Allen is going to be one of the keys to Arizona’s 2015 bid for a national title.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.


AP Poll: Syracuse, Xavier big winners in college basketball rankings

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The new college basketball AP Poll is out, and it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to you that Syracuse and Xavier are the big winners.

The Orange steamrolled through a good Battle 4 Atlantis field, while Xavier capped a dominating performance in the Advocare Invitational with a 29-point win over Dayton. It should be no surprise that they are where they are.

[MORE RANKINGS: NBCSports.com top 25 | Coaches Poll]

It is a bit surprising, however, that both Texas A&M and Providence made it into the polls with a loss this week. They both deserve to be there, I just wasn’t sure they were both going to be.

Anyway, here is the full poll:

1. Kentucky (59 first place votes)
2. Maryland (4)
3. Michigan State (2)
4. Kansas
5. Iowa State
6. Oklahoma
7. Duke
8. Villanova
9. North Carolina
10. Virginia
11. Purdue
12. Xavier
13. Gonzaga
14. Syracuse
15. Oregon
16. Vanderbilt
17. Cincinnati
18. Texas A&M
19. Arizona
20. West Virginia
21. Miami
22. SMU
23. Providence
24. Louisville
25. Baylor

NEW THIS WEEK: Syracuse, West Virginia, SMU, Providence, Louisville

DROPPED OUT: Indiana, Cal, UConn, LSU, Wichita State