Shortly after the end of the 2013-14 season three Maryland players made the decision to transfer, with one being sophomore center Shaquille Cleare. Cleare (3.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg as a Terrapin) played an average of 12.8 minutes per game in his two seasons in College Park, but the development many expected to see when he arrived on campus simply didn’t happen.
The hope now is that Cleare will be able to make greater strides at his next school, and on Thursday he announced that he’ll finish his college career at Texas.
While Cleare is a native of the Bahamas he attended high school in Texas so there is some familiarity between player and school (Texas also recruited Cleare while he was in high school). Cleare will have two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2014-15 season, and that year spent practicing against the likes of Cameron Ridley and Prince Ibeh could prove beneficial.
Texas head coach Rick Barnes also has rising senior Jonathan Holmes and rising sophomore Connor Lammert in his front court, and outside of Holmes this group will have eligibility remaining when Cleare becomes eligible for game action in 2015. There’s also the question of where five-star 2014 center Myles Turner will attend college, with the Texan scheduled to announce his decision April 30.
Texas is one of the schools remaining on Turner’s list, with Duke, Kansas, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, SMU and Texas A&M being the others. With Cleare not being eligible for game action and Texas still having an unfilled scholarship for the 2014-15 season, it’s tough to see Cleare’s commitment having a major impact on Turner’s decision.
h/t Inside MD Sports
Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.
With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.
“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”
Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.
While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.
LSU football and Leonard Fournette are off to a strong start this fall, but the beginning of October also means that college hoops is right around the corner. If you’re a Tigers basketball fan, you also have plenty to be excited about on the hardwood this season with the arrival of a loaded freshman class headlined by forward Ben Simmons.
While the versatile Simmons has solidified a spot in the starting lineup for next season, it’ll be interesting to see how head coach Johnny Jones uses the rest of his talented freshmen. In a story from Sheldon Mickles of the New Orleans Advocate, he looks into some potential LSU starting lineups.
Freshman guard Antonio Blakeney, a McDonald’s All-American with Simmons, is also expected to start, but does another talented freshman guard, Brandon Sampson get a shot to start? And what of Arizona transfer Craig Victor when he’s eligible to play in December?
Mickles believes the early favorite for starting lineup is guards Tim Quarterman, Keith Hornsby, Blakeney, Simmons and center Darcy Malone. When Victor returns, Mickles said Victor could push Simmons into the “center” position, which would be a matchup nightmare on the opposition because Simmons would be very tough for many college centers to defend.
Sampson also gets a mention from Mickles of having the potential to start down the line. Overall, a good problem to have for Jones and he’ll have to experiment to see which lineups are giving him the most. Having a productive starting five is nice, but I’m sure Jones would love to find the five players he wants to close with.