Top ten recruit Myles Turner is headed to Texas

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The most highly-regarded uncommitted recruit in the country finally made the decision on where he will play his college ball on Wednesday.

Myles Turner, the No. 9 recruit in the country, according to Rivals, announced on ESPN U that he will be headed to Austin to play for Rick Barnes and Texas.

“I’m excited to be pursuing my education and am excited to be part of the basketball program at the University of Texas,” Turner said. “Hook ’em!”

“Just watching Texas work last year, they’re a real blue-collar program. The only reason I’m here is through hard work. And I feel like that’s what Texas has done and will do in the future, I really like their work ethic. I had a great visit down there. It’s a great family atmosphere down there.”

As of right now, Turner’s biggest strength is his ability to be a force in the paint on the defensive end of the floor. He’s just a shade under 7-foot with length and athleticism, and he has proven that he has a knack for timing blocking shots. But he also can step out on the perimeter and knock down jumpers out to the three-point line, making him a nice pick-and-pop threat.

“He blocks shots, has outstanding touch as a pick and pop jump shooter and has a big frame,” said Rivals’ Eric Bossi. “He can run but is sometimes a little stiff laterally.”

Turner is a key recruit for the Longhorns, as he will likely add even more pop to what is already one of the best front lines in the Big 12. He joins Cameron Ridley, Prince Ibeh and Jonathan Holmes on that front line that will still add Shaq Cleare, who is sitting out this season after transferring from Maryland. It will be interesting to see how Barnes divvies up minutes up front, considering that both Ridley and Turner have some issues defending on the perimeter. That said, given the ability of Holmes and Turner to step out and hit from the perimeter, it will create plenty of space in the paint for Ridley.

With Isaiah Taylor and Javan Felix both returning in the back court as well, Texas has the look of a top ten team in the country in 2014-2015. And the better news may be that Turner doesn’t jump off the page as a one-and-done prospect. His upside lies in the long-term, which means that the Longhorns could end up keeping him on campus for more than one season.

It certainly doesn’t hurt that Turner’s idol is former Texas product Kevin Durant.

Or that Turner went to high school in Texas, right outside Dallas, which is perhaps the most important part of this commitment. Barnes and the Texas staff have had a lot of trouble keeping the elite talent in Texas at home over the course of the last three years, which made landing Turner a priority.

“I’m happy to be a Texan,” Turner said. “I’ve been a Texan my whole life. There’s a lot of pride coming from the state of Texas, and staying in-state means a lot to me.”

Turner picked the Longhorns over Kansas, as well as Duke, Ohio State, Arizona, Texas A&M and SMU.

Sex assault count dropped against ex-Creighton player Watson

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Prosecutors have dropped a first-degree sexual assault charge against former Creighton point guard Maurice Watson after questions arose about the accuser’s story.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine announced Friday that his office had dropped the felony charge, filed earlier this year when a 19-year-old woman accused Watson of assaulting her early Feb. 4 at a party in an Omaha home. Watson has denied that allegation.

The 24-year-old Watson pleaded no contest Friday to misdemeanor assault for an encounter the same night with a different Creighton student, who said Watson touched her thigh and tried to make her touch his genitals. Watson was sentenced to the five days he’d already served in jail.

Watson was a senior when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in January, just days before the party.

Storm damage forces Paradise Jam out of Virgin Islands

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MIAMI (AP) — The Paradise Jam basketball tournament will not be played in the U.S. Virgin Islands this year because of damage caused by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria.

The tournament will be played in the U.S., with a new site expected to be announced by Sept. 29.

The Paradise Jam field this year includes Wake Forest, Colorado, Drake, Drexel, Houston, Liberty, Mercer and Quinnipiac, and each of those schools was given the chance to bid for the right to host the tournament.

Tournament officials say they looked at multiple other options, such as moving to another island and using a cruise ship for accommodations, before deciding to move the event to the U.S.

For now, the tournament is scheduled to be played from Nov. 17-20.

Kentucky lands commitment from five-star point guard

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Kentucky landed a commitment from Immanuel Quickley on Friday night, a top ten prospect and arguably the best point guard in the Class of 2018.

Quickley picked the Wildcats over Kansas, who he visited earlier this month, and Miami, who he was scheduled to visit before Hurricane Irma struck south Florida.

The 6-foot-3 point guard is the first commitment in the class of head coach John Calipari, and it really comes as no surprise. He’s been considered a Kentucky lean for months, and Quickley played for Calipari on the USA U19 team during the 2017 FIBA World Cup.

While Quickley has the size and the build – he’s 180 pounds with broad shoulders and long arms – of some of Kentucky’s former elite point guards, he’s not the same kind of point guard as, say, De’Aaron Fox or John Wall. He’s more of a smooth athlete than an explosive one, and while his long strides allow him to get out into transition, he’s not the finisher at the rim that those two were. What he is, however, is an intelligent player. He’s good in ball-screens, he’s an excellent passer and facilitator and he is a good enough shooter that he forces defenses to stay honest. He also has the potential to be a plus defender given his physical tools and the fact that he’ll try on that end of the floor.

Where this commitment gets interesting is the current point guard in Kentucky’s back court, Quade Green. Green was a five-star recruit in his own right, but he’s not quite built as a potential one-and-done prospect. Calipari has maneuvered through two point guards in the past, and each of the last five national champions have played major minutes with two point guards on the floor at the same time, but if Green is back next season that will be something to monitor.

That, however, is a long ways away.

What matters now is that Kentucky has gotten this commitment out of the way, and it paves the way for them to also receive a commitment from Zion Williamson. There has long been talk of those two attending college together, and with Quickley on the board, that likely keeps Kentucky in the driver’s seat as they pursue the South Carolina native.

If Kentucky can also wrangle a commitment out of R.J. Barrett, the No. 1 player in the 2018 recruiting class, that would likely be the end of the discussion of whether or not Duke has surpassed the Wildcats on the recruiting trail.

Five-star forward King picks Oregon

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Oregon has nabbed one of the top players in the 2018 class.

Louis King, a top-20 forward, committed to Dana Altman and the Ducks on Thursday via a video on social media.

“It’s been a tough, strenuous process,” King said, “but today makes all of that worth it. I’ve been blessed with great opportunities.”

The 6-foot-8 New Jersey native selected Oregon over other finalists Seton Hall, NC State, Purdue and Kansas.

“I would like to thank each of them for all the time and effort they put into my recruitment,” King said. “I would like to thank my coaches and my teammates that have pushed me and helped get me to this point in my career. My friends for all their love and support, but most of all I would like to thank my family, who has been by my side through it all.”

King is Altman’s second commit in 2018, joining four-star big man Miles Norris, a top-75 recruit in the class. It’s the beginning of what could be an absolutely dynamic class for Oregon, which still has two scholarships remaining.

“Out of all of my schools I felt like it was best for me and my family,” King said to MADE Hoops. “Coach Altman said that I would have the ball in my hands throughout the season. When I get there, it will be an easy adjustment for me with how I handle rock and get my teammates open. Our goal is to win a national championship next year.”

 

Four-star forward Miller Kopp commits to Northwestern

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Northwestern has a second four-star recruit in its 2018 class.

The Wildcats received a commitment from Miller Kopp, a 6-foot-6 forward, on Thursday, he announced via social media.

“I built a really strong relationship with (coach) Chris Collins and I fell in love with the campus,” Kopp told Scout. “I knew it would be a nice campus and have that stuff, but I think me and him are wired the same way. II think that his personality fits mine and I think we complement each other. I’m definitely excited to be able to go to a program on the rise and be able to make some history.”

Kopp picked the Wildcats over offers from Georgetown, Butler, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt. The Houston native is ranked in the top-100 of his class by most recruiting services.

He gives Collins and the Wildcats an exceedingly strong 2018 class, which already featured four-star guard Pete Nance of Ohio along with three-star recruits Jordan Lathon and Ryan Young. It represents a major leap forward for Northwestern. It would appear that the program’s first-ever NCAA tournament appearance last March has brought momentum to the recruiting trail.