(State Fair C.C.)

Who’s left?: The best available junior college transfers

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Junior college prospects aren’t the sexiest recruits on the block but they serve an important purpose in the world of college basketball recruiting. Many junior college prospects were glossed over in high school thanks to any number of reasons — academics, strength, skills, etc. — but thanks to a few more years of seasoning, they can become an instant contributor to some programs since they’re more experienced and ready to contribute than their high school counterparts.

CBT has already looked over the best available high school prospects and college basketball transfers that are still left on the board earlier on Friday and now we take our attention to the junior college ranks.

Here’s a look at some of the top junior college prospects that are still available:

1. Deng Deng, Lee College: The 6-foot-8 Deng has already visited Baylor and Nebraska and trips to LSU for a visit this weekend, according to Jucorecruiting.com’s Brad Winton. Indiana is also trying to get Deng on a visit, but LSU might be the team to beat in this one. Deng committed to LSU last year as a 2013 recruit with three years of eligibility left, but returned to Lee College when he was unable to attend LSU. A native of Sudan, Deng has also lived in Egypt and Australia and averaged 20.9 points this season for Lee College.

2. Shane Henry, Georgia Perimeter: The 6-foot-8 Henry will take official visits to Louisiana Tech on May 9-10 and Texas Tech May 19-20, while also planning a visit to Virginia Tech, according to Winton. Henry averaged 13.2 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.7 blocks per game at Georgia Perimeter Community College this past season.

3. Tobe Okafor, Western Texas: A native of Nigeria and a 6-foot-10 forward, Okafor is taking a visit to Houston this weekend and a visit to Long Beach State next weekend, according to Winton. Okafor has also heard recently from Memphis while a bevy of mid-major suitors are also showing interest. Okafor is a former Loyola Marymount commit and there’s some questions surrounding his eligibility. “He would have been off the board a long time ago, but is waiting to hear back from the NCAA to see if he has two years to play or just one,” Winton said of Okafor to NBC Sports.

WHO’S LEFT?: College Basketball Transfers | High School Prospects

4. Kevin Punter, State Fair: The 6-foot-3 Punter is a former Mizzou commit who re-opened his recruitment earlier this month. Punter is still considering playing for the Tigers, and new head coach Kim Anderson, but he’s also visiting Tennessee this weekend and will choose between the two SEC programs, according to Winton. Punter averaged 20.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.4 steals per game for State Fair Community College. The guard also shot 57 percent from the field, 37 percent from three-point range, and 83 percent from the charity stripe.

5. Keith Thomas, Westchester College: Despite only playing one season of high school basketball, Thomas averaged 15.3 points, and a junior college-leading 15.7 rebounds per game for Westchester. Thomas visited St. John’s and South Florida last week and also previously visited Loyola (Chicago), according to Adam Zagoria of Zags Blog. Thomas will decide between Fordham, Loyola, St. John’s and South Florida early next week.

Michigan State playing zone? It’s possible

Tom Izzo
Associated Press
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Throughout Tom Izzo’s tenure at Michigan State the team’s half-court man-to-man defense has been a staple, and the Spartans have generally proven difficult to have a high rate of offensive success against. The reliance on that defense is why Izzo’s conversations earlier this summer about using some token full-court pressure due to the shortening of the shot clock caught some people off-guard.

According to the Detroit Free Press there’s another wrinkle the Spartans may use, and it’s likely that this wrinkle will show up more often than the full-court press. During Friday’s opening practice the Spartans worked on a 2-3 zone, and Izzo wants his assistants to make sure the team works on the defense consistently throughout the season.

That’s also why zone in general isn’t going to get heavy play at MSU, but having it as a tool could be beneficial — especially in games with touch fouls on the perimeter called in droves.

“I told (my assistant coaches): ‘You hold me accountable to working on it every day some’ … I have a tendency to drift off on that, and I don’t want to drift off on it,” Izzo said of the 2-3 zone. “But we will be, rest assured, a 90-some percent man-to-man team still and hopefully take some of those principles to zone.”

As noted in the story one of the risks in using pressure is allowing quality shots, which is why it’s unlikely that Michigan State will go to it. But even with Izzo vowing that his team will work on the zone, that doesn’t mean they’ll be playing it as often as Syracuse does.

Man-to-man has been Michigan State’s staple and it will continue to be. But it doesn’t hurt to look for other ways to keep opponents from getting the looks they want, especially if teams have five fewer seconds to find those shots.

Virginia used 3-on-3 to adjust to new shot clock

Malcolm Brogdon
Associated Press
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When the college basketball rules committee made the decision to trim the shot clock down to 30 second from 35, one reason for the switch was the desire to improve offensive production. With offensive numbers at their lowest point in years, proponents of the move see the shot clock change as a necessary move if scoring is to improve.

Whether or not that winds up being the case will be seen throughout the upcoming season, but teams are still having to make adjustments during the preseason.

Virginia, which has played at a snail’s pace (and with great success, mind you) in recent years, made some adjustments to their summer work in anticipation of playing with a 30-second shot clock. One adjustment was more games of 3-on-3 with a 15-second shot clock, which forced all involved to be more decisive in their offensive decision-making.

While the pack-line defense will always be a staple of Tony Bennett’s teams, the feeling in Charlottesville is that they’ve got the offensive firepower needed to both play faster and be more efficient offensively than they were in 2014-15 (29th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy). One of the players who will lead the way is senior guard Malcolm Brogdon, who led the team in scoring and was a first team All-ACC selection, and he discussed the team’s outlook with Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

And even though Anderson’s highlight-reel shot blocking was the thing that frequently fueled fast-breaks for U.Va. last season, Brogdon and [Anthony] Gill said they expect this year’s team to actually push the tempo even more.

“I think we’re going to be a team that gets out and runs more,” Brogdon said. “I think we’ll have three guards on the floor, most of the time, will be able to handle the ball as a point guard and get out in transition. I think we’ll play a lot faster.”

Brogdon and Gill are two of the team’s three returning starters with point guard London Perrantes being the other, and the Cavaliers also return most of their reserves from last year’s rotation. That experience will help them on both ends of the floor as they prepare for a run at a third straight ACC regular season title. And in theory it also allows them to extend themselves a bit more offensively than they did a season ago.