(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.

No. 5 Xavier stumbles at Creighton, lose 70-54

Creighton's Cole Huff (13) and Toby Hegner, left, guard Xavier's Jalen Reynolds (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Mo Watson went for a career-high 32 points, seven boards and five assists as Creighton jumped out to an early 21-4 lead and never looked back, beating No. 5 Xavier, 70-54, in Omaha on Tuesday night.

 

It was a massive win for the Bluejays, who still have an outside shot at earning an at-large bid this season. (We wrote all about that here.)

As well as Creighton played, the bigger story here may actually be Xavier, who lost for just the third time this season; they had been the only top ten team with just two losses to their name.

The issue for the Musketeers tonight was two-fold, but they both are a symptom of what could be an issue down the road for this team: Xavier doesn’t really have a true point guard.

They certainly didn’t have anyone to stop Watson. By the second half, they had essentially asked Reynolds, who was playing the middle of their 1-3-1 zone to matchup with Watson. It was weird but was actually somewhat effective.

The Musketeers also started out ice cold from the floor, missing 11 of their first 13 shots, and those misses led to leak outs from Bluejays, who got layups and open threes in transition to build that 17 point lead. Once Xavier got behind, it turned into scramble mode for Xavier. They forced shots early in the clock and didn’t start pounding the ball into the paint until it was too late. What they needed was someone to be able to settle things, to ensure that offensive would get initiated and sets would get executed when they were able to get the lead down to single digits.

That 1-for-19 shooting performance from beyond the arc certainly didn’t help matters, and neither did the fact that they got just nine field goals all game from players not named James Farr or Jalen Reynolds. The most frustrating part for head coach Chris Mack? They had good shots. It wasn’t like Creighton took away everything that Xavier wanted to do.

The kids just had one of those nights where nothing went down.

Those happen.

And when you combine them with a total inability to contain the opposing team’s point guard, what you get is a 16 point loss on the road against a team that was desperate to get a good win.

Gill’s 16, ‘D’ lead No. 7 Virginia past Virginia Tech, 67-49

Lehigh Virginia Basketball
AP Photo/Andrew Shurtleff
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) Anthony Gill scored 16 points and No. 7 Virginia turned the tables on state rival Virginia Tech with a 67-49 victory Tuesday night, the Cavaliers’ seventh straight.

Isaiah Wilkins added a career-best 14 points and Malcolm Brogdon had 12 for the Cavaliers (20-4, 9-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). Virginia avenged a 70-68 loss to the Hokies in Blacksburg on Jan. 4 in what rates as their worst performance of the season, and extended their winning streak at John Paul Jones Arena to 17 games.

Freshman Justin Robinson scored 16 points and classmate Chris Clarke had 11 in his first action for the Hokies (13-12, 5-7) since breaking his right foot in late December. Virginia Tech’s top two scorers, Zach LeDay (16.0 ppg) and Seth Allen (14.5), were limited to seven and six points, respectively, in part because of foul trouble.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett said his team wasn’t ready to play when it lost to the Hokies earlier, but they have been surging of late and were focused from the outset. They were credited with assists and 14 of their first 15 baskets and forced 10 turnovers in the first half; they forced just eight in the last meeting of the teams.

For most of the game, the Hokies had more turnovers than field goals.

The Cavaliers led 32-20 at halftime and extended their advantage to 47-29 on a three-point play by Mike Tobey with 12:11 remaining. It capped an 11-4 run for Virginia, during which LeDay was whistled for his fourth foul. On Virginia’s next trip down court, it got the ball to Gill inside and LeDay basically backed off and let him score, quickly earning a spot on the bench.

The Cavaliers’ lead never dipped into single digits again.

The Hokies had just eight turnovers and outscored Virginia 26-6 off turnovers in their first meeting. This time, Virginia Tech had 10 turnovers by halftime and the Cavaliers had already turned them into 15 points. Virginia Tech finished with 16 field goals and 15 turnovers.

Already leading 9-6, Virginia got scoring from eight players in a 23-8 run that spanned about 8 1/2 minutes.

Gill started it with a dunk, Brogdon hit a 3-pointer, London Perrantes had a four-point play and Wilkins finished it with two free throws, giving the Cavaliers a 32-14 lead with 2:06 left in the half. They didn’t score again, and the Hokies closed within 32-20 by halftime.

TIP-INS

Virginia Tech: The Hokies shot 57.1 percent (15 of 26) from the field in the second half of their 70-68 victory against Virginia on Jan. 4. … Virginia Tech’s starting five totaled four points in the first half.

Virginia: The Cavaliers have held four consecutive opponents to 50 points or fewer.

UP NEXT

Virginia Tech plays at No. 12 Miami next Wednesday.

Virginia plays at Duke on Saturday.

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The AP’s college basketball page: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org