The biggest question the Syracuse Orange were faced with last season was whether or not then-freshman point guard Tyler Ennis was ready to lead the team in its first season as a member of the ACC. With Michael Carter-Williams (NBA) and Brandon Triche (graduation) both moving on, Ennis was Jim Boeheim’s best (and only) option to run the show and the St. Benedict’s Prep product did not disappoint.
Ennis posted averages of 12.9 points, 5.5 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game for the Orange, leading them to the top spot in the national polls before the team’s late-season offensive slump resulted in a disappointing end to the 2013-14 season.
Now that Ennis has decided to enter the 2014 NBA Draft, a similar question has been asked of incoming freshman Kaleb Joseph this spring: is the elite point guard from Cushing Academy ready to run the show? And in a story written by Chris Carlson of the Syracuse Post-Standard, it’s evident that Joseph has worked extremely hard to reach this stage in his basketball career.
What is Joseph’s motivation? This quote from the player himself says it all.
“I’m nervous about not being good enough, not making the NBA,” Joseph said. “I’ve always said that’s what I want to do. Everyone knows it’s what I want. If I come up short I have to go back to Nashua. Once you fall off no one gives a f*** who you are anymore. You’re just some dude.”
The chip on Joseph’s shoulder could prove beneficial for not only him but his teammates as well in 2014-15. In addition to Ennis Syracuse will also have to account for the loss of forwards C.J. Fair, who like Ennis was one of the best players in the country, and Jerami Grant (center Baye Moussa Keita, as well). With those departures just one double-digit scorer (guard Trevor Cooney) returns to campus for Syracuse, meaning that Joseph will have a lot on his plate from the start.
Will the questions of whether or not Joseph and and his new teammates (including fellow freshman Chris McCullough) are ready to carry the load be asked throughout the summer? Definitely. And based upon Carlson’s profile of the freshman, those questions will only add more fuel to the fire that burns within the player once dubbed “The Bookworm Assassin.”
Cal and San Diego State played last season in the Las Vegas Invitational and decided to play more often.
According to multiple reports, the two teams will play each other the next three seasons, starting with a neutral-court matchup in Sacramento on Nov. 21. The game in Sacramento will be unique in a couple of ways, as it will be the first college basketball game in the Sacramento Kings’ brand-new home arena. It will also be Cal’s first game in Sacramento since 1947.
After the Sacramento game during the 2016-17 season, San Diego State will host the Golden Bears the next season and Cal will host the Aztecs the following year to close out the three-game deal.
With both Cal and San Diego State returning plenty of talent from last season, this season’s contest should be one of the more intriguing non-conference games between schools out west and it should be fun for the players as they get to take the floor in a new NBA arena.
Creighton will be without a key big man for the start of practice as senior Zach Hanson will be out after having knee surgery.
According to a report from Marjie Ducey of the Omaha World-Herald, the 6-foot-9 Hanson will likely be out for eight to 12 weeks. Creighton head coach Greg McDermott told Ducey that Hanson will hopefully be available when Creighton opens its regular season in November.
As a junior, Hanson was a key rotation big man for the Bluejays as he put up 6.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game, making one start on the season. As McDermott noted in Ducey’s story, he’s not concerned about Hanson missing practice time from a learning curve standpoint but he is a bit worried about his conditioning. Before the knee surgery, Hanson was also nursing some ankle injuries that he was dealing with during the season, so he hasn’t had a great chance to get in proper condition.
This loss will definitely hurt Creighton as they have a ton of backcourt pieces for next season, but not as many in the front court. Hanson’s an experienced player who will help once he returns but it will something worth monitoring to see what kind of condition he’s in during the early season.
Now that summer basketball is nearly finished, a lot of good mixtapes are beginning to pop up from this spring and summer’s action.
Ball is Life just dropped some highlights from all of the Under Armour Association events from this spring and summer in one mixtape and it’s loaded with high-level players making tremendous plays.
Some of the top Class of 2017 prospects included in the video include Trevon Duval, Kris Wilkes, Ira Lee, M.J. Walker and North Carolina commit Jalek Felton.
DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) A Michigan judge will review surveillance footage from the night former Michigan State basketball player Keith Appling was arrested outside a strip club on weapons and drug charges.
Appling’s defense attorney presented the footage at Friday’s preliminary examination. It includes security videos from the Pantheon Club parking lot and video from police dashboard cameras.
The hearing was adjourned until Aug. 5 to allow Judge William Hultgren time to review the footage.
The 24-year-old Appling played for the Spartans from 2010-2014 and had two 10-day contracts with the Orlando Magic this season.
He was arrested in May after two guns and suspected marijuana were found in a vehicle he was in.
Appling also faces a trial in Detroit where he was charged in June with carrying a concealed weapon.
Arkansas is coming off of a disappointing 16-16 season in which they missed the postseason.
The Razorbacks lost two key guards in Anthlon Bell and Jabril Durham — who both exhausted their eligibility — but they’re hoping a couple of additions will bolster the depth of their backcourt and make their trademark press stronger.
In a story from Tom Murphy of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the Razorbacks are excited about the possibilities of their new backcourt.
Although Arkansas lost two talented seniors and a transfer in Jimmy Whitt, they return Dusty Hannahs, Manny Watkins and Anton Beard while also getting two of the best junior college guards in the country. Jaylen Barford and Daryl Macon come in highly touted for next season and both junior college guards garnered a lot of praise from their play last season.
With Arkansas also bringing in some freshman guards like C.J. Jones and RJ Glasper, head coach Mike Anderson is hoping to have enough bodies to play fast and use his press. The team appears to be optimistic as well.
“I think we’ll have a lot more toughness at the guard position, and depth,” Watkins said to Murphy. “We’ve got a lot of guys. When we’re pressing and stuff, we’ve got bodies we can bring in.”
Arkansas also returns an SEC Player of the Year candidate in big man Moses Kingsley and they could be an intriguing team to track this season if Barford and Macon are as good as advertised. They’ll certainly have more bodies to throw at opposing guards and that should help Arkansas play faster than they did last season.