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USA Basketball experience motivates five-star big man Chase Jeter

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MOREAll our content from the 2014 July Live Recruiting Period

CHICAGO — Chase Jeter has been playing very good basketball this summer and the Class of 2015 big man had some added motivation back in June.

The 6-foot-10 native of Las Vegas was trying out for the USA U18 team to play in FIBA Americas in Colorado Springs, but he was the last person cut from the team.

Dejected, but determined, Jeter flew from Colorado Springs to Charlottesville, Virginia for the NBPA Top 100 Camp and focused on continuing his strong summer. After playing in only one game at the camp, Jeter received a phone call from USA Basketball. Incoming UNLV freshman wing Dwayne Morgan could no longer play with the team due to a family illness and Jeter was back on board with the team.

A gold medal later, Jeter is just happy the experience worked out with USA Basketball and the No. 8 player in Rivals‘ Class of 2015 rankings is now a marked man during the July evaluation period.

“It was tough [being cut], but I handled it really well and that’s one of the main reasons I got asked back to USA because of how well I handled it,” Jeter told NBCSports.com. “They said I was the first person they called and that was just an honor in itself. I think that’s a testament to my character. I felt really good about that.”

The USA Basketball experience of being cut and re-joining the team to help them earn the gold has made Jeter a mentally tougher player going into July. Jeter could have handled being cut in a number of different ways, but he just tried to focus on his play.

“When I got cut, I mean, there’s different emotions going through my head,” Jeter said. “But me handling it well is what separated me from many other players that got cut. Motivation-wise, I didn’t let it hold me back. I went the next night to Top 100 and got 20 points and got called back and had to go back to Colorado Springs.”

Jeter has made huge strides in his game since last season. Although earlier in his high school career he was a bit overshadowed by Bishop Gorman High School teammate and fellow big man Stephen Zimmerman, Jeter has put in a lot of work not only on his skill set but staying mentally sharp before each game. Now, Jeter and Zimmerman are both ranked in the top 10 nationally and Jeter might have one of the best upsides in the Class of 2015.

Whichever school lands Jeter will also getting one of the youngest players in the class. The big man doesn’t turn 17 until September and he was the youngest member of the USA U18 team by over 10 months.

“I’ve definitely done a great job this spring in terms of applying different things and skill sets in my game,” Jeter said. “Mainly motor and mindset is the main thing I’m going after. The skill set is there, and it’s going to continue to develop, but my mindset and how I play and doing all of the right things when I take the floor is what’s separating me this summer.”

The skill set for Jeter includes a devastating hook shot with his right hand. Jeter has used that hook as his go-to move this spring and summer and he keeps progressing in making the move more-and-more unstoppable.

“It’s definitely efficient; that’s the main thing is efficiency,” Jeter said of the right hook. “It’s an easy go-to move and if I do everything right it’s pretty much unblockable.”

There’s been a great deal of speculation with Jeter when it comes to his recruitment. He formed a final list of six schools, but many around basketball believe Jeter is leaning towards committing to Duke. Coach K took in Jeter’s games at the adidas Unrivaled Camp on Friday with assistants Jeff Capel and Jon Scheyer in tow, but Jeter maintained that he’s still figuring things out in the process.

Kansas head coach Bill Self and Oregon head coach Dana Altman have both checked in to see Jeter this week and assistants from Arizona, UNLV and UCLA have been tracking Jeter as well.

“I already formed my final six schools in Oregon, Kansas, UNLV, Duke, Arizona and UCLA. I don’t think I’ll cut down anymore. I’ll probably make my decision at the end of the summer,” Jeter said.

Villanova’s Jenkins to return for senior season

Villanova forward Kris Jenkins (2) reacts to play against North Carolina during the second half of the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game Monday, April 4, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
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After briefly taking part in the NBA Draft evaluation process, Villanova forward Kris Jenkins announced Monday night that he’s decided to withdraw and return to school for his senior year. Jenkins, whose three-pointer as time expired gave the Wildcats the win over North Carolina in the national title game, announced the news via Twitter.

2015-16 was a breakout season for Jenkins, who moved into the starting lineup and averaged 13.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. The 6-foot-6 forward shot 45.9 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from beyond the arc, and with starters Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochefu graduating he’ll have even more opportunities to produce next season.

Jenkins’ decision to return leaves wing Josh Hart as the lone Wildcats going through the early entry process at this time. Hart was a first team All-Big East selection as a junior, and his return would be the final piece to the puzzle for a team that many expect to be a national title contender in 2016-17.

Jenkins and Hart wouldn’t be the only returnees who had a part in the national title run, with guards Jalen Brunson and Phil Booth, wing Mikal Bridges and forward Darryl Reynolds back as well. To that group Villanova adds Fordham transfer Eric Paschall and a recruiting class anchored by Omari Spellman and Dylan Painter with Donte DiVincenzo and Tim Delaney available after being hampered by injuries last season.

Delaney missed all of last year after undergoing surgical procedures on his hips, and DiVincenzo played a total of 74 minutes over the first nine games before having to sit due to a broken foot.

Florida State guard Rathan-Mayes to return for junior season

Florida State guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes (22) drives past Notre Dame guard Rex Pflueger, left, for a score in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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With their top three scorers from last season all deciding to declare for the NBA Draft, Florida State was facing the possibility of having to rebuild their backcourt ahead of the 2016-17 season. However two of those three have decided to return to Tallahassee, with rising junior Xavier Rathan-Mayes announcing on Monday that he will be back in school.

Rathan-Mayes joins rising sophomore Dwayne Bacon in returning to play another season for head coach Leonard Hamilton, with Malik Beasley hiring representation and remaining in the draft.

Rathan-Mayes had more scoring help last season and as a result was able to concentrate more on the distribution aspects of the point guard position, as he averaged 11.8 points and 4.4 assists per contest. With the return of Rathan-Mayes and Bacon, Florida State will have two of its top three scorers from last season back on campus.

The Seminoles did lose some veteran players, most notably guard Devon Bookert and center Boris Bojanovsky, but the returnees and a recruiting class led by McDonald’s All-American forward Jonathan Isaac means that they won’t lack for options next season.

Auburn lands third transfer within the last week

Auburn guard T.J. Dunans (4) and coach Bruce Pearl celebrate a 75-74 win over UAB in an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, at Auburn Arena in Auburn, Ala.  (Julie Bennett/AL.com via AP)
Julie Bennett/AL.com via AP
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After receiving commitments from former Purdue/Houston guard Ronnie Johnson and former Presbyterian forward DeSean Murray, Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl continued to load up on the transfer market Monday. Forward LaRon Smith, who was named MEAC Defensive Player of the Year at Bethune-Cookman last season, announced that he will use his final season of eligibility at the SEC program.

Like Smith, Johnson will also be eligible to compete immediately for the Tigers while Murray will have to sit out next season before having two years of eligibility remaining.

The 6-foot-8 Smith played two seasons at Georgia State before transferring to Bethune-Cookman, where he averaged 7.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per contest in 2015-16. Smith played just over 25 minutes per game for the Wildcats, shooting 58.5 percent from the field.

Smith reached double figures in scoring in four of the Wildcats’ final seven games, including a 20-point, 11-rebound, three-block outing in an overtime win over North Carolina A&T. He joins a front court in need of depth following the departures of the likes of Cinmeon Bowers and Tyler Harris, with Horace Spencer, Trayvon Reed and incoming freshman Anfernee McLemore also competing for minutes in 2016-17.

SMU lands former Arkansas guard Jimmy Whitt

Arkansas guard Jimmy Whitt (24) leaps for a layup past Tennessee guard Shembari Phillips (25) during an NCAA college basketball game in Knoxville, Tenn., Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016. Arkansas won 75-65. (Adam Lau/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP)
Adam Lau/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP
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With a five-member recruiting class set to arrive on campus this summer, SMU added a talented transfer Monday afternoon. Jimmy Whitt, who played his freshman season at Arkansas, committed to join Larry Brown’s program. Whitt, a 6-foot-4 guard from Columbia, Missouri, will have three seasons of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2016-17 campaign.

As a freshman at Arkansas, Whitt averaged 6.1 points and 1.7 rebounds in just over 17 minutes of action per game. He reached double figures in scoring nine time, with the high being a 15-point outing in a blowout win over Missouri in mid-January. Whitt produced a stretch of four consecutive games in double figures during non-conference play, but he struggled to maintain that consistency against SEC competition.

At SMU he’ll join a perimeter rotation that will lose rising senior Sterling Brown following the 2016-17 season. Among those who will have eligibility remaining when Whitt becomes eligible are Ben Emelogu, Shake Milton, Jarrey Foster and incoming freshmen Tom Wilson and Dashawn McDowell.

 

Boise State assistant named head coach at Northern Colorado

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Courtesy UNCBears.com
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GREELEY, Colo. (AP) Jeff Linder is the new basketball coach at Northern Colorado. He spent the last six seasons at Boise State, where he was associate head coach for the Broncos since 2013-14.

Linder replaces B.J. Hill, who was fired last month amid an NCAA investigation into allegations of violations in the program.

University President Kay Norton and Athletic Director Darren Dunn announced Linder’s hiring Sunday.

Linder played high school ball in Lafayette, Colorado, and college ball at Mesa State and Western Colorado State. He began his coaching career under Colorado head coach Ricardo Patton.

In a statement, Linder said, “I look forward to returning home to the state of Colorado and continuing to build this program into something everyone can be proud of.”

Hill was 86-98 in six seasons at UNC.