AAU Nationals Friday Recap: Event moves to Louisville, Bruce Brown plays well, Noah Dickerson updates recruitment

Leave a comment

LOUISVILLE — The end of the July live evaluation period is fast approaching, and besides Vegas, most of the college coaches in the country are attending AAU Nationals and the Super Showcase in Kentucky. Many players are worn out, playing through injury or just sitting out completely, but there are still a lot of talented players making an effort to be seen and earn scholarship offers.

AAU moves to Louisville — This season, AAU (the actual organization, not the incorrect label many tag onto grassroots or club basketball) moved its main boys basketball operation from Orlando and Disney to the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville.

With 18 courts under one roof — including court one being Freedom Hall, the former Louisville Cardinals arena — Louisville has the facility to host the four events going on at the same time.

Being played this week are the 17U and 16U Nationals and each age division also has a Super Showcase Tournament. While having the 18 floors in one building is nice to limit traveling between gyms for coaches, players, fans and media, it’s also chaotic at times and difficult to sift through. I’ll have more on the Amateur Athletic Union this week.

Noah Dickerson still open to Georgetown — Class of 2015 four-star big man Noah Dickerson recently decommitted from Georgetown before the live evaluation period began in July.

As the No. 56 overall prospect in Rivals‘ 2015 national rankings, Dickerson has drawn a lot of interest this July playing with the Georgia Stars.

But Dickerson told NBCSports.com that he’s open to a return to the Hoyas, as well. Dickerson said he couldn’t name all of the scholarship offers he’s accumulated but mentioned Georgetown, Michigan, Virginia and Louisville as schools that are standing out.

“I still really like Georgetown a lot,” Dickerson said to NBCSports.com. “I [decommitted] not because I didn’t want to go to Georgetown, I did it because I didn’t get a chance to take a look at all of the other schools like I looked at Georgetown. I have to take visits to these other schools to see what they’re like because I know Georgetown like the back of my hand. I don’t know the other schools like that.”

Michigan has yet to offer, but Dickerson mentioned that they’ve been evaluating him for two years now.

It will be interesting to see where Dickerson’s recruitment goes from here and he also mentioned that he’s going to make a decision this spring.

Bruce Brown continues a strong July — Last week at Peach Jam, BABC guard Bruce Brown put together some strong showings.

That trend has continued this week at AAU. The Class of 2016 guard was very good on both ends of the floor in a BABC win over the Jackson Tigers in a Super Showcase tournament game on Friday night.

Brown used his physicality and intensity to make multiple steals and take them coast-to-coast for baskets while also putting in a tip dunk on a putback. As the No. 53 overall prospect in Rivals‘ 2016 rankings, Brown is a known commodity, but he’s had some good showings the last few weeks and will be a fun guard to track going into his junior season.

Grayson Allen is…funny?

Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The last year led to a lot of people having opinions on Grayson Allen. The Duke star invited most of them thanks to his tripping and his outbursts, as well as the simple fact he plays for the Blue Devils, who always seem to attract plenty of hate from the masses.

While Allen is one of college basketball’s best players, he’s also one of its most ridiculed. More people than not probably have a poor opinion about the guy due to his bizarre tripping habit and the bench meltdown from last season. He’s an easy target that brought a lot of criticism on himself with his actions.

This summer, though, Allen has started to show another side to his personality through social media. It turns out he might actually be funny.

The world is full of surprises.

Here’s an example from today, with Allen not only some comedy chops, but some self-deprecation and self-awareness – two important traits for someone who might need some reputation rehab – as he pokes fun of the Internet’s suggestion that he’s a dead ringer for Texas senator Ted Cruz, as well as Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, apparently.

That was just the most recent example, though. Earlier this month, he ribbed maybe the Internet’s only more favorite villain, LaVar Ball.

And before that, he had some fun with the fact that he’ll almost assuredly be tabbed to our Perry Ellis All-Stars team for his final collegiate season this fall.

So, yeah, Grayson Allen’s rep took a bunch of hits last year for some bad behavior. Maybe there’s more there, though.

IUPUI to become Horizon League’s 10th member

Michael Hickey/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Horizon League officially announced this week that IUPUI will be replacing Valparaiso as the league’s 10th member. Valpo left to replace Wichita State in the Missouri Valley.

“We are excited to welcome IUPUI to the Horizon League family,” Horizon League commissioner Jon LeCrone said. “The Jaguars bring us tremendous competitive potential, particularly in men’s basketball, along with an engaged and energized city. Their addition solidifies our broad community partnerships in Indianapolis and is the right school at the right time.”

IUPUI — which stands for Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis — has been a member of the Summit League, which will be left with eight teams now that the Jaguars have departed. They’ve made it to one NCAA tournament, back in 2003, and have been a full-fledged member of Division I for 19 years. That was the year before NBA point guard George Hill enrolled. Current head coach Jason Gardner has been there for three years but has yet to record a winning season; IUPUI has not been over .500 since 2011, when Ron Hunter was still the head coach.

“We are excited about engaging with the other Horizon League member institutions to enhance the overall competitiveness of the league,” said IUPUI Director of Athletics Dr. Roderick Perry. “As an institution and athletics department, our mission, vision, and core values align closely with the Horizon League. This is an important step forward in the life of our athletics department.”

Former Louisville standout Chris Jones shot in Memphis

AP Photo/Kathy Willens
Leave a comment

Former Louisville point guard Chris Jones was shot while playing basketball in his native Memphis on Tuesday night.

According to a report from FOX 13 in Memphis, shortly after 11 p.m. shots rang out on in Halle Park after an altercation on the court. Two people were taken to the hospital, one with a head injury stemming from a fight. The other was Jones, who was shot in the leg twice, according to the Courier-Journal. His injuries are not life-threatening and he has already been released from the hospital, according to Steve Forbes, his former Junior College coach.

Jones played at Melrose High in Memphis before spending two years at Northwest Florida Junior College and two more seasons at Louisville.

This past year, he spent time playing professionally in Greece and in France, although he played just a grand total of three games in the two leagues.

Perhaps the craziest part about this story is that Jones was shot on a court that is next to a police station. This is a screengrab from FOX 13’s live shot from the basketball courts, and you can see the police cars in the station’s parking lot in the back ground:

Preaching patience, new Pitt AD says hoops program “a complete rebuild”

AP Photo/Athens Banner-Herald, AJ Reynolds
2 Comments

Things did not go particularly well for Kevin Stallings in his first year at Pitt. The program, which essentially pushed Jamie Dixon out the door for being consistently good but not often enough great, struggled, going 16-17 overall and 4-14 in the ACC, just two games out of the cellar.

On top of that, six players prematurely left the program this spring.

Not great, especially when you’ve got a new boss that didn’t hire you, as is the case for Stallings with new Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke, who came aboard in March. In her first meeting with Stallings, Lyke asked a rather blunt question.

“Do you want to be here?” according to the Beaver County Times.

Stallings answered that he did, and his new athletic director would appear to be willing to give her predecessor’s hire time to reclaim and rebuild the program.

“It’s a steep climb, if you will,” Lyke said. “It’s not something that’s going to come easy and it takes an incredible amount of work.”

Stallings’ personal reputation took a significant amount of damage this spring when he attempted to block Cameron Johnson from an intra-ACC transfer to North Carolina. NBC Sports’ Scott Phillips called him a “town-deaf clown” in his attempt to keep Johnson from being a Tar Heel, a position he later relinquished, allowing Johnson to head to Chapel Hill.

Losing Johnson certainly won’t help Stallings and the Panthers recover from the difficult first season. Pitt didn’t hit any grand-slams in recruiting but is adding four-star guard Marcus Carr in its 2017 class.

The immediate outlook doesn’t look particularly bright, but Pitt appears to be positioning itself to exhibit some patience.

“If you look at the team, it is a complete rebuild,” Lyke said. “So I do think that (Stallings) is going to need a little time to develop it.

“But, we’ve got to be headed in the right direction. There’s some things that have got to get better and noticeable improvements. I’ve already seen those things start to happen.”

 

Miller Time: Indiana coach cashes in with $24 million deal

Frederick Breedon/Getty Images
1 Comment

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — New Indiana coach Archie Miller will make $24 million under his seven-year deal — and potentially even more in bonuses.

Miller accepted the job in March, but the athletic department didn’t announce details of the contract until Tuesday.

He will receive a base salary of $550,000 per year and $1 million in deferred income each season. Miller also will receive an additional $1.85 million in outside marketing and promotional income — and will get a $50,000 per year raise each year through March 2024.

Miller can earn a $250,000 bonus for winning a national championship. He can earn an additional $125,000 for a Big Ten regular-season title, reaching the Final Four and producing multiyear Academic Progress Rate scores over 950.