Two surprises after first cuts at Team USA U17 trials


Team USA is currently holding their U17 trials out in Colorado Springs.

33 players from the Class of 2015 and 2016 were invited to try out for the team that will be traveling to Dubai for the World Championships in August, and on Saturday afternoon, the first round of cuts were made.

MORE: Highlights from the trials

Here are the 17 players remaining:

  • Tyus Battle (Gill St. Bernard’s School/ Edison, N.J./2016)
  • Thomas Bryant (Bishop Kearney H.S./Rochester, N.Y./2015)
  • Henry Ellenson (Rice Lake H.S./Rice Lake, Wis./2015)
  • Terrence Ferguson (Prime Prep Academy/Flower Mound, Texas/2016)
  • De’Aaron Fox (Cypress Lakes H.S./Katy, Texas/2016)
  • Harry Giles (Wesleyan Christian Academy/Winston-Salem, N.C./2016)
  • Mustapha Heron (Sacred Heart H.S./West Haven, Conn./2016)
  • Josh Jackson (Consortium College Prep H.S./ Southfield, Mich./2016)
  • V.J. King (St. Vincent-St. Mary H.S./Akron, Ohio/2016)
  • T.J. Leaf (Foothills Christian H.S./Lakeside, Calif./2016)
  • Malik Newman (Callaway H.S./Jackson, Miss./2015)
  • Ivan Rabb (Bishop O’Dowd H.S./ Oakland, Calif./2015)
  • Devearl Ramsey (Sierra Canyon H.S./Los Angeles, Calif./2016)
  • Diamond Stone (Dominican H.S./Milwaukee, Wis./2015)
  • Caleb Swanigan (Homestead H.S./Fort Wayne, Ind./2015)
  • Jayson Tatum (Chaminade College Prep/St. Louis, Mo./2016)
  • Derryck Thornton (Findlay Prep, Nev./Simi Valley, Calif./2016)

MORE: Full coverage of the July Live Period

There are a couple of noticeable absences, however. The most exciting player in high school basketball, Arkansas native Malik Monk, didn’t make it through the first round of cuts. He is a big time scoring guard and a high-flying athlete, but as explosive as he is as a scorer, he is equally inconsistent.

The other surprise was that point guard Dennis Smith Jr. was sent home. Smith, who plays his high school ball in North Carolina, shot up through the rankings to become a top five player in the nation in the Class of 2016.

Details of Gregg Marshall’s Wichita State contract released

Gregg Marshall (AP Photo)
Gregg Marshall (AP Photo)
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Back in the spring, back before Alabama had hired Avery Johnson and Texas had decided upon bringing in Shaka Smart, Gregg Marshall was the hottest name on the coaching carousel. He had turned Wichita State into a top 15 program, one that had reached a Final Four and won 35 straight games in the previous three seasons.

There was speculation that the Longhorns would make a run at him, but it was Alabama that tried first, reportedly offering Marshall a blank check, telling him to tell them what he was going to get paid.

Marshall turned it down, accepting a deal to remain at Wichita State that was reported to be worth $3.3 million annually for the next seven years.

This week, the Wichita Eagle obtained a copy of Marshall’s contract. The details:

  • Marshall will be getting paid $3 million annually until 2018, when that number jumps up to $3.5 million. He’s under contract through 2022.
  • He has performance bonuses that could reach more than $450,000.
  • Not that Marshall would ever be fired by Wichita State, but his buyout is massive: $15 million until he’s owed less than $15 million on his contract, at which point the Shockers would have to pay him the remainder of his salary.
  • But if Marshall decides to leave, he only has to pay the school $500,000.

So if you were wondering why Marshall decided not to leave Wichita, it’s because he’s making more than Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan and slightly less than Indiana head coach Tom Crean this season.

Arkansas returns to underdog role after offseason arrests

Mike Anderson
Mike Anderson (AP Photo)
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) Arkansas coach Mike Anderson says he was “blindsided” by a tumultuous offseason for the Razorbacks, one that included the arrests of three players on allegations of using counterfeit money.

Still, entering his fifth season at Arkansas – his 22nd overall at the school, including 17 as an assistant – Anderson remains optimistic the program can build on last year’s second-place finish in the Southeastern Conference.

Led by SEC Player of the Year Bobby Portis, the Razorbacks finished 27-9 last season and reached their NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008.

The excitement-filled season was the culmination of four years of rebuilding for Anderson, though the school took a step back afterward following the early departures for the NBA of Portis and second-leading scorer Michael Qualls.

That was only the first step in a difficult offseason for the Razorbacks.

Starting point guard Anton Beard, forward Jacorey Williams and transfer Dustin Thomas were arrested by Fayetteville police in July, accused of using counterfeit $20 bills and exchanging counterfeit $50 bills for $100 bills.

Williams was dismissed in August, while Beard and Thomas have been suspended from the team and remain enrolled in school awaiting trial.

“I think if you’re in it long enough, you’re going to have some of those things take place,” Anderson said. “I was kind of blindsided by some of it, I’ll say that. … When it happens, I think the measure of, not only the person but the program, is how you deal with it. And I think we’re dealing with it in the right way.”

With Portis and Qualls’ departures, as well as the graduation of Ky Madden and Alandise Harris, Arkansas enters this season without four of its top five scorers from a year ago.

The lone returner in that mix is senior shooting guard Anthlon Bell, who averaged 7.9 points per game last season while shooting 35.1 percent on 3-pointers.

Bell’s outside ability is something the Razorbacks expect to use often this season without the interior scoring touch of Portis, and because the revamped roster features several top shooters – including Texas Tech transfer Dusty Hannahs and heralded freshman guard Jimmy Whitt.

Anderson said they’re also likely to run more this season in order to try and manufacture easy offense through defensive pressure.

“We’re still going to play Hog basketball, 40 minutes of Hell,” Bell said.

Anderson wouldn’t comment in detail on the arrests of Beard or Thomas, but he did say he talks with the two while they’re on suspension. He also said they are continuing to work out on their own, with the hope of being reinstated after the legal process plays out.

In the meantime, Anderson is embracing a return to the underdog role after last season’s breakout – calling the reversal a “challenge” and insisting “We’re not going backward.”

“It’s unfortunate that we had some individuals that, No. 1, they (did) some things that hurt the team,” Anderson said. “But at the end of the day, let’s see how these other guys respond.”