With Anthony Gill and Mike Tobey in line to be seniors in 2015-16, Virginia head coach Tony Bennett and his staff needed to add some depth to the power forward position. On Saturday the Cavaliers received a verbal commitment from one of the best passing big men in the Class of 2015, which certainly helps the reigning ACC champions when it comes to addressing the power forward position.
6-foot-8 forward Jarred Reuter, who attends Brewster Academy, decided to commit to Virginia while visiting the school this weekend. News of Reuter’s commitment was first announced by Brewster Academy head coach Jason Smith, with Reuter tweeting the news himself shortly thereafter. The other schools considered by Reuter were Iowa, Providence, Rhode Island and South Carolina.
Reuter played on a loaded Brewster Academy squad that finished the 2013-14 season with a 33-2 record, and among his teammates were forwards Isaac Copeland (freshman at Georgetown) and Jonah Bolden (freshman at UCLA) and guards Devonte’ Graham (freshman at Kansas) and Donovan Mitchell (a member of the 2015 class who put together an outstanding spring/summer).
As mentioned above about Virginia, the front court is where Bennett and his staff will need to add bodies in the next two recruiting classes. Darion Atkins will be a senior this coming season with Gill, Tobey and small forward Evan Nolte reaching that point the following year. That leaves Jack Salt, Marial Shayok and Isaiah Wilkins (all are freshmen this season) as the only front court players with eligibility remaining following the 2015-16 season.
Adding Reuter, who as noted above has been lauded for his passing ability out of the post, to the fold helps Virginia in the depth department but this is an area where the staff will undoubtedly look to add more bodies as the recruiting cycle rolls on.
Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.
After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.
Video credit: Wyoming Athletics
Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.
Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.
Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.
Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.
Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.
But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.