With Adreian Payne out of eligibility, Michigan State was in need of front court players capable of stepping forward in 2014-15. One possible option was Kenny Kaminski, who scored 4.9 points in just over 12 minutes of action per game. A “stretch four,” the 6-foot-8 Kaminski shot 51 percent from the field and 49.4% from beyond the arc in 2013-14.
What Kaminski would be able to do under Tom Izzo with more playing time won’t be learned however, as the rising redshirt sophomore announced via his Twitter account Saturday afternoon that he’s no longer a member of the Michigan State program.
On two separate occasions last season, Kaminski was suspended by Izzo for “failing to take care of business” academically, with the second suspension being levied on December 14. Kaminski missed a total of six games last season for disciplinary reasons.
With Kaminski no longer in the picture, senior Branden Dawson and junior Matt Costello are Michigan State’s most experienced front court players. The Spartans add Marvin Clark, a 6-foot-7 forward who will now (in theory) have more opportunities to step forward and earn immediate playing time. With the top three scorers from a team that won the Big Ten tournament title and reached the Elite Eight having moved on (guards Keith Appling and Gary Harris being the others), Dawson (11.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg) and guards Denzel Valentine and Travis Trice are Michigan State’s top three returnees in 2014-15.
The question of who steps forward to help those three is a key one for Michigan State going into 2014-15. Kaminski was one of the possible options, but thanks to his depature the Spartans will need to find additional depth elsewhere.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Syracuse vs. No. 18 UConn, 3:30 p.m.
For the first time since the Orange departed the Big East, the two former rivals will square off. Today’s battle will take place at the Battle 4 Atlantis, as the Orange knocked off Charlotte yesterday and the Huskies dispatched Michigan. To get ready for this battle, I’d suggest ready through the conversation @NoEscalators had with himself last night.
THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 25 Texas A&M vs. No. 10 Gonzaga, 1:00 p.m.
The other semifinal in the Battle 4 Atlantis could end up being just as good, as the Aggies — who might be the second best team in the SEC — square off with a Gonzaga team that has one of the best front lines in the country. This will be a good test to figure out just how good both of these teams are.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
1. No. 20 Wichita State vs. USC, 2:00 p.m.: The Shockers will be without Fred VanVleet for this event. It will also be a chance for us to gauge just how good this 4-0 USC team is.
2. No. 23 Xavier vs. Alabama, 12:00 p.m: The Musketeers should have no problems dispatching Alabama.
3. No. 8 Villanova vs. Stanford, 4:30 p.m.: The Wildcats are, once again, as good as any team in the country. Josh Hart might be the nation’s most underrated star.
4. No. 14 Cal vs. San Diego State, 12:00 a.m.: Tyrone Wallace and company have been awesome this season. They get their first real test of the season tonight.
5. Providence vs. Evansville, 7:00 p.m.: Evansville is one of the nation’s best mid-majors, good enough to give the likes of Wichita State and Northern Iowa a fight in the Missouri Valley. And Providence? They got a kid named Kris Dunn. Heard of him?
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 3 Michigan State vs. Boston College, 6:30 p.m.
- No. 11 Arizona vs. Santa Clara, 11:30 p.m.
- No. 17 Notre Dame vs. Monmouth, 6:30 p.m.
No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.
Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.
But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.
It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:
After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”: