LONG BEACH, California — After months of speculation, Class of 2015 five-star center Chase Jeter committed to Duke in a televised announcement on Monday night at adidas Nations.
Duke has been considered the heavy favorite for Jeter after the 6-foot-10 Las Vegas native took an official visit to Durham in early March. The Blue Devils relentlessly trailed Jeter throughout the month of July during the live evaluation period, assigning three coaches to watch Jeter play in Chicago at the adidas Unrivaled Camp and following that up with all four members of the coaching staff later in July in Las Vegas at the adidas Super 64.
“It was no secret that I’ve really liked Duke for a long time but it was a tough decision,” Jeter said to NBCSports.com. “I made the decision after talking it over with my family and I just felt comfortable with Duke.”
Jeter picked Duke over other finalists Arizona, UNLV and UCLA. The Bruins received a lot of late chatter at adidas Nations leading up to the announcement and Jeter’s father, Chris, was a backup center at UNLV from 1987 through 1991, but those programs couldn’t keep the Bishop Gorman High School product out west.
“I just think Duke has a lot to offer me in terms of their style of play, the players on the team and my relationship with the coaching staff,” Jeter said. “Their style of play really fits with what I do well on the court.”
As one of the younger players in the 2015 class — he doesn’t turn 17 until September — Jeter has a lot of upside going forward as he’s had a good spring and summer. Playing with Dream Vision in the adidas Gauntlet this spring, Jeter averaged 20.4 points and 11.7 rebounds per game in 10 league games and he’s developed a go-to move in his right hook to go along with improved rebounding and low-post defense.
The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.
The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.
They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.
That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.
So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.
Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:
With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.
At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes
“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:
“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”
“It’s all money.”
Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.
Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .
Want to talk about coaching luxuries?
Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.