Just under two weeks ago, 6-foot-5 guard Damien Wilson made the decision to transfer from Memphis after playing sparingly in his first two seasons as a Tiger. The Atlanta native has reportedly found a new school, with Jon Rothstein of CBSSports.com reporting Wednesday that Wilson has decided to transfer to Kennesaw State. After sitting out the 2014-15 season per NCAA transfer rules, Wilson would have two years of eligibility remaining.
Wilson played in just 43 games during his two years at Memphis, playing an average of 5.8 minutes per game. His best offensive outing as a Tiger came during his sophomore season, as he scored nine points in Memphis’ season-opening win over Austin Peay. Wilson’s a very good athlete who was rated amongst the top 20 shooting in the Class of 2012 by Rivals.com.
He joins a program now led by head coach Jimmy Lallathin, who took over as interim head coach for Lewis Preston in early January with the interim tag being removed shortly after the end of the 2013-14 season.
The Owls, who finished the 2013-14 season with a 6-25 record (3-15 Atlantic Sun), return three of their top four scorers from last season led by senior guard Delbert Love. Kennesaw State recently completed a summer trip to Italy, where they won three of the four games they played.
Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.
With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.
“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”
Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.
While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.
LSU football and Leonard Fournette are off to a strong start this fall, but the beginning of October also means that college hoops is right around the corner. If you’re a Tigers basketball fan, you also have plenty to be excited about on the hardwood this season with the arrival of a loaded freshman class headlined by forward Ben Simmons.
While the versatile Simmons has solidified a spot in the starting lineup for next season, it’ll be interesting to see how head coach Johnny Jones uses the rest of his talented freshmen. In a story from Sheldon Mickles of the New Orleans Advocate, he looks into some potential LSU starting lineups.
Freshman guard Antonio Blakeney, a McDonald’s All-American with Simmons, is also expected to start, but does another talented freshman guard, Brandon Sampson get a shot to start? And what of Arizona transfer Craig Victor when he’s eligible to play in December?
Mickles believes the early favorite for starting lineup is guards Tim Quarterman, Keith Hornsby, Blakeney, Simmons and center Darcy Malone. When Victor returns, Mickles said Victor could push Simmons into the “center” position, which would be a matchup nightmare on the opposition because Simmons would be very tough for many college centers to defend.
Sampson also gets a mention from Mickles of having the potential to start down the line. Overall, a good problem to have for Jones and he’ll have to experiment to see which lineups are giving him the most. Having a productive starting five is nice, but I’m sure Jones would love to find the five players he wants to close with.