One of the issues new Missouri head coach Kim Anderson had to address when he was brought in to lead his alma mater was their lack of front court depth. With there being three returnees, it was clear that Anderson and his staff would need to reel in some players for the 2014-15 season. And in short order the staff did just that, putting the program in a better position than it was in upon their arrival.
They did enough to ensure that Jakeenan Gant, who committed to the program when Frank Haith was in charge, would remain committed and added both D’Angelo Allen and Montaque Gill-Caesar. That triumvirate joins returnees Keanau Post, Ryan Rosburg and Johnathan Williams III for the upcoming season, and on Thursday evening Missouri landed a verbal commitment from a power forward in the Class of 2015.
6-foot-7 power forward Kevin Puryear, who hails from Blue Springs, Missouri, verbally committed to the SEC program according to Eric Bossi of Rivals.com. Puryear posted the following message via his Twitter account:
As a junior Puryear posted averages of 19.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game, helping lead Blue Springs South to a 21-5 record. Puryear filled multiple roles for his high school team, serving as a point forward on the offensive end of the floor. Blue Springs South head coach Jimmy Cain discussed some of his star player’s strengths in a story written by Bill Althaus of The Examiner back in April:
“He really played a point-forward type role for us this year,” Cain said. “He was able to be effective anywhere on the floor. He can obviously score, but he also does a great job reading defenses and finding teammates when he is doubled. He would be the first to also mention the luxury of having some great teammates who he trusted.”
Puryear played his grassroots basketball for the KC Run GMC program, and his versatility is something that can help Missouri upon his arrival on campus next summer. Post is Missouri’s lone senior in the front court, so the depth questions Anderson had to deal with when he was hired shouldn’t be an issue at that time.
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”: