2017 point guard verbally commits to Arizona State

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Having done a good job of mining the junior college ranks in his most recent recruiting classes, Arizona State head coach Herb Sendek got a head start on the Class of 2017 on Wednesday night. According to Chris Karpman of, 2017 point guard Markus Howard has verbally committed to attend Arizona State.

The 5-foot-10 Howard put together a very good season at Perry High School in Gilbert, Arizona last year, averaging 23 points per game on a team that included his older brother Jordan. For his efforts Markus was named Boys Basketball Player of the Year by the East Valley Tribune, and Perry head coach Joe Babinski was effusive in his praise of Howard as a competitor in a story written in April.

“Throw anything at him and he’ll compete,” Babinski said. “He’s the best competitor I’ve been around. He just does whatever circumstance happens and what is thrown at him. For a young kid that’s really special. Most kids don’t until they’re juniors or seniors in high school, and even then many don’t. He’s never intimidated by the moment. He just ignores everything else. If I knew how I’d have five or six state championship rings.”

Howard’s ability to score from the point guard position resulted in the attention being paid to him on the recruiting trail and it likely would have increased in time, but he’s made the early decision to remain close to home for college. But with the opportunity to step onto a college campus still being three years away a lot can change for both the player and the school he’s chosen to attend.

With that being the case, it’s difficult to truly forecast who Howard will be competing with for playing time come 2017. But if Howard can build on what was a very good freshman season, Arizona State will have gotten its 2017 recruiting off to a solid start.

VIDEO: Utah Valley’s Mark Pope dances, lip syncs with daughters

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New Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope made quite an impression on fans at the team’s Midnight Madness celebration last night. That’s because Pope did a dance and lip sync routine with his four daughters that turned out to be pretty impressive.

The former BYU assistant looks to be the leader in the clubhouse for best coach dance so far this preseason. We’ll see if any other coaches pull out elaborate routines at madness celebrations the next few weeks.

UConn commit tears ACL for second time

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UConn commit Juwan Durham, a four-star big man in the Class of 2016, has torn the ACL in his right knee for the second time in seven months. The Florida native committed to the Huskies and head coach Kevin Ollie back in September. The 6-foot-9 forward is regarded as the No. 31 overall prospect in the national Class of 2016, so he can really be a force when he’s healthy.

In a report from’s Bob Putnam, UConn was notified of the injury immediately and there is no change in plans with the commitment. The Huskies also own commitments from four-star point guard Alterique Gilbert and three-star power forward Mamadou Diarra in the Class of 2016. Having Diarra, an active, rim-protecting presence, helps with Durham’s recovery, since he can provide some more front court depth.

If Durham rehabs back to full speed, UConn has a very talented power forward who was just hitting his stride in the Florida state playoffs last February. UConn has a nice class so far with this group, especially if Durham can recover, With a year to recover until next season, Durham can hopefully play during his freshman season in 2016.