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Two Auburn players taking indefinite leave of absence

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Auburn has added four new recruits in a little over a week, but the men’s basketball program lost two players on Friday as head coach Bruce Pearl announced that center Ronald Delph and forward Alex Thompson have taken an, “indefinite leave of absence.”

Delph, a 7-foot-1 freshman, sat out the 2013-14 season while Thompson, a 6-foot-8 sophomore and former walk-on, was awarded a scholarship last season and appeared in 21 games for Auburn.

Thompson averaged one point and 1.5 rebounds per game in 7.8 minutes last season.

The loss of Delph and Thompson isn’t a significant one for Auburn but it’s interesting for a few reasons. For one, Pearl is continuing to immediately overhaul the current Auburn roster by opening up scholarships for more talented players.

Benas Griciunas transferred to Charlotte and Dion Wade left for Miami (Ohio) earlier this offseason.

The departure of Delph and Thompson also opens up two scholarships for Auburn for the upcoming season. The Tigers were at 13 scholarships but now have some wiggle room to bring in 7-foot-1 center Trayvon Reed at mid-season or also maybe add an impact mid-season transfer that could become available.

Pearl has to be pleased either way that he’s recruiting so well so far as he landed Class of 2015 top 100 prospects Danjel Purifoy and Horace Spencer recently while also landing junior college guard T.J. Dunans.

Creighton lands 2016 combo guard

Greg McDermott
Associated Press
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Sunday evening Creighton got on the board in the Class of 2016, as 6-foor-4 combo guard Davion Mintz made his pledge to Greg McDermott’s program. Mintz made the decision on the tail end of his official visit to Creighton, picking the Bluejays over Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Tulsa and Wichita State.

News of Mintz’s commitment was first reported by Rick Lewis of the Phenom Hoop Report, with Mintz confirming the news via Twitter shortly thereafter.

Creighton has just two seniors on its current roster in guard Jams Milliken and forward Geoffrey Groselle, but that doesn’t mean they lack for experience. Among the guards on the roster who will be around when Mintz arrives on campus are redshirt juniors Maurice Watson Jr., Malik Albert, and Isaiah Zierden, and Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster will be eligible in 2016-17.

Mintz, who attends North Mecklenberg HS just outside of Charlotte, can play either on or off the basketball. Creighton’s veteran guards should help Mintz with his transition to the college game when he arrives in Omaha in 2016. Mintz played for the Charlotte Nets grassroots program this summer.

Three-star power forward commits to WVU

Bob Huggins
Associated Press
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Three days after landing one power forward in Sagaba Konate, West Virginia received a verbal commitment from another big man Sunday evening.

6-foot-11 Mountain Mission School (Gurndy, Virginia) power forward Maciej Bender became the Mountaineers’ fourth commitment in the Class of 2016 on Sunday, with the Mountain Mission program announcing the news via Twitter. Bender is a native of Poland, and in addition to Konate he joins guards Brandon Knapper and Chase Harler in West Virginia’s 2016 recruiting class.

West Virginia will lose two forwards in TyQuane Goard and Jonathan Holton at the end of the 2015-16 season, and the additions of Konate and Bender will help the Mountaineers account for those departures from a depth standpoint. Bender can score around the basket, but he’s also capable of facing up and scoring in pick-and-pop situations out beyond the three-point line.

Bender officially visited West Virginia last weekend, and he was a player the WVU coaching staff wanted to get in the fold. Other programs to offer Bender included Arizona State (teammate Jethro Tshisumpa is an ASU commit), Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Providence. Bender played his grassroots basketball for the West Virginia Wildcats program this summer.