Latest Rivals rankings for Class of 2016 provides new No. 1 prospect

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The 2013 recruiting class may not have ended up changing the course of history as we know it during the 2013-2014 college basketball season, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was as strong at the top as any class we’ve seen in recent memory.

Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid went top three in the 2014 NBA Draft and are now considered the saviors of Minnesota, Milwaukee and Philadelphia, respectively. Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon, James Young and Noah Vonleh went one-and-done, as expected, while Tyler Ennis and Zach LaVine managed to play their way into a guaranteed contract.

MORE: Rivals releases Top 150 for the Class of 2015

That’s a loaded class, and here’s the scary part — the Class of 2016 has a chance to be better. And on Thursday, Rivals released their new Top 150 for 2016.

Thon Maker, a 7-foot-1 Sudanan by way of Australia, sits as the No. 1 player in the class, and it’s a valid pick. He has the length, athleticism and timing to be an elite shot-blocker, but his shooting touch — which extends to the three-point line with time and space and out to 15-feet on his turnaround — and ability to handle the ball is what makes him special. His unique skill-set makes a comparison difficult, but some combination of former Baylor center Isaiah Austin and Kevin Garnett is a good place to start.

RELATED: Thon Maker is NOT the next Kevin Durant | Harry Giles looks to be healthy again

Harry Giles, a strong, 6-foot-10 forward from North Carolina, appears to have recovered fully from what could have been a devastating knee injury last summer and checks in at No. 2 in the class, while a pair of 6-foot-7 wings — former No. 1 Josh Jackson and Jayson Tatum — slide in at third and fourth, respectively.

All four have very legitimate arguments about being the No. 1 player in the class.

Athletic guards Dennis Smith Jr. and Malik Monk round out a clear-cut top six. Smith is the best point guard in the class, deservedly getting the nod over Derryck Thornton because of his vertical explosiveness. There is not a more entertaining player to watch in high school basketball than Monk, but he’s still too streaky at this point in his career, mixing 40-point nights with 3-for-20 performances too often.

MORE: Mixtapes: Dennis Smith Jr.Malik Monk | Allure of staying home strong for Jayson Tatum

Big man Bam Adebayo, athletic sharpshooter Terrence Ferguson, Thornton and fellow point guard Lonzo Ball round out the top ten. Ball, who has pledged to UCLA, is the only player in the top ten committed to a school.

The full top 150 can be found here.

Ohio State lands second pledge in two days with 2018 guard Duane Washington

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Ohio State stayed hot on the recruiting trail on Wednesday as the Buckeyes landed a commitment from Class of 2018 guard Duane Washington.

The 6-foot-3 Washington is the second commitment for Ohio State and new head coach Chris Holtmann in the last two days after four-star forward Jaedon LeDee pledged to the Buckeyes on Tuesday.

One of the better shooters in the Class of 2018, Washington averaged 14.9 points per game on tremendous shooting splits (48% FG, 87% FT, 45% 3PT) playing with The Family in the Nike EYBL this spring. A Michigan native who now resides in California, Washington gives Ohio State a much-needed guard commitment in the Class of 2018.

With the Buckeyes needing to fill a lot of scholarships due to roster turnover, Washington is a solid start to their perimeter class. While Washington isn’t likely to play point guard, he can play multiple perimeter spots and should be a solid addition to the Buckeye rotation.

Syracuse walk-on accused of sexual assault

Syracuse Post-Standard
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Dominick Parker, an 18-year old freshman who was added to the Syracuse roster as a walk-on just 12 days ago, was arrested last Friday and charged with sexual abuse in the first degree, reports Syracuse.com.

Parker is accused of having sexual contact with an 18-year old female student while she was incapable of giving consent. His name and picture have been removed from the Syracuse athletics website.

“Sexual and relationship violence is not tolerated at Syracuse University,” the school said in a statement. “We are now doing all that we can to support and provide assistance to those affected by the alleged incident. As this is an ongoing investigation, Syracuse University will not be providing further comment.”

Wichita State to sell beer at Koch Arena

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As if it wasn’t already hard enough to win games at Koch Arena.

Starting this season, Wichita State fans will be able to buy beer during games at their home arena, a fact that should ensure that the raucous home environs that have made the Shockers so difficult to beat in Wichita remains the same.

That’s not a bad thing to add to a home court advantage while making the move into a new conference, the American, for the 2017-18 season.

Once a rarity, beer at college sporting events in a growing trend. Minnesota, Florida and Texas, among a number of others have added alcohol sales in recent years. Given the money that would seem likely to be generated, it’s a trend that will probably become even more pervasive in college athletics.

Let’s just make sure that everyone partakes in moderation.

Blue Ribbon release college basketball preseason top 25, all-american teams

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Blue Ribbon, the college basketball bible, has released their top 25 and preseason all-american awards, the first publication to do so as far as I know.

Their top five — Arizona, Michigan State, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky — contains the same teams as my top five will, only in a different order. The only crazy ranking that I see in their top 25 comes with Miami checking in at No. 16. I have a feeling they are going to end up regretting that by the end of the season.

What is somewhat crazy, however, is Blue Ribbon’s all-american teams.

Bonzie Colson is their Preseason National Player of the Year. That’s not my pick, but it’s justifiable. But having Miles Bridges as a second-team preseason all-american? Angel Delgado as a fourth-team preseason all-american? I disagree with both of those picks.

But that will all play out during the season.

And, frankly, I haven’t exactly had the best track record predicting all-americans in recent years, not after I opted to rate Skal Labissiere as a first-team preseason all-american over Buddy Hield.

That was a miss.

It happens to the best of us.

But I feel pretty comfortable saying that Miles Bridges as a second-team preseason all-american will end up being a miss.

4-star center commits to Purdue

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With Vince Edwards and Isaac Haas entering their senior seasons, adding front court options in the 2018 class was something that Purdue needed to do. Purdue added its second front court commitment in the 2018 class Tuesday evening, as four-star center Emmanuel Dowuona reportedly made his pledge. News of Dowuona’s commitment was first reported by the Lafayette Journal & Courier.

Dowuona, a 6-foot-11 big man who attends Westwood Christian School in Miami, joins fellow four-star prospect Trevion Williams in Purdue’s 2018 class to date.

Dowuona’s commitment comes just days before he was reportedly to visit Tennessee. Among the other programs to have offered Duwuona were Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami and UConn.

Dowuona played for the Team Breakdown program on the Under Armour Association circuit during the summer, averaging 7.9 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game while shooting 59.3 percent from the field. While still a bit raw offensively, the native of Ghana provides value as a defender and rebounder. Dowuona is joining a program that during Painter’s tenure as head coach has done a good job of developing big men.

Dowuona and the aforementioned Williams will look to compete for playing time in 2018-19 alongside current redshirt junior Jacquil Taylor and 7-foot-3 redshirt freshman center Matt Haarms.