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Wednesday’s Three Things To Know: Markus Howard goes crazy, No. 15 Miami falls, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s time is here

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Here’s how impressive Trae Young has been this season.

In a win over in-state rival Oklahoma State, Young had 27 points, 10 assists and nine boards … and it wasn’t enough to make this list. Why are we mentioning players that finish a game below their season average in points AND assists?

Anyway, here are the three things to know from Wednesday:


In a game that the Golden Eagles badly needed to win to help build their NCAA tournament profile, Markus Howard put together arguably the best individual performance of the season. He scored 52 points. He shot 17-for-29 from the floor and 11-for-19 from three. But here’s the most impressive part: He had 10 points at halftime and was 2-for-6 from three in the first 20 minutes. He went for 32 points in the second half before scoring 10 points and hitting a pair of threes in the extra period.

That tied the Big East record for points in a game, set in 2011 by MarShon Brooks of Providence. It also set the record for points in a game by a Marquette player, more than Dwyane Wade or Jae Crowder or Jimmy Butler ever scored.

Not a bad night for Markus Howard.


Okogie returned from a suspension to start the season more than three weeks ago, but Wednesday night was the first night that he looked like a guy that can star in the ACC. He finished with 30 points as the Yellow Jackets picked up a win over No. 15 Miami in Atlanta, 64-54. The Hurricanes have been one of the nation’s best defensive teams to date this season, which makes Okogie’s performance all the more impressive, but the question is whether it is too little, too late for Josh Pastner’s club. They lost seven games already this season, including out of conference games against Grambling, Wright State and Wofford. But Okogie’s been present for three of those seven losses. There aren’t really any excuses for Pastner beyond his team just has not been good enough.

But they did get this win.

And at this point, it’s probably fair to wonder just how good Miami actually is. They’ve lost two of their last four games – to New Mexico State and Georgia Tech – and their only remotely good win came at Minnesota, who has fallen out of the top 25. As good as they are defensively, they really struggle to score at times, settling for far too many jump shots. Our Raphielle Johnson wrote all about Miami here.


Because, on Wednesday night, Gilgeous-Alexander was Kentucky’s best player.

It was the third-straight game that he was Kentucky’s best player. After averaging 22.5 points, 5.o boards, 4.0 assists and 3.0 steals in wins over Louisville and Georgia last week, Gilgeous-Alexander had 18 points and four assists off the bench for the No. 167 Wildcats as they knocked off a sneaky-good LSU team in Baton Rouge.

Gilgeous-Alexander has grown into Kentucky’s best option in the half-court offensively. He can play in pick-and-roll and he’s a good, not great, passer, but what makes him so unique is his length and the way he moves. He’s incredibly smooth, seemingly gliding past defenders more than exploding past them. His strides and his reach are so long that he can get his shoulders past a defender with ease. Throw in his ability defensively, and suddenly he’s an incredibly intriguing prospect with some serious NBA upside.

Maybe more so than anyone else on that roster.

Washington’s Thybulle returning for senior season

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Matisse Thybulle will return to Washington for his senior season after contemplating declaring for the NBA draft following a junior campaign in which he was named the Pac-12 defensive player of the year.

“The NBA is really enticing and it was definitely something that I seriously considered when the season was over,” Thybulle told the Seattle Times. “I talked it over with my family and we came to the conclusion that it would be in my best interest to stay and get my degree (in communications) and grow as a basketball player and take this last year to mature and fine tune everything so I can be fully prepared to take that next step when it’s time.”

The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 11.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game last season. He shot 44.5 percent from the field and 36.5 percent from 3-point range.

“I talked to coach (Mike Hopkins) and he gave me some good advice that was honestly something that helped in the grand scheme of things,” Thybulle said. “He told me that if I do it (enter the draft), then I should be all in because that’s what I’m going to be up against is a whole bunch of guys fighting for their lives. He thought it would be a better idea for me to stay in school until I’m at that point.”

Washington is awaiting the decision of Noah Dickerson, who declared for the draft but has not hired an agent. The 6-foot-8 averaged 15.5 points and 8.4 rebounds last season.

Koby McEwen transferring to Marquette

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Steve Wojciechowski added a significant piece to his 2019-20 team over the weekend.

Koby McEwen announced his intention to transfer to Marquette from Utah State late Sunday evening.

“I would like to thank God, my family, inner circle and all the schools/coaches that recruited me during this process!” McEwen tweeted. “With that being said, I’m proud to announce that I’ll be furthering my college career at Marquette University.”

McEwen picked the Golden Eagles over fellow finalists Creighton and Grand Canyon after he decided to transfer when the Aggies announced South Dakota coach Craig Smith was taking over the program last month. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 15.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game while shooting 40 percent from the field and 30 percent from 3-point range as a sophomore.

After sitting out the upcoming season, McEwen will have to years of eligibility remaining. Marquette went 21-14 last season, but missed the NCAA tournament for the third time in Wojciechowski’s four years in Milwaukee.

Minnesota adds Vanderbilt transfer Payton Willis

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Minnesota has added some depth for the future.

The Golden Gophers received a pledge from Vanderbilt transfer Payton Willis over the weekend, giving him a guard with two seasons of eligibility remaining starting in 2019-20.

Willis will sit out the upcoming season under NCAA transfer rules.

The 6-foot-4 guard played a limited role in two seasons in Nashville, never averaging more than 18. 5 minutes or 5.2 points per game. He scored in double figures in three games as a sophomore.

Willis was a top-150 prospect in the Class of 2016 coming out of Fayetteville, Ark. with offers from the likes of Tulsa, Rice and Dayton. Vandy and Minnesota were his two high-major offers.

After being ranked in the top-15, Minnesota was beset by injury and suspensions last season as they limped to the finish line in a 15-17 season that featured losses in 12 of its last 13 games.

Richard Pitino still has two available scholarships for the 2018-19 campaign.

Report: Quade Green returning to Kentucky

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John Calipari just landed a critical recruit for 2018-19, and he was already on the roster.

Quade Green, who averaged 25 minutes per game last season, is returning to Kentucky for his sophomore season, his mother told the Lexington Herald-Leader on Monday.

Given that six Wildcat players have entered the draft (Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Hami Diallo are signing with agents), getting the 6-foot point guard back for a second season is a massive deal for Calipari and Co. The Wildcats have always been at their best under Calipari with returning players as the cornerstones of the roster with talented one-and-dones providing the extra boost. Getting one such returner at the point guard position is even more critical.

Green, who came to Kentucky as a five-star recruit last year, averaged 9.3 points and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and a respectable 37.1 percent from 3-point range, an area where Kentucky continually needs help.

With Green back in the fold, Kentucky will now await the decisions of PJ Washington, Wenyen Gabriel and Jarred Vanderbilt, who are all going through the pre-draft process without hiring agents, which will potentially allow them to return to school and bolster a Kentucky roster has the look of a top-five team.

CBT Podcast: NBA Draft Early Entry Deadline: Winners, losers and who has the most on the line?

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The NBA Draft Early Entry Deadline came and went on Sunday night, meaning there are now roughly 60 college players that have signed with an agent and another 100 or so that have declared for the draft while retaining their college eligibility. Who were the winners? Who were the losers? Who has the most on the line? Sam Vecenie of the Game Theory podcast joined Rob Dauster to talk through all of it. The rundown:

OPEN: What do NBA teams value in players these days?

10:00: Villanova has more on the line during this testing the water process than anyone

19:00: Just how important was De’Andre Hunter’s decision to return to Virginia

25:25: Gonzaga getting Rui and Killian Tillie back makes them a title favorite

32:10: Nevada has a top ten season on the line with the Martin twins and Jordan Caroline

36:15: #RANTALERT – The decision to turn pro is so much more complicated than “is he a first round pick”

48:30: Rapid fire: Maryland, Kansas, Syracuse, Nebraska, Purdue and Michigan. What do they have on the line?