Daniel Martin

Pierre Jackson

Pierre Jackson, Baylor beat BYU to advance to NIT final

Leave a comment

Senior point guard Pierre Jackson had a double-double with 24 points and 10 assists to lead Baylor to a 76-70 win over BYU in the semifinals of the NIT at Madison Square Garden in New York City Tuesday night.

Jackson was one of two Baylor Bears who tallied a double-double, along with 14 points and 10 rebounds from freshman Isaiah Austin. Scoring was concentrated in the hands of four players: Jackson, Austin, Cory Jefferson (21 points), and A.J Walton (10 points). Despite being outrebounded by seven, including five on the offensive boards, the Bears made up for it in the turnover department by turning the ball over just seven times.

Baylor now advances to play the winner of Maryland and Iowa, which is currently underway. A win in the championship game and an NIT title would go far to help the pain felt down the stretch of the regular season when the Bears lost six of their final eight games. That proved to be enough for them to be on the outside, looking into the NCAA tournament.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

One and Done: Steven Adams to enter 2013 NBA draft

Steven Adams
3 Comments

(CLICK HERE to follow along with who is turning pro and who is returning to school.)

Pittsburgh freshman Steven Adams will leave school after one season and enter his name into the 2013 NBA Draft, the school announced in a statement Tuesday.

Adams is a 7-0, 250-pound native of New Zealand who averaged 7.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game as a freshman this past season.

“In discussing options with my family and Coach Dixon, I feel that it is in my best interest to declare for the NBA Draft,” Adams said in a release. “I want to thank everyone at Pitt including my teammates, coaching staff, the administration and the fans who have all supported me over the last year.”

“We support him in choosing to pursue his dreams and in having the opportunity to provide for his family back in New Zealand,” coach Jamie Dixon said in the release. “We will continue to stay involved in the process and he will always be a part of the Pitt Basketball family.”

Adams is one of 18 siblings and his father passed away when Adams was 14 years old.

He is projected by DraftExpress to be selected 19th overall in the 2013 draft. The team that drafts Adams will likely do it based on potential, as he continued to improve throughout the season but remains a player with a large set of raw skills but one with great opportunity for growth in the right coaching system.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

New Mexico officially names Craig Neal head coach

Craig Neal
1 Comment

To follow along with the 2013 Coaching Carousel, click here.

Remove the “interim” tag from his title.

New Mexico officially announced Tuesday that longtime assistant and short-time interim head coach Craig Neal will take over the program after the departure of Steve Alford to UCLA.

It will be announced to the public Wednesday at a press conference.

Neal had coached alongside Alford at New Mexico for six seasons. Prior to his time with the Lobos, he was on the bench with Alford at Iowa. Neal also has experience as an assistant coach at the NBA level with the Toronto Raptors. He had emerged as a top candidate to replace Alford on a full-time basis since the time of Alford’s decision to head to Westwood.

Neal now inherits a team that returns nearly all major pieces from its Mountain West title team this season with the exception of Tony Snell. The decision to hire Neal on a full-time basis puts New Mexico in a better position to keep center Alex Kirk, who reportedly said that he would transfer if any coach other than Neal was brought into the program.

New Mexico finished 29-6 this past season, including 13-3 in the MWC. The Lobos lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament to Harvard.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Alex Poythress will not enter NBA Draft, will return to Kentucky

Alex Poythress
6 Comments

Freshman forward Alex Poythress will not enter the NBA draft and will instead return to Kentucky for his sophomore season, the school announced in a release Tuesday evening.

Poythress, a 6-7, 239-pound native of Tennessee, averaged 11.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per game this season for a Kentucky team that missed the NCAA tournament and lost in the first round of the NIT.

“This year didn’t end like we wanted it to,” Poythress said in a statement. “I want to come back and do what we said we wanted to do and that’s win a national title. I want to develop more as a player and the competition coming in next year should help me do that.”

(CLICK HERE to follow along with who is turning pro and who is returning to school.)

But consider this: One of the biggest reasons that Kentucky was able to win a national championship in 2011-12, aside from the fact it had a National Player of the Year in then-freshman Anthony Davis, was because Doron Lamb and Terrence Jones had returned for their sophomore seasons. Their year of experience, plus senior Darius Miller, were important to the Wildcats’ run.

We could see a similar situation play out next season in 2013-14.

It is already decided that guard Archie Goodwin will leave for the NBA and it is likely that center Nerlens Noel will too, but Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein will return to Lexington. Those two in combination with the stellar recruiting class that is set to come to town at the start of the year could make Kentucky forget about this past season rather quickly.

The nation’s top player, Andrew Wiggins, is still deciding where he will play his college basketball. He will choose either Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, or Florida State. If Wiggins commits, it would give Kentucky six of the Top 15 players in the country, according to Rivals.com.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

UNC-Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach hired to become assistant at UNCW

Eddie Biedenbach
3 Comments

To follow along with the 2013 Coaching Carousel, click here.

UNC-Asheville head coach Eddie Biedenbach will leave the position that he has help for 17 seasons in order to become an assistant coach at UNC-Wilmington, the school announced Tuesday.

Biedenbach is the all-time winningest coach in Big South history and won four regular-season conference championships and three appearances in the NCAA tournament. He brought his team to back-to-back tournaments in 2011 and 2012.

“I was looking for someone with head coaching experience and Eddie’s track record speaks for itself,” UNCW head coach Buzz Peterson said in a statement. “He’s taken UNCA to the NCAA Tournament and established a very successful program there. Eddie will bring a wealth of knowledge to our program.”

The hire leaves one more open spot on the UNCW staff after both Jamie Kachmarik and Dante Calabria were relieved of their duties following the season. According to the release, Biedenbach will begin work later this month.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Trey Zeigler on the move again, will reportedly transfer from Pitt

Trey Zeigler
2 Comments

Pittsburgh junior Trey Zeigler will transfer after only one season with the school, Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com is reporting.

Zeigler played for Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon for one season after transferring to the school from Central Michigan. He was granted a waiver by the NCAA that allowed him to play right away with the Panthers after his father, Ernie, was fired as the CMU head coach.

In his one season with Pitt, he averaged 4.4 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. Coming into the year, he was expected to be a major boost to the Panthers’ offensive attack after averaging more than 15 points per game in his two seasons with Central Michigan. His best game of the season came in a Jan. 26 win over DePaul when he scored 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting.

He was suspended for two games in November after being charged with two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence following a stop by Pittsburgh police.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_