Rob Dauster

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 26:  Josh Hart #3 of the Villanova Wildcats reacts in the second half against the Kansas Jayhawks during the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at KFC YUM! Center on March 26, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Josh Hart shines as Villanova rolls in Spain

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Villanova won their first two games during a tour of Spain over the weekend, beating a team of Spanish professionals by 40 in Barcelona on Friday and following that up with an 87-80 win over a team in Madrid on Sunday.

The game in Madrid featured a team of players that play in the highest level of European professional basketball. That’s a nice test for the defending national champions to get, and they passed.

And, not surprising, Josh Hart was the star. Just a couple of weeks after shining at the Nike Skills Academy in Los Angeles, Hart has been the best player for the Wildcats in Spain, scoring 16 points in the opener and following that up with 27 points and 13 boards in the second game.

“Josh was dominant, by far the best player on the floor today,” stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. “If that was a regular season game he probably could have had 40. We were trying some different things late. But when we needed a bucket, we went to him every time and he came through.”

There isn’t too much that can be taken out of games on foreign tours, but there are a couple of interesting things to note.

For starters, Wright started Fordham transfer Eric Paschall and brought Mikal Bridges off the bench against the team in Madrid. That may have something to with Omari Spellman being unavailable to play, but Bridges did wind up scoring 16 points in 31 minutes.

That’s interesting because of the possibility of a ‘Death Lineup’ for the Wildcats: Hart, Bridges and Kris Jenkins in the front court with Phil Booth and Jalen Brunson tasked with handling the ball. They’re not going to shoot it as well as Golden State’s death lineup — the one that features Draymond Green at center — but there is a lot of versatility and toughness that will be on the floor with that group.

Anyway, that’s all just August boredom fueling my speculation.

The important thing to take away from this game is that Josh Hart looks like he’s going to be awesome, and when Josh Hart is awesome it makes Nova really dangerous.

Syracuse freshman Matthew Moyer injures foot

Jim Boeheim
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Incoming Syracuse freshman Matthew Moyer suffered a right foot injury at some point this summer, but the details of the injury are not known at this time.

On Friday, a picture of Moyer using crutches and wearing a walking boot showed up on twitter. The picture was taken of Moyer with a fan at the Syracuse basketball camp. The injury occurred during a workout, but the program won’t release any other specifics until Jim Boeheim returns from Rio de Janeiro, where he is an assistant with the USA Men’s Basketball team.

Moyer is part of a three-man recruiting class for the Orange that also includes Tyus Battle and Taurean Thompson. The 6-foot-8 forward will provide depth up front for the Orange, who also add graduate transfer John Gillon and Providence transfer Paschal Chukwu. Five of the nine scholarship players on the Syracuse roster did not play for the Orange last season.

The good news, if there is any here, is that this injury occurred to someone in the Syracuse front court. The Orange just have three perimeter players on scholarship — Battle, Gillon and Franklin Howard.

Memphis lands much-needed grad transfer

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 11:  Texas Tech Red Raiders head coach Tubby Smith watches his team against the Texas Longhorns during the first round of the Big 12 basketball tournament at Sprint Center on March 11, 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Memphis lost 6-foot-11 center Nick Marshall this offseason, leaving them with a dreadfully thin front line.

Tubby Smith did what he could to address those problems over the weekend, landing a commitment from Chad Rykhoek, a 6-foot-11 graduate transfer from Baylor.

Rykhoek is about as unique of an addition as you’ll find at this level. A former top 150 recruit out of Texas, Rykhoek has never played a single second of college basketball. He redshirted as a freshman at Baylor and then proceeded to undergo four hip surgeries, which eventually led to him leaving the Bears.

But he’s healthy now, which is good news for Smith, who left a family vacation to ensure that he would be able to land Rykhoek’s commitment:

New coach and basketball legend Coach Tubby Smith Just wanted to share a little of my recruiting story to show what kind of guy he is along with his assistants I was previously scheduled to visit Memphis tomorrow (Sunday) but found out late Wednesday night I needed to make my decision sooner , by Friday. At this point Coach Smith was out of town on vacation but proceeded not only to talk to me and my Mom on the phone multiple times around midnight but also offered to leave his vacation so that I could come visit the next day (Thursday) Turns out I decided to accept that offer as I really wanted to give Memphis a chance before committing elsewhere. So within about 15 hours me and coach were both landing in Memphis for the visit which was prepared for us overnight by Coach Esposito (Assistant) Another amazing thing is the fact that he chose to stick with us the entire visit touring around which is almost unheard of for a head coach to do . Needless to say it's going to be a great journey at U of M and I can't wait to get started and play for people of such high character

A photo posted by Chad Rykhoek (@chadunocinco) on

VIDEO: Washington’s Markelle Fultz with three impressive dunks on foreign tour

Markelle Fultz, via UW Athletics
Markelle Fultz, via UW Athletics
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Markelle Fultz, the potential No. 1 pick in the 2017 Draft, scored 23 points in his third game on Washington’s tour of Australia and New Zealand, adding eight boards and five assists in a 92-79 win.

In the three total games, Fultz is averaging 24.7 points, including a 33-point outburst in the opener.

Fultz isn’t just a score, he’s a natural playmaker, but part of the reason he’s being projected so high in the draft is his size and athleticism. Sunday’s performance included this pair of back-to-back dunks:

Fultz also threw down this dunk in a game earlier in the week:

The 6-foot-4 point guard looks like he might also be the best shot-blocker in college basketball:

Five-star shooting guard cuts list to five


John Petty, a top 20 prospect and one of the best shooting guards in the Class of 2017, has announced his top five schools: Kentucky, Alabama, Kansas, UConn and Florida State.

Petty is a high-level scorer and an explosive athlete. A native of Alabama, he spent the summer playing for Team Penny, a program out of Memphis that also featured another Kentucky target, P.J. Washington.

Kentucky and Alabama are thought to be the two favorites to land Petty.

Adam Silver does not expect one-and-done rule to change

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Adam Silver wants the NBA Draft to increase their age limit to 20 years old, meaning that high school basketball players will be looking at being two-and-through athletes instead of one-and-done players.

It’s two-fold: Not only would NBA teams be able to get an extra year of college basketball to study the prospects but the owners would miss out on paying a year’s worth of salary on players that are still developing. One and done players aren’t finished products as rookies. They aren’t in their second season in the NBA either, but they’re A) closer to it and B) will be closer to their prime by the time their rookie deals come to an end.

It makes perfect sense for the owners, who Silver represents.

Just like it makes perfect sense that Michelle Roberts, the director of the Player’s Union, wants to get rid of the one-and-done rule and implement an 18-year old age limit. Those players have value at that age. NBA teams would gladly roster them, it would means the athletes could start earning NBA salaries a year earlier, get off their rookie deals a year earlier, be eligible for 10-year veteran max deals a year earlier, extend the life of their professional careers by a year. Need I go on?

Anyway, the result is the impasse that we’re currently at, the one where college basketball takes the biggest hit, because it’s a middle ground. And it doesn’t seem like it’s a rule that is going to be changing anytime soon. From an interview Silver did with Bloomberg News:

It’s still something I care a lot about. I’m also a realist. Given that Michele has said her preference would be for an 18-year-old minimum age, my sense is that it’s not something that’s going to change in the short term. And by the way, I’ve always said I understand the other side of the issue, about a young man’s opportunity to make a living. But my view has always been that we’d be a better league if players came into the draft at 20 instead of 19.

In other words, those one-and-done players that we have to get to know every November and shuttle off to the NBA every April?

They’re not going anywhere.