There are no new Division I teams this season and, contrary to what we’ve become accustomed to in recent years, the only teams changing conferences this season are Northern Kentucky (joining the Horizon from the Atlantic Sun) and NJIT (going to the Atlantic Sun after being an independent).
There is, however, one other change to make note or: UT-Pan American is now UT-Rio Grande Valley
What happened was UTPA and UT-Brownsville merged, a decision that was made a few years back as an effort to bring a medical school in the UT system to an area where there wasn’t one. The change involved a whole lot of political grappling that readers of this site probably don’t care about all that much.
From a college basketball perspective, nothing really changes but the logo. Instead of UTPA, UTRGV will show up in the box score. Instead of writing “the Broncs”, we will be writing “the Vaqueros”. The uniforms will be different colors, but the players wearing those uniforms will remain the same and will still play in the WAC.
John Calipari is on the road this week, doing his best to try and ensure that Kentucky’s 2016 recruiting class features some of the nation’s best and brightest stars.
Today, he is in North Carolina, reportedly there to visit Harry Giles, the best prospect in the class and a kid many compare to Chris Webber, as well as top ten recruit Bam Adebayo, a powerful post that is reminiscent of former Louisville big man Montrezl Harrell.
Last night he was in Houston, visiting De’Aaron Fox, who may just be the best lead guard in a class overloaded with talented floor generals. Cal’s visit is a story in and of itself, but what happened during the visit is much more interesting that the visit itself.
You see, Fox invited a classmate of his to the visit, a student named Seth Barnett. Barnett is a diehard Kentucky fan, his family relocating to Texas when Seth’s dad got a job there, according to Kentucky Sports Radio:
Don’t be surprised if there is some backlash here. The twitter account for Fox’s high school basketball team tweeted out the pictures with the hashtag #brandbuilding. Was this a genuine gesture, or was this an attempt to improve his public persona — One orchestrated by the marketing genius that is Coach Cal? — through a moment that will go viral, particularly within Big Blue Nation?
The answer doesn’t really matter to me.
Fox and Calipari gave Seth and his family a moment that they will never forget. They didn’t have to do that, and the motivation behind that act of kindness is likely irrelevant to Barnett’s family.
We at College Basketball Talk are about as all-in as you can be when it comes to Providence point guard Kris Dunn.
We had him listed as a second-team All-American after the 2014-15 season, and already this offseason we dedicated 2,100 words to breaking down what was wrong with his game and how he can go about improving it.
Personally, I haven’t shied away from criticizing those who fail to see just how good Dunn is. Long story short, when we announce our Preseason All-American teams, it’s a pretty safe bet that Dunn will find his way onto the first team.
And maybe more.
Which is why I was happy to see Blue Ribbon tab Dunn as their Preseason National Player of the Year. Dunn won’t be a unanimous pick — and, frankly, he probably shouldn’t be, not with the likes of Ben Simmons, Skal Labissiere, a healthy Marcus Paige, and Georges Niang in the college ranks this year — but the idea that he shouldn’t be one of the first players mentioned when the conversation comes up is ludicrous.