TMZ Sports caught up with John Calipari to ask him about LaVar Ball, and, as anyone who has dealt with John Calipari before will probably guess, he says a whole lot without actually saying anything in the interview.
Kansas landed a commitment from William & Mary transfer Jack Whitman, according to multiple reports on Tuesday afternoon.
Whitman is a 6-foot-9, 235 pound low-post presence from Lexington, Kentucky. As a junior, he averaged 10.1 points and 5.4 boards, but opted to become a graduate transfer. He’ll provide Kansas with some front court depth next season, becoming the seventh transfer on the roster for the Jayhawks next season: Malik Newman, San Cunliffe and Dwight Coleby will play next year while Dedric Lawson, K.J. Lawson and Charlie Moore will sit out the season as redshirts.
Here’s where this thing gets interesting, however: He would also be the 13th player on scholarship for the Jayhawks next season, meaning that there would not currently be room for Trevon Duval or Jeremiah Tilmon, uncommitted Class of 2017 players, or Svi Mykhailiuk, a sophomore who declared for the NBA Draft without an agent.
After winning an NEC regular season title and advancing to the NCAA tournament, Mount St. Mary’s has become the latest exit point for players looking to transfer their way up to a bigger school.
On Monday night, it was Miles Wilson, a promising freshman guard from Baltimore who averaged 11.8 points this past season. He announced that he would be transferring out of Mount St. Mary’s, standing at 6-foot-5, is likely to garner attention from some high-major programs. Wilson followed Elijah Long, a 6-foot sophomore point guard that averaged 15.0 points and 4.4 assists this past season, out the door. Long has already taken a visit to Texas.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Redshirt sophomore Mawdo Sallah left the program and transferred to UNC Wilmington while redshirt junior Charles Glover left as well, both as grad transfers. Seldom-used Randy Miller transferred as well.
This puts Mount St. Mary’s head coach Jamion Christian in such a difficult spot. He should have been returning his top six scorers and every player that averaged more than 12 minutes this past season, half of whom were underclassmen from a team that won an NCAA tournament play-in game. Instead, he’s losing his back court of the future and only returns one player that averaged more than 7.7 points, and he stands just 5-foot-5.
This is how it works at the mid-major level these days. When you win, you can expect to lose some of your best players; per a source, the only transfer that was a surprise was Wilson. The Mount is hardly the only mid-major dealing with these same issues. Nick McDevitt at UNC Asheville lost Keith Hornsby to LSU in 2013, Andrew Rowsey to Marquette is 2015 and, last offseason, he watched leading scorer Dylan Smith transfer to Arizona and second-leading scorer Dwayne Sutton leave for Louisville after leading that group to the NCAA tournament. Rowsey was the only one of those four transfers that was not a freshman at the time.
NEC rival Robert Morris has been hit hard as well. The last three offseasons, Andy Toole has seen his leading scorer transfer out of the program. The Colonials’ success has taken a hit as a result.
It’s not going to change, either, not when every mid-major player believes they should probably be playing at a higher level, not when the chance to showcase your ability on national television every night can get you a six-figure D-League contract.
But this is a bad spot for mid-major coaches, who typically get bigger jobs when they have a run through the NCAA tournament.
At some point, maybe Athletic Directors at bigger schools will smarten-up and start targeting the coaches shuttle players up a level. Why wouldn’t you want a guy who can identify talent and mold them into better players? If they can do it at that level, shouldn’t that lead you to believe they can take borderline high-major prospects and turn them into potential NBA players?
Or is that simply asking too much of the decision-makers that prefer hiring a re-tread and pay search firms $75,000-$100,000 to do their job for them?
Boston College landed a commitment this week from Vin Baker Jr., the 6-foot-9 son of former All-Star in Vin Baker Sr.
The younger Baker is a 6-foot-9 wing that, like his father, is from Old Saybrook, Connecticut. And, like his father, Vin Jr. hit a growth spurt late in his high school career, growing nearly six inches prior to his senior season, which was enough for an ACC school to take interest in his recruitment.
This isn’t the first time that BC has potentially found a diamond in the rough. Their two best players this past season, Jerome Robinson and Ky Bowman, are both north Carolina natives that slipped through the grasp of the Tobacco Road schools.
Oregon head coach Dana Altman took his first step towards rebuilding a depleted roster as he has reportedly gotten a commitment from Elijah Brown, one of the most sought-after transfers on the market, according to FanRag Sports.
Brown, who is the son of current Golden State head coach Mike Brown, began his career at Butler but spent the last two seasons playing for New Mexico, where he averaged 21.7 points and 18.8 points, respectively. That kind of scoring will be incredibly important for a team that is losing six of their top seven scorers from last season, including Dillon Brooks, Tyler Dorsey and Dylan Ennis.
Payton Pritchard is the only player currently on the Oregon roster who had any meaningful experience playing for the Ducks, who made it to the 2017 Final Four. Brown will likely join him in the starting back court. Altman also adds Paul White, a former top 60 prospect that say out last season after transferring from Georgetown, and M.J. Cage, a four-star recruit in the Class of 2016 that redshirted this past season.
Oregon also has a four-man recruiting class committed, headlined by five-star prospect Troy Brown Jr.
The Ducks probably aren’t quite a top 25 team just yet, but there talent on this roster and one of the best coaches in the business finding a way to meld that talent together. My guess is they’ll be back in the NCAA tournament next season.
Indiana sophomore forward Thomas Bryant will remain in the NBA Draft and sign with an agent, according to multiple reports.
Bryant was thought to be a potential lottery pick last season before he decided to return to school for his sophomore year, where he averaged 12.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks for an Indiana team that eventually missed the NCAA tournament.
As it stands, Bryant, who was invited to the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago later this month, is projected as a mid-to-late second round pick.
He is the second Indiana Hoosier to sign with an agent with eligibility remaining. O.G. Anunoby, who missed the end of the season due to a knee injury and is projected to be taken in the middle of the first round, signed with an agent as well.
New Indiana head coach Archie Miller is still waiting to hear from James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson, who both declared for the draft but have yet to sign with an agent.