Author: Rob Dauster

Steve Alford

UCLA lands four-star center, second 2017 commitment


Steve Alford is getting things done early in the Class of 2017 as he has already landed his second commitment from a rising junior.

On Sunday, 6-foot-9 center Jalen Hill pledged to UCLA.

“Thanks to all the coaches that recruited me but I would like to announce that I have committed to UCLA,” Hill announced on twitter.

Hill, who is No. 37 in the Class of 2017 per Rivals, was part of USA Basketball’s U16 team that won a gold medal earlier this month. He’s a tremendous athlete who, at this point in his development, excels at utilizing that athleticism by playing hard. He should end up becoming an excellent defensive presence when he arrives in Westwood, although his offense trails his defense at this point.

Hill joins three-star guard LiAngelo Ball in Alford’s 2017 class.

South Carolina coach Frank Martin releases statement, asks for confederate flag removal

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On Sunday, South Carolina head coach Frank Martin released a lengthy statement on twitter regarding the controversy in his university’s state regarding the confederate flag.

Last week, nine African-Americans were gunned down in a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in a racially motivated attack. Since the tragedy, there has been an increased effort by people within the state and around the country to have the confederate flag removed from important locales in South Carolina, which includes the capitol.

Here is Martin’s statement in full:

“I stand with our Governor, Nikki Haley, with our Mayor Steve Benjamin, with our school president Harris Pastides, with our Athletic Director Ray Tanner, with Coach Spurrier, Coach Staley and all other University of South Carolina coaches and state leaders that have spoken in calling for the removal of the confederate flag from the statehouse grounds.”

“As a first generation American and a son of Cuban immigrants who came to this country in search of freedom; as the husband to another first generation American whose parents immigrated from Jamaica in search of a better life; as the father to three beautiful children who embody the splendor of diversity and as a life-long advocate and teacher to countless inner city kids and disadvantaged youths, I ask our state leaders to do away with those antiquated symbols that represent hate and oppression to so many people. While I fully understand that the Confederate Flag also represents the history of our state, I believe that it should be displayed at a museum and not at a public place which represents ALL the members of our incredible state.”

“The people of South Carolina have welcomed my family and me with open arms and with such warmth that there is no place on earth that I rather live. It is that kindness and love that are truly representative of our state. In the last three years my family and I have had nothing but great experiences in this great state of because of its caring and loving people.”

“My path through the years as a basketball coach has taken me to many African-American, Hispanic and other minorities’ homes. It’s been in those visits, in the eyes of parents who simply hope for a better life for their children and whose faith in God is at times their only refuge, that I am reminded how alike we all are. It is in those similarities — love for our families, respect for each other and sacrifice for our loved ones — that we much forge our future.”

LSU lands commitment from in-state star

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LSU has landed another in-state talent, as three-star junior and reigning Louisiana State Player of the Year, Wayde Sims, committed to the Tigers on Sunday.

“I have verbally committed to stay home and play for the LSU Tigers!” Simsannounced on twitter.

Sims is not ranked in Rivals top 150, but he’s a tough, athletic 6-foot-5 wing that can score. He’s a program guy, but given that he is an in-state star, a relative of head coach Johnny Jones and the son of a former LSU player, he’s a guy Jones had to make sure he landed.

Brandon Sampson, Jarell Martin, Brian Bridgewater and Aaron Epps are among the local kids that have committed to LSU in the last three years.