Dwayne Bacon

Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Player of the Week: Dillon Brooks, Oregon

Leave a comment

This week, for the first time all season, Oregon looked like the team that we all had projected in the preseason top five and as a potential Final Four contender. They beat No. 2 UCLA at home, putting an end to their undefeated run this season, before blowing out No. 22 USC on Friday, who also entered that game without a loss on their résumé.

There were a handful of things behind Oregon’s improvement – the Ducks started shooting the ball well from the perimeter, Dylan Ennis played as well as he has all season, they finally had their full complement of players all healthy at the same time – but the biggest difference between this Oregon and the Oregon that lost to Georgetown and got blown out by Baylor is simple: Dillon Brooks looked like Dillon Brooks again.

The preseason all-american played like, well, an all-american in the two wins this week, setting a season-high with 23 points to go along with nine boards and four assists in the win over UCLA before he went for 28 points on 9-for-10 shooting in the win over USC.

And should I mention that he hit the game-winner with 0.7 seconds left to beat the Bruins?

Those games were just the third and fourth games, respectively, that he has started this season due to a slow recovery process coming back from an offseason foot injury. Early in the year, he was still working on getting back in shape and getting his legs under him. I’d say that, at this point, we can pretty safely say that Brooks is back to 100 percent, and when he’s healthy, Oregon is good enough to win the Pac-12.

RELATED: Player of the Week | Team of the Week | Five Takeaways

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Audioboom

THEY WERE GOOD, TOO

  • Dwayne Bacon, Florida State: After scoring 23 points on Wednesday to lead the Seminoles past Wake Forest, the 6-foot-6 sophomore had a career-high 29 points in a win at No. 12 Virginia. He scored 26 of those 29 points in the second half – only once in his career had he scored more than 26 points before Saturday – and added the game-winning three with 2.0 seconds left for good measure. Not a bad week.
  • Nate Mason, Minnesota: Minnesota made something of a statement on Sunday, going into West Lafayette and knocking off No. 15 Purdue despite the fact that Caleb Swanigan went off for 28 points and 22 boards. Mason led the was, finishing with 31 points, 11 assists and six boards in an overtime win.
  • Jalen Brunson, Villanova: Brunson was the best player on the floor for No. 1 Villanova on Saturday, as they went into Omaha and knocked off No. 10 Creighton. Brunson finished with 27 points, and five assists, hitting 10-for-14 from the floor and going on a solo 11-0 run in the first half to buoy the Wildcats as Creighton jumped out to an early double-digit lead. He also had 13 points and six assists in a win over DePaul on Wednesday.
  • Josh Okogie, Georgia Tech:A 6-foot-4 freshman playing his first-ever ACC game, Okogie popped off for 26 points and five boards as the Ramblin’ Wreck went to 1-0 in league play with an impressive win over No. 9 North Carolina.
  • Edmond Sumner, Xavier: Sumner kicked off the week with 13 points and seven assists in a blowout win over Providence, following that up with 28 points, eight assists and six boards, his best game as a collegian, in a win at Georgetown on Saturday. Perhaps more impressive is that the Musketeers badly needed that kind of a performance from Sumner on Saturday; their leading scorer, Trevon Bluiett, was 0-for-10 from the floor.

Jaylen Brown, Malik Newman among five finalists named for Naismith Boy’s High School Player of the Year

Leave a comment
source:
Ben Simmons and Jaylen Brown

Five finalists for the Naismith Boy’s High School Player of the Year was announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club on Tuesday. The list includes three committed players and all five are 2015 McDonald’s All-Americans.

Dwayne Bacon, 6-foot-6, Oak Hill Academy (Oak Hill Academy, Mouth of Wilson, VA) — committed to Florida State
Jaylen Brown, 6-foot-7, Wheeler High School (Wheeler High School, Marietta, GA) — undecided
Malik Newman, 6-foot-3, Callaway High School (Callaway High School, Jackson, MS) — undecided
Ben Simmons, 6-foot-9, Montverde Academy (Montverde Academy, Montverde, FL) — committed to LSU
Allonzo Trier, 6-foot-4, Findlay Prep (Findlay Prep, Henderson, NV) — committed to Arizona

Overall a strong group for this award, especially since all of these players have achieved personal and team success this season.

The winner of the award will be announced on March 12.

College Basketball Talk’s Recruiting Roundup

Leave a comment

Each Monday and Friday, College Basketball Talk’s Scott Phillips goes over some important news and notes in the world of college basketball recruiting. This week, Florida State’s big weekend, Texas A&M continues momentum and can Tom Crean and Indiana pull together a solid recruiting class?

Florida State basketball puts together a huge weekend

Florida State is fresh off of a national championship on the football field and many fans of college athletics wouldn’t associate the school with having a strong basketball program.

But Leonard Hamilton made major waves in the college basketball world over the weekend by landing two high-level wings in Georgia native Malik Beasley and in-state five-star wing Dwayne Bacon. When you couple those two with previous Florida State 2015 wing commit Terance Mann, the Seminoles have the makings of a class that competes with ACC juggernauts like Duke, North Carolina and Louisville.

Bacon, Beasley and Mann all do different things well and when you add a shooter like Xavier Rathan-Mayes to the equation, then the Seminoles have the makings of a fantastic dearth of wing talent for years to come.

Now, can the Seminoles keep the recruiting momentum going by adding an elite point guard or big man with this group in the next year or two? That remains to be seen, but recruits absolutely notice Florida State’s athletic department thriving and basketball should be a sport that is included in that equation.

But if Florida State wants to annually compete with the big boys of the ACC they’ll still need to add a high-level floor general to get those wings the ball and a post presence that can make Leonard Hamilton’s free-flowing offense tough to stop. The wings are a start, and give Florida State a lot of playmaking talent, but they need to keep going if they want to win championships on the hardwood.

Texas A&M continues to pull in talented players

Billy Kennedy and Texas A&M continued its Texas Titans-to-A&M pipeline over the weekend with the commitment of four-star small forward and perimeter shooting threat D.J. Hogg.

The addition of Hogg and Tyler Davis in the 2015 class goes along with Texas Titans guards Avery Johnson Jr. and Alex Robinson in the previous class. Simply put, this is one of the biggest grassroots-to-college pipelines we’ve seen in quite some time and other recruits are starting to notice the influx of talent as well.

Prized five-star guard Malik Newman — not a member of the Texas Titans, but from Mississippi — has scheduled his first official visit to Texas A&M, according to Courtney Cronin of the Clarion-Ledger, and the Aggies also remain in the mix for Titans wing and former Ohio State commit Mickey Mitchell.

Despite resurgent 2013-14 campaigns from in-state rivals Texas and SMU, the Aggies have built recruiting momentum in Texas, and elsewhere, using in-state connections and the hard work of assistant coaches Kyle Keller, Rick Stansbury and Amir Abdur-Rahim.

Texas A&M is already off to a great start in 2015 and more important commitments could be on the way.

Can Indiana put together a strong class?

Indiana and head coach Tom Crean aren’t in the mix with many elite five-star prospects in the 2015 class, but can the Hoosiers still piece together a good group?

That’s what Hoosier fans are hoping for and a big piece of that equation will come on Wednesday when four-star forward Juwan Morgan decides between Indiana and Vanderbilt.

Although Crean and his staff aren’t involved with many All-American candidates, in-part because Indiana’s high school prospects are a bit down in 2015, Crean has still done plenty of good things with under-the-radar prospects that he later develops.

During both his time at Marquette and Indiana, Crean has developed guys like Dwyane Wade and Victor Oladipo from under-recruited prospects into NBA lottery picks. That’s not to say Crean and Indiana will work that sort of magic with this 2015 class, but it goes to show that talent development is a big part of what Indiana can accomplish.

If Indiana ends up with Mokan teammates Morgan and Shake Milton, the Hoosiers are getting two players that helped lead that program to Peach Jam while each player had a strong spring and summer.

They might not be the All-Americans that Indiana fans are craving, but Crean has shown that he can still win a lot of games without those types of recruits.

Five-star small forward Dwayne Bacon commits to Florida State

Leave a comment

Dwayne Bacon, a five-star small forward committed to Florida State. This was first reported by Evan Daniels of Scout.com. The commitment marks a big day for Leonard Hamilton, who landed a commitment from four-star shooting guard Malik Beasley earlier on Friday night.

“I feel like it’s a great fit for me and I’ll make an impact right away,” Bacon told Scout.com. “Just coach [Hamilton] being straight forward with me.”

Bacon, who is at Oak Hill Academy (Virginia) this year picked Florida State over Auburn, Georgia Tech, Georgetown, Oklahoma State, SMU, Tennessee, USC, USF and UNLV. The duo of Bacon and Beasley joins Terance Mann a four-star wing in the Seminoles’ Class of 2015. Mann committed to FSU back on Aug. 20.

The trio will provide the Seminoles with plenty of perimeter players who can attack the basket. Bacon was one of the top scorers this summer earning Player of the Week honors in CBT‘s July live period Week 1 superlatives. Rob Dauster was there at the Reebok Breakout Challenge in Philadelphia. He recapped Bacon’s performance:

There aren’t many players in the Class of 2015 that can get buckets the way that Dwayne Bacon can get buckets. The 6-foot-6, five-star wing capped off his week with a 43-point performance over a team that includes Arizona-commit Justin Simon.

The 6-foot-6 Bacon is listed as the No. 22 overall recruit by Rivals. Florida State has three top-100 recruits in the Class of 2015. Only two ACC programs have more top-100 recruits in 2015 — Louisville and Syracuse.

Team NYC holds off Team USA to win Big Strick Classic (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

Saturday evening the fourth annual Big Strick Classic was played at Gauchos Gym in the Bronx, bringing together some of the best high school players in the country. And from an entertainment standpoint the game, played in memory of the late John Strickland, did not disappoint as Team NYC held off Team USA by the final score of 137-135.

Among the players who earned most valuable player honors were 2016 guard Rawle Alkins and 2015 guard Antonio Blakeney, who combined to lead the way for Team NYC. Blakeney, considered to be one of the top scoring guards in his class, led all scorers with 33 points. The Team USA co-MVP’s were 2015 guards Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley, with the latter also taking an unofficial visit to St. John’s during his time in the Big Apple.

Above are some highlights from the game, as compiled by Courtside Films.

Las Vegas Wednesday Recap: Corey Sanders working to become a better leader

Leave a comment

LAS VEGAS — The final open period of the month is now underway, with many prospects having one last opportunity to display their skills in front of college coaches this summer. One team on the receiving end of attention from multiple assistants at high-major programs was the Showtime Ballers, thanks in large part to the guard tandem of Corey Sanders and Dwayne Bacon. While the first half of their showcase game against the Upward Stars was relatively quiet, both Bacon  and Sanders were the catalysts in the second half.

They worked well together, with Bacon being at his best when in “attack mode.” As for Sanders he displayed the ability to penetrate the defense, using his handle to get to the basket on multiple occasions while also having the willingness to move the basketball to teammates in better positions to score. And in speaking with Sanders following the game, the area where he’s looking to make the greatest strides this summer is one that is of great importance to successful point guards.

“The number one thing [I’ve been working on] is leadership,” Sanders told NBCSports.com. “Being able to run the team and get my teammates open; just making sure my teammates are involved so they play with me. [Leadership has] been the most important thing I’ve been working on this summer.”

Sanders is in a slightly different position than Bacon this summer, due to the fact that he’s gone through the experience of verbally committing to a school and then changing his mind. Sanders verbally committed to attend UCF back in September, only to reopen things a month later. And while the time Sanders spent as a committed recruit wasn’t particularly long, it served as a learning experience for a player who now finds himself juggling multiple options entering the final open period of the summer.

“Make sure you take your time [with the process],” Sanders said when asked what he took away from that experience. “Look through everything and all the schools that want you, and let them do their job and recruit you.”

Sanders also noted consistency as an important factor when it comes to the recruiting process, and that can be an issue for many recruits. While there certainly are programs that exercise great caution in handing out offers, there are others who aren’t as judicious in doing so. As a result there can be confusion for some prospects, as they look to figure out which schools are truly interested and which ones are merely offering multiple options at the drop of a hat.

In regards to Sanders’ ongoing recruitment, he mentioned DePaul, Texas A&M, UNLV, Rutgers, USF and Wichita State when asked which schools have been recruiting him the hardest. As for what he’s looking for, a strong coaching staff that will help him improve his game and solid academics are two keys according to Sanders. The point guard is hoping to narrow things down at the end of the month, which will allow him to focus even more of the schools that make his list heading into his senior year of high school.

Dorsey solid but Brunson displays better lead guard skills in win: One of the most intriguing individual matchups in the Fab 48 showcase games was that between Mac Irvin Fire floor general Jalen Brunson and Belmont Shore’s Tyler Dorsey. While both players were productive, with Brunson’s sparking a second-half comeback for the Fire, it was evident which player is further along when it comes to being able to run a team at the college level. That would be Brunson, who displayed a solid balance of attacking the defense in search of his own looks with the need to make sure his teammates wound up with the ball in advantageous positions himself.

Dorsey’s more of a scorer at this point, but there were cases in which he made a concerted effort to get his teammates quality looks. However it’s still a work in progress for Dorsey, who will make the move from St. John Bosco to Marantha High (Pasadena, California) this coming season where he’ll play alongside 6-foot-10 forward Trevor Stanback. With Dorsey playing with two talented options in Jordan Dallas and Vance Jackson this week, he’ll have opportunities to set up his teammates. While he’s definitely a talented scorer, it’s premature to assume that Dorsey improving as a distributor is out of the question.

Among the programs represented at this game: Texas, Kansas, Minnesota, Illinois, Wichita State, Arizona State, UNLV, St. John’s, Oklahoma State, Creighton and Nebraska.

DeAndre Ayton shows glimpses of skills that have many excited: While Ayton and fellow 2017 prospect Troy Brown don’t play the same position, with the 6-foot-11 Ayton plying his trade in the front court and the 6-foot-6 Brown doing so on the perimeter, the fact that they were on the same court attracted many interested observers. And when it came to which player had the greater impact on the matchup between the Las Vegas Prospects and Supreme Court Force, Ayton was clearly the more impactful player of the two.

While there were times in the open floor when Ayton seemed to be going a bit too fast for his handle, skills such as his ability to catch just about anything thrown to him (including a couple impressive one-handed alley-oops) and rebound outside of his area were on full display. As mentioned above both are 2017 prospects, so we’ll be hearing a bit about these two as they work to become even better players in the years to come. Among the schools watching this game were UCLA*, Arizona*, San Diego State*, USC, Wyoming*, Oregon State*, UNLV and Florida (* – head coach was present).