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Florida State center Jean Marc Christ Koumadje (21) fouls Florida guard Brandone Francis-Ramirez (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015, in Gainesville, Fla. (Matt Stamey, The Gainesville Sun via AP)

Texas Tech adds Florida transfer

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A former top-50 recruit is joining Chris Beard at Texas Tech.

Brandone Francis-Ramirez, is transferring from Florida to become a Red Raider, he announced Tuesday,

It was an inglorious two-year run for Francis-Ramirez in Gainesville as he was ineligible his freshman year for academic reasons and then averaged just 10.8 minutes per game as a sophomore under first-year coach Mike White, who took over the program when Billy Donovan jumped to the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder.

Francis-Ramirez shot 20.2 percent from the floor and 16.9 percent from 3-point range in his limited action last season. While his collegiate track record has been sparse, the 6-foot-5 shooting guard was one of the most well-regarded players in the 2014 class, with Rivals ranking him 35th nationally and the likes of Cincinnati, Indiana and USC offering him.

Texas Tech gets a bit of a reclamation project with quite a bit of upside once Francis-Ramirez becomes eligible in 2017-18. He’ll have two years of eligibility remaining.

Hokies’ Hudson transferring to Florida

Virginia Tech's Jalen Hudson (23) drives between Wake Forest's Devin Thomas (2) and Cornelius Hudson (25) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Tuesday, March 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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Former Virginia Tech guard Jalen Hudson has found a new home.

Th3 6-foot-5 junior will join Mike White’s program at Florida, he announced Wednesday.

Hudson, who chose the Gators over Texas,  averaged 8.4 points and 2.3 rebounds in 20.0 minutes per game last season for the Hokies. After sitting out the 2016-17 season, he’ll have two years of eligibility remaining in Gainesville.

“I think Florida gives me a great opportunity to perform at a high level,” Hudson told ESPN, “win at a high level and ultimately pursue my dreams in playing in the NBA.”

Hudson, who attended the same high school as LeBron James in Akron,  was pursued by the likes of Arkansas, Dayton and Georges Mason before ultimately signing with the Hokes as part of their 2014 class.

The Gators don’t have much in the way of experience on the wing, so Hudson will help fill the position. Florida has already brought graduate transfer Canyon Barry in for next year. The 6-foot-6 College of Charleston graduate averaged 19.7 points in 12 games before a shoulder injury sidelined him for the season.

Florida went 21-15 and won two games in the NIT in White’s first season replacing Billy Donovan.

No. 17 Miami races past Florida

Jim Larrañaga, Sheldon McClellan
Associated Press
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No. 17 Miami couldn’t get much going outside of their starting five, but a strong defensive effort and some good performances from Sheldon McClellan and Angel Rodriguez led the Hurricanes to a 66-55 win over Florida.

McClellan finished with 24 points and five rebounds while Rodriguez had 15 points to pace Miami. Despite battling some injury issues late in the first half and early in the second half, Miami big man Tonye Jekiri finished with nine points and nine rebounds.

Entering the game, Florida was the SEC’s leading rebounding team, but they got beaten on the glass, 42-to-31, as the Hurricanes were the aggressor on the interior for the entire game. Miami also held Florida to 38 percent (22-for-57) shooting and eight percent (1-for-12) 3-point shooting on the night as the Gators couldn’t figure out a consistent half-court offense.

John Egbunu led the Gators with 14 points and five rebounds while Dorian Finney-Smith had 12 points and Devin Robinson added 11 points.

Even though Miami didn’t get much outside of its starting five, this was a very positive win for the Hurricanes as their defense looked fantastic and McClellan and Rodriguez made enough plays to help them maintain consistent control. The Hurricanes got a lot out of their seniors in the home win and looked like a team that figured out that defense could win them games when offense wasn’t coming easy.

Iowa State, Miami part of 2016 AdvoCare Invitational field

Jim Larranaga
Associated Press
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Friday afternoon the field for the 2016 AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando was announced, with Puerto Rico Tip-Off champion Miami being one of the eight teams involved.

Joining Jim Larrañaga’s Hurricanes in Orlando will be Florida, Gonzaga, Indiana State, Iowa State, Quinnipiac, Seton Hall and Stanford. Gonzaga has won the event in each of its prior two appearances, doing so in 2008 and 2012.

Each of the other seven teams will be making their first appearance at the AdvoCare Invitational.

Florida forward out 4-6 weeks with foot injury

Alex Murphy
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Florida will be without senior forward Alex Murphy for the first few weeks of the season as the school announced he’ll be out 4-to-6 weeks with a foot injury.

The fifth-year senior has a partial tear to the plantar fascia of his right foot, an injury he suffered in the Gators’ exhibition win on Thursday night against Palm Beach Atlantic.

The injury likely puts Murphy out until at least December and could hold him out until SEC play begins. Without the experienced senior in the lineup, Florida could turn to junior DeVon Walker, sophomore Devin Robinson, junior Justin Leon. Two freshmen, Kevarrius Hayes and Keith Stone, could also get more minutes with Murphy being out.

As a junior, Murphy played in a little over 14 minutes per game and averaged 5.1 points and 2 rebounds per contest.

 

Coaching Changes: Who’s set for success, failure

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Associated Press
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The college basketball coaching carousel was in full effect last spring, as 40 head coaching positions changed hands. Of those 40 jobs, 12 major high major programs will enter this season with a new man in charge while six more teams that would be classified as mid-major plus had turnover in leadership.

Here are the coaches in the best position to succeed immediately, and those that will likely need some time before they see the kind of success they’re used to:

COACHES BEST SET UP FOR IMMEDIATE SUCCESS

  1. Steve Prohm, Iowa State: With Fred Hoiberg making the move to the NBA, someone was bound to land a job coaching a team with the talent needed to play deep into the NCAA tournament. Prohm was the pick for Iowa State after a successful run at Murray State, and with players such as Monte Morris, Georges Niang and Jameel McKay, his first season in Ames can be a special one.
  2. Will Wade, VCU: Yes, Wade has some personnel losses to account as the former Shaka Smart assistant returns to VCU; most notably, Briante Weber and Treveon Graham have graduated. The cupboard isn’t bare either, however, as Melvin Johnson is back for his senior year, as are JeQuan Lewis and Mo-Alie Cox. Look for the Rams to once again be a factor in the Atlantic 10 race. (And yes, I know my opinion differs from some of my colleagues.)
  3. Tim Duryea, Utah State: Duryea’s definitely familiar with the USU roster, as he served as the now-retired Stew Morrill’s assistant for 14 seasons. And he’s got a good roster to work with, with all five starters returning led by forwards Jalen Moore and David Collette. Utah State exceeded expectations by finishing fourth in the Mountain West a season ago; they’ll be expected to contend this time around and have the pieces to do just that.
  4. Mike White, Florida: Like Prohm, White arrives at his new gig after experiencing a lot of success at his last stop. But unlike Prohm he’s taking over for a coach in Billy Donovan took Florida’s program to heights never before reached in the history of the program. There’s some talent to work with, especially if he can get Kasey Hill going, and White also managed to hold onto most of Florida’s 2015 recruiting class.
  5. Ben Howland, Mississippi State: While Howland’s resume surpasses that of any other coach on this list, and he’ll have Malik Newman at his disposal, that doesn’t overtake the fact that there’s a lot to be done with a program that struggled mightily in the three seasons prior. Howland put together a good recruiting class led by Newman, but if there’s a concern it’s the health of his front court (that wasn’t all too deep to begin with).
  6. Matt McCall, Chattanooga: McCall’s first head coaching gig at the Division I level has the potential to be a very successful one, thanks to the talent due back on campus. Four starters, including guard Casey Jones and forward Justin Tuoyo, return from a team that won 22 games and finished 15-3 in SoCon play.
  7. Eran Ganot, Hawai’i: Last season began with tumult for Hawai’i, but interim head coach Benjy Taylor was able to lead the Rainbow Warriors to 22 wins and a run to the Big West tournament final. Now former Saint Mary’s assistant Eran Ganot takes over an experienced group that returns three starters (seven who started at least two games) led by Big West Defensive Player of the Year Roderick Bobbitt.

MORE: 2015-16 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

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NEW HEAD COACHES WHO NEED SOME TIME

  1. Shaka Smart, Texas: A key question for some is how Smart’s pressure system will mesh with bigs who are best equipped to play in the half court. However the biggest issue in Smart’s first season at the helm in Austin is the strength of the Big 12, with perennial favorite Kansas leading what should be a deep race. There’s still talent, enough to make the tournament, but contending in the Big 12 may take a little time.
  2. Rick Barnes, Tennessee: Barnes has relocated to Knoxville, where he’ll aim to rejuvenate a program that dealt with the Donnie Tyndall investigation (and ultimately, firing) for much of last season. Three starters return but the one true difference-maker, Josh Richardson, isn’t among those players. Add in a lack of size in the post, and this could be a difficult season for Barnes in an SEC that will be improved.
  3. Avery Johnson, Alabama: Johnson and his staff have made some waves recruiting-wise, most notably reeling in Terrance Ferguson, and that certainly bodes well for the future. However, when it comes to this season he inherits a roster that lost its top three scorers from a season ago. That could prove difficult to overcome in a league that’s improved from last season.
  4. Chris Mullin, St. John’s: To say that Mullin and his staff were left with a bare cupboard would be an understatement. Two of the remaining players (Chris Obekpa and Rysheed Jordan) didn’t exactly mesh with the new staff’s plans, so they moved on. The work done by Mullin and assistants Barry Rohrssen and Matt Abdelmassih to fill out the roster will help St. John’s in the long run, but this season could be a difficult one.
  5. Brian Wardle, Bradley: Wardle’s move from Green Bay to Peoria, Illinois is a big one for a Bradley program that struggled in a big way under Geno Ford. Given Wardle’s accomplishments he’s got a good chance of turning things around. But it’s going to take some time to do so, especially with just one starter from last season’s nin win team back on campus. There was a lot of turnover on the roster, so the Braves will take their lumps as a result.
  6. Bobby Hurley, Arizona State: Hurley put together two successful seasons at Buffalo before making the move west, and he inherits a roster doesn’t lack for experience. In a similar situation at Buffalo in 2013-14, he led the Bulls to 19 wins and had the MAC Player of the Year in Javon McCrea. The two issues this time around: while the Pac-12 may not have a dominant team as it did a season ago (Arizona) it is deeper, and the Sun Devils will have to navigate a tough non-conference slate as well.
  7. Dave Leitao, DePaul: Since Leitao’s first run at DePaul came to an end in 2005, the Blue Demons have struggled mightily. Now he returns to the Windy City, and while there is some talent (Billy Garrett Jr. being one option) there’s a long way to go when it comes to making a move up the Big East standings and being a true factor in the conference.