Florida State added a Class of 2017 forward RaiQuan Gray on Monday after the playmaker took an official visit to campus. The 6-foot-7, 240-pound Gray had a solid summer playing for the Florida Vipers as he’s a bigger wing forward who can create mismatches with his size and ability to handle the ball.
Regarded as a three-star forward and No. 127 overall player in the Rivals Class of 2017 rankings, Gray is a nice addition to the Seminole frontcourt. He joins three-star guard Bryan Trimble Jr. in Florida State’s Class of 2017.
Florida State has done a great job of adding playmaking talent the last few classes and it’ll be interesting to see how Gray fits in with the other ball handling options on the roster.
GAME OF THE DAY: No. 25 Baylor 69, No. 16 Vanderbilt 67
Taurean Prince scored 30 points and Lester Medford added 15 and five assists as the Bears erased a 13-point second half deficit to beat the Commodores in Waco. Medford’s three with 42 seconds remaining gave Baylor the lead for good, and the Bears’ work on the offensive glass was notable as well.
Baylor racked up 20 offensive rebounds, with Rico Gathers Sr. responsible for eight, which worked out to an offensive rebounding percentage of 46.5 percent despite going up against the likes of Damian Jones and Luke Kornet. Wade Baldwin IV led Vandy with 19 points, and more about Baylor’s win can be read here.
Florida State 76, VCU 71: The Seminoles managed to hang on in Atlanta, with VCU’s Melvin Johnson nearly leading the Rams to a comeback win. Johnson scored a career-high 36 in the loss, with 23 of those points coming in the second half. Xavier Rathan-Mayes led the winners with 23 points while also grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out three assists.
San Diego 53, San Diego State 48: In a game played outdoors at Petco Park the Toreros picked up the first big win of Lamont Smith’s tenure as head coach. USD wasn’t great offensively but their opponents were even worse in the first half, as SDSU shot 3-for-20 from the field and trailed 31-13 at the break. Steve Fisher’s team managed to pull to within one late in the second half, but the hole was too deep to crawl out of. Duda Sanadze led San Diego with 15 points and Olin Carter III added 12 (4-for-7 3PT).
Devin Patterson, Omaha: Not only did Patterson score 41 points Sunday, but his three-pointer as time expired gave the Mavericks a 100-97 win at Montana State.
Melvin Johnson, VCU: Johnson shot 14-for-24 in scoring his career-high 36 points in the Rams’ five-point loss to Florida State in Atlanta.
Taurean Prince, Baylor: Waller-Prince scored 30 points on 10-for-19 shooting to lead the Bears to a two-point win over No. 16 Vanderbilt.
San Diego State (first half): Shooting 3-for-20 from the field is bad. What was also bad for San Diego State was the fact that they allowed San Diego to grab eight offensive rebounds on the other end. They were outworked and outplayed Sunday.
Damian Jones, Vanderbilt: Jones, who did grab eight rebounds in a two-point loss at No. 25 Baylor, shot just 2-for-7 from the field in scoring nine points.
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
No. 9 North Carolina rolled to a 98-65 win over Davidson, as they limited the Wildcats to 34.3 percent shooting from the field. Nate Britt matched his career-high with 17 points, leading five Tar Heels in double figures.
No. 17 Cincinnati scored 51 points in the first half of its 87-66 win over Morgan State. Shaq Thomas posted 15 points, nine rebounds and four assists, and Gary Clark Jr. accounted for 13 points and 14 rebounds for the Bearcats.
OTHER NOTABLE GAMES
Pittsburgh scored 50 points in both halves as they rolled to a 100-47 win over Central Arkansas. Damon Wilson scored 20 points, shooting 7-for-9 from the field, off the bench to lead the barrage.
Chris Mullin picked up his first head coaching win at Madison Square Garden as St. John’s held off St. Francis-Brooklyn 63-56. The win is also the 1,800th in the history of the program, making St. John’s the ninth Division I program to reach that number.
Hofstra capped the doubleheader at MSG with an 86-80 win over Appalachian State, as they scored 52 second-half points. Brian Bernardi scored 23 points to lead the way for the Pride.
James Madison moved to 8-3 on the season with a 107-84 win over Marshall. Shakir Brown scored 30 points and Ron Curry added 20 for the Dukes.
UMass-Lowell picked up its first-ever win over Boston College, beating the Eagles 68-66 in Chestnut Hill. The Eagles were shorthanded, as Eli Carter (ankle) and Dennis Clifford (stomach bug) both sat out.
Monmouth rebounded from its loss at Canisius Friday night with a comfortable 56-42 win at Niagara. The Hawks limited the Purple Eagles to 15 first-half points.
Two-time defending MAAC tournament champion Manhattan fell to 0-2 in league play, losing 75-70 to Marist at home. Khalid Hart scored 17 points and Brian Parker and Ryan Funk added 16 apiece for the winners.
Coastal Carolina moved to 1-1 in Big South play with a 63-58 win over Radford (als0 1-1). Jaylen Shaw and Marcus Freeman scored 12 apiece to lead a balanced offensive effort for Cliff Ellis’ Chanticleers.
Colorado State scored 52 first-half points and then went ice cold in the second half, with Colorado’s improved defense ultimately leading to the Buffaloes winning 88-77 in Fort Collins. Josh Scott, who struggled in each of the last two meetings in this series, scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Colorado.
We’re labeling this as the nation’s top back courts, but truthfully, it’s the nation’s top perimeters. That’s why you’ll see guys like Brandon Ingram and Jaylen Brown, small forwards that will play the four a lot this season, listed here.
One thing we realized making this list: There are an inordinate number of talented guards in college basketball this season, especially those that will get labeled as lead guards. So many, in fact, that the likes of Miami, Iowa State and Texas A&M didn’t even crack the top 15.
They don’t rebuild in Lexington they reload, and John Calipari has quite the perimeter rotation at his disposal despite losing three of his top four guards from a season ago. The returnee is 5-foot-9 sophomore Tyler Ulis, who has emerged as this team’s leader. But he isn’t the only guard in the group who operates will with the ball in his hands, as both Briscoe and Murray will also have ample opportunities to create offensively. The 6-foot-4 Murray was one of the standouts at the Pan-American Games in Canada this summer, as he went off to lead the hosts past the United States in the semifinals. Matthews and Mulder aren’t slouches either, giving Kentucky additional talent and depth with their presence.
2. Wichita State (Ron Baker, Fred VanVleet, Conner Frankamp, Landry Shamet, Evan Wessel)
Baker and VanVleet are two of the nation’s best at their respective positions and they’re going to appear on multiple preseason (and end of season, for that matter) All-America teams as a result. Wessel gives this group added toughness, and Kanas transfer Conner Frankamp will give Wichita State another capable shooter when he becomes eligible in December. The 6-foot-4 Shamet is a Top 100 recruit who will fight for minutes now and be a key figure for the Shockers in the years to come.
3. Indiana (James Blackmon Jr., Yogi Ferrell, Robert Johnson, Nick Zeisloft)
This group is one of the reasons why the Hoosiers will enter the 2015-16 season ranked, with senior point guard Yogi Ferrell leading the way. Ferrell led the Hoosiers in scoring and assists a season ago, and he also led the team in made three-pointers. Blackmon should be better as a sophomore after tailing off somewhat down the stretch last year and the same goes for classmate Johnson, with Zeisloft coming off of a year in which he shot 45 percent from beyond the arc.
4. North Carolina (Marcus Paige, Justin Jackson, Joel Berry II, Nate Britt, Theo Pinson, Kenny Williams)
Paige enters his senior season as one of the the best guards in the country, as he’s comfortable as either a scorer or a distributor for the Tar Heels. Jackson, who was a key contributor for North Carolina as a freshman, looks poised for a breakout year as he moves into the starting spot left vacant by J.P. Tokoto, and classmate Pinson is healthy after dealing with injuries last season. Both Berry and Britt are capable contributors but they have to get better as playmakers, thus relieving some of the pressure on Paige. The one thing this group was missing a season ago was another shooter to go with Paige, and if called upon Williams has the ability to be that guy.
Irvin is working his way back to 100 percent after undergoing back surgery in early September, and his return will make Michigan’s perimeter attack one of the deepest and most talented groups in the country. LeVert was projected by some to be an All-America caliber player prior to last season, and Walton and Irvin are also players capable of earning postseason honors. Albrecht will also be a factor, with Abdur-Rahkman, Chatman and Dawkins gaining valuable experience as freshmen due to the injuries that sidelined LeVert and Walton. The “wild card” is Robinson, who sat out last season after averaging 17.1 points per game as a freshman at Division III Williams College in 2013-14.
Lon Kruger’s perimeter rotation won’t lack for experience as reigning Big 12 Player of the Year Hield and Cousins are both seniors and Woodard will be a junior. Walker played 10.6 minutes per game as a junior last season and figures to be in a similar reserve role. As for the freshmen, both James and Odomes are players who will look to earn minutes but ultimately benefit down the line from competing with (and against, in practice) the veteran guards.
Big East Co-Player of the Year Arcidiacono is back for his senior season, with Big East tournament MOP Josh Hart appearing poised to take a significant step forward as a junior. And then there are the freshmen, most notably a lead guard in Brunson who enters college as one of the best at his position. DiVincenzo and Bridges, with the latter having redshirted last season, give Villanova additional skill and athleticism on the wing and Booth gives Wright another point guard to call upon.
8. Duke (Brandon Ingram, Grayson Allen, Matt Jones, Luke Kennard, Derryck Thornton Jr.)
Allen, who stepped forward in a big way in the national title game, returns for his sophomore season and Jones gives Duke an experienced wing option who’s a solid defender and capable perimeter shooter. Given the personnel losses the three freshmen will be especially important this year, with Thornton being asked to take over at the point and Ingram being a slender wing who can score from anywhere on the court. As for Kennard, he’s good enough to see time at both guard spots, and given Duke’s numbers he’ll likely have to do just that.
9. Maryland (Melo Trimble, Jake Layman, Jared Nickens, Rasheed Sulaimon, Dion Wiley, Jaylen Brantley)
The Terrapins did lose leader Dez Wells from last season’s NCAA tournament team, but most of the perimeter rotation returns led by preseason Big Ten Player of the Year Melo Trimble. Trimble’s a handful with the ball in his hands, making sound decisions in ball screen situations and getting to the foul line at a very high rate. Layman, who took a step forward as a junior, has the potential to be even better as a senior with Nickens and Wiley looking to earn more minutes as sophomores. And the newcomers, Brantley and Sulaimon, will also contribute with the latter giving Maryland another quality perimeter shooter (and he’s a good defender too).
10. California (Tyrone Wallace, Jaylen Brown, Jabari Bird, Stephen Domingo, Jordan Mathews, Sam Singer)
Depth, which was an issue all over the court for the Golden Bears a season ago, won’t be a problem in 2015-16. Wallace, one of the nation’s top point guards, leads the way with a trio of juniors (Bird, Mathews and Singer) also having a wealth of experience. Add in two talented newcomers in Brown, who could see time at the four in smaller lineups, and Georgetown transfer Domingo and head coach Cuonzo Martin has a host of options at his disposal.
11. Virginia (Malcolm Brogdon, London Perrantes, Marial Shayok, Devon Hall, Evan Nolte, Darius Thompson)
The Cavaliers have to account for the departure of Justin Anderson on the perimeter, but it certainly helps to have veterans Brogdon and Perrantes back on campus. Brodgon was a first team All-ACC selection a season ago, and his skill on both ends of the floor merits All-America mention this season. Perrantes is a solid floor general who can do even more from a scoring standpoint. Nolte and Shayok were rotation players last season, and Hall and Thompson (who redshirted after transferring in from Tennessee) will also compete for minutes.
12. Michigan State (Denzel Valentine, Eron Harris, Tum Tum Nairn, Bryn Forbes, Matt McQuaid, Kyle Ahrens, Alvin Ellis)
This group is led by one of the nation’s most versatile players in Valentine, who can play anywhere from the one to the three depending on match-ups. Forbes should be more consistent in his second season with the program, and Nairn looks poised to step forward as the next in a long line of high-level point guards to play for Izzo. Harris is a transfer from West Virginia who many expect to hit the ground running, and Ellis will also look to solidify his spot in the rotation. As for the freshmen, they’ll look to carve out roles in what is a deep rotation.
Ryan Boatright’s moved on, but UConn’s perimeter rotation is more balanced (and deeper) than it was a season ago. Part of that is due to their additions, with the explosive Adams and experienced Gibbs joining the ranks. As for holdovers, head coach Kevin Ollie has those as well with Calhoun being a senior, Cassell and Purvis (who put together some solid outings down the stretch last season) being juniors and the versatile Hamilton (AAC Rookie of the Year) being a sophomore.
14. Kansas (Wayne Selden Jr., Frank Mason III, Svi Mykhailiuk, Devonté Graham, Brannen Greene, LaGerald Vick)
This ranking could prove to be low at season’s end, depending upon (in part) the progress made by Selden. The junior played very well at the World University Games in South Korea this summer, and if he can build on that play the Jayhawks will undoubtedly have one of the top guards in the country. Mason gives them an absolute pitbull at the point, with Graham being another player capable of running the point. And in Green, Mykhailiuk and Vick, Kansas won’t lack for depth on the wings either.
15. Florida State (Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Dwayne Bacon, Devon Bookert, Montay Brandon, Terance Mann, Malik Beasley, Benji Bell, Robbie Berwick)
While he’ll once again be one of the top guards in the ACC, Rathan-Mayes will have some much-needed help on the perimeter. Bookert and Brandon give Florida State two experienced seniors, Berwick saw solid minutes as a freshman, and their newcomers arrive on campus amidst much fanfare. Bacon may be the marquee freshman, but Beasley and Mann will also compete for minutes with junior college transfer Bell looking to do the same.
The Florida State Seminoles were introduced on Friday night at the Jam with Ham midnight madness events. While other players came out dancing, senior center Michael Ojo showed up on crutches.
Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton told reporters that the 7-foot-1 center had surgery on his left knee following a meniscus tear. No timetable has been set for his return, according to Safid Deen of the Tallahassee Democrat.
Ojo averaged 2.2 points and 2.4 rebounds last season for the Seminoles. Florida State opens the season on Nov. 15 against Nicholls State.
One of July’s better shooting guards was four-star Georgia native Brandon Robinson, who came on strong with the Georgia Stars and Team Loaded North Carolina.
The 6-foot-5 Robinson had some big scoring games during the live period and it led to scholarship offers from schools from all over the country. The No. 76 overall prospect in the Class of 2016 cut his list to Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Louisville and North Carolina in August and he’s announcing his decision on Monday at a ceremony at his school, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com.
During the recruiting process, Robinson took official visits to Georgia Tech, Louisville and North Carolina and he made the decision to commit to one of his five finalists after a recent trip to Chapel Hill. But don’t count out Florida State and Georgia just yet. Robinson has seen both campuses on unofficial visits, so he is familiar with both programs.
Many perceive the Tar Heels to be in strong shape here, thanks in-part to the quick decision after the official visit, but there are a lot of good options for Robinson here.
One of the top shooters in the Class of 2016 has decided to end the recruiting process next week.
Four-star wing Brandon Robinson, who rebounded from a tough spring with a good month of July, will announce his college choice on Monday. Robinson, who’s taken two of his five available official visits, cut his list to five schools in mid-August. Those schools are Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, North Carolina and Maryland, with Maryland being the lone non-ACC program on Robinson’s list.
The Douglasville, Georgia native has taken official visits to Georgia Tech and North Carolina, with the latter being completed just this past weekend. Many recruiting analysts see North Carolina, which will have some holes to fill on its perimeter after the 2015-16 season, as the favorite to land Robinson.
Robinson also has an official visit to Florida State scheduled for October 9, but given the timeline of his announcement he’ll have made his college choice before then.