Miami Heat

Cincinnati lands 2018 point guard

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Cincinnati kicked off its Class of 2018 with a verbal pledge from a point guard from the west coast.

Logan Johnson, the brother of Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson, announced his commitment to the Bearcats on Twitter on Thursday afternoon.

The 6-foot-2 floor general had taken an official visit to campus at the beginning of this month. He had scheduled official visits to Saint Mary’s and UC Santa Barbara for later this month. He held nearly a dozen offers from west coast programs, including several from the Mountain West schools.

Johnson is listed as the No. 130 overall recruit in the class, according to Rivals. While Rivals lists him as a three-star prospect, Scout rates him as a four-star recruit. According to Rivals’ National Basketball Analyst Eric Bossi, Johnson’s stock rose following strong play during the July live recruiting period.

Although, his most notable performance came during April when he and his Tyler Johnson Elite team got the better of LaMelo Ball and the Big Ballers.

When Johnson reaches campus in the fall of 2018, he’ll one of three point guards on the roster, playing behind transfer Cane Broome and Justin Jenifer. Both will exhaust their eligibility at the conclusion of the 2018-19 season.

Erik Spoelstra profile reveals he was on the court when Hank Gathers passed away

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Everyone that follows basketball knows who Erik Spoelstra is.

The head coach of the Miami Heat. The man that called the plays when the Big Three invaded Miami.

You may not know where he came from, however. I didn’t, not until I read this story from Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated. He’s a fascinating guy, but here’s the part that shocked me: Spo was on the court when Hank Gathers, star of the 1990 LMU basketball team, died:

Spoelstra recalls in detail two events from his playing career, both at Portland. The first came in the 1990 West Coast Conference tournament, when he rushed back on defense against Loyola Marymount, only to see Hank Gathers soar for an alley-oop. Gathers collapsed moments later a few feet away and died that night. The second involves a less heralded power forward named Matt Houle. Spoelstra was easily winning a two-mile race against his teammates when he noticed Houle gaining on him. Spoelstra grew anxious, broke into a sprint and threw up after crossing the finish line first. He dry-heaved for the next 20 minutes.

Spoelstra was the point guard at Portland then. You can see him, No. 30 in purple, on the video here, although I will advise you not to click that link — a clip from “The Guru of Go”, a 30 for 30 on that LMU team — unless you’re prepared to watch the video of Gathers collapsing on the court.

Rashawn King, leukemia survivor, is cleared to play

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Rashawn King is one of the nation’s best stories.

As a 17 year old high schooler, King felt himself getting sick at a football camp. He was taken to the hospital, where doctors essentially told him that his white blood cell count was so high — that his previously undiagnosed leukemia was so bad — that he literally would have died the next day had he not made it to the hospital.

King ended up surviving and has since enrolled at NC Central.

And on Thanksgiving, he was cleared to play this season.

I think I know what King is thankful for, and I think the kind of kid that King is deserves repeating:

Make-A-Wish asked King his wish.

It was to meet Miami Heat star LeBron James.

So everything was setup for Rashawn King to meet The King at last season’s NBA All-Star game.

“But then I started thinking about it, and I decided it would be very selfish of me to use my Wish to meet one of my heroes when there were so many people who had been helping me when I was sick and down,” King said. “I decided I wanted to give back to those people. I decided to do something different.”

What King decided was that he’d rather throw a lunch-party for his classmates who had spent much of the previous two years fundraising and praying for him than meet the NBA’s reigning Most Valuable Player. It was an odd request for Make-A-Wish but one the foundation happily granted. Chick-fil-A sandwiches and sides were provided for nearly 2,000 students and faculty last April at Middle Creek High while King stood at the head of the line hugging and thanking friends and teachers.

King eventually got a chance to meet and hang out with Lebron, but that’s besides the point.

He’s cleared to play. King, now 20, beat cancer and will now continue his athletic career. And while King will probably never be more than a member of a team that spends every November and December getting slaughtered in guarantee games, the simple fact that he’ll be able to have an irrelevant career is incredible in and of itself.

D’Angelo Harrison leads the way, Chris Obekpa breaks St. John’s single-game blocks record in win over Detroit

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JAMAICA, N.Y.–D’Angelo Harrison began Tuesday’s game against Detroit on the bench, kept out of the starting lineup by coach Steve Lavin for disciplinary reasons.

He ended the game as the team’s hero, tallying 22 points and outdueling former McDonald’s All-American Ray McCallum in a 77-74 St. John’s victory at Carnesecca Arena in Queens.

“From the time we booted him out of practice and sat [Harrison]..took his starting spot away, he’s been outstanding,” said head coach Steve Lavin. “Sometimes you have to be like an Irish judge, make the tough choices. But the kids really responded to the tough love.”

The fiery and feisty Harrison overcome a slow first half to score 15 second-half points, including a jumper with 5:48 remaining that pulled the game even at 62. With the departure of Big East Rookie of the Year Moe Harkless to the NBA, Harrison is the Red Storm’s focal point in 2012-13.

Fellow sophomore guard Phil Greene scored a career high 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting.

Defensively, the biggest performance of the night came freshman freshman Chris Obekpa, who broke the St. John’s single-game school record with eight blocks.

“In my experience as a coach and a broadcaster, he’s unique to anyone I’ve seen,” said Lavin. “It’s the length and the timing. He doesn’t pick up fouls. It’s rare to have someone get 10, 15, 20 blocks as I’ve seen in high school and pick up one foul.”

The Red Storm tried five different defenders on McCallum, who still managed 21 points, though he shot 8-of-23 from the floor. Detroit had a chance to final off a turnover in the final seconds, but a three-pointer by Juwan Howard, Jr., was off the mark.

St. John’s now heads to the Charleston Classic to take on College of Charleston on Thursday.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Jabari Parker meets with Michigan State’s soccer team during visit

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Simeon (Ill.) forward Jabari Parker is on a visit to Michigan State this weekend and, according to reports, he met with the Spartan soccer team Sunday before their match with Wisconsin.

“Coach Izzo and #1 recruit Jabari Parker wishing us luck before our game,” Michigan State junior goalie Bryce Dobbins tweeted Sunday morning.

We typically see high-major recruits, especially No. 1 overall recruits, taking in a football game, but Michigan State was in Ann Arbor this weekend to play Michigan, so plans were likely shifted.

But now his recruitment is getting into full swing, though reports have said that the Chicago star may not sign a letter of intent during the fall signing period and may wait until the spring to do so.

Parker was injured for key parts of the July recruiting period, which forced him to sit out Nike Peach Jam and a chance to match up with another highly ranked prospect, Andrew Wiggins.

At 6-8, 220 pounds, Parker has narrowed his list to five schools—Michigan State, BYU, Duke, Florida, and Stanford—and is in the conversation with Wiggins as the best high school player in the country right now.

He was recently featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated where he was heralded as “the best high school player since LeBron James.” The cover sparked a debate about the validity of the statement, but, regardless of whether he should be compared to James, the team that lands Parker will have a major piece to build toward perhaps a championship team.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Myck Kabongo practicing with Texas as Longhorns wait for word from NCAA

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Texas sophomore Myck Kabongo will practice with the Longhorns as the NCAA continues to investigate his case, involving a look into the nature of his relationship with a professional agent.

According to Texas head coach Rick Barnes, as reported by the Associated Press, Kabongo has not been ruled ineligible by the NCAA and the school’s compliance department is cooperating with the investigation.

”We don’t know anything,” Barnes told the AP. ”We’re going about our business and we’ll do that until we find out what the situation might be, and we’ll just go from there.”

The investigation is looking into Kabongo’s relationship with agent Rich Paul, who also represents NBA star LeBron James and former Texas Longhorns Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph. Paul allegedly called NBA front offices on behalf of Kabongo, which would violate his amateur status, then Kabongo returned to Texas.

”We haven’t thought about it,” Barnes said. ”We’re just talking about what we have to do as a team. We feel we have enough people that we got to do what we’ve got to do.”

During his freshman season, Kabongo averaged 9.6 points and 5.2 assists per game for a team that finished 20-14 and earned a berth in the NCAA tournament.

If he were to be ruled ineligible at the conclusion of this investigation, it could be a major hit for this young Longhorns roster.

”Myck’s worked really hard. He’s worked really hard as a leader, and he brings a lot of energy every day,” Barnes said. ”We’ll just wait and see and we’ll go from there.”

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_