Many programs across the country have unveiled new courts this offseason, with the designs ranging from simple to in some cases outrageous. SMU has joined the ranks, unveiling a new court that coincides with the renovation of Moody Coliseum that greatly improves the home of SMU basketball.
The court is simple to say the least, with the SMU logo across mid-court, the American logos just inside of the three-point line at each end of the floor and the athletic department’s web address on the sideline. But given their current run of luck on the recruiting trail, most recently landing one of the nation’s best point guards in Emmanuel Mudiay, the question for head coach Larry Brown’s program is whether or not the floor will serve as the program’s canvas for a resurgence.
The Mustangs endured their fair share of struggles last season, finishing with a 15-17 overall record and going 5-11 in Conference USA play. But that was an undermanned roster, led by guard Nick Russell (14.0 ppg, 4.3 apg) and forward Jalen Jones (14.0 ppg, 7.7 rpg). In addition to those two, the 2013-14 campaign brings significant help in the form of three transfers (Nic Moore, Crandall Head and Markus Kennedy) and a respected recruiting haul headlined by McDonald’s All-American Keith Frazier.
The competition in conference play will be tougher, as programs like Louisville, UConn and Cincinnati are now on the schedule, but SMU has the talent needed to place a better product on the Moody Coliseum floor. SMU hasn’t reached the NCAA tournament since 1993, so predictions of immediate greatness wouldn’t be the way to go.
But if the Mustangs have their way, the product on the court will make up for the lack of pizazz in the design.
Larry Brown and SMU may be on the verge of an incredible Class of 2014.
On Saturday, at halftime of the Elite 24 in Brooklyn, Prime Prep Academy (Texas) point guard Emmanuel Mudiay picked the Mustangs over Kentucky. Two days later, Trinity High (Texas) center Myles Turner, ranked No. 6 overall by Rivals, decided he will reconsider SMU, according to ESPN Insider Jeff Goodman.
Turner, the biggest stock riser this summer, had cut his list to eight schools — Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State, Oklahoma State and Texas — three weeks ago, eliminating SMU. Although, Mudiay’s surprise decision has appeared to throw a wrench in Turner’s plans. Mudiay and Turner have been rumored to be in a package deal.
Put Turner into the mix with Mudiay and incoming freshman Keith Frazier, and Brown may have the core of players needed to make a run in the NCAA tournament, which may turn out to be the last one for the Hall of Fame coach.
The 6-foot-10 shot blocker has previously scheduled a visit to Kansas for Late Night at the Phog.
Tyus Jones and Brooklyn’s own Isaiah Whitehead earned Co-MVP honors for the winning team at the 2013 Under Armour Elite 24 at Brooklyn Bridge Park on Saturday night
Jones and Whitehead led Team Coney Island to a closer than expected 114-109 win over Team Bed-Stuy. Stanley Johnson and Emmanuel Mudiay — who announced that he had committed to SMU, over Kentucky, during halftime — were named Co-MVPs for Team Bed-Stuy.
Team Coney Island broke open the game with under eight minutes to go in the first half, going on a 14-0 run in an almost four-minute span that lifted the orange and white to a 66-43 halftime lead.
The opening minutes of the second half indicated that Coney Island was going to run away with the all-star game, bumping the lead up to as much as 31. Though, Johnson and Mudiay — who played like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders following his halftime decision — led the Bed-Stuy comeback. After continually chipping away at the lead, Mudiay erased the double-digit deficit with an alley oop to Kelly Oubre, followed by a catch-and-shoot three in consecutive possessions.
Several possessions later, Whitehead — in front of his hometown fans — cleared out to take on Mudiay one-on-one. The 6-foot-4 Whitehead took Mudiay to the bucket with a spin move and banked in the lefty shot, while also drawing the foul. The Whitehead and-1 helped put Coney Island back up double-digits with under 10 minutes to go in the game.
Team Bed-Stuy had one more late rally, cutting it to four, 108-104 with 60 second left following a Johnson fast break dunk, though, that’s as close as Bed-Stuy would get.
Whithead, who plays at Lincoln High on Coney Island, led all scorers with 26 points.