After holding its annual conference tournament at the Norfolk Scope from 1991-1993, the MEAC took its event to other locales and did not return to the area for twenty years. 2015’s event will be the third straight held at the Norfolk Scope, and on Thursday the MEAC announced that its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will remain there for another three years through 2018.
“I would like to thank Mayor Paul Fraim, the City Council, Norfolk City Manager Marcus Jones and city staff for their continued support of the MEAC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament,” MEAC commissioner Dennis Thomas said at an event announcing the news. “We are elated to extend this great partnership for another three years.”
The Scope will continue to host both the men’s and women’s basketball tournament as part of the deal. North Carolina Central won last season’s men’s basketball tournament title and in each of the last two years, Morgan State has reached the title game only to fall short of its goal of earning the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
After many Indiana fans lamented the fact that their program had yet to land a recruit in the 2014 class, the Hoosier faithful can breathe a little easier.
6-foot-3 four-star guard Robert Johnson verbally committed to attend the Big Ten school on Friday afternoon, announcing his decision during a press conference at Benedictine College Prep in Virginia. Also in the running for Johnson’s services were North Carolina, Virginia and Florida State, with the Tar Heels and Cavaliers receiving the majority of the attention from those who closely follow recruiting.
But Johnson kept things close to the vest throughout his recruitment, and his decision to attend Indiana is a big one considering their recent luck on the recruiting trail. Indiana had already lost two verbal commitments in the 2014 class in shooting guard James Blackmon Jr. and power forward Trey Lyles, so landing Johnson certainly helps in this regard.
Johnson has the ability to play either guard position, and his addition to the program will help in 2014 as the Hoosiers will lose both Arizona State transfer Evan Gordon (10.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg at ASU last season) and Will Sheehey (9.5, 3.5) at the conclusion of the 2013-14 campaign. Playing with the Boo Williams AAU program this past spring/summer, Johnson averaged 16.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game during NIke EYBL play. His ability to both get to the basket off the dribble and knock down perimeter shots made Johnson a consensus Top 100 prospect.
On the perimeter Indiana should have point guard Yogi Ferrell, shooting guard Stanford Robinson and wing Troy Williams to go along with Johnson next year. Here are a few clips of Johnson in action at the NBPA Top 100 Camp earlier this summer.
With Akil Mitchell entering his senior season, the Virginia Cavaliers could have used another front court body in their 2014 recruiting class. On Wednesday the Cavaliers accomplished that task, as 6-foot-10 power forward Jack Salt verbally committed to attend the ACC school according to Evan Daniels of Scout.com.
Salt, a native of New Zealand, was called up by the New Zealand Breakers earlier this month as the team was dealing with injuries to a couple of its key interior contributors (Salt isn’t expected to play much during the regular season, so as to preserve his college eligibility). And Salt, who is also a standout volleyball player, performed well during his stint with the Breakers. Apparently the team was hopeful that Salt would sign on to play professionally, but ultimately his desire to play college basketball won out.
“It was a really tough decision, as the Breakers have done so much for me, and [New Zealand Breakers academy coach] Judd Flavell has helped me out so much. It took me a long time but I decided it would be best for me to go to college,” said Salt before his [New Zealand national team] debut in July.
The left-handed Salt played last season with the Super City Rangers, averaging 8.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.
Salt’s experience at the international level for New Zealand could end up benefitting Virginia when he arrives in Charlottesville next year. With Salt now on board head coach Tony Bennett, who played professionally in New Zealand for North Harbor of the Kiwi National Basketball League, has a four-man rotation at the power forward and center positions.
Darion Atkins (4.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg) and Mike Tobey (6.8, 2.9) were contributors on last season’s team, and in Tobey’s case he gained valuable experience playing with the United States Under-19 team at the U-19 World Championships this past summer. Add in South Carolina transfer Anthony Gill (7.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg in 2011-12), who is eligible after sitting out the 2012-13 campaign per NCAA transfer rules, and the Cavaliers should have a solid interior group to work with in 2014-15.