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.
With Kyle Fuller entering his senior season and leading scorer Kedren Johnson suspended for the entire 2013-14 season, Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings needed some reinforcements on the perimeter. Earlier this summer the Commodores received a verbal commitment from shooting guard Wade Baldwin, and late Sunday evening it was reported by Evan Daniels of Scout.com that Charlotte, N.C. shooting guard Matthew Fisher-Davis has verbally committed to the SEC school (subscription required).
The 6-5 Fisher-Davis, who attends Charlotte Christian, is highly regarded as a perimeter shooter and his recruitment gained momentum back in July. In addition to Vanderbilt, Fisher-Davis considered programs such as Georgia, Wake Forest and Virginia before making the decision to commit according to Jamie Shaw of the Phenom Hoop Report. Fisher-Davis took an official visit to Vanderbilt in late August, with Baldwin also taking an official to the SEC school that weekend.
Last season was a tough one for the Commodores, as key personnel losses from a team that won the SEC tournament in 2012 proved to be too much to overcome. Johnson’s 13.5 points per game are gone (as is leading rebounder Kevin Bright, who signed a professional contract to play in his native Germany), leaving forward Rod Odom (10.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and Fuller (8.7, 2.3) as the team’s leading returnees from a statistical standpoint.
And with both players being seniors, the development of guards Eric McClellan and Dai-Jon Parker becomes an important aspect of the 2013-14 campaign. Both McClellan and Parker will have eligibility remaining in 2014, as will forwards Shelby Moats, Damian Jones and Luke Kornet with the latter two being freshmen.
Here are a few highlights from Fisher-Davis’ junior season at Charlotte Christian, where he averaged 17.2 points per contest.
Down the stretch of the regular season, Iowa was in the conversation as an NCAA bubble team. The Hawkeyes missed out on the Big Dance, but they’re now headed to New York City in pursuit of an NIT championship.
Iowa overcame the pace and defense of a tough Virginia team Wednesday to win, 75-64, on the road at John Paul Jones arena in Charlottesville, Va.
Roy Devyn Marble led Iowa in scoring with 24 points on 8-of-16 shooting and added five assists, four rebounds, and four steals. Center Adam Woodbury was two rebounds away from a double-double with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Credit goes most directly to the Iowa defense, which forced 16 turnovers, this coming against a Virginia team that is one of the best in the nation at not turning the ball over with only about 11 per game coming into Wednesday night. Getting those turnovers allowed Iowa to get out in transition and dictate the pace against a team that would prefer to play a game in the 50s or 60s offensively.
The Hawkeyes also did a good job of stretching the Virginia defense away from the basket with consistent shooting from the perimeter. Iowa was 8-of-17 from deep and did well to spread the ball around to capitalize on those open looks.
Iowa now moves on to play Maryland in the NIT semifinals in New York City. Maryland beat Alabama in the quarterfinals to advance to the next round.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_
Episode 9 of the CBT Podcast is here.
Troy Machir, the host of the CBT Podcast sits down with Andy Glockner of Sports Illustrated to discuss the current state of the NCAA Tournament bubble.
Selection Sunday is less than five weeks away and there are a handful of teams who can still determine their own fate.
While Andy doesn’t believe this will be the year a No.16-seed defeats a No.1-seed, he does believe there are a bevy of sleeper teams that can make a deep run.
There are 377 Division I basketball programs in the country, but no teams have as bizarre of a tournament resume as Illinois and Virginia. Troy and Andy discuss their resumes and debate which team can make a deeper run.
There is a lot to get to in the week’s edition of the CBT Podcast, so if you’re ready for the best 30 minutes in college basketball, click “play” or open the link below and let’s get things started.
Mobile Friendly Player: CBT Podcast Episode 9
Remember, the CBT Podcast is now available on iTunes. Also, if you have any questions you want featured on upcoming podcasts, tweet them to @CBTonNBC
You can contact Troy Machir on Twitter at @TroyMachir