Memphis lands commitment from 2018 center Connor Vanover

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Memphis picked up its first commitment in the Class of 2018 on Wednesday night as unique center prospect Connor Vanover announced his decision on Twitter.

At 7-foot-2, Vanover brings elite size to the interior for the Tigers and he’s also skilled enough that he was a 43 percent three-point shooter during his stint playing with Pro Skills in the Nike EYBL this spring. Although Vanover needs to add strength and athleticism to adapt to the college level, he simply has size that you can’t teach. Pair that size with an intriguing perimeter jumper and it’ll be interesting to see how head coach Tubby Smith is able to develop Vanover the next few years.

A three-star prospect according to Rivals, Vanover averaged 9.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game during the spring. Originally from Arkansas, Vanover is spending his senior season of high school ball at prep school powerhouse Findlay Prep.

UConn lands four-star 2018 guard James Akinjo

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UConn scored a commitment from one of the summer’s biggest stock risers as Class of 2018 point guard James Akinjo pledged to the Huskies on Monday.

The 6-foot-0 guard is considered the No. 113 overall prospect in the Rivals 2018 national rankings as Akinjo just completed an official visit to UConn this weekend.

Playing with the Oakland Soldiers in the Nike EYBL, Akinjo saw his numbers explode this summer at Peach Jam as he helped lead the Soldiers to the title in the event. After putting up decent numbers in the spring (10.1 points, 4.3 assists and 1.9 rebounds per game), Akinjo averaged 18.8 points, 6.8 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game during eight games in the toughest tournament in the country.

That solidified Akinjo as a high-major priority and the Huskies are getting a late bloomer who competed at a very high level the past few months. Akinjo is UConn’s first pledge in the Class of 2018 as he’s an important commitment. With the Huskies loading up on mainly frontcourt prospects in the Class of 2017 — including recent St. John’s transfer Sid Wilson — head coach Kevin Ollie desperately needed more guards for the future of his roster.

Akinjo takes care of the need for a lead guard as he’s a solid addition for UConn.

Houston’s Hurricane Harvey donation drive comes with NCAA red tape

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Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson has been repeatedly praised over the last week for help in relief efforts after Hurricane Harvey pummeled the city with flood waters.

Calling for t-shirts and shoes from other college athletic departments on Twitter, Sampson received over 1,300 commitments for aid as the push for help went viral.

The school and Sampson have seen an unbelievable response with boxes and letters coming in from all over the country.

The only problem is that Houston can’t distribute any of those boxes to the people who need them most until the NCAA allows them to do so.

In a report from Larry Seward of KHOU, the Cougars are awaiting NCAA clearance in order to distribute the clothing so that it doesn’t go to the wrong kind of people.

From Seward’s report:

“They don’t want us sending all this nice gear to the top recruit in Houston,” said Lauren Dubois, senior associate athletics director for UH. “But, obviously that is not our intention at all.”

Dubois said the program risks punishment if they give anything to potential recruits, their parents or youth leagues.

So, the university first offered everything to the Red Cross, Star of Hope and Hurricane Harvey relief. All had different needs.

The school is now asking legitimate charities to step in, take donations and give them away as those organizations see fit.

Houston has also asked the NCAA for a legislative relief waiver, according to Seward’s story, which would enable Sampson and Houston to give away the donations on their own.

Hopefully the NCAA will make the right decision and allow Houston to start to distribute this gear. While the NCAA hasn’t said “no” — and they’ll almost assuredly allow Sampson and the program to give away the donations — by waiting this long, they’ve made themselves look silly over a bureaucratic matter.

UPDATE: The NCAA publicly responded on Saturday morning on Twitter.

CBT Podcast: Houston coach Kelvin Sampson talks Hurricane Harvey relief efforts

(AP Photo/Frank Victores)
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Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson joins the podcast to discuss the incredible work he, his staff and his university has done in generating clothing, shoe and diaper donations for the people affected by Hurricane Harvey. I also spend a few minutes waxing on about the potential changes to transfer legislation.

 

 

Cincinnati loses senior big man Quadri Moore to transfer

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Cincinnati will be without senior big man Quadri Moore this season as he has opted to transfer to a new program, according to a release from the school.

The 6-foot-8 Moore was a reserve for the Bearcats the last three seasons as he never averaged more than 8.2 minutes per game. Once regarded as a top-150 recruit coming out of high school, Moore could never crack the Cincinnati rotation during his three seasons with the school.

This past season, Moore averaged 2.9 points and 1.4 rebounds per game as he’ll likely have to sit out the 2017-18 season before completing his final year of eligibility elsewhere. While Moore was never able to crack the rotation for a perennial NCAA tournament team, it’ll be intriguing to see where he ends up because Moore could still be a solid contributor at a lower-level program.

Houston, Kelvin Sampson receive over 1,000 commitments for Hurricane Harvey clothing drive

(AP Photo/Frank Victores)
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Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson has received an overwhelming show of support from the college basketball community following his call for help after Texas was rocked by flooding from hurricane Harvey.

With Sampson asking other college basketball coaches to send 20 t-shirts and 10 boxes of shoes each to help in flood recovery efforts, the basketball community responded in a huge way. According to Sampson, Houston has received over 1,000 commitments on Twitter alone for help in the clothing drive.

Sampson took to Twitter again on Thursday afternoon, this time to thank everyone who helped with the viral clothing drive.

“With more than 1,000 commitments from Twitter alone, we have reached our capacity to effectively distribute these donations. Our coaches, student-athletes and staff will begin distributing to groups in Houston and throughout this area as soon as possible,” Sampson said.

“At a time when so many people are struggling, it is comforting to see the love and feel the support that mankind so often displays in times of crisis.”

Since Houston and Sampson have overwhelmed with promises of clothes and shoes, they are now asking that future donations be made to either the Red Cross or the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund that is being administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.

Sampson’s full letter can be read below.