Texas Tech forward Zach Smith will return for his senior season, the school confirmed on Monday.
The 6-foot-8 forward is one of the most intriguing athletes in college basketball as he’s been a double-figure scorer for the Red Raiders the past two seasons. As a junior, Smith put up 12.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game as he shot 50 percent from the field.
Three-point shooting was something that Smith improved dramatically last season as he increased it to 39 percent in a small sample size. If Smith can continue to show that he’s a perimeter shooting threat then he could be an ideal three-and-d candidate at the pro level.
By returning to Texas Tech, Smith gives head coach Chris Beard a potential all-league candidate who should be counted on to be a double-double threat next season.
Purdue big man Caleb Swanigan has the most important decision among any college basketball player who could return next season from the 2017 NBA Draft process. If Swanigan comes back for his junior season, he’s the frontrunner for National Player of the Year. More importantly, Purdue would have a serious chance to repeat as Big Ten regular season champions, especially if Vince Edwards also returns from the same draft process.
Wednesday night is the decision deadline for players to return to college basketball for next season and Swanigan will use two more workouts scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday to help decide his future. According to multiple reports, Swanigan will workout for the Orlando Magic on Tuesday and the New York Knicks on Wednesday.
Tuesday’s workout with the Magic will also reportedly involve Cal big man Ivan Rabb — an important workout for Swanigan since Rabb is listed ahead of Swanigan on a lot of popular mock drafts. The Magic own three picks between No. 25 and No. 35 — which is listed slightly above the No. 40 slot that Draft Express has Swanigan listed. So if Swanigan has a good workout against Rabb for the Magic, then he could get himself some sort of guarantee from a Magic team that desperately needs talent and has a lot of picks in that range.
The Knicks also have Swanigan scheduled for a Wednesday workout as they own the No. 44 overall pick in the second round. Again, the Knicks are a team in win-now mode with current stars like Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis openly feuding with the team’s front-office, so it wouldn’t be out of the question for Swanigan to land some sort of guarantee from New York in the second round.
Of course, guarantees for draft night are nice to have, but things can change quickly on draft night. Swanigan has to consider all of the information he is receiving before he makes his decision on Wednesday. But if Swanigan has two strong workouts and gets the information that he’s looking for this week, then he could easily bolt for a potential guaranteed contract.
St. Bonaventure pulled in a potentially solid transfer on Thursday as UNLV guard Jalen Poyser pledged to the Bonnies.
The 6-foot-4 Poyser just finished his sophomore season in which he averaged 10.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game game for the Runnin’ Rebels.
Poyser will have to sit out one season and will have two seasons of eligibility after.
Poyser will have to improve his low shooting percentages during his time at UNLV, but he is capable of putting up points and scoring from multiple levels of the floor.
Seton Hall big man Angel Delgado is expected to remain in the NBA Draft after previously entering the process without an agent, according to a report from Adam Zagoria of SNY.
The 6-foot-10 Delgado is coming off of a huge junior season in which he was the nation’s leading rebounder after averaging 15.2 points and 13.1 boards per game.
Just missing the NBCSports.com All-American teams, Delgado had a double-double in 25 of his final 27 games, with his only non double-double performances coming against Villanova both times.
While Delgado will be one of the draft’s best rebounders, he’ll have to prove himself in other areas like post scoring and post defense in order to get picked in June’s NBA Draft. Even if Delgado doesn’t get picked, he’s the type of hard-nosed big man who could easily find himself on an NBA roster because of his activity on the interior.
Pitt lost its fifth player to transfer on Monday as big man Rozelle Nix announced on Twitter that he is leaving the program. The 6-foot-11 Nix was a reserve center for the Panthers this past season as he plans on graduating in August and becoming immediately eligible as a graduate transfer.
Nix is a former transfer from Pensacola Junior College who missed the 2015-16 season with a foot injury before returning to the court this season. Appearing sparingly as he tried to play himself back into shape, Nix only played 126 minutes during the 2016-17 season for the Panthers.
While Nix isn’t an important loss for the Panthers, he is the sixth player–including a decommitment from former Class of 2017 recruit Aaron Thompson– to leave the program who could have played for Pitt next season.
Coming off of a 16-17 campaign and 4-14 finish in the ACC, head coach Kevin Stallings is going to have to rebuild the roster, basically from scratch, but he expected most of the departures this offseason to take place. In an interview last week with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Stallings was asked about all of the transfers and how he’ll handle things from here.
“I could have told you months ago ‘I would expect this guy to leave and this guy to leave and this guy to leave,'” Stallings said to the Post-Gazette. We had a couple of unexpected departures. We didn’t expect the thing with Cam [Johnson]. We didn’t expect the thing with Aaron Thompson, though that wasn’t a departure. It’s a guy you’ve invested time in recruiting. I think that in the present state and environment of college basketball, that’s becoming more the norm than the exception. And I’m talking more about the unexpected departures. I think any time you take over a program, you know there are going to be some departures. You don’t know from the outset who it’s going to be, but you know there are going to be some.”
Pitt rebuilding in a very deep ACC is going to be very difficult and Stallings needs to land some new talent to build with. While the Panthers have some decent recruits coming in, like guard Marcus Carr and junior college wing Jared Wilson-Frame, Pitt is going to need many more players to compete in one of the toughest leagues in the country.
DePaul made some major moves for the future on Monday as the program landed a commitment from five-star point guard Tyger Campbell.
The 6-foot-0 Campbell is regarded as a five-star prospect in the Class of 2019, but a source told NBCSports.com that Campbell is attempting to move up to the Class of 2018 to get to campus a year earlier.
Earlier on Monday, DePaul also landed a commitment from Northern Illinois graduate transfer Marin Maric, a big man who should come in and potentially start next season. Both of these commitments are tied together by DePaul hiring assistant coach Shane Heirman, the former head coach at La Lumiere, last week.
Both Maric and Campbell spent time at La Lumiere, as the Blue Demons have formed a recruiting pipeline to the defending high school national champions.
Campbell is DePaul’s second commitment in the Class of 2018–if he opts to reclassify–as he joins shooting guard John Diener.