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Missouri AD wants Border War rivalry with Kansas to resume

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Could we see a return of the Border War? Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk is certainly hoping so.

In an appearance at a golf outing in Kansas City on Monday, Sterk was asked about Missouri’s dormant rivalry with Kansas as the two schools haven’t played since the Tigers left for the SEC a little over five years ago.

“I’d like for that to happen,” Sterk said Monday. “I think they made it a point when we left the (Big 12) that they weren’t going to play anymore, but we’re certainly open to that and I know (new men’s basketball coach) Cuonzo (Martin) will work on that behind the scenes and see if that can happen.”

While Missouri has been open to renewing the Border War, Kansas officials have publicly refused to play Missouri. Sterk is hoping that a new head coach, Cuonzo Martin, might be able to help get the series going again.

 “In order to have a game, you need two willing partners, so we’re open to doing that in football and basketball and some of our other sports,” Sterk said. “That would be great to do.”
Sterk’s comments means there is some reason to be optimistic about this rivalry having a revival but Kansas is still the driving force behind making the Border War happen again.
I’m hopeful the Border War can return. The final season of the Border War, the 2011-12 season, featured two high-level games between top-10 teams.  Missouri has obviously taken a dip in national stature since then but both fanbases would probably like to see this happen again.

(H/t: Tod Palmer, Kansas City Star)

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.

 

Five-star forward Kevin Knox commits to Kentucky

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The 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby was the major headline in sports on Saturday, but John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats might have stolen the show within the Bluegrass state thanks to a shocking recruiting announcement.

Kentucky men’s basketball added another top-ten prospect to one of its deepest recruiting hauls on Saturday night as five-star Class of 2017 forward Kevin Knox committed to the Wildcats on Twitter. Many believed that Duke or North Carolina was the favorite to land the 6-foot-8 Knox–with the 247 Sports Crystal Ball giving Kentucky only a 4 percent of a chance–but the No. 9 overall prospect in the Rivals.com national Class of 2017 recruiting rankings is a big-time get for the Wildcats.

Knox is the seventh pledge for Kentucky’s class and he’s the fifth five-star prospect–and that doesn’t even include Hamidou Diallo if he decides to opt out of the NBA Draft for his freshman season.

Knox gives the Wildcats a potential perimeter shooter as he could be tasked with defending a lot of perimeter players at Kentucky next season. Put together with players like Jarred Vanderbilt, Nick Richards, and potentially Diallo, and Knox gives the Wildcats a ton of athleticism on the defensive end.

The son of former Florida State star wide receiver Kevin Knox, the younger Knox picked Kentucky over Duke, Florida State, Missouri and North Carolina as head coach John Calipari gets another potential lottery pick to work with next season.

Knox is the type of versatile wing that Kentucky has been looking for in this class and if he’s able to stick perimeter jumpers, it means that the Wildcats can play a bunch of their frontcourt players at the same time while also helping a lot with spacing.

A multiple-time gold-medal winner for USA Basketball, Knox could be perhaps the best pro prospect of this Kentucky class, which is really saying a lot given how much talent they have coming in.

Landing Knox also qualifies as one of the true shockers that we’ve seen from Kentucky in recruiting. Many believed that the battle for Knox was coming down to Duke and North Carolina but the Wildcats were able to sneak in and get the job done by securing a commitment from Knox.

Knox joins a class that includes five-star forwards Jarred Vanderbilt and P.J. Washington, five-star big man Nick Richards, five-star point guard Quade Green and four-star guards Shai Alexander and Jemarl Baker. While it would be nearly impossible to call this John Calipari’s best class ever at Kentucky with how good some previous classes were, this group might be the deepest that Calipari has put together in Lexington, and the program is still in hot pursuit of five-star big man Mohamed Bamba.

Ole Miss gets Memphis graduate transfer guard Markel Crawford

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Ole Miss picked up a double-figure scorer on Wednesday night as a source confirmed to NBCSports.com that Memphis graduate transfer guard Markel Crawford committed to the Rebels.

The 6-foot-5 Crawford had a breakout season as junior as he put up 12.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game for the Tigers. Crawford also shot 47 percent from the floor and 33 percent from three-point range.

Losing senior big man Sebastian Saiz is going to hurt Ole Miss next season but adding Crawford gives head coach Andy Kennedy another proven perimeter option who can play with talented pieces like Deandre Burnett and Terence Davis.

Florida’s Devin Robinson heading to NBA Draft and signing with an agent

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Florida junior forward Devin Robinson will declare for the 2017 NBA Draft and sign with an agent.

The 6-foot-8 Robinson was one of the most versatile frontcourt players in the country by the end of last season as he emerged as a major threat on both ends of the floor. Robinson averaged 11.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game as a junior as he helped Florida advance to the Elite Eight. Robinson shot 47 percent from the floor and 39 percent from three-point range last season.

Without Robinson, Florida’s stock drops quite a bit for next season as they’ll have to replace him in the front court. The Gators could still be in position to be one of the better teams in the country but the loss of Robinson is going to sting.

Report: Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox heading to NBA Draft

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Kentucky freshman point guard De’Aaron Fox is heading to the 2017 NBA Draft, according to a report from Jon Rothstein of Fan Rag Sports.

The 6-foot-3 Fox averaged 16.7 points, 4.6 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game as he should be firmly in the discussion as a potential top-5 pick.

Although Rothstein reported that Fox is entering the draft, Fox has yet to officially say that he’s leaving, as he tweeted this message out right after the report.

Fox has yet to officially declare, but it’s practically a formality that he’s going to the NBA Draft.