Why you shouldn’t feel bad about Keno Davis losing out of Austin Torres

1 Comment

Mike Brey has a reputation for being one of the most stand-up people in college basketball.

One of the gentlemen’s agreements in college hoops is that once a player is committed to a school, he’s off-limits. This isn’t college football. A verbal commitment isn’t exactly binding — it’s not until a player signs a National Letter of Intent that they become legally-bound to a school — but it is supposed to carry with it a measure of respect from opposing coaches.

Which is why Jeff Borzello’s story from Tuesday morning is so surprising.

Not only did a Big East coach steal a player away from a MAC school three days after the player committed, it was Brey offering a scholarship to, and accepting a commitment from, Austin Torres, who was a new member of Keno Davis’ 2013 class at Central Michigan.

This stuff happens — as one coach told Borzello, “once a kid commits, now you know who you have to beat out.” Trey Lyles, a top ten recruit in the Class of 2014, decommitted from Indiana back in August, a move that many believe was the result of being recruited away by other programs. Every Illinois fan will tell you that Eric Gordon was recruited away from the Illini by Kelvin Sampson and Indiana. It happens, and I’m sure it sucks for the coaches on the wrong end.

Like Keno Davis.

But I don’t feel bad for Keno Davis. Not one bit.

For starters, Torres and Notre Dame were a unique fit. For starters, the day before he committed to Notre Dame, one of Torres’ AAU teammates, top 25 recruit Demetrius Jackson, had committed to the Fighting Irish. Was one of his stipulations for pledging to Brey that Brey offer his friend and teammate?

Torres also has familial ties to the University. His mom played soccer there. His dad played football there. His grandfather went to school there. Central Michigan wasn’t where Torres wanted to go; it’s where he settled on because he didn’t think his “dream” would give him the chance.

But that’s not the biggest reason I don’t feel bad — not one bit — for Davis.

Remember the name Joseph Young?

He was a Providence-signee back in the summer of 2010, but with that program falling on hard times — and with his father retaining a job on the new coaching staff with the Houston Cougars — Young decided he wanted to back out of his NLI and play for pops in front of friends and family back home in Texas. Davis, the classy guy that he is, decided not to allow Young out of his NLI and forced him to sit out the 2010-2011 season.

Karma’s a beesting, ain’t she?

(Photo credit: Central Michigan)

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

West Virginia’s Sagaba Konate returns to school

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The nation’s most entertaining shot-blocker is back for another season.

Sagaba Konate, a 6-foot-9 center from Mali, will return to school for his junior season to anchor West Virginia’s defense for yet another season, according to ESPN.

Konate declared for the draft and went through the combine, and while his shot-blocking and intensity shined through there as it did throughout the season, he’s more of a mid-to-late second round pick than he is a first rounder at this point.

As a sophomore, Konate averaged 10.8 points, 7.6 boards and 3.2 blocks. He also shot 79 percent from the free throw line.

So let’s sit back and enjoy what we get to see for another year:

Luke Maye to return to North Carolina for senior season

Abbie Parr/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Here’s something I never thought I’d say: Luke Maye is returning to North Carolina for his senior season, meaning that the Tar Heels will have their preseason National Player of the Year candidate back in the fold.

Who saw that coming?

“I have had a great experience learning from the NBA process and growing as a basketball player during the past couple weeks,” Maye wrote on Instagram. “I would like to thank my family, friends, coaches and teammates for all of their support. Through this process, I have decided that I am going to comeback to school to improve as a player and finish my college career. I am looking forward to the opportunities and challenges that I will face and there is no better group to do it with than my teammates and the Carolina family! Time to finish the right way with two of the best players and leaders that I know! Let’s finish our legacy the right way!”

Maye, who averaged 16.9 points and 10.1 boards as a junior, declared for the draft last month, but he did not get invited to the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago last week. The 6-foot-9 forward is a stretch four that will fit perfectly at the four for the Tar Heels this season, with Nassir Little, Cam Johnson and Kenny Williams on the perimeter and a trio of sophomore bigs to handle the five.

Getting Maye back was key, but expected. UNC reaching their ceiling this season will depend on whether or not their point guard play is up to par. With Jalek Felton gone and Joel Berry II graduated, that is going to come down to whether or not Seventh Woods can handle the lead guard role or if Coby White can step in and start as a freshman.

Old Dominion lands former four-star center

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Elbert Robinson came out of high school in 2014 as a borderline top-50 recruit with offers from the likes of Florida, Kansas and Louisville before he ultimately chose to attend LSU.

The 7-foot-1 center, though, never even averaged 10 minutes a game in Baton Rouge and now will be finishing his career as a graduate transfer at Old Dominion, according to multiple reports.

“Old Dominion was perfect for him,” Lawrence Johns, Robinson’s grassroots coach, told the Virginian-Pilot. “I know for a fact that nobody in (Conference USA) is over 7 feet.

“I told him to go there and show people why he was the No. 1 center the year he came out.”

Robinson, who sat out last year for medical reasons, could step right into a major role with the Monarchs, who lost their starting frontcourt this offseason. He averaged 2.1 points and 1.4 rebounds in 6.4 minutes per game last year for the Tigers.

VIDEO: Mixtape for North Carolina-bound Nassir Little

1 Comment

Nassir Little is one of the most improved players in the high school basketball ranks, going from being a guy that was a borderline five-star prospect to being a potential No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

At 6-foot-7 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan and athleticism to burn, he has all the makings of being one of the switchable wing defenders that are en vogue in the modern era of the NBA.

Former UNC star Phil Ford has surgery for prostate cancer

Allen Dean Steele /Allsport
1 Comment

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina says former point guard Phil Ford has had surgery for prostate cancer.

Team spokesman Steve Kirschner said Wednesday that Ford underwent the procedure Tuesday after he was diagnosed during his annual physical. Dr. Eric Wallen, the UNC physician who is treating Ford, says the cancer was caught early because Ford “has been proactive regarding his health.”

Ford played for Dean Smith in the 1970s and scored 2,290 points, a mark that stood as the school record until Tyler Hansbrough broke it in 2008. Ford also spent 12 seasons as an assistant to Smith after a seven-year NBA career in which he was the rookie of the year in 1979.