Late Night Snacks: Trevor Mbakwe’s back, Siyani Chambers FTW!

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Game of the Night

Harvard 65, Boston U. 64: Siyani Chambers won the “Battle of the freshman point guards that should be on national TV every night”, scoring 17 of his 21 points in the second half — and adding five assists — as the Crimson knocked off the Terriers in Lavietes Pavilion. After DJ Irving scored with nine seconds left to give BU a 64-63 lead, Chambers answered with a short jumper of his own with four ticks left on the clock (end of the video):

The other point guard in that matchup was Maurice Watson, who finished with 12 points, four assists and four steals.

Important Outcomes

Duquesne 60, West Virginia 56: Fresh off of a win over previously undefeated Virginia Tech, West Virginia traveled up to Pittsburgh to take on Atlantic 10 also-ran Duquesne … and lost? Making matters worse is that the ‘Eers blew a 13 point halftime lead, getting outscored 37-20 in the final 20 minutes as they shot just 28% from the floor. Bob Huggins has a number of pieces at his disposal, but it looks like he is still trying to figure out how to get all of those pieces to fit together. Juwan Staten led the way with 13 points, but he was just 5-16 from the floor. That’s a pretty good microcosm for the kind of night that WVU had.

Starred

Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota: Each and every time Mbakwe steps on the floor, he looks like he’s getting closer to being back to 100% after he had surgery a year ago to repair a torn ACL. In a 70-57 win over North Dakota State, Mbakwe went for 14 points and 18 boards, completely dominating the paint on both ends of the floor in the second half. He also threw down a pair of tip-dunks, and while he’s still not jumping quite as high as he was before the ACL injury, that is a good sign.

Matthew Dellavedova, St. Mary’s: St. Mary’s put up a 120 points on Jackson State, so there were a lot of Gaels that had good nights, but Dellavedova led the way as he finished with 31 points, eight assists and six boards. As a team, SMC shot 61.9% from the floor and hit 13-23 from long range.

Struggled

Brandon Paul, Illinois: When Paul is good, Illinois is good. See: Gonzaga. He went for 35 points on 10-16 shooting and the Illini won in Spokane. When Paul’s not good, Illinois’ not all that good. See: Norfolk State. He went for 14 points on 3-12 shooting on Tuesday night, and the Illini only beat the Spartans 64-54 in a game that was within one possession in the final two minutes.

Halil Kanacevic, St. Joseph’s: Kanacevic hit a three with about eight minutes left against Villanova in the rivalry known as the Holy War, and made the excellent decision to flip off the crowd afterwards. The Wildcats would go on an 9-0 run to close out the game — in large part due to a pair of turnovers from Kanacevic, a pair of missed free throws by Kanacevic, and a foul on Kanacevic — as the Hawks lost a road game they had complete control of. He had four points, four boards and five turnovers on the night.

The Rest of the Top 25

No. 3 Michigan 67, Binghamton 39

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

Memphis, Penny land commitment from second five-star prospect, Precious Achiuwa

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The transformation is complete.

On Friday afternoon, Precious Achiuwa, a top 15 prospect in the Class of 2019, announced that he has committed to play his college basketball at Memphis, joining one of the best recruiting classes in the country and affirming that Penny Hardaway will enter the 2019-20 season with a preseason top 10 team.

Achiuwa, one of the top combo-forwards in the class and the kind of athlete that will make him an attractive player to NBA GMs, joins No. 1 player James Wiseman and fellow four-star prospects D.J. Jeffries, Lester Quinones, Boogie Ellis, Damion Baugh and Malcolm Dandridge in Penny’s first real recruiting class as Memphis head coach.

The Tigers also add Rayjon Tucker, arguably the nation’s top grad transfer and a potential NBA player in his own right.

As we wrote earlier this week, Penny is building an absolute monster in Memphis.

Grant Williams will remain in 2019 NBA Draft

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Grant Williams announced on Friday morning that he will be staying in the NBA draft after an All-American junior season with Tennessee.

Williams averaged 18.8 points, 7.5 boards, 3.2 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.1 steals this past season, helping lead Tennessee to a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament and on a run to the Sweet 16, where they lost in overtime to Purdue.

This is probably the right decision for him to make. While he is somewhat undersized and limited athletically, Williams is such a smart and savvy players. He really understands how to pass, he can defend multiple positions and, most importantly, he has a skill-set that should allow him to be able to contribute as a role player at the next level, particularly if his three-point stroke is as good as it has looked in postseason workouts.

Williams is slotted in at No. 19 to San Antonio in the most recent NBC Sports mock draft.

Tennessee will now have to play the waiting game with Jordan Bone, who is still undecided on his status. The Vols currently sit 22nd in the NBC Sports preseason top 25.

Clemson lands Texas Tech transfer Khavon Moore

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Clemson is adding a former top-50 recruit to its roster.

Texas Tech transfer Khavon Moore has pledged to coach Brad Brownell and the Tigers, he announced Thursday.

The 6-foot-7 Moore, a former four-star recruit, played just 2 minutes last season for the Red Raiders and saw his season shutdown amid medical concerns due to lingering issues from a broken leg he suffered in high school. The plan was for him to seek a medical hardship redshirt for last season, which could allow him to still have four years of eligibility remaining at Clemson after sitting out the upcoming season as a transfer.

The Tigers went 20-14 last season and missed the NCAA tournament for the seventh time in nine seasons under Brownell.

Texas Tech, meanwhile, continues to build a monster even with departures like former high-profile recruit.

 

 

Four-star forward Jalen Wilson asks out of Michigan letter of intent

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John Beilein isn’t the only loss Michigan sustained this week.

Jalen Wilson, a top-50 guard in 2019, has requested out of his National Letter of Intent with the Wolverines, he announced Thursday.

“Due to the sudden head coaching change, I have requested my release from The University of Michigan, and will re-open my recruitment,” he wrote on social media.

Beilein’s decision to leave Michigan for the NBA and the Cleveland Cavaliers shocked the college basketball world earlier this week, and there’s little surprise to see it shake the Wolverines’ recruiting class as the head coaching position remains vacant and Michigan conducting a search of its next coach.

Wilson, a 6-foot-8 forward, is now considering Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma State and Florida along with the Wolverines, according to 247Sports. The Texas native suddenly becomes one of the most desirable players left available ahead of the upcoming season.

Cole Bajema, a top-150 wing from Washington, is the lone remaining signee in Michigan’s 2019 class.

Nebraska adds former Tennessee forward Walker

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LINCOLN, Neb. — Former Tennessee forward Derrick Walker is transferring to Nebraska.

Nebraska announced Wednesday it has added Walker to its roster. Nebraska officials said Walker will sit out the 2019-20 season before playing for the Cornhuskers. He has two seasons of eligibility remaining.

Walker entered the NCAA transfer portal after averaging 0.8 points, 1.1 rebounds and 5.3 minutes for Tennessee this past season. The 6-foot-8 Walker averaged 1.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 8.8 minutes as a freshman in the 2017-18 season.

Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg said in a statement, “Derrick is a physical player who gives us skill and versatility in the post.”