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Big East Conference Reset: Is this the best Villanova team we’ve seen?

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College basketball’s non-conference season is finally coming to a close.

To help you shake off post-holiday haze and the hangover of losing in your fantasy football playoffs, we’ll be providing you with some midseason primers to get you caught up on all the nation’s most important conferences.

Who has been the best player in the biggest leagues?

Who is on track to get an NCAA tournament bid?

What have we learned about the conference hierarchy, and what is left for us to figure out?

We break it all down here.

Today, we’ll be taking a look at the Big East.

MIDSEASON BIG EAST PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Jalen Brunson, Villanova

Picking between Brunson and his Villanova teammate, Mikal Bridges, is not an easy thing to do. Bridges jettisoned himself into the conversation when he went for 28 points in a win over Gonzaga in the Champions Classic, but it’s been Brunson that has been Villanova’s best, and most important, player throughout the season. Brunson’s efficiency is inhuman – he’s shooting 65.8 percent from two and 53.1 percent from three on more than four threes per game – but what is more relevant is that he’s the engine that makes this Villanova team go.

I also think he’s the most irreplaceable player on the Villanova roster. If Bridges goes down with an injury or is in foul trouble in a given game, Jay Wright still have guys like Donte Divicenzo and Phil Booth at his disposal. There isn’t a like-for-like replacement from Brunson, mainly because there aren’t many point guards that can do what he does.

THE ALL-BIG EAST FIRST TEAM

  • JALEN BRUNSON, Villanova
  • MARCUS FOSTER, Creighton: It is tougher than you might think picking between Foster and Khyri Thomas, but I lean Foster because of the volume and efficiency he is scoring with playing on a team that doesn’t have great point guard play.
  • MIKAL BRIDGES, Villanova: The most versatile defender in the Big East is also averaging 17.3 points and shooting 46 percent from three for the No. 1 team in the country.
  • TREVON BLUIETT, Xavier: I think you can make the argument that Bluiett is the best all-around scorer in the Big East, and with Xavier looking like a top ten team this season, he’s in the first-team all-american discussion.
  • ANGEL DELGADO, Seton Hall: Picking Delgado over his teammate Desi Rodriguez might be wrong, but I value Delgado’s yeoman’s work on the glass. Combine that with the attention he commands defensively being a major reason Rodriguez gets the chances he gets, and Delgado is my pick.

POSTSEASON PREDICTIONS

  • NCAA: Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall, Creighton, St. John’s, Marquette
  • NIT: Butler, Providence, Georgetown
  • OTHER/NO POSTSEASON: DePaul
Jalen Brunson (Elsa/Getty Images)

THREE THINGS WE’VE LEARNED

1. THIS IS THE BEST VILLANOVA TEAM OF THEIR DYNASTY: For the first time in this five-year run of utter dominance, I can honestly look at the Villanova roster and refer to them as the best team in college basketball. Think about it. The year they won the title, many – including myself – thought that Michigan State was the best team in the sport. Last year, my money would have been on Kansas or Gonzaga. In 2015, Kentucky went 38-0. In 2014, Villanova wasn’t even really in the conversation.

But this year?

This year they are the nation’s best team.

Their versatility is almost unfair. In Eric Paschall and Mikal Bridges, Villanova has two players that can, quite literally, guard any position on the court. This allows them to play big – with Omari Spellman at the five – or small – with Jalen Brunson, Phil Booth and Donte Divincenzo on the floor at the same time. They have shooters at every position, including Spellman, and a point guard that can score in the post. They’re old, they have pros and they know exactly what their coach expects out of them.

It may be hard to believe, but Villanova is at a point where they can lose an all-american first round pick, the man that hit the national title-winning three and their starting center and get better.

Sheesh.

Trevon Bluiett (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

2. THE TOP OF THE BIG EAST IS AS GOOD AS EXPECTED: We expected there to be four top 25 teams in the Big East and there are four top 25 teams in the Big East. Villanova we know about. Xavier, at this point in the season, looks like they belong in the conversation as a Final Four contender and a top ten team; the combination of Chris Mack and Trevon Bluiett has won a lot of games and will when a few more before the season is over. Seton Hall has had their hiccups but they are right on track to end up being a top four or five seed in the NCAA tournament come March. The fourth top 25 team is something of a surprise, as Creighton has played their way into the polls on the shoulders of a pair of talented wings, Khyri Thomas and Marcus Foster.

All four of those teams have the horses to get to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament. At least two can make a run to the Final Four. It’s as good as advertised at the top of the Big East, but …

3. … IS THE MIDDLE OF THE LEAGUE WHAT WE THOUGHT?: It’s a legitimate question because the answer depends on what you thought the Big East would be this season. If you saw them pushing for seven bids to the Big Dance this year, then the conference, outside of the top four, has been a little underwhelming, right?

The biggest disappointment has been Providence, who found themselves in the mix for the top 25 early on this season but has started out the year 9-4, but they are far from alone. Marquette has not seemed to figure out the defensive issues that plagued them a season ago while Butler has looked like a team that is trying to replace one of the best young coaches in the game. The x-factor looks to be St. John’s, who has shown flashes of being a threat this season as they battle through a troublingly inefficient offense, but more on that in a bit.

THREE STORYLINES TO FOLLOW

1. WILL CREIGHTON’S POINT GUARD CONUNDRUM BECOME A PROBLEM? WHAT ABOUT XAVIER?: As it stands, the biggest question mark for each one of these teams is their point guard play.

As good as Quentin Goodin has been for Xavier this season, he leads the team in turnovers and has shot 1-for-15 from beyond the arc this year. I’m not a rocket scientist, but that does not seem like a good percentage. Creighton has never really replaced Mo Watson has he tore his ACL last season. They’ve played Davion Mintz and Kaleb Joseph at the point. They’ve played Mitch Ballock and Ty-Shon Alexander there.

Point-guard-by-committee is not generally a recipe for March success.

2. WHEN DOES MARCUS LOVETT RETURN?: This matters for St. John’s. As we mentioned, the Johnnies have not been the most efficient team offensively this season, but that could be helped with the return of Lovett, who was their second-leading scorer a year ago. He’s missed the last six games with a knee injury.

He was also the program’s best playmaker a season ago and is shooting it at better than 40 percent from beyond the arc this season. I’m not willing to say Lovett is the difference between St. John’s getting to the tournament and heading to the NIT – they can get there without him – but his absence certainly lowers their ceiling.

3. IS THERE TROUBLE BREWING IN NEWARK?: Let’s ignore the fact that Khadeen Carrington hasn’t been right all season long and that Myles Powell and Desi Rodriguez have been the most effective offensive weapons for Seton Hall this season. I don’t think that’s where the trouble lies. I think this team likes each other enough that they don’t really care where the points are coming from.

What’s concerning is that a team with aspirations of winning the Big East tournament and making a run in March is having the kind of personnel defections they are having. Freshman point guard Jordan Walker reportedly quit the team over playing time issues and then returned a day or two later. Then just a few days before Christmas, senior big man Ish Sanogo, a vital defensive piece for the Pirates, was suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules.

It’s something to keep an eye on.

GREENVILLE, SC – MARCH 17: Angel Delgado ( Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

THREE PREDICTIONS

1. VILLANOVA WINS ANOTHER NATIONAL TITLE: For the record, my “pick” to win the national is still Michigan State. I rode with the Spartans in September and I’m still riding with them today.

But for my money, Villanova is the best team in college basketball. I think they’re borderline matchup-proof. I think they have the best point guard in the sport. I think they are a nightmare to play against defensively. And I think they’re probably the favorite to win it all.

2. XAVIER JOINS THEM IN THE FINAL FOUR: I don’t know how many coaches there are that I would rather have in a win-or-go-home setting than Chris Mack.

I also don’t know how many players there are I would want in a tournament more than I want Trevon Bluiett.

I’m concerned about their point guard play, and the Musketeers have not been quite as good on the defensive end of the floor as I would have expected them to be entering the season, but the fact of the matter is that if you’re giving me Chris Mack and you’re giving me Trevon Bluiett, I like my chances.

3. THE BIG EAST ENDS UP WITH AT LEAST SIX TOURNAMENT TEAMS: There are two reasons that I can see this working out.

For starters, some of the other Power 5 leagues have just not been all that impressive to date. How many bids can we realistically expect out of the Pac-12? Or the Big Ten? Or the American? What about the WCC and the Mountain West? Can they get more than three teams into the dance combined? Even the SEC is coming back down to earth some what.

Someone is going to have to earn those at-large bids, and I fully expect the Big East teams to be in the mix.

And part of the reason why is I think that the middle of the league will land some upsets during conference play. St. John’s will get right when Lovett returns, and there’s a very real chance that Providence returns to form once they get fully healthy. Throw in Marquette and Butler, and my guess is at least two of those teams win enough to go dancing.

Big 12 conference reset: Kansas even stronger after Final Four?

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The NBA Draft’s Early Entry Deadline has come and gone, and there are a dozen or so truly impactful decisions that are left to be made.

Just about every elite recruit has decided where they will be playing their college ball next season.

The coaching carousel has come to a close.

The transfer market is slowly winding down.

In other words, by now, we have a pretty good feel for what college basketball is going to look like during the 2018-19 season.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what has happened — and what will happen — in the Big 12 over the next six months.

KEY OFFSEASON STORYLINES

THE KANSAS MACHINE: Bill Self had what many considered his worst Kansas team and what the Kansas coach himself admitted was his unlikeliest Big 12 champions – the Jayhawks won not only their 14th-consecutive conference title but advanced all the way to the Final Four. There’s simply little else in this world you can count on more consistently than KU being the best the Big 12 has to offer.

And the Jayhawks may be even better this year. Sure, they lose a sizable chunk of the core that propelled them to San Antonio last season, but one of the reasons the Jayhawks were so vulnerable last year – depth and versatility – is what will make them formidable this year with the best transfer class in the country becoming eligible. Which isn’t even to mention another top recruiting haul. Kansas is a machine – something of a mix between a watch and a wrecking ball.

(David Purdy/Getty Images)

LOOMING DECISIONS: There may be little drama surrounding who is the team to beat heading into the upcoming season, there remains some intrigue as spring turns to summer. Most NBA decisions have been made, but there are some that could swing the balance of power at different spots across the league hierarchy.

The most impactful is probably Udoka Azubuike, the Kansas center who became an integral part of the Jayhawks’ four-out offense last year as the man in the middle keeping defenses honest. The Jayhawks will be able to play different ways this season with an expanded roster, but Azubuike is simply a player most teams don’t have a counter for – he’s a 75.4 percent career shooter from the floor.

Lindell Wigginton’s stay-or-go decision could hold the biggest sway over the future for any team in the league. The 6-foot-2 guard exhibited his athleticism and scoring prowess during his freshman season and is now weighing whether to try to be the first Nova Scotia native to make it in the NBA now or wait a year. If he returns, the Cyclones have four starters back and one of the most dynamic scorers in the conference. If he doesn’t, Iowa State is going to be relying heavily on newcomers to put points on the board.

West Virginia’s success is likely tied to its system, but having Sagaba Konate on the back line swatting away shots sure makes that system a lot better. He’ll be back to school next season. Kansas State should return its whole starting, and though Barry Brown hasn’t made his return official, it’s widely expected.

BRUCE WEBER’S RESURGENCE: On Feb. 25, 2017, Kansas State lost by 30 to an Oklahoma team that would finish ninth in the Big 12. It was the Wildcats’ fifth loss in six games and dropped them to 6-10 in the Big 12. Kansas State faithful, already frustrated by back-to-back missed NCAA tournaments and mass player defections, seemed to have had enough. The drumbeat to part with Weber amplified out of Manhattan.

Now just 15 months later, Weber has been to back-to-back NCAA tournaments and should have his entire roster from an Elite Eight team intact in 2018-19. That is one heckuva turnaround. Weber may not ever get the level of admiration that his predecessor, Frank Martin, got in the Octagon of Doom, but the results – I haven’t even mentioned that split 2013 regular season Big 12 title – speak for themselves and 2019 could scream the loudest.

WHERE DOES OKLAHOMA GO?: There was probably nothing as fun in the first few weeks and months of the 2017-18 season than Trae Young and Oklahoma. The kid who graduated from Norman North High School was doing the best Steph Curry impersonation the sport has seen since, well, Steph Curry became Steph Curry. Young was, inarguably, a sensation as he bombed away from 30 feet, dished out assists by the bundle and had the Sooners cruising.

Then the bottom fell out. Young still ultimately led the country in scoring and assists while the Sooners made the NCAA tournament, but the freshman phenom languished down the stretch while Oklahoma lost nine of their last 11 games. Now, Young is a likely lottery pick and the Sooners got hit with a one-two punch of transfers by Jordan Shepherd and Kameron McGusty. Lon Kruger is one of the country’s best coaches, but things look a little sideways for the Sooners at the moment without a ton of talent on the roster and the stink of last year’s finish still in the air.

(Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

WHO’S GONE?

  • DEVONTE’ GRAHAM, SVI MYKHAILIUK, LAGERALD VICK and MALIK NEWMAN: These are heavy losses for the Jayhawks to sustain – and they’re still waiting out Azubuike – but they’re uniquely positioned to sustain them like few other teams in the country. It’ll be Graham’s steadiness and leadership that could be missed most.
  • KEENAN EVANS and ZHAIRE SMITH, Texas Tech: Evans was maybe one of the more underrated and overlooked players nationally last season as he averaged 17.6 points and carried the offensive load for the defensive-minded Red Raiders – and he did it down the stretch with a broken toe. He could be one of the hardest players in the conference to replace. Smith was the most electric dunker in the Big 12 – and maybe the country. His upside was just too high to keep him in college for another year. He’s likely headed for the lottery.
  • JEVON CARTER and TEDDY ALLEN, West Virginia: Carter’s production, specifically on the defensive end, is going to be so hard for the Mountaineers to replicate, but it’ll be his presence, his attitude, his aura – he was Press Virginia personified – that make him irreplaceable even for a program that’s entered plug-and-play territory. Allen really became WVU’s go-get-a-bucket guy down the stretch, and given how much they’ve struggled to score in the halfcourt in recent years, his decision to transfer stings.
  • VLADIMIR BRODZIANSKY and KENRICH WILLIAMS, TCU: Brodziansky blossomed into arguably the Big 12’s best big man while Williams was a huge part of the Horned Frogs’ identity offensively. TCU has a lot coming back, but filling these two roster holes will be difficult.
  • JO LUAL-ACUIL and MANU LECOMTE, Baylor: Baylor was resurgent in the second half of the season in no small part thanks to this duo.
  • MO BAMBA and ERIC DAVIS, JR, Texas: Bamba was always destined to be a one-and-done player so Texas was always prepared to bid him farewell this spring and the emergence of Jericho Sims during Bamba’s absence due to a toe injury mitigates the damage. The Longhorns are losing a lottery pick, yes, but they’ve planned for it and have an excellent replacement option. Davis decided to pursue a pro career just a few weeks after he was connected to Christian Dawkins in a Yahoo report.
  • TRAE YOUNG, KAMERON MCGUSTY AND JORDAN SHEPHERD, Oklahoma: Young was the Sooners last year as the country’s leading scorer and assist man – which, depending on your perspective – was either the impetus of the Sooners’ late-season swoon or an indictment of his less-than-capable teammates. That supporting cast will get its chance to prove itself – minus McGusty and Shepherd, who elected to transfer out of the program.
  • JEFFREY CARROLL, Oklahoma State: Carroll was a huge part of Oklahoma State’s surprising competitiveness last season, and his consistency will be missed in Mike Boynton’s second season.
(Elsa/Getty Images)

WHO’S BACK?

  • ESA AHMAD, West Virginia: Ahmad had an uneven season after being ineligible for more than the first half of the year, but his talent and toughness is critical for the Mountaineers.
  • JARRETT CULVER, Texas Tech: Zhaire Smith’s talent and aerial acrobatics made him the Red Raiders’ most dynamic and promising freshman, but Culver showed a ton of promise averaging 11.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists in his rookie campaign.
  • KANSAS STATE: You could single out Barry Brown or Dean Wade here, but the Wildcats are literally bringing back their whole rotation. A forgiving draw may have helped them to the Elite Eight, but Kansas State has talent, experience and cohesion – quite the triple threat.
  • ALEX ROBINSON, JAYLEN FISHER, DESMOND BANE and KOUAT NOI, TCU: Jamie Dixon may be losing Brodziansky and Williams, but he returns a solid core and gets Fisher back from injury. The Horned Frogs are going to be a competitive threat to the rest of the league now with Dixon getting things rolling at his alma mater
  • DYLAN OSETKOWSKI, JERICHO SIMS, KERWIN ROACH, MATT COLEMAN AND ANDREW JONES, Texas: The Longhorns don’t exactly have star power on this team – at least apparent star power at the moment – but they’ve got guys that have got it done at this level. Andrew Jones missed most of last season after being diagnosed with leukemia, but coach Shaka Smart has spoken this offseason about the hope that Jones will be able to suit up in Austin once again this season – which is great news for reasons well beyond basketball.
  • BRADY MANEK, Oklahoma: Manek certainly wasn’t at the talent level of his classmate Trae Young, but the young big man did show flashes that he at least could one day be counted on to contribute in the Big 12. The Sooners will need more than just glimpses this year.
  • CAMERON LARD and NICK WEILER-BABB, Iowa State: There were times when the 6-foot-9 Lard looked like he was making an assault on the crown of best big man in the Big 12, putting up double-double after double-double while blocking heaps of shots defensively, but his production waned down the stretch as his consistency wilted. Weiler-Babb was a threat to put a triple-double up seemingly every night as a 6-foot-6 point guard until knee tendinitis sidelined him down the stretch.
(Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

WHO’S COMING?

  • DEDRIC LAWSON, K.J. LAWSON, CHARLIE MOORE, QUINTIN GRIMES, DEVON DOTSON AND DAVID MCCORMACK, Kansas: So the Jayhawks have three high-level transfers – including one potential conference player of the year – and a top-five recruiting class featuring two five-star and two four-star prospects. That’s not reloading – that’s switching to a bazooka. Dedric is the headliner, but K.J put up numbers at Memphis and Moore fills a need a point guard. Then there’s Grimes and Dotson, two top-20 guards. It’s good to be Bill Self.
  • COURTNEY RAMEY, GERALD LIDDELL, KAMAKA HEPA and ELIJAH MITROU-LONG, Texas: Shaka Smart didn’t land any Mo Bamba-level recruits, but he’s got a top-10 class with as many as four players capable of being instant-impact contributors. Mitrou-Long, the brother of former Iowa State standout Naz Mitrou-Long, comes to Austin after being a double-digit scorer at Mount St. Mary’s.
  • MICHAEL WEATHERS, Oklahoma State: The 6-foot-2 guard was the MAC freshman of the year after averaging 16.7 points per game at Miami (Ohio).
  • MARIAL SHAYOK, MICHAEL JACOBSON AND TALEN HORTON-TUCKER, Iowa State: Shayok gives the Cyclones versatility and pedigree (having played in the Elite 8 at Virginia) at the wing while Jacobson could be the floor-spacer in the frontcourt Iowa State lacked last year. The ultra-versatile Horton-Tucker is a top-50 prospect who headlines one of the most promising recruiting classes ever assembled in Ames.
  • MATT MOONEY, TARIQ OWENS AND KHAVON MOORE, Texas Tech: Mooney averaged 18.7 points per game last season at South Dakota before becoming one of the most coveted graduate transfers on the market. The 6-foot-8 Moore is a borderline top-50 recruit that Chris Beard will be looking to get production from.
  • MARIO KEGLER AND MAKAI MASON, Baylor: If Baylor is going to get back to the NCAA tournament for the fifth time in six years, these two transfers will have to play major parts.

COACHING CHANGES

  • NONE: With seven teams in the NCAA tournament and two top-two NIT seeds in 2017-18, the Big 12 had one of its most successful seasons. That made for a quiet silly season, with all 10 coaches staying put and there really being minimal pressure on nearly all 10 of them this year.

WAY-TOO-EARLY ALL-BIG 12 TEAM

Dedric LAWSON, Kansas (POY)
BARRY BROWN, Kansas State
NICK WEILER-BABB, Iowa State
DEAN WADE, Kansas State
UDOKA AZUBUIKE*, Kansas

WAY-TOO-EARLY POWER RANKINGS

1. KANSAS: The Jayhawks are looking for 15 years of supremacy in the Big 12. It’s one of the most amazing accomplishments in the modern era of college hoops.

2. KANSAS STATE: With essentially the whole rotation returning from last year’s Elite Eight team, the Wildcats look to be the strongest contender to their in-state rivals.

3. TCU: The Horned Frogs used to be the laughing stock of the Big 12. Under Jamie Dixon, they have the look of perennial contender.

4. WEST VIRGINIA: The Mountaineers are still going to embrace Bob Huggins’ gruff and tough personality with their Press Virginia style, but losing Jevon Carter is a huge blow to that identity.

5. TEXAS: If Shaka Smart can’t keep the Longhorns in the upper half of the Big 12, there may be some questions in Austin about his long-term viability there. With this roster, though, Texas should be able to accomplish that feat.

6. TEXAS TECH: Keenan Evans is irreplaceable and Zhaire Smith is unmatchable, but the Red Raiders look to have a persona about them under Chris Beard. There’s also certainly no dearth of talent.

7. IOWA STATE: Lindell Wigginton’s decision to return to Ames or stay in the draft is a huge fork in the road for the Cyclones. If he stays, he’s the high-volume scorer everything revolves around. Should he leave, the Cyclones have a lot of interesting pieces but no proven star power and a lot of new faces.

8. BAYLOR: Scott Drew is seemingly at his best when the least is expected of his Bears, so this could be a significant under-slotting, but Baylor will be quite reliant on players that are at some level unknown at this level.

9. OKLAHOMA STATE: Mike Boynton’s team exceedingly overachieved in Year 1 of his tenure, but some early departures and an uninspiring recruiting class means they probably slip in Year 2.

10. OKLAHOMA: Trae Young was the Sooners last year, and his teammates often looked unable to keep up. With no Young and no big-time replacements, it could be a long season for the Sooners.

West Virginia’s Sagaba Konate returns to school

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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

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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

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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

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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.