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Wisconsin shocks No. 6 Purdue with third-straight loss

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After 19-straight wins, a two-game losing streak for No. 6 Purdue was nothing to panic about. Especially considering that pair of losses came by a combined four points against fellow Big Ten frontrunners Ohio State and Michigan State. Those two setbacks could be reasoned away as a confluence of statistical probability and scheduling.

There’s nothing so simple and innocuous to explain the Boilermakers’ 57-53 loss to a rebuilding Wisconsin on Thursday at the Kohl Center.

There is cause for concern in West Lafayette.

The Badgers are simply not very good this season. That’s really a charitable description. They’re bad. Quite bad, even, given the standard that’s been long-established in Madison. Greg Gard’s team entered the night 11-16 overall and 4-10 in the Big Ten, losers of six of their last seven, nine of their last 11 and looking destined to be the first Wisconsin squad to miss out on the NCAA tournament in 20 years.

And it’s not as though the Badgers went just bonkers. They were 4 of 21 from 3-point range. Their true lone bright spot of this season, Ethan Happ, scored 21 points but needed 20 shots to do it. The team shot 39.2 percent from the floor and 65 percent from the free-throw line.

That is rarely a recipe for beating anyone, even on your home floor, and especially not the blueprint to claim a top-10 win.

Unless of course that top-10 opponent shoots just 39.6 percent, makes 4 of 17 3s and turns it over 13 times in a low-possession game. Which is, of course, exactly what Purdue did.

Not only did the Boilermakers no-show against the Badgers, but they suffered a significant blow in their bid for a Big Ten title and No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. This was a bad loss at a bad time with bad implications for the Boilermakers.

They let a below-average team dictate to them for nearly a full 40 minutes. Purdue never exerted its will against a Badgers team that, while no doubt feeling inspiring by Frank Kaminsky’s jersey retirement, had lost three-straight home games without being especially competitive in any of those losses.

Purdue was due a drawback after that long winning streak. It’s just near-impossible to keep up that level of play for more than two months. The middle of February can become a grind for any team. It’s the time of the season that is a true mental stress test with so much tread worn off the tire and March looking a bit like a mirage in the distance.

This three-game losing streak appears as though it could be more than that for Purdue, though. Losing to Ohio State and Michigan State looks like a couple tough nights. Falling to this Wisconsin team makes things look significantly more troubling.

Ohio State grabs five-star 2019 point guard D.J. Carton

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Ohio State landed one of the biggest commitments so far this summer on Saturday as five-star Class of 2019 point guard D.J. Carton pledged to the Buckeyes.

The 5-foot-11 Carton burst onto the national recruiting scene this spring as he went from a relative unknown into a five-star prospect. Although Carton doesn’t play on a major shoe-company circuit he impressed national scouts and college coaches with his play during the April live evaluation period with Quad Cities Elite — the same program that produced quality college players like Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ and Montana State’s Tyler Hall.

An explosive athlete who can play above the rim, Carton showed a high amount of upside during the USA Basketball U18 tryouts in June as he competed against many of the top players in his class.

Ohio State is landing a key piece at an opportune time as they now have a lead guard of the future to help build around. Carton is only the third five-star prospect to commit from the Class of 2019 so far, as he’s the No. 17 overall prospect in the Rivals national rankings. Carton joins in-state four-star wing Alonzo Gaffney in the Buckeyes’ 2019 recruiting class as Ohio State has the makings of a potential top 10 recruiting class.

With where Ohio State was last summer, with head coach Chris Holtmann taking the job in June and the roster lacking scholarship players, the Buckeyes have had a monster turnaround in the last 14 months. Ohio State now, once again, looks like a scary team when it comes to recruiting as they should be a major factor for some elite prospects.

Alabama lands four-star wing Juwan Gary

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Alabama added a quality wing to its Class of 2019 recruiting haul on Friday as four-star Juwan Gary pledged to the Crimson Tide.

The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Gary has been a known national prospect since his freshman season as the South Carolina native is an athletic two-way wing who thrives in the open court. Although Gary still needs to polish up his jumper, he has the potential to be an impact player in the SEC, especially if Alabama gets him going in transition.

Gary joins four-star forward Diante Smith in the Crimson Tide recruiting class in 2019 as now head coach Avery Johnson and his staff can focus more of their efforts on adding to a potentially strong class. Pulling Gary out of South Carolina — especially in light of recent NCAA tournament success from in-state programs like South Carolina and Clemson — is an impressive recruiting win for Alabama.

Former UCLA guard Billy Knight was facing child molestation charges before suicide

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Former UCLA guard Billy Knight, who took his own life earlier this week, was arrested in June for sexually abusing a nine-year old girl, according to court documents that were obtained by The Mercury News.

The alleged assaults occurred in April of 2017 and Knight was reportedly arrested in Arizona in June. He was being charged with two counts of sexual conduct with a minor, two counts of sexual abuse, and two counts of molestation of a child.

Knight posted a video to YouTube prior to his death saying that he had lived a life of “sin”.

Jalek Felton signs pro contract in Europe

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Jalek Felton’s college basketball career is over.

The former North Carolina point guard has signed a pro contract with Olimpija Lubiana, a club team in Slovenia, they announced.

“I’m happy to join a club like Petrol Olimpija,” Felton said in a statement. “This is a club with a rich tradition, where many NBA players have begun their careers. For me, this is a big step. I know that this will be a great challenge for me and I am ready to go there and work. My agent told me that Olimpija will play in various competitions and that makes me all the more pleased. Playing in such competitions with Olympia in Europe will prepare me for playing in the NBA. The city looks nice and I heard that basketball there is a religion, so this will be an interesting experience.”

Felton, the nephew of former UNC guard Ray Felton, was a five-star prospect that played in 22 games as a freshman with the Tar Heels. But he was suspended from the program in January and, in March, withdrew from school.

He averaged just 2.9 points in his one season in Chapel Hill.

Creighton lands local 2019 commit

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Omaha isn’t exactly thought of as a high school basketball hot bed, but Creighton has had success mining its hometown for talent in recent years, most notably in recent NBA draft picks Justin Patton and Khyri Thomas.

The Bluejays went back to the well Thursday by securing the commitment of Shereef Mitchell, a 6-foot guard from local Burke High School, he announced via social media.

“Being a kid from Omaha you dream of playing for Creighton and in front of the hotown fans,” Mitchell wrote. “That is something I want to do  and I don’t want to turn that opportunity down.

“I can’t wait to play in front of my family, friends and the best fans in the world!”

Burke was offered by Greg McDermott’s staff just earlier this week, adding to a list of offers that included Bradley, Loyola Chicago and South Dakota State.

Burke recently graduated from his Omaha high school, but will reclassify to 2019 after spending a season with Sunrise Christian in Wichita, Kan.

“I really feel like I will be a way better player than what I am right now after my year at Sunrise,” Mitchell told the Omaha World-Herald. “I think I could have a shot at being an impact player right away and possibly starting after a year there.”

Burke averaged 24.6 points and 3.8 assists per game as a high school senior, earning state player of the year honors in the process. He’s hoping to extend the line of Omaha products to thrive at Creighton.

“I’m a kid from Omaha, and getting an offer from Creighton is something kids dream of and it would be hard for me to pass up,” Mitchell told the World-Herald. “Seeing players like Khyri Thomas and Justin Patton, two kids from (Omaha public schools) that are in the NBA, it gives you hope that you can do the same thing.”