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Courtney Stockard leads St. Bonaventure past UCLA

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Tuesday’s First Four matchup between East Region 11-seeds St. Bonaventure and UCLA was considered by some to be the top matchup of the tournament’s first two days, due in large part to the perimeter matchup. With the Bonnies being led by Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley, and UCLA having it’s own perimeter stud in Aaron Holiday, it was easy to see why there was so much anticipation.

But in the end Courtney Stockard, who missed the Atlantic 10 semifinal loss to Davidson with a hamstring injury, stole the show in leading the Bonnies to the 65-58 victory.

With the win, the program’s first NCAA tournament victory since 1970, the Bonnies advance to face 6-seed Florida Thursday in Dallas.

On a night that saw both Adams and Mobley struggle offensively, Stockard stepped forward to score 26 points to lead the way. Playing with two big men for much of the game, UCLA struggled to match up with Stockard at the four. Stockard’s effort helped the Bonnies pull out the victory despite Mobley (14 points) and Adams (eight points) combining to shoot 6-for-28 from the field.

And with LaDarien Griffin chipping in with ten points off the bench, the Bonnies had all the production they needed.

UCLA got off to a hot start, jumping out to a 14-7 lead with Holiday either scoring or assisting on 13 of those points. But St. Bonaventure would switch things up defensively, with head coach Mark Schmidt employing multiple zone looks in an attempt to slow things down. The move worked, as UCLA was careless with the basketball and would finish the game with 20 turnovers.

St. Bonaventure, which turned the ball over just six times, converted UCLA’s miscues into 30 points. Holiday was responsible for 10 of those turnovers, and he lost his poise late with some key mistakes before fouling out with 20 points and seven assists. Price Ali added 13 points and Kris Wilkes ten for UCLA, but Thomas Welsh shot just 1-for-5 from the field and finished with two points to go along with 15 rebounds.

St. Bonaventure will need to be sharper offensively if they’re to have a chance of beating Florida. But in taking care of UCLA, this group of Bonnies has accomplished something the program hadn’t done since Bob Lanier was in uniform.

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.”