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Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing hopes to continue Syracuse series

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Count Georgetown legend and coach Patrick Ewing among those who hopes to keep the Hoyas’ historic and now non-conference rivalry with Syracuse alive after their four-year contract ends this weekend.

“Definitely. I think it’s good for both universities,” Ewing said ahead of Saturday’s matchup with the Orange in D.C. “We’ve had a lot of battles over the years when they were in the Big East and I think it’s good for both universities to continue.”

There’s little doubt John Thompson and Jim Boeheim had legendary games throughout the 1980s and 1990s as the two programs enjoyed national prominence in a rough-and-tumble Big East that was often the toast of the country. The old Big East, though, wasn’t just the Hoyas and the Orange. Georgetown had big games with the likes of Connecticut and Boston College, too, that dissolved once the Big East’s basketball programs split off in the last round of conference realignment. Would those, too, be something Ewing might be interested in rekindling?

“I’m not even sure about those guys yet” he said. “Syracuse was one of the biggest rivalries that we had so we definitely want to continue that.

“Others, we’ll see about it.”

Not exactly a resounding answer if you were hoping to see the Hoyas in Storrs or Boston anytime soon.

Which is fine, but it’s also something of a missed opportunity. Georgetown continuing to play Syracuse is huge. That’s a matchup that means a ton to both schools, and to the sport at large, honestly. It might not be the game it was when Ewing was in a jersey, but it’s a great opportunity to remember the Big East when it was at its best.

That’s less the case for any other former Big East team the Hoyas might otherwise schedule, but given how Ewing has put his non-conference slates together in his two years at the helm, he could use a little juice that UConn or BC or Pitt or West Virginia or whoever could bring to the schedule.

Syracuse was the only Power 5 opponent the Hoyas played in the non-con last year, and this season they’re joined only by Illinois. They’ll take on SMU of the AAC later this month, but otherwise it’s a bunch of games that are going to do little to get anyone excited about Georgetown basketball before January.

The first step for Ewing to get Georgetown back to prominence is winning in the Big East, which understandably is his top priority, but eventually the Hoyas are going to have to start playing actual challenging schedules in November and December if they really want to be taken seriously as power program once again. Putting a few former Big East teams on the docket would be an easy way to do that.

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.”