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Bonnies land three-star forward

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A recent visit to St. Bonaventure was enough for Justin Winston to decide his college basketball future.

The three-star 2019 prospect from New Jersey committed to the Bonnies on Monday, he announced via social media.

“This is for my family and friends, West Orange and New Jersey,” Winston wrote. “I won’t let you guys down.

My family and I have thought hard and about this and I’m proud to announce for my next four years of college I will be attending St. Bonaventure University.”

The 6-foot-8 Winston took his official visit to the Allegany, N.Y. campus this week after previously visiting South Florida. UMass and Seton Hall were also reportedly involved in his recruitment.

Winston is the first commit in coach Mark Schmidt’s 2019 recruiting class. The Bonnies went 26-8 last season and defeated UCLA in the first round of the NCAA tournament as a No. 11 seed.

Stephon Marbury proclaims Dukes Zion Williamson’way better than LeBron’

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People are really excited about Zion Williamson. The high-flying, rim-rattling and highlight machine who doubles as a Duke freshman is a top-five player in the 2018 recruiting class and a likely top pick in the 2019 NBA draft. He’s fantastically good. He’s got college basketball fans champing at the bit to finally see him in action.

No one, though, might be as bullish (or delusional) regarding the 6-foot-7 phenom than former NBA All-Star Stephon Marbury, apparently.

He’s got Williamson as better than LeBron James.

That’s 14-time All-Star, four-time MVP and three-time NBA champ LeBron James. The guy generally regarded to be the best player in the world’s best league for about the last decade or so. And maybe the best ever to play the game.

“Zion is way better than LeBron. It’s not even close,” Marbury proclaimed on Instagram Live over the weekend. “He hasn’t played one pro game. He don’t have to touch a ball, that’s how nice he is. He doesn’t’ have to touch a basketball, and he’s better than LeBron James.”

It would appear that a 13-year NBA career and a wildly successful run in China hasn’t made Marbury much of a talent evaluator. Sure, Williamson is really, really good, but to even talk about him being better than maybe the best player of all time before he’s played a college game, well, I feel like I don’t need to point out what the high-degree of dumb that is. 

“Only Zion has the opportunity to be better than Michael Jordan,” Marbury said. “Zion is going to destroy the whole planet. Remember that I told you that.”

It’ll be hard to forget.

Top-50 recruit Samuell Williamson pledges to Louisville

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An already strong recruiting class just got a little more muscle for Louisville.

Samuell Williamson, a top-50 wing in the 2019 class, committed to the Cardinals on Monday, he announced via social media.

“So many  people have helped me on this journey but I want to specifically thank my trainers, coach Beau Archibald, coach Rodney Elder and Terrell Harris for pushing me and helping me get to this point!” Williamson wrote. “Lastly I want to thank every coach and university that took the time to recruit me!”

Williamson, a 6-foot-6 forward,  averaged 12.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists this past summer on the EYBL circuit.

Williamson’s decision comes after he used all five of his official visits this fall, picking the Cardinals after taking trips to Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Kansas, along with Louisville, in the last two months.

The Rockwall, Texas native becomes the third member – and third four-star prospect – of Chris Mack’s first true recruiting class in the Bluegrass state. He joins guard Josh Nickelberry of North Carolina and forward Jaeyln of Ohio, both top-100 players, in Louisville’s 2019 class.

It’s clear that while Mack has landed a major, five-star, sure-fire one-and-done recruit in his short time with Louisville, the Cardinals’ recruiting isn’t having a major fall off in the wake of a drumbeat of scandals that have hit campus, most recently in the FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball that spurred Louisville to terminate Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino.

After Arizona landed a five-star guard last week and USC’s success on the trail, there doesn’t seem to be much of any recruiting fallout for schools that were initially embroiled in the corruption scandal. Not exactly a great look for a sport that’s made a big deal about trying to clean up a sport – even if few were buying it.

Former NBA guard and Georgia Tech great Kenny Anderson to coach NAIA program

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Former NBA all-star guard Kenny Anderson is taking over as the head coach at NAIA program Fisk University.

Fisk announced on its verified Twitter account Monday that Anderson had been hired to coach at the Nashville-based school.

The The 47-year-old Anderson played for several NBA teams from 1991-2005. He made the 1994 NBA All-Star Game while playing for the New Jersey Nets, who selected him with the No. 2 overall pick in the 1991 draft.

He posted career averages of 12.6 points and 6.1 assists.

Anderson also starred for Georgia Tech’s 1990 Final Four team, and scored 26 points per game en route to first-team All-American honors as a sophomore in 1991.

He becomes the second former NBA All-Star to get hired to coach a Tennessee-based college program this year. Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway was hired in March to coach at Memphis, where he played from 1991-93.

Four-star forward Tray Jackson commits to Minnesota

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Richard Pitino’s first 2019 pickup is a significant one.

Tray Jackson, a four-star forward, has committed to Minnesota, he announced in a social media post Monday.

“110 percent committed!!” Jackson wrote.

The 6-foot-8 prospect out of Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, Kan. picks the Gophers after a weekend visit to the Twin Cities. He previously both Oklahoma and Seton Hall earlier this summer.

“Really I’ve been on plenty of visits and enough to know what I like, I just got a really good vibe from the coaching staff and the players,” Jackson told 247Sports. “I went around campus and I loved the campus. I love the support the sports gets, it’s really some of the best country.

“It was just how welcoming they were. They didn’t pressure me or bash any other colleges and never mentioned any other colleges.”

Jackson, a top-100 prospect, will help fill an immediate need for the Gophers, who will lose starting center Jordan Murphy to graduation after the upcoming season.

“Obviously coming in, I’ll have to work for my starting spot,” Jackson told 247Sports, “but coming in being able to play. I just feel like I can come in and make history.”

Jackson is the first member of Pitino’s 2019 class. Pitino has now secured at least one four-star recruit in five-straight classes with the Gophers.

Tennessee’s Barnes gets three-year contract extension, raise

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee basketball coach Rick Barnes has received a three-year contract extension and raise that will earn him $21 million over the next six years.

Athletic director Phillip Fulmer announced Thursday in a university release that Barnes has received an extension through the 2023-24 season. The extension comes after Barnes led Tennessee to a share of the 2018 Southeastern Conference regular-season title .

“Tennessee is a very special place, and I believe this program is capable of accomplishing very special things,” Barnes said in a statement.

His original contract paid him $2.25 million a year and was set to expire on April 15, 2021. Under his new deal, Barnes will make an average of $3.5 million per year.

Barnes, 64, will make $3.25 million in 2018-19. He gets a $100,000 pay increase each of the remaining years on his contract.

In his statement, Barnes thanked Fulmer and interim chancellor Wayne Davis for the commitment they’d made to his staff.

“I truly believe I’m surrounded by the best staff in college basketball,” Barnes said.

Barnes is 57-44 in three seasons at Tennessee and owns an overall record of 661-358 in 31 seasons. He coached at Providence, Clemson and Texas before arriving at Tennessee in 2015.

Picked to finish 13th out of 14 SEC teams in a preseason media poll last year, Tennessee instead tied Auburn for the regular-season championship. Barnes was named the SEC coach of the year .

Tennessee finished 26-9 and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament, where they lost to eventual Final Four participant Loyola-Chicago on a shot in the closing seconds .

The Volunteers return their top six scorers from that 26-9 team.

“Rick has done an exceptional job of re-establishing our men’s basketball program into a championship-level program,” Fulmer said in a statement. “He stepped into what was a difficult situation as our program was struggling to find stability, and he’s very quickly instilled a winning culture during a time when Southeastern Conference basketball is becoming increasingly competitive.”