Eric Gordon

Four-star 2016 guard Eron Gordon sets announcement date

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Shooting guard Eron Gordon is one of the better perimeter scorers in the Midwest in the Class of 2016 and Gordon will announce his college decision on Saturday.

The younger brother of Eric and Evan Gordon, the native of Indianapolis will announce at 12 p.m. EST at the Jewish Community Center. A 6-foot-3 guard, Gordon will choose between Arizona State, Auburn, Butler, Indiana, LSU, Nebraska, Nevada, Notre Dame, Purdue and Xavier, according to his Facebook post.

Regarded as the No. 81 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, according to Rivals, Gordon attends Cathedral High School in Indianapolis. This spring, Gordon averaged 19.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game playing in the adidas Gauntlet.

With many guards in the Midwest flying off the board, Gordon’s commitment will be interesting since he has schools from all over on his list.

Four-star 2016 guard files appeal to play this season

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Eron Gordon, the younger brother of New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Gordon, is a four-star prospect, regarded as the No. 44 overall recruit in the junior class by Rivals.

However, he is currently ineligible to play this season. Last month, the Indiana High School Athletic Association (ISHAA) upheld a ruling that would sideline the 6-foot-2 guard this winter. The Indianapolis native transferred from North Central High to Cathedral, which is believed to be for athletic reasons, not academic. On Saturday, Kyle Neddenriep of the Indianapolis Star reported that the Gordons have filed an appeal with the Department of Education.

On Aug. 29, when the initially ruling was upheld, Gordon was given 30 days to file an appeal. If the Department of Education’s review panel does not overturn the ISHAA’s decision this case could end up in trial court.

Gordon currently holds offers Indiana and Purdue. This summer he told told NBCSports.com that he’s already taken unofficial visits to Duke and Michigan. Gordon was also planning a visit to Kentucky.

College Hoops Previews: 2012-2013’s Impact Transfers

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Throughout the month of October, CollegeBasketballTalk will be rolling out our previews for the 2012-2013 season. Check back at 9 a.m. and just after lunch every day, Monday-Friday, for a new preview item.

To browse through the preview posts we’ve already published, click here. To look at the rest of The Lists we’ve published, click here. For a schedule of our previews for the month, click here.

While the sheer volume of this season’s transfer class may not indicate that we have a transferring epidemic on our hands, based on my rigorously scientific opinions, there is an incredible number of impact transfers at nationally relevant programs.

The evidence?

This list.

Here are the 15 programs that will see the biggest impact from incoming transfers, which is precisely half of the list of 30 programs that will be using a player in a significant role that began their career at a different Division I program. Of the 30 programs listed, 13 of them have more than one relevant transfer. Two of them have four incoming transfers.

(* = eligible in December):

Mark Lyons, Arizona: The importance of Lyons to the Wildcats has been widely written about. The Xavier transfer, who is eligible immediately under the graduate transfer rule, fills a gaping void at the point guard spot left by Josiah Turner’s departure. But is Lyons the facilitator that a talented Arizona team needs?

Alex Oriakhi, Jabari Brown*, Earnest Ross and Keion Bell, Missouri: Half of Missouri’s rotation will be transfers. Bell and Brown, when he’s eligible, will provide perimeter scoring and Ross will be a versatile forward off the bench. Oriakhi’s defensive presence, if he returns to his 2011 form, will be the key addition, however.

Ryan Harrow and Julius Mays, Kentucky: Kentucky didn’t have a point guard in their 2012 recruiting class, which was planned. Coach Cal brought in Harrow, a former top 40 recruit that started at NC State as a freshman, to fill that role. Mays may not see much court time.

Trent Lockett, Marquette: Lockett was a big-time scorer in his three seasons at Arizona State, and he’ll be eligible immediately at Marquette due to an illness in the family. Lockett’s a perfect fit for a Buzz Williams coached team: a big, athletic wing that can score in multiple ways.

Rotnei Clarke, Butler: Butler was one of the best defensive teams in the country a season ago, and should be again this year. What they were missing last season was perimeter shooting. And Clarke is the best shooter in the country, no “arguably” needed. His role is even more important with Chrishawn Hopkins’ departure.

Luke Hancock, Louisville: Hancock, when healthy, is a talented playmaker on the wing. The problem is that Hancock has had a myriad of shoulder issues that may limit his health and his preparedness for the season. At 100%, he’s a valuable weapon for the Cardinals.

James Johnson*, JJ O’Brien and Dwayne Polee, San Diego State: The Aztecs are loaded on the perimeter, but what they were missing last season was an interior presence. O’Brien and Polee are both technically front court players, but are better suited for the wing than the paint. Johnson, however, will provide some interior size when he gets eligible.

Khem Birch* and Bryce Jones, UNLV: Jones is an important addition for the Runnin’ Rebels because of his ability on the wing. UNLV doesn’t have an overload of talent on the wing. They do up front, however, and Birch is as talented as anyone. The former top ten recruit gives Dave Rice as much talent up front as anyone in the country.

Larry Drew, UCLA: It’s been almost two years since Drew played in a game, but he’ll join UCLA as the starting point guard on a team many think can be a Final Four contender.

Aaric Murray, Matt Humphrey and Juwan Staten, West Virginia: There’s a very real chance that all three of these guys start for the Mountaineers. Staten and Humphrey will be impact additions, but Murray, who averaged 15.2 points and 7.7 boards at La Salle as a sophomore, is a difference maker if he stays focused.

Trey Zeigler, Pitt: The Panthers caught a break when Zeigler was given immediate eligibility by the NCAA, because he is a talented off-guard that will fit nicely alongside Tray Woodall in the back court. He was a top 75 recruit in high school.

Will Clyburn and Korie Lucious, Iowa State: The Cyclones are once again building their team around an influx of transfers. Lucious was a starter at Michigan State before getting into off-the-court trouble, while Clyburn once averaged 17.1 points and 7.8 boards for Utah.

Wally Judge, Rutgers: Judge has all kinds of potential — there’s a reason the athletic, 6-foot-10 forward was a McDonald’s all-american — but was never able to play his way into Frank Martin’s good graces.

Keala King*, Edgar Garibay*, Dan Jennings and Tony Freeland*, Long Beach State: Part of the reason that LBSU is once again considered one of the best mid-majors in the country despite their losses is who they added this year. Jennings began his career at West Virginia and should help immediately, but the mid-year additions of King (a former top 25 recruit) and Freeland (a DePaul transfer) should be significant.

Eric Wise and JT Terrell, USC: It’s tough to know the immediate impact of Wise and Terrell given how much USC gets back from injuries this year. But the bottom line is that both will play a lot of important minutes, and Terrell has a chance to be a breakout player on the wing.

And here are 15 more schools who will see a major role filled for them by transfers:

  • Colton Iverson and Daniel Bejarano, Colorado State: The Rams bring back a lot of talent from last year’s tournament team, so while the impact may not be enormous, adding two players — from Minnesota and Arizona, respectively — of this caliber to a rotation can only be beneficial for Larry Eustachy.
  • Desmar Jackson, Southern Illinois: Jackson is a 6-foot-5 wing that averaged 14.6 points and 2.0 steals as a sophomore at Wyoming.
  • Malcolm Armstead, Wichita State: The Shockers graduate quite a bit of back court talent, but Armstead — who averaged more than four assists in two years at Oregon — will help offset that.
  • Garrick Sherman, Notre Dame: The Michigan State transfer will help provide Notre Dame with front court depth behind Jack Cooley.
  • Jared Swopshire and Nikola Cerina, Northwestern: Swopshire’s health is the key here. He was an important piece for Louisville has a sophomore before suffering a brutal groin injury.
  • Amath M’Baye, Oklahoma: As a sophomore at Wyoming, M’Baye averaged 12.0 points. He’ll give Lon Kruger some front court depth.
  • Brian Oliver, Gene Teague and Kyle Smith, Seton Hall: Oliver, who averaged double-figures at Georgia Tech, is the biggest name of this group, but Smith and Teague will play a role for the Pirates, who lost quite a bit to graduation.
  • Taran Buie and Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, Hofstra: The Pride were expected to improve this year based on the play of these two, but an early-season suspension isn’t a good sign.
  • Jerelle Benimon, Bilal Dixon and Mike Burwell, Towson: These three, and a talented incoming recruiting class, are the reason Towson is expected to be competitive after winning one game all of last season.
  • Sidiki Johnson*, Providence: Johnson was a top 100 recruit when he went to Arizona, but didn’t even last a semester there. His size will be valuable for the Friars.
  • RJ Evans, UConn: The Huskies will have quite a bit of perimeter talent next season, but Evans will have a role off the bench.
  • Evan Gordon, Arizona State: The younger brother of Eric Gordon was a big-time scorer at Liberty, but can he have the same kind of impact in the Pac-12?
  • Isaiah Philmore, Xavier: Philmore was a big-time producer at Towson, and he’ll be asked to play the same role for a depleted Xavier squad next season.
  • Devonta Abron, TCU: Abron was an impact freshman at Arkansas last year, averaging 5.7 points and 4.2 boards in 22 starts.
  • DeShawn Painter, Old Dominion: Painter was a key piece for NC State last year, but due to familial issues, he needed to transfer closer to home. He’s the perfect big man for Blaine Taylor’s club.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Why you shouldn’t feel bad about Keno Davis losing out of Austin Torres

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Mike Brey has a reputation for being one of the most stand-up people in college basketball.

One of the gentlemen’s agreements in college hoops is that once a player is committed to a school, he’s off-limits. This isn’t college football. A verbal commitment isn’t exactly binding — it’s not until a player signs a National Letter of Intent that they become legally-bound to a school — but it is supposed to carry with it a measure of respect from opposing coaches.

Which is why Jeff Borzello’s story from Tuesday morning is so surprising.

Not only did a Big East coach steal a player away from a MAC school three days after the player committed, it was Brey offering a scholarship to, and accepting a commitment from, Austin Torres, who was a new member of Keno Davis’ 2013 class at Central Michigan.

This stuff happens — as one coach told Borzello, “once a kid commits, now you know who you have to beat out.” Trey Lyles, a top ten recruit in the Class of 2014, decommitted from Indiana back in August, a move that many believe was the result of being recruited away by other programs. Every Illinois fan will tell you that Eric Gordon was recruited away from the Illini by Kelvin Sampson and Indiana. It happens, and I’m sure it sucks for the coaches on the wrong end.

Like Keno Davis.

But I don’t feel bad for Keno Davis. Not one bit.

For starters, Torres and Notre Dame were a unique fit. For starters, the day before he committed to Notre Dame, one of Torres’ AAU teammates, top 25 recruit Demetrius Jackson, had committed to the Fighting Irish. Was one of his stipulations for pledging to Brey that Brey offer his friend and teammate?

Torres also has familial ties to the University. His mom played soccer there. His dad played football there. His grandfather went to school there. Central Michigan wasn’t where Torres wanted to go; it’s where he settled on because he didn’t think his “dream” would give him the chance.

But that’s not the biggest reason I don’t feel bad — not one bit — for Davis.

Remember the name Joseph Young?

He was a Providence-signee back in the summer of 2010, but with that program falling on hard times — and with his father retaining a job on the new coaching staff with the Houston Cougars — Young decided he wanted to back out of his NLI and play for pops in front of friends and family back home in Texas. Davis, the classy guy that he is, decided not to allow Young out of his NLI and forced him to sit out the 2010-2011 season.

Karma’s a beesting, ain’t she?

(Photo credit: Central Michigan)

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Why UConn fans love Jim Calhoun

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The job of a sportswriter centers about one’s ability to remain — or at least appear — unbiased and impartial.

Once you pick up the pen, you put down the pom-poms because, as you all know, there is no cheering in the press box.

But the problem with that theory is that every single hack that strings words together about sports was originally a fan. They probably still are fans. There’s no possible way to build a life around watching and interpreting games without, in some way, loving those games and the teams involved and the players that take center stage.

I grew up playing basketball in Connecticut. From a sporting perspective, my state isn’t much more that the Border War between Boston and New York; between the Yankees and the Red Sox, the Celtics and the Knicks, the Patriots and the Giants or Jets. The passion of those separate fan bases for whatever team it is they root for is as intense as that of the kid that grew up in the Bronx or in Southie. We wore the jerseys. We watched all the games on Yes! or NESN. We ran our mouth when our favorite team won and jawed back even more when our favorite team lost.

And while we were always fans of those teams, they were never “our” team the way that kid from the Bronk can call the Yankees “his” team or the kid from Queens can call the Mets “his” team or the kid from Boston can call the Celtics “his” team. For many, a trip into the city to catch a Saturday afternoon game came in lieu of a vacation once you factored in the tickets, the parking, the program, Dad’s beer and your hot dog and nachos.

That’s why Jim Calhoun is so revered in the state of Connecticut.

Because he took a program that was no different that Rhode Island or UMass or, for that matter, Boston College or Rutgers and turned it into one that trails only Kansas, Duke, Kentucky and North Carolina in wins since 1989 and has more national titles since 1999 than any program in the country. In fact, the only other programs that have ever won as many three national titles in their history are all considered “blue-bloods” —  the four teams listed above, plus Indiana and UCLA.

Jim Calhoun gave us “our” team.

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I still remember the exact moment when I fell in love with the Huskies.

It was the 1996 Big East title game. Ray Allen’s UConn team was taking on Georgetown and Allen Iverson in a game that tipped off around 9 p.m. At the time, I was just a couple of weeks short of my 10th birthday and my little brother had just turned eight. Staying up late enough to watch the end of a game was not commonplace in our household.

But I bartered and I negotiated and I argued my way into convincing my dad to let us stay up until it became a 10 point game because, in my ten year old mind, a ten point game all but meant the game was over. Late in the second half, Georgetown went up 11. Possession by possession, I convinced my dad to let me watch one more possession, and slowly but surely, the Huskies trimmed the lead down until, with about 17 seconds left on the clock, Allen drove middle, found himself stuck in the air, and threw the ball at the basket.

Off the rim.

Off the backboard.

In.

UConn still had to survive a fadeaway 17 footer from Iverson and a blown layup from Jerome Williams, but they did, sending the Huskies to their second ever Big East tournament title.

We all have those moments in sports where we’ll never forget exactly where we were when we watched them. Landon Donovan’s goal against Algeria in last year’s. Tino Martinez and Scott Brosius homering in the bottom of the ninth in back-to-back World Series games. Jordan crossing up Byron Russell and drilling the game-winner in 1998.

For me, nothing will ever top that shot from Ray-Ray, even if there have been hundreds of moments throughout Calhoun’s illustrious career that could be considered on par:

The scrum that led to Rip Hamilton’s game-winner over Washington in the second round of the 1998 NCAA tournament. Khaled El-Amin screaming “We shocked the world!!” after beating Duke in the 1999 title game. Taliek Brown banking in a 35-footer as UConn beat Pitt in double-overtime in the 2002 Big East title game. A second win over Duke in the 2004 Final Four, overcoming an eight point deficit in the final three minutes, en route to a second national title.  AJ Price’s emergence as a star in 2008 during UConn’s trip to Indiana. Price carried the Huskies to a 68-63 win over Eric Gordon’s Hoosiers despite having sat out for two years — laptops and brain hemorrhages — and dealing with the suspension of Jerome Dyson and Doug Wiggins. The six overtime game. And, of course, the UConn Fighting Kembas. I was five years old for “The Shot”, Tate George’s game-winner against Clemson in the 1990 tournament, but that would be on this list for just about any other UConn fan.

Calhoun gave us those moments.

Calhoun is the reason that we experienced those joys.

Was he gruff? Yeah. Was he a curmudgeon? Most definitely. Did he run a dirty program? Unfortunately, yes. But in the end, that doesn’t matter to us. 20 years from now, no one is going to remember who Nate Miles was and no one is going to care that Calhoun stole Wiggins from St. John’s or that there is an NCAA rule against scheduling exhibitions with AAU teams because of money that may have changed hands during Rudy Gay’s recruitment.

We’re going to remember each and every one of those moments that made growing up a UConn fan one of the most amazing experiences one could ask for.

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In recent years, my fandom has waned. For starters, I eventually ended up playing college basketball, and while it was on a level a long, long way from the Big East, it still meant that I had practice every day during and games every weekend during basketball season. Throw in the fact that I went to a college that didn’t have cable in the dorms at a time when you couldn’t find every game streaming online, and it was tough to stay connected with a team that you never got a chance to watch.

Once I started writing about hoops, it became even more difficult to keep that kind of passion alive. I found myself actively trying to disconnect during UConn games. All things equal, I want to see UConn win. That cord will never be severed, and anyone that’s ever been a fan of any team in any sport should be able to understand that. But, more than anything, the result has been that I’ve become more critical of UConn than any other program in the country. I’m much more likely to take out a chainsaw and shred the Huskies in a post than I am to glorify or hyperbolize how good the team is. (This column excluded.)

But I still get chills when I go back and watch highlights of those old UConn teams.

You can vacate wins. You can call Jim Calhoun dirty. You can say that he’s worse than John Calipari.

None of that will matter for UConn fans.

He gave us our team.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

 

New Orleans, Kentucky headline draft night winners

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On draft night there are winners and there are losers. While no championship title is given away based on who a team picks, the draft goes a long way towards determining whether or not a ring is possible.

Below are some franchises, college programs and draftees who did well for themselves on Thursday night.

Three NBA franchises

1. New Orleans
The Hornets knew who the face of their franchise would be on the night they won the lottery (Davis), but landing Rivers at 10 is a nice addition on the perimeter. He can learn under Jarrett Jack with the goal being to pair Rivers up with Eric Gordon down the line. And in Darius Miller at 46 the Hornets get a guy who is well-versed when it comes to doing the little things it takes to help a team win.

2. Sacramento
Thomas Robinson being on the board when the Kings came up at five was a definite win for Sacramento. DeMarcus Cousins is on the verge of making an all-star team (he’ll be taking part in Team USA’s Olympic training camp next month), and the Kings will make every effort to bring back restricted free agent Jason Thompson as well. Robinson will be able to compete immediately from a physical standpoint, and that tandem would allow him to progress at a reasonable rate.

3. Portland
Lillard definitely helps at the point, but the reason for Portland here is the fact that they were able to get Meyers Leonard at 11. With LaMarcus Aldridge returning to the floor there won’t be much pressure on Leonard to be a premier offensive threat. He can defend and rebound, and Leonard’s done a good job of improving his body since the college basketball season ended. And Will Barton, if under control, could prove to be a steal at 40.

Three college programs

1. Kentucky
John Calipari’s program had six players drafted, which is a record, as is the fact that two Kentucky players were taken with the top two picks. That makes 15 draftees (11 in the first round) in three seasons in Lexington. Think those numbers will come up in conversations with some of the nation’s top recruits?

2. North Carolina
If measuring programs based on the number of players selected in the top 20 picks of the draft then Roy Williams’ program has some bragging rights of its own. Four Tar Heels were taken in the first 17 picks of the draft, and while that was the end of their night that’s a nice haul for any program.

3. Weber State
Vanderbilt has an argument as the Commodores saw two players drafted in the first round for the first time in school history. But Randy Rahe saw the face of his program, Damian Lillard, go with the sixth pick in the draft to Portland. And for a program from a one-bid league like Weber State, that’s a nice line to add to the resume.

Three players

1. Dion Waiters (Cleveland)
Whether or not Waiters pans out in Cleveland isn’t the point here. Many who discussed the lottery guarantee that Waiters supposedly held in the weeks leading up to the draft thought it was coming on the back end (Phoenix). But fourth overall? That’s quite a jump financially for the Syracuse product, who was one of the best players in the Big East last season despite not starting a game.

2. Austin Rivers (New Orleans)
Anthony Davis will be the face of the franchise since he’s the top overall pick, but why can’t Rivers join him on the marquee? Rivers’ game seems to be better suited for the pro level, and when you’re the son of a successful NBA head coach it isn’t as if you’re walking into the league “blind” either. There will be an adjustment period (watching veteran Jarrett Jack should help some) for Rivers, but he’s more than capable of being a factor for the Hornets.

3. Perry Jones III (Oklahoma City)
Sure Jones III took a loss financially by returning to Baylor for his sophomore season, but from a basketball standpoint that decision paid off in a big way. He’ll join the reigning Western Conference champs under little (if any) pressure to produce right away, and his athleticism will fit in well on a team that needs some offensive help inside.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.