San Diego State landed one of the top players remaining on the transfer market.
Malachi Flynn, a 6-foot-1 transfer from Washington State, pledged Monday to the Aztecs, giving coach Brian Dutcher a high-scoring guard with two years of eligibility remaining.
“After much prayer and thoughtful consideration, I am blessed and thankful to announce that I will be transferring to San Diego State University to further my education and basketball career,” Flynn wrote on social media. “I want to thank every school and coach that recruited and showed interest in me during this process and each of you that supported me during this transition as well,
“I’m excited for this next chapter and look forward to being a part of the Aztec family.”
Flynn averaged 15.8 points while shooting 41.3 percent from the floor and 33.8 percent from 3-point range. He also posted 4.3 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game for the Cougars. Flynn will have to sit out the 2018-19 season under NCAA transfer rules, but then will have two seasons left to compete. He picked the Aztecs over the likes of Creighton, Baylor and Gonzaga.
Washington State transfer Valentine Izundu will be visiting San Diego State after all.
Coach Ernie Kent has rescinded his restriction on the 6-foot-10 graduate transfer from visiting the Aztecs, according to a report from the Spokesman-Review, citing an anonymous source. Izundu will also be reportedly visiting Fresno State and UNLV.
Izundu had previously been barred from considering the Aztecs by Kent because of suspcisions of tampering. Izundu vigorously denied that was the case as at the center of the dispute was a trip he made to San Diego for spring break. He publicly said he did not have any contact with the SDSU coaching staff , though he attended an Aztecs NIT game.
Kent, though, appears to have relented, as many coaches who have similarly faces public pressure in such situations before him have. In this era where so much attention is being paid to player rights and welfare, there only seems to be growing public sentiment against programs restricting transfers beyond the absolute bare minimum is rarely going to go over well. It may make things more difficult for coaches and programs, but it’s the deck is largely already stacked in their favor in most every other instance.
While the 2015-16 season has yet to get underway, some in-season tournaments have already begun the process of finalizing teams for the 2016-17 campaign. Wednesday evening the Paradise Jam revealed its eight-team field for the 2016 edition of the event, which is scheduled to be played November 18-21, 2016 at the University of the Virgin Islands.
NC State, which has reached the NCAA tournament in each of the last four seasons under head coach Mark Gottfried, is part of the event as are Andy Kennedy’s Ole Miss Rebels. Completing the field are Creighton, Loyola-Chicago, Oral Roberts, Montana, Saint Joseph’s and Washington State.
Of the eight teams just two have made prior appearances at the Paradise Jam. Phil Martelli’s Saint Joseph’s team finished fifth in 2009, with Ole Miss finishing third two years later. Washington State may have the most interesting connection to this tournament, however.
The father of forward Josh Hawkinson, who was the Pac-12’s Most Improved Player last season and will be a senior in 2016-17, created the Paradise Jam back in 2000. That should make for a fun return to the Virgin Islands for Josh next November. Nels Hawkinson is the executive director of Basketball Travelers, a company some may be familiar with as they’ve set up foreign tours for many college basketball programs over the years.
While NC State and Ole Miss are the lone teams in this field to reach the NCAA tournament last season, Montana is one of the favorites in the Big Sky entering the 2015-16 season and ORU is expected to be a factor in the Summit League. Scott Sutton’s Golden Eagles were picked to finish third in the Summit League preseason coaches poll.
Washington State is losing three first-year players as the school announced that junior forward Aaron Cheatum and freshmen guards Jackie Davis and Trevor Dunbar will transfer.
“We appreciate the contributions Aaron, Jackie and Trevor have made to the program over the last year,” head coach Ernie Kent said in the press release. “We wish all three off them nothing but the best both on and off the court.”
All three players had trouble staying on the floor consistently last season as Cheatum and Dunbar played in 16 games each while Davis appeared in 11 games.
The 6-foot-7 Cheatum averaged 5.8 minutes per game while the 5-foot-10 Dunbar had 9.8 minutes per contest. A 6-foot-4 guard, Davis was only at 5.1 minutes per game this season. None of the three players averaged more than one point per game or shot better than 30 percent from the field.
This looks like a case where Kent recruited a few players who weren’t able to be successful Pac-12 players and a change of scenery is probably best for all parties.
Washington State landed its point guard of the future on Monday as California native and three-star guard Milan Acquaah committed to head coach Ernie Kent.
The 6-foot-2 lead guard comes from a strong program in Los Angeles at Cathedral High School as teammates and fellow juniors Lucas Siewart (Arizona State) and Kobe Paras (UCLA) are already committed to play in the Pac 12.
Acquaah is averaging 20.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.7 steals a game, according to a story from Evan Daniels of Scout.com and he’s helped lead Cathedral to a 20-win season.
With the season ending shortly and the spring grassroots season beginning, we could see an uptick in Class of 2016 commitments as schools will pressure kids to commit before the April Live Evaluation Period.
The Cougars are now on the board in the 2016 class with Acquaah’s pledge.
After losing at in-state rival Arizona State last Saturday, No. 7 Arizona rebounded with two blowout wins in Washington. After handling the Huskies in Seattle Friday night, Sean Miller’s team rolled to an 86-59 win at Washington State on Sunday. And the final score doesn’t do this one justice, as Arizona led 53-19 at the half.
Three starters scored 17 points apiece and point guard T.J. McConnell added 14, eight assists, five rebounds and four steals for the Wildcats, who are now 10-2 in Pac-12 play.
One of the three starters with 17 points was sophomore forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who also grabbed a team-best ten rebounds. He also provided the highlight of the game, as he dunked on Washington State’s Josh Hawkinson in the second half.
Video credit: Fox Sports 1/Pac-12 Networks