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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.

Iowa center Luka Garza out indefinitely after surgery

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Iowa announced on Friday that starting center Luka Garza will be out indefinitely following surgery to remove a benign cyst on his abdomen.

The 6-foot-11 sophomore started in 26 games for the Hawkeyes as a true freshman last season as he showed promising signs of being a positive Big Ten presence the next few seasons. Head coach Fran McCaffery announced the news in a release from the school.

“We are happy to hear that Luka’s procedure went well,” McCaffery said in the release. “Luka has had a phenomenal summer preparing for his sophomore season and we look forward to him rejoining his teammates on the court later this fall.”

Garza put up 12.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game as a freshman last season. It’s hard to say when Garza will return, but Iowa does have some options in the middle with him out of the lineup during the preseason. Tyler Cook can slide into that spot, while Iowa also has some younger options like sophomore Ryan Kriener and sophomore Jack Nunge are also no the roster.

Indiana lands four-star 2019 guard

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Archie Miller didn’t have to look outside his borders to land his first commit in the 2019 class.

Armaan Franklin, a top-150 recruit, committed to the Hoosiers on Thursday via a social media announcement.

The 6-foot-4 guard from Indianapolis picked Indiana over offers from the likes of Ohio State, Louisville, Xavier, Butler and Purdue, which he visited, along with Indiana, late last month.

“He’s a great defender, and that’s what is going to get him on the floor as a freshman at IU I think,” his high school coach, Jason Delaney, told the Indianapolis Star. “I don’t think players today realize how far willingness and desire to play both ends of the floor can take you.”

“His offense comes within the flow of an offense,” Delaney added. “It’s not him out there hunting shots. And he’s very efficient when he does shoot. He’s a guy other players like to play with, and by not being selfish, guys know he’s going to get them the ball.”

Franklin averaged 24 points, eight rebounds and four assists last year as a junior for Cathedral High School, playing point guard after spending the previous years as a forward.

“He was willing to shoulder the coaching that came with it,” Delaney told The Star. “If things weren’t going right on the floor, I was going to him, because things weren’t getting done. He embraced every bit of that. He got better.”

Miller has had little trouble translating his success at Dayton to wins on the recruiting trail in the Big Ten as he landed a top-10 class in 2018, landing three four-star recruits and five-star stud Romeo Langford, in his first full recruiting class in Bloomington.

Vanderbilt lands first 2019 verbal commitment

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On the same day that fellow SEC school Florida landed its first verbal commitment in the Class of 2019, Vanderbilt managed to do the same. Four-star shooting guard Austin Crowley, who was scheduled to take an official visit to Minnesota this weekend, announced via Twitter that he will play his college basketball for Bryce Drew.

A 6-foot-6 guard from West Point, Mississippi, Crowley currently attends Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas and made his pick just days after visiting Vanderbilt. Crowley, who played for the MoKan Basketball program on the Nike EYBL circuit, was also considering Minnesota and Ole Miss.

After winning 19 games and reaching the NCAA tournament in Drew’s first season at the helm, Vanderbilt fell to 12-20 last season. The hope for this season is that returnees such as guard Saben Lee can work together with a highly-regarded 2018 recruiting class to spark a turnaround and make the Commodores a factor in the SEC.

Should that happen the 2019 class, which now has its first member in Crowley, would be entrusted with the task of building on said momentum.

VIDEO: Former Maryland star Terrell Stoglin punts ball, flips off crowd in Venezuelan league game

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Remember Terrell Stoglin?

He led the ACC in scoring as a sophomore, putting up 21.6 points per game for Maryland in the 2011-12 season. His junior season, however, was slated to be lost to suspension, so the 6-foot-1 guard bolted for the pros.

After an NBA summer league stint, Stoglin has spent the intervening years bouncing around leagues overseas without much in the way of stateside fanfare. He’s been in Lebanon, Turkey, Ukraine, France, Greece and a few other places, though he’s still probably best remembered either for that gaudy scoring number or the inelegant departure from Maryland.

He just added another memorable moment to that resume, though.

In a game in the Venezuelan LPB, Stoglin took the ball from an official, punted it into the stands and then proceeded to give the fans in attendance the single-finger salute on his way out the door.

Some people know how to make an entrance, but Stoglin seems to have the making an exit thing down.

Late-blooming and high-rising recruit commits to Michigan

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As Cole Bajema started turning heads last month on the recruiting trail, he was waiting for one school to finally pull the trigger with an offer.

That finally came through, and Bajema will be joining John Beilein’s Michigan program.

“I am excited and blessed to announce that I will further my education and basketball career by accepting a scholarship offer to attend the University of Michigan,” Bajema, a 6-foot-7 forward in the Class of 2019, wrote on social media. “I would like to thank God, my parents, and my coaches for their help in allowing me to realize my dream of attending the greatest university in the world.”

Bajema has spent the bulk of his life living in Washington state, but lived for a few years in Michigan, where a sizable contingent of his family still resides. That has made the Wolverines Bajema’s dream school, as he detailed in a story written earlier this week on MLive.com.

His strong play in July earned him offers from Virginia, Xavier and Oregon State, but his fast rise wasn’t enough to sway him from ultimately choosing the school he wanted all along.

“He’s been upfront from the get-go that if Michigan offers, that’s his No. 1 choice,” his grassroots coach, Don Brady, told MLive.com. “They’ve been on him for the last three months, talking to him just about every week. They’ve built a relationship with him, and that ‘dream school’ still holds weight for him.”

Balema joins top-50 wing Jalen Wilson of Denton, Texas as part of Beilein’s 2019 class.