Let's get busy Jayhawk movie makers!
Smart, who took a 17.8 points per game average into Wednesday’s home victory over TCU, also rankled some KU fans during the preseason when he spoke to USA Today about KU freshman Andrew Wiggins.
“They are saying he is the best college player there is and he has not even played a game yet,” Smart said. “Of course that hypes me up. It is all talk. He still has to put his shorts on one leg at a time like I do. It is all potential. I am not saying he can’t do it. But he has not done it yet.”
He told USA Today he’d welcome the challenge of guarding Wiggins.
“I am not going to back down from any challenge,” Smart said. “Like I said, you are going to have to prove to me. I am a fighter; I will keep fighting and will never give up ... All the power and credit to him. Congratulations for the Sports Illustrated, all the hype, congratulations to him. But that’s definitely a lot of pressure on him.”
When the Journal-World asked Smart about Wiggins at Media Day, Smart said: “I anticipate he’ll come out and give Oklahoma State his best shot, especially with the comments people have blown out of proportion. I can’t control what people think. I definitely think he’ll come out and give us his best game.
“Everybody makes it into a big rivalry especially with us beating them at Allen Fieldhouse,” Smart added of the matchup. “That intensifies the rivalry. We have a lot of great players. They have a lot of great players.”
KU, of course, actually has already avenged the loss at Allen of a year ago. Stinging from that defeat, the Jayhawks 18 days later prevailed, 68-67, in double overtime in Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater. Smart had 16 points off 2-of-14 shooting (11 of 14 from line) in that game.
1/15/14, 2:19 PM
For the 1st time in his career Marcus Smart posted back to back games with a double-double.
In his previous 47 games he only had 2 total.
Here’s a little statistical evidence on why Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins’ offensive numbers are a little behind Duke forward Jabari Parker and Kentucky forward Julius Randle.
Wiggins is averaging 15.8 points after scoring 17 against Iowa State on Monday; that trails both Parker (18.8) and Randle (16.9). But according to an ESPN study that looked at isolation plays, post-ups and pick-and-rolls, it could be because Kansas isn’t running its offense through Wiggins as much as Duke is utilizing Parker or Kentucky is using Randle.
According to the study, both Parker and Randle average more than six isos, post-ups and pick-and-rolls per game, while Wiggins averages around 4 1/2. Wiggins has had his struggles on offense — as have Parker and Randle — but his overall production could be more about usage than talent.
…In Kansas’ last seven games — against seven teams ranked in KenPom.com’s top 75 — Embiid is averaging 13.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and three blocks in 24 minutes per game. He’s shooting 72 percent. He’s getting high percentage shots, too. For the season, more than 76 percent of his field-goal attempts have come at the rim, according to Hoop-Math.com. And when he catches inside, he’s nearly automatic — he’s finishing 78.9 percent of his shots at the rim.
…Earlier this year, we compared Embiid’s freshman numbers (per 40 minutes) to some other recent college big men who have gone No. 1 in the draft. Here’s an updated look at those numbers:
• Joel Embiid, Kansas, 2013-14
19.9 points / 13.8 rebounds / 4.7 blocks / 10.7 FGA / 67.7 FG%
• Anthony Davis, Kentucky, 2011-12
17.7 points / 13.0 rebounds / 5.8 blocks / 10.5 FGA / 62.3 FG%
• Greg Oden, Ohio State, 2006-07
21.7 points / 13.2 rebounds / 4.5 blocks / 13.3 FGA / 61.6 FG%
• Andrew Bogut, Utah, 2003-04
16.4 points / 13 rebounds / 1.8 blocks / 11.6 FGA / 57.7 FG%
• Tim Duncan, Wake Forest, 1993-97
13.1 points / 13.7 rebounds / 5.0 blocks / 8.8 FGA / 54.3 FG%
• Shaquille O’Neal, LSU, 1989-90
19.8 points / 17.1 rebounds / 5.1 blocks / 13.9 FGA / 57.3 FG%
I honestly don't think there's anybody in this draft that's worth tanking for," Fraschilla told me from Dallas. "It's unfair for Andrew, [Duke's] Jabari Parker, [Kentucky's] Julius Randle and these other guys that we compare any of them to LeBron [James] or Kevin Durant."
Forget Parker's hot start that got tongues wagging as if Wiggins was in rivalry with the Duke forward, or Embiid's emergence. Fraschilla believes the comparisons of this draft to the storied ones of 2003 and 1996 are pure hyperbole.
"Durant was head and shoulders above these guys as a freshman at Texas [in 2007]. Having said that, I think there's a chance that a number of these players are going to be NBA stars, including Andrew," said Fraschilla. "But I don't get the tanking thing because we're not talking Wilt Chamberlain, LeBron or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, we're talking about really good young prospects," he said, accentuating the final word.
As anyone who's watched Wiggins play this season can attest, the Canadian has had up and down games. Heck, the play of another Toronto-area freshman, Tyler Ennis, has been more consistent on a better team, No. 2 Syracuse.
Yet if there's a specific knock, it's that Wiggins defers too much. The Jayhawks are a far more talented team than their 12-4 record and No. 15 U.S. national ranking suggests, but there are too many stretches on the floor where Wiggins is uninvolved.
Of course then, just as you are wondering where he is, he serves notice of his otherworldly athleticism by flying to the basket in transition. You can see that athleticism at work in his defence as well, but he also might shoot 30 per cent or below, as he has done in four of his last seven games.
"He's still a work in progress," said Fraschilla, who specializes in evaluating international players. "His desire to want to be a guy who fits in can get in the way of reaching his maximum potential."
That's not to say Wiggins isn't listening or growing. Fraschilla, who is close with head coach Bill Self and the Kansas staff, mentioned something that happened this past weekend. On Saturday, the Jayhawks thumped in-state rival Kansas State 86-60. Wiggins scored 22. But before Monday's Kansas-Iowa State game on ESPN, Fraschilla and the producers did a video breakdown that showed Wiggins avoiding contact when going to the basket against K-State.
"When he goes to the basket, he kind of shies away from contact," Fraschilla told me Tuesday. "And he's at his best when he's going to contact and absorbing contact."
Now, before anyone goes and invokes the name of Vince Carter on the 18-year-old Ontarian, consider what Fraschilla said next:
"I asked the coaching staff if [Wiggins] had seen that clip, and interestingly, when they were showing ESPN video of the game to the team, [Wiggins] didn't hear what I said, but he saw the clip. We had [effected] the video so you saw him almost bailing out on contact."
Against Iowa State and fellow Canadian Melvin Ejim, Wiggins pulled down a career-high 19 rebounds to go with 17 points. Yet it wasn't just his reckless abandon on the glass that caught Fraschilla's attention.
"I was impressed how aggressive he was ... I just thought he was a heat-seeking missile. I thought he attacked the basket as hard as he has all year."
Nobody has a crystal ball, and it's not always easy to cut through the hype machine when evaluating players. But to tie it back to the Raptors, Fraschilla concluded with an interesting observation.
"[Wiggins] kind of reminds me of DeMar DeRozan when DeMar was in college. He certainly has DeMar's athleticism and then some, but that would be my comparison."
That is just one man's opinion, but if it's anywhere close to being accurate, then it should be a fairly strong argument against whoever is left in the tanking camp.
The Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday approved a University of Kansas proposal to build a $17.5 million apartment complex that would house as many as 32 of the school’s men’s and women’s basketball players.
The complex, south of Allen Fieldhouse on Naismith Drive, is tentatively scheduled to open for the 2016-17 school year.
KU had requested authorization from the regents to add the project to its current fiscal year 2014 capital improvements campaign. After discussing the proposal on Wednesday — including its $17.5 million price tag — the Regents voted 8-1 to approve the project during a day of meetings in Topeka.
Regents vice chairman Kenny Wilk, who previously expressed concern about the cost, cast the only vote against the proposal.
The complex — known as the Fieldhouse Apartments — will be built in phases, eventually housing approximately 66 Kansas students. Nearly half of the residents will be members of the Kansas men’s and women’s basketball programs.
The project, in part, KU officials say, is an investment in the school’s tradition-rich men’s basketball program, specifically in the area or recruiting. KU basketball players currently live in the Jayhawker Towers apartments, and Kansas coach Bill Self said last week that the housing setup that KU could offer potential recruits was far behind its biggest recruiting competitors.
In 2012, the University of Kentucky built the Wildcat Coal Lodge, a $7 million, privately-funded dormitory designed to house the school’s men’s basketball players.
The Fieldhouse Apartments, KU officials say, will be funded by private donors and bonds that will be paid off by revenues from the new complex.
“Everybody will have their own take,” Self said. “But housing, where our student-athletes reside now, is way, way, way, way behind what the competitors would be housing their student-athletes in, in a big way.”
To comply with NCAA rules against exclusive housing for athletes, at least half of the residents of the proposed project would have to be non-athletes. While the cost would be a large investment for a small number of athletes and students, Self believes the project would help his program in recruiting. In addition, he also said the apartments could be built to have better security measures and privacy for some of KU’s more high-profile basketball players.
…The apartment complex, which would cover 49,500 square feet, would be two or three stories with two wings: one each for two- and four-bedroom apartments.
Each apartment would have a full kitchen and living and dining room, and the building would include lounges on each floor, two team meeting rooms, tutoring space and a multipurpose room.
Construction is not scheduled to start for another year.
“As we do with all projects,” Kansas associate athletic director Jim Marchiony said, “we have to make sure the financial part is ready to go and then we’ll move forward.”
Even before the words “Andrew Wiggins” were quite formed, Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall smiled in anticipation and filled in the rest.
“ ‘Best team in the state,’ ” Marshall said in his office on Wednesday, parroting Wiggins’ proclamation after the Jayhawks' freshman phenom helped Kansas pulp Kansas State on Saturday. “And that’s fine. Hey, good for them. They should feel that way. But I think Nick, (Andrew’s) older brother, might have another opinion.”
With a playful pause, Marshall reiterated, “And he is the older brother.”
Alas, the Shockers' sixth man didn’t fully engage the fray.
“It’s just fun between us,” said Nick Wiggins, a Wichita State senior. “But it could turn real serious if there ever turns out to be that game.”
…“It makes you more excited, it makes it more fun, when you’ve got a target on your back,” Nick Wiggins said. “I feel like we’re the team to beat right now.”
…Now, they may or may not be the best team in the state: With the nation’s toughest schedule, 15th-ranked KU (12-4) was easily atop cbssports.com’s RPI approximation as of Wednesday evening; the Shockers were 10th with the 87th-toughest schedule
But after last season and well into this one, the Shockers don’t have to be encumbered by that kind of parochial thinking, either.
“We don’t have to say, ‘Boy, we can be a Sweet 16 team,’ or, ‘We can be an Elite Eight team,’ ” Marshall said. “We know we can win the whole doggone thing.”
And if they get to play Kansas along the way, so much the better.
“I’d love to see that happen, obviously,” Wiggins said. “The state of Kansas would love to see it happen.”
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Oklahoma State’s game against TCU on Wednesday night wasn’t so much anticipated for the matchup, as it was as the checkpoint in advancing the calendar.
And once the No. 9-ranked Cowboys finished off an 82-50 rout of the Horned Frogs, the focus fast-forwarded to what’s next: a Saturday showdown at No. 15 Kansas, in Allen Fieldhouse, where OSU flipped its season a year ago with a stunning upset of the No. 2 Jayhawks.
“It’s going to be exciting,” said Le’Bryan Nash, one of four Cowboys in double figures scoring against TCU. “Knowing we’re coming off a win from last year, they’re going to have their crowd rocking. And we’ll come in there with the same attitude we had last year.
“It’s going to be a good game and atmosphere. They’re coming off a good win at Iowa State, so I know they’re pumped.”
…“We’re ready. This is a statement game,” Nash said. “This is about who can be the best team in the Big 12. This is one of the key matchups in the Big 12. It’s going to be a highlight game and hopefully this team is ready for the war we’re going into.”
A new wave of athletic facility enhancements is on the way at Kansas State.
On Wednesday, the Wildcats took their first step toward $62 million worth of privately-funded upgrades to their football, basketball and baseball stadiums when the Kansas Board of Regents approved without discussion the proposed improvements at their monthly meeting.
The facility upgrades include $50 million for an overhaul of the north end of Snyder Family Stadium, where the football team’s training complex and offices currently reside. A renovation would provide new training facilities as well as expanded space for football operations. The other $12 million would go toward new videoboards and sound improvements at all three venues.
Jaye Crockett had 19 points, Toddrick Gotcher added 17 and Texas Tech beat No. 12 Baylor 82-72 on Wednesday night for its first Big 12 win of the season.
…Texas Tech led all the way and was able to hold off a late comeback attempt by the Bears (13-3, 1-2) after they pulled to 76-66 on a 3-pointer by Taurean Prince with 2:02 left. That was the closest Baylor had been since late in the first half, but it got no closer down the stretch.
Kenny Chery scored 22 points and Prince had 13 for the Bears. They finished with only six assists, a season low for a team averaging 16.3.
NBA scouts and executives spend an excessive amount of time on the road evaluating college and international prospects before the Draft every year. While statistics and video services (such as Synergy Sports Technology) have become a much bigger part of the scouting process over the past few years, most NBA front office members still feel compelled to watch prospects in person at least a couple of times each season.
While every NBA team goes out and scouts draft prospects in droves, college programs vary widely in the way they receive them, based on a variety of factors. We decided to reach out to one or two members of every NBA front office to ask about their experiences on the road since they began working in the league, and received a large amount of varied feedback in the process.
Every scout was quick to mention that the reception they receive at any given school can vary widely based on a number of variables. The basketball industry is a small community in nature, with plenty of overlap between the professional and collegiate levels, so previous relationships between staffs can drastically affect the way a person is received. For that reason, some college programs showed up on both the good and the bad lists.
Having a college's former star player on a NBA team's roster can drastically improve their relationship for example. “They want to keep that relationship with the player going so they make sure to reach out to us frequently to check in on how he's doing,” one Director of Scouting explained. “They love when we come to visit because it makes it look like we have a pipeline with them.”
School policies evolve as well, so a warm, friendly environment one year (and a courtside seat and table on press row) can turn into an upper deck seat behind the student section in the nosebleeds the next.
…Tied for first in our survey of scouts and executives were Florida, Florida State, UConn, Kentucky and Duke. All received a good amount of praise from across the NBA for their treatment of scouts and executives throughout the years.
…The next most frequently mentioned schools were Kansas (“they put you in the stands, but always low and in a front row, so you never have an obstructed view. They give you access to the press room. They could sell those seats for a lot of money but they take care of us.”), Michigan (“always a great seat”) and Arizona (“they charge $128 for a ticket, which is more than twice what most schools do, but they put you in a great seat, so none of us have a problem with that. We might have an issue with our budget if we had to pay $128 every time we watched a game, though.”)
…Tied for the most votes in the “least accommodating college program” were UCLA and Oklahoma State. UCLA placed a large amount of NBA executives, including General Managers, in the upper deck for their home game against Arizona last weekend, which generated the large amount of negative responses which prompted this article. This has been an ongoing theme with the storied college program for years apparently, to the point that many NBA scouts mentioned they avoid attending their home games altogether.
“There's no point in going to UCLA, because they've made it quite clear that we're not welcome there, even before Steve Alford got there” one executive complained. “As much as we all love LA, and need to see the prospects on their roster in their home environment, it's not worth the time, money and aggravation of being seated in the upper deck where you simply can't see anything that's going on on the floor. You're better off watching the game on TV.”
…Oklahoma State also got quite a few mentions as being not particularly accommodating, with certain scouts going out of their way to mention negative experiences.
“That's a bad seat,” a Director of Scouting informed. “They put you upstairs on the baseline, which in their case is way up. They don't have a lot of media seating. The lower level is very small. You have to use relationships with the coaching staff. That's a rough one in my experience.”
“That's a ‘do not visit venue for me,” a Director of Player Personnel told us. “I just don't go back to places where I have one or two bad experiences. Especially if it's as out of the way as they are. If I have to go somewhere like that I'll just use Stubhub and pay an arm and a leg. That's not ideal, especially when you are on the eighth game of a nine day trip, and you can barely remember what city you're in, but sometimes you have no choice. If I have a relationship with the visiting team's coaching staff then I might try and use that if I need to. I hate asking for favors, but sometimes that's just what you have to do.”
…Also receiving votes for poor experiences: Wisconsin, Ohio State, Seton Hall, Stanford, Colorado State, Cincinnati, Texas, Missouri, Pittsburgh, Illinois, Ole Miss.
A key University of North Carolina football player in the NCAA’s investigation into improper benefits says he was led by academic counselors to four no-show classes and that the academic environment for athletes at the university was “a scam.”
Michael McAdoo was kicked off the Tar Heel football team in 2010 because of violations related to having a tutor do improper work on three term papers. When he sued to get back on a year later, claiming a breach of contract, the university fought back: It had kept him on his athletic scholarship.
Indeed, he said, he was in a class — “AFAM 280: Blacks in North Carolina.” It, too, like the three tied up in the NCAA investigation, never met. It was a no-show class, one that has led to a fraud charge against Julius Nyang’oro, the former African and Afro-American Studies chairman who was supposed to teach it. The class was filled with football players.
“They pretty much put me in that class,” McAdoo said of the counselors in the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes. “They pretty much told me ... that I might want to consider that class and I really don’t have much time to think about it, so (I might) want to take that class while it was available.”
…McAdoo, in a phone interview Wednesday, said Beth Bridger, a former counselor for football players in the academic support program for athletes, steered him to the no-show classes. Bridger left the university several months ago and has not responded to requests for comment.
He said the counselors told the athletes they were supposed to pick their classes, but then the counselors would give them a list of classes they should take. They were all classes that counselors knew the athletes could pass, he said.
McAdoo said he was put in his first no-show class the spring semester of his freshman year. He said counselors told him, “it’s pretty much a class that you take just to get your GPA up.”
He said he and the other football players were happy to have the classes. There was no class time, and the papers could be completed at semester’s end. That meant they could work harder on football, or have more down time from football.
“I didn’t think twice about it,” McAdoo said. “I was young and they was like, ‘You could get a quick three (credit) hours.’ “
McAdoo said he never received anything less than an A-minus in the classes until he got in trouble when the university and the NCAA found that he had asked someone he thought was still a tutor to help with his footnoting and bibliography. That was for a no-show class that was supposed to teach him intermediate Swahili.
When he made the paper public as part of his lawsuit, rival N.C. State fans found numerous examples of plagiarism. The fact that it wasn’t caught by anyone in the university or the NCAA was the first clue of the no-show classes.
McAdoo said counselors told the athletes it was acceptable to copy passages from sources so long as they were attributed. That paper, and any others he wrote, he said, were reviewed by a tutor and two counselors in the academic support program before the paper was turned in.
The NCAA violations cost him two years of eligibility at UNC. He was signed by the Baltimore Ravens as a hardship case, making the league minimum, but was later cut. He is now playing for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Canadian Football League but hopes to sign on with an NFL team next season. He did not graduate.
“I felt like I was done wrong,” McAdoo said of his time at UNC. “The university didn’t stand up; they didn’t have my back. They said academics is the first thing they were going to push – ‘You are going to do academics and then play sports.’ But come to find out it just felt like it was all a scam.”
It is almost axiomatic in college basketball that a deep NCAA Tournament run can help fuel a player’s NBA Draft stock.
And so Archie Goodwin understandably believes that his stock was hurt last year when Kentucky failed to make the NCAA Tournament — and then lost in the first round of the NIT to Robert Morris.
“If we would’ve won more, then I would’ve been a top pick,” Goodwin, who went No. 29 in last year’s draft, told SNY.tv prior to the Knicks’ 98-96 OT victory over the Phoenix Suns Monday at Madison Square Garden.
“It was just a matter of us losing a lot of games that we should’ve won. I mean, we went to the NIT, so us losing there and then just a lot of games we should’ve won during the year, if we win those games then I feel like I’m easily one of those top picks. But losing has a big thing to do with it.”
Leading scorer Semaj Christon had to sit on Xavier's bench with four fouls and watch the rest of the Musketeers complete their amazing comeback.
Down by 17 points with 15 minutes left, Xavier won going away.
The Musketeers used their balance, their defense and a big closing run to rally for an 80-67 victory on Wednesday night and remain unbeaten at home.
The Musketeers (14-4, 4-1 Big East) held the Hoyas scoreless over the final 6 minutes and closed with a 16-point run that showed their depth and their tenacity at home.
Xavier Thames scored 28 points and Winston Shepard keyed a 12-2 run for the No. 10 San Diego State Aztecs, who rallied to beat Fresno State 68-60 Wednesday night for their 14th straight win.
The Aztecs (15-1, 4-0 Mountain West), who often looked ragged, won their 38th consecutive game against a team from California. On Monday, SDSU reached its highest AP ranking since it was No. 6 on March 14, 2011.
Tyler Johnson had 24 points and 11 rebounds for Fresno State (8-10, 1-4), which lost for the fourth time in five games.
SDSU won it at the line. Fresno State was whistled for 25 fouls and the Aztecs made 26 of 41 free throws. SDSU was called for only 14 fouls and Fresno State was 11 of 15 from the line.
San Diego State had only four turnovers.
In an unbridled show of emotion after a steal, dunk and foul, Bryce Dejean-Jones pumped his arms, shouted and chest bumped teammates. He had a point to prove, and a three-point play was only his opening statement.
“I was trying to fire up my team,” the junior guard said.
Dejean-Jones did that from start to finish, scoring 23 points and hitting two free throws with 27 seconds remaining to lift UNLV to a 76-73 upset of New Mexico on a wild Wednesday night at The Pit.
According to Maryland’s countersuit, a representative from Wake Forest and a representative from Pittsburgh “each contacted a Big Ten university in an attempt by the ACC to recruit at least two Big Ten schools to leave the Big Ten and join the ACC.” Maryland alleges that “these actions by the ACC were designed by the ACC to enable the ACC (and member universities) to extract more lucrative terms from potential broadcast partners, including from ESPN,” which provided “counsel and direction.”
College GameDay Covered by State Farm Begins Season with Special Two-Site Show The 10th season of ESPN’s College GameDay Covered by State Farm – the eight-week Saturday morning and evening college basketball program originating from the site of ESPN’s Saturday Primetime Presented by DIRECTV telecast – will begin Saturday, Jan. 18, with a special split-site show. The historic Palestra in Philadelphia will host the morning telecast (10 a.m. on ESPNU / 11 a.m. on ESPN) prior to the game between La Salle and Temple (noon on ESPN2).
The evening show from Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Conn. – location twice of GameDay, including the first telecast in 2005 – will showcase an American Athletic Conference meeting between Connecticut and No. 18 Louisville as part of the Saturday Primetime game (9 p.m. on ESPN).
Big XII composite schedule (includes results, highlights, stats)
ESPN College GameDay Schedule
2013-14 TV Schedule
The Irish haven't been a solid 3-point shooting team so far this season, but they were red hot on Wednesday evening.
Jalen Lindsay and JaQuan Lyle combined for five 3-pointers in the first five minutes of action as Huntington Prep jumped out to a 24-3 lead early.
…Lyle finished with his third-consecutive 20-point game of 2014, scoring 17 of his 20 points in the first half.
Rivals Video: Kelly Oubre at the Tarkanian Classic
Hoophall Classic schedule (Jan 16-20)
Daily Hoophall Classic coverage and live blog
Held each year during the Martin Luther King Day holiday weekend, the Spalding Hoophall Classic annually is one of the best high school basketball events of the year. Many of the nation’s top teams and individual prospects are converging on the birthplace of basketball in Springfield, Mass.
ESPN will again have wide-ranging coverage, with daily recaps and analysis from our Recruiting Nation team. Four games will be televised live Monday on ESPNU.
With such a wide variety of intriguing storylines set to play out in the next five days, here’s a look at what our experts are most looking forward to this weekend:
Paul Biancardi: On Monday, Jan. 20, to start our day on ESPNU, we will witness two of the best athletes in the Class of 2014 going head to head, Theo Pinson (Greensboro, N.C./Wesleyan Christian) vs. Kelly Oubre (Las Vegas/Findlay Prep). Pinson won the dunk contest at the Under Armour Elite 24 last summer. He brings a wealth of versatility to the floor. On the offensive end, he handles the ball against pressure, drives to scores and facilitates to his teammates at a high level. Defensively he disrupts the offense by contesting shots and being alert, shooting into passing lanes for deflections and steals. Oubre is an ultra-athlete with blazing speed in the open floor. He is explosive at the rim and finalizes a play with bounce and power. Both prospects influence and impact the game with their elite athleticism. When these two tip off at 11:30 a.m., they should provide plenty of highlights and excitement.
On Saturday evening, two of the top five point guards in the senior class square off against each other as Prime Prep’s, Emannuel Mudiay, and Huntington Prep’s, Josh Perkins, bring an added flair to the court in what should be an entertaining affair. Huntington seems to be much more talented throughout the board, but whenever you begin to doubt Mudiay, the Lone Star native is quick to erase any whispers of defeat.
Mudiay and Perkins are two of the bigger point guards nationally in 2014. They both like to do a lot of their work off the bounce and the most dominant question mark in each of their games’ is in their jump shooting abilities. Mudiay has shown some development in his jumper, though it is far from the finished product that you’d like from him. Perkins is more assist guy and distributor and can hit on the pull-up from a time or two, but his contributions from behind the arc are still somewhat lagging. Regardless, this should be an up and down affair with Mudiay being the catalyst for his Prime Prep squad.
The next few matchups will take place on Monday afternoon and can be seen on ESPNU. The first of which involves a talented and athletic Wesleyan Christian bunch, and a boatload of talent and NBA potential from the program hailing from Sin City in Findlay Prep. However, the in-game matchup that I most want to see is between a future Tarheel and Jayhawk. Though similar in height and position, Kelly Oubre and Theo Pinson are far apart when skillset is involved.
Wesleyan Christian wing, Theo Pinson, is a type of guy that loves to get to the bucket. With giant length and added bounce around the rim, the Carolina native is good for one or two highlight reel dunks in any given game. His jumper remains a work in progress and he has been placed at the point guard spot on the floor for his WCA squad, so it will be interesting to see how well Oubre maneuvers around in containing Pinson out top.
With Oubre, the Findlay transfer has a ton of skill within his scoring arsenal and the lefty has a developed pull-up game and does major damage on the offensive glass. He can oftentimes lose balance on his perimeter jumper, but his stroke is pristine and it will be interesting to see how Pinson deals with the stronger lefty on the wing. I give the edge here to Oubre’s bunch in pulling out the W, but it is anyone’s guess as to who takes the upper hand in this particular matchup.
Does it get any better than Oak Hill up against Whitney Young in a matinee session on Monday? Whitney Young is led by a three-headed monster in the likes of Paul White, Miles Reynolds, and already well-acclaimed, Jahlil Okafor. Oak Hill has a bevy of talented prospects including the Martin twins, Trevor Manuel, and BJ Stith. The matchup on the wing between versatile ballplayers like Paul White and the two Martin brothers will be a fun watch, but just who will guard Duke signee and number one player in America, Jahlil Okafor?
…The final matchup that immediately stands out is between Curie High School (IL) and Montverde Academy (FL). Curie is led by rim arsonist Cliff Alexander, while the Florida bunch is led by who could be the top player in 2015 in Ben Simmons.
Alexander brings the body and vengeance from 15-feet and in that most NBA teams would like to see out of their starting big men. Simmons displays the fortitude and versatility at the four spot as a highly skilled yet athletic forward. Hailing from Australia, does Simmons have the toughness and body to stick with Alexander when placed on him within the half court?
It should be a fun affair and interesting to see how a less talented group in Curie hangs with the number one team in America. Montverde throws at you high-major prospect after high-major prospect, while the Windy City program is heavily reliant on Alexander. However, don’t overlook the contributions of the future Jayhawk as the violent finisher can carry his squad for prolonged spurts and carry his team until the very end. I give the final nudge here to Montverde, but not before Cliff Alexander goes for 30 and 15.
Willard and Kickapoo will be the local representatives in the 2014 Bass Pro Tournament of Champions high school basketball tournament, which will feature some more familiar teams for local fans.
Defending champion Fairfax (Va.) Paul VI, along with runner-up Montverde (Fla.) will be playing in the event, Tournament Director Mark Fisher said Tuesday.
The other teams are Memphis White Station, which has won the T of C five times, most recently in 2010; High Point (N.C.) Wesleyan Christian; Los Angeles Village Christian; and five-time champion Christ the King (N.Y.).
Bass Pro TOC Jan 16-18
CBS Sports Network will broadcast the Semifinal games (Jan. 17th) LIVE and the Championship game (Jan. 18th) LIVE!
Count No. 1 Arizona and No. 15 Kansas among those intrigued by Greek 7-footer Georgios Papagiannis of Westtown (Pa.).
Spencer Dunkley, a British-born basketball player who was chosen in the second round of the 1993 NBA Draft, is serving as Papagiannis’ mentor and recently spoke with SNY.tv.
“Right now he’s just getting introduced to the American scene,” Dunkley said. “We’re just trying to give everybody an opportunity to see him. Some schools have already shown interest — Arizona, Kansas, Wichita [State], Virginia, Georgetown, Miami, Temple, La Salle has been very active, Maryland. All those schools have shown a lot of interest.”
Dunkley said Papagiannis has already visited Maryland while there with his team for a tournament, and sources said Maryland has offered him a scholarship.
Dunkley said but that no other schools have officially offered Papagiannis yet.
“They’re expressing interest,” he said. “He’s new, they’ve never seen the kid before so they’re just coming into the gym, coming to open practices and they’re just watching and evaluating and they’re probably trying to see if he fits their program.
“We’re just trying to feel it out, to see what’s what and who’s who.”
USA Basketball, Nike, the Portland Trail Blazers and Portland Arena Management today announced that the 2014 Nike Hoop Summit will return to the Moda Center in Portland, Ore., and be held Saturday, April 12. The Nike Hoop Summit has been staged yearly in Portland since 2008 and while there has recorded the four largest crowds in the event’s 16-year history.
Tickets for the 17th annual Nike Hoop Summit will go on sale at 10 a.m. (PST) on Friday, Jan. 17, with reserved courtside seats for $25 and $50 and general admission tickets $5 in advance and $10 on game day. Tickets will be available through the Rose Quarter Ticket Office, by calling 877-789-ROSE (7673) or by visiting www.rosequarter.com.
The Nike Hoop Summit, the country's premier annual basketball game for high-school-age boys, features America's top seniors playing against a World Select Team comprised of elite international players age 19 years old or younger.
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