One and Done

One-and-Done Rule is Not Making College Basketball Any Better

The one-year after high school rule was implemented in in 2005 and hasn’t gotten any less controversial since.

In 2005, the NBA under David Stern ruled that a player had to be at least 19 years old to play in the NBA and must be one year removed from high school. College basketball hasn’t been the same since.

We have seen some of the greatest players in NBA history skip college to go to high school. Kevin Garnett in 1995 opened up the door, Kobe the year after and Tracy McGrady the year after that. Those are three really huge names.

One and Done

Kevin Garnett was one of the more successful players to go to the NBA straight out of high school (Photo/ Google Images).

But players who have skipped college haven’t all been good and have produced some busts. Including Korleone Young in 1998, Jonathan Bender in 1999 and Darius Miles in 2000.

After a number of busts skipped college and came through the draft lottery, it was an incentive to commissioner at the time David Stern to take a closer look into the rule. He believed that it was in NBA owner’s best interest to see a player for a year before they drafted them.

And one of the other main believers of this rule was Michael Jordan, who was both part owner of the Washington Wizards and in charge of basketball operations at the time.

Jordan thought there was a decreasing level of professionalism in the league. He argued that it was hard to scout high schoolers and they need to learn the fundamentals in order to be successful in the league.

Of course Jordan couldn’t help drafting, straight out of high school, Kwame Brown with the first pick in the 2001 draft. That didn’t turn out well for the Wizards.

Then of course came LeBron James in 2003, but that obviously didn’t stop Stern.

Stern’s rule does make sense in a way. It is smart in the fact that it often times gives NBA teams more time and opportunity to scout. It also gives players more time to develop their skills in college for another year. But here’s the problem with the “one and done” rule.

The fact that a person can join the military and fight for your country right after high school, and get paid doing it, seems rather odd. You can handle a M16 in Iraq at 18 but you can’t play basketball for money in America.

One and Done

Coach K (Right) and Coach Cal (Left), seem to be taking advantage of the one and done players the most (Photo/ Getty Images).

It has also changed the game of college basketball. It hasn’t necessarily made it worse but it definitely hasn’t made it better. Teams like Duke and Kentucky are virtually unrecognizable from one year to the next. Players draft stock can decrease, they could get injured, and any number of things could happen that would affect their ability to play at the next level.

Still after twelve years of the one-year after college rule, it is still one of the most debated topics in college basketball.

It hasn’t made college basketball worse, but it hasn’t made it any better.

 

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Ohio State

What’s Going on With Ohio State Basketball?

What has happened to Ohio State basketball? After a national championship runner-up finish in 2007 and seven straight NCAA tournament appearances from 2009-2015, the Buckeyes haven’t made the tournament for two straight years.

Ohio State went 21-14 last year and failed to make the tournament. This year they went 17-15, which is their worst record under Thad Matta since he started in 2004. Now with the news that JaQuan Lyle has quit the team, the Buckeyes are in a tough spot.

It was reported earlier this week that Lyle actually quit the team back in April. It was also reported that Lyle was arrested and charged with three misdemeanors in his hometown of Evansville, Indiana. He was later released on a $150 bond.

With Lyle’s departure, Ohio State now has no players from their 2015 recruiting class, which consisted of five guys including Lyle. Austin Grandstaff transferred to DePaul, Daniel Giddens transferred to Alabama, A.J Harris transferred to New Mexico State and Mickey Mitchell went to Arizona State.

Ohio State

Ohio State coach Thad Matta (Photo/ Kirk Irwin).

Matta also only signed one player in the ESPN top 100 class of 2016 and so far only has one this year for the class of 2017.

That leaves only three guards on scholarship for the Buckeyes, leaving a large hole in the backcourt. C.J Jackson, Kam Williams, and incoming freshman Braxton Beverly are the only three guards Ohio State has on scholarship. That could change if Williams decides to stay in the NBA draft. He has until May 24 to withdraw his name and retain eligibility for next year.

Buckeye fans shouldn’t have worried about these past two seasons on the court because bad seasons happen. It’s what is happening off the court that fans should be worried about. When a team has had a bad season like the Buckeyes have had these past two years, they try and make up for it with recruiting. Ohio State has not done that.

For many, that is a reason to dislike Matta and want him gone. But Matta has earned the right to coach at least next season. He is a well-liked coach; many people think he is still the man for the job. At only 49 years old, he still has many coaching years left if the stars align.

Att the moment, there aren’t enough players coming in. Transfers, decommitments and players leaving for the NBA are a normal thing. However, people don’t seem like they want to play basketball at Ohio State right now.

Matta has earned the right to try and turn it around, and he probably will be given that chance. If things don’t turn around soon, then there could be a few changes.

 

Featured photo by Charlie Neibergall

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LaVar Ball

LaVar Ball is The Worst Thing In Basketball

LaVar Ball is one of the most disliked, if not the most disliked person in sports right now. It’s safe to say that LaVar Ball has rubbed some feathers with people over the past year.

He’s said some absurd things for sure. Like how he thinks his son Lonzo is better than Steph Curry and could do more on the Warriors and contribute more than Steph does. And then came the Jordan comments.

Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time (arguably), LaVar said he could beat one-on-one in his hay day. LaVar averaged 2.2 points in one year at Washington State, the same year Michael Jordan averaged 35 in the NBA and won defensive player of the year.

The comment was one thing, but the fact that LaVar Ball actually meant it and continues to stand by it, is another.

LaVar Ball

LaVar and his son Lonzo after a game last season (Photo/ Richard Mackson).

And now we have the new Lonzo Ball shoes, which are set at $495 a pair as well as flip flops, which are set at $220 a pair.

From a business standpoint LaVar Ball is extremely smart, even though he may not be making the decisions because of that reason. It seems like he’s making decisions based on the fact that he believes his sons are the greatest basketball players of all time.

But he does get people talking about his son’s and now his shoes.  If the shoes where in the $200 range people wouldn’t be talking about them as much as they are now.  So from a business standpoint LaVar Ball is pretty smart, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t obnoxious.

No player has come into the NBA with their own shoe brand, so Lonzo is the first to do that. But, the reason for that is because Nike, Adidas and Under Armour all passed on endorsement deals. Which will make Lonzo, the potential top pick in the draft, a rare exception as many top three picks get endorsement deals.

And it might very well be safe to say it’s because of his dad because LaVar did meet with all three companies to try and get a deal done. None of them bought in.

Longtime Nike executive George Raveling said LaVar Ball was “the worst thing to happen to basketball in the last hundred years.”

It’s true, LaVar Ball is the worst.

What makes it so sad and annoying is not the Jordan comments or the laughable price for his shoes, but how he could be affecting his son’s draft stock.

Lonzo is quiet and doesn’t say much, which is kind of strange, as his father doesn’t stop. Like father, like son doesn’t really apply here. When asked about his father all Lonzo had to say was, “No, I’m not embarrassed. I know how he’s going to act. I just go out there and play. Let him be him.”

For the most part the sports universe has no problem with Lonzo as a whole. Sure, people dislike him for different reasons but nothing like his father.

LaVar Ball

Lonzo (left) is the oldest among the three Ball brothers. LiAngelo (Right) is the second oldest and Lamelo (middle) is the youngest. (Photo/ Google Images).

The draft order has yet to be set but the Boston Celtics are the favorite to get the number one overall pick. Many have argued that Lonzo should be the number one pick, but then that would entail having to deal with his father. The Celtics, who already have all star point guard, Isaiah Thomas, will most likely have Lonzo play behind of along side Thomas.

If you draft Lonzo Ball, you get LaVar and most teams don’t want LaVar.

We’ll have to see where Lonzo lands but if he lands anywhere besides Los Angeles it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

And don’t think this is going to end anytime soon. Even if Lonzo was to get injured and never play again, which we hope doesn’t happen because he seems like a good kid and a good teammate, there are two more Ball kids. And they both already committed to UCLA, which means more LaVar.

In the grand scheme of things, there’s a reason why Michael Jordan hasn’t responded to any of LaVar’s comments.

He’s not worth Jordan’s time.

 

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Kentucky Recruiting Class

Kentucky Lands a Stacked 2017 Recruiting Class

Just when you think the Kentucky Wildcats can’t get any stronger, they do.

The Wildcats recently landed five-star commit Kevin Knox on Saturday. He is the No. 9 prospect in the class of 2017. Knox committed to Kentucky over Duke, Florida State, North Carolina and Missouri.

The addition of Knox adds to Kentucky’s already stacked recruiting class for next year. Kentucky, who already had the No. 1 ranked recruiting class before Knox, will add yet another five-star prospect.

Kentucky

Kevin Knox the No. 9 recruit in the 2017 class is just the most recent addition of John Calipari’s stacked recruiting class (Photo/ Brian Rothmuller).

Knox took an official visit to all five of his finalists as well as another visit to Duke in October and visits to Florida State, Kentucky and North Carolina in January and February.

Missouri came back into the running late when they signed Michael Porter Jr., the No. 1 overall ranked recruit. However, Kentucky prevailed as the top dog as usual.

Knox joins other five-star recruits P.J Washington (No. 11), Nick Richards (No. 16), Jarred Vanderbilt (No. 18), Quade Green (No. 23) and Hamidou Diallo.

Diallo enrolled in Kentucky in January and has been practicing with the team ever since, but never appeared in a game. He has also entered his name in the NBA draft, but did not sign with an agent.

“When I decided to enroll in school in January, my plan was to come to Kentucky to work on my game and to focus on school,” Diallo said in a release. “At the end of the season, I knew I wanted to see where I was in the draft process and go through that so I could get a proper evaluation.”

Diallo said his plans are still the same, but he wants to see where he stands among other NBA prospects.

“That plan hasn’t changed, and that’s why I am declaring for the NBA draft,” he said. “I do not plan on hiring an agent at this time. I want to see where my game is and explore my options.”

There is a chance Diallo isn’t with the Wildcats next year. However, if he does come back, it will be another dangerous addition to this 2017-18 Wildcat squad.

On top of the five-star recruits, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (No. 33), Jemarl Baker (No. 63) and a couple of four-star recruits also join the 2017 Wildcat class. There could be more coming too. Mohamed Bamba, the top uncommitted prospect, is still yet to choose between Kentucky, Duke, Texas and Michigan.

Kentucky lost freshmen De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk and Bam Adebayo to the NBA draft. The Wildcats also lost sophomores Isaiah Briscoe and Isaac Humphries in addition to potentially Diallo.

If there’s one thing we know about Kentucky, it’s that they can restock fast. The 2017 recruiting class is just another example of that.

Come the start of the 2017 season, the Wildcats will most likely be the No. 1 ranked preseason team again and favorite to win the National Championship.

 

(Featured Image by Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos)

 

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UNLV Basketball Is Making A Comeback

It’s been a good offseason for Runnin’ Rebels fans after a difficult season. UNLV finished 11-21 and missed the NCAA tournament for the fourth straight year.

However, the Runnin’ Rebels look to get the program back on top, starting with a good recruiting class for next year.

The class is highlighted by recent commit Brandon McCoy, who is the No. 4 ranked center and No. 15 overall ranked player in ESPN’s top 100 recruits. He committed to UNLV over Arizona, Michigan State, Oregon and San Diego State. He was also a McDonald’s All-American and played in the Jordan Classic earlier this year.

UNLV

Brandon McCoy committes to UNLV via twitter (Photo via Bleacher Report)

“I felt very comfortable with the coaching staff and loved the campus,” McCoy told ESPN. “I want to get UNLV back the way it was in the 1990s.”

Getting the program back to what it was in the 90s seems like a tall task. It is even tougher considering that a lot of people believe that the 1989-90 UNLV squad was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, college basketball team of all time.

If one thing is for certain in college basketball, it’s that anything is possible.

On top of McCoy, the Runnin’ Rebels added five more recruits, including former Oklahoma State commit Amauri Hardy, who committed to UNLV just a day after McCoy. Hardy, who is the No. 23 ranked point guard and No. 82 ranked player in ESPN’s top 100, will also look to get UNLV back to where it once was.

UNLV has a top 25 recruiting class, which shouldn’t be surprising. Despite their lack of performance the past couple of years, they have had top 25 recruiting classes. Their recruiting class ranked 11th in the country in 2014 and 16th in 2015. They went 18-15 both years.

Former coach Dave Rice was usually able to get a consistent recruiting class that usually fell within ESPN’s top 25. The problem wasn’t recruiting, but execution. UNLV had the players. They just didn’t use them to their full potential.

UNLV

2nd year head coach Marvin Menzies looks to revamp UNLV, starting this year (AP Photo).

That could have very well attributed to the departure of three UNLV players. Late in March, Troy Baxter Jr., Zion Morgan, and Jalen Poyser all said that they were leaving UNLV. It might have seemed like an issue at the time, but it helped open up six scholarship spots for next season.

Now the question is: will this year be different?

Under second-year head coach Marvin Menzies, UNLV looks to finally capitalize on their prime time talent, and it starts with McCoy. Landing the big man is a statement by UNLV, making sure that college basketball still knows the Runnin’ Rebels are there to compete.

Accompanied by an already talented roster, McCoy and Hardy are joined by incoming freshmen Jay Greene, Cheikh Mbacke Diong, Tervell Beck and Shakur Juiston. So don’t count out the Runnin’ Rebels just yet, because we could see them winning games once again, just like they did in the old days.

 

Featured Image by CSNbbs

 

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Tiger Woods

The Excruciating Fight Between Tiger Woods and Father Time

When I was a kid, I grew up down the road from my grandpa who was a farmer. He owned a cow farm with over 30 cows, a donkey, and a bull and I remember helping him with everyday things with my dad. Feeding the cows, milking them, feeding the donkey and worst of all, bailing hay.

Now, granted I was young and I didn’t contribute too much but I remember how hard the work was. I also remember the impact it had on my grandpa and even my dad, as they got older.

After bailing hay for an entire day it wasn’t uncommon for them to lie down on the couch and rest for the entire evening. The impact of the grueling work of being a farmer was hard to watch, especially because I was in no real position to help.

As my grandpa got older and older I remember him having a harder and harder time doing the everyday tasks involved with being a farmer. But he was a strong and stubborn man so it was really hard my family to convince him when it was time to stop. Some may say he farmed way past the age he should have because he didn’t know any other life.

These past few years I’ve been having flashbacks as I watch Tiger Woods attempt to defeat father time in a fight in which we all unfortunately know he’s losing.

I want Tiger to be the old Tiger just like everyone else. But, at this point, it’s difficult to watch.

Tiger Woods is the father of modern day golf. There was Gary Player, Sam Snead, Greg Norman and Ben Hogan whom all paved the way for golf to be what it is today. There was of course the king himself Arnold Palmer who will forever go down as one of the most amazing golfers and people of all time. Jack Nicklaus, who holds the most major victories of all time, is thought by many to be the greatest golfer ever, and that might be true.

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods celebrates after chipping in on the 16th hole on Sunday in 2005 at the Masters (Photo/ Google Images).

But they were pioneers, all paving the way for Tiger.

There has never been another athlete who has done for their sport what Tiger Woods has done for golf. He made golf relevant, he made it cool and most importantly he made golf a universal sport for everyone.

What was once a stereotypical golf clap turned into the roar of a Michigan crowd in Ann Arbor on a Saturday night against Ohio State.

Golf was special with Tiger, not that it isn’t special now, but it was a spectacle unlike anything else in sports.

There have been very few athletes that people universally have tuned into see.  Tiger Woods was one of those athletes.

Tiger didn’t turn out to be the person we all wanted him to be and yeah, that sucks. At this point we’ve accepted who Tiger Woods is as a person, we’ve accepted who he is as a golfer, and now we have to accept that he might very well be done.

That’s what makes this so hard on Tiger fans and sports fans all over the world. Tiger Woods is the father of modern day golf, which makes it so difficult to see him go through this. Every time we get a glimpse of hope, something happens and he’s back in therapy or in the hospital.

Every time this happens I go back to grandpa. I remember how long it took him to realize that his farming days were over, and trying to delay the fact that he had to retire helped no one.  Farming was all my grandpa knew just like golf is all that Tiger has known.

Tiger Woods

Tiger at the Hero World Championship in December (Photo/ Lynne Sladky).

I was going to put a picture of Tiger in this article of when he fell down to all fours after he hit a 3-wood off the fairway in 2014, but I couldn’t because it’s so hard to look at.  So, instead I’ll give you this picture that was taken not too long ago in December and gives us yet another glimpse of hope and also reminds us of the happier times.

I don’t want Tiger to retire. In fact why not have him win four more majors, heck give him five more.  But I also wanted my grandpa to farm forever so I could actually help him as I got older.  The inescapable fact is that it might be time.

We probably haven’t seen the last of him.  There is acutally a high probability that we see him again this year.  But can he still compete and to what extent? He did show some promise in December at the Hero World Cahmpionship where he finished 15th at -4.  But after that he missed the cut at Farmers Insurance Open and withdrew after the first round at the Omega Dubai Dessert Classic.

So don’t be suprised if we see him again this year, but recent history suggests it won’t end well.  Nevertheless, we will all watch because it gives us hope that he will be back and better than ever.  Which, is why it is so difficult to watch when we see the physical agony he endures everyday trying to be the golfer he once was.

Tiger Woods is 41, going on 71.  The physical pressure he put on himself in his prime has caught up to him.

Father time is undefeated, we know that. And it seems like Tiger Woods is trying to avoid the inevitable by stringing us and himself along a thin microscopic thread of hope.

 

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Georgia Tech

The Bright Future of Georgia Tech Basketball

When I ask what you think of ACC basketball, what comes to mind? Obviously Duke and UNC, and maybe you’ll say Notre Dame or Louisville or any number of teams that are at the top of the ACC year after year.

Usually one of the last teams to be mentioned, especially before this year, is Georgia Tech. People may not know a lot about Georgia Tech basketball except that they are in the ACC and they are good for an upset or two every year. But really, the Yellow Jackets have a rich history and the program is looking up after a successful 2016-17 season.

Georgia Tech Basketball

First year head coach Josh Pastner led Geogia Tech to a 21 win season and a runer up finish in the NIT (Photo/ David J. Griffin).

They have seven Sweet 16 appearances, four Elite Eight appearances, two Final Fours and one national championship game in 2004 against the University of Connecticut in which they lost 73-82.

Georgia Tech is often overlooked because of the ever-powerful programs in the ACC. The Yellow Jackets have struggled the past few years, as they hadn’t had a 20-win season since 2010, until this year, which was also the last time Georgia Tech made the NCAA tournament.

Even though they didn’t make the NCAA tournament this year, they finished runner up in the NIT tournament to Texas Christian University officially reigning in the Josh Pastner era.

It seems somewhat theatrical that Josh Pastner, who was awarded ACC Coach of the Year in what many believe to be the best conference in the country, was basically paid to leave his last job as head coach at Memphis.

Coach Pastner was paid $1.25 million to leave Memphis in order to avoid the $9.3 million Memphis would have owed him if he was fired. So Pastner landed in Atlanta in Georgia Tech and the two seem to fit.

The Yellow Jackets finished 21-16 overall and 8-10 in the ACC, just missing out on a bid to the NCAA tournament.

Georgia Tech does not necessarily have names that will jump out at you. They don’t have the Josh Jackson’s or the Jayson Tatum’s, but they do have a group of guys that can get things done.

The Yellow Jackets are led by Ben Lammers, who was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. He returns next year for his senior season after averaging 14.2 points, 9.2 rebounds, 3.4 blocks and 1.2 steals per game last season. He was second to Wake Forest’s John Collins as the most improved player in the ACC.

Georgia Tech Basketball

Tadric Jackson (1) takes the ball up the floor in their win against Clemson in January (Photo/ Curtis Compton)

Also returning for his senior season is Tadric Jackson. Jackson averaged 12.1 points per game and finished second in voting to Virginia Tech’s Seth Allen for Sixth Man of the Year.

But the brightest spot from the Yellow Jacket roster might be Josh Okogie, who just finished up his freshman year this past season. Okogie, who came out of nowhere after not even being in ESPN’s top 100 recruits, averaged 16.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. He could turn out to be a key contributor for the Yellow Jackets and an all ACC performer.

On top of a solid core, Pastner will be adding two four-star prospects in Curtis Haywood II and Jose Alvarado. Georgia Tech also has landed 6 foot 9 power forward, Moses Wright who can also contribute immensely to the Yellow Jackets potential success next season.

Coming off of a season where the Yellow Jackets won 17 games at home, coach Pastner and crew look to build off of the momentum. Anyone involved in Georgia Tech whether as part of the team of as a fan should be excited about the future of the program and where they’re headed.

 

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The Never Answered Question: Should Division I Athletes Get Paid?

The aging question, should college athletes get paid?

If you’re looking for a decisive article with one specific standpoint, this isn’t it. Because when push comes to shove, both arguments are valid.

If one would heavily involve themselves in this discussion on whether or not college athletes should be paid, there is a good chance their opinion could go either way.

Starting for the argument of ‘they shouldn’t get paid’.

It makes sense, a lot of sense. Why should division I athletes who are most likely receiving tuition scholarships get paid? They’re basically already getting paid to go to school while they play sports. While regular students who don’t play sports are going to likely have absurd amounts of student loans.

Yes, division I student athletes who play a major sport (or any sport) have an insane schedule. And by insane I mean busy, like really busy. For division I athletes it is a full time job and more.

College Athletes

Johnny ‘Money’ Manziel was believe to have made profits off of autographs (photo/ Google Images)

But what about the kids who aren’t 6 foot 8 and can’t throw down a two handed jam from the free throw line? What about those kids who can’t bench 20 reps at 225lbs and can’t run a 40-yard dash in less than 4.6 seconds?

Believe me, I know what it’s like to be one of those kids, because I am one. And at first glance I by no means want college athletes to be paid because while they’re basking in the limelight and not paying to go to college, I am paying to go to college and I will most likely make less money after college than they will.

To me that’s not fair and I get it when people strongly argue that they shouldn’t get paid for those specific reasons. But those same people turn around (including myself) and often buy memorabilia or tickets to a sporting event and benefit off of division I athlete’s success.

A recent Statement by Duke basketball legend, J.J Reddick raised some brows a few weeks ago when he came out and stated that he firmely believes that college athletes should be paid. And he has a point.

Universities are profiting off of their sports teams and programs. Including jersey sales from specific players, of which the player doesn’t receive any of the profit.  Which is one of the main reasons there are no college sports video games any more.  Players believed if they weren’t making a profit off of themselves than companies shouldn’t be able to make profits off of them either.

College Athletes

NCAA sports video games stopped being made after athletes weren’t paid when other companies were able to make profits off of them (Photo/ Google Images).

Which also, brings up the other scenario of what happens if the day ever came when college athletes were paid. What would happen when the most popular player (often the quarterback) gets paid a considerable amount off of jersey sales while the less popular players (like the offensive line) don’t get paid at all but are still equally important?

I don’t have the answer to that. That’s what makes this issue so complicated.

There also lies the fact that college athletes at major universities also have the constant high probability that they will get injured. In some cases these injuries take up a considerable amount of recovery time and can impact the chance of the athlete competing at the next level and actually getting paid.

Students who don’t play sports don’t have that fear. They don’t have to go to work everyday, as athletes go to practice, and worry that if a bone gets broken or an Achilles gets torn, they might not be able to get the degree they want. On top of academics, athletes have to worry about that everyday.

The bottom line is that whether you think they should be paid or not, it’s not going to chance any soon. The NCAA who is a powerhouse of an organization has made it very clear that they don’t think athletes should be paid.

It really comes down to what background you’re from. If you had to work you’re but off to get through college, get a good job, and make money that way, it’s understandable if you don’t want college athletes to be paid. But if you maybe were a college athlete and understand the schedule they have and the pressure and the constant fear of being injured, then you might side with them being paid.

An argument that has been going on for a good amount of time now has gained some considerable traction these past years, seems like it won’t be ending anytime soon.

 

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Taking a Closer Look at the Number One Overall Recruit: Michael Porter Jr.

Michael Porter Jr. brings in the new era of college basketball players. He is the clear No. 1 recruit in the 2018 class according to ESPN.com. We will see just how good he can be come November.

The 6-foot-10 superstar put up some absurd stats in his senior year to help him finish on top of ESPN’s top 100 high school players in the country. He averaged 36.2 points per game, 13.6 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 3.2 steals and 2.7 blocks. I guess you could say that’s how you fill up a stat sheet.

Michael Porter Jr.

Michael Porter Jr. goes in for a dunk in his game in the state quarterfinals in March (Photo/ Johnny Andrews)

Porter, who was once a Washington signee, is now headed to Missouri. The switch happened after former Washington coach Lorenzo Romar was fired and replaced with long time Syracuse assistant coach, Mike Hopkins.

After former Washington assistant coach Michael Porter Sr. was awarded a position in Missouri’s coaching staff, his son Porter Jr. followed. This arguably was Missouri’s biggest recruit ever, and undoubtedly their biggest recruit in the past decade. Their highest ranked recruit before Porter was Montaque Gill-Caesar, who was ranked 41st in ESPN’s top 100.

Porter, who is already projected to go No. 1 overall in next year’s draft, comes into Missouri with scouts raving of his talents. Porter has an unbelievable combination and balance of physic and skill. The 18-year-old stands 6-foot-10, 215 pounds for a unique brew of size, length, bounce and skill that makes him the best player in the class.

He is versatile on the perimeter despite his size. He is able step back and tack the long jumper and can virtually get whatever shot off he wants because of his long frame.

Porter is also very comfortable in running the floor and in space, which is unique for a player his size. He has displayed the ability to shoot the 3-pointer or take a couple dribbles and pull up for a mid-range jumper. He has also shown a nice touch around the rim, and his ability to finish above the rim is greatly evident.

He’s basically got everything that entails a superstar, and that’s just on the court. Off the court, he is also one of the most interesting recruits in the country, starting with his family.

Michael Porter Jr.

Porter was named MVP of this year’s McDonald’s All American game this year (AP Photo)

Porter has basketball in his blood. His father, of course, is now on the coaching staff at Missouri and was previously on the staff at Washington. His mother was also an elite basketball athlete in high school. As stated previously, Porter averaged 36.2 points per game in high school, which is 22.5 points fewer than his mother.

That’s right. Porter’s mother, Lisa Porter, averaged 58.7 points per game.

Not a typo.

She went on to play for the University of Iowa and scored over 1,300 points in her career. She also lead Iowa to their first Big Ten title.

On top of that, Porter is dating actress Madison Pettis, who is best known for her appearance as Dwayne Johnson’s daughter in “The Game Plan.”

Regardless of his off-the-court life, what most people should be concerned with is what he can do on the court. There is no question he is the best recruit this year coming out of high school and there is no question that the kid can hoop.

A talent like that could make Missouri relevant again in the win column and maybe help them to another tournament appearance. That is something that they haven’t seen in a long time.

 

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Michigan State Poised For A Late Run Next Season

Don’t be fooled by Michigan State’s past season struggles. They’re not going anywhere.

The Spartans somewhat fell off the wagon this year after they went 20-15 in a rather shaky Big Ten. Not to say the Spartans had a bad season, but it just wasn’t the Michigan State we are used to seeing.

The Spartans finished 10-8 in the Big Ten with a loss in the second round of the Big Ten tournament to Minnesota. Many thought the Spartans might miss out on a trip to the big dance. However, the Spartans were rewarded with a nine seed and a matchup against eighth-seeded Miami.

Michigan State defeated Miami rather handily. However, in the round of 32, the Spartans were faced with the one seed and tournament favorite, Kansas. Despite keeping it close for much of the game, Michigan State lost 90-70.

After Tom Izzo’s young, injured and often overwhelmed team lost, he said the group “gave me everything they could give me.”

Michigan State

Bridges told fans he has “unfinished business” after declaring he would come back for his sophomore season (Photo/ Al Goldis)

The Spartans are looking forward, starting with returning star forward Miles Bridges.

Bridges, who was considered by many to be a lottery pick in next year’s upcoming NBA draft, officially decided to come back for his sophomore season a few days ago. He averaged 16.9 points per game, which are the highest points per game for a freshman at Michigan State since Magic Johnson. Bridges also averaged 8.3 rebounds, which is the most by a Michigan State freshmen since Greg Kelser in 1975-76.

“I got some unfinished business here,” Bridges said. “I want to stay.”

Even though Bridges could have left for the NBA and made millions of dollars, he decided to work on his game while enjoying the college life both on and off the court.

“I’d rather stay here and get better,” he said.

Many still had Michigan State as a highly ranked team going into next year even before Bridges decided to return. Much of that has to do with a core group of young guys, who showed towards the end of the season that they can be really good.

They have an elite low-post scorer with Nick Ward, a potential future quarterback of the offense with Cassius Winston and a dangerous off-ball wing with Joshua Langford. Those players, along with Bridges, were all freshmen and are all returning for their sophomore seasons.

There is a lot that this group has to improve upon, like reducing turnovers and improving on the glass. They will have to get a good contribution from additional players like Matt McQuaid and their incoming class. The new class consists of two really good top recruits.

Michigan State

Top recruit Jaren Jackson will join the Spartans next season in their hunt for another championship (Photo/ Mike Dinovo).

First, there is 6-foot-11, 225 pound forward Jaren Jackson, who was one of the top recruits in the country. The big man has not only been praised for being a big presence down low, but he can also step out and hit the mid or long range jumper, making him a matchup nightmare.

The Spartans also signed 6-foot-9, 250 pound forward Xavier Tillman, who was voted first team all state in Michigan. They are also trying to land highly recruited high school seniors Brandon McCoy, a 7-foot center from California and Mark Smith, an elite point guard from Illinois.

Regardless of if they end up signing McCoy and Smith or not, the Spartans will have a high-powered team on both ends of the floor. They will be more experienced, formulated and ready to make a serious run late in March.

 

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