Trevon Bluiett

All hail Xavier: Trevon Bluiett is coming back

Christmas has come early for the Xavier men’s basketball team. Trevon Bluiett announced that he will be returning for his senior season. Here’s a few reasons why this isn’t your regular old sports update- this is BIG news.

Trevon Bluiett gets buckets

I think the headline says it all. Bluiett has been a dream for head coach Chris Mack because his scoring average has consistently gone up each year. As a freshman he averaged 11 points per game, which increased to 15.1 his sophomore year and 18.5 this past season. He has also averaged over four rebounds per game in all three seasons.

Let us not forget when he dropped 40 points against Cincinnati this year, despite losing the game. In fact, he shot better from behind the 3-point arc (81.8 percent) than he did from the free throw line (77.8 percent). Now that is respectable.

The Indianapolis native shot 43.8 percent from the field while averaging 35.1 minutes per game throughout the season. It’s no doubt he’ll be putting in a lot of time this summer to further increases his averages and draft stock for next year.

future big east title

Trevon will be in good company with returners J.P. Macura (who averaged 14.4 PPG last season), Sean O’ Mara, Kaiser Gates and Quentin Goodin.

Quentin Goodin averaged 3.4 assists per game and 5.1 points per game. As a freshman he averaged 24.1 minutes per game and gave the team good boosts throughout the season.

He scored 16 points against St. John’s the second time around and 15 points in a two-point victory over Creighton. Throughout the tournament he played a lot of minutes but didn’t put up big numbers. Hopefully with a year of experience under his belt, he’ll be able to contribute more next year.

Trevon Bluiett

Mandatory photo credit: Orlando Rising

Sean O’ Mara will bring great senior leadership to Xavier’s squad. He and Trevon will be able to fearlessly lead the team. Sean only played an average of 13.8 minutes per game last year, but with players leaving, there will be an opportunity to pick up more minutes.

Kaiser Gates, the 6-foot-8 forward from Georgia, will be entering his junior year for the Musketeers. He added 14 points against Florida State in the second round of the tournament and will be a strong presence in the forward position.

In addition to the wealth of returners, Xavier has the 12th-ranked incoming freshman class as well as Kerem Kanter (Green Bay graduate transfer).

As for freshman, the Musketeers are adding Paul Scruggs, Naji Marshall, Jared Ridder, Elias Harden and Kentrevious Jones to their roster. Scruggs had offers from Louisville, Michigan State, Kansas, Indiania, Washington plus a few more. At Xavier, he’ll have a direct impact at the point guard position.

Xavier came in seventh place in a very tough Big East conference this past year. They were topped by Villanova, Butler and Marquette to name a few.

However, not many teams have the same amount of returning power and young guns to compete with this seasoned Xavier team. Next year will be interesting to watch as the Musketeers look to run at a high-pace in conference play and the tournament.

NCAA tournament hopes

Tournament time might as well be known as Trevon time. He averaged 21.3 points per game in their four-game tournament run. If you don’t recall their March Madness run, here’s a quick recap: wins over Maryland, Florida State and Arizona but a loss to Gonzaga.

Trevon knows the atmosphere and he’s already showed that he can perform well under pressure. Surely, he will do the same thing next year.

As a whole, Xavier is bringing back six out of nine of their top scorers. Don’t forget, they still reached the Elite Eight without Edmond Sumner (torn ACL) and they have a great freshman class, as stated above. The sky is the limit for this team.

Xavier has always been a consistently good tournament team as well. Last year they made it to the second round and lost by three to Wisconsin. Trevon’s freshman year, the Musketeers made it to the Sweet Sixteen and lost by eight to a second-ranked Arizona team.

The statistics speak for themselves, Xavier is not a team you want to mess with, especially with Trevon Bluiett coming back.

 

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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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Purdue Basketball Roster 2017

Purdue Basketball Roster 2017: The Future is Bright

If there could be one word to describe Purdue’s 2017-18 basketball roster, it would be hopeful. However, hope doesn’t win basketball games, players do.

The Boilermakers finished off this past season with a Big Ten regular season conference title and went 27-8 on the season. Their road to the final four was cut short with a loss to Kansas in the Sweet 16, but it’s just motivation to work over the summer. They also have key players returning and a good class of freshmen coming in.

On the downside, the Boilermakers will most likely be losing their, 6-foot-9 big man, Caleb Swanigan. He averaged 18.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game this past season and will likely be a first-round pick in the NBA.

“He’s a borderline first-round guy, and I’m not sure how he will have a better year than he did this past year,” one NBA GM told ESPN.com. “I don’t see how he improves his stock coming back,” another NBA executive said. (Source: ESPN)

Swanigan was more than just a big man. There were many games fans might call him “Mr. Clutch.” Despite his numbers dropping a little at the end, he had some stellar games during regular season play. In the matchup against Notre Dame, Swanigan scored 26 points for a five-point victory over the Fighting Irish. He also added big numbers against Minnesota, Illinois and on Michigan State’s home floor.

The squad will miss his talents for sure, but it isn’t set in stone that he’s going to the NBA yet. Swanigan hasn’t hired an agent yet, but people are skeptical that he’ll have a better season if he stays another year.

who’s coming back

Purdue can count on senior Isaac Haas, the center who averaged 12.6 points in 19.5 minutes per game. He also had a field goal percentage of 58.7 percent, the highest on the team.

In addition to Haas, Dakota Mathias will be returning for his senior season at the guard position. Mathias led the team with 3.8 assists per game as he took on a larger role for the team. His playing time increased significantly from his sophomore season.

Purdue Basketball Roster 2017

Photo Courtesy of hammerandnails.com

Senior Vince Edwards will also be returning, and contributing big minutes and points. He’s a threat at the forward position with his strong skill set and athleticism.

P.J. Thompson, another senior guard, will also be finishing up his career as a Boilermaker. Thompson at 5-foot-10 doesn’t seem like the crafty guard he is, but teams are learning to respect him more.

The senior class will be the backbone of the team, providing strong leadership and standards for all the new kids coming in. Carsen Edwards will also be entering his sophomore year, which comes with higher expectations and hopefully more minutes. Purdue will also look to him a little more.

like I said, the future is bright

Purdue has Nojel Eastern signed at the shooting guard position, straight out of Evanston, Illinois. He should have an early impact as a freshman. Eastern will also be joined by Matt Haarms, Aaron Wheeler, Eden Ewing and Sasha Stefanovic. While it isn’t quite the same caliber players that Kentucky has coming in, Purdue will be a strong contender for the Big Ten title again next year.

NAME POS STATUS GRADE
Nojel Eastern SG Signed 83
Matt Haarms C Signed 80
Aaron Wheeler SF Signed 78
Sasha Stefanovic SG Committed
Eden Ewing SF Signed

(Source: ESPN)

Featured Image by Bleacher Report

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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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It’s on the Haus: Spurs Win, Trail Blazers’ New Logo, LaVar Ball Talked Again and Matt Harvey

It’s on the Haus is a daily installment of sports news from the past day. Rather than waiting an entire hour to see the big news on a television program or come to multiple stories on multiple websites to get your sports fix, It’s on the Haus gives you the biggest sports happenings all in one place. You may feel guilty for reading this concise article that gives you everything you need to know, but don’t worry, It’s on the Haus.

San Antonio Spurs Score More Points Than Houston Rockets

The San Antonio Spurs won a pivotal Game 5 against the Houston Rockets last night, taking a 3-2 series lead with their 110-107 win. The game needed an overtime period to decide the winner, and James Harden choked. Harden was 1-6 from the field, including 0-5 from behind the arc and also had four turnovers in what ESPN Stats & Info called “clutch time”.

It’s about time that the NBA feeds us fans a good playoff game. I’m tired of watching teams win in easier fashion than I dumped my AB calculus exam in high school (I got a one, which is either good or bad, depending on your worldview).

The game was a thriller from the tip to the final buzzer. The series heads to Houston for Game 6, and the Rockets will need to take each of the next two in order to advance to the Western Conference finals.

Now, that I’ve made my obligatory actual news post, let’s get onto the more important and pressing news from the day.

Portland Trail Blazers Dump Old Logo for Basically the Same Thing

The Portland Trail Blazers’ marketing scrubs are getting paid six figures for this garbage?

Spurs Portland Trail Blazers LaVar Ball Matt Harvey

 

I know the internet is no place for crude language, so excuse my next sentence.

What the frickin’ heck, Portland? My 18-month-old niece is as creative as this new logo. I know I’m one of the more crucial logo pundits this side of the internet, but this is terrible. The only differences I see are that the red is now on top and the lines are a little differently shaped.

This is an outrage, and I will not stand for it. Luckily, I’m typing this while sitting, so let’s move onto the next topic.

LaVar Ball Continues to Say Questionable Words

LaVar Ball insinuated that his son, Lonzo, is more accomplished than Michael Jordan in his appearance on Fox Sports 1’s Undisputed on Monday.

When co-host Shannon Sharpe questioned how LaVar thinks anyone will buy his son’s shoe when MJ couldn’t sell his for $100, LaVar symbolically laid in front of a steamroller with his reply.

“Cause he ain’t Lonzo Ball, that’s why,” LaVar said. “This is a new era called the Ball era.”

There’s really no analysis to give here. There’s no reason to break down what LaVar said, because we’ve heard it all before.

I truly feel bad for Lonzo and all the Ball sons. Their dad won’t shut up, and he doesn’t even have the decency to talk calmly about Lonzo. Lonzo Ball will live a career that is unprecedented to this point, and will be endlessly ridiculed if he turns out to be a bust in the NBA.

Even if all the Ball sons are busts, they’ll be able to live off the 263 pairs of shoes they sold for the next ten years.

Matt Harvey Can’t Stop and May Never Stop

The New York Mets duped Matt Harvey out of his scheduled start last Sunday and suspended him for three games retroactive to Saturday. Harvey skipped the Mets’ game on Saturday after being inflicted with a migraine during the day.

Spurs Portland Trail Blazers LaVar Ball Matt Harvey

Photo: (JIM MCISAAC/GETTY IMAGES)

On Tuesday, Harvey held a press conference to talk about his whereabouts. Harvey revealed he was out past curfew on Friday night and hit the green for some golf on Saturday morning. Harvey expressed remorse for his actions and said he was ready to put the incident behind him.

Harvey has put himself in between a rock and a hard place with all his shenanigans in his time with the Mets. He’s got a 5.14 ERA this season after posting a 4.86 ERA last season. The Mets won’t cut lose the 28-year-old, but his leash has got to be as short as it’s ever been.

And while we’re here, can we talk about why Harvey went golfing in the morning after being out past curfew the night before? My sources couldn’t tell me when a typical curfew is for MLB teams, but a half-hearted search on your favorite search engine database will probably give you the answer.

I love my sleep, as do all respectable humans. Why in the world would Harvey stay out late, lose sleep and then decide to go golf of all things the next morning? There’s not many things to sacrifice sleep over, but golfing is definitely not one of them.

 

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Kentucky Basketball: The Manufacturer of NBA Players

Coach John Calipari has the top-ranked recruiting class of 2017. This isn’t a surprise, considering the nature of his program. Coach Cal had the second-ranked recruiting class in the nation last year that included Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo.

These three players have declared for the 2017 NBA Draft and are forgoing the rest of their college eligibility. They also led the team statistically in many areas and were the reason for a lot of the team’s success. This isn’t a new trend, and Kentucky will continue this process with the 2017 recruiting class.

Looking back

In six of the past seven years, the Wildcats have had at least two players go in the first round of the draft. Three out of those seven years, a Wildcat was the No. 1 overall pick. Those players were John Wall, Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns.

The statistics speak for themselves. Kentucky knows how to manufacture NBA players. Whether this process is moral or not, isn’t what I want to discuss. I just want to look at why it happens and how it impacts college basketball as a whole.

Kentucky Basketball Manufactures Players for NBA Draft

Karl-Anthony Towns who previously played for Kentucky Wildcats (Photo by en.yibada.com)

More specifically, I’d like to discuss the amount of freshmen that are one-and-done. In 2015, Skal Labissiere and Jamal Murray played their freshman year and were both drafted in the first round.

The same applied for 2014, as Towns, Trey Lyles and Devin Booker were drafted after their freshman season. Towns was also the No. 1 pick as previously noted.

If you don’t see the trend yet, take a look at 2013. Nerlens Noel and Archie Goodwin were two additional freshmen that declared for the draft after their first year. Goodwin was the leading scorer for the Wildcats that year, as well as Freshman All-SEC.

This is all to make the point that Kentucky brings in top-notch recruits and sends them to the NBA.

SEC and NCaa tournament success

The Wildcats are a powerhouse, and this is why they draw in so many high-caliber recruits. It’s inevitable that everyone will talk about the morality of one and done. Kentucky is the team that takes advantage and has produced a winning program that attracts these players. Duke is another school that takes part in this type of recruiting, but not as much.

The Wildcats took first in the SEC with big production from their freshmen this year. Malik Monk lead the team, averaging 19.8 points per game. De’Aaron Fox lead the team in assists per game with 4.6. Finally, Bam Adebayo had the top field goal percentage of 59.9 percent and averaged over 30 minutes per game for the Wildcats. These three players led the charge for Kentucky.

Malik Monk, freshman at Kentucky who recently declared for 2017 NBA Draft (Photo by CBSsports.com)

However, a program that relies solely on freshmen is bound to have some problems. Leadership is evident but not prevalent.

These guys are 18-20 years old and haven’t played in big-time games yet, but their team still relies on them. This leads to uncharacteristic losses like the loss to Indiana in the second round in 2016. However, once these true freshmen get to play on the big stage, they usually don’t look back.

Kentucky is quite successful in the tournament. The Wildcats have played in four Final Fours since 2011. They won the 2012 title back when Anthony Davis was a freshman and Doron Lamb ruled the court.

2017 Recruiting Class

Looking ahead, the trend should continue. Kevin Knox just announced his commitment to Kentucky for the 2017 season and he is the No. 9 prospect in the country. Knox joins P.J. Washington (No. 11), Nick Richards (No. 16), Jarred Vanderbilt (No. 18), Quade Green (No. 23), and Hamidou Diallo.

However, Diallo will not be playing on the college stage next year. He enrolled in January of this year and declared for the draft without playing in a true college game.

What does all of this mean? Unless the one-and-done rule changes anytime soon or Coach Calipari is involved in a major scandal, Kentucky will continue to dominate. That is, dominating the NBA through the amount of players they send after one year of college ball.

 

(Featured Image by Sportingnews.com)

 

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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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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 Luck of the Irish: Bonzie Colson is Coming Back

Notre Dame fans can rejoice in their unending luck. Bonzie Colson is coming back to South Bend for his senior year, and this is bigger news than you think.

Colson had an outstanding junior year. He shot 52.6 percent from the field and 43.3 percent from 3-point land. Colson also averaged almost seven field goals per game, so I think it’s safe to say he was a big factor for the Irish. He will be next year too.

Notre Dame could clinch the ACC

College basketball fans have expected Duke or North Carolina to take the ACC over the last few years. These top two teams have strong recruiting classes, great programs and legendary coaches. Notre Dame is starting to come into this conversation and Colson will have a big part in this for the 2017-18 season.

Bonzie Colson of Notre Dame (Photo Courtesy of si.com)

Colson has made significant jumps each year at Notre Dame. He averaged 5.6 points in 12.1 minutes per game in his freshman season. Next year he went up to 11.1 points in 25.3 minutes per game. This past season he really broke out, averaging 17.8 points in 32.1 minutes per game, as well as 10.1 rebounds.

He will be expected to play big minutes as a senior. His improvement over the summer will be paramount to the team’s success. He and Matt Farrell will be leading the Irish against some very good ACC teams.

However, Joel Berry II, Theo Pinson and Tony Bradley of UNC have all declared for the draft. Duke is also losing Jayson Tatum, Luke Kennard, Harry Giles and Frank Jackson to the draft. Both top-contending teams will be very young next year, and Notre Dame has the opportunity to grab and ACC title with their experience coming back.

You lose some, you gain some

It is important to note that Steve Vasturia and V.J. Beachem have graduated. These two seniors accounted for a lot of minutes on Notre Dame’s squad this past year and combined for 27.6 points per game.

Matt Farrell will be returning as a senior and hopefully improves his stats from this year. He averaged 14.1 points and 2.5 turnovers in 34.4 minutes per game. Farrell will have to finish around the rim consistently and be more cognizant of turnovers if he is to truly impact his team next year. The Irish also have Temple Gibbs, Nikola Djogo, Austin Torres and John Mooney coming back.

Notre Dame has bonzie colson returning

Matt Farrell of Notre Dame (Photo Courtesy of sportingnews.com)

More importantly, they are bringing in D.J. Harvey Jr., who is ranked 50th in ESPN’s top 100 recruits. He’s a 6-foot-6, 205 pound small forward that will have a direct impact his freshman year. He is a hard-working player, and it helps that Notre Dame lost Vasturia and Beachem. This will give him greater opportunity to learn and earn minutes right away. Colson will be able to guide Harvey and hopefully pull together all of these players for a successful year.

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