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We aren’t going away, we are just stepping away to rebrand, refresh and redirect that goings on here at CollegeHoopsDaily.com.
We have a plan in place to get going again… check back soon.
Questions? Comments? [email protected]
USA Today Preseason Top-25
By: Zac Bonzheim
USA Today just released their annual Preseason Coaches Poll. Many offseason developments changed a few positions of some perennial contenders. The eligibility of Marvin Bagley and the most recent FBI investigation into college basketball had the largest impact on the current field. The addition of Bagley positioned the Blue Devils atop the rankings with the most number one votes. The highly touted Michigan State Spartans led by Miles Bridges came in second with nine number one votes. Kentucky and Kansas both entered the poll with no number one votes while Florida was able to sneak one away. (NOTE: Michigan State vs. Duke and Kentucky vs. Kansas will be November 14th in Chicago) Both teams in the national championship last spring, North Carolina and Gonzaga were left outside the top five and neither received any top votes. Louisville saw a huge drop in perceived value after Rick Pitino was fired and scandal struck. Many saw Arizona and USC as some of the top teams in the nation and both saw slight drops after their assistant coaches were involved in an extensive FBI investigation. Missouri received votes, but the team with the possible 2018 #1 overall pick will start out of the top-25. Northwestern was given a lot of faith and is picked at 20th and is the third highest team in the Big Ten. After their best year in program history, coaches took to them over the likes of Purdue, Maryland, and Wisconsin. As far as true mid-major go (excluding the Big East and the AAC), common names like Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s are the undeniable best teams in the nation. Other mid-majors receiving votes include Rhode Island (A10), Oakland (Horizon), Harvard (Ivy), and Nevada (MWC) fill out the ranks. Wichita would have continued their streak of being the top mid-major but they have now transitioned to American Athletic Conference, making for some good matchups with Cincinnati later in the season. The ACC looks to be the toughest conference again with nine teams receiving votes. The Pac 12 and the American both came up short with 4 and 3 teams receiving votes, putting them at the bottom of the major conferences.
Rank Number. Team (Number One Votes) – Conference (Total Points)
1. Duke (20) – ACC (774)
2. Michigan State (9) – Big Ten (747)
3. Kansas – Big 12 (723)
4. Kentucky – SEC (678)
5. Arizona (2) – PAC 12 (654)
6. Villanova – Big East (623)
7. Florida (1) – SEC (549)
8. Wichita State – AAC (543)
9. North Carolina – ACC (515)
10. West Virginia – Big 12 (458)
11. USC – PAC 12 (396)
12. Miami – ACC (383)
13. Cincinnati – AAC (349)
14. Notre Dame – ACC (305)
15. Minnesota – Big Ten (303)
16. Louisville – ACC (295)
17. Xavier – Big East (284)
18. UCLA – PAC 12 (275)
19. Gonzaga – West Coast (242)
20. Northwestern – Big Ten (208)
21. Purdue – Big Ten (167)
22. Saint Mary’s – West Coast (152)
23. Seton Hall – Big East (1319)
24. Baylor – Big 12 (107)
25. Alabama – SEC (82)
RV 26. Texas A&M – SEC (76)
RV 27. Virginia – ACC (57)
RV 28. Butler – Big East (43)
RV 29. Missouri – SEC (35)
RV 30. TCU – Big 12 (32)
RV 31. Rhode Island -Atlantic 10 (31)
RV 32. Providence – Big East (21)
RV 33. Wisconsin – Big Ten (21)
RV 34. Maryland – Big Ten (20)
RV 35. Oakland – Horizon (19)
RV 36. Oklahoma – Big 12 (19)
RV 37. Michigan – Big Ten (13)
RV 38. Texas – Big 12 (13)
RV 39. Virginia Tech – ACC (12)
RV 40. Oregon – PAC 12 (12)
RV 41. Southern Methodist – AAC (6)
RV 42. Creighton – Big East (6)
RV 43. Georgia – SEC (3)
RV 44. Georgia Tech – ACC (3)
RV 45. Harvard – IVY (2)
RV 46. Arkansas – SEC (2)
RV 47. Florida State – ACC (1)
RV 48. South Carolina – SEC (1)
RV 49. Nevada – MWC (1)
How Conferences were represented. (Includes all teams receiving votes)
Big Ten 7
Big 12 6
Big East 6
PAC 12 4
West Coast 2
The USA TODAY Sports Board of Coaches is made up of 32 head coaches at Division I institutions. All are members of the National Association of Basketball Coaches. The board for the 2017-18 season: Randy Bennett, Saint Mary’s; Jim Boeheim, Syracuse; Tad Boyle, Colorado; Todd Bozeman, Morgan State; Glenn Braica, St. Francis Brooklyn; Scott Cherry, High Point; Tim Cluess, Iona; Jon Coffman, IP-Fort Wayne; Scott Drew, Baylor; Matt Driscoll, North Florida; Fran Dunphy, Temple; Bill Evans, Idaho State; Mark Fox, Georgia; John Gallagher, Hartford; Matthew Graves, South Alabama; Steve Hawkins, Western Michigan; Steve Henson, Texas-San Antonio; George Ivory, Arkansas-Pine Bluff; Ben Jacobson, Northern Iowa; James Jones, Yale; Greg Kampe, Oakland; Mike McConathy, Northwestern State; Greg McDermott, Creighton; Matt McMahon, Murray State; Dan Monson, Long Beach State; Chris Mooney, Richmond; Matt Painter, Purdue; Dave Pilipovich, Air Force; Brett Reed, Lehigh; Kareem Richardson, Missouri-Kansas City; Zach Spiker, Drexel; Mike Young, Wofford.
A Critical Piece on Brian Bowen and Louisville Basketball
By: Zachery Bonzheim
June 2017: Brian Bowen, Small Forward, 6-7, 194 lbs , La Lumiere School, Saginaw MI, Top-20 National Recruit, Consensus Future NBA Player, LOUISVILLE COMMIT
October 2017: Brian Bowen, the center of an FBI investigation surrounding the darkest parts of college basketball.
Brian Bowen is what was you may have inferred from the first line. Bowen was kid built to play basketball and at the highest level. Bowen ended up being a good player with bad people around him.
Bowen was largely recruited by one program throughout high school. This program was Michigan State. Tom Izzo was interested in Bowen going into his sophomore year at Arthur Hill High School in Saginaw, Michigan. Bowen had many influences to attend Michigan State. Jason Richardson, MSU great, ex-NBA player, and Arthur Hill alum is the cousin and mentor to Brian. Bowen was from the same city as one of the best Spartan’s in recent memory, Draymond Green. Izzo was the first to start recruiting Bowen and he was even recruiting his teammates, Tyger Campbell and Jaren Jackson. Jackson eventually committed to Michigan State. Many if not most assumed Bowen would be signing with the Spartans. Look at 24/7’s Crystal Ball prediction. Given all this information, is it fishy that Bowen did not sign with Michigan State? No, well not really. Lots of kids go against the grain or are looking for something new. But there is something definitely off about the Crystal Ball Prediction.
It seems Louisville went from not showing any interest in Bowen and Bowen never naming them in any of his shortlists to signing him in a matter of two months. But wait, the Crystal Ball does not show the whole picture. Bowen went on his first visit to Louisville weeks after wrapping up his original visits. He then signed with the program five days after that visit. Sure this would not draw too much speculation for a small time recruit, but Bowen was the last and the best recruit left in the country by this time. Louisville Coach, Rick Pitino called the signing of Bowen, “luckiest I’ve been” in 40 years of coaching. Some luck, right? I mean to sign a consensus 5-star recruit five days after your only time hosting him and neither side being interested in the other until the visit has gotta be pure luck!
False. This was no coincidence. This was not lucky. This was not even fair.
Brian Bowen signed with Louisville because they paid him and his family $100,000 to play “amateur” basketball. An ongoing FBI investigation uncovered some of the worst that college basketball has to offer and Louisville, Brian Bowen, Coach Pitino, Adidas, and an unnamed assistant are in the middle. The FBI has names for all of the parties involved, leaving clues to the unnamed suspects. “Coach-1” is the unnamed Louisville assistant, “Coach-2” is Rick Pitino, “Player-10” is Brian Bowen, “University-6” is Louisville, and “Company-1” is Adidas. The report also mentions numerous other coaches with corresponding numbers.
So what happened? The Lexington Herald-Leader summarized the transactions as “Beginning in May, according to the federal documents, Adidas officials Jim Gatto, Merl Code, sports agent Christian Dawkins and financial adviser Munish Sood — all now defendants in the federal case — “conspired to illicitly funnel” approximately $100,000 from Adidas to the family of “Player-10” in exchange for his commitment to Louisville. The payment would also ensure that “Player-10” would retain Dawkins and Sood as representatives and sign with Adidas once entering the NBA. The bribe money was structured in a manner so to conceal it from the NCAA and officials at University-6 by, among other things, having Company-1 wire money to third-party consultants who then facilitated cash payments to Player-10’s family.”
Later through wiretapping, spying, investigation, and close financial tracking the FBI was able to finally become involved. When the Adidas representatives and sports agent needed money, the FBI took their chance. The Lexington Herald-Leader continued: “Dawkins (the sports agent) worked with Code to arrange for Sood (the financial adviser) and an undercover FBI agent posing as a financial backer to make an initial $25,000 payment to the player’s family on Adidas’ behalf.”
There was more information obtained through the FBI’s investigation. It is unclear whether the investigation started out as an investigation on Bowen, or if his circumstances shifted their focus. The investigation also showed Louisville’s interest in obtaining “Player-11” through a similar process. Player-11 is an unnamed uncommitted college basketball recruit for an upcoming class. Another huge aspect is that this inadvertently opened a huge case when dealing with apparel companies. At one point Dawkins said that a rival athletic apparel company (which is not named) had been “coming with a higher number” to try and get the player, and he needed more money from Adidas as a result. We can conclude the rival to Adidas is either Under Armor, Jordan, or Nike.
So a Nike, Jordan, or Under Armor school who joined late in the recruiting process placed themselves into the bidding war to sign Bowen. Arizona, Michigan State, and Creighton were the three schools with the best chances at Bowen until Louisville paid their way to sign him. What other school be involved? We can count Michigan State out because they had effectively believed they were going to sign him. So now it’s between Creighton and Arizona. Well the FBI gave us a hint when they announced Arizona assistant coach, Emanuel “Book” Richardson is facing criminal charges with the investigation. In addition, Arizona head coach, Sean Miller, was taken out of commercials for an Arizona credit union following the investigation. Although it is not proven, many have speculated that Bowen received a similar offer from Arizona and Nike, which can be tied back to Emanuel “Book” Richardson.
What has happened as a result? Bowen has been suspended indefinitely from the Cardinal’s program and is not eligible to transfer and play this season. Bowen’s Louisville teammates went on the record saying Bowen was a good person and their friend is still at UL. They did agree that the he brought upset the team as a whole. Rick Pitino has been fired from Louisville and he has put up his Louisville house for sale. Tom Jurich, the now ex-athletic director of UL has also been let go. Interim Louisville President, Gregory C Pastel, publicly penned the letters which he delivered to Jurich and Pitino. SB Nation published the pictures shown.
David Padgette is now the coach of the Cardinals Men’s Basketball team and takes over a program that was already on NCAA probation for a prostitution scandal. The father of Brian Bowen, Brian Bowen Sr, has not been able to be contacted in the midst of this. Bowen Sr. was mentioned in connection with the transaction multiple times in the FBI reports. Carrie Malecke, Bowen’s mother, has commented that she knew nothing of her son’s or husband’s actions.
Ok, so let’s piece the Bowen story together:
So who’s in trouble?
^ Not conclusive connection to Brian Bowen but assumed
* Indicted by the FBI but not related to Bowen
** Suspects of FBI or being investigated further, no indictments.
(Note: There are many more schools, players, coaches, and outside contributors who have not been named but are part of the investigation. For example, Player-1 through Player-9.)
With all being said, it is going to make for a drama-filled season. How will the committee and voters look at programs such as Louisville, Arizona, and USC this season? All three were seen at title contenders and all three are implicated? Will Louisville be dealt the death penalty for this scandal while still on probation for the prostitution scandal? What will happen of Adidas? Will Nike be indicted and what will happen to their influence if not? Is this the end of shoe sponsored AAU circuits? Did Bowen essentially end his career before it started and did Pitino ruin his Hall of Fame career after it ended? There are so many questions that can and will be answered this upcoming season. Stay tuned to College Hoops Daily for updates, analysis, and opinions on this and other topics.
Read the following articles for more information on the topic:
CBS Unofficial Coaches Poll
By: Zachery Bonzheim
CBS recently made their own unofficial preseason “Coaches Poll”. This poll was unique in the way that all of those polled were completely anonymous and unlike the “USA Today Coaches Poll”, instead of ranking the Top 25 teams, they were asked specific questions and their answers were polled. At the bottom of the page is a link to the CBS article. The most prominent piece in the article was when CBS asked: “Who will be the best team in 2017-18?”. Results may shock some, but those who have been engaged with the numerous preseason rankings will see a lot of familiar faces. Arizona led the vote with 40%, followed by Michigan State (28%), Duke (9%), Kansas (9%), Louisville (6%), and only three other teams even received multiple votes. Those teams being Wichita State, Villanova, and Kentucky. CBS also noted that USC and Florida rounded out the top ten, but neither got more than one vote for top team in the nation. This culminates to an unofficial preseason Top-10 of:
1. Arizona (40%)
2. Michigan State (28%)
3. Duke (9%)
4. Kansas (9%)
5. Louisville (9%)
6. Wichita State (PNA)
7. Villanova (PNA)
8. Kentucky (PNA)
9. USC (PNA)
10. Florida (PNA)
PNA=Percentage Not Available
These teams all have been considered the cream of the crop all summer. In our Mid-Summer Preseason Rankings, we had the top nine teams all in our top nine. Florida the lone exception at number 20. Coaches in the survey did not give word on Florida, but for them to climb from 20th to 10th within a couple months is quite astounding and speaks to how well they finished recruiting and how they retained talent. Below is our Mid-Summer Preseason Rankings with how they were placed compared to the recent CBS poll.
1) Michigan State (-1)
2) Arizona (+1)
3) Kansas (-1)
4) Kentucky (-4)
5) Duke (+2)
6) Villanova (+1)
7) Louisville (+2)
8) Wichita State (+2)
9) USC (0)
20) Florida (+10)
In our “A Composite “Way Too Early Top 25”” was had all top eight teams in the top ten. The most notable would be how Michigan State and USC climbed from a lower composite ranking. Michigan State went from number ten to a number two ranking. USC went from a lowly 20th in the nation to a top ten placement. When the coaches were anonymously asked about why they made their decisions, coaches cited that Tom Izzo and Sean Miller’s abilities to retain talent along with adding some clear-cut lottery picks, making them the clear top-two choices.
Duke’s most recent addition of Marvin Bagley III was seen as a large improvement to their program. Some coaches noted that Bagely’s eligibility could possibly make or break their chances of a title. Coaches noticed how Kansas was able to build a roster around seniors and juniors, making them the most experienced of all the elite teams. Many had worries about the additions of Malik Newman. Newman sat out last season after a less than impressing first season at Mississippi State. Newman is looking to turn around his college career and re-spark NBA interest with a breakout year at Kansas, but his inability to take control of the game hasn’t gone unnoticed. If Newman shines, Kansas could win it all, but if he stumbles to get into double figures and distribute the ball, he may be more harm than help. When it came to Louisville, most coaches had nothing but “what-if’s” to say. One coach had to say “Imagine how good they’d be if Donovan Mitchell returned” in regards the Cardinals.
This survey was an UNOFFICIAL poll, but it does give a great chance for college basketball geeks to take in what the coaches think about this season’s field.
Mid-Summer Preseason Rankings
By Zachery Bonzheim
It’s the middle of the summer and the NBA Draft has just finished. We saw numerous underclassmen leave early and yet still, some decided to postpone their professional careers for another chance at raising a banner come April. With recruits falling into place and the early entry period over (along with the draft itself), next year’s team are shaping up in their final forms. Who is the team to beat and what teams saw stars leave for the draft? Here is a mid-summer preseason top 25.
1) Michigan State- Michigan State clocks in at number one on this preseason poll, why? Miles Bridges, yes the one that was a lock for the NBA lottery, decided to Sparty On for another year. Michigan State will return every single member of their historically best recruiting class along with adding Jaren Jackson (another surefire lottery pick). Expect Izzo not to just contend for a national title, but for Bridges to contend for a National Player of the Year.
2) Arizona- Sean Miller lost Lauri Markkanen, Kobi Simmons, Chance Comanche, and Kadeem Allen, but returns one of Miles Bridges biggest challengers for the National Player of the Year in Allonzo Trier. Allonzo Trier along with Parker Jackson-Cartwright, Rawle Alkins, and DeAndre Ayton make up a Wildcat team poised for a big year. Had Miller landed any of his three late-season targets in Trevon Duval, Brian Bowen or Brandon McCoy, they would be number one. Lucky for the Wildcats, they aren’t far behind.
3) Kansas- Kansas lost one of their statistically best players in recent memory in Frank Mason III and freshman freak Josh Jackson, but they are returning about the same amount of firepower that they lost. A trio of Malik Newman, Devonte’ Graham, and Svi Mykhailiuk will make for an experienced backcourt that will be ready to continue rolling in the Big 12. Kansas may have lost Carlton Bragg, who never fit in, but freshmen Billy Preston is looking to make a national name for himself. Don’t be surprised if Graham takes over the reigns from Frank Mason III and leads his team deep into March.
4) Kentucky- UK lost a slew of talent when De’Aron Fox, Malik Monk, Bam Adebayo, Isaiah Briscoe, and Isaac Humphries, all decided their time in Knoxville was over, BUT, they welcome Nick Richards, P.J. Washington, Jarred Vanderbilt, Quade Green, and Kevin Knox. Not to mention the special treat Calipari got when Hamidou Diallo came back (YES, a UK lottery pick returned). Had Briscoe and Humphries came back, it would be hard to argue that they weren’t the best team in the country.
5) Duke- Coach K and his squad lost lead scorer, Luke Kennard, along with key players in Amile Jefferson, Frank Jackson, and Jaysom Tatum. He also lost McDonald’s All-American, Harry Giles, but Giles role was far less than expected. Duke hit the late jackpot when Grayson Allen decided to stay and Trevon Duval signed. Duval, along with the rest of Duke’s big freshman class are poised to make a big push in the ACC. With potential starters being Trevon Duval, Grayson Allen, Gary Trent, Marques Bolden, and Wendell Carter, the Blue Devils look legit to contend on the national stage.
6) Villanova- Villanova lost National Player of the Year finalist, Josh Hart, and 2016 Final Four hero, Kris Jenkins but returns a cast of well experienced Wildcats. Jalen Brunson is looking to take over the role as the superstar and is on many’s preseason All-American watch lists. Brunson along with Mikal Bridges, Donte DiVincenzo, and Eric Paschall will all be expecting larger roles in Jay Wrights system. Finally, the Cats will add Omari Spellman, a five-star big man who redshirted last season. All of this adds up to another year of Villanova bullying the Big East.
7) Louisville- Lousiville’s offseason was rocky for a long time. Allegations of the team and the coach ran across headlines everywhere and star Donovan Mitchell left for the NBA. This all changed when Brian Bowen visited. The five-star wing had no interest in Louisville until late into the recruiting period when he signed after no not even including the Cards in his top-5. Bowen will bring big star power to the team. Him along with freshman, Malik Williams, who will look to hold down the post, will help the Cardinals rejoin the top programs in the country this season. But wait!!! Do not forget point guard Quentin Snider. Bowen may have NBA hype, but it is still Snider’s team. Don’t be surprised if he makes waves of his own this season.
8) Wichita State- The Shockers made the jump from the Missouri Valley to the American Athletic where the their schedule will be harder, but possibly not hard enough to stop an undefeated season. Sophomore, Landry Shamet, showed major flashes last season in big games, none more important than their almost upset of Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament. Shamet along with Markis McDuffie, Darral Willis Jr., Shaquille Morris, Conner Frankamp, and Zach Brown, will all be looking to win a conference championship in their first year.
9) USC- USC beat SMU and Providence to advance to the Sweet Sixteen of last year’s tournament, just a taste of what could come this season. The Trojans’ stars, Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu returned to Southern California for a chance not only raise conference championships, but national championships. They also return Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stewart and welcome transfers Derryck Thornton (Duke) and Shaqquan Aaron (Louisville). This experienced and loaded roster has what it takes to see a deep tournament run.
10) West Virginia– Last year, the crowded Big 12 saw many stars forgo their eligibility and head to the NBA. Lucky for WVU, star player, Jevon Carter (13.5 ppg) stayed. Bob Huggins’ “Press Virginia” is a well-oiled machine ran by veteran leaders who know how to play fast and hard. He also was fortunate enough to see the return of Esa Ahmad, Daxter Miles Jr., Lamont West, and Sagaba Konate. This team will look to be the best challenger of Kansas in the Big 12 next season and could break the Jayhawks streak.
11) Minnesota- Richard Pitino stepped out of his father’s shadow last season when his Golden Gopher squad caught fire. Last year was a great coming out party, but this year is going to be bigger. Minnesota returns star point guard Nate Mason who achieved All Big-Ten honors last season along with sophomore stud, Amir Coffey, and defensive anchor, Reggie Lynch. This team will continue to mature and play a smarter brand of basketball. The pressure is really on Pitino now. We all know they have the talent, but can they perform under pressure?
12) Purdue- Caleb Swanigan is gone, but the Boilermakers live on. The squad will revolve around two seven-footers in Isaac Hass and Matt Haarm, along with solid players in Vince Edwards, Carsen Edwards, and Dakota Mathias. Swanigan was Matt Painter’s do-it-all player, but this year they’re going to need a core that can replicate his complete play. Purdue is the reigning Big Ten champion and they only lost one key player, their team is shaping up to be one of the best in the Big Ten.
13) Cincinnati- Cincinnati is good. They went under the radar most of last season and picked up thirty wins… 30 WINS! Cincinnati is a team that sticks together. All three of their top scorers, Jacob Evans, Kyle Washington and Gary Clark return. This with the increased role and ability of Jarron Cumberland and the addition of Cane Broome (Sacred Heart Transfer and Northeast Conference Player of the Year), makes for a high-octane offense ready to roll over the competition. The American Athletic looks to be a two-horse race between Wichita State and Cincinnati. If Kyle Washington can continue to improve and reach the All-American form he’s capable of, the Bearcats will repeat thirty win seasons.
14) Xavier- Xavier surprised all of us by reaching the elite eight last spring and continued to surprise us when Coach Chris Mack signed a top-15 recruiting class. Trevon Bluiett (18.5 ppg) will be an All-American if he continues to progress and J.P. Macura (14.4 ppg) has been a steady star for the Musketeer. These two along with one of the best classes Mack has signed while in Xavier, make for a team ready get back to the elite eight and further.
15) North Carolina- North Carolina lost a lot of players. They lost Justin Jackson, Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks, and Tony Bradley… but kept one of the best players in the nation in Joel Berry III. Berry III, Theo Pinson, and Luke Maye will be the keys to the Tarheels competing at the same level as last year. Berry will be not only fighting for his team to repeat as champions but for National Player of the Year too.
16) Seton Hall- Seton Hall? In the top 20? Yes. Seton Hall is legit. After finishing 21-12 last year, they could easily achieve a 30 win season. One of the best-kept secrets in college basketball, Angel Delgado (15.2 ppg, 13.1 rpg), returns and looks to have back-to-back seasons averaging a double-double. One 15 point scorer a game is a lot, but how about three?! In addition to Delgado, the Pirates bring back Khadeen Carrington (17.1 ppg) and Desi Rodriguez (15.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg). Coach Kevin Williard’s team is hot and could challenge Villanova in the Big East next year.
17) Notre Dame- Two players make the Fighting Irish a contender. Bonzie Colson is a one man wrecking crew. After averaging over 17 points per game in addition to double figures in rebounds, he decided to come back for one more year. With Colson down low and point guard, Matt Farrell (14.1 ppg, 5.4 apg), running the show, the Fighting Irish will be a sight to see. Even if Notre Dame underperforms this season, Colson will still be one the best players to watch.
18) Saint Mary’s- Jock Landale was one of the nation’s best players in the post last season. He averaged about 17 points per game and 10 rebounds. While still being in a mid-major conference, their schedule will not face the same gauntlet as some of the other teams on this list. This being said, and the fact that Gonzaga lost a large portion of their key players, the Gaels could easily go undefeated.
19) Northwestern- Northwestern took Gonzaga, eventual national runner-up, down to the wire last tournament. If one call would have gone the Wildcats way, their historic season would have been so much more. Fear not, this team is loaded and ready to make the jump from happy to be dancing to chasing a banner. Bryant McIntosh will be one of the nation’s most efficient point guards this season and it’s on his shoulders to make his senior year the best in school history.
20) Florida- Florida finished 27-9 last year and almost made it to the final four after falling just short in the Elite Eight. The Gators lost Devin Robinson, Canyon Barry, and star player Kasey Hill, but return a roster ready to run the SEC. KeVaughn Allen, who dominated Wisconsin in the Sweet Sixteen, Chris Chiozza, and John Egbunu, along with a top-20 recruiting class, will grind out the season and challenge Kentucky for the crown in the SEC.
21) Miami (FL)- In Jim Larrañaga we trust. The last few years, Miami and again and again over exceeded expectations all thanks to Jim Larrañaga. This season the Hurricanes bring back Ja’Quan Newton and Bruce Brown but more importantly welcome Lonnie Walker. Lonnie Walker is the schools best recruit ever…If Larrañaga could work his magic without top recruits, just imagine with them.
22) Michigan- Many are counting Michigan out. They lost Zak Irvin, Derrick Walton, and DJ Wilson. Wilson was the leading scorer, Walton was the team leader, but neither was the best player. The Wolverines welcome back big man Moritz Wagner. For years, Michigan was bullied down low and last year was the first time they had a true answer in the Beilein era. Wagner in addition to the developing Xavier Simpson, a key role player in Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, and top recruit Jordan Poole will compete at both the conference and national level.
23) Rhode Island- E.C. Mathews… E.C. Mathews… E.C. Mathews… The Rams lost Hassan Martin and Kuran Iverson, but they return key player and possible All-American E.C. Mathews along with Jared Terrell and Stanford Robinson. Head coach Dan Hurley has turned the program around and made the team loaded with stars. Expect the Rams to be led by Mathews and to compete deep into the tournament.
24) Missouri- Mizzou brought in a new coach and new players to turn around last years worst team in the SEC. Cuonzo Martin was brought in to revamp the program and to this point, he has not failed. After being hired, Martin went to work and signed the number one recruit in the nation, Michael Porter Jr., who is often compared to Kevin Durant. Porter Jr. in addition to Jeremiah Tilmon, C.J. Roberts, and Canisius grad transfer Kassius Robertson (16.1 ppg) are looking to make waves in a weak SEC.
25) UCLA- Many people have ranked UCLA in the top-15 but I remain skeptical. Who did the Bruins lose? Lonzo Ball, TJ Leaf, and Ike Anigbogu went pro, while Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton graduated. Steve Alford brought in Jaylen Hands, Kris Wilkes, and Cody Riley and was able to keep Aaron Holiday (12.3 ppg) and Thomas Welsh (10.8 ppg, 8.7 rpg). There have been big changes, many will wonder if the Bruins can repeat their dominance of the Pac12.
Teams That Missed the Cut (Alphabetical Order)
Alabama, Baylor, Butler, Gonzaga, Texas, Texas A&M, Virginia
Bryan Mauro-Contributing Writer (@threecolorbeard)
Now that the first live period for recruiting has started, there are a lot of top recruits still left out on the market. There is a month left until the late signing day, so we should see resolution on many of these kids by the end of the month. There will be a new weekly recruiting segment, where I will delve into my recruiting rankings for each conference.
This week, lets review the top unsigned players still on the market:
Mohammed Bamba- Bamba is the best player still on the market. He is a 6’11” power forward who can do it all. He has a nice offensive game with extremely polished post moves, and can shoot it from outside. He is an elite rebounder and shot blocker, and is also extremely athletic for his size. He doesn’t lumber around and clog the lane like some big men. In fact, he moves well enough that he was able to compete in the dunk contest at the McDonald’s All American game. This is usually reserved for the smaller wings. Bamba has received a scholarship from every blue-blood program in America, but his final five schools have some interesting names in it. His final five includes Michigan, Texas, Duke, Kentucky, and Arizona. His former teammate and one of his best friends, Hamidou Diallo, is already enrolled at Kentucky, and has been helping recruit Bamba.
Trevon Duval- Every team needs a point guard to run their offense. Trevon Duval from IMG Academy is the best point guard in this class. He is an elite ball handler and passer, great shooter, and can get to the rim. He also has a knack for drawing a foul and getting to the line. His game reminds me a lot of Frank Mason from Kansas. His final five schools are Kansas, Seton Hall, Baylor, Arizona and Duke. Duke and Kansas are the favorites as they both are in need of a true point guard to run their team. Duke doesn’t have a point guard on the roster, and the incumbent point guard from Kansas, Frank Mason, has graduated.
Kevin Knox– Kevin Knox is a little harder read as to where he will attend college. Knox is talented enough to be a one year player, and probably will seek a school that will let him play for a year before he will enter his name into the draft and test the NBA waters. Knox can shoot the three and shoot it well, as was evidenced by his entering of the three point contest at the McDonald’s All American game. Kevin Knox has a good relationship with new Missouri coach and former Cal coach, Cuonzo Martin. Cuonzo Martin is trying to do a quick rebuild. Missouri already possesses a commitment from the number one player in this class with Michael Porter Jr., so they are making a nice run for Kevin Knox. In fact, Kevin Knox just took his last official visit to Missouri 2 weeks ago. He could be part of the team with Michael Porter Jr. that could help Missouri rise from the ashes of the SEC and compete for a conference championship. Knox’s final five schools are Duke, Florida State, Missouri, Kentucky, and North Carolina.
Brian Bowen- Brian Bowen is one of the best high school basketball players I have seen come along in quite some time. He has good size, good build, plays good defense, and man oh man can he shoot. He attended one of the best high school basketball programs in the country. La Lumiere is loaded with top Division 1 talent, with Jalen Jackson and Jacob Epperson already signing to Power 5 conference schools. Bowen was the engine that made this team go. In my opinion, Rivals and 247 have him ranked a little low. His final 5 are Creighton, Arizona, Michigan State, NC State and Texas. Creighton and Michigan State already have signed one of his teammates, and Creighton also just recently signed Alan Huss, the former head coach at La Lumiere, to be one of their assistant coaches. He should be deciding soon.
Next week: I will release my team recruiting rankings for the Big 12.
Early Applicants for the NBA Draft
By Zachery Bonzheim
The NBA Draft is a couple of months away and the early entry period is almost over. Players can declare for the draft until April 24 and withdraw any time until May 24 while maintaining their NCAA eligibility, as long as they don’t hire agents, meaning within the next 5 days, we should see a lot more test the waters. This policy allows these student-athletes see their chances in the NBA, get professional feedback on what to improve on, and gain the overall professional experience. The NBA Draft itself is June 22, 2017, 4:00 PM on ESPN, with the location to be determined. This all matters because if a lot of these declared players who have not hired an agent leave, some of the top predicted teams for next season may take some huge blows. Say USC loses Shaqquan Aaron, Bennie Boatwright, and Elijah Stewart; or Indiana loses OG Anunoby in addition to James Blackmon Jr., Thomas Bryant, and Robert Johnson; or Michigan loses D.J. Wilson and Moritz Wagner. These three teams currently all sit uncertainly of the fates regarding their best players. Many more colleges such as Purdue and Arizona still do not know the fates of some of their best players. This very list is why “Way Too Early Top 25’s” do not hold much importance.
Below is a list of NCAA players who have made their decisions in regards to next year. All seniors for the 2016-17 season are automatically eligible for the draft and do not have to decide. This list is long and complete as of April, 18th, but more and more players will make decisions within the next few days.
Declared With Agent
Markelle Fultz — 6-4, Fr., G (Washington)
Josh Jackson — 6-8, Fr., F (Kansas)
Lonzo Ball — 6-6, Fr., G (UCLA)
T.J. Leaf — 6-10, Fr., F (UCLA)
Dennis Smith Jr. — 6-3, Fr., G (N.C. State)
Omer Yurtseven — 7-0, Fr., C (N.C. State)
De’Aaron Fox — 6-3, Fr., G (Kentucky)
Malik Monk — 6-3, Fr., G (Kentucky)
Jayson Tatum — 6-8, Fr., F (Duke)
Harry Giles — 6-10, Fr., F (Duke)
Lauri Markkanen — 7-0, Fr., F (Arizona)
Zach Collins — 7-0, Fr., C (Gonzaga)
Kobi Simmons — 6-5, Fr., G (Arizona)
Justin Patton — 7-0, Fr., C (Creighton)
Jonathan Isaac — 6-10, Fr., F (Florida State)
Dwayne Bacon — 6-7, So., G (Florida State)
Luke Kennard — 6-6, So., G (Duke)
Ivan Rabb — 6-11, So., F (Cal)
Jawun Evans — 6-1, So., G (Oklahoma State)
Tyler Lydon — 6-9, So., F (Syracuse)
Edmond Sumner — 6-6, So., G (Xavier)
Isaiah Briscoe — 6-3, So., G (Kentucky)
Isaac Humphries — 7-0, So., F (Kentucky)
OG Anunoby — 6-8, So., F (Indiana)
Tyler Dorsey — 6-4, So., G (Oregon)
Dillon Brooks — 6-7, Jr., F (Oregon)
Jordan Bell — 6-9, Jr., F (Oregon)
Justin Jackson — 6-8, Jr., F (North Carolina)
Nigel Williams-Goss — 6-3, Jr., G (Gonzaga)
Melo Trimble — 6-3, Jr., G (Maryland)
Austin Nichols — 6-9, Jr., F (Virginia; dismissed from team in November)
L.J. Peak — 6-5, Jr., G (Georgetown)
Declared Without an Agent
Shaqquan Aaron, SF, USC (sophomore)
Jaylen Adams, PG, St. Bonaventure
Bam Adebayo, F/C, Kentucky (freshman)
Deng Adel, F, Louisville (sophomore)
Jashaun Agosto, G, Long Island (freshman)
Rawle Alkins, SG, Arizona (freshman)
Mark Alstork, SG, Wright State (junior)
Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA (freshman)
Jaylen Barford, G, Arkansas (junior)
James Blackmon Jr., SG, Indiana (junior)
Antonio Blakeney, SG, LSU (sophomore)
Trevon Bluiett, SF, Xavier (junior)
Bennie Boatwright, PF, USC (sophomore)
Tony Bradley, C, UNC (freshman)
Thomas Bryant, C, Indiana (sophomore)
Rodney Bullock, F, Providence (junior)
Khadeen Carrington, SG, Seton Hall (junior)
Jeffrey Carroll, G/F, Oklahoma State (junior)
Joseph Chartouny, G, Fordham (sophomore)
Donte Clark, G/F, UMass (junior)
Chance Comanche, F/C, Arizona (sophomore)
Angel Delgado, PF, Seton Hall (junior)
Vince Edwards, SF, Purdue (junior)
John Egbunu, C, Florida (center)
Jon Elmore, SG, Marshall (junior)
Obi Enechionyia, PF, Temple (junior)
Drew Eubanks, C, Oregon State (sophomore)
Tacko Fall, C, UCF (sophomore)
Brandon Goodwin, G, FGCU (junior)
Isaac Haas, C, Purdue (junior)
Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA (sophomore)
Chandler Hutchison, SG, Boise State (junior)
B.J. Johnson, SF, La Salle (junior)
Jaylen Johnson, PF, Louisville (junior)
Robert Johnson, SG, Indiana (junior)
Andrew Jones, PG, Texas (freshman)
Kerem Kanter, PF, Green Bay (junior)
Marcus Keene, PG, Central Michigan (junior)
Braxton Key, F, Alabama (freshman)
William Lee, PF, UAB (junior)
Kyle Kuzma, PF, Utah (junior)
Daryl Macon, G, Arkansas (junior)
Yante Maten, PF, Georgia (junior)
Markis McDuffie, SF, Wichita State (sophomore)
MiKyle McIntosh, SF, Illinois State (junior)
Eric Mika, F/C, BYU (sophomore)
Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville (sophomore)
Johnathan Motley, PF, Baylor (junior)
Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, SG, Kansas (junior)
Semi Ojeleye, SF, SMU (junior)
Cameron Oliver, PF, Nevada (sophomore)
Randy Onwuasor, SG, Southern Utah (junior)
Maverick Rowan, SG, N.C. State (sophomore)
Corey Sanders, PG, Rutgers (sophomore)
Jaaron Simmons, PG, Ohio (junior)
Fred Sims, G, Chicago State (sophomore)
Elijah Stewart, SG, USC (junior)
Caleb Swanigan, PF, Purdue (sophomore)
Stephen Thompson, SG, Oregon State (sophomore)
Trevor Thompson, C, Ohio State (junior)
Moritz Wagner, C, Michigan (sophomore)
Thomas Welsh, C, UCLA (junior)
Thomas Wilder, G, Western Michigan (junior)
D.J. Wilson, PF, Michigan (sophomore)
Omer Yurtseven, C, North Carolina State (freshman)
Notables Returning to College
Miles Bridges — 6-7, Fr., F (Michigan State)
Robert Williams — 6-9, Fr., F (Texas A&M)
Tyus Battle — 6-6, Fr., G (Syracuse)
Allonzo Trier — 6-5, So., G (Arizona)
Grayson Allen — 6-5, Jr., G (Duke)
E.C. Matthews — 6-5, Jr., G (Rhode Island)
Marcus Foster — 6-3, Jr., G (Creighton)
Ethan Happ — 6-10, So., F (Wisconsin)
Joel Berry II — 6-0, Jr., G (North Carolina)
A Composite “Way Too Early Top 25”
by: Zachery Bonzheim
The 2016-17 season is over and it’s already time to focus on the next season. Within the last week, nine notable college basketball news sources released their “Way Too Early Top 25’s”. These polls are very likely to change with recruits making final choices, players transferring, and players leaving for the NBA, but this is what the experts predict the rankings will look like.
Below is a side-by-side comparison for all nine of the preseason polls that were released. Further below is a composite ranking. This composite ranking takes the average rankings for every team listed and sorts them based on best average and number of times ranked. 15 teams were unanimously ranked and 10 teams had average rankings below 10.
|6||Kentucky||Wichita St||MSU||Wichita St||Florida|
|8||UNC||Kansas||Kentucky||West Virginia||West Virginia|
|15||St. Mary’s||Miami||Minnesota||St. Mary’s||Minnesota|
|18||Cincinnati||St. Mary’s||Cincinnati||Notre Dame||Baylor|
|20||Texas A&M||Texas A&M||Alabama||SMU||Northwestern|
|22||BYU||Nevada||West Virginia||Michigan||Notre Dame|
|23||Oklahoma||Virginia||St Marys||UCLA||Virginia Tech|
|Sporting News||Sports Illustrated||Yahoo||USA Today|
|9||Wichita St||Wichita St||West Virginia||UNC|
|15||Notre Dame||West Virginia||St. Mary’s||Indiana|
|18||St. Mary’s||Virginia||Notre Dame||Alabama|
OVERALL COMPOSITE RANKINGS
The Ranking Order is the teams listed rank in the chart above. The rankings are the same order as above. If a team missed out on a ranking they received a “x”.
The Composite Rank is an average of all of their rankings.
The Ranking Ratio is the number of times the team was ranked out of nine (the max amount of times).
We already endured April Fools day just a few days ago. As my phone started blowing up this evening, I had to check the date to make sure it wasn’t actually April 1.
Lavar Ball told Clay Fowler (@clay_fowler) of the Inland Valley Daily Journal
“Realistically you can’t win no championship with three white guys because the foot speed is too slow, I told Lonzo – ‘One of these games you might need to go for 30 or 40 points.’ It turned out the that was the one game. Then once they get to the Elite 8, they’re right there.”
Up to this point the things that have come out of mouth of the patriarch of the Ball family have been harmless, eccentric, outlandish and even crazy but this is a whole different level.
We have to ask ourselves some questions when comments like this are made and specifically in this situation.
How do you define this? Racism? Prejudice? Truth?
At what point will Lonzo start separating from his dad? (and the ridiculous ‘Big Baller Brand’?)
At what point will NBA teams say “This is Marv Marinovich all over again?”
Only time will tell.
Weigh in on the comments below.
by: Zachery Bonzheim
All of the tournaments are done and over with. North Carolina has been crowned the king of the NCAA, but there was more than one team that ended their year with a win. In addition to the NCAA Tournament, the NIT, CBI, and CIT took place, giving over hundred teams a chance to win some sort of title. How do all of these teams rack up? This article intends to rank every NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball team that participated in postseason play. Teams like Ohio State, that declined their postseason bid will not be a part of the ranking regardless if they are more qualified than some of the lesser teams. Also, no team from a lesser round or a lesser tournament will be ranked above a team that either made it further or in a better tournament. For instance, the worst overall team in the NCAA tournament will be ranked ahead of the winner of the NIT, regardless if the NIT champion may have beaten the 16 seed in a head to head contest.
The tournaments go in order from NCAA Tournament, NIT, CBI, and CIT.