The big college basketball news of the week was the decision by Emmanuel Mudiay to back out of his commitment to play at Southern Methodist to play overseas. As Mike Lemaire points out in his piece on the news it is a huge blow to SMU and Larry Brown’s plan for a quick turnaround. Outside of Mudiay’s concern for his family’s financial well-being during his year at college, which will probably be allayed in the near-term as he heads to Europe, there were also questions as to whether issues regarding financial compensation or academic concerns would have already made him ineligible to play in college anyways. With Mudiay’s talent, he has the potential to make the transition back to the NBA eventually like Brandon Jennings did in 2009, but we will miss seeing his talents try to reinvigorate the SMU program.
Sean Miller might not be John Calipari on the recruiting trail yet, but he is still doing a pretty good job. His latest addition is Ray Smith, the #26 prospect according to ESPN in the class of 2015. Smith, a 6’8″ small forward, verbally committed to Arizona soon after tearing his ACL. Although Smith might miss his entire high school senior season recovering from the injury it could be a blessing for the Wildcats, who beat out several other prominent schools to land Smith, who might not have committed to them if he had more chances to showcase his talents. As Adam Finkelstein notes, the Wildcats have already had four straight top-10 classes, but this one has the potential to be a top-5 class or even #1 overall if things break right for them.
There were interesting pieces of news that will lead players to miss some time next season. Butler transfer guard Austin Etherington, who averaged 2 points and 1.6 rebounds at Indiana last season, is expected to miss 3-4 months after undergoing surgery on his right foot. Georgia dismissed Brandon Morris after the junior forward was arrested on felony charges of intent to sell marijuana. Morris averaged 8.6 points and 3.4 rebounds per game last season, but also missed three games due to an undisclosed violation of team policies. Iowa suspended Peter Jok after he was arrested for driving his moped with a revoked license. Jok, a sophomore, already had his license revoked after receiving a DUI on his moped in April so this will be a second strike against him. Although Jok only averaged 4.4 points per game as a freshman last season he was expected to pick up many of Roy Devyn Marble’s minutes and production. We are assuming that Fran McCaffery will let Jok back on the team, but if he doesn’t it would be a big loss for the Hawkeyes.
We were not even aware Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg had a pacemaker (or any cardiac issues for that matter) until he had a battery replaced in the pacemaker yesterday. The pacemaker was put in at the time of his surgery for an aortic root aneurysm as the result of a complication from surgery (injury to the bundle of His) that necessitated the need for a pacemaker. Apparently, Hoiberg noticed that his heart rate was not elevating to the normal range leading to the replacement of his pacemaker battery. According to Hoiberg and the school the replacement appears to have been uneventful, which is not surprising given how straightforward it is, but is still good to hear.
Lost in the media onslaught around LeBron’s decision to come home was its impact on college basketball. Or at least the impact that it nearly had. Everybody knows about the reports that John Calipari, Tom Izzo, and Billy Donovan had been contacted about the Cleveland job, but it appears that Bill Self was also approached by the Cavaliers about the vacancy. All four stayed at their current jobs, but we wonder if they might have felt differently had they been offered the job with LeBron there. So although there were no college coaches moving on to the NBA we would keep an eye on Cleveland as a potential destination particularly if things do not work out between LeBron and David Blatt.
The big news of the week was clearly Austin Rivers committing to Duke in a move that was surprising not so much for the destination as when he made it, especially given his recent announcement about taking official visits to UNC and Kansas. Coming off last season’s title and with the long list of returning rotation players (including Seth Curry finally becoming eligible) the addition of Rivers has many people in Durham thinking “three-peat”. That might be premature, but it is enough to make people in Chapel Hill and many other college campuses across the nation feel nauseous.
Coming soon to Cameron
John Pelphrey‘s job at Arkansas may be in jeopardy, but the future of the Razorback program seems to be in good hands after Pelphrey landed Ky Madden to go along with a recruiting class that already included B.J. Young and could wind up being a top five class by the time the class of 2011 arrives on campus next fall.
We know that Tom Crean is working hard at getting Indiana back to being a perennial contender in the Big Ten, but we are beginning to wonder about his methods. A few weeks ago we reported that Crean had secured a commitment from James Blackmon Jr., a rising freshman, from near Bloomington. Now, Crean has secured another class of 2014 commitment, this time from Trey Lyles, one of Blackmon’s AAU teammates. To be fair, we don’t know much about Lyles other than the fact that he is 6’9 coming out of middle school, which we are assuming meant that he towered over his competition. Still we find the trend a little disturbing and have delved into this issue two years ago. It will be interesting to see how many of these commitments are actually offered scholarships when their senior year rolls around three years from now. As for now, here’s a look at Indiana’s future below:
We couldn’t actually find any decent footage of Lyles so you will just have to settle for the photo below (he’s the tall one):
Trey Lyles towers over his middle school competition (Credit: IndyStar.com / Joe Vitti)