Arizona vs. California: The Pac-12 Is Still Anyone’s Game

Posted by mlemaire on February 3rd, 2012

On February 5, 2011, then-Findlay Prep star Nick Johnson tuned in from Nevada to watch his future team, Arizona, travel to Berkeley to face off against California. What he witnessed was a wild, back-and-forth, triple-overtime game that Arizona eventually won, 107-105. So Thursday, when the now-freshman starter Johnson and his teammates headed to Berkeley  for the rematch, he was ready. Johnson scored 11 points and dished out five assists, and senior Kyle Fogg played what coach Sean Miller called “his best game since I have been at Arizona,” and the Wildcats held off a furious rally by late to win, 78-74, proving that there are still at least seven teams who have legitimate chances at winning the conference title.

Arizona Picked Up Its Biggest Pac-12 Win In Berkeley (AP/J. Chiu)

“I was telling the guys, I watched the game last year,” Johnson said. “So I knew it was going to be crazy, and I prepared for that.” Despite Johnson’s claims, it didn’t look like he or his teammates were prepared for the start of the game as they let the Bears jump out to an early 22-9 lead, looking lost on offense and uninspired on defense. But then, with Haas Pavilion rocking and their team looking to deliver an early knockout blow to an inexperienced opponent, Arizona methodically climbed back into the game and then Fogg took over. In the last 10 minutes of the first-half, Fogg had 10 points, two assists, two steals, and a rebound as Arizona stormed back (with the help of some generous whistles) to take a 45-34 lead at the half.

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Who’s Got Next? Derek Willis’ Decision, Troy Williams’ Finalists and Stars Square Off

Posted by Josh Paunil on January 19th, 2012

Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Josh Paunil, the RTC recruiting guru. We encourage you to check out his website dedicated solely to college basketball recruiting, National Recruiting Spotlight, for more detailed recruiting information. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to who the hot prospects are at the lower levels of the sport. If you have any suggestions as to areas we are missing or different things you would like to see, please let us know at

Lead Story: Standout Junior Expected To Pick Kentucky

Willis Will Make Kentucky Fans Like These Happy If He Picks The Wildcats As Expected

Wildcats In Good Shape For Willis. Kentucky may have to wait a while to get commitments from their top junior targets such as small forward Troy Williams and power forward Julius Randle, but they are likely to get some good news soon when Class of 2013 power forward Derek Willis is expected to pick the Wildcats. The 6’9″, 210-pound big man is making his announcement tomorrow at 4 PM at Bullitt East High School (Kentucky) and is choosing between Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, and Purdue. The Kentucky-native previously committed to Purdue last April then later backed off his decision in August to explore all of his options. He would be head coach John Calipari‘s first Class of 2013 commitment and is a good athlete who can score all over the floor. He’s very skilled and can shoot and slash to the basket.

What They’re Saying

  • Senior star Anthony Bennett on why he recently cut his list to Florida, Kentucky, Oregon, UNLV, and Washington: “I picked those five schools because I think it’s the best fit for me [and] I feel like if I go to any one of those schools I could work for a starting spot.”

Anthony Bennett Recently Discussed His New List (247 Sports)

  • Senior standout Amile Jefferson‘s high school coach, Malcolm Musgrove, on when Jefferson will commit: “At the end of the week we’ll have a conversation and I think he could wrap this up in the next few weeks. I’m thinking by the end of January he will know.”
  • Senior Demetris Morant on UNLV and senior Shabazz Muhammad: “I think Shabazz is really considering going [there] because he feels that they’re a great team and everyone else sees that, too, and they’re ranked in the nation. At first he wasn’t thinking about going there because he thought they wouldn’t be that good and he wouldn’t be looked at by [NBA] scouts. So he was mostly considering Kentucky, but now UNLV is in the top three.”
  • Junior Troy Williams on his favorite schools: “I don’t have a favorite yet, but the number one spot is between North Carolina and Kentucky. They play my style and have great coaching staffs.”
  • Junior Julius Randle on his ideal coach: “A coach that will push me, he’s not going to always tell me what I want to hear, but what I need to hear. Someone that will make me the best player I can be.”

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Jabari Brown Leaves Oregon Basketball Program

Posted by AMurawa on November 20th, 2011

It had already been a very bad weekend for Oregon fans, after a late missed field goal Saturday night secured a USC victory over the football Ducks, a team that appeared to be next in line for the all-important #2 spot in the BCS rankings. The announcement Sunday that freshman Jabari Brown, a five-star recruit according to Rivals and Scout, ranked the #26 recruit in the 2011 class by ESPNU, had cleaned out his locker and left the basketball program? That was just insult heaped upon injury.

Jabari Brown, Oregon

Jabari Brown, A Five-Star Recruit In The 2011 Class, Has Left The Duck Basketball Team (credit: Jim Brown, US Presswire)

Reports are that Brown told head coach Dana Altman of his decision to leave the team on Saturday, but the news didn’t really break until Sunday morning. In comments after Oregon’s 25-point victory over SE Missouri State on Sunday, Altman confirmed Brown’s departure but noted that the door was still open for Brown to come back. “I will say right up front, I don’t want him to leave,” said Altman. “I did try to talk him out of it, I wanted him to reconsider, I hope he does reconsider. The door is still open. He’s a good young man who hasn’t gotten off to the start he wanted.”

Brown had struggled in his first two games with the Ducks, hitting just three of his 11 field goals attempts and turning the ball over 11 times, but he certainly hadn’t been hurting for playing time, getting 25.5 minutes per game. In high school, Brown bounced around a couple of times, starting out his career at Oakland’s Salesian High School, before transferring to Las Vegas’ Findlay Prep for his junior year. However, he abruptly left Findlay after a dispute with his coach there over playing time and returned to Oakland to play for the public school team there. Read the rest of this entry »

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