Washington State Week: Players Not Returning

Posted by Connor Pelton on July 31st, 2012

Seven players earned significant playing time for the Cougars in 2011-12, and three of those will be gone next season. Of those three, each has used up his eligibility and at least one will get an opportunity to play professionally somewhere or another. Gone is Washington State’s second-leading scorer and top shot-blocker along with a big man who could be very effective on the boards at times. With only one incoming recruit who is likely to make an immediate impact, head coach Ken Bone will have a tough time early on replacing the shooting ability and athletic presence provided by those three players. Below we’ll take a look at who will be missed the most and who can step in to make the transition easier.

Capers’ Athleticism And Ability To Handle The Ball Made Him Valuable As Both A Guard And Defender

Marcus Capers – Capers was a fan favorite on the Palouse. While he wasn’t the most prolific of scorers, he was one of the top shooters from the field. However, his main contribution to the team’s success came on defense. Capers was by far the most athletic player on the roster, and he proved it by leading the squad in blocks and coming in second in rebounding last season. Some of Capers’ biggest games as a Cougar came at the end of his career as the combo guard averaged 5.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 3.5 APG in Washington State’s six CBI contests.

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Morning Five: 07.31.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on July 31st, 2012

  1. With most of America tuning into the London Olympics — brought to you in living color on tape delay — college basketball is considerably off the radar of most sports and Olympics fans alike. But there are still a few connections to the sport we love during the Olympics fortnight, and one of those is St. Mary’s star guard Matthew Dellavedova‘s representation as the lone one of only two collegians participating in this year’s basketball competition [ed. note: as noted in the comments, Andrew Lawrence of College of Charleston is the other]. A member of the Australian squad that dropped its first game on Sunday, 75-71, to Brazil, Dellavedova provided six points and three assists in 27 valuable minutes of action. The rising senior will no doubt use his experience in London this summer to prepare for what could be an All-American campaign in 2012-13. Another player with recent collegiate ties is quite obviously the 2011-12 NPOY Anthony Davis, who only saw spot action in Team USA’s convincing win over France Sunday, with three point and three rebounds in eight minutes on the floor. His head coach, Duke’s Mike Krzyezewski, was recently “got” by Deron Williams while stretching out his back in a yoga pose at a team practice. Funny, at first glance, we thought he was just instructing his stars on the finer details of how to slap the floor on defense.
  2. While on the topic of Davis, Coach K, and the game that just won’t quit even 20 years later, it appears that the Kentucky superstar (born in March 1993) found some recent time in London for shenanigans with Public Enemy #1 in Lexington, Christian Laettner. The duo decided to re-enact the infamous “Laettner Stomp” on Wildcats forward Aminu Timberlake, only this time the roles were reversed. Of course, this does nothing to exorcise any lingering demons that UK fans may have toward the Duke superstar, but in the last calendar year Laettner has shown up in Rupp Arena to act as a “villain” — even going so far as mopping up the floor — and now this? Maybe in his middle aged years, he just really, really wants to be liked.
  3. One current UK villain is Louisville head coach Rick Pitino — perhaps you’ve heard of him. Like him or hate him, he could always coach young players, though. Some of his motivational techniques are legendary, but he’s always been skilled in relating to his athletes by making comparisons to current NBA stars. In one such example as reported by the Courier Journal, Cardinal sophomore Kevin Ware has reconstructed his admittedly broken jump shot by reviewing frame-by-frame comps with Celtics star Ray Allen’s perfect form. It goes without saying that knocking down Js in practice during July is incredibly different than doing so in Madison Square Garden in March, but if Ware can provide scoring punch from the wing next season, the Cards’ might actually be the team to beat.
  4. Although we don’t believe any sea changes are coming where elite recruits start to eschew high major programs in favor of mid-majors where they can become stars right away, the idea that the next group of Damian Lillards could go middie is interesting in the context of the transfer epidemic and the reality that high draft picks can come from anywhere. In just the past four NBA Drafts, lottery picks have come from Davidson (Stephen Curry), Butler (Gordon Hayward), Fresno State (Paul George), BYU (Jimmer Fredette), and Weber State (Lillard) — the average is a little more than one per year these days, so it’s definitely an attainable goal for players who find themselves somewhat off the beaten basketball path.
  5. Could former Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni be signaling his interest in exploring college coaching through some of his latest comments made while at the London Games? The long-time professional coach whose unique offensively-oriented style of play would certainly find a willing suitor if he were indeed available, but he said that there’s a sense of “fun” and “energy” surrounding the college game and experience, which is more or less the exact difference between going to an NBA game versus an elite college basketball game. The two things simply are not comparable in most cases.
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Big 12 Summer Update: TCU Horned Frogs

Posted by dnspewak on July 30th, 2012

In an effort to remind you that college basketball does in fact exist during the summer, Big 12 microsite writers Danny Spewak (@dspewak) and Jeremy Pfingsten (@jeremylp21) will roll out three summer updates per week during the next month. The goal is to compile every bit of news and information from the summer months for each team and package it into neat, easy-to-read capsules for your convenience. Next on the list — an update on TCU.

TCU Horned Frogs

2011-12 record: 18-15 overall 7-7 Mountain West

All summer long, TCU has heard the same party line from the rest of the Big 12: You can’t compete in this conference. Not after losing your top two scorers. Not with little to no basketball tradition and a 7,000 seat arena still in the preliminary stages of a much-needed renovation. Trent Johnson faces a difficult task in his first season with the Horned Frogs, but amidst all the criticism and condescending tones from fellow Big 12 contingents, he has nothing to lose in 2012-13. The roster looks bleak, sure. But before Johnson faded a bit into obscurity at middling LSU, he had built a reputation as a terrific basketball coach at Nevada and Stanford. After some initial success in Baton Rouge, he immediately went into rebuilding mode and never quite recovered. So it’s easy to forget he coached Robin and Brook Lopez at Stanford, and it’s easy to forget he reached the Sweet Sixteen at Nevada and recruited standout Nick Fazekas. This man can coach, and he’ll spend the summer tyring to prove that to his new team.

This Arena Needs a Renovation To Compete in the Big 12

Summer Orientation: So Hank Thorns and J.R. Cadot are gone after starting every game in the backcourt a year ago and leading the team in scoring by a wide margin. Big deal. Seriously, though. It is. Johnson will need overall development from his cast of returning players (more on them later), but he’ll also rely a little heavier on his newcomers. Clyde Smith and Charles Hill, a pair of 6’2’’ freshmen guards, will slide right into the roster in the backcourt. Smith, more of a scorer than a distributor, can shoot the heck out of the ball from mid-range and beyond the arc. Hill is more of a defensive stopper, the kind of clichéd, high-IQ player with an ability to play both guard spots down the road. Aaron Durley, a late signee by Johnson, certainly looks the part of a Big 12 center at 6’10’’. He originally committed to Marquette, but as a Texas native, he wanted to stay closer to home. If you watch the Little League World Series – and, let’s be honest, who doesn’t? — you may remember Durley from 2005 when his fellow Little Leaguers marveled at his size. This guy’s so famous already, he has an extremely detailed Wikipedia page. Luckily for TCU fans, Durley chose to pursue basketball instead. He’s known for his jump hook, and that should work well in combination with his height against Big 12 competition. He’s not a dominant rebounder and needs to add weight, but he can run the floor very well and is said to have great hands.

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Washington State Week: Evaluating The Recent Past

Posted by Connor Pelton on July 30th, 2012

It was just five short seasons ago when Washington State hit an all-time peak. Under the direction of head coach Tony Bennett, the 2007-08 Cougars won the first 14 games they played (including victories against Baylor, Washington, and USC away from home, and Gonzaga in Spokane), finished the season with 24 wins, and earned a #4 seed in the NCAA Tournament. While there they demolished a solid Winthrop team by 31 and beat fifth-seeded Notre Dame by 20. They even hung with top-seeded North Carolina for a half in the Sweet Sixteen before the Tar Heels pulled away. Behind Pauley Pavilion and the McKale Center, Beasley Coliseum was one of the toughest places to play in the Pac-10, thanks to a large and relentless “ZZU CRU.” You’d have to go back pretty far to find a time when the Cougars were this prominent on a conference and national scale.

The ZZU CRU Made For One Of The Most Intimidating Atmospheres In The Pac-10 (credit: Ninety-Nine Drives)

Excitement in Pullman remained high in the offseason when Bennett turned down an offer to rebuild the Indiana program. However, that would be one of the final good things to happen to the team in the last five years. The losses of Derrick Low, Kyle Weaver, and Robbie Cowgill proved to be too much to overcome, and Washington State ended the 2008-09 season by bowing out in the first round of the NIT. With Taylor Rochestie, Daven Harmeling, and Aron Baynes graduating at the end of that year, Bennett decided to jump ship as well to Virginia. The move puzzled Cougar fans as Bennett had been a candidate for many high-profile jobs in past offseasons, and yet he chose Charlottesville over those destinations. Bennett’s replacement came in the form of Ken Bone, who had built Portland State into a Big Sky power. He would be charged with getting the Cougars back to NCAA Tournaments, a tough task as Bennett left a depleted roster in his wake.

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ACC Summer Recess: Virginia Cavaliers

Posted by KCarpenter on July 30th, 2012

Over the next four weeks we’ll be taking a step back and looking at each team in the ACC to assess where each program — and the conference as a whole — stands before we totally turn our attention to the 2013-14 season later this fall. Today’s target: Virginia.

Where They Stand Now

Bennett Will Need to Find Some Replacements Next Season

Heading down the stretch, it looked like Virginia was poised to have a moment. Mike Scott was easily one of the two best players in the conference and there was an instant where it looked like the Cavaliers might have the juice to win the ACC. A team that played insanely tough defense just couldn’t find enough offense, though, losing two of its last three games, dropping one to North Carolina State in the first game of the ACC Tournament and getting totally obliterated by Florida in its NCAA Tournament opener. It was a crushingly disappointing end to one of the best seasons of Virginia basketball in years.

Who’s Leaving

In terms of seniors, Virginia is losing its bedrock in Scott, who was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in the early second round after a storied career in Charlottesville. Also hurting their frontcourt depth, seven-footer Assane Sene, was injured and then left the team at the very end of the season, though he would have otherwise presumably graduated and moved on anyway. Finally, the Cavaliers lose Sammy Zeglinski, a reliable veteran guard. During last season, the transfer plague that has dogged Virginia struck again, sending K.T. Harrell to Auburn and James Johnson to San Diego State.

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Morning Five: 07.30.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on July 30th, 2012

  1. We hate to start out the week’s Morning Five on a somber note, but when an incoming recruit or any player is murdered we have to lead with it. On Thursday, Iona recruit Michael Haynes was killed while apparently trying to break up a fight over a stolen necklace near his home in Chicago. Haynes, who was a prep school star in Chicago, had worked his way through the junior college ranks and was just weeks away from realizing his dream of playing Division I basketball. Initial reports indicated that Haynes might be able to make it because he appeared fairly strong immediately after the shooting, but he died in the operating room shortly afterwards. We have not heard anything about funeral arrangements for Haynes, but given some of the players he played against there should be some prominent names present.
  2. The biggest surprise of the weekend for us came out of Orlando where the Magic announced that  former Kansas star Jacque Vaughn would be their next head coach. To be honest, we had lost track of Vaughn’s whereabouts over the past few seasons, but apparently he had been serving as an assistant for the San Antonio Spurs. The choice is a curious one in the sense that the Magic could be a playoff team (depending on the whims of Dwight Howard) and Vaughn has no head coaching experience. We like seeing teams hire coaches who are not the same retreads, but we can see how some individuals like Shaquille O’Neal might not be fans of the move. Vaughn’s first order of business should be figuring out what to do with Howard who has been holding the franchise hostage for quite sometime. Only after he does that can he think of moving forward.
  3. Jeff Goodman got the #SCOOP on who Gonzaga‘s newest coach-in-waiting and while it is interesting at some level we wonder if the title really means anything. Goodman reports that assistant Tommy Lloyd has been given the designation to follow-up Mark Few in Spokane. The issue is that Few has not even turned 50 yet and Lloyd is the third coach-in-waiting at the school after the other two decided they had waited long enough and took head coaching jobs at other schools. The position on the Gonzaga sideline is no doubt among the most coveted in the country especially for coaches who are not established enough to get a position with a blue-blood program, but we don’t see any movement coming any time soon there.
  4. For our part we don’t particularly care for the culture associated with the AAU scene, but when we heard that the legendary Sonny Vaccaro had returned to Las Vegas we were intrigued. Vaccaro, the man who has been credited with making the summer basketball scene what it is today (for better or for worse), had not been on the scene since the summer of 2006, but returned to film scenes for his upcoming 30 for 30 documentary. The documentaries in the series that we have seen appear to be fairly balanced so we will be interested to see how they deal with Vaccaro’s creation and the effects of the world that he helped create as well as his (hopefully candid) comments on it although we suspect that he will place the blame for the unseemly aspects of it on other people.
  5. Divorces are rarely amicable and often the people hurt the most by them are the children particularly when issues of child custody are raised. In that vein, when a Syracuse fan was looking through the division of custody based on holidays he felt that it was unequal so he inserted a clause that would allow him to have visitation rights for his kids if the Orange were playing for the national championship on the first Monday night in April. The request might be made fun of in some circles, but compared to some of the other requests we have heard of in these cases it seems fairly benign and sweet even if it is a bit quixotic as it has only happened three times and not since 2003.
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Colorado Week: A State Of The Program Address

Posted by AMurawa on July 28th, 2012

After a week looking at the Colorado basketball program, there’s time for one final post: our state of the program address. And, as CU fans likely agree, the state of the program is… pretty darn strong – arguably stronger than it has ever been. Remember, this is a program that has been to only 11 NCAA Tournaments in its history, and just three since the field expanded to 64 in 1985. In 112 years of basketball and closing in on 2300 total games played, the team is just 63 games above .500. To put that in context, they’re 22 games above .500 in the last two seasons, made one NCAA Tourney and just missed another (and the argument could be made that they should have made that one as well). The last two years they’ve won at least 24 games – the first time in the program’s history with back-to-back seasons of that many wins.

Colorado

It’s A New Era Of Success For The Colorado Basketball Program, But Can It Last?

Better yet, the immediate future looks great as well. They’ve got a talented group of young returnees plus a good looking freshman class coming in and, perhaps most importantly, it looks like they’ve got the right guy in the hot seat, as Tad Boyle has shown a knack in just two head coaching jobs for getting programs headed in the right direction. All of this has combined to get the CU fanbase as excited about basketball as they’ve ever been. Last season the team set school records for average attendance and for total attendance for conference games, breaking records that had been set the previous year, along the way combining with the 5,000-foot-plus elevation to turn the Coors Event Center into a substantial homecourt advantage. Last year, the Buffs were 14-2 at home, and the year before that, 15-2. In short, a trip to Boulder is now a fearsome proposition.

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Colorado Week’s Burning Question: Is Boulder a Brief Stop For Boyle?

Posted by AMurawa on July 28th, 2012

It’s that time again, as Adam Butler of Pachoops.com joins us again for our Burning Question for the Colorado program, concerning the long term plans of head coach Tad Boyle.

In two years at Colorado, head coach Tad Boyle has the Buffalo program headed in the right direction, just missing the NCAA Tournament in his first year then sneaking in last year in what had been thought of as a rebuilding year. With a talented recruiting class joining returnees like Andre Roberson, Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker, there is plenty of young talent in the CU program. But, with his early success as a head coach, Boyle is regarded as a hot prospect and this offseason was even briefly tied to the open Kansas State job. Is Boulder just a brief stopover for Boyle on his way to greener pastures? And if so, can he lay the foundation for a successful Colorado program in his time there?

Tad Boyle, Colorado

Tad Boyle Has The CU Program On An Upswing, But Is He Around For The Long Term? (Cliff Grassmick, Daily Camera)

Adam Butler: Big fan of Lord Big Dome in Boulder. He’s got a good thing going on over there at home. Yes, I said home because Tad Boyle is a Coloradan through-and-through. He’s tasting success in his backyard and that’s incredibly sticky. While his dream job may be his alma-mater, Kansas, I think that Tad is in a very happy place and it’s going to take a jump into whatever you call the tier right below elite to pull him away from Colorado. Which is ultimately great news for Buffs fans because for him to get drug out of his home state, he’ll have to put CU in a place where he’s being sought after for high profile jobs. That is to say, Colorado becomes really good. Which leads me to the second part of the question: can he build such a program? Yes. Colorado has joined the Pac-12 at exactly the right time when there hasn’t been a torch bearer for a few years now. The conference absolutely bottomed out last season and is now ripe for the picking. Have Arizona and UCLA made strides to get back into that upper echelon? Of course and we knew they would. But after those two, it’s up for grabs. So why not Tad Boyle’s Buffs? He’s bringing in what some are calling a top-25 class, has talented youth returning, and Andre Roberson is as unique a talent as the conference has. The Keg (Coors Event Center where the Buffs play home games) is becoming one of the toughest places to play in the conference. The Buffs are 34-4 in two seasons there under Boyle. So, is he just biding his time in the Rockies awaiting a bigger gig? I don’t believe so as the allure of home is too appealing and he’s still got work to do.

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SEC Weekly Five: 07.27.12 Edition

Posted by EMoyer on July 27th, 2012

  1. Florida moved to the top of the early rankings charts as the Gators scored a verbal commitment from Chris Walker (No. 6 on the Rivals 150), joining his AAU teammate, Kasey Hill (No. 7). Walker declared, “Together we will be the best duo in college and we will win a national championship. You heard it here first.” Walker is the highest rated player on the Rivals 150 list to have already given a verbal commitment. Walker picked the Gators over Louisville, Kansas, Syracuse, Ohio State and Baylor.
  2. Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis came out this week in support of an effort to honor the 50-year anniversary of a historic contest between Mississippi State and Loyola (Chicago). The two played at Michigan State’s Jenison Field House in a 1963 NCAA tournament Mideast Regional semifinal game that holds civil rights significance because “Mississippi State’s all-white squad defied a court injunction, sneaking out of the state to East Lansing to face a Loyola team with four black starters.” Hollis said, “The historical significance of that game needs to be recognized. I don’t think a lot of people in Michigan are aware that game was played there and we want to make sure that story is told.”
  3. ESPN’s Summer Shootaround series hit the SEC this week and Doug Gottlieb’s preseason power rankings might raise a few eyebrows. He did not place the defending national champions, Kentucky, atop his list, but rather one of the league’s newbies, Missouri, was there. Among his reasons, “[Phil] Pressey should start the season as the best point guard in the SEC, so his return is huge for Mizzou…Alex Oriakhi should be far better outside of the toxic environment of last season’s Connecticut Huskies club, and he also provides championship experience…and the rabid Missouri fan base shows up consistently, the Tigers will be close to unbeatable at home.”
  4. CBSSports.com’s Gary Parrish published a story on Tuesday about how next year’s SEC schedules were changed from what was discussed in early June. In his account, he wrote, “”I got an email from the SEC office, and my four [home-and-home] opponents … were changed,” one SEC coach told CBSSports.com. “There was no discussion or phone call. I just got an email of our league schedule, and the league schedule wasn’t the league schedule they told me I’d have last month. It’s crazy.” Parrish went on to write, “To help you better understand exactly what happened, consider that Vanderbilt was supposed to have Tennessee as its constant rival and Kentucky, Alabama, Missouri and Ole Miss as its home-and-home opponents, but sources told CBSSports.com that Vanderbilt now has Kentucky, South Carolina, Arkansas and Auburn as its home-and-home opponents. Meantime, Ole Miss was supposed to have Mississippi State as its constant rival and Auburn, Florida, Vanderbilt and Arkansas as its home-and-home opponents, but sources told CBSSports.com that Ole Miss now has Auburn, Tennessee, Missouri and Texas A&M as its home-and-home opponents. Sources said Georgia’s schedule got harder. Sources said Alabama’s schedule got easier.”
  5. Two SEC Tiger schools were involved in a coaching change recently as Missouri’s Ryan Miller left Frank Haith’s staff after only two months to join Tony Barbee’s staff at Auburn. Miller is the younger brother of Miami Heat forward Mike Miller and worked with Barbee as the video coordinator at Memphis while Barbee was an assistant under John Calipari. According to the CBSSports.com report, “Calipari pushed hard for Miller to join Barbee down in Auburn, where he would also receive a significant pay raise.”
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Colorado Week: Q&A With The Ralphie Report

Posted by AMurawa on July 27th, 2012

As part of our Colorado week, we wanted to reach out to the guys at The Ralphie Report for their takes on the upcoming Buffalo basketball season. Parker Baruh was kind enough to spend some time with us and give us his thoughts.

Rush The Court: In two years at Colorado, Tad Boyle has once taken his team to the verge of the NCAA Tournament, then broken through last year, even scoring a win. Along the way, the basketball team has garnered unprecedented fan support from the students. Is this the start of something special in the CU basketball program?

Ralphie Report: If Tad Boyle remains at Colorado for years to come, this is the start of something special in the CU basketball program. When Boyle was hired, Larry Brown said Boyle had the same qualities as Gregg Popovich, John Calipari and other great coaches that he has worked with. Ever since Boyle has been at Colorado, he has proved that. His first recruit, Andre Roberson, is going to play in the NBA. The guy is a nonstop worker and preaches team basketball and more importantly, team defense. In two years, he has changed an entire program that used to be only known for having Chauncey Billups. The Colorado basketball program will continue to improve and be an elite program in the future because of Tad Boyle.

Colorado

The Success Of Colorado Basketball Under Head Coach Tad Boyle Has Given Buffalo Fans A Lot To Cheer For

RTC: You began your answer with “If Tad Boyle remains at Colorado.” Last offseason Boyle was briefly tied to the open Kansas State job and appears to be a rising prospect. What are the odds that Boyle will be around in Boulder in two years? In five years? And, if CU is just a temporary stop, what are the odds that the momentum he has helped begin can continue if he leaves?

RR: It’s difficult to evaluate Tad Boyle and whether he not he will ever leave Colorado. He say it’s his “dream job” and the way he talks about Colorado makes it seem like he really doesn’t ever want to leave, yet if a top school wants him with a little more history and prestige than Colorado, I don’t know if this still will be his “dream job.” If CU is a temporary stop for Boyle, the momentum would continue because of the fan support and Boyle’s recruits would still be at CU, but the environment would be so much different. Boyle brings so much energy and confidence to this program that it would be very hard to replace. However, Colorado fans shouldn’t worry too much because top jobs don’t become available too often; the only place he seems like he would go would be Kansas, and that doesn’t look like its opening up anytime soon. Other than that, it’s just hard to see him leaving. So, yes, the odds are good he’ll be around in two years and in five. Ultimately, Colorado fans are lucky to have Tad Boyle and he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

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Big East Summer Capsules: DePaul Blue Demons

Posted by mlemaire on July 27th, 2012

While most relish the onset of Summer, college basketball junkies do not. Most of the news surrounding the sport is recruiting rumors and commitments or injuries and transfer news. In order to help keep folks up-to-date on what their teams are doing during the summer, we put together these summer capsules for each team in the conference. Next up is DePaul.

1. Cue the overreaction to a high school recruit’s Top 10 list.

Is It Possible Jabari Parker Ends Up At DePaul?

Jabari Parker, a consensus top-five recruit in the Class of 2013, recently trimmed his list of possible destinations to 10 schools and wouldn’t you know it, but the Chicago native has his hometown Blue Demons on the list. This led to a ton of absurdly premature speculation that DePaul might have a shot at landing the precocious youngster. For starters, Parker is a teenager, whose mind is subject to change at any whim, so this list, while potentially noteworthy, is hardly set in stone. Also, look at the other schools on the list, what exactly does DePaul offer a potential one-and-done player that Kentucky or Duke or North Carolina don’t? It is understood that he has a litany of connections to the Blue Demons’ program and could be swayed by the comfort of playing near to home, but let’s try to manage our expectations here Blue Demons’ fans.

2. Finding frontcourt help for Cleveland Melvin,

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