- College Pride Press NBA Mock Draft December 20, 2015 College Pride PressA couple of the writers are also very big NBA followers and came up with the idea of doing an NBA mock draft. We set the order based on records at the time drafted and rotated amongst the three writers. The great thing about doing the mock draft was that we chatted with writers at the different schools who have watched every game for a scouting report. This was a huge help for our selections and for our fits for each team. We have posted picks 10-15 here below but all 30 picks will be on our premium forum. If you’d like to join the forum please click here. The link to all the draft picks will be below as well. We hope to update or do a new mock draft every month so keep an eye out for future updates.
10.Washington Wizards- Jacob Poeltl
7’ C, Utah
Washington has struggled this season with some unreliable play beyond John Wall and Bradley Beal. While Wall is a great point guard, he is not a natural jump shooter and is better distributing. Otto Porter Jr. and Kelly Oubre are still developing at the 3. Nene is providing quality play at the 4 leaving the clear need at center. Even though Marcin Gortat just received a contract extension his play is diminishing. Jacob Poeltl is a very talented center who can provide quality minutes as a rookie while developing into a high quality player. I have a hard time seeing him as an All-Star but rather as a consistent starter for many years like a Marcin Gortat. -Brad Kreppel
11. New York Knicks- Dwayne Bacon
6’6” SG, Florida State
Bacon has so much upside it really made me overlook the flaws his game currently has. His athleticism and length is exactly what scouts look for, and he is explosive when attacking the basket. However, he is still really working to refine his game. His outside shot can be spotty at times, and he can seem to be complacent through periods of the game. With all the physical tools being in place, these flaws can be looked past and the Knicks can get a home run pick. -Zach Beeler
12. Minnesota Timberwolves- Furkan Korkmaz
6’6” SG, International
International prospects are always hard to decipher, but success stories like Kristaps Porzingis force teams to take the gamble. Minnesota is the type of team willing to take this type of risk, as their last few first-round picks seem to be progressing nicely. Korkmaz is natural-born scorer. He has a knack for getting the ball in the basket, whether that be his beautiful shot, or aggressiveness to the basket. His defense isn’t perfect, but he has the necessary tools to change that. Limited playing time and his size are legitimate concerns, but his potential may be too difficult for Minnesota’s front office to pass up. -Adam Gross
13. Phoenix Suns- Caris LaVert
6’7” SG/SF, University of Michigan
When I looked at Phoenix’s roster there were two real needs: backup big and small forward. TJ Warren has provided some scoring and quality minutes but Caris LaVert is a much better player. LaVert can contribute in so many ways with his passing, rebounding, and defensive abilities. Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight are very talented guards but both focus on scoring when they touch the ball. Adding LaVert to the rotation could help distribute to everyone creating a better flow. If Jacob Poeltl was on the board here he would be the pick to backup Alex Len. Henry Ellenson and Ivan Rabb both crossed my mind but I felt it would be a reach for both of those players. -Brad Kreppel
14. Utah Jazz- Demetrius Jackson
6’1” PG, Notre Dame
The Jazz desperately need someone with an explosive scoring punch, and Jackson is about as explosive as they come. He is lightning quick, and attacks the rim with toughness and aggression. Along with that, he is a pretty good shooter who can stretch the defense. He is a pest and a ball hawk on the defensive end, and will always make it tough for the opposing point guard to operate. Although the Jazz have Dante Exum in the ranks, he is no sure thing with injury and Jackson for me seems to good to pass on. Although his height may be a bit of a problem, he has the toughness and athleticism to make up for it. -Zach Beeler
15. Detroit Pistons- Henry Ellenson
6’10” PF, Marquette University
Andre Drummond has become the centerpiece of the Pistons, now they need to find pieces to compliment him. Nothing pairs better than a true center and a stretch-four, and that is exactly what Henry Ellenson is. He’s an exceptional athlete with fantastic handles. His defense is questionable, but Drummond’s ability to lock down the paint should lessen those worries. This would be the best need/value pickup of the draft. -Adam Gross
- IU Notches Huge Win Against Notre Dame December 20, 2015 College Pride Press
Indiana-80 Notre Dame-73
Indiana University was finally able to notch a meaningful non-conference win on Saturday at the Crossroads Classic. After missed opportunities in Hawaii and Durham, North Carolina the Hoosiers were finally able to get that marquee non conference victory. The final score doesn’t not indicate the story of the game.
The Hoosiers started the game playing their very typical game, lots of scoring and some lazy defense. Late in the first half they went on a streak of turnovers that lead to Notre Dame building a sizable lead (41-31) going into halftime.
Thomas Bryant picked up 2 early fouls but he dominated in the 3 mins he was in the game. His one foul was on a nice Zach Auguste move down low. The second foul was Bryant hedging a screen and overextending to draw contact and a foul. Tom Crean trusted his young freshman and put him back into the game with 8 mins left in the half. Bryant responded but finishing a number of post moves and even drawing a couple fouls from senior center Zach Auguste. Although the Hoosiers looked ugly at times to end the first half there was a glimmer of hope with Bryant’s play. Hoosier nation knew that if the Indiana guards could find a way to get Bryant the ball then we could be very successful and potentially win the game.
The second half started the a lot of the same with ugly turnovers from the Hoosiers and easy buckets for the Irish. Thomas Bryant went on a terror. After he was called for 2 fouls early he responded and played aggressive defense without being called for another foul. Bryant’s line was not as impressive as some of the other Hoosiers but he still tallied 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists.
The one player who started the second quickly was Troy Williams. He had 7 points before the first media timeout at 15:56 but his efforts did show on the scoreboard as the Notre Dame increased their lead to 14. The Indiana fans who made the trip were loving the play by Troy Williams but everyone knew that the Hoosiers would need a couple of stops on defense in order to cut into the lead. Notre Dame had grown its lead to 16 at one point during the first 8 mins of the second half.
Tom Crean called a timeout with 12:38 left to try and settle his guys down. Right out of the timeout the team responded by getting 2 easy buckets including a nice move by Thomas Bryant and 2 stops. This was the turning point in the game. The team switched to a 2-3 zone and forced the Notre Dame shooters to make jump shots. Usually this tactic would be unsuccessful with a team like Notre Dame but Steve Vasturia and Demetrius Jackson were as cold as the air in downtown Indianapolis the entire day.
During those final 7.5 minutes Indiana played like the team that we have hoped to see since the start of the year. They made adjustments on defense to take away Bonzie Colson’s floater in the middle of the zone and they were able to run the floor and find shooters in transition. When the pace was slower they were able to get it to Thomas Bryant down low and he was able to draw multiple fouls on Zach Auguste which led to Auguste fouling out with 2 minutes left. This was the Indiana team that we have been longing to see. They played good not great defensive and were fantastic on offense. All of the adjustments made by the coaches and players really paid off. The game was over in the last minute when Indiana got a big stop and knocked down some free throws. When Indiana took the lead they never gave it back.
This game tells us a lot about Indiana. They were extremely persistent and had mental toughness to win this game. Indiana looked horrible in the first half and even received some boos from fans at one point. Robert Johnson was the unsung hero in this game scoring 13 points in the first half to keep Indiana in the game. Without his contributions the game could have been out of reach. Troy Williams looked like the All Big-10 player that we anticipated going into the season. He finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds to go with 2 assists and 3 steals. Half of his rebound total was on the offensive end at all. Williams seem to carry the offense in the second half while Johnson carried in the first half.
The match-up of Yogi Ferrell and Demetrius Jackson was a disappointment. Jackson went for 9 points and Ferrell went for 8 points. Ferrell was able to recover from his rough shooting day with a big 3-pointer to tie the game late in the second half. Demetrius Jackson did total 6 assists and 7 rebounds on the day so his contributions were in other facets of the game. Once Ferrell understood his shots would not be falling he started driving into the paint and drew a crucial foul on Zach Auguste that was his 4th and he later fouled out.
I hope Ferrell can recognize the game a little bit better in the future. If he is having a hard time scoring he will need to look to drive and draw fouls and look to assist teammates. He finished with 2 assists and 5 turnovers. He is the quickest guy on the court most of the time and should be able to use that quickness and his experience to attack the basketball and draw contact against the teams big. IU will play multiple teams like Notre Dame who will have an advantage down low but Ferrell can and should drive the ball early and often to get some early fouls and slow up …
- The Crossroads Classic: Good for Basketball December 18, 2015 Zach BeelerWhen you think of Indiana, there is one, iconic theme that comes to mind: basketball. From the snowy, winter days shooting hoops on a basket connected to a barn to the big time AAU players lighting it up in front of college coaches galore, everyone in Indiana is crazy for basketball. There is a reason that one of the best sports movies of all time, Hoosiers, is about a high school basketball team overcoming the odds to win a state championship. There is a reason that some of the names most associated with the sport (Larry Bird, Isiah Thomas, Oscar Robertson, to a name a few) are all from or associated with Indiana in some way. And thus there is a reason that the annual Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis is one of the best things for college basketball each year.
When I first heard about the Crossroads Classic back in 2011, I had some skepticism to the idea of the event. In principle, it seemed fine; just like any other non-conference event like the Maui Invitational or Diamond Head Classic out in Las Vegas. However, those events rotate the schools invited each year to freshen it up. That’s what makes it fun for me, getting to watch teams play that I rarely have the opportunity to. With only four teams every year to participate in the Crossroads Classic, I was doubtful as to whether there could be a draw for the event each year. Boy, was I wrong.
Perhaps the biggest thing I overlooked was just how iconic basketball is in the state of Indiana. I didn’t think about the magnitude of bringing the four biggest college teams in the biggest basketball state for the biggest basketball Saturday of the non-conference slate. You have Butler, the new comer who always plays with a chip on its shoulder and always finds a way to get it done. You have Notre Dame, the high-powered offense who doubles as being a pretty-dang good basketball school while football isn’t in season. You have Purdue, the defensive scrappers who may not have the most talent, but they always have the most heart. And of course you have Indiana University, the perennial power with one of the biggest followings in all of college athletics. How I overlooked it, I don’t know. But I do know this: the event has produced some damn good games, and it has grown into must see TV for basketball fans all across the state each December.
Take for example the first Classic in 2011, when Andrew Smith’s buzzer-beating put back won the game for Butler against my Boilermakers. Or look at 2012, when Butler again won, this time taking down mighty Indiana, ranked #1 in the country. We have seen some displays of excellent basketball, with each school fighting not only for the win, but bragging rights in a state where bragging rights means everything.
One of the points that goes unmentioned is that the Crossroads Classic is always played in Indianapolis. Over Thanksgiving break a lot of teams go to various spots such as Hawaii or the Bahamas which makes it hard for family members to visit and watch their players. With the games being in Indianapolis, it is much easier for family and friends to go watch the game and visit with the players. We do have to remember that we are still talking about young men so their families are very important.
The Crossroads Classic offers a little bit of everything. In the first game you will see two high powered offenses. Indiana likes to play as fast as possible pushing the ball after every defensive rebound. Notre Dame prefers to set a slower pace to allow them to cut through the defense like an onion. The second game will show a team in the top 10 in Purdue who has 3 very high quality post players and Butler who has a lot of talent in all areas in the game but haven’t truly found their identity yet. These games are must watch games for Hoosiers and Mid-West basketball fans. I can guarantee you one thing: the Crossroads Classic showcases the great basketball in Indiana, and that can never be a bad thing.
I can not wait for this year’s Crossroads Classic! Brad and I will be in attendance sitting next to each other and Notre Dame writer Nick Courtney will also be there to take in the games before heading home for Christmas break.
Go Hoosiers and Boil Up!
Indiana University Class of 2018
- ACC Mid-Season Review and Conference Play Preview December 14, 2015 Jacob EisnerAfter a month full of games, it’s about time to take a look at the landscape of college basketball as we stand now, and specifically, where the ACC sits in the scope of Division I basketball as a whole. It’s early, as teams are still looking to improve and solidify their identities; however, we have been able to learn a lot about what the ACC is made of through the first month’s slate of games.
College basketball experts had the ACC pegged as a top heavy conference with a few teams that could be expected to compete for a championship in March, but expected the rest of the conference to be relatively weak. In the preseason AP poll, 3 of the top 6 teams were from the ACC (UNC, Duke, UVA), but only one other ACC team managed to squeak into the top 25 (Notre Dame). The general consensus was that it was going to be a down year for just about every ACC team other than UNC, Duke, and UVA. Thus far, this prediction seems to have been slightly off the mark. Where the experts have been wrong in their preseason predictions is their appraisal of the middle and bottom of the conference. Here’s an overview of the ACC after a month of play.
Let’s start with the top of the conference. As we sit today, UNC, Duke, and UVA have shown glimpses of being legitimate title contenders.
UNC showed their elite talent and depth in their eight point win over Maryland in star player, Marcus Paige’s, first game back from injury, as well as in their easy win over a Northwestern team that looks to be in NCAA tournament contention this year. They had a few struggles early, but have looked excellent since the return of Marcus Paige. Even with the recent loss to Texas, this is still an elite team that looks capable of competing with anyone in the country.
Duke has been up and down this year, but was able to show just how talented this team is in their wins against VCU, Georgetown, and their complete domination of Indiana. Grayson Allen has been a force for the Blue Devils thus far and looks to be a legitimate player of the year candidate as many experts predicted at the beginning of the season. This team isn’t anywhere close to the Blue Devil team that won the national championship last year; however, this is still a very talented team that has shown they can compete with anyone in the country.
The University of Virginia had a tough start to their season, but has bounced back quite nicely. They looked very steady in a dominate second half win over previously undefeated West Virginia in the Jimmy V classic, and showed that it is possible to play a half court style game against the hectic Mountaineers. Malcolm Brogdon is the leader of this team and has been a steady force all season.
All of these teams have shown signs of weakness already this season, however. UNC lost to Northern Iowa and Texas, Duke was dominated by a very talented Kentucky team, and UVA lost an early game to George Washington. They all have shown that they can struggle at times, but have also beaten strong teams from other power conferences. A lot more will be learned about these three talented teams once we are able to see the take on each other, and the rest of the talented ACC teams in conference play. Once again, the ACC looks to have a great chance for another National Championship.
Now that we have discussed the top of the conference let’s begin to move down the ACC totem pole. The rest of the conference was expected to have a down year, but this hasn’t been the case for the most part. Let’s take a look at the teams that are falling, on the rise, as well as the teams I am still unsure about.
Teams that are Falling
NC State was a team that many thought would be able to compete with the top of the ACC this year. Thus far, they have played nowhere close to that level. The same day that Mark Gottfried signed his brand new shiny contract, the Wolfpack lost at home to William and Mary. By 20. Yikes. The pack are paced in just about every statistical category by Cat Barber, but he just doesn’t seem ready to lead a team through a successful ACC campaign quite yet. The season started with promise, but with three loses already in this young season; the Wolfpack haven’t been able to find their stride quite yet.
Teams on the Rise
Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest
Georgia Tech was predicted to finish among the bottom of the conference in the preseason, but have looked a lot better than a conference bottom feeder thus far. Marcus Georges-Hunt is leading the way and has helped the Jackets to big wins over Arkansas, Tennessee, and Green Bay. Georgia Tech still has a long way to go if they want to get to the top of the conference, but already this season, they have made huge strides in the right direction.
Louisville was essentially written off by the media as soon as the sex scandal came out in October, however, the cardinals have fought hard to show that they are still one of the top programs in major college basketball. Louisville’s one loss was a very close and well-played game against Michigan State, the number current number 1 team in the country. The Cardinals are led by 5th year senior guard Damion Lee who has looked like a superstar thus far, averaging …
- CPP Podcast Episode 6: Crossroads Classic Preview December 13, 2015 College Pride PressOn this edition of the College Pride Press Podcast we preview the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis next weekend where Indiana plays Notre Dame and Purdue plays Butler. Both games should be very competitive. We breakdown the match-ups and keys to each game. Nick, Zach, and I will all be in attendance as well.
- Syracuse vs. St. John’s Preview December 12, 2015 Sam Gozinsky
Syracuse vs. St. John’s
Sunday, December 13th 12 pm
The two most prolific college basketball programs in New York are about to go to battle in the most prolific basketball arena in New York and possibly the world. The stage is going to be big, the lights are going to be bright, and the competition should be ferocious. Sunday, December 13th is going to be a blast from the past as the St. John’s Red Storm (6-3, 7th in Big East) and the Syracuse Orange (7-2, 6th in ACC) renew their former Big East Rivalry at Madison Square Garden at 12 P.M. There is an abundance of history between these two college basketball powerhouses. They were co-big east members for decades and have met 89 times.
Recent team play
Coming off a resounding 78-51 win over Colgate, the Jim Boeheim-less Orange are traveling to NYC in hopes of hoping to improve their record to 2-1 under assistant coach Mike Hopkins, who is filling in as head coach during Boeheim’s suspension. The Orange have had their fair share of ups and downs this season. They started as an unranked team, then shot up to no. 14 after winning the Battle 4 Atlantis and knocking off Uconn and Texas A&M along the way. However, after consecutive losses to unraked Wisconsin and unranked Georgetown, the Orange are back out of the rankings. They Now hope to get back on track with the easier part of their non-conference schedule ahead.
The Red Storm are currently on a two game winning streak, beating Niagra and St. Francins (Brooklyn) in their past two games. With NBA hall of famer and St. John’s alum Chris Mullin at the head coaching helm as a rookie head coach, the Red Storm have been looking to prove themselves to be a legitimate team all season long but have failed to impress. After slipping up against St. Thomas Aquinas (a division two team) in an ugly 22 point loss in exhibition play, the Red Storm has had plenty of ups and downs as well. The Red Storm lost to then No. 19/16 Vanderbilt in the Maui invitational tournament 55-92, but then put up a respectable fight against then No. 13/14 Indiana in the consolation round, losing 83-73. With a the softer portion of their non-conference schedule ahead, The Red Storm hopes to get some wins.
Keys to the game
Inside play: The orange have been atrocious in the paint this season. With no active player taller than 6-9, Syracuse has been forced to rely on its outside shooting abilities all season long. Although there are some deadly shooters on the team such as veterans Michael Gbnije and Trevor Cooney and freshman Malachai Richardson, living and dying by the three is not a sustainable style of play. Dajuan Coleman is the most natural center on the roster, standing 6-9 and weighing in at just under 270 pounds. Despite his imposing and strong frame, Coleman has not been able to do anything of substance this year in the paint. Coleman missed the entire season last year due to a knee injury, and is yet to return to the form that granted him McDonald’s All-American status as a high schooler. While he has shown flashes of offensive capability in the post, Coleman is still averaging a career low 4.0 points per game and just 4.2 rebounds per game. His ineptitude on the defensive end and poor rebounding have forced Boeheim and Hopkins to limit him to just 15 minutes per game. This has forced the Orange to go to freshman Tyler Lydon and junior Tyler Roberson at center. While Lydon has been turning heads with his offensive versatility and highlight-reel shot blocking, he checks in at only 6-8 and 210 pounds and is simply not big enough to play center on a consistent basis. Roberson has played well on the defensive end and is a decent rebounder, but his 6-8 frame is consistently over-powered by bigger bodies in the paint and he surrenders too many offensive rebounds. Roberson also has a decent mid-range jumper, but his low post abilities are limited on the offensive end.
Syracuse has been able to squeak past opponents so far with their blazing three point shooting making up for their lack of inside play, but it is unlikely that they are able to do so against the Red Storm’s imposing big men. The Red Storm’s 6-11 Spanish center, Yankuba Sima, currently ranks third in the NCAA with 3.67 blocks per game. The Red Storm also feature 6-7, 200 pound forward Kassoum Yakwe, who averages 2.7 blocks per game. As told by these statistics, the Red Storm truly know how to protect the paint. They will undoubtedly exploit any weak interior play that the Orange muster up against them. The Red Storm also will look to capitalize on their huge size advantages and try to crush the Orange on the boards, something that we witnessed in the Orange’s recent loss at Georgetown.
Syracuse’s zone defense: The Orange are known for their zone defense, and with good reason. Over the years, Boeheim’s notorious 2-3 zone defense has shut down some of the most high-powered college offenses that the country has seen. This year, the defense has been pretty solid and has been led by athletic guards Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbnije, who in my opinion are two of the most underrated defenders in the country. The Red Storm feature electric Italian freshman point guard Federico Mussini, who at 6-1 and 155 pounds must rely on his outside shooting. Although his offense may seem one-dimensional, Mussini is a fantastic shooter with unbelievable range and he is also deceptively quick with the ball in his hands. He currently leads the team with 14.0 PPG. The zone defenders are going to have to close out on his shot very quickly to stop him from taking over. Although he has been inconsistent, …
- Syracuse and Georgetown Renew Their Rivalry December 5, 2015 Chris BroderickFor many years, Syracuse was part of one of the best rivalries in all of college basketball. The games against Georgetown were easily the highlight of the regular season. It was the few days of the year that the whole city of Syracuse came together and shared a common factor: Their extreme and passionate hatred for Georgetown.
On game days, the environment in and around campus was electric. Everyone decked out in Orange, stores and offices closing early, students camping out overnight outside the Carrier Dome. It’s something I wish I could experience for myself. But I can’t.
Unfortunately, when the Orange left the Big East for the ACC these annual games disappeared from the schedule, leaving many ‘Cuse fans upset. There was no longer the historic rivalry that went back decades. Syracuse beat Georgetown in the Big East Tournament championship game in what was their last season as a part of the conference and haven’t played since.
Coming off a disappointing loss to Wisconsin at home on Wednesday, the Orange traveled to Washington D.C. to face off against their old Big East foes. However, from the very beginning of the game Syracuse struggled. Their abysmal shooting performance in the Wisconsin game followed them to D.C. As a team, The Orange shot just 38% (24-63) from the field.
Typically the Orange have been relatively effective shooting threes, but not against Georgetown. They continued to take an unnecessary amount of shots from behind the arc (27), most of which being forced. Making only 7 of their 27 three pointers in not a good sign from the Orange. As we’ve seen so far this season, Syracuse’s whole offense runs through the three point game. Going forward the Orange will face stiffer competition, especially during ACC play, which will take advantage of poor shooting. They need to shoot fewer threes and have better shot selection if they want to compete in a strong ACC.
The most troubling thing about this game, however, was the play down low. Syracuse’s lack of size is a huge issue. 6’9” DaJuan Coleman is their preliminary center with Tyler Lydon (6’8”) getting some time as well. Most, if not all, teams the Orange play are significantly bigger than them, which proved to be an true against Georgetown. Bradley Hayes (7’0”) was huge part of the Hoyas’ victory. The senior center dominated in the low post, dropping 21 points and grabbing 8 rebounds. The Orange could not defend Hayes, as he pushed around the often injured Coleman and the inexperienced freshman Lydon. It has been like this all season, but this inability to play in the low post was masked by the unbelievable three point shooting. Now that the shooting has cooled off, Syracuse desperately needs to develop their post play.
So, in Mike Hopkins’ first game as interim head coach, Syracuse lost its rivalry game 79-72. Very plainly, the Orange were outplayed. Georgetown exposed their weaknesses and took advantage of them. Among all these faults, there is a silver lining. The Syracuse/Georgetown rivalry is back and that’s something all ‘Cuse fans can get excited about.
Oh, and one more thing. Even though the Orange lost on Saturday, there is something that I, and all Syracuse fans, would like to say: It’s 8:46, and Georgetown still sucks.
Chris Broderick ’18
- NCAA Upholds Suspension of Boeheim: Sam Gozinsky’s Column December 4, 2015 Sam GozinskyIt’s time that we talk about the NCAA. Of all things to talk about that have to do with college basketball, the governing body of all teams and games may not seem like the most interesting thing to talk about. However, right now, it may be the most important. One of the main reasons that I think we need to take a look at their actions is that they have had an unfortunately profound effect on my school: Syracuse University. ‘Cuse basketball is a cornerstone of the very business that makes the NCAA and its employees very, very wealthy year in and year out. College basketball doesn’t feel the same without some good showdowns in the dome every year.
A livid, screaming Jim Boeheim, a sea of thousands dressed in Orange, and the spinning dunks and layups of Rakeem Christmas, Tyler Ennis, Michael Carter-Williams, and Carmleo Anthony are images that run through every college basketball fan’s head when they hear “Syracuse.” Whether you love the Orange or hate them, its moments like these that always bring a smile to the face of all basketball fans.
As a native New Yorker, I always understood how important the Orange are to college sports and I was always aware of the massive fan base that they possessed in my home state. However, it wasn’t until I got here that I realized just how big ‘Cuse basketball is.
People on and off campus, and across the Central New York region LIVE for the Orange. For the majority of the past 15 years,, the Orange have definitely shown the love back to their fans with consistent stellar play in the Big East and ACC. Since 2000, They’ve only missed the NCAA tournament three times, have made the NCAA elite eight 3 times, the final four twice, and brought home the school’s first national championship title in 2003.
Despite all the greatness that has reverberated from within the walls of the Carrier Dome (which by the way is the nation’s largest basketball arena), the NCAA has put a dark cloud over everything that the Orange have accomplished.
In March of 2015, the NCAA released a 94 page report detailing numerous violations to NCAA policy that a committee had found Syracuse’s athletic program guilty of. Because they were aware of the investigation, the University decided to self-impose a post-season ban on the basketball team in hopes that the NCAA would soften the blow it would give if/when it found anything it didn’t like. Included in the report were accusations of academic misconduct for athletes, booster-related accusations, and accusations involving a faulty athlete drug testing program.
The result: Boeheim was suspended for the first 9 conference games of this season, Syracuse was to lose three athletic scholarships per year for the next four years, and 108 of Boeheim’s career wins as head coach would be vacated.
Seems a little harsh, no?
Now, let me make this very, very clear. I am in no way defending or supporting what Syracuse did. I also am not going to discount the NCAA’s research and legal process by saying that I don’t believe all of the accusations in the report, because I would be lying. But it would be just plain stupid to believe that C– USE is the only school engaging in stuff like this.
However, I still think the punishment is ridiculous. This investigation began in 2007, after SU themselves notified the NCAA of potential infractions.
Let’s recap that: Syracuse began this whole investigation by turning themselves into the NCAA. The investigation lasted over 7 years, a time period during which SU made billions of dollars for the NCAA through both football and basketball programs, and to top it all of, the basketball team banned itself from the postseason. However, the NCAA still deemed it appropriate to attempt to systematically destroy SU’s basketball team, at least temporarily.
Now you may be asking, “how did they destroy it?” Simple, it all has to do with reputation. Jim Boeheim is one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time, across both college and professional basketball. Before 108 of Boeheim’s wins were vacated, he was the second-winningest men’s division 1 college basketball coach of all time. High school kids dream of playing for someone like Boeheim. Not only do the NCAA sanctions limit the amount of kids that Syracuse can bring in, they tell these kids that Boeheim won’t even be with them for the fill season this year if they decide to come.
Looking back on it, ‘Cuse still managed a very respectable recruiting class, featuring the likes of Tyler Lydon and Malachai Richardson. But the damage had already been done, the school’s reputation was harmed and so was that of one of the best coaches we’ve ever been blessed to see.
Naturally, SU appealed the NCAA sanctions, and the result of the appeals case came out this past week. One scholarship per year was awarded back to the program and Boeheim’s suspension was to be effective immediately rather than to take place for the first 9 games of conference play.
Sounds like a decent deal, except its actually even worse than the first situation.
Heading into the season, expectations for C– USE were low. They were young and there was no real center on the roster besides injury-riddled Dajuan Coleman. However, those expectations were smashed when the Orange won the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, beating the likes of then No. 17 Connecticut and then No. 25 Texas A&M along the way.
In the aftermath, C– USE skyrocketed from being an unranked team to being No.14 in the nation. Things were lookiing great until the appeal result came out. This weekend, C– USE will be traveling down to DC to play former Big East rival Georgetown. Until less than 48 hours ago, everyone on the planet was under the impression that Boeheim would be coaching the game.
- Monthly Predictions: Notre Dame Men’s Basketball in December December 2, 2015 Julio SalazarBy Julio Salazar | Staff Writer
December 2, 2015
NOTRE DAME, IN- Off to a strong December start, Irish eyes were smiling as #17 Notre Dame traveled to the Disney Wide World of Sports for the 2015 Advocare Invitational Tournament. Unfortunately, the Florida heat proved too hot for Mike Brey’s 16th squad. On Thanksgiving night, unranked Monmouth stunned the Irish 70-68, dropping Notre Dame into the Loser’s Bracket. There, Notre Dame defeated Iowa 68-62. However, in the 5th place game Sunday night, the Irish again fell to an unranked team in Alabama, 74-73. There were glaring problems with the team: bad offensive production, shoddy defense, poor free throw shooting, and a lack of leadership. The bright spot for the tournament was VJ Beachem, the ND MVP of the Tournament. There is concern for this 5-3 Notre Dame team. That being said, the Irish will look to turn a brighter page into the month of December.
The University of Notre Dame Athletic Department released the Men’s Basketball Schedule; find it here. This monthly post will look ahead at the Irish schedule and make predictions. Let’s get started with December.
Prediction Record for Salazar: 5-2
December 2, 2015 @ Illinois (Big 10/ACC Challenge): The first game in the recently renovated State Farm Center, both teams will look to rebound after a disappointing November. Illinois will be without big man Mike Thorne Jr., who is probably out for the season after a meniscus tear. Both of these teams see this game as a must-win. Thorne’s injury is too much to overcome; Irish start off December with a win.
December 8, 2015 vs. Stony Brook: Possibly the best team in the America East Conference, Stony Brook took #17 Vanderbilt into overtime, though the game resulted in a Seawolves loss. Back home at Purcell Pavilion after a rough few weeks, expect the Irish to win this game.
December 13, 2015 vs. Loyola (Chicago): Another game at Purcell against a team not yet ready for the big-time. Loyola’s top scorer in Doyle is averaging 14.0 points, while ND’s Demetrius Jackson averages 18.3. Notre Dame holds the advantage in rebounds (Auguste’s 10.7 to James’ 5.6) and in assists (Jackson’s 4.5 to Peterson’s 3.6). Too much Irish offense will overwhelm the Ramblers, Irish win.
December 19, 2015 vs. Indiana Hoosiers (Crossroads Classic, Bankers Life Fieldhouse): Not the matchup it appeared it would be earlier in the season, but an interesting game nonetheless. Both teams were highly vaunted teams with huge offensive possibilities. Indiana’s defense has proven to be phenomenally bad, a piece that has dropped the team from the top 15 to unranked. While the Irish have not lived up to their offensive hype, they have been playing better defense (except in crucial last minute situations.) Indiana will score a lot of points, enough to outlast the Irish. Indiana wins.
December 21, 2015 vs. Youngstown State: The worst team in the Horizon League, coming off a 2-14 conference record. The Penguins pose not upset threat; Notre Dame gets the W heading into Christmas.
December 29, 2015 vs. Liberty: Notre Dame will finish 2015 with a home game against a young Liberty team. Coach Ritchie McKay is a great young talent, but perhaps too ambitious. His complicated defensive schemes might be too much for young players to handle. UPSET ALERT. This game will be close, but Irish pull through.
Look for Monthly Predictions: January later in December, as Notre Dame begins ACC play.
- Notre Dame v. Illinois Preview December 2, 2015 Nick CourtneyThis Wednesday, Notre Dame (4-2) will travel to Champaign to take on the Fighting Illini (3-4) in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Notre Dame is looking to rebound after a disappointing result in the AdvoCare Invitational that saw the Irish lose to Monmouth and their ravenous bench and an Alabama team that played more like Derrick Henry against Auburn than the Crimson Tide team that went 8-10 in a soft SEC last year. Poor free throw shooting (47% against Monmouth) and a defense that is still developing its chemistry (gave up 54.4% field goal percentage against an Alabama team shooting 43% on the year) will be the storylines to watch going forward.
Illinois has had an up and down start to 2015-16 season. Illinois is 3-4 without a signature win thus far, but has flashed its potential in a close loss against an underrated Providence team and a strong performance in the Emerald Coast Classic. The Fighting Illini beat Chicago St. and UAB and held a 2nd half lead in the championship game against the #4 Iowa St. Cyclones before ultimately falling 84-73. But the biggest news for the Illini coming out of the tournament; Starting center Mike Thorne Jr. is out indefinitely after undergoing surgery on a torn meniscus that he suffered during Saturday’s loss to Iowa State. Thorne Jr. has been indispensable inside for John Groce’s squad, averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. Injuries are turning out to be a major story for the Illini as they play the second straight season without senior point guard Tracy Abrams, lost for another year with a torn left Achilles tendon.
Matchup to Watch
Malcolm Hill v. Steve Vasturia: Hill has stuffed the stat sheet for the Illini to the tune of 16.7ppg, 4.3apg, and 5.9rpg. Vasturia has averaged nearly 13ppg this season, shooting 40% from behind the arc. But he is most valuable for this Irish team on the defensive end, checking opposing teams’ most potent perimeter scorers. Watching Vasturia try to keep Hill in check should be fun to watch all game long.
X-Factor for ND
Demetrius Jackson is the obvious answer (he’s really, really good), but I’ll be watching to see if Notre Dame center Zach Auguste can take advantage of an Illini team that plays its first game without 6’11” Thorne. Auguste already has 4 double-doubles on the season and will look to dominate inside against an Illinois team that has a lot of questions to answer in the paint.
X-Factor for Illinois
Maverick Morgan: Morgan has been a nice surprise off the bench for John Groce so far this year and is the likely replacement for Thorne (along with Michael Finke). He has contributed 6.4 points per game while shooting 67.7% from the field. I’ll be curious to see how the junior responds to increased minutes and an expanded role for Illinois. He should be able to contribute 8-12 points, but will need to be formidable in defending Auguste and protecting the paint from a slashing Demetrius Jackson for Illinois to have a chance in this one.
Hill and Kendrick Nunn combine to score 40 for Illinois, but too much Jackson and too much shooting from the Irish. Notre Dame bounces back from a tough tournament with a nice win over an Illinois team that enters the game with a 36 game winning streak in non-conference home games (3rd longest active streak in the nation behind Duke and Minnesota).
Notre Dame – 76
Illinois – 64
University of Notre Dame ’18
Stats retrieved from: ESPN.com, Fightingillini.com, SBnation.com
Photo Credit: USA Today
- Indiana v. Duke Preview December 1, 2015 Ryan DahlkampThe Indiana Hoosiers will head to Durham, North Carolina, tomorrow to take on the defending National Champion Duke Blue Devils. A matchup that all of Hoosier Nation has had circled on their calendars since the team schedule came out. There are still question marks around the turnover and defensive issues that have plagued Indiana so far this season. How will IU respond coming off a disappointing trip to Maui and blowout of an Alcorn State team who had no reason playing in Assembly Hall last night? What exactly are the keys for Indiana to steal a win on the road at Cameron Indoor?
Indiana will have to limit the driving ability of Grayson Allen. This talented Sophomore Duke guard has killed opponents (excluding UK) breaking down perimeter defenders and reaching the rim with ease. This makes me worry a bit about this game. If you have watched Indiana this year, you know that they have an extremely tough time keep opposing guards out of the lane. I believe that the only way IU scraps out a win is if they can impede Grayson Allen’s ability to get to the basket. Look for Robert Johnson to exert all of his energy on the defensive side of the ball and try to take Allen out of the game.
James Blackmon Jr. needs to come ready to play. I am eating my words from last Friday’s podcast as I called out James for being a disappointment so far this season; he finally showed up on both ends of the floor. Yes, he did just drop 33 against Alcorn State, but in the past he has often been nowhere to be found in games with a formidable opponent. I believe that if JBJ can get hot out of the gate, the rest of the IU squad will feed off him and play with much more confidence. That being said, a major factor of Indiana’s success will be the 3-point shot. Indiana has been known to live and die by the long ball in most of the Tom Crean era. This means that Nick Zeisloft and company must be ready to shoot at all times tomorrow night. If IU can shoot close to 5o% from beyond-the-arc and play just average defense, expect them to be extremely competitive in this game.
Indiana needs to stay out of foul trouble. This will be key, especially for Thomas Bryant and Yogi Ferrell. There is a serious lack of depth in the paint, behind Bryant, so I believe it is key that he stays out of foul trouble. A big factor in this is if IU’s perimeter defense can keep the Duke guards out of the lane. If Thomas Bryant has to step up and deal with the Blue Devil guards on a regular basis tomorrow night, that will more than likely result in foul trouble for TB. Yogi Ferrell will also need to limit his fouls tomorrow because Indiana is going to need their Senior PG to step up in an intensely hostile environment. Ferrell has the most “big game” experience among all Hoosier players. If Yogi can play a clean game, limit his turnovers, and make some big shots Indiana will be in a favorable position to pull off an upset.
Along with these three keys, IU will have to drastically reduce their unforced turnovers, mental mistakes, and play at their pace to make this a game. I, along with a vast majority of Hoosier Nation, have absolutely no clue as to which Indiana team will come to play tomorrow. Let’s just hope it is the one we know and love.
- Syracuse Surprises at the Battle 4 Atlantis November 29, 2015 Chris BroderickThe Orange started off the season well, winning all of their first three games. However, they had not really faced a challenge. In their first two weeks of play, Syracuse’s biggest challenge was St. Bonaventure, who they beat 79-66. Last week, the Orange traveled to the Bahamas to participate in the annual “Battle 4 Atlantis” tournament where they would certainly face stronger competition. Syracuse arrived in Paradise Island as underdogs, overshadowed by teams like UConn, Gonzaga, and Texas A&M.
Despite all the doubt, Syracuse shined in the Battle 4 Atlantis. In the first round of the tournament, they handily defeated Charlotte 83-70. Michael Gbinije had his best game of the season, scoring 26 point and dishing out 4 assists. The next round, however, brought them their toughest opponent yet in 18th ranked Connecticut. In a very close and entertaining game, Syracuse edged out UConn 79-76, sending them to the championship game.
Waiting for them in the championship game was 25th ranked Texas A&M. The Aggies came into the tournament playing well and continued to do so in the tournament, beating both Texas and Gonzaga. However, this would not be enough as the Orange would play the best they have all season and win the game 74-67.
Overall, the Orange played incredibly well in the Bahamas. The strong play was headlined by senior point guard Michael Gbinije and freshman forward Tyler Lydon. Gbinije was named the tournament MVP and is finally seeming to hit his stride. He exploded offensively, averaging 21 points and 5 assists. He was deadly from behind the arc, going a total of 12-20, including shooting 6-8 in the first game against Charlotte. Gbinije’s resurgence was key to Syracuse’s victory in the Bahamas and is vital to the team’s success going forward.
Freshman Tyler Lydon also impressed down on Paradise Island. Lydon continued his early success off of the bench, proving that he is a key part of this team. During the tournament he average 15.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, and an impressive 2 blocks per game. As a team that struggles with size (their tallest player being DaJuan Coleman at 6’9”), Lydon’s ferocity on defense and aggressive rebounding were crucial. Throughout the season he outplayed all the expectations of him and has already developed as a legitimate threat off the bench.
Top freshman recruit Malachi Richardson struggled throughout the tournament. He admittedly did not shoot well at all, going only 12-26 from the field. Defensively Richardson was solid, but he was nowhere near the level of offense he displayed in the first three games of the season. Malachi needs to be able to produce against tougher competition if the Orange want to compete in the ACC.
The biggest letdown of the tournament, however, was DaJuan Coleman. Coleman has consistently played poorly all season and this tournament was no exception. He continued to look slow and was completely unaggressive on both ends of the floor. Coleman was outplayed by Tyler Lydon all tournament and continues to be a disappointment. With such an undersized team, the Orange really need him to step it up. At some point we have to stop blaming DaJuan’s struggles on his lack of play over the last few seasons and realize that he’s just not the same player anymore.
The Orange are now 6-0 and are playing better than anyone expected. They shocked everyone by winning the Battle 4 Atlantis, and hopefully this is only the beginning.
Chris Broderick ’18
- College Pride Press Podcast: Love/Hate for Top teams November 22, 2015 College Pride PressWith professors cramming in exams before Thanksgiving break we decided it would be best to study hard and not do a podcast, but now we are back at it with some love hate for teams all over the country! We also touch upon IU and Purdue in depth. Hope you enjoy!
- Jackson Leads Irish Over Wisconsin-Milwaukee November 20, 2015 Patrick KenneyBy Patrick Kenney | Staff Writer
November 17, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Demetrius Jackson controlled the game on both ends of the floor Tuesday night. Irish fans are getting used to dominant performances from Jackson. In the infant stages of the new season, Jackson looks like a premiere candidate for All-American honors and even the Naismith College Player of the Year. Jackson has something to prove this year filling in for Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton, the Irish’s two leading scorers a year ago. Well, he looked more than capable Tuesday night, nearing a double-double with 20 points and 7 assists.
Wisconsin-Milwaukee was coming off a three-game weekend stretch to start the season 3-0 but showed no signs of tired legs. They played well and hung with the Irish for most of the game, but it was not enough to match a talented Irish squad in the end. Austin Arians led the Panthers with 19 points on 5-of-7 from the three-point line, but the Panthers could never quite catch the Irish.
Jackson had plenty of help against a very solid Wisconsin-Milwaukee squad. All five Irish starters finished in double digits, but the bench was unimpressive. Aside from a couple of flashes from Matt Ryan, a freshman from Iona Prep High School in New York, the bench was nonexistent. In fact, Ryan accounted for the lone 5 bench points of the night. The starters more than made up for the lack of bench production.
V.J. Beachem tallied 19 points and was 4-of-7 from behind the arc. Beachem also recorded a career high 8 rebounds and seemed to be all over the floor. The Irish will need Beachem to continue playing at a high level in order to make a push for another ACC title.
Zach Auguste was ineffective for a lot of the night but did pick up his play in the second half and showed why there was so much hype surrounding him coming into the year. He finished with 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting and 6 rebounds. Auguste must be a consistent force down low for the Irish going forward in order to contend in the ACC. With Auguste as a dangerous big man down low, the Irish could be geared for another deep postseason run, but without Auguste, it will be very tough for the Irish to match up against some of the big dogs in the ACC.
The Irish resume play on Saturday in South Bend against UMass Lowell, who enter the game 1-1 on the year.
- Irish Open Season with Win Over Saint Francis November 17, 2015 Julio SalazarBy Julio Salazar | Staff Writer
November 13, 2015
NOTRE DAME, IN- Coach Mike Brey’s sixteenth season as the Irish Basketball Head Coach tipped off Friday in exciting fashion. Purcell Pavilion was loud and electric as the university unveiled the 2015 ACC Championship banner. Students of #19 Notre Dame displayed ACC Championship t-shirts as they reaped the benefits of a new ticket policy which allows students to enter home basketball games for free. The Irish team did not allow the moment to get too big for them, however. Captain Zach Auguste (senior) said on seeing the banner drop, “It was an honor. It was truly an honor. It was very cool to see that, but we have to put that behind us. It was cool to celebrate and remember, but now we have to go back out and get another one.” The leadership of this team showed throughout the game against the Fighting Saints of St. Francis (PA). Off to a shaky start, the Irish settled down into their game plan. Auguste got off to a great start rebounding the ball and finished with 10 rebounds to go along with his 14 points. He said he went into the game expecting a double-double.
“That’s an individual goal I have,” Auguste said. “My team believes in me just as much as I believe in them. It’s something I wanted to go out and do.”
One of the other captains, Demetrius Jackson (junior) also had a great night. He went 10 of 14 for a career-high 27 points. After a slow start in two exhibition games, Jackson felt ready in the season opener. This is the kind of dominating performance Notre Dame will need down the stretch from Demetrius.
Junior Forward V.J. Beachem said of Jackson’s success, “I guess he felt like he was in a low slump, but he told us he was back. He showed it tonight.”
In a dominating offensive performance, 12 different Irish players scored points Friday night.
An area of concern for the Irish, Free-Throw Shooting, also delivered some answers in the opener, as Notre Dame shot 19-35 for 76%. Auguste however continued to struggle from the line, going 6 for 12 and a disconcerting 50%. This team will need Auguste to improve if they want to defend the championship.
Defensively, the Irish were in control for most of the game. St. Francis Head Coach Rob Krimmell acknowledged the trouble.
“Their length, their size . Some of the shots we did get were challenged. I can’t remember too many uncontested shots. A team like that, we were trying to spread the floor a little bit and I thought they did a good job of closing the floor down and not allowing our guards to get in and create some open looks out of penetrate and pitch. Their length and size corralling the ball really challenged us.”
The Fighting Saints started the game with a 36.4 field goal percentage in the first half. Defensive adjustments at halftime by the Irish saw that number dip to 30% in the second half. St. Francis was limited to 56 points all game.
Coach Brey was excited to see the kind of defensive performance, “We had them pushed out, but I think we really value guarding. We kept coming back and defending, and I’m happy to see that.”
St. Francis experienced a stretch of nearly 5 minutes without a point in the second half as Notre Dame extended its lead to 56-37 and never let the Red Flash get closer than 22 points the rest of the game. All of Auguste’s rebounds were defensive.
The Irish look to extend a November home streak of 58-1 against a hot UMass-Lowell team on Tuesday.
- Winners and Losers from Week 1 of College Basketball November 17, 2015 College Pride PressCollege basketball picked up right where it left off this weekend with a slew of upsets and craziness that no one anticipated. So much so that I don’t even know where to start when it comes to winners and losers but I’ll try my best to give you a snapshot of the first weekend.
It came to a point this weekend where I felt as if I was watching the first day of the NCAA tournament and should be checking my bracket. The underdogs were pulling off upsets all over the country that no one seemed coming. Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin Badgers might have been a little hungover from their trip to last years championship game as they lost to Western Illinois. UCLA lost to Monmouth on Friday and almost lost to Cal Poly last night to start their season. Bobby Hurley had a rough debut as his Sun Devils lost to Sacramento State. Even Radford was able to get the best of Georgetown. NC State lost to William & Mary in a game that was a blowout at halftime. Finally, Illinois lost to North Florida to open their season.
This was an amazing amount of upsets. Fans of underdogs got exactly what they wanted during the first weekend. If this is any indication of how the season will go then we are in for one hell of a ride.
The New Kids
This weekend was our first chance to see the gems of the freshman class at work and they didn’t disappoint.
Thomas Bryant had 11 points and 9 rebounds against East Illinois but made some impressive plays including an emphatic slam dunk worthy of a post board in my room. Lots of excitement around him in Bloomington.
Ben Simmons played his typical game scoring 11 points while snatching 13 rebounds and 5 assists in his debut for LSU. He makes flashy plays and smart plays all game while filling the stat sheet in every possible way. Simmons’s running mate Antonio Blakeney scored 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers. This combo could fly under the radar in the SEC with Kentucky grabbing a lot of attention.
Jalen Brunson added a quiet 12 points and 4 assists in his debut for Villanova. Look for his numbers to increase as he finds his niche on a team loaded with talent veterans.
Kentucky freshman Skal Labissiere poured in 26 points and five rebounds in their second game on Saturday.
The freshmen strutted their stuff in the first weekend as they look to show off their skills in front of their new fanbase.
All the games were played this weekend without any major injuries which is a win for everyone. These student athletes put so much time and work into preparing for the season so it was great to see everyone play and stay healthy through the first weekend. Hopefully this trend continues!
Butler scored 144 points in their opening night win against The Citadel. This is insane as some teams strive to score half that in a game. Even Purdue put up 107 points on a Vermont team that has been in the NCAA tournament recently. While the shot clock plays a factor into the number of possessions the defense was atrocious in some games allowing these teams to put up some insane point totals. Hope this was just an aberration with a few lopsided match-ups.
Other than the abysmal defense played in some games over the weekend there was really no other losers. Basketball is back which means that the offseason is finally over and we can start watching games of our favorite teams and others! And we can start preparing our sneaky teams for our tournament brackets, but if this season is full of some of the upsets we saw over the first weekend then my bracket will be in trouble anyways. Tuesday will be a big day as well with Kansas playing Michigan State and Kentucky playing Duke. Those are some premium match-ups that will be a barometer for those teams to start the season.
- Predictions for The 2015-2016 College Basketball Season November 16, 2015 Phil WellsBen Simmons will win Naismith College Player of the Year.
There is so much excitement around Ben Simmons. He brings a championship mindset to LSU. His versatility is very special, having the ability to make an impact around the perimeter and in the post. I am very excited to watch the Montverde Academy Graduate.
A 16th seed beats a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Conferences like the CAA, Patriot and the Horizon league contain teams that are capable of defeating a number one seed. The CAA has Northeastern and James Madison who have experienced rosters and big time playmakers. It has to happen at some point in history.
Maryland wins the National Championship.
The Terrapins come in is #3 in the Preseason Poll. It’s scary how good this team is going to be. With players like Melo Trimble (Big Ten Preseason POY), Jake Layman (Preseason All Big Ten), Diamond Stone (No. 6 ranked prospect by ESPN), and Robert Carter (Georgia Tech Transfer), Maryland will be exciting to watch.
Iowa State will be a bust this season.
The Cyclones will not live up to their hype this season. Although they have a core group of players returning, Fred Hoiberg is not there to lead the charge. New head coach Steve Prohm will have many people watching him and needs to perform to show that he was the right hire.
Duke will be back in the Final Four.
Duke reloaded their roster with the departures of Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow, and Tyus Jones. The Blue Devils have Grayson Allen, Brandon Ingram, Matt Jones, Amile Jefferson, and Chase Jeter to help fill in those spots.
Wisconsin will really miss Kaminsky and Dekker.
The Badgers lost their two best players due to the NBA Draft last year. Kaminsky average 18.8 per game last season, and Dekker averaged 13.9 per game. We saw the other night how Wisconsin looks without these two (Loss to Western Illinois). This year Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig will need to step up if the Badgers want to compete in the Big Ten.
Villanova makes it past the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
The past five tournament appearances have not gone well for the Wildcats. Jay Wright has the coaching ability to lead his team deep. With Senior Ryan Arcidiacono and the addition of Jalen Brunson, look for the Wildcats to do something special this season.
West Liberty wins the Division II National Championship. Wisconsin Whitewater wins the Division III National Championship.
I had to give some love to Division II and III. Wisconsin Whitewater is a powerhouse in every major sport in Division III. They will reclaim their title this year. West Liberty is ranked no. 3 in the preseason poll. The Hilltoppers have made the tournament the past six seasons; they are due for a title.
Baldwin Wallace University Class of 2018
- Freshmen Shine in Syracuse Victory November 14, 2015 Chris BroderickThe Syracuse Orange began the regular season last night against Lehigh in front of a very excited crowd of 21,286. The environment in the Carrier Dome was electric as the Orange took the court for the first time this season. This is what the Syracuse fans had been waiting all summer for. Orange basketball is back.
The game began and freshman guard Malachi Richardson immediately heated up. He hit both of first two shots and the Orange took and early 8-1 lead. Here, however, is where the game changed. This early success by the Orange was followed by bad shooting and defense on both sides. Broken down defensive plays and horrible passes were prevalent in the first half. However, Syracuse was able to take advantage of many of Lehigh’s mistakes and took a 32-12 lead into halftime.
The second half is when Lehigh really picked up the pace. With Malachi Richardson was on the bench due to foul trouble, the Mountain Hawks capitalized on the many Syracuse turnovers and began the second half on an 18-4 run. Senior center DaJuan Coleman struggled with foul trouble and overall play throughout the game which led head coach Jim Boeheim to limit his minutes in the second half. In his place, freshman Tyler Lydon excelled. Lydon’s defense, especially during the second half, was crucial to the Orange’s victory, as he made three key steals and collected eleven boards. The Orange were able to hold off the Mountain Hawks and win 57-47.
While Syracuse did win the game, the Orange showed that they still have a lot of work to do. The biggest concern is the struggles of DaJuan Coleman. So far, Coleman has shown to be incredibly rusty after missing most of the past two seasons with a knee injury. Yes, it is expected that after such a long time away from the game one would need some time to return to full strength, but Coleman showed to be slow on offense and wasn’t battling for rebounds on defense. Coleman hasn’t played well at all this season, even against weaker opponents in Le Moyne and Florida Southern. Jim Boeheim, who is not known for putting up with this type of play, benched Coleman for much of the second half in favor of Chinonso Obokoh and Tyler Lydon. If Coleman wants to keep his starting spot, he needs to play substantially better in the upcoming games.
The defensive play of the Orange was also an issue against Lehigh. Syracuse is known traditionally for its 2-3 zone defense and it usually works well. Yet, it was not executed last night and Lehigh was able to find several holes in the defense, which led to the corner three being wide open the entire game. This breakdown of the defense led to early foul trouble for Syracuse. Overall, the Orange committed a total of 16 fouls throughout the entire game. Lehigh’s leading scorer, Tim Kempton, scored 16 points on just 3-8 shooting, as he was fouled seven times and went 10-13 on free throws. If Syracuse wants to win games against tougher opponents, they cannot commit so many useless foul and give away so many points at the line.
The new Syracuse perimeter offense was in full display last night. In the first half alone, the Orange went 6-20 from behind the arc. In total, they took a combined thirty four three point shots, making only eleven. The Orange need to be more efficient in their perimeter shooting if they want to keep up in the ACC.
Things look bright, however, because of the play of the Syracuse freshmen. Aside from his five turnovers, Malachi Richardson played very well, scoring 14 points and grabbing 6 rebounds. He focused mainly on the three pointer, as four of his five baskets came from behind the arc. Tyler Lydon showed that he has the abilities to be a starter for the Orange. His defensive play and aggression on the boards are something you don’t often see in a 6’9” freshman playing center. If he continues this type of play and DaJuan Coleman continues to struggle, it is entirely possible that Jim Boeheim makes the change.
So, after one game the Orange look rusty, but not terrible. All the mistakes they are making are completely fixable and Jim Boeheim is definitely capable of getting the best out of his players. It was ugly, but a win is a win. The Orange are now preparing for Tuesday night, when they face St. Bonaventure in the Carrier Dome at 7 pm.
Chris Broderick ’18
Stats from Syracuse.com
- Why you should join the CPP forum? November 10, 2015 College Pride PressAnother facet of College Pride Press is the premium forum. The premium forum is the platform that allows us to maintain the main site with all the content we have throughout the season. Here are just a few reasons why you should join the forum.
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- College Pride Podcast 2: ACC Preview November 8, 2015 College Pride PressIn our second podcast we preview the ACC with some of our writers in the ACC including Chris Broderick, Julio Salazar, and Jacob Eisner. We also discuss the recent scandals in college basketball and the eligibility status of the top freshmen. It’s a great listen. Let us know your thoughts.
- Pre-Season Report: Duke Blue Devils November 6, 2015 Shivam DaveDuke basketball’s preseason hype-up event, known as Countdown to Craziness, seemed to be more of a look back than forward. The highlight of the event was the revealing of Duke’s fifth National Championship banner and the loudest cheers came when the jumbotron showed clips from the Blue Devils’ title game win against Wisconsin earlier this year. Obviously, given the expectations and the shadow of a national championship, this year’s squad will face some undeserved pressure.
With the youth of this team, many are concerned that this pressure may lead to an untimely and early end to the season in March and Countdown to Craziness did little to assuage those fears. Brandon Ingram looked lost, Chase Jeter and Anton Vrankovic got bullied in the paint by Marshall Plumlee (a pattern that’s likely to repeat given the relative lack of bulk on the freshmen bigs), and while Derryck Thornton razzled and dazzled with his handles, it seemed that the fancy dribbling only ended in turnovers. The brightest spot was a toss-up between the impassioned defense by Matt Jones and the smooth stroke of freshman sharpshooter Luke Kennard. Even through the early struggles there was a sense that the talent was definitely there but it will take a while for the team to mesh and find their roles.
Fast forward two weeks to Duke’s home opener exhibition against Florida Southern. As expected, the Blue Devils won, although not quite as easily as fans would have liked (the final margin of 44 fails to reveal the closeness of the first half). The game’s box score revealed some of the surprises of the night such as a starting lineup with no true point guard. Big man Amile Jefferson led the team in assists, and Derryck Thornton showed that he won’t be a pass-only point guard by leading the team in scoring thanks to 4-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc. Even more impressive than Thornton’s shooting was his lack of turnovers. Meanwhile, Kennard looked a little out of rhythm with his shot and Chase Jeter didn’t see as much time as a lauded recruit might expect. The latter may be due to the stacked frontcourt with returners Jefferson and Plumlee starting, and freshmen Jeter and Antonio Vrankovic competing with Sean Obi for minutes off the bench.
If anything, these two showcases raised more questions about the lineup Coach K will decide to go with and what the roles will be for each player. Expecting exhibitions to be completely eye-opening is a little overly hopeful and hopefully the team will find its grove over the first month of non conference play, just in time for the December 2nd marquee matchup against the Indiana Hoosiers.
Box Score Information from goduke.com
- College Basketball Returns for Cuse Nation November 5, 2015 Chris Broderick
Welcome Back, College Basketball
We’ve all been patiently (and for some, impatiently) waiting for the return of college basketball and now the wait is over. It’s finally time, college basketball has returned.
Syracuse began their season with an exhibition game against D-II LeMoyne College on Monday night. There was much excitement in the Carrier Dome before tipoff, as the fans were eager to watch their beloved Orange begin the season. The Orange won decisively, beating the Dolphins 97-58.
Even after one game, you can see that the Orange have implemented a new style of offense for the 2015-2016 season. They seem to have moved on from their traditional offense of working the inside to a mid-range and three point style. This has been a trend in college basketball and will help the Orange transition to the lower shot clock this year. Having a faster pace offense more guard focused will allow quicker shots to avoid shot clock violations.
The first half showed promise for the Orange, as they hit a majority of their first half three point attempts, with a stretch of three in a row from freshman Malachi Richardson. However, Syracuse could not keep up the pace, finishing 12-32 from behind the arc. It will be interesting to see whether or not the Orange stick to this new offense or revert back to what the team has been doing for the past few seasons.
The most exciting thing about Monday night’s game was the promising play of Michael Gbinije, Malachi Richardson, and DaJuan Coleman. Gbinije, listed as a forward, dropped 21 points while dishing out 4 assists. He served as the primary ball handler for the Orange, after much speculation that head coach Jim Boeheim would choose guard Kaleb Joseph to lead the point. The 6’7” fifth-year senior proved that he handled the ball well and played excellent defense atop the 2-3 zone that Syracuse is famous for.
The return of center DaJuan Coleman and the incoming of freshman guard Malachi Richardson was the source of much speculation and excitement in the offseason. On Monday night, they both lived up to the hype. Richardson showed everyone why he was the number 35 recruit in the class of 2015 by racking up 13 points and collecting 7 rebounds. He, like Gbinije, showed that he can handle the ball well. That gives the Orange two ball handlers in the starting lineup, something that they haven’t had in a while. Many people worried about the state of DaJuan Coleman’s knees following his injury which limited him to just 37 games in the past two seasons. Coleman proved that his knees were not an issue as he was physical down low and hustled to get the loose ball. The Orange faithful are very excited to see what the former five-star recruit can do if he stays healthy for a full season.
Not everything went well in Monday night’s game, however. For one, the defense was messy at times. The cohesion and chemistry among the players hasn’t yet come together which led to a couple sloppy defensive possessions. Kaleb Joseph, in particular, seemed slow in a few one-on-one situations and Chinoso Obokoh was consistently out-battled for rebounds. For much of last season, Syracuse struggled from the free throw line. This trend continued on Monday night, as the Orange went 15-28 from the stripe. These issues need to be addressed in order for the team to win in close games.
It may just have been one scrimmage game against a D-II opponent, but everything seems to be headed in the right direction for the Syracuse Orange. If they continue to play like this, it will be a very entertaining season.
Chris Broderick ’18
Statistics from: Syracuse.com
- Notre Dame Predictions in November October 29, 2015 Julio SalazarMonthly Predictions: Notre Dame Men’s Basketball in November
By Julio Salazar | Staff Writer
October 21, 2015
NOTRE DAME, IN- After a dream season led by seniors Pat Connaughton and Jerian Grant was capped off by an unlikely ACC Championship and an improbable run to the Elite Eight, Coach Mike Brey of the preseason #18 Fighting Irish Basketball team is left with a tough task of repeating. However, there is hope on the Notre Dame campus-hope that Irish Basketball has made the transition into big-time college basketball. With major contributors returning such as impact senior Zach Auguste and star Demetrius Jackson, the Irish hope to defend their title. Make no mistake about it; this is now Jackson’s team. After a phenomenal season, this hometown product looks to lead the Irish-on and off the court.
The University of Notre Dame Athletic Department released the Men’s Basketball Schedule earlier this month. Find it here. This monthly post will look ahead at the Irish schedule and make predictions. We start with November (and one October exhibition).
October 30, 2015 vs. St. Francis (IL): This exhibition game at Purcell Pavilion will be the first opportunity to see Mike Brey’s 16th Irish squad in action. With expected starters Demetrius Jackson, Zach Auguste, Steve Vasturia, V.J. Beachem, and Bonzie Colson, look for offense to be this team’s strength. Expect the starting five to get solid minutes and work, but also bank on seeing lots of other guys on the court. However, I predict this game will be close for the first half. The Fighting Saints of St. Francis are coming off a spectacular 23-10 season in which they shared of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular-season title and earned an at-large berth to the NAIA Division II National Tournament – USF’s first in 19 years. St. Francis also claims an NAIA Division II All-American in Ilya Ilyayev. Led by the 2015 CCAC Coach of the Year and 2015 Jack Bennett Award winner Ryan Marks, this team will come out prepared and fighting. Despite this, Irish win.
November 5, 2015 vs. Caldwell: The second and final exhibition game for Notre Dame, this matchup between the Cougars and the Irish will wrap up a long preseason. Again, expect most of Brey’s guys to see some playing time. This Caldwell team, which finished 15-13 in 2014, will not have the same level of competition as St. Francis. However, expect senior forward Michael Balkovic-All-Met Division II first team for the second year in a row, to have a good game. Easy pick, Irish win.
November 13, 2015 vs. St. Francis (PA): Notre Dame’s second game against a St. Francis team and its first non-exhibition game of the season-this one counts. Let’s be clear, St. Francis is a great team. 2015-2015 was the most successful Red Flash season in a decade. With signature wins over Navy, Rutgers, and Albany and a 3 point loss to Bowling Green in the post-season, this 15-14 team proved it could hang with big time basketball. However, CBS Sports’ 243rd ranked team loses Earl Brown, who will be difficult to replace. Young talent in Ronnie Drinnon and Greg Brown will not be enough to overcome the Irish team. ND wins.
November 17, 2015 vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee: A team that posted a 14-16 record in 2014-15 seems unimpressive. Yet, this team had a winning record in a conference that boasts Valparaiso, who went to the big dance last season. Expect the Panthers to be much smoother on offense this season. Rob Jeter’s team is the dark horse choice to steal the auto bid in the Horizon from Valpo. This cannot get the job done, though. Irish win.
November 21, 2015 vs. UMass-Lowell: An unimpressive 12-17 record. #346 in CBS Sports’ Rankings. Bottom of the American East. A 2-0 Notre Dame Team. Unfortunately, Pat Duquette will need a few more years to get the River Hawks out of the cellar of their conference. This one could get ugly quick. Irish improve to 3-0.
*At this point in the season, the Notre Dame Basketball team will travel to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, FL to compete in the Advocare Invitational.*
November 26, 2015 vs. Monmouth: The Hawks of Monmouth posted an 18-15 record and earned a #4 seed in the MAAC. This year, the Hawks are the preseason #2 in the Metro Atlantic and have former Oklahoma player Je’lon Hornbeak. A good game to watch, but the Irish should get another W and move on to the Advocare Invitational Final against the winner of Dayton/Iowa.
November 29, 2015 vs. winner of Dayton/Iowa: In the Advocare Invitational Finals, Notre Dame will face its first true test of the season, whether in the Flyers of Dayton or the Iowa Hawkeyes. Both teams have lost major contributors (Aaron White-Iowa in graduation and Dyshawn Pierre-Dayton in suspension) and will need to look to younger players for more work. Dayton still has bigger playmakers. I’ll take Notre Dame over Dayton and an undefeated November.
Look for Monthly Predictions: December later in November, as Notre Dame participates in the Big 10/ACC Challenge.
Sources: CBSSports.com, und.com, gofightingsaints.com, caldwellathletics.com, Getty Images
- Notre Dame Roster Breakdown October 25, 2015 Nick Courtney
Mike Brey is certainly glad to have the March monkey off his back. Brey and the 2014-15 Irish silenced the critics who spurn Notre Dame for annually crumbling in the season’s biggest moments with an ACC Tournament Championship and a deep March Madness run. The Irish were one Jerian Grant fade-away jumper away from slaying the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats and earning a trip to the Final Four. Entering the new season, Brey faces yet another daunting task: replacing NBA-bound Pat Connaughton and Jerian Grant, the unquestioned physical and emotional leaders of last year’s team.
Just how valuable were Connaughton and Grant? Either Grant or Connaughton led the Irish in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks last season. They provided the clutch plays all season long: Grant’s rim-kissing superman dunk against Georgia Tech or his off-balance floater in the lane to ice a regular season win against eventual national champion Duke; Connaughton’s highlight reel included posterizing future #2 pick Jabari Parker and a game-saving block on a jumper from Butler’s Kellen Dunham in the Round of 32. Grant and Connaughton were the heart and soul of a team that went further in the tournament than any Irish squad since Jimmy Carter was in office.
Despite the big losses, Notre Dame still returns immense talent to South Bend this fall. The Irish bring back three double digit scorers and three of the top 6 returning 3-point shooters in the ACC (VJ Beachem, Steve Vasturia, and Demetrius Jackson). Throw in potential NBA-bound Zach Auguste and a strong freshman class, and Mike Brey could have Notre Dame poised to contend for an ACC title again this season.
Demetrius Jackson will look to build on his breakout sophomore campaign as he emerges as one of the premier point guards in the country. Jackson is a native of nearby Mishawaka, IN and, at 6’1” and 198lbs, possesses one of the best combinations of speed, strength, and shooting ability of any guard in college basketball. A tenacious on-ball defender and 40.9% 3-point shooter, Jackson can finish in the lane through contact as easily as he hits midrange pullup jumpers. He will need to improve as a facilitator on his 3.1 assists per game in order for the Irish to make a deep run in March. There are rumblings that this could be DJ’s last season in South Bend before he takes his talents to the NBA, where scouts project he could be a first round draft pick next June (#14 pick in DraftExpress.com’s 2016 mock draft). Jackson will be the floor general and leader of this Irish team and is my sleeper pick for All-American Point Guard.
Some of the biggest questions surrounding this Irish team will be how the frontcourt can matchup with some of the best in the ACC. Senior Zach Auguste proved that he could be a solid offensive option around the rim for Mike Brey last season, scoring 12.9 PPG while shooting 60.9%, second best in the ACC. Adding a midrange jumper and ramping up his physicality on the defensive glass (only 4.2 defensive rebounds per game in 2014) would go a long way for the Irish and Zach’s draft prospects (DraftExpress.com projects him as the 57th pick in their latest mock draft). Playing alongside Auguste this year will be undersized sophomore forward Bonzie Colson. At just 6’5”, Bonzie provided the Irish with toughness and intensity off the bench down the stretch last season. He showed flashes of offensive ability in 17-point games against Louisville and Duke at the end of last season, but will need to be more consistent as a mid-range weapon and in the paint. Whether he can keep opposing big men in check and rebound will be an area of his game to watch this year.
Joining Jackson as returning perimeter threats are juniors Steve Vasturia and VJ Beachem. Vasturia was a 41% 3-point marksman last year, ramping up his production over the last 16 games to 12.7 points per game. He was often charged with shutting down opposing teams’ best perimeter scorers and will look to do the same for Notre Dame this season. Vasturia possesses the shooting ability and physicality to best fill some of the holes left by Pat Connaughton. He excels as a spot-up shooter, but without Grant will need to more consistently create his own shot, which he did in stretches against Butler and Kentucky in the tournament last season. Look for Vasturia to have an expanded role in Brey’s offense and be an X-factor for the Irish.
Beachem could compete for a starting job this year, but may best fit the roster as a shooter coming off the bench. Beachem finished the year shooting 42% from behind the arc, but was at times a defensive liability. It will be interesting to see if he has bulked up in the offseason and can contribute as a rebounder. He remains one of the bigger question marks on this Irish squad.
Mike Brey brings in a trio of freshmen this season who could make huge contributions to the Irish this fall. There is a lot of hype surrounding Rex Pflueger, a 6’5” shooting guard out of Mater Dei High School in San Juan Capistrano, CA. Rex flashed his superhuman jumping ability and athleticism in this ridiculous offseason dunk compilation and won the Max Preps Holiday Classic slam dunk competition. Rex is a good perimeter shooter, but will need to prove himself as a defender and rebounder. Pflueger should play some meaningful minutes as an athletic scorer ND this season.
Elijah Burns is an athletic power forward from Troy, NY. At 6’9” he possesses the size to be a strong rebounder, and can step back and hit perimeter jump shots. Burns played on the United States’ U18 team in 2014 and on three Empire State Games teams. He could provide some athleticism off the bench in the frontcourt. Matt Ryan is the next in a long line of knock-down 3-point shooters under Mike Brey. Ryan is a …
- (Very) Early Season Predictions for the Syracuse Orange September 28, 2015 Chris Broderick
As the school year trudges on, we are getting closer and closer to the beginning of college basketball season. The 2015-2016 schedule was recently released and the upcoming season looks to be an interesting one for the Syracuse Orange. The schedule revealed that interim head coach Mike Hopkins, who is replacing Jim Boeheim in the first nine intra conference games, will see action against Pittsburgh, Miami, Clemson, North Carolina, Boston College, Wake Forrest, Duke, Virginia and Notre Dame. It was also announced that coach Boeheim will make his return at home against Georgia Tech on January 30th. I took a closer look at the Orange’s schedule and made some predictions.
Malachi Richardson proves his worth
After a season where the Orange struggled at times to score points off the bench, Richardson will come in and succeed. The highly ranked freshmen will prove to be a valuable scorer and warrant coach Boeheim to give him quality minutes.
DaJuan Coleman returns to form
DaJuan Coleman’s career as a member of the Syracuse Orange has been, for lack of a better word, nonexistent. In two injury ridden seasons, Coleman played in 37 games and averaged just 4.6 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. A lingering knee injury has kept him out since halfway through the 2013-2104 season in which he only played in 13 games. Look for DaJuan to play strong defense and score at the rate he showed he could in high school.
Mike Hopkins will go under .500 as a head coach
Mike Hopkins will take over for Jim Boeheim beginning with the game against Pittsburgh on December 30th. Unfortunately, he faces a very difficult stretch of games. In the nine games under Coach Hopkins, the Orange will go 4-5.
The Orange will go 17-11 (Excluding the Battle 4 Atlantis)
I took a close look at the schedule that was released earlier this month and the upcoming season looks to be very similar to the last (Side note: The Orange will head down to Paradise Island, Bahamas to compete in a tournament with such schools as: UCONN, Michigan, Texas, Gonzaga, Washington, Texas A&M, and Charlotte. As the teams the Orange will face are not definite, I will leave this tournament out of my final predictions). That leaves us with a decent, yet underwhelming season for the Orange.
The Orange will go dancing
Last season had an unfortunate ending, as the Orange served a self-imposed postseason ban. However, they will bounce back this season. While Syracuse will not win the ACC and get an automatic bid into the tournament, the Orange will play strongly enough to earn a seed between 8 and 10.
Chris Broderick ’18
- Coaches with the Most Pressure this Season September 11, 2015 College Pride PressI wanted to talk a little bit about the coaches with the most pressure this season. When you read below you might question me so I’d like to preface the article by saying that this is not a “Hot Seat” article. Some of these coaches will not be fired this season based on how the team performs so please don’t come for my neck. This piece talks about the coaches with the most pressure and what that pressure is.
Ok, I had to start with my school because in the words of Tom Crean “This is Indiana”. Everyone can see the 5 banners hanging in Assembly Hall. But the pressure is on Tom Crean because of all the off the court issues. After the two great seasons from 2012-2014 the program struggled to replace early draft entries and many highly touted recruits did not perform in their place. That is a tough break and I cannot completely blame Crean. Last year Indiana recovered and played very well at times and exceeded expectations. There cannot be many complaints about last season from Crean’s perspective, but Tom Crean is under a huge amount of pressure this year because of the off the court issues. There have been too many arrests, citations, and “dismissed from the team” to not put blame on Crean.
He will have a lot of pressure because fans and supporters of the program do not want their team’s name to be in national news for a backup power forward caught drinking in the parking lot of a convenient mart or for any off the court issue. This season looks to be a good one for the Hoosiers who have a lot of talent coming back and add some quality pieces but none of that will matter if the boys cannot stay out of trouble. The pressure will be on Crean to keep his players in line for the next ∞ days until they graduate.
Ok John Calipari is the reason I put the preface up there. John Calipari will not be fired. The reason that Calipari has a lot of pressure this season is because of last season. Last season they did not live up to expectations by loosing in the Final Four. You cannot be much better than a 38-1 season but there will be pressure on Calipari to do better.
There is also pressure on Calipari because of the number of guards he has. Tyler Ulis will be returning and most likely the starting point guard. Calipari and company also add Isiah Briscoe, Jamal Murray, and Mychal Mulder. All three of those guys are top recruits with Briscoe and Murray both 5 star players. It will be tough for Cal to fit all 4 of the guards into the lineup while pleasing them all. There is only one person who can touch the ball at a time so Calipari will have to work his magic to spread the ball handling duties around. If he cannot squeeze all of the players into the game so they are happy Cal will struggle again with recruiting top players who will want a big chunk of playing time.
John Groce has a lot of pressure on him this season for the Illini. After leading the Illini to the NCAA tournament in 2013, Groce has struggled to maintain stability in Champaign and the team has missed two NCAA tournaments in row. Groce looked to finish the “rebuilding” process this summer and have a great season this year but now that is in doubt. When the team was in Europe playing their international trip, Darius Paul was arrested and dismissed from the program. Paul was tabbed to be a big part of the Illini this year. He was named the MAC Freshman of the Year in 2013 before running into trouble with the law. Paul was injured in Europe so he was not even playing anyways.
This is big loss for the Illini and will put even more pressure on Groce this season. Groce must rely on transfer Mike Thorne down low to keep up with the other bigs in the Big 10. Thorne transferred from Charlotte to Illinois and must adjust to the rigors of the Big 10 before it is too late for Groce and the Illini.
There is a rich basketball tradition in Champaign with students and supporters expecting a Big 10 contending team every year. Groce must move on from the Darius Paul incident and hope Mike Thorne can adjust so the Illini can compete in the extremely competitive Big 10 this season.
Johnny Jones finds himself in rare company this season at LSU. Very few coaches in college basketball are able to successfully recruit and coach the number one prospect in the nation. Johnny Jones was able to reel in number one rated PF Ben Simmons. Simmons comes to Baton Rouge with lots of hype surrounding him. Simmons will also be joined by highly recruited shooting guard Antonio Blakeney. There are marketing campaigns for Simmons and Blakeney generating more interest in LSU basketball then every before.
There will be pressure on Johnny Jones to have success with the two freshman this season. If he has success this season it will have a lasting effect on recruiting for Jones and his staff which will help them build LSU to a football AND basketball school. If this season does not go …
- Biggest Question: Syracuse University August 20, 2015 Chris Broderick
Can the Orange overcome the NCAA sanctions?
Earlier this year, Syracuse was hit with NCAA sanctions stemming from academic misconduct over the past decade. Head coach Jim Boeheim was suspended for the first nine intra conference games of the season and the university will lose three scholarships in each of the next four seasons. So, the biggest question is: can the Orange overcome these sanctions and succeed in the 2015-2016 basketball season?
Current SU assistant head coach Mike Hopkins will be taking over head coaching responsibilities during Boeheim’s absence. Hopkin’s ability to fill the void left by Jim Boeheim is not in question, as he has been on Boeheim’s coaching staff for the last eighteen seasons.
Aside from the different coaching staff, SU will feature an altered roster as well. With the departures of Chris McCullough and Rakeem Christmas to the draft and the transfer of B.J. Johnson (LaSalle) and Ron Patterson (IUPUI), the Orange will look significantly different than last year’s 18-13 team. The Orange will return four starters from last year’s team, with Kaleb Joseph, Trevor Cooney, Michael Gbinije and Tyler Roberson all likely remaining in the starting lineup. The fifth starter will likely be 6’9” center Dajuan Coleman, who missed the past two seasons with a lingering knee injury.
With the 12th overall recruiting class in the nation (per Rivals.com), the Orange’s reserves have also undergone a significant change. This stellar recruiting class is headlined by the number 35 overall recruit, 6’5” small forward Malachi Richardson out of Trenton Catholic in New Jersey. Also joining the Orange roster are power forward Tyler Lydon, center Moustapha Diagne, and shooting guard Franklin Howard. Richardson will likely serve as the 6th man with Lydon, Diagne and Howard playing quality minutes off the bench.
While the NCAA sanctions loom over the Orange, the season looks bright. Guard Michael Gbinjie (12.7 ppg last season) looks to continue his success from last season and Dajuan Coleman is returning to action after recovering from his knee injury. If role players such as Trevor Cooney (13.4 ppg) and Tyler Roberson (8.3 ppg) return to form and the exciting 2015 recruiting class lives up to the hype, this could be a very thrilling and successful season for the Orange.
All the obstacles will be challenging to overcome, but I believe that the Orange can return to the success that the university, and its fans, is accustom to.
- Freshman To Watch In The 2015-2016 Season August 17, 2015 Phil Wells
Ben Simmons will be one of the most special and exciting basketball players to watch in Division 1 basketball. The Montverde graduate was the number one high school recruit of the 2015 class. The 6’10 forward can do it all. I am very impressed with his athleticism and his versatility. Simmons can guard anybody on the court; he is very quick laterally for his size. Watching him play at Montverde was something special and when Simmons is on the floor he makes his presence known. The lefty shooter has an excellent touch and a pretty release. Simmons is such a rare player, having skill around the post and perimeter. His vision and passing is very mature for his age. It is not often that a 6’10 forward has passing attributes of a 6’2 Point Guard. My only question with Simmons attending LSU is his development. Johnny Jones is not known for developing his players into NBA prospects. Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey did not progress into the superstars they were supposed to be. Even with the question of development, I truly believe Simmons has the skill to be the 1st overall pick of 2016 draft. LSU fans should be very excited about their number one recruit.
Jamal Murray/6’5/Point Guard/Kentucky
Jamal Murray made his impression on me and many others in the Pan Am Games while playing for Team Canada. Murray was originally a part of the class of 2016 but reclassified to the class of 2015. It is scary to think that he is actually a class behind. At the Pan Am Games the Canadian native averaged 17 points and 2.4 assist per games. Those are some good numbers for someone who is 8 years younger than the average age of the players in the games. Murray has the ability to penetrate and finish on any defense. While watching Murray I noticed how much he favors his left hand, which is his off hand. At 6’5 Murray has the ability to be a 2 guard, along with having the handles and passing of a point guard. Along with his handles and passing, Murray has the outside shot that is hard to defend. I believe he has the ability to pull up on the dribble around the arc. Murray going to Kentucky brings a National Championship in sights for 2016. It is going to be scary having Isaiah Briscoe, Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray on the same team. It’s going to be very interesting to see how Murray reacts to playing with two other superstars. For him to be at his best, he needs the ball in his hands. At Kentucky he will have other guys around him that are just as talented. The Orangeville Prep Graduate is going to have to learn to help his team off the ball. But there is no question when he does have the ball, Murray will be something special for the Wildcats.
Brandon Ingram/6’8/Small Forward/Duke
With Tyus Jones, Justice Winslow and Jalhil Okafor gone, Brandon Ingram has the skill and leadership to help the Blue Devils reload their roster. Duke is bringing in 6’10 center Chase Jeter who will fill in for Okafor’s; this leaves Brandon to fill in for Winslow. With Jeter down low, I believe Coach Krzyzewski will have Ingram at a 2 or 3 in his lineup. Ingram went to high school where Jerry Stackhouse (former Tar Heel) coached. UNC fans should be very disappointed that Jerry did not persuade Brandon to attend Chapel Hill. Ingram brings a lot of versatility for Duke. Ingram has the handles of a guard and uses a quick first step to get to the basket. The small forward always remains in control and doesn’t let defenders make him feel uncomfortable. While watching Ingram I noticed when he drives in the lane he looks for contact every time. He wants to draw a foul and is not afraid to get bodied down low. Ingram is a very lanky and long with plenty room for muscle. Blue Devil fans should have another championship in sights with Ingram in the lineup.
Along with a few others in his class, Zimmerman has size and athleticism. At 7 feet Zimmerman looks very smooth handling the basketball. Zimmerman was sought out by many top programs, but decided to stay in Nevada to attend UNLV. The skill I was most impressed in watching Zimmerman was his basketball IQ. He knows where everyone is on the court when he has the ball. His passing ability is very impressive; it is very smooth and fun to watch. The lefty also can shoot from mid-range, but I do not think his shot from behind the arc is at a high level yet. With development and coaching the Bishop Gorman graduate will be able to score from all over the floor. One question for the UNLV center is his frame and strength. Scouts say there is still more room for muscle and some say he needs it to go to the next level. Zimmerman has gained 20 pounds the past couple months, but we do not know if it is enough to fill out his lanky body. Expectations are very high going into UNLV as Zimmerman is expected to help the team bounce back from an average season while losing in the second round of the Mountain West. UNLV fans will look to have Zimmerman producing and excelling right when he steps on campus.
Cheick Diallo/6’9/Power Forward/Kansas
Cheick Diallo could be the best post player in this class. It is fun to see him down low against defenders. Fans will love watching him throw it down on the fast break and in the post. The Our Savior New American School graduate has outstanding rebounding ability. Cheick has the vertical, aggressiveness, and wingspan that …
- Biggest Question: Syracuse University August 17, 2015 College Pride Press
How will the Orange bounce back?
SYRAC– USE, NY- On March 6th of this year, the Syracuse basketball program received perhaps the harshest sanctions it’s ever seen. After violating several NCAA policies in relation to academic oversight, booster involvement, and other forms of misconduct for nearly a decade, the program finds itself in a little distress. In hopes of preventing a more severe punishment, the team suspended itself from the 2015 postseason. However, they would inevitably face an even greater penalty. Twelve scholarships would be lost over the next four years. This is any thriving college team’s nightmare as the Orange will lose some of the premier talent it’s been scouting for years. Syracuse coach, and all-around icon of Syracuse basketball, Jim Boeheim may have received the worst of it though, vacating wins dating back to the 2004-2005 season. He also faces suspension for the first nine games of the 2015-2016 season. Long time assistant coach, Mike Hopkins, will lead the Orange in the first nine games this year and will officially be taking over for Jim Boeheim after he retires in three years.
Coming off an inconsistent year, the Orange will be returning a good portion of their roster but are losing a couple of big impact players, Rakeem Christmas and Chris McCullough (both first round draft picks). In order to replace the big man presence, DaJuan Coleman will need to come back healthy after an injured season (knee) and much improved from two seasons ago. Talented sophomore point guard, Kaleb Joseph, will need to play with more intelligence this year with a spotty season of experience behind him. Trevor Cooney needs to stay hot from beyond the arc and emerge as the team’s leader in his final year wearing orange. The Orange also add some young talent this year, highlighted by Freshman Malachi Richardson. The 6-6 shooting guard will be competing with Cooney and Michael Gbinije for playing time but will definitely need to become a factor this season for Syracuse. Expect to see a sense of urgency from Syracuse coaches and players this season as Mike Hopkins tries to prove his worthiness of becoming head coach and Jim Boeheim looks to heighten his resume a bit in his last years. Young recruits will also be pushing upperclassmen to not slip and perform at the highest level possible.
Once again the ACC is looking to remain a dominant conference in college basketball having teams like North Carolina, Duke, and Virginia already projected to be ranked in the top ten. Strength of schedule can really help the Orange this season if they’re able to pull off some wins against these challenging teams. It will be interesting to see how a little bit of experience will affect this Syracuse lineup as the countdown to November begins.
Dane Van Benthuysen ‘18
Syracuse, N.Y. – The NCAA today ordered Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim suspended for nine games as a result of multiple infractions over the past eight years. SU basketball and football were both placed on five years’ probation, according to the 94-page report.
There has been a shroud of secrecy surrounding the lower leg injury that was suffered by Michigan guard Caris LeVert earlier this season. He’s been out for the last three weeks as he has dealt with it while the Michigan basketball program has yet to actually put a label on the injury.
- Biggest Question: Notre Dame Fighting Irish August 14, 2015 Nick Courtney
Can Notre Dame replace Pat Connaughton’s rebounding?
Pat Connaughton was a leader in every facet of the game for the Irish in the 2014-15 season. He played 35 minutes per game, assisted, defended, and led the team in both blocked shots and 3-pointers. But where Connaughton’s impact will be missed the most will be on the glass. Although he stands just 6’5”, Connaughton led the Irish in rebounding (7.4 per game) and was often tasked with checking opposing teams’ best rebounder. The Irish were the 3rd worst rebounding team in the ACC last year and grabbed just 27.5% of its offensive rebound opportunities, and losing their most effective and hardest working rebounder will certainly hurt. They often struggled against inferior teams that possessed good size in the frontcourt, such as Georgia Tech, who used a plus-14 offensive rebounding margin to take the Irish to double overtime, and Northeastern, who outrebounded Notre Dame by 16 in a narrow 69-65 first round loss in the NCAA tournament.
In order for the Irish to make another run in the NCAA tournament without the playmaking of Connaughton and fellow NBA-bound star Jerian Grant, other players must step up on the boards. Zach Auguste, at 6’10”, will need to improve on his 6.5 rebounds per game and anchor the Irish on the glass. Coach Brey will look for development from some of his younger players as well, including 6’9” Lithuanian giant Martinas Geben and spark plug Bonzie Colson, both entering their sophomore seasons.
If Notre Dame can garner some physicality from its younger players on the defensive glass, they can look forward to building on the success of last season. If not, it could be a brief exit for the Irish in March.
Nick Courtney ’18
- Biggest Question: Duke Blue Devils August 12, 2015 Shivam Dave
Who will be Duke’s second point guard?
Coming off of a championship run, Duke has, on the most part, replaced the pieces it lost to the NBA Draft with Chase Jeter, Brandon Ingram, and Derryck Thornton. That trio hopes to live up to the expectations Duke fans have after a year of watching Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow, and Tyus Jones hold those positions down like pros. However, the hole in the roster left by captain Quinn Cook’s departure will prove difficult to fill. Cook’s contributions as a ball-handler, 3-point threat, and knockdown free throw shooter complemented his veteran leadership and allowed him to direct and jumpstart the offense as both a point guard and shooting guard. Thornton, who reclassified to the Class of 2015 after Jones announced his intention to leave for the NBA, is all but set to be the starting point guard and while his shooting numbers for the last two years (34% from 3, 72% from the free throw line) have a ways to go to fill Cook’s shoes, his elite ballhandling and court vision will surely help orchestrate a multifaceted offense.
However, as Duke’s only true recruited point guard on the team, Thornton may find himself overextended at times. Sophomore guard Grayson Allen, whose late season surge was capped by a heroic performance in the national championship game, may see some time at the point although his play when handling the ball in limited minutes last season was often hesitant and error-prone. Without a second true point guard, Coach K will have to get innovative when resting Thornton, possibly relying on Chase Jeter to draw defenders to the post and give spot up shooters like Allen and Luke Kennard the room to launch from the perimeter. In short, the absence of a facilitator besides Derryck Thornton will prove to be a challenge for the Blue Devils this season. Relying on a 18 year old student to come in and play over 30 mins is a lot to handle, especially for a guy who should be a senior in high school. If Thornton struggles to adjust or gets in foul trouble then the Blue Devils could be in trouble with very little ball handling abilities behind him on the bench.
Stats from maxpreps.com
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