LEXINGTON, Ky. – As we prepare for the start of college football, let’s not forget college basketball. Five developments you may have missed:
1. Kentucky’s New and Better Goal
Whispers from early Kentucky basketball practice insist that they are a much better shooting team than previous editions of John Calipari. That goes without saying given that the transfer portal delivered snipers Kellan Grady from Davidson and CJ Fredrick from Iowa to the Cats. But the word is that others have also increased their perimeter game.
It is true, we have heard this speech before. Too often, players who would drop it in training at Joe Craft Center, suddenly can’t drop the ball at Rupp Arena or opposing gyms. Feel like this year could be different, though.
2. The NCAA may still have some bite after all
Just when you thought the NCAA has gone powerless, the organization is jumping and imposing two years probation on the Texas A&M men’s basketball program and a two-game suspension on coach Buzz Williams for violations during the pandemic.
Williams made inadmissible contact with a rookie. An assistant coach performed several tries during the unofficial visit of another recruit. And the assistant completed 24 supervised off-campus workouts with team members who were banned by COVID-19 restrictions.
Meanwhile, the NCAA has extended its investigation into LSU beyond the July 31 deadline. According to The Advocate in Baton Rouge, the alleged violations now include “at least 13 potential student athletes” in connection with Will Wade’s basketball program. It sounds like a lot.
3. Memphis continues to make the news
First, Penny Hardaway hired Larry Brown, 80, he of the NCAA and NBA title rings and checkered past, as an assistant coach. Now Hardaway is adding former North Carolina center Rasheed Wallace to the Tigers staff. When he wasn’t picking up technical fouls (a record 41 in 2000-01), Wallace was helping Brown win the 2004 NBA title with the Detroit Pistons.
And after adding coveted center Jalen Duren to Memphis’ roster, Hardaway could be in the running to get Emoni Bates, the 6-foot-8 forward who has upgraded to play this season. He decides between Memphis, Oregon, Michigan State and the G League. After Bates’ disengagement from Michigan State, Memphis is considered the frontrunner for his services. According to 247Sports, Bates is the No. 4 ranked prospect in the class of 2021. Duren is ranked No. 5.
4. Overtime Elite continues to recruit players
The new NIL reforms do not have a total influence on some of college basketball’s most renowned rookies. This month, Jazian Gortman, Tyler Smith and Bryce Griggs all signed big contracts with Overtime Elite, the Atlanta-based group that “gives the world’s most talented young basketball players a better path to becoming professional athletes.”
Griggs is said to have signed a two-year contract worth $ 1.2 million. A five-star prospect for 2022, Gortman is said to have signed a $ 600,000 contract. Smith is ranked eighth best prospect for 2023 by ESPN. “I already wanted to be a pro, working on things the NBA is working on,” Smith told ESPN.
Fifteen high school juniors and seniors have now signed with OTE, which guarantees a minimum wage of $ 100,000. Players will also receive ZERO income through the sale of jerseys, collectible cards and video games, as well as health care coverage and disability insurance.
5. Louisville offseason is a mixed bag
On the one hand, as part of court records in his extortion case, former Louisville assistant Dino Gaudio made new allegations about the Cardinals’ program, including that head coach Chris Mack threatened to withdraw scholarships from players after the U of L failed to make the NCAA tournament last. season.
(If you recall, Calipari wrote a letter supporting Gaudio as part of the sentencing case after Gaudio pleaded guilty in the case.)
On the flip side, the Cardinals used the portal to add four of ESPN’s top 100 transfers, including West Carolina’s Mason Faulkner; Jarrod West of Marshall; Noah Locke from Florida and Matt Cross from Miami. Faulkner averaged 16.9 points per game last season. West averaged 12 points and six assists. Locke is a career 42% 3-point shooter. Cross was ranked 86th by ESPN in the Class of 2020.
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