Trojans > Wildcats, Bulldogs in quest for vaunted Cherry
Never mind the fact that the USC Trojans will likely go into the 2017-18 season as a solid Top 10 pick, they have a legitimate chance to take down Arizona as they just did in signing highly touted Taeshon Cherry out of San Diego, CA. Cherry is the highest pick of the Andy Enfield era plus he loves the Trojans’ free-wheeling style.
Cherry is considered the No. 9 power forward and No. 39 overall player in the nation at 6-8, 206, but the 5-star forward wanted to play a 2 or 3 position, which USC promised, instead of a straight power forward position. This took Gonzaga out of the race for one of the most versatile players in the 2017-18 recruiting class. Cherry joins another power forward in 6-8, 215-lb. J’Rean Brooks out of Seattle as the first two USC recruits of the new recruiting period.
A-10 will offer wide open race in ’17-18
Basketball in the Atlantic 10 brings tight contests and tight races as VCU, Dayton, and Rhode Island proves once again last season. Flipping the calendar, this will be the usual norm as new coach Mike Rhoades restructures a talented roster behind the talents of big man Justin Tillman. Count Bob McKillop’s always tough Davidson squad on your “big man” hashtag as Peyton Aldridge will be another big man that can go inside-out and cause matchup problems for other teams’ big on the perimeter.
The way-to-early race for Player of the Year shows Tillman, Aldridge and Rhode Island’s E.C. Matthews, who was the A-10 Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player when he went 10-of-15 from behind the three-point line in leading the Rams to the crown.
At 6-7, 215-lbs., Tillman is a monster on the class and a tough matchup in the post with his physicality. He runs the floor well as he is a stalwart in what will still be the “Havoc” system under Rhodes. Meanwhile, Aldridge can score from all over. He is excellent at reading the defense and reacting accordingly as he shot 41 percent from behind the three-point line last season and worked the glass, as well, with 8.2 rebounds per game.
Shockers’ AAC value will sky-rocket
As coach Gregg Marshall has grown this Wichita State program out of the dust in the Missouri Valley, we knew that it was just a matter of time until the Shockers moved into a high-major conference in knowing their dominating MVC performances and sustainability in that league.
AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco noted that as early as 2016, when the Big 12 was talking expansion, that it stood to reason that the league could lose a couple of it’s premiere teams. That said, the conference started looking at the fact that it maybe should take basketball schools. As the calendar turned to July, that premonition became a reality as the Shockers became the 12th member of the AAC.
This was a win-win scenario for both. Wichita State will come into the season with possibly it’s deepest and most talented team which should garner not only a Top-10 ranking, but a shot at the Final Four. In this case, the Shockers will make money for the AAC as they will come in and solidify themselves atop the league. They also have one of the most ardent fan bases in the nation as they travel big-time during March.