Staying power in ACC
It is true that losing the talents and productivity of Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Dwayne Bacon, and Jonathan Isaac will be felt throughout the Florida State basketball program. It is also true that FSU coach Leonard Hamilton is an underrated coach and maybe even more – an underrated recruiter.
Hamilton restocked well with his five-man incoming class led by 5-star guard M.J. Walker of Jonesboro, Ga. Walker is a shooting guard who chose Florida State over UCLA, Maryland, Ohio State, and Virginia Tech and chose basketball over football as well. Walker was offered several scholarships to play college football, including national champion Clemson.
Walker has many dynamics inside of his game as at 6-5, 207, he can dominate matchups with his physicality as his athleticism allows him to create shots. He seems to be unstoppable in the open floor.
Here is the rest of what is a Top 10 class for the Seminoles:
- Ikechukwu Obiagu – 4-star – C, 7-0, 230 – Runs the floor impeccably well as rim-running is a major forte
- RaiQuan Gray – 4-star – PF, 6-8, 240 – Physical on both ends of the floor as he can face up and score in mid-range
- Wyatt Wilkes – 3-star – PF, 6-7, 200 – Another forward in this class who can score from the outside
- Anthony Polite – 3-star – SG, 6-6, 170 – Excellent three-point man who is an excellent athlete
Crandall makes North Dakota a Big Sky mainstay
The Big Sky and it’s teams, players, and coaches need more love in the ever evolving basketball universe. Too many times at the mid-major level, a team will have a good season and then fall back in the rankings for two or three years. That’s not going to be the case with point guard Geno Crandall returning to the point for North Dakota. He will be the leading returning scorer at 15.5 points per game and he also dished a team high 136 assists and procured 64 steals.
Crandall was the perfect wingman to Fighting Hawks’ leading scorer Quinton Hooker and then he was able to up his game int he Big Sky Tournament in averaging 16.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg, and 6.3 apg as UND picked up it’s first conference tournament championship in it’s D-1 existence. Crandall will be joined by power forward Connor Avants and center Drick Bernstein as a trio of returning starters which could make North Dakota a Big Sky preseason favorite.
Jayhawks do Italy
The NCAA allows every team to do a foreign trip every four years, so Bill Self will pick up his Kansas Jayhawks on July 31 for a week in Italy which features two games in Rome early that week and two games in Milan in the latter. As KU lost several players, including Frank Mason, the trip will be a major part of team building in chemistry development on and off the floor.
Self returns two starters in Devonte’ Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk from last season’s 31-5 Elite Eight squad while Lagerald Vick, who saw plenty of time of the bench last season., will be penciled in as a starter. Kansas will welcome nine new faces in ’17-18, headlined by Mississippi State transfer Malik Newman and Arizona State transfer Sam Cuniffe as well as a pair of potential freshman phenoms in Billy Preston and Marcus Garrett.