By Jon Rothstein
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– UNLV transfer Mike Moser is down to Gonzaga, Oregon and Washington, and will likely make a decision by the end of the week, according to a source close to the situation. Moser is eligible to play immediately next season without sitting out because he’s already graduated. The 6-foot-8 face-up forward had a break through year in 2011-12 with the Runnin Rebels (14.0 PPG, 10.5 RPG), but struggled last season to find a cemented role alongside newcomers Anthony Bennett and Khem Birch. Moser would instantly become the featured player for Oregon, while he he’d have to blend more with his supporting cast at both Gonzaga and Washington. It should be noted that Moser has a long-standing relationship with Huskies’ incoming freshman point guard Nigel Williams-Goss.
– The offseason in college basketball used to be about landing transfers. Now it’s about landing transfers that can play without sitting out. Between kids getting waivers to play immediately, and graduate students using their fifth year of eligibility to change locations without being sidelined for a season, we’ve entered a world that is exactly like NBA free agency. It’s a lot of fun to cover on a daily basis, but I’m not so sure it’s the best thing for the sport.
– Andre Roberson’s decision to bypass his senior season at Colorado and enter the NBA Draft doesn’t end the Buffaloes’ PAC-12 title hopes for next year. Roberson averaged 10.9 points and 11.2 rebounds per game last season but Tad Boyle has the personnel to replace him. Sophomore Xavier Johnson is a matchup nightmare at 6-foot-6, and could be one of the breakout players in America in 2013-14. Boyle is also very high on red shirt freshman Wesley Gordon, a 6-foot-8 power forward who sat out last season but performed very well in practices.
– Duke, Arizona, Alabama and Rutgers will be the four host schools for the 2013 Preseason NIT. The semifinals will be Wednesday November 27th at Madison Square Garden. The consolation game/finals will be Friday November 29th. Solid group.
– It will be really interesting to see how Eli Carter fits in at Florida. During his first two seasons at Rutgers, Carter basically had carte blanche within the confines of the Scarlet Knights’ offense, and regularly took bad shots early in a possession. That won’t be in the case in Gainesville. The Gators will be a Top Ten team to start the season, and have three capable perimeter players already ahead of Carter on the depth chart in Scottie Wilbekin, Mike Frazier, and incoming freshman Kasey Hill. If Carter wants to resurrect his career under Billy Donovan, he’s going to have to become a better teammate and defender. The 6-2 combo guard led Rutgers in scoring last season at 14.9 PPG, and will likely apply for a waiver with the NCAA to play immediately. Carter has two seasons of eligibility remaining.
– Auburn has quietly upgraded their back court with the addition of Rutgers transfer Jerome Seagears. Seagears isn’t a flashy player (6.5 PPG, 2.5 APG), but he can really run an offense and will be an immediate upgrade for the Tigers if he’s cleared by the NCAA to play next season. Tony Barbee is also very high on former Virginia guard K.T. Harrell, who should start for Auburn at shooting guard. The 6-4 Harrell averaged 8.0 PPG and shot 42.1% from three-point range in 2010-11 at Virginia before transferring to the Tigers program.
– Several PAC-12 coaches have told me in the past few weeks that they still expect Cal to remain among the league’s top third next season. The Bears will lose shooting guard Allen Crabbe to the NBA, but will replace him with a Top-30 prospect in freshman Jabari Bird. Mike Montgomery’s team also returns point guard Justin Cobbs plus their entire front court, and versatile wing Tyrone Wallace, who could eventually be one of the better all-around players in the PAC-12.
– Creighton made a great hire by tabbing Pat Sellers as an assistant coach. Sellers, a former UConn assistant, was instrumental in the Huskies’ recruitment of both Shabazz Napier and Jeremy Lamb a few years ago, and is one of the more well respected people in the business. While he was forced to resign from his post in Storrs in 2010 during an NCAA investigation, Sellers eventually had his name cleared and again emerged as a commodity in the college basketball world. With the Bluejays headed to the new Big East, Sellers will be a major asset on the recruiting trail.
– Kansas will have five new starters next season, and arguably one of the tougher non-conference schedules in all of college basketball. The Jayhawks will play Duke in the Champions Classic in Chicago to start the season, and also take part in the prestigious Battle For Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas during Thanksgiving week. Bill Self’s team will also host Georgetown and San Diego State, play Temple in Philadelphia, and return a game at Colorado. Kansas is also expected to head to Gainesville to play Florida as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge. That’s a tall task for a team that lost the bulk of its core from a year ago.
– Every Big Ten head or assistant coach I saw at the prestigious Boo Williams AAU Tournament last weekend told me the same thing — “watch out for Iowa“. The Hawkeyes have nearly their entire core returning from this past season’s team that won 25 games, and lost in the finals of the Postseason NIT. Fran McCaffery’s squad should be in the top third of the Big Ten, and be a lock for the field of 68 in 2014. Keep an eye on incoming freshman Peter Jok, a 6-5 small forward who could have an immediate impact because of his outside shooting.
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