Rothstein: This And That Around NCAA Basketball; Wiggins’ Call, Duke-UCLA At MSG & More
By Jon Rothstein
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– Andrew Wiggins, the consensus No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2013 is expected to make his college decision on Tuesday, according to multiple published reports. The 6-8 wing has narrowed his choices to Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky, andNorth Carolina, and it appears that the Jayhawks and Seminoles have separated themselves from the pack. Personally, I’d be shocked if Wiggins doesn’t wind up in Tallahassee. Both his parents are alums of Florida State, he has a deep rooted relationship with Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton, and maybe most importantly, Florida State is a Nike school. If Wiggins opts for the Seminoles, they instantly become a Top 15-20 team in the country.
– Mike Moser’s decision to transfer to Oregon will make the Ducks an NCAA Tournament team in 2014. Dana Altman’s squad desperately needed an impact player in the front court for next season, and Moser’s pick-and-pop ability should really work well with Oregon’s two dynamic lead guards, Dominic Artis and Johnathan Loyd. Moser averaged 14.0 PPG and 10.5 RPG two years ago at UNLV, but struggled to find a place last year as the Runnin Rebels had both Anthony Bennett and Khem Birch playing major minutes up front. With Moser, Artis, Loyd, and burgeoning wing Damyean Dotson, Oregon should have more than enough firepower to remain one of the upper echelon teams in the PAC-12.
– Newly minted Northwestern coach Chris Collins said last week he’s not opposed to playing a smaller lineup next year featuring multiple guards if it gives him the best chance to win. “I’ve always been a believer in putting your best players on the floor,” Collins said. “I’ve never gotten too caught up in labeling guys as having a specific position.” The Wildcats strength in Collins’ inaugural season in Evanston will undoubtedly be their back court. Northwestern returns a veteran point guard in Dave Sobolewski, along with two wings who red shirted last season in Drew Crawford and JerShon Cobb. Collins is also high on combo guard Tre Demps, who showed flashes last year in the Big Ten. “Drew (Crawford) averaged 16 PPG two years ago,” Collins said. “He’s going to be one of the better players in the Big Ten. I also think Tre (Demps) is someone that’s definitely going to have a chance to make a jump. He’s going to be very important for us.”
– VCU’s addition of Terrance Shannon gives the Rams something they didn’t have last season — a “junkyard dog.” The 6-8 power forward averaged 7.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game last year at Florida State, and will be eligible immediately because he’s already graduated. Shannon gives VCU a bona fide pit bull in the paint, and should start on the baseline next to Juvonte Reddic. Another thing this does for Shaka Smart’s team? It gives them the option to play big or small. That will be a big factor when the Rams face BCS-level teams in the non-conference portion of their schedule or in the NCAA Tournament.
– Looking for an under the radar transfer for next season? Try Vanderbilt’s Eric McClellan. The 6-4 point guard averaged 8.5 PPG two years ago atTulsa and should instantly make an impact in the Commodores’ back court. With McClellan, Kedren Johnson, Dai-Jon Parker, and Kevin Bright, Vanderbilt could have one of the better perimeters in the SEC.
– Dayton’s reinstatement of Matt Kavanaugh should make the Flyers a contender in the Atlantic 10. The 6-9 Kavanaugh averaged 9.0 PPG and 5.9 RPG during the 2011-12 season, and will give Dayton another player who can potentially start in the front court. Archie Miller’s team won 17 games last year — and while they lost a key piece in starting point guard Kevin Dillard — the Flyers are more than capable of challenging for a spot at the top of the league standings. Remember the name Dayshon Smith. The nifty freshman could be an impact play maker from day one.
– Oregon, Kansas, Georgetown, and Duke are all in the mix for Memphis transfer Tarik Black, per a source. The 6-9 big man will be eligible to play immediately next season since he’s already graduated. Black averaged 8.1 points and 4.8 rebounds per game last year for the Tigers.
– Boston College has a chance to be one of the more improved teams in the ACC next season. But the Eagles have put together an incredibly difficult non-conference schedule that’s going to severely test them before they get into league play. Steve Donahue’s squad will play at Providence, at Auburn, at USC, at Harvard and at Purdue in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Boston College will also play VCU in the Barclays Center on December 28th, and play in the 2K Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden in November with UConn, Indiana, and Washington.
– Duke and UCLA are finalizing the details to play a game at Madison Square Garden in late December, per multiple sources. The date of the game has yet to be determined.
– Looking forward to attending the annual Dick Vitale Gala this Friday in Sarasota. This year’s honorees include Kansas’ Bill Self, former UConn coach Jim Calhoun, and former Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden. For more information, call 941-350-0580.
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