By Jon Rothstein
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- Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy told me on Monday that the amount of games that Marshall Henderson will miss this season has still yet to be determined. “He’s going to miss games and he won’t play in our opener,” Kennedy said on Monday. “How many games? I don’t know. At some point I will sit down with our administration and figure that out.” The mercurial shooting guard was suspended indefinitely on July 10th but has been reinstated and been able to practice with his teammates. Henderson averaged 20.1 PPG last season and led the Rebels to the NCAA Tournament last March for the first time since Kennedy has been in Oxford.
- UNLV will be a better basketball team this season than they were last. The Runnin Rebels won’t be as talented as they were a year ago after the departures of Anthony Bennett (NBA), Katin Reinhardt (transferred to USC) and Mike Moser (transferred to Oregon), but their chemistry should be vastly improved. Dave Rice will finally have a true point guard in JUCO transfer Deville Smith and that should immediately enhance this team’s role allocation. Keep an eye an on UNLV, who has somehow become a bit of a forgotten team on the West Coast.
- All signs are pointing towards Billy Garrett Jr. starting for De Paul at point guard. The freshman, whose father Billy Sr. Is an assistant coach with the Blue Demons, was a Top 100 recruit coming out of high school and should immediately improve this team’s decision-making. Oliver Purnell’s squad will likely be picked to finish last in the Big East, but they still have two highly productive seniors in Brandon Young and Cleveland Melvin.
- Stanford is a trendy pick to be at the top of the PAC-12 but the Cardinal have an arduous non-conference slate before they begin league play. Stanford hosts BYU and Northwestern, travels to Denver and UConn, and plays Michigan in a neutral site game at the Barclays Center on 12/21. Johnny Dawkins’ team will also be in Brooklyn for the Legends Classic in late November to play Houston and then the winner/loser of Pitt/Texas Tech.
- It was only a team scrimmage, but this is why Pitt fans should feel so good about having James Robinson as their point guard for the next three seasons. In 38 minutes of action, Robinson tallied nine assists and only committed one turnover. This could very well be the best floor general in the ACC over the next few seasons. Robinson averaged 6.1 points and 3.5 assists per game last season for the Panthers.
- Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said he may go small and use 6-4 Austin Hollins at power forward if Drake transfer Joey King doesn’t receive a waiver from the NCAA to play immediately this season. The Gophers have been trying to identify a go-to four-man since Pitino got the job. Once Rakeem Buckles’ attempt to transfer from FIU to Minnesota was denied, King became the Gophers’ best option at power forward. Pitino also said Wally Ellenson could be in the mix along with the undersized Hollins.
- The biggest shocker at Atlantic 10 Media Day at the Barclays Center on Tuesday? Rhode Island being picked ninth in the preseason coaches poll. The Rams may have the league’s best freshman in E.C. Matthews as well as the conference’s best transfer in Gilvydas Biruta. Rhode Island won’t finish ninth. That’s a guarantee.
- Towson coach Pat Skerry told me this week that he’s going to use Jerrelle Benimon in a “Royce White” type of role as a point forward this season. The one major concern for the Tigers this season is they don’t have a legitimate backup floor general to spell starting point guard Jerome Hairston. Benimon will likely fill that role when Hairston is out of the game.
- Saint Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli said Kyle Molock practiced for the first time on Tuesday after tearing his ACL about a year ago. Molock didn’t play during the Hawks’ trip to Italy over the summer and has endured multiple surgeries on his knee over the past few seasons. When asked earlier in the week what the key was to Saint Joseph’s season, Martelli smiled and said “point guard”. Molock and junior Chris Wilson are the only true floor generals on the Hawks’ roster.
- Will be making stops at Harvard, Boston University, Boston College, and UConn in the next two days. Check back to this space next week for updates!
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