By Jon Rothstein
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– Several ACC coaches have told me this summer that Boston College’s Olivier Hanlan will be next year’s Shane Larkin. The 6-4 Hanlan was the ACC Rookie of the Year last season, and averaged 15.4 PPG and 3.9 RPG while shooting 39.4% from three-point range. The Eagles return the bulk of their core that went 16-17 last year and add a potential starter in Notre Dame transfer Alex Dragicevich.
– I’m hearing Arkansas coach Mike Anderson is toying with the idea of using a bigger lineup next season. The Razorbacks bring in two Top 50 recruits in power forward Bobby Portis and center Moses Kingsley, giving them a pair of legitimate options in the paint. Anderson could potentially start Portis and Kingsley up front and use 6-7 senior Coty Clarke at small forward. Clarke averaged 7.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game last season.
– Fred Hoiberg’s decision to hire former Nebraska coach Doc Sadler as an assistant should improve Iowa State’s defense next season. Sadler, who spent last year as Kansas’ director of basketball operations is a terrific X’s and O’s guy that should thrive on the Cyclones’ bench. Under Hoiberg, Iowa State has become one of the more innovative offensive teams in college basketball — but they need to get better defensively if they’re eventually going to compete for a Big 12 title. The Cyclones are aiming for their third straight NCAA appearance under Hoiberg.
– I’ve never been someone who put a lot of stock in stats from foreign trips, but it’s rather interesting that Iowa freshman Peter Jok has led the Hawkeyes in scoring during the team’s first two games in England. The Iowa staff spoke glowingly of Jok’s offensive potential throughout July, and his ability to make outside shots could be huge for this team next season. Jok’s biggest challenge in earning consistent minutes once games start will be his ability to defend his position.
– Gonzaga’s staff is confident that both of their front court starters next season — Sam Dower and Przemek Karnowski — will make significant leaps in terms of their overall production. The 6-9 Dower (6.9 PPG in 12-13) has always had the ability to produce at a high level, but he’s played behind Elias Harris, Robert Sacre, and Kelly Olynyk during the past two seasons. Karnowski meanwhile, is a legit 7-1, and should give Mark Few’s team an anchor in the pivot.
– Looking for an under-the-radar transfer for next season? Try Southern Miss’ Aaron Brown. The former Temple wing should start for the Golden Eagles at small forward and could become one of the better players in Conference-USA. The 6-5 Brown averaged 6.4 points and 2.1 rebounds per game two years ago for the Owls, and will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
– It will be interesting to see who winds up starting for Washington at power forward. The preseason battle between incumbent starter Shawn Kemp Jr. and Jernard Jarreau should be awfully close, and it’s the only real question surrounding the Huskies going into next season. Kemp — who averaged 6.3 PPG and 3.0 RPG in 12-13 — is more sturdy, but the 6-10 Jarreau is bouncier and has more upside. Washington’s other four starters are likely to be freshman Nigel Williams-Goss, Andrew Andrews, C.J. Wilcox, and San Francisco transfer Perris Blackwell. Lorenzo Romar should have this team right in the mix for a bid after missing out on the last two NCAA Tournaments.
– Two late scheduling notes. Dayton will host Iona on December 19th, and LSU will host Rhode Island on January 4th.
– Howard Garfinkel’s annual clinic is now at Fordham Prep on Saturday, 9/28. Clinicians include John Calipari, Pete Gillen, Seth Greenberg, and Mike Fratello. For more information, call 646-275-9818.
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