Credit: University of North Carolina Athletics

Saturday News and Notes

Breaking down the latest news around college basketball, recruiting, and the NBA

Sharife Cooper committed to Auburn giving Bruce Pearl a big recruiting win over schools  Kentucky, Clemson, Alabama and Florida. Cooper is a 6’0 point guard ranked #20 by 247 Sports, #16 by Rivals, #17 by ESPN. Undersized at 6’0″ and only 160 he will no doubt need to add weight before he arrives on campus, but his quickness and toughness allows him to compete against much bigger opponents. His size, handles, and ability to finish around the basket have drawn comparisons to Chris Paul, and he should fit in well with the fast paced offense Auburn likes to employ.

Duke picked up a commitment from Henry Coleman III, giving them their fourth commit of the 2020 class. Listed at both 6’6″ and 6’7″ depending on the source, he is a high motor and somewhat undersized power forward. The Blue Devils will have a player who can score around the basket, and do much of the dirty work that every team needs done. He should have the ability to expand his game in his time at Duke, but being in a recruiting class that currently includes 3 five stars will likely cause him to be somewhat overlooked as he enters college. Coleman III is ranked #37 by 247 Sports, #44 by Rivals, and #42 by ESPN.

Baylor has indefinitely suspended junior Mario Kegler, leading him to choose to begin his professional career forgoing his remaining eligibility. Kegler has good size at 6’7″ for a guard, and while he has struggled to shoot the ball from the outside, there will be options for him to play professionally possibly overseas. After coming to Baylor from Mississippi State Kegler averaged 10.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game last season.

Mike White and Florida agreed on a two year extension that will have him making an average of 3 million per season. White is 89-53 overall in Gainesville after going 20-16 last season before losing in the second round of the NCAA tournament. He has recruited well since being hired, and the Gators are expected to be a contender for the SEC title this upcoming season.

The G League is implementing an experimental free throw rule where a player who is fouled will shoot one free throw will be worth one, two or three points depending on the situation. These types of new rules are tested out on the G League level to gauge whether they would work at the NBA level with this particular rule theoretically speeding up the game. This would not apply to the last two minutes of the fourth quarter and the entire overtime period.

• Not much information is known as of now, but the fact that N’Faly Dante has not joined Oregon for practices is something to note. The official word out of Eugene for now is that he is still working on admissions related issues, and while there is plenty of time for this to play itself out, anytime a former five star recruit is held out of practice it is going to raise some questions.

An interesting story to remind everyone that college players were once just kids enjoying the game, Kentucky forward Nate Sestina grew up rooting for Duke. He said much of the reasoning was simply the fact that his father and brother were Syracuse fans so he was drawn to the other side of the contests, as well as being a fan of J.J. Redick.

Georgia Tech was hit with a postseason ban for the 2019-2020 season, as well as being placed on probation for the next four years. The violations are related to a friend of coach Josh Pastnor, Ron Bell,  as well as a former assistant coach Daryl LaBarrie who in one example cited gave a recruit $300 to visit an Atlanta strip club. This is not good news for a program that has finished under .500 for the last two seasons.

This write up by Gary Parrish highlights the rarity in a high major team starting five freshman, along with a few quotes from Penny Hardaway about that being a possibility this season. This is most likely more than a possibility leaning toward a probability with the talent of the Memphis freshman. The other teams to start five freshman throughout the majority of the season are the “Fab Five” at Michigan in 1991-1992, as well as both the 2013-2014 and 2017-2018 Kentucky teams.

• Midnight Madness kicked off this week. Click here to see highlights of Arizona’s scrimmage, and here to see highlights of the scrimmage at UNC.

After Caleb Love narrowed his list down to North Carolina and Missouri he is set to announce his decision on Tuesday. Love is ranked #23 by 247 Sports, #21 by Rivals, and #24 by ESPN. North Carolina is viewed as the favorite heading into the announcement.

Spencer Dinwiddie was told by NBA he cannot tokenize his current contract as a digital investment vehicle. The league is saying that this is would be a violation of the C.B.A.

The Nets have signed Lance Thomas, who averaged 4.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game with the Knicks last season.

Jarron Blossomgame has signed with the Rockets after spending most of last season in the G League. In 27 games with Cleveland last year he averaged 4.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 0.5 assists per game.

Class of 2021 power forward Duncan Powell committed to Arkansas. Powell is a 6’8″ who plays in a stretch four type of mold ranked #128 by 247 Sports, #102 by Rivals, and unranked by ESPN.

• In your Joel Embiid being Joel Embiid story of the week,  he trolled Eagles fans about the Packers-Eagles game, and in true Embiid trolling fashion he jokingly threatened to release 76ers teammate Mike Scott who famously fought Philadelphia fans at the Redskins-Eagles game over the fact they placed a Sean Taylor jersey on top of a casket.

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