Credit: Kentucky Athletics

Saturday News and Notes

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

• Texas A&M picked up two commitments from Hassan Diarra and Ladamien Bradford, both in the class of 2020. Diarra is a 6’2″ point guard that can play off of the ball as well as being the lead ball handler using a crafty offensive game to get his production. He is not the best athlete on the floor but he knows how to score and his outside shot should be useful on the college level. Diarra is ranked #73 by Rivals, #73 by 247 Sports, and #55 by ESPN. Bradford is a 6’4″ shooting guard that can do damage in the mid range and attacking the basket, while he has shown the ability to knock down shots from the outside at times. He is an unranked three star by Rivals while 247 Sports has him at #264 and ESPN ranks him as a three star outside of their top 100 recruits.

JUCO guard Spencer Johnson is heading to BYU after giving his commitment to the Cougars. Johnson 6’5″ shooting guard who can shoot the ball at a high level but it has been quite the journey for him so far in his basketball career. He started by going to Weber State out of high school before transferring to Utah Valley State where he redshirted, then electing to attend Salt Lake Community College. Johnson is not ranked by any of the recruiting services and he was a two star recruit coming out of high school in the class of 2016.

Pittsburgh got a commitment from 2020 center John Hugley. At 6’9″ and 240 pounds he has been a load to handle on the high school level using his size to dominate inside of the paint. While he will need to work on conditioning and his body once on campus he does move well from end to end for his size, in addition to occasionally stepping out and hitting an open jump shot. Johnson is ranked #95 by Rivals, #74 by 247 Sports, and he is an unranked four star by ESPN.

Kentucky has added baseball pitcher Ben Jordan to roster of the basketball team. As with many college athletes Jordan also played basketball in high school where he averaged 14.4 points, 12.4 rebounds per game during his senior season at West Carter. Standing at 6’9″ he is likely being brought in to provide another body in practice, but nonetheless it is an interesting story to keep an eye on if he receives minutes at some point this season.

Kyrie Irving became the latest player to weigh in on the China/NBA rift. Unlike the comments that came from Lebron James, Irving has received mostly praise for his words after a game that saw hundreds of fans wear shirts proclaiming their support for their protests in Hong Kong.

The Jazz have exercised fourth year options on Donovan Mitchell and Tony Bradley. Mitchell has been a star for Utah averaging 22.1 points per game over his first two seasons, while Bradley has been primarily spending his time developing in the G League.

Glenn Robinson III has been named the starting small forward for Golden State. Robinson III played 47 games last season with the Pistons where he averaged 4.2 points, and 1.5 rebounds in 13 minutes per game.

RJ Hampton made his regular season debut in the NBL scoring 7 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist in 21 minutes on the floor.

The Thunder have exercised fourth year options of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Terrence Ferguson. Gilgeous-Alexander came over in the Paul George trade and he is expected to be the point guard of the future, and Ferguson has showed promise but he has not yet fully made his mark on the team.

Zion Williamson’s knee injury will keep him out at least the next few weeks. As we have noted before with a player like Williamson being the size he is, his durability and how his body holds up over the course of his career is a question mark at this point. There are not many comparable players to look for with his weight and athleticism so any injury to his knee, no matter how serious, is going to have the Pelicans taking every precaution possible.

Rockets guard Russell Westbrook left their preseason game early with an injury to his hand. The team is saying it is not serious and he is just dealing with dislocated fingers that should not effect his play once the regular season begins.

• In our odd story of the day, Paul Pierce competed in the Australian Football League combine, if you want to see how it went check out the video below:

NBA Transactions from Friday October 18th:

• Atlanta waived Armoni Brooks, Marcus Derrickson, Tahjere McCall, and Jordan Sibert

• Boston waived Kaiser Gates

• Chicago waived Luol Deng

• Cleveland has picked up Tyler Cook off of waivers from Denver

• Denver waived Tyler Zeller

• Detroit waived Craig Sword

• Los Angeles (Clippers) waived B.J. Taylor

• Memphis waived Shaq Buchanan

• New York waived Zak Irvin

• Portland waived Kelijin Blevins, Troy Caupain, and London Perrantes

• Toronto waived Matt Morgan

• Utah waived Isaac Haas, and Mike Scott

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