Credit: Arizona Athletics

Friday News and Notes

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

Jemarl Baker has been cleared to play at Arizona this season. Baker transferred to Arizona after averaging 2.3 points in 9.1 minutes per game last season at Kentucky. He came into college as a highly touted recruit but injuries buried him on the depth chart causing Baker to look for a new program. The expectation is that the redshirt sophomore will be the backup point guard at the start of the regular season bringing a strong ability to shoot the ball.

2020 guard Rondel Walker committed to Oklahoma State. Walker is considered to be a combo guard meaning that he has played shooting guard for much of his high school and AAU career but he should transition into a lead guard role more often at the college level given his 6’2″ size. He can score the ball in a variety of ways both spotting up for a jump shot or creating his own shot off of the dribble. Walker is not the quickest or the most athletic guard in the class so he could use some improvement in those areas. His shot is solid and he has been playing with a ton of talent on his travel team so he knows how to work with other high level players. Walker is ranked #94 by Rivals, #145 by 247 Sports, and #46 by ESPN.

2021 recruit Harrison Hornery gave his commitment to Southern California. Hornery is currently playing at Mater Dei, a powerhouse school in California that USC has been utilizing on the recruiting trail. He has good size at 6’9″ with a solid skill set that consists of being able to score the ball inside as well as stepping out and knocking down a long range jump shot. The biggest weaknesses in his game are his lack of athleticism and quickness/speed which could give him trouble at the college level so he will need to figure out how to score in crafty ways. Hornery is ranked #139 by 247 Sports while ESPN and Rivals have him as an unranked three star in the class of 2021.

• Michigan State has already been hit with a big injury losing Josh Langford for at least the first half of the season, and then forward Thomas Kithier broke his nose from an elbow in practice. He has been cleared to play in the teams first game against Kentucky, which is good news for a Spartans team that needs depth at the forward positions.

Kentucky center Nick Richards has a sprained ankle according the university, an injury suffered in the teams first exhibition game. It was originally feared to be worse so was a positive diagnosis, and there is a chance that he will be good to go for their match up against Michigan State.

Michael Porter Jr. made his long awaited regular season debut for the Nuggets. Porter Jr. finished with 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 assist in 20 minutes on the floor.

Sacramento picked up the options for Marvin Bagley III and DeAaron Fox to stay through the 2020-2021 season. This is not a surprise with both players figuring to be major pieces for the franchise going forward with Fox leading the way as the face of the Kings.

As the Golden State Warriors are possibly in line for their worst season in a decade, they exercised the third year option of Jacob Evans. This is less about the potential and production of Evans and more about a chance to retain a player on the cheap for a franchise that has four players under max contracts. Evans is averaging 6 points, and 1.7 rebounds in 14.3 minutes per game this season.

The Cavaliers have agreed to an extension with their General Manager Koby Altman. He has worked in the Cleveland front office since 2012 before becoming the GM in 2017.

Joel Embiid and Karl Anthony Towns have been suspended two games each for their role in the dust up during a blow out win for the 76ers. Ben Simmons, who put Towns in a choke hold was found to be a “peacemaker” by the league, which seems like an odd take on the situation when you watch the video.

Kendrick Nunn continued his strong start to the season in a win against the Hawks. Nunn finished with 28 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals in 33 minutes. He has exploded onto the scene after going undrafted and spending time in the G League, and he has now scored more points in his first five games than any other undrafted rookie in NBA history.

Kevin Durant did an interview on First Take in which he said the rift between Draymond Green and himself was a factor in his decision to leave the Warriors. It is unclear why he felt the need to go on ESPN and answer these types of questions, however it is interesting that Green and his temper/lack of control could have had that much of an impact in the decision. Durant also said that he has no intention of suiting up this season and is simply focusing on rehabbing his Achilles injury which was expected from the day he signed with the team.

 

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