All posts by T. Bennett

DePaul Transfer Brandon Cyrus Commits to UC Santa Barbara

Cyrus, Brandon (2)
Oakville, ON native Brandon Cyrus has committed to the Gauchos after two seasons in the Big East with DePaul. (Source: DePaul Online) (Header: Chicago Tribune)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Joe Pasternack has struck yet again on the recruiting trail.

He’s entering just his second season at the helm for the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, but Pasternack continues to change the culture of the program with each passing day. He has helped turn the Gauchos into a major player on the recruiting trail, and that has been evident this off-season.

Prior to Thursday, the Gauchos added a pair of power conference transfers to their roster, one each for this season and next. Graduate transfer Ar’Mond Davis committed to UC Santa Barbara following his time with the Alabama Crimson Tide, and will be immediately eligible in 2018-19.

The Gauchos also added guard JaQuori McLaughlin, who joins the program after transferring from the Oregon State Beavers. He will sit out the 2018-19 season, and have two years of eligibility left starting in 2019-20.

This week, Pasternack added another talented player to the mix for the 2019-20 season, adding yet another guard from a power conference program to the mix. Canadian guard Brandon Cyrus committed to the Gauchos, giving the program another talented piece to build around moving forwards. Continue reading DePaul Transfer Brandon Cyrus Commits to UC Santa Barbara

Graduate Transfer Kevin Larkin Commits to Maryland Eastern Shore

Larkin, Kevin
Former Niagara guard Kevin Larkin (2) has committed to Maryland Eastern Shore for the 2018-19 season as a graduate transfer. (Source: Niagara Gazette) (Header: Maryland Eastern Shore Athletics)

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. — The Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks had themselves an eventful 2017-18 season.

From the outset of the season, their lineup was riddled with injuries. The losses of Ryan Andino, Isaac Taylor, and Dontae Caldwell to season-ending injuries derailed any chance of a MEAC title for the Hawks. They were forced to put freshmen into prominent roles from the start, and while they fared well, their inexperience didn’t help the Hawks over the course of the season.

The team finished the year with a record of 7-25 overall, and just 3-13 in MEAC play. Head coach Bobby Collins was relieved of his duties shortly after the season ended, and Clifford Reed was named the interim head coach of the program for the 2018-19 season.

Freshmen Cam Bacote and Miryne Thomas both transferred following the season, dealing another blow to the program. However, the Hawks got some good news over the weekend that will boost their overall talent level as they look to rebound from a dismal season.

Graduate transfer Kevin Larkin committed to the Hawks for the upcoming season after playing in the MAAC for two seasons with the Niagara Purple Eagles. Continue reading Graduate Transfer Kevin Larkin Commits to Maryland Eastern Shore

Top Ten Uncommitted Transfers: Seniors, May 14th

Miller-Stewart, Tory
Former Colorado big man Tory Miller-Stewart played just six games in 2017-18 before sustaining a season-ending injury. (Source: The Ralphie Report) (Header: The Advocate)

SARNIA, Ont. — Experience goes a long way in today’s college basketball.

A team can have all the talent in the world, but if they don’t have those veteran players that the younger ones can lean on during tough times, that could lead to an early exit from the NCAA Tournament or a rough stretch during the regular season. It could mean the difference between making the field of 68 or missing out on the Big Dance altogether.

As the off-season continues to move along, players on the transfer market are committing to their new programs for next season and beyond. With each passing day, it seems as though names are being added to the transfer list, while others are taking their names off the list with their school announcements.

With the high turnover, it’s become somewhat confusing to keep track of who is still on the market and who has committed. There are still a ton of talented players on the market, taking visits and determining the best course of action for the next chapter of their basketball careers.

In terms of the seniors who transferred following the 2017-18 season, the big names like Ehab Amin, Tre Campbell, Christen Cunningman, Ar’Mond Davis, and Zaynah Robinson are all of the market. However, there are still some intriguing options left that could be key role players for several teams across the country.

Here are the top 10 remaining senior transfers for the 2018-19, all of whom are immediately eligible for the upcoming season. Continue reading Top Ten Uncommitted Transfers: Seniors, May 14th

Former Wright State Forward Commits to Florida Atlantic

Winchester, Everett (2)
As a freshman, forward Everett Winchester was a key piece to the puzzle for Wright State as they advanced to the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Now, he’s off to the Conference USA, (Source: USA Today Sports) (Header: Wright State Athletics)

BOCA RATON, Fla. — It’s been an eventful off-season for the Florida Atlantic Owls thus far.

Following the 2017-18 season, administration relieved head coach Michael Curry of his duties after four seasons at the helm. Over that time, the Owls amassed a record of just 39-84.

Two weeks after relieving Curry of his duties, the Owls named Dusty May the program’s next head coach, giving him the task of turning around the program and helping to make them a contender in the Conference USA. May spent the last three seasons in the SEC as an assistant coach with the Florida Gators, who made two NCAA Tournament appearances over May’s three years.

It won’t be an easy task to turn around a program, and it’s not going to happen in one year. However, on Thursday, the Owls landed an impact transfer who will add some talent and intrigue to the roster come the 2019-20 season.

After a strong freshman campaign with the Wright State Raiders, forward Everett Winchester committed to Florida Atlantic on Thursday, giving the Owls one of the better transfer players left on the market. Continue reading Former Wright State Forward Commits to Florida Atlantic

California Native Ryan Hiepler Transfers Closer to Home

Hiepler, Ryan
Ryan Hiepler (44) will transfer closer to home following his graduation from Liberty University, as he committed to the Dominican University of California Penguins. (Source: Liberty Athletics) (Header: Dominican University of California)

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. — The only player from the West Coast in the entire Big South Conference is heading closer to home.

Guard Ryan Hiepler was the only player on any roster in the Big South Conference to hail from the West Coast. The native of Camarillo, CA was a redshirt for the Liberty Flames last season after playing sparingly over his first two seasons with the team.

To put things into perspective for those who don’t quite know where Camarillo is, myself included, Lynchburg, VA is a mere 2,540 miles away from Hiepler’s hometown. It’s the true definition of a cross-country trek.

After red-shirting this past season, Hiepler opted to transfer from the program following his graduation. After going through the recruiting process once more, Hiepler committed to a school that was much closer to his hometown.

The graduate transfer committed to the Dominican University Penguins on Wednesday, who are members of the PacWest Conference (Division II). Continue reading California Native Ryan Hiepler Transfers Closer to Home

Four Players Who Will Look to Turn Heads at the 2018 NBA Draft Combine

Battle, Tyus
After leading Syracuse to the Sweet 16 in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, guard Tyus Battle will look to turn heads at the 2018 NBA Draft Combine. (Source: Sports Illustrated)

CHICAGO — Two days in the middle of May can go a long way in making or breaking the NBA dream for several players across the NCAA.

The 2018 NBA Draft Combine will take place in the Windy City on May 16th and 17th, and 69 of the top prospects from around the NCAA have been selected to attend. It gives players from all levels of college basketball the chance to showcase their skills for NBA scouts, general managers, and executives alike from all 30 teams in the league.

In terms of the top spots in the draft, it’s no secret as to who the top prospects are in this year’s field.

Sports Betting Dime says that the battle to be the no. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft has, realistically, been whittled to three names: center DeAndre Ayton of the Arizona Wildcats, power forward Marvin Bagley of the Duke Blue Devils, and Slovenian guard Luka Doncic.

While Ayton is the favorite to go first overall, it will depend which team wins the draft lottery. Phoenix has the best odds and, with Devin Booker in place in the backcourt, has a greater need for a skilled big. However, if Memphis lands the top pick, Doncic may hear his name called first. It’s not that the Grizzlies don’t need a dynamic center like Ayton, they just also desperately need better guard play. You could say similar things about both the Magic and Hawks.

As things stand, Ayton is the favorite to be selected with the top pick (1/2), followed by Doncic (4/1) and Bagley (7/1).

At the combine, you won’t see Ayton or Doncic among the 69 players in attendance. Instead, you’ll see several guys who are considered fringe selections, and they’ll be looking to put forth impressive showing to help improve their draft stock come June’s draft.

Here are four names to keep an eye on over the two-day combine in Chicago. Continue reading Four Players Who Will Look to Turn Heads at the 2018 NBA Draft Combine