Slowly but surely, the pieces have been falling into place for the recruiting class of 2016.
One by one, the top recruits in the country have made their final decision on where they will play their collegiate basketball next season. Some schools, like the Kentucky Wildcats or the Duke Blue Devils, have their fair share of top-tier recruits. Others, however, were hoping to land that one impact recruit that could change their season for the better.
On Friday, the Texas Longhorns landed their impact recruit.
Center Jarrett Allen was the last five-star prospect on the board who hadn’t chose his collegiate home. He is ranked as the top center in the Class of 2016 by ESPN.
He was relatively quiet during his recruiting process, although it was a well-known fact that there was an instate battle for the Austin, TX native between the Longhorns and the Houston Cougars.
With the new NBA Draft rules, there were a number of underclassmen who declared early for the draft without signing with an agent. Players were able to go through the pre-draft process, and 70 players were invited to the NBA Draft Combine.
Depending on the feedback players heard, projections, and how the players felt in general, they were able to return to school if they so chose. The deadline to either sign with an agent or return to school was May 25th.
As the deadline came and went, several key players opted to return to school for another kick at the can in the NCAA. Some are back to improve their game with the hopes of becoming a lock for a first-round selection in future years, while others simply went through the process to get noticed and the experience.
The success for the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks during the 2014-15 season was well-documented. Their 18-wins were more than they had in the previous three years combined, and they were invited to the 2015 CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
Their success led to an increase in optimism heading into the 2015-16 campaign, which was Bobby Collins‘ second as the head coach of the team. Forward Michael Myers, a CCR Mid-Major All-American following the 2014-15 season, was the only notable player to be gone from the roster. So, the Hawks were flying high in advance of the 2015-16 season.
What goes up, must come down.
Instead of building off of their success, the Hawks fell flat in 2015-16, struggling out of the gate and never being able to recreate the magic from the previous year. The Hawks won just once in their first 11 games, and were never able to dig themselves out of the hole they dug for themselves.
With the 2015-2016 NCAA men’s basketball season coming to an end on Monday, there are plenty of people who simply aren’t ready for the off-season.
The 2015-16 season was full of highs and lows, providing excitement and heartbreak to so many passionate basketball fans around the country. From the upset from the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders in the NCAA Tournament over the Michigan State Spartans, to the NBA Draft debate surrounding Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram, there was plenty to talk about all season long.
With the season firmly in the rearview mirror, it’s time to reflect and look at some of the key points that we were able to take away from the 2016 NCAA Tournament. From coaches earning high-profile jobs with marquee schools, to mid-major conferences making the case for more consideration on Selection Sunday for multiple bids, there’s plenty to talk about.
Below are five key takeaways from the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
Despite the Blazers being out of the running for the tournament title, the road to the Big Dance wasn’t going to be easy.
On Saturday, the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders found themselves squaring off against the Old Dominion Monarchs for the right to represent the conference in the field of 68. With two teams full of experience, the game was destined to be a closely contested affair, and it lived up to that very expectation.
Despite taking a five-point lead at half, the Monarchs weren’t able to hold onto the lead in the second half.