The talent level of basketball players coming out of Canada over the past few years has been impressive, and there are no signs of that slowing down any time soon.
Several of the top recruits in the Class of 2017 are from the Great White North. Guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker (#29 in ESPN’s Top 100) has committed to the Virginia Tech Hokies, guard Lindell Wigginton (#49) has committed to the Iowa State Cyclones, and forward Christian David (#83) has committed to the Butler Bulldogs.
While the future is bright, the present is also just as bright for the game of basketball in Canada.
The 2016-17 season isn’t even two weeks old yet, but there are several Canadians who have looked impressive in the NCAA. Some are in their first years in Division I, while others are experienced leaders on championship contenders.
With the exhibition season in full swing, and coming to a close early this week, that can mean only one thing.
The 2016-17 college basketball regular season is just around the corner!
Things get underway Friday, November 11th at Noon EST with the first regular season game of the season, and there will be a plethora of talent on display across all 32 conferences all season long.
Before the season gets started, we decided to hand out some preseason hardware, in the form of our Conference Player of the Year award and All-Conference Teams.
Along with that, we have the College Court Report All-Americans, and the Mid-Major Player of the Year Preseason Watch List. Links to all of the conference awards and the Watch List can be found at the bottom of each article.
To say the least, the off-season leading up to the 2016-17 season has been a roller coaster for the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. From two coaching changes to a plethora of players departing the program, the state of the Rebels has been in question since the 2015-16 season came to an end.
First, UNLV tabbed Chris Beard as their new head coach. Beard led the Little Rock Trojans to the Sun Belt regular season and tournament titles, while advancing to the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament. Two weeks after being hired, Beard left the Rebels for the vacant position with the Texas Tech Red Raiders, leaving UNLV without a coach once again.
The Rebels found their man in Marvin Menzies, formerly of the New Mexico State Aggies, and he was given the daunting task of piecing together a virtually empty roster. The vast majority of the Rebels’ key players from a season ago had either transferred, graduated, or entered the NBA Draft early.
Menzies has added some high quality talent via the transfer market that can help right away, but the Rebels will still be in tough to open 2016-17. They have a tough non-conference slate before the grind of conference play opens up in late-December. Continue reading 2016-17 Schedules: UNLV Runnin’ Rebels→
2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher is the 8th-ranked point guard in the Class of 2016, and is the 2nd-ranked recruit from the state of Tennessee. He was a highly-coveted recruit before he ultimately committed to the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels.
With Fisher in the mix, the Rebels had a top-tier point guard who could step in and contribute from the outset.
Then, the coaching change fiasco hit, and Fisher was starting to reconsider his options.
Chris Beard was signed at the Rebels’ latest head coach, then left just two weeks later when a head coaching position opened up with the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Beard was an assistant there with the Red Raiders under the great Bobby Knight.
From a graduation standpoint, you’d be hard-pressed to find a team in the NCAA who is losing more talent than the Michigan State Spartans. Due to graduation, Matt Costello, Colby Wollenman, Bryn Forbes, and Denzel Vaneltine are all gone from the team.
Add in the transfers of both Marvin Clark, Jr. (St. John’s) and Javon Bess, and Tom Izzo has his hands full trying to replace a ton of talent.
The Spartans have a top-five recruiting class coming in next season, but are looking for some experienced players to come in and help out right away. Michigan State was looking to be a big player on the transfer market, especially in terms of graduate transfers.
On Wednesday morning, they got a big commitment from a forward who can step in and contribute right away for the Spartans.
After having success at the Division II level with Angelo State, the Little Rock Trojans came calling and tabbed Chris Beard as their head coach before the 2015-16 season. It was a bit of a risky decision, as it was his first head coaching job at the Division I level.
It turned out to be one of the best hires of the year.
Despite having an overhauled roster in comparison to the year prior, Beard helped guide the Trojans to a 30-5 record overall, taking home both the Sun Belt Conference regular season and tournament titles in the process. Then, in the NCAA Tournament, the 12th-seeded Trojans upset the fifth-seed Purdue Boilermakers in double-overtime, 85-83, to advance to the Round of 32.
Their season came to an end at the hands of the Iowa State Cyclones in he Round of 32, but it was a successful season overall for the team. Their five losses were tied for the fewest in the country.
On the heels of his success in his first year, Beard was considered a hot commodity on the coaching market. With several high-profile jobs opening up following the 2015-16 season, many expected Beard to leave Little Rock for the bright lights of a marquee job.
Late in March, it was reported that Beard had indeed found his new home. The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels came calling, and he answered, signing a five-year, $5 million deal to become their next head coach.