NCAA Basketball News and Notes: April 24, 2019
It’s been a few weeks since the Final Four and the college basketball offseason is plugging right along. Let’s get caught up on everything you need to know.
Bigger and Better Things
The parade of players deciding to leave college early for the professional ranks continues. Big 12 Player of the Year Jarrett Culver, who’s fresh off leading Texas Tech to the Final Four, highlights the list of players who made their choice over the past week. He’ll be joined at the next level by Auburn’s Chuma Okeke, Virginia’s Mamadi Diakite, Missouri’s Jontay Porter, Georgia’s Nic Claxton, Western Kentucky’s Charles Bassey, and the Gonzaga trio of Brandon Clarke, Killian Tillie, and Zach Norvell.
While some players are choosing to leave, other players are deciding to stay in school. After winning Big Ten Player of the Year honors, Michigan State point guard Cassius Winston is returning for his senior season. Winston likely would have gone undrafted and will now have a chance to lead the Spartans back to the Final Four. Kansas center Udoka Azubuike has also decided to return to the Jayhawks for his senior season. Azubuike only played nine games this past season before having season-ending wrist surgery. He’s still not recovered enough to participate in the combine or work out for NBA teams, so he’s probably better off waiting a year and heading to the pros when he’s fully healthy.
Found Their Man
After having a few of their top targets say no, St. John’s finally found their new coach, hiring Mike Anderson to replace Chris Mullin, who resigned earlier this month to attend to personal matters. Anderson was fired last month after eight seasons with Arkansas. He took the Razorbacks to the NCAA Tournament three times during that span but never got further than the Round of 32. Prior to that, Anderson had stints as the head coach at Missouri and UAB, giving him 17 years of experience as a head coach.
Moving On Up
Arizona has made a big addition for next season, getting a commitment from UC Irving grad transfer Max Hazzard. The 5’10’’ guard was one of the top grad transfers on the market after averaging 12.5 points for the Anteaters this past season. He was also instrumental in UC Irvine’s upset over Kansas State in the NCAA Tournament, scoring 19 points. With a top-notch recruiting class coming in, Hazzard could be part of a loaded backcourt that helps the Wildcats put last season’s disappointing campaign behind them in a hurry.
After one season at Kansas, Charlie Moore is heading home. The Chicago native has decided to transfer to DePaul, close to his home on the south side of Chicago where he was Mr. Basketball in the state of Illinois in 2016. Moore began his career at Cal, averaging more than 12 points per game as a freshman in 2016-17. He then sat out a season after transferring to Kansas. However, he averaged just 13 minutes and three points per game with the Jayhawks. He now joints a DePaul program that hasn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2004 but did reach the finals of the CBI this past season.
After deciding to leave Florida as a graduate transfer, forward Keith Stone didn’t have to look far to find a new home. Stone will transfer to Miami, which is less than an hour away from his hometown in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Stone’s playing time at Florida was starting to diminish when he tore his ACL in January, causing him to miss the rest of the season. However, he should be fully healed in time for the start of next season, giving him a chance to help a Hurricanes team that went 14-18 and 5-13 in ACC play this past season.
They Got One Right
Speaking of graduate transfers, the NCAA has rejected a proposal that would force a graduate transfer to count against a program’s scholarship count for two seasons even if the player is only on campus for one season. Some coaches have spoken out against the ease of graduate transfers switching schools, comparing it to free agency. There is also some concern with players starting graduate programs that they’re unlikely to finish. Nevertheless, there will be no change at this time as it relates to grad transfers.
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