Nasir Little’s Commitment Proves Change Coming in College Recruiting


Last evening, Nasir Little, a Top 15 recruit in the Class of 2018, committed to the University of North Carolina. A top recruit committing to a college basketball blue blood is nothing new. However, Little’s commitment holds a little more significance given the cloud hanging over the college basketball world. Little chose North Carolina over numerous schools. Included in this group was Miami and Arizona, two programs who recently grabbed headlines for roles in a NCAA corruption scandal.

By now most everyone knows that former Arizona assistant “Book” Richardson was one of 10 people arrested in the NCAA bribery scandal. Shortly after, Miami was informed they were under investigation for the same potential issues with a certain recruit. The recruit in question was said to be Nasir Little. A report filed stating that a “University-7,” was trying to give $150,000 to an unknown player in the Class of 2018. University-7 was described as a private research university in Florida with approximately 16,000 students and over 2,600 faculty members, The same report also mentioned that a “University-4, was already promising the recruit money. Little was the only player being recruited by both schools.

Nasir Little is not the first, nor the last to be involved in this scandal

Days after the reports surfaced, Little removed both Miami and Arizona from consideration, opening the door for the Tar Heels. While Little is not the only player to be brought up in these allegations, his swing in recruitment symbolizes a trend that is sure to happen in college hoops. Miami and Arizona were the favorites to land Little’s services, in part for the reason above. Amid controversy however, Little removed himself from the picture, hoping to avoid the same mess Brian Bowen finds himself in currently.

The question in recruiting has changed. Views on coaches and programs are going to change based on the reports that surface from this investigation. As more schools step into the limelight, the recruiting landscape broadens. Schools that once competed for the top recruits will now be in the mix for less and less. While Miami expects full exoneration, they already saw multiple recruits withdraw consideration just for association. Louisville has also lost their top recruits in 2018 because of the scandal. This opens the door for those schools dubbed “clean” to bring in top classes.

College basketball recruiting is going to be different. That’s the purpose of this investigation. The programs that lost out on McDonald’s All-Americans for playing by the rules now look like prestige institutions. And while every “dirty” program may not get caught, they will come off cleaner than those that get exposed. Thus far, Miami, Louisville and Arizona have been reported. Assistants from Oklahoma State, Auburn and USC were also arrested initially. Those schools have a little bit more to worry about at the moment than recrutiing, but last night’s commitment marked a change in tide.

Let’s root for basketball season to come sooner.

ACC Games To Watch for Upcoming 2017-18 Season

With the basketball season right around the corner, starting Nov. 10, let’s break down some highlighted games and match-ups in one of the most talented, lethal conferences – the ACC.

A few exhibition games here and there, we won’t see action as a collective until the 19th annual Big 10/ACC Challenge Nov. 27-30. The conference leads the Big Ten in the challenge, 11-5-2.

ACC conference play

The ACC starts conference play Dec. 9, when Duke travels to Boston College. Don’t expect a riveting contest between the Eagles and the Blue Devils. Boston College has finished dead last the past two season, and they had an infamous 0-18 conference play record during the 2015-16 season. The battle begins in a conference that has won eight of the last 17 NCAA Championship Tournaments and combined for 63 Final Four appearances.

Tough proving ground for the faint-hearted.

The following match ups are in chronological order as the season progresses and give fans some excitement to look forward to.

Virginia at Virginia Tech –  Wednesday, January 3rd

Why not highlight a showdown between the two in-state teams. Virginia is looking to find its identity again on the road. Last year Virginia Tech topped off Virginia in a double overtime game in Blacksburg. It may be a down year for Tony Bennett and the Cavaliers, which will make this rivalry all the more interesting during the 17-18 season. 

North Carolina at Notre Dame – Saturday, January 13th

Any game that pits two of the most talented players in the conference head-to-head. Joel Berry II is an all-around stud, when healthy. He is an early favorite to win ACC Player of the Year. But Notre Dame forward Bonzie Colson, another favorite to win the PoY, is going to protect his house when the Tar Heels come to town.

Duke at Miami – Monday, January 15th

Miami is a contender in the ACC. This isn’t news. They won the ACC title in 2013, and they see no reason why this year isn’t their year. Highly touted freshman Lonnie Walker is recovering from a knee injury, but should be back by the start of the season and fully healthy by this game. The game is highlighted because Duke is favored to win the ACC with their talented group of incoming freshman, giving the Hurricanes the ultimate proving ground early in conference play. Duke will look to outplay with talent in order to overcome a more experienced, sized Miami team.

Louisville at Miami – Wednesday, January 24th

Miami could have momentum coming into this contest if they manage a win at home against Duke. Louisville’s season is going to start with distraction, as Rick Pitino will be suspended the first five games for an off the court scandal. In early season polls, Miami sits atop of the Cardinals, who while was a No. 2 seed in last year’s tournament lost a key piece in Donovan Mitchell.

Duke at UNC – Thursday, February 8th

It’s the rivalry game we as basketball fans wait all season for. It’s part one of the epic saga between two powerhouse programs, separated by the 10-mile stretch on Tobacco Road. This game will be a perfect gauge of talent among the two programs. For obvious reasons, this game is going to draw the attention of the entire NCAA, not just the ACC. 

Last season’s results: Duke topped UNC, 86-78, at Cameron while the Tar Heels had the final say at home, closing out the season with a 90-83 win.

Louisville at Duke – Wednesday, February 21st

This is a big test for Louisville. The Cardinals look for a pair of wins in thee days against UNC and Duke. Two wins would give Louisville a boost up in polls and nods for better seeding in the tournament. While back to back games against UNC and Duke is never easy, the Cards have a veteran team capable of handling this tough test. It won’t be an easy year for the Cardinals. Hopefully they have talent to back up the team.

UNC at Duke – Saturday, March 3rd

The battle on Tobacco Road part two is a hands-down, no-brainer hyped game. Why not save the best for last. UNC not only has to take on a prolific Blue Devils team, but they have to keep their focus in one of the most legendary gyms in Cameron Indoor. At this point in the season, you can expect the two teams to be vying for the best eye bid. It will be a challenge to take on the Crazies at home. Not to mention it’s senior night for Grayson Allen. Talk about your momentum. 

Player watch list:

  • Joel Berry II, UNC

  • Deng Adel, Louisville

  • Bonzie Colson, Notre Dame

  • Grayson Allen, Duke

  • Bruce Brown, Miami

  • Marvin Bagley, Duke

NBA Should Find A Home In Kentucky

It’s inevitable. An expansion in the NBA is coming. We could see two new teams in the mix in the near future. It’s just a matter of when and most importantly, where. 

Seattle is high on everyone’s list. Pretty easy to understand. All the city needs is the OK from the league and the SuperSonics would be able to start all over. The city, which has been void of a pro basketball team for almost a decade, would welcome its beloved SuperSonics. 

But we’re missing out on other states that are synonymous with hoops – Kentucky.

Kentucky is Hoops Heaven

Kentucky

Kentucky is a blank slate, waiting for a big league team to start roots.

Kentucky is one of 24 states void of a major sport, being the fourth most populous state behind Virginia, Alabama and South Carolina.

The last time basketball was on the big state in Kentucky was during the era of the American Basketball Association. So, why not now?

The Blue Grass State bleeds hoops. The fandom is faithful. If you’re not a University of Kentucky fan, you sport a Louisville gear proudly, waiting to debate with a big blue fan. And you can bet that you’ll see a sea of blue or Cardinal-red fill gyms on the road. They travel. They travel obsessively.

Yes. The SuperSonics would find instant success in the franchise’s revival, but can you imagine the type of following Kentucky would have?

Even with a passionate college basketball fan base, the NBA season works on a bit of a different season schedule. After March Madness, college basketball fans itch for more. The NBA stage will do, which sees its season extend three more months than NCAA. But who should the people of Kentucky invest in?

And let’s be real. The fan base in Kentucky, whether it be UK or Louisville, puts some pro team fans to shame.

Oh yeah, and there’s a pretty big talent pool in Kentucky.

There are currently 34 former Kentucky players playing professionally.

Rival Louisville boasts 18 in the pros.

Kentucky has been tossed around, and it’s one of the prospects on a short list. Other candidates in question include Las Vegas, Mexico City, Kansas City and Vancouver.

Kentucky is already a state that draws hype over hoops. It’s where high school athletes would love to play. A possible pro team would give the state 10 times an appeal.

Tyler Ennis Leads St. Benedict’s to Second Win of Weekend

If you can do it once, why not do it again?

Playing a game for the second night in a row, St. Benedict’s, led by Tyler Ennis’ 17 points and five steals, stayed ahead of Roselle Catholic and won big, 70-48.

“I thought yesterday wasn’t as fast-paced and our pace is fast-paced,” said Ennis, after the game. “We needed to extend the lead, so second half we came out and wanted to finish it early.”

Ennis took more of a starring role on Sunday night than he did on Saturday, when Melvin Johnson scored 29 to lead the St. Benedict’s.

With Louisville head coach Rick Pitino looking on, Ennis showed his range of skills, working on the inside and the outside to orchestrate the offense.

As the only team in the Tip Off Showcase to play two games, Ennis and the Gray Bees walked away from West Orange 2-0.

“It was a great event. There was a lot of media coverage and great teams. It doesn’t get much better than that.”