College Basketball Nation: Austin Nichols

3-point shot: Memphis' young backcourt

July, 8, 2014
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In today's 3-point shot, Andy Katz reports on Memphis' young backcourt and the challenges it faces, experimenting with a 30-second shot clock and Washington State's rebuilding under new coach Ernie Kent.
We won’t see another college basketball game for about seven months. That’s a long time.

But the players in the highly touted 2013 recruiting class will reach their respective campuses soon.

Future Arizona forward Aaron Gordon (No. 4 in the 2013 class per RecruitingNation) could be a game-changer who morphs Sean Miller’s squad into a Final Four-caliber program. He’s Blake Griffin Lite.

Indiana’s Noah Vonleh (No. 8), a 6-foot-8 five-star forward, could make folks in Bloomington forget about the loss of Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller.

Former Nerlens Noel teammate Wayne Selden (No. 12) is a stocky 6-foot-5 guard with swagger. He’s going to Kansas and, yes, he’ll log minutes for Bill Self.

Florida’s Billy Donovan will have a good rotation problem when McDonald’s All Americans Kasey Hill (No. 9) and Chris Walker (No. 14) enter the mix in Gainesville.

Locals are at the center of Memphis’ nationally ranked recruiting class, which includes PF Austin Nichols (No. 15), SF Kuran Iverson (No. 31) and SF Nick King (No. 33).

[+] EnlargeJulius Randle
Courtesy of McDonald'sJulius Randle highlights a Kentucky recruiting some have touted as being the best of all-time.
Duke’s Jabari Parker (No. 2) plays like a pro. He’ll be ready to star in Mike Krzyzewski’s system in Year 1.

And then there’s the young NBA franchise that John Calipari signed. The “greatest recruiting class of all time” is a legitimate label for the top-rated bunch in the field. Julius Randle (No. 3), Andrew Harrison (No. 5), James Young (No. 6), Aaron Harrison (No. 7) and Dakari Johnson (No. 11) are all potential pros.

Here’s what some of the coaches who’ll have to deal with those young studs in conference play next season had to say (anonymously) about the impact they might have on their programs as freshmen.

Aaron Gordon (Arizona)
“Arizona will be very tough adding Gordon. He’s versatile and athletic and could probably play three to four positions.” -- Pac-12 head coach.

Noah Vonleh (Indiana)
“Noah is as talented as any 2013 recruit. He has the total package. Should be an impact player from day one. He’s very skilled for his size and also has a college-ready body.” –-- Big Ten assistant.

Wayne Selden (Kansas)
“He’s a big-time athlete and very talented, I know that.” -- Big 12 head coach.

Kasey Hill and Chris Walker (Florida)
“Hill is a special talent and will play, but he is not beating out [Scottie Wilbekin]. He is too tough and the best defender in our league. I worry about Walker. Will Walker accept his role? Because he is not a better basketball player than [Dorian Finney-Smith] or [Damontre Harris]. He is a better athletic talent but not a better basketball player.” -- SEC head coach.

Austin Nichols, Kuran Iverson and Nick King (Memphis)
“I think from what I saw, Kuran Iverson has the intangibles to make an impact. Nick King has good length and size. He has the best chance to make an impact. Austin Nichols is going to need a year to develop his body.” -- American Athletic Conference/Big East assistant.

Jabari Parker (Duke)
“Jabari has the ability to impact the game in so many ways. He’s versatile, knows how to win, and will fit in very well in Duke’s style.” -- ACC assistant.

Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison, Julius Randle and Dakari Johnson (Kentucky)
“I think they’re all very talented. When you’re talking about this class, they all have the mentality of one-and-done. Now you have to make it work. Two years ago, they had some experienced guys with a seven-man rotation. Now, they’ll have a nine- or 10-man rotation.” -- SEC head coach.

3-point shot: Transparency at Marquette

November, 6, 2012
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1. Marquette is being quite transparent lately. The Golden Eagles didn't hesitate to suspend coach Buzz Williams for a Big East game for a violation committed by assistant Scott Monarch, who was subsequently fired. The latest from the Golden Eagles is this: Todd Mayo has rendered himself academically ineligible indefinitely. When asked what that means, a Marquette official said just what it says. Mayo did this to himself. Marquette isn’t afraid now to call out who is at fault. There are no excuses at Marquette.

2. Louisville coach Rick Pitino was right. And Josh Pastner is proving it with each commitment at Memphis. The Big East had to invite Memphis once Syracuse and Pitt were gone. The Tigers are now putting together a top two recruiting class, behind Kentucky and former Memphis coach John Calipari. The Tigers added Austin Nichols to a crew that includes Kuran Iverson, Nick King, Rashawn Powell and Markel Crawford. Memphis will immediately become a player in the new Big East. The Tigers’ loading up in recruiting for 2013 should be applauded by the league office in Providence. The Big East needs Memphis to come in and compete for a top spot in the Big East, just like Syracuse and Pitt are likely going to do for the ACC.

3. Rutgers coach Mike Rice is still without power in New Jersey, like countless other residents due to Hurricane Sandy. Rice has stayed home, using candles for light. He just got a generator and is committed to being a part of the recovery effort in the area.

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