LSU likely won’t top their 2015 recruiting class of Ben Simmons, Antonio Blakeney and Brandon Sampson any time soon, but Johnny Jones and company continue to reel in top-100 high school prospects with ease.
On Sunday morning, the 91st ranked recruit on ESPN’s top 100 for the class of 2017, Galen Alexander, committed to the Tigers over a host of major schools, including Alabama, Oklahoma, Marquette, Texas and USC.
— Galen Alexander (@Waterboyg1) July 17, 2016
Alexander is a 6’7″, 220 pound small forward from Lafayette, LA who is currently rated as a four-star recruit. He attends Lafayette Christian Academy, and is labeled as the number two player in the entire state of Louisiana.
“[I] just felt LSU was the best fit for me,” Alexander said to Scout.com. “Also, a big part of it was my relationship with coach Jones and coach [Robert] Kirby, and also them believing and trusting in the player I am and the player they can make me. I trust that they can turn me into that player.”
The wing prospect is a powerful player who can face up and score, while also maintaining the ability to beat a defender off the dribble. He’s not a great outside shooter, as his bread-and-butter comes from inside the three point line – particularly in the mid-range.
Alexander is a good defender because he has the size, strength and aggressiveness to defend numerous positions.
This is the second recruit LSU has added in the class of 2017, with shooting guard Cedric Russell being the other. Russell is also a local prospect who attends Peabody Magnet High School and is currently a three-star recruit, according to ESPN.
While their 2016 class does not feature one top-100 talent, LSU has recruited at a very high level under Jones. Now comes the results part of the business, something that Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar is also currently dealing with.
But unlike Romar at Washington, Jones’ coaching has held the Tigers back and his teams have greatly underachieved the past couple of seasons. They had the number one player in the country and a generation talent, in Ben Simmons, yet they failed to make the tournament and turned into a disaster at the end of the season.
Simmons checked out before the SEC Tournament, Blakeney seemed to be playing one-and-one basketball far to often, and Sampson fell out of the rotation mid-season.
Alexander is a talented player, but now it’s about player development and fitting him into the puzzle before the 2017-18 season tips-off.
Video Surfaces Showing Agent Christian Dawkins Promoting Connections to Top Coaches
Another layer has unraveled in the college basketball corruption trial on Wednesday when a video recording of a conversation about paying college coaches and athletes was played on Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Paula Lavigne.
In the video dated June 6th 2017, aspiring sports agent Christian Dawkins brags about his connections to top NCAA basketball coaches, including Arizona head coach Seam Miller.
When referring to incoming (at the time) Arizona player Deandre Ayton (who currently plays for the Phoenix Suns) Dawkins says Miller told him, “I’m taking care of everything myself. I wanna bring you in. I’ll turn everything over to you.”
Dawkins is currently on trial for allegedly bribing college coaches.
Marty Blazer, a former financial advisor who was being questioned by prosecutors and who was present for the conversation, said the reference was about Miller “taking care” of payments for Ayton.
“Sean Miller has to know everything that’s going on. I can call Sean and have a conversation … like this is what is needing to be done,” Dawkins said on the video. He said that Miller is, “talking on the phone about stuff he shouldn’t be talking on the phone about.”
Unites States District Court Judge Edgardo Ramos ruled back on Friday that defense attorneys could not subpoena Miller and LSU’s Will Wade to testify during the federal bribery trial.
Rick Barnes Says He Would Have Left Tennessee if UCLA Paid Buyout
Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes could have been the next head coach for UCLA, instead of Mick Cronin, if only the Bruins were willing to open up their wallets.
Barnes says that if UCLA would have promised to pay Barnes’ $5 million buyout, he would have left Tennessee to take the job at UCLA.
“I think I would’ve been the coach at UCLA,” Barnes said (h/t ESPN). “I’ve said that to people before. I really felt at that time that’s what would happen.”
Barnes was honest and open with his decision process during the news conference, saying that he struggled with making a final decision due to financial matters.
Barnes has since agreed to a new deal with Tennessee that will pay him $4 million per year before increasing to a $6 million annual sum by the end of the contract and provide more cash for his assistants.
“I’m supposed to be at Tennessee,” Barnes said. “And it’s really above and beyond the basketball program. I’m in love with this community. I’m in love with this state. I just think we got a lot of great things going on in this town.”
“A lot of praying went into it, I can tell you that,” Barnes said. “There was a lot going on. When you get down to a situation like that, it has to make sense from a financial standpoint. Bottom line is we couldn’t work it out with the buyout.”
Barnes also informed UCLA that he would not depart Knoxville without talking to athletic director Phillip Fulmer and others in the community.
I told them point blank, ‘I’m not going to walk out of here and not meet with my team,'” Barnes said. “‘I’m not going to walk out of here and not meet with people here that have been really good to me.’ … I said, ‘You just can’t say send a plane tomorrow and we’re leaving. I’m going to make sure this is done the right way.'”
“There was one time in my mind I truly felt that’s what would happen,” Barnes said about potentially taking the UCLA offer. “It got to that point where I felt like my prayers had been answered.”
The Madness is Underway
As we inch closer to selection Sunday, many conference tournaments are underway finding teams who will automatically make the NCAA Men’s basketball. Here are the teams that currently in the tournament:
Atlantic Sun: Liberty
Big South: Gardner–Webb
Horizon: Northern Kentucky
Missouri Valley: Bradley
MEC: Fairleigh Dickinson
Ohio Valley: Murray State
Summit League: North Dakota State
Summit League: Saint Marry’s
Out of the 32 conferences with automatic bids in the tournament, 12 of them have been clinched. All the until selection Sunday the remaining 20 conferences will have their tickets punched. Who will that be? Stay tuned!
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