Oregon is losing a rising sophomore in their backcourt.
With very limited playing time and room at both guard positions, Kendall Smart, a former top-100 recruit in the class of 2015, opted to transfer on Thursday.
The Anaheim, CA native and true point guard averaged 1.7 points, 0.7 rebounds and 0.6 assists in 7.8 minute per game last season. He shot 40 percent from the field, 13 percent from beyond the arc, and 62 percent from the free throw strike.
While Small’s role was already small in year number one, his sophomore campaign was likely headed towards a similar situation. Tyler Dorsey, Payton Pritchard and Dylan Ennis (who broke his foot and didn’t play at all last season) will likely handle the plethora of the minutes at the one and the two positions.
Dorsey, who reportedly has bulked up a bit this off-season, is capable of playing on or off the ball because of his ability to slash into the lane and also hit the three. Pritchard has a similar game, although he is more consistent from long range and isn’t has dynamic with the ball in his hands. Ennis is likely to handle the majority of the lead guard duties because of his experience, size, and playmaking ability. The former Villanova Wildcat can also shoot the ball from the perimeter and guard multiple positions, so the Ducks do have versatility with their top three options.
Small would have seen very little time on the court, even though he plays with great energy at both ends of the floor.
It would be a surprise to see Small transfer far away from home, as he is likely to find multiple schools that will be willing to offer him a scholarship.
The 6’0″, 170 pound guard attacks the basket with ease, can finish through contact, can penetrate due to his ball handling skills and has good strength for his size. If Small develops a jump shot, defends at a higher level and plays better in the pick-and-roll, he could be a dangerous option for any team in any conference.
While transferring at the end of July is frowned upon in most circumstances, this may be a good move for both sides.
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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