NCAA Basketball Notebook: Kobe Paras to Creighton, Andrew Platek commits to UNC
There was a plethora of college basketball news that broke on Monday, but the biggest story of the day revolved around 2016 small forward Kobe Paras, who committed to Greg McDermott and Creighton.
The 6’5″ Los Angeles, CA native originally verbally committed to UCLA, but after failing to meet the conditions of his admission, he re-opened his recruitment.
Paras, a three-star recruit who isn’t a part of ESPN’s top 100 rankings, is an athletic wing player who provides valuable energy, can attack the rim in the open court, has excellent body control and power, and has a very effective first step. He is also versatile enough where is capable of moving to shooting guard for stints.
The Bluejays have loaded up on talent from the one position down to the three. Maurice Watson Jr. returns after a breakout season in 2014-15, Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster joins the team after sitting out a season, sharp shooter Isaiah Zierden is back and Khyri Thomas is one year older. Paras adds more punch and firepower to a squad that should also see Ronnie Harrell Jr. and possibly Cole Huff log minutes at the small forward position.
Creighton still has question marks in their front court, after the graduation of Geoffrey Groselle, and on defense, but they should strongly be in the mix at the top of the Big East, especially with the recent addition of Paras.
Malcolm Bernard to Xavier
Chris Mack and the Musketeers have reeled in former Florida A&M talent Malcolm Bernard, who is immediately eligible to play in 2016-17 (one year remaining)
Bernard averaged a career high 14.4 points on 42 percent shooting last season, and he also was aggressive on the glass (7.1 rebounds per game), despite standing at only 6’5″. With James Farr and Jalen Reynolds gone, Bernard can be another rebounding presence in addition to RaShid Gaston, Sean O’Mara, Trevon Bluiett and freshman Tyrique Jones.
The forward from Florida will have to adjust to the improved level of play in the Big East and won’t provide much shooting from beyond the arc.
The good news is that Bernard will be a role player who comes off the bench to provide effort and energy on the glass.
Andrew Platek commits to UNC
Four-star 2017 shooting guard Andrew Platek has committed to Roy Williams and the North Carolina Tar Heels over Butler, Stanford, Davidson, Indiana, Harvard, DePaul and Princeton.
Platek is not ranked in ESPN’s top 100 for the class of 2017, however, his stock immensely improved after a solid spring with his AAU squad, the Albany City Rocks. The guard plays his high school basketball at Northfield-Mt Hermon School in Massachusetts, and will provide the Tar Heels with a sharp shooter from long range.
While filling out his game in other areas will be critical to his overall development and impact on the Tar Heels program, Williams and company certainly need the perimeter shooting. Marcus Paige graduated in May, Justin Jackson hasn’t been consistent enough from long range, and Kenny Williams barely played last season, so Platek (and Brandon Robinson) will offer that three-point prowess in 2017.
NCAA rule change!
The NCAA passed a rule change on Monday, as the number one overall seed in the NCAA Tournament will now choose what location (from the eight assigned cities) they would like to play their first and second round games at. This creates an added incentive for teams to boost their resume, creates more competition during the conference tournaments, and gives one team who had an excellent season a reward for their success.
This isn’t a major change in the landscape of college hoops, but maybe there will be an extra one to two games in the non-conference portion of the schedule between high major teams trying to increase their strength of schedule.
Two high quality 2017 prospects cut list
2017 five-star power forward Wendell Carter Jr. has cut his list down to eight schools: North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Arizona, Kentucky, Georgia, Duke, Harvard and California. The big man from Atlanta, GA is ranked 2nd overall in ESPN’s top 100 for the class of 2017.
Carter is a solid rim protector and shot blocker defensively, has a high motor, is a great rebounder and has excellent offensive moves in the post. He finishes with authority at the rim, using his length, physical presence and power to dominate in the paint.
He doesn’t have any range on his jumper, but Carter will be a force to be reckoned in college and eventually the NBA.
2017 five-star shooting guard Collin Sexton has blown up this summer due to his athleticism, swagger and ability to score the basketball with the best of them. The 26th player in ESPN’s top 100 (that ranking seems a bit low) cut his list down to 10 schools: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Villanova, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Kansas, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Oklahoma State.
Surprisingly, Duke and Kentucky are not on the list, as they have yet to offer the “bucket getter” a scholarship.
Hey, things could always change.