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NCAA Basketball

2017 five-star wing Kris Wilkes down to five



While other 2017 talents are cutting their lists to 9-to-10 schools, 2017 five-star wing Kris Wilkes is down to five.

Illinois, Indiana, UCLA, UConn and Xavier are the five colleges in the mix for the 11th best player in the class of 2017, according to ESPN.

The 6’7″ small forward from Indianapolis, IN is the top prospect in the state of Indiana and is the fourth best player at his position in the class of 2017.

In addition to the five schools mentioned above, Wilkes had offers from Butler, Arizona, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina (he previously scheduled an official with the Heels, according to Inside The Hall) and Ohio State, amongst others. He was also considering the Kentucky Wildcats, but John Calipari and company have not extended an offer at this time.

The long, versatile forward can score from all three levels, is elite in transition, and creates major mismatch problems in half court settings. Because of his size, wingspan, skill in the mid-range, and feel for the game, Wilkes has high upside as a potential pro down the road.

The Indiana native doesn’t have great strength and needs to develop some consistency from long range, but a player with Wilkes’ combination of physical tools is hard to come by. Wilkes is known for his offensive game, however, he could find a niche defensively, especially in terms of guarding the pick-and-roll and matching up against all players 1-through-5.

The forward played his summer AAU basketball with the Indy Hoosiers on the Under Armour Circuit. He plays his high school ball at North Central, as he averaged 22.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game during his junior campaign.

Wilkes is considering three colleges that are close to his hometown; Indiana is obviously the best program of the bunch, while Illinois and Xavier also have their share of positives. UCLA and UConn are national programs that love versatile players – just take a look at former Huskie Daniel Hamilton and current UCLA Bruin Isaac Hamilton – and are capable of landing top tier talents.

Ultimately, one high major program is going to land a player that has one-and-done potential and high upside if he stays for his sophomore season. Any of these schools would be pleased to land a quality talent like Wilkes.

I am a college basketball fanatic and a current St. John's University student. I also write for Rumble in the Garden and I am the editor of Busting Brackets FanSided.

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NCAA Basketball

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.”

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NCAA Basketball

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

Colonial: Northwestern

Horizon: Northern Kentucky

MAAC: Iona

Missouri Valley: Bradley

MEC: Fairleigh Dickinson

Ohio Valley: Murray State

Patriot: Colgate

Southern: Wofford

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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NCAA Basketball

Tennessee Basketball Ranked 4th In (Early) Preseason Top 25



A school built on football lure now has a thriving basketball team to get behind. In a early CBS basketball poll, the Volunteer squad is ranked 4th in the preseason. This should bring relief to a fan base whose struggled with a lackluster football team in recent years.

Under Coach Rick Barnes (SEC Coach of the year 2017)  the Vols went 26-9 last year, won a share of the regular season SEC title and reached the final of the SEC tournament. Tennessee should return most of their pivotal pieces for the 2018-19 season.

Admiral Schofield (2017-2018 ALL SEC second teamer) who tested the NBA waters has returned for his senior year to play along side Grant Williams (SEC player of the year) and Kyle Alexander. If they can stay healthy along with the supporting cast, this team has a legitimate chance to reach the final four.

According to Andy Katz, “Tennessee is the team to beat in the SEC this year,” and did I mention Coach Barnes recruiting is nothing to take lightly. Recently committed 5 star combo guard, Josiah James added his name to the class of 2019 and pushed the Vols recruiting into the top 10 nationally.

Although it’s too early to tell how this season will play out its certain the hype is warranted and reaching heights it hasn’t seen since the Bruce Pearl era.

Could it be!? Tennessee – a basketball school?

Follow the journey when the Volunteers tip off against Louisiana Lafayette on November 9th.




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