Vandy alum donates $5 million to men's basketball program
The Vanderbilt men’s basketball program has received a $5 million donation from Seattle-based alumnus George B. Huber and his wife Cathy. Vanderbilt officials said the money will be used to enhance facilities and support services.Huber said in a statement that “the men’s basketball program has the building blocks to become a perennial powerhouse, and we’re excited by the opportunity to strengthen the broader Vanderbilt community throughout the program.”Huber graduated from Vanderbilt in 1979. Son Tyler is a 2014 Vanderbilt alum.Vanderbilt (8-8, 0-3 SEC) hosts Tennessee (10-6, 2-2) on Saturday.
The college football season has come to an end, bringing college basketball to the forefront. If you haven’t tuned in yet, you’ve missed an absolutely wild season to-date. Good teams have been upset left and right, leaving the media and fans totally lost when trying to figure out which teams could really advance to the Final Four in Atlanta.© David Berding-USA TODAY Sports
On a more local level, we’ve seen enough games now to believe that some of the hot starts we’ve seen from players are not an aberration, but a real sign of growth. In a college basketball landscape that points tons of attention at the one-and-done freshmen, the development of upperclassmen can be forgotten.
Is This The Year? Clemson seeks first win at North Carolina
A look at the upcoming week around the Atlantic Coast Conference: © Gerry Broome North Carolina coach Roy Williams reacts during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Georgia Tech in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome) GAME OF THE WEEKEND Clemson at North Carolina on Saturday. No, neither team is ranked, but the game is the latest chance for the Tigers (7-7, 1-3) to end perhaps the most frustrating streak in college basketball and avoid falling to O-60 all-time at Chapel Hill.
These five players have improved so much this year, it would be impossible not to recognize their newfound success.
5. Daniel Oturu, Minnesota
The Big Ten is an absolute slaughterhouse this season, with every single team offering a tough test in conference play. KenPom is currently projecting 11 of the conferences 14 teams to finish between 11-9 and 9-11 in conference. The battles for conference tournament seeds and bubble superiority will be ruthless. That’s due in part to the emergence of players like Oturu. His elevation from a productive freshman who put up 11 points, 7 rebounds, and a block each game to a game-wrecking big man as a sophomore has changed Minnesota’s outlook.
Oturu is currently posting 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game. His 29-point, 18-rebound effort on the road at Purdue proved that the Gophers won’t just be tough to beat at home at the Barn. They’ll mean business all over the conference, thanks in part to Oturu.
Wieskamp leads Iowa to 67-49 win over No. 12 Maryland
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Joe Wieskamp scored 26 points and Big Ten scoring leader Luka Garza had 21 as Iowa beat No. 12 Maryland 67-49 on Friday night. © AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)Garza, who leads the Big Ten in scoring, added 13 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the season. BOX SCORE: IOWA 67, MARYLAND 49Wieskamp and Garza had 32 of Iowa's 38 first-half points. The Hawkeyes (11-5, 2-3 Big Ten) got more balanced scoring in the second half, leading by as much as 22 points.Maryland (13-3, 3-2) was held to its second-lowest point total of the season. Jalen Smith scored 13 for the Terrapins.
© Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
4. Luka Garza, Iowa
Elsewhere in the Big Ten, Iowa is also built around a dominant big man. Garza was a good player in previous seasons, averaging double-figure scoring in both of his seasons in Iowa City. This year, he has started the season on fire. Garza uses his size to overpower opposing big men and has a soft enough touch to finish all kinds of looks in the paint. He’s averaging 22.0 points and 10.8 rebounds per game and is drawing 7.2 fouls per 40 minutes in Big Ten play, the most in the conference.© Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
3. Malachi Flynn, San Diego State
The nation’s most notable breakout team deserves a mention, with Flynn playing the role of breakout player for the undefeated Aztecs. He was a good player at Washington State before transferring, adding 15.8 points per game for the Cougars two years ago. After sitting out the requisite year for transferring, Flynn has returned as a better, more complete player. He’s more aggressive attacking the paint, while also refining his shot. Flynn increased his 3-point percentage from 34 percent as a sophomore to 42 percent this year despite the line being moved back in that time.
Gonzaga, Duke, Kansas stay atop men's Top 25, Butler No. 6
Gonzaga, Duke and Kansas remain atop The Associated Press men's college basketball poll. The rest of the top 10 is a big jumble. The Bulldogs received 54 first-place votes from a 65-member media panel in the poll released Monday. The Blue Devils had nine first-place votes and the Jayhawks two. No. 4 Baylor moved into the top five for the first time in three years and undefeated Auburn was up to No. 5. Butler climbed five spots to No. 6 for the program's highest ranking ever and was followed by San Diego State, Michigan State, Oregon and No. 10 Florida State.Gonzaga is No. 1 for the third straight week, a first in a season of parity at the top of the AP poll.
© Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports
2. Jared Butler, Baylor
In a development that no one saw coming, Baylor has grown into one of the best teams in all of college basketball. Butler’s development as a sophomore is a huge reason for the Bears success. He’s increased from 10 points per game as a freshman to over 16 per contest this year, raising every one of his shooting percentages year-over-year. Butler’s development as an offensive playmaker has given the Bears a real go-to option — something they lacked last season as a middling NCAA Tournament team.© Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
1. Obi Toppin, Dayton
No player has had a more eye-popping breakout season than Toppin. I’m not even sure how it would be possible to outdo his rise in his sophomore season. Last season, he was a contributor to a mediocre Dayton team that reached the NIT, pitching in 14 points per game, mostly coming off the bench. This season, Dayton is a bonafide top-10 team, and Toppin is a legitimate National Player of the Year candidate.
The 6-foot-9 power forward plays an inside-out game and has been dominant with the ball in the paint. He shoots the 12th-best 2-point percentage in the nation and the best in the Atlantic 10, at over 82 percent in conference play.
Tre Jones returns, Matthew Hurt scores 25 as No. 2 Duke routs Boston College
DURHAM, N.C. - Tre Jones' first game in more than three weeks helped No. 2 Duke play as well as it has all season. The sophomore point guard, after missing the last two games with a sprained foot, handed out 10 assists and Matthew Hurt scored 25 points in the Blue Devils' 88-49 wipeout of Boston College in ACC basketball Tuesday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The 6-foot-2 Jones saw his first game action since Duke’s 77-63 league win at Virginia Tech on Dec. 6. The Blue Devils (12-1, 2-0 ACC) had a light schedule as they took breaks for final exams and the holidays, and Jones was held out of nonconference wins over Wofford and Brown.
Related slideshow: The five best freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors in college basketball (Provided by Yardbarker)
The five best freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors in college basketball
People always want to talk about college basketball's fabulous freshmen who will spend one year in school before going off to riches in the NBA or the wily seniors who are tough, smart and are seemingly the embodiment of what college hoops is supposed to be.The truth is there are all kinds of great players in college basketball at all levels of their education. Some take a bit longer to develop, while others simply are better suited for the college game. Greatness is everywhere, no matter the age.So as the college basketball season is nearing the relatively dead time of finals and Christmas break, let's take a look at the five best freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors.
Freshman: Cole Anthony, North Carolina
Anthony is by far the best offensive weapon on a Tar Heels offense that is unusually lacking this year. He can hit from deep, has an outstanding quick step to get to the basket, he is a willing defender and is an outstanding rebounder for a guy his size. He also has the swagger to be that guy for a program that has had some stellar point guards over the last 15 years. The convergence of his skill and the opportunity means Anthony will put up some big numbers this season.
Freshman: Vernon Carey, Duke
Carey may be the antithesis of last year's Duke freshmen. He is a smooth big man who just seems to always be in the right spot and can make any play. He is a double-double machine, posting seven such games in the Blue Devils' first nine. While he will shoot a three-pointer every now and then (he's made four of his five attempts), he knows he is a post guy who does most of his damage down low. He's also a deceptively good shot blocker.
Freshman: Anthony Edwards, Georgia
Edwards may not be as known as some of the other freshman studs, but he could be the No. 1 overall pick. Playing at Georgia may hurt his visibility, but he's an elite athlete who is scary on the break and has a smooth ability at getting to the basket and getting his shot up. In his biggest moment to date, he poured 37 points in a loss to Michigan State in Maui. He's a bad dude!
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Freshman: Nico Mannion, Arizona
Mannion hasn't been the face of the freshman class like others on this list (and elsewhere). He isn't the athletic big guy, as a Western guy he doesn't get as much press as, say, a Cole Anthony. But if you stay up and watch an Arizona game, you'll fall in love with Mannion's game. He has great handles, he is a deft shooter and he is athletic enough to get into the paint and make plays. The guy can score and pass with anyone and when he heats up, he can spark his team. Isn't that exactly what you want in your lead guard?
Freshman: James Wiseman, Memphis
We've had just an appetizer of what Wiseman can do. In his three games he played before his suspension, he averaged 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and three blocks a game. He is a problem inside due to his size and the level of activity — he owns the paint. He doesn't possess a developed offensive game but has lived on lobs, stick backs and basic back-to-the-basket moves. Even though he is suspended for games, he is able to still work with coaches to become a better offensive player to add to a huge chip on his shoulder when he comes back in January.
Sophomore: Devon Dotson, Kansas
Bill Self thrives on having a steady, hard-nosed point guard running his team, and Dotson is his latest leader. As a freshman, Dotson showed his toughness and potential by taking over for Devonte' Graham last season and did a decent job for a Kansas team that had a lot of external issues. This year he has taken a major leap in his scoring (up nearly seven points) and has truly embraced the role of not only running the offense but also being a key cog in it.
Sophomore: Ashton Hagans, Kentucky
As a freshman, Hagans was a solid defender who was iffy on offense. This season, he hasn't improved as a shooter but has understood how to be effective on offense. He has shot only 16 threes thus far this season (making just four) but has been great at taking the ball to the basket and picking up fouls. He's nearly automatic from the free-throw line, a much better passer and playmaker (he's up to 6.4 assists per game) and he's a pretty good rebounder for a point guard.
Sophomore: Tyrese Haliburton, Iowa State
Haliburton is a guy any coach would love to have on a team. He does everything at a high level. His scoring has jumped to 16.8 ppg, he's grabbing six boards per game and dishing out an insane 8.6 assists every night. He can carry a team with any facet of his game and when he puts it all together (like his near triple-double against Alabama), the Cyclones can be special.
Sophmore: Tre Jones, Duke
Tre Jones was the Ringo Starr of last year's Duke freshman-studded team. While Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish made the leap to become NBA lottery picks, Jones stayed behind to further develop his game. He still isn't a dead-eye three-point shooter, but his percentage has improved immensely (up to 34 percent from 26 percent as a freshman), and he has become one of the most important players in the nation. He continues to be an elite defender, and he's one of the best passers in the country with over seven assists per game. The best Mike Krzyzewski teams have had a point guard he trusts, and Coach K certainly has that in Jones.
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Sophomore: Obi Toppin, Dayton
Toppin had his breakout of sorts during the Flyers run in the Maui Invitational. The sophomore from Brooklyn is averaging over 22 points and eight rebounds this season and was a stud against Georgia, Virginia Tech and Kansas in the Thanksgiving week tournament. He is an NBA-caliber player who has held his own against other guys who will be playing at the next level. He gives all a reason to pay attention to Dayton the rest of the season.
Junior: Tyler Bey, Colorado
Bey is a double-double waiting to happen every night. He's a combo forward who is athletic enough to play at the wing while having a physical presence to bang inside, which is evident in how he is a magnet for rebounds. He is averaging 14.0 points and 11.9 rebounds in the young season and while he isn't an elite scorer, he has the ability to score in a variety of ways.
Junior: Kellan Grady, Davidson
Grady can fill it up and continues to be one of the most consistent players in college basketball. He's averaging 17.3 points (near his average as a freshman and sophomore) despite shooting just 25 percent from three this year. If he can get his shot back in rhythm, he could explode to have an Atlantic 10 Player of the Year kind of year.
Junior: Jordan Nwora, Louisville
Last year, Nwora made a huge leap to become among the Cardinals' most dangerous players with a mix of three-point shooting and an ability to get to the basket. This season he has harnessed it, becoming a much more consistent scorer and improving his shooting across the board. His value on a talented Louisville team is that he isn't afraid to make a play in a big moment, and he has a high basketball IQ.
Junior: Kaleb Wesson, Ohio State
Wesson's stats may not wow you, but that is due more to Ohio State's style of play than Wesson's skill level. His scoring has gone down a bit this year, but he's a better rebounder, better passer and better three-point shooter. He is a big guy who you can basically just put out there, and he can do anything you ask him to do.
Junior: Omer Yurtseven, Georgetown
Yurtseven is a bit more experienced than most juniors. He sat out last season after transferring from North Carolina State where he was a solid, yet inconsistent, big man for an underachieving Wolfpack squad. With the Hoyas this year he's been a steady hand, nearly averaging a double-double (16.0 pts, 9.6 rbs). It doesn't hurt that he's learning from Patrick Ewing, one of the best college players ever.
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Senior: Udoka Azubuike, Kansas
We are in a day and age where big men need to be quick and fast and have the ability to shoot threes. Azubuike is a throwback of sorts because he isn't one of those guys. He's big, a bit slow and unmovable. He looks like a man playing among boys when he's out there and in the tournament can be a huge matchup problem for pretty much any other team. He put up 29 points on Dayton in the Maui Invitational championship game. He has missed just 12 shots in his first seven games of the season (59 attempts), and if he can stay healthy he will be a force come March.
Senior: Anthony Cowan, Maryland
Cowan toyed with going into the NBA last spring but elected to return to Maryland, and it is paying off handsomely. His scoring has gone up a bit, and he's become a much more efficient player. He's shooting 42 percent from three (up from 33 percent from last year), and he is taking advantage of playing alongside better talent while not forcing plays as he has in the past. He is one of the rare seniors who has started every game of his career.
Senior: Markus Howard, Marquette
Howard can straight fill it up. He is averaging 26 ppg over the first seven games of the season. He has already scored 51 points on USC, 40 on Davidson and 38 on Loyola (Maryland). He's also had a brutal 1-of-12 showing against Maryland and can be wildly inconsistent game to game. He doesn't shy away from getting up his shots but when he's on ...it is something to behold.
Senior: Myles Powell, Seton Hall
Powell's senior season has picked up where his junior year left off. He's averaging over 23 ppg in the early going (26.7 if you take out the Stony Brook game where he left the game with an ankle injury after four minutes) and has been shooting better from three this year. Powell is a pure scorer who comes up big in the critical games. He put up 37 points on Michigan State and 32 on Oregon already and will be one of the favorites for Big East and National Player of the Year Awards.
Senior: Cassius Winston, Michigan State
Winston entered the 2019-2020 season as the favorite among many for National Player of the Year Awards. He's a tough-minded point guard who does everything so well. He is the prototypical lead guard whom Tom Izzo craves to run the Spartans offense and defense. Winston is also one of the most popular players among his peers, which was evident with the outpouring of support following his brother's death.
UNC guard Harris needs surgery for torn ACL in right knee .
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina freshman Anthony Harris will have surgery next week for a torn knee ligament suffered in Monday’s win against Yale. The school said Friday that Harris has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. It came a little more than a year after he tore his left ACL, causing him to miss the rest of his senior season of high school along with his first eight games at UNC in a long recovery. Harris hadThe school said Friday that Harris has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. It came a little more than a year after he tore his left ACL, causing him to miss the rest of his senior season of high school along with his first eight games at UNC in a long recovery.