Jeff Eisenberg

  • Kansas lands coveted transfer Malik Newman

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 3 hrs ago

    If Kansas endures massive roster turnover as anticipated next spring, the Jayhawks at least now have some insurance.

    They secured a commitment on Friday from one of the most intriguing transfers available this offseason.

    Ex-Mississippi State guard Malik Newman, a former top 10 prospect in the 2015 class, will continue his career at Kansas. The 6-foot-3 sophomore will sit out the 2016-17 season per transfer rules but has three years of eligibility remaining thereafter.

    Hailed as one of the elite prospects in his class after earning MVP honors at the FIBA U-17 World Championships two years ago, Newman did not live up to expectations in his lone season at Mississippi State. Newman averaged 11.3 points per game, but he shot barely 40 percent from inside the arc, turned the ball over nearly two times per game and earned just 67 trips to the foul line.

    At Mississippi State, Newman played mostly off ball and struggled to adjust to Ben Howland’s oft-rigid system. He should have the opportunity to create more via ball screens for a Kansas team whose backcourt could look drastically different by the time Newman is eligible to play.

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  • Heralded prospect turns pro instead of coming to Arizona

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    No longer does Arizona have such a glut of talent at wing next season.

    The school confirmed on Thursday that McDonald’s All-American shooting guard Terrance Ferguson will pursue professional opportunities instead of playing for the Wildcats. Ferguson, Rivals.com’s No. 14 prospect in the 2016 class, is expected to sign with the Adelaide 36ers of Australia’s National Basketball League.

    “I hope this next chapter of his basketball career goes well, and his goal of one day becoming an NBA player is realized,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said in a release from the school.

    While Ferguson’s decision to turn pro may reignite the conversation about whether more elite prospects will consider skipping college, the reality is it shouldn’t. The high-profile prospects who have passed on college to play professionally overseas have typically done so because of eligibility concerns.

    Brandon Jennings was unsure if he could meet the academic requirements to play for Arizona when he opted instead to sign with Italy’s Lottomatica Virtus Roma in 2008. Emmanuel Mudiay faced the possibility of a lengthy NCAA investigation into his eligibility when he chose to head to China instead of playing for SMU in 2014.

  • Believe it or not, Perry Ellis is now endorsing Perry Ellis

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    Seldom has there been a more perfect marriage between a company and the athlete endorsing it.

    Perry Ellis, the former Kansas basketball star, shared on social media on Wednesday that he has landed a sponsorship deal with Perry Ellis, the clothing brand.

    Can’t wait to get to work! Excited to start the next chapter wearing @perryellis #veryperry #DallasMavericks #sponsorship

    A photo posted by Perry Ellis (@pelliz34) on Jun 29, 2016 at 8:36am PDT

    The sportswear brand released a statement to Yahoo Sports on Thursday morning confirming the clever partnership between namesakes. Lisa Kauffman, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Marketing Officer for Perry Ellis, said the company is “very excited about the association” because the “playful partnership stays true to the fun, lighthearted nature of the brand.”

    Asked to provide further details about how the sponsorship deal was conceived and what the campaign will include in the future, Perry Ellis clothing brand publicist David Shulman said he had no further information at this time.

  • Five-star center picks Western Kentucky over higher-profile schools

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    Whether as the head coach at Mississippi State or an assistant at Texas A&M, Rick Stansbury has shown he can attract elite prospects to high-major programs.

    Now the new Western Kentucky coach is proving he can also do it at a less prestigious destination.

    Stansbury on Wednesday received a commitment from center Mitchell Robinson, Rivals.com’s No. 11 prospect in the 2017 class and one of high school basketball’s top shot blockers and rebounders. Robinson’s Dallas-based AAU team confirmed the commitment on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon.

    Congrats to @kodakmitch23 on his decision to play at Western Kentucky. ???????????????????? player that is hands down the best rim protector in America.

    — NikeProSkills (@NikeProSkills) June 29, 2016

    The commitment from Robinson can only make Western Kentucky more attractive to other prospects.

    Soon, perhaps Kentucky and Louisville won’t be the only Bluegrass State programs viewed as potential destinations for top talent.

  • This stat should be a reality check for future NBA draft hopefuls

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 7 days ago

    Here's a statistic that should serve as a lesson for the 2017 draft class.

    Of the 44 college players selected Thursday night in this year's NBA draft, all but two received invites to the draft combine in Chicago last month. The exceptions were Iowa State senior Abdel Nader and Cal senior Tyrone Wallace, two of the final three players selected in Thursday's second round.

    What that suggests is future NBA hopefuls would be wise to take advantage of the new rules governing the early-entry process and wait until after the May combine to decide whether to stay in the draft or not. Those not among the roughly 70 draft combine invitees have little chance of being drafted and even less hope of being taken high enough to receive a guaranteed contract. 

    It's important to note that going undrafted doesn't necessarily mean a prospect made the wrong decision to turn pro despite college eligibility remaining.

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  • Eight notable stats from the NCAA's annual attendance report

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 23 days ago

    The NCAA released its entire attendance report for the 2015-16 college basketball season on Wednesday morning. Here's a look at eight stats that stood out the most:

    • Highest attendance per game: 1. Kentucky (23,361) 2. Syracuse (21,592) 3. Louisville (20,859)

    Comment: Syracuse's two-year run as average attendance leaders ended this season at the hands of the team the Orange briefly eclipsed. Before the 2013-14 season, the Wildcats finished No. 1 in 17 of the previous 18 years.

    • Lowest attendance per game: 1. Bryant (436) 2. South Carolina State (439) 3. Saint Peter's (479)

    Comment: How did Bryant manage to draw smaller crowds than many high school teams last season? It had a lot to do with the product the Bulldogs put out on the floor. They went 8-23 and finished second-to-last in the Northeast Conference.

    • Highest per-game attendance among non-major conference schools: 1. BYU (14,699), 2. New Mexico (13,030) 3. Dayton (12,941)

    • Best average attendance per conference: 1. Big Ten (12,555), 2. SEC (11,144), 3. ACC (11,131)

  • President Obama sends touching note to Rollie Massimino

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 24 days ago

    When Villanova visited the White House last week to celebrate its national championship, health issues kept revered former coach Rollie Massimino from joining the Wildcats.

    President Obama noticed Massimino's absence and sent the 81-year-old a heartfelt note shared by Villanova coach Jay Wright on his Twitter account Monday afternoon.

    President Obama's letter to Coach Mass ! Great respect for POTUS and RVM pic.twitter.com/IugcOlxEw7

    Massimino became a hero in Villanova circles for leading the 1985 Wildcats to an improbable national title. Eighth-seeded Villanova became the lowest seed to win the NCAA tournament, winning five games against top-five seeds capped by a monumental upset over Patrick Ewing-led Georgetown in the championship game.

    For the past 10 years, Massimino has been the head coach at Keiser University, an NAIA powerhouse in West Palm Beach, Fla. Massimino sat courtside in Houston in April when Villanova edged North Carolina in the national title game on Kris Jenkins' game-winning buzzer beater.

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  • Key recruit could vault Texas into contention in Big 12 next year

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 28 days ago

    Texas' patience has at last been rewarded.

    The Longhorns landed the most coveted remaining prospect in the 2016 recruiting class Friday when Jarrett Allen signed his scholarship papers.The 6-foot-9 forward from the Austin area is Rivals' No. 15 prospect in the class of 2016 and had received interest from Houston, Kansas, Notre Dame Kentucky and many others during different stages of his recruitment. 

    It wasn't a surprise that Allen eventually chose his hometown school, but how long it took for a commitment surely led to some anxiety among Texas fans. Only two other prospects in the Rivals 150 have yet to select a college destination.

    The addition of Allen gives Texas a far better chance of contending in the Big 12 next season despite the loss of four starters from last year's NCAA tournament team. Leading scorer Isaiah Taylor entered the NBA draft despite it being unlikely he'll be selected, while guard Javan Felix, forward Connor Lammert and centers Prince Ibeh and Cameron Ridley all graduated.

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  • John Calipari's bizarre plan is not the way to fix SEC tournament

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 29 days ago

    John Calipari fervently believes the SEC tournament is not benefiting the league, so the Kentucky coach has proposed a harebrained idea to fix it.

    He wants to move it up five months. 

    Calipari made his pitch to hold the SEC tournament in November instead of March during the conference's spring meetings Wednesday in Destin, Fla. 

    Under the Calipari plan, the SEC tournament would feature a consolation bracket, guaranteeing every team a minimum of three games. The SEC's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament would not be at stake during the event and instead would be awarded to the league's regular season champion.

    “We go somewhere and all the fans come in and we celebrate our league, and they’re great games to start the year,” Calipari told reporters in Destin.

    "You do it for one week. You maybe have two sites in the same city. Maybe it’s in Atlanta. We do it every year. Let’s all of our fans go to Atlanta. And everything is geared to SEC, and then you start the regular season."

    Calipari elaborated on his idea on Twitter after speaking with reporters.

  • Cal's top perimeter scorer Jordan Mathews announces he'll transfer

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 mth ago

    If Cal lands Kentucky transfer Marcus Lee this week, it will come at quite a price.

    The roster spot now potentially earmarked for Lee became vacant Tuesday when the Bears' best perimeter scorer announced he was leaving.

    Senior-to-be Jordan Mathews intends to graduate from Cal this summer and play his final college season elsewhere. The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 13.5 points per game last season, shot 41.6 percent from behind the arc and would have been Cal's leading returning scorer had he opted to come back. 

    "This decision was not easy but I am incredibly thankful for this experience," Mathews wrote on Twitter. "The relationships I have developed will last a lifetime. I will always be a Cal Bear and I will forever cherish my time in Berkeley."

    Without Matthews, Cal's perimeter shooting becomes a question mark. Jabari Bird is Cal's only returning player who hit more than 11 threes all of last season, though Columbia graduate transfer Grant Mullins is a proven shooter. 

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