Jeff Eisenberg

  • Yielding to common sense, Utah agrees to resume series with BYU

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    The cooling off period in the Utah-BYU basketball rivalry won't last very long.

    In a victory for common sense, Utah athletic director Chris Hill announced on Thursday that the Utes have agreed to resume the series with the Cougars in Provo in either Nov. or Dec. 2017. Hill said the two schools are in negotiations regarding future matchups.

    The announcement comes four months after Utah backed out of a previously scheduled 2016 game at BYU and offered no assurances the series would resume thereafter. Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak cited incidents in two of the last three meetings between the two teams as his rationale for halting the series.

    "The events that have occurred in our recent games with BYU led me to ask [athletic director Chris] Hill several weeks ago if we could take a cooling off period and put the rivalry on hold," Krystkowiak said in a January statement. "The level of emotions has escalated to the point where there is the potential for serious injury. Chris said he would support me in canceling next year's scheduled game against BYU."

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  • A post-draft deadline look at the 2016-17 season's top 20 teams

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    The deadline passed Wednesday night for prospects to decide whether or not to stay in the NBA draft, so the landscape for next year's college basketball season is finally becoming clearer.

    Here's an updated version of the Dagger's way-too-early Top 20 that takes into account which early-entry candidates are turning pro and which are returning to school:

    Others worthy of consideration: Cal, Creighton, Dayton, Florida State, Miami, NC State, Pittsburgh, Saint Mary's, San Diego State, Syracuse, Texas A&M, USC, Virginia Tech

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    Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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  • The winners and losers on NBA draft deadline day

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 3 days ago

    The deadline for early-entry prospects to withdraw from the NBA draft is only hours away, so the landscape for next year's college basketball season is finally becoming clearer.

    Here's a look at which programs were hardest hit by draft declarations and which will begin next season in better-than-expected shape. This post will be updated as the final undecided prospects reveal their decisions. 

    EARLY-ENTRY DEADLINE WINNERS:

    3. Duke Who left early: Brandon Ingram, F, Fr. Who Stayed: Grayson Allen, G, So., Outlook: Why is Duke an early-entry deadline winner despite Brandon Ingram's departure? Because the potential No. 1 overall pick is all the Blue Devils lost. Co-star Grayson Allen returned without testing the waters even though he had a chance to be a first-round pick after averaging 21.6 points and shooting 41.6 percent from the field. His decision makes him a potential first-team All-American next season and bolsters Duke's loaded roster for next season. The Blue Devils are a heavy favorite to earn the title of preseason No. 1 thanks to Allen's return, Amile Jefferson's renewed health and the arrival of a decorated class rated best in the nation.

     

  • Reigning champion Villanova will get its best player back

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 4 days ago

    The best player on the reigning national champions is coming back.

    Josh Hart announced via Twitter on Tuesday night that he is withdrawing from the NBA draft and returning to Villanova for his senior year. The shooting guard had entered the draft last month without hiring an agent, preserving the opportunity to pull out by Wednesday's deadline.

    ONE MORE YEAR!! \\\///

    Really proud of how Josh handled this process and happy that he can graduate with his class in '17! https://t.co/HrWQ4xY4vL

    Had Hart stayed in the draft, he had a good chance to be selected in the second round after averaging 15.5 points last season and showcasing toughness and versatility during Villanova title run. A lack of length and explosiveness limits his chances of cracking the first round next year, but he'd have a chance to improve his stock with a Malcolm Brogdon-esque All-American-caliber senior season.

    Despite the loss of Arcidiacono and Ochefu, Villanova should start next year in the top five in the polls — perhaps as high as No. 2 behind Duke.

    Villanova has a chance to match or exceed those accomplishments next season. 

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  • Nigel Hayes' return solidifies Wisconsin as a Big Ten contender

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 4 days ago

    It took three simple words for Nigel Hayes to put a smile on the face of Wisconsin basketball fans across the country.

    "I'm coming back," the standout forward told the Wisconsin State Journal via text message on Tuesday evening.

    Wisconsin later confirmed that Hayes is withdrawing from the NBA draft and returning to school.The senior-to-be had entered the draft without hiring an agent last month, leaving himself the option of pulling out by Wednesday's deadline.

    Although Hayes once had every intention of staying in the draft, his performance the past six months forced him to reconsider. He almost certainly would not have been a first-round pick and he might have gone undrafted altogether.

    Hayes endured an erratic junior season in which he averaged 15.7 points per game but struggled with the transition to go-to threat, shooting an inefficient 36.8 percent from the field and 29.3 percent from behind the arc. Then he faded to the background in two games at the NBA draft combine, scoring a total of four points on 1-for-5 shooting.

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  • Ranking the Big Ten-ACC Challenge games from most to least compelling

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 4 days ago

    ESPN announced the schedule for next season's Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Tuesday. Here's a look at each of the games ranked from most to least compelling.

    1. Michigan State at Duke (Nov. 29): One of the first challenges for presumed preseason No. 1 Duke will be a Michigan State team with a loaded freshman class but not much in the way of veteran leadership. The Spartans will have to hope that freshman Miles Bridges makes a quick transition to the college level if they're going to keep it close against a Blue Devils team that returns All-American candidate Grayson Allen, adds a star-studded freshman class and gets Amile Jefferson back from injury.

    12. Nebraska at Clemson (Nov. 30): The appeal of this game could depend on the draft decisions made by early-entry candidates Jaron Blossomgame of Clemson and Andrew White of Nebraska. Blossomgame led his team in scoring this past season, while White was second. Both have until Wednesday to decide whether to stay in the draft or not.

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  • Ranking the Big 12-SEC Challenge games from most to least compelling

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 4 days ago

    A rematch between powerhouses Kansas and Kentucky highlights the newly announced slate for next year's Big 12-SEC Challenge. All 10 games will take place Jan. 28. Here's a look at the matchups ranked from most to least intriguing:

    1. Kansas at Kentucky: These blue bloods will both appear the preseason top five in most polls, but they'll also field vastly different rosters than they did at Allen Fieldhouse last January when Kansas edged Kentucky 90-84 in overtime. The Wildcats will lean on another loaded freshman class headlined by guards Malik Monk and De'Aaron Fox, while the Jayhawks will turn to heralded freshman wing Josh Jackson and veteran guards Frank Mason and Devonte Graham.

    4. Texas at Georgia: With leading scorer Isaiah Taylor opting to turn pro and a handful of senior standouts also leaving, the Longhorns will rely on a promising freshman class and some unproven returners next year. They'll need heralded freshman Andrew Jones to have found his stride by midseason if they're going to go to Athens and knock off a Georgia team that returns a formidable one-two punch in J.J. Frazier and Yante’ Maten.

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  • Malik Pope makes a wise decision to return to San Diego State

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 5 days ago

    In his first two seasons at San Diego State, Malik Pope has displayed sporadic flashes of immense skill and talent.

    The 6-foot-10 junior-to-be is returning to the Aztecs in hopes of showing NBA scouts he can make a more consistent impact.

    Pope announced Monday night that he has withdrawn from the NBA draft after entering last month without hiring an agent. He was not invited to the NBA's draft combine, but he reportedly did work out for the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics and Utah Jazz.

    Credit Pope for making a wise decision because it once no doubt wasn't in his plans to be in college for more than two years. He is the most highly touted prospect San Diego State has landed under Steve Fisher, however, a series of leg injuries late in his high school career prevented him from making a smooth transition to the college level.

    Pope may have more natural ability than anyone in that group. Next season will be his latest chance to fully tap into that and lead San Diego State back to the NCAA tournament.

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  • Providence enters rebuilding mode with Ben Bentil staying in draft

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 6 days ago

    The most improved player in college basketball this past season believes he's ready for the NBA.

    Providence forward Ben Bentilannounced Sunday evening in an Instagram post that he will forego his final two years of college eligibility and remain in the NBA draft.

    Bentil's decision is logical considering the feedback he received after a strong performance at the draft combine in Chicago earlier this month. He could be selected in the late first round and he'd still be a strong candidate to negotiate a guaranteed contract even if he falls to the top of the second round.

    Turning pro serves as the culmination of Bentil's year-long rise from role player, to Kris Dunn's co-star, to NBA prospect. The 6-foot-8 native of Ghana helped lead Providence to the second round of the the NCAA tournament in March, averaging 21.1 points and 7.7 rebounds as a sophomore after contributing just 6.4 points and 4.9 rebounds the previous year.

    That becomes a nice carrot for Cooley to dangle as he attempts to recruit the Friars' next crop of stars.

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  • Peter Jok's return gives Iowa a star to build around next season

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 8 days ago

    Once he was not invited to participate in the draft combine or to work out for many NBA teams, Iowa guard Peter Jok made a rational decision.

    The 6-foot-6 senior-to-be realized he was unlikely to be selected in next month's NBA draft and opted to return to the Hawkeyes instead. 

    "I'm excited to be returning for my senior season and leading our team," Jok said in a statement released by the school. "This has been an invaluable learning experience for my career, and I appreciate all the support I have received from Coach McCaffery and the entire staff."

    The return of Jok is monumental for an Iowa team that won 22 games this past season and advanced to the NCAA tournament's round of 32. Jok was one of the Big Ten's most improved players as a junior, averaging 16.1 points per game and shooting over 40 percent from behind the arc.

    What Jok learned from NBA scouts was likely that he needs to be a more well-rounded prospect in order to have a better chance of being drafted next year. Jok has NBA size and range, however, he could stand to improve his ability to create off the dribble or to defend opposing wings.

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