Jeff Eisenberg

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

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 4 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 20 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 21 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 25 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 26 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 27 days 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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  • Purdue should benefit from being selected to represent the U.S.

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 28 days ago

    As if last week's return of forwards Caleb Swanigan and Vince Edwards weren't encouraging enough for Purdue, the Boilermakers released some more promising news Tuesday morning.

    They announced that they have been selected to represent the United States at the World University Games in Chinese Taipei in August 2017.

    “We are obviously very excited to represent our country at the World University Games," Purdue coach Matt Painter said in a statement released by the school. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our program."

    The opportunity to play in the World University Games is beneficial to Purdue for several reasons, none more important than the chance for the 2017-18 Boilermakers to build chemistry and continuity via extra summer practices, an overseas trip and two weeks of games. The event also will bring notoriety to Purdue and could help coach Matt Painter's recruiting efforts this year as he can sell Class of 2017 prospects on the chance to represent their country.

    But regardless of how strong a roster Purdue returns, representing the U.S. at the World University Games is a coup for the Boilermakers. 

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  • Malik Newman's unusual path: From top 10 recruit to transfer

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 28 days ago

    Until Monday, only one Rivals top 10 prospect in the past decade had transferred from the school with which he originally signed.

    Now former Pittsburgh and UNLV forward Khem Birch has company on that list.

    Mississippi State announced Monday that guard Malik Newman intends to transfer after an inconsistent, injury-plagued freshman season with the Bulldogs. Newman entered the NBA draft without signing with an agent last month before withdrawing last Wednesday.

    "I appreciate all of Malik’s hard work, and I wish him the very best moving forward," Mississippi State coach Ben Howland said in a statement. "I want nothing but the best for Malik and his family."

    Transferring is unusual among top 10 prospects because most expect to reach the NBA within a year or two. A freshman who transfers must sit out a full year before playing his sophomore season, something most top 10 prospects are unwilling to do even if they're unhappy with their playing time or how they're being used.

    That Newman is the rare exception suggests he must have felt returning to Mississippi State was a very unfavorable option. 

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

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 mth 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 1 mth 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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