Cody Zeller has not had a lot of off nights since arriving in Bloomington, but he definitely was not himself last night in Brooklyn at the Progressive Legends Classic. Taking a physical pounding, Zeller finished with 6 points and 4 rebounds, well below the expectations one carries for a pre-season NCAA player of the year candidate. Despite Zeller's off night, Indiana managed to get past Georgia with a 66-53 win as they pulled away late.
With his eligibility finally out of limbo and a three game wait, Shabazz Muhammad was chomping at the bit to announce his presence in college basketball. He showed flashes, coming off the bench for 25 minutes, but could not do enough as the Bruins were outplayed by a hungry Georgetown team. Otto Porter showed why some had him as the favorite for Big East player of the year, filling the stat sheet with 18 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists/blocks and 3 steals in the 78-70 Hoya victory.
Aaron Gordon cut Cal, Kansas and Oregon from his list of colleges for a final three that includes two Pac-12 powers along with last seasons NCAA Champion. Brother of former New Mexico player Drew Gordon, Aaron is seen as a high powered athlete that could translate to either forward spot at the college level.
After a strong season opener derailed by an ankle sprain, Isaiah Austin helped Baylor get an 84-74 win over Boston College. Austin had 16 points and 9 rebounds, also being credited with playing solid 2nd Half defense on Eagles star sophomore Ryan Anderson, who finished with 25. The real star of the game, however, was senior PG Pierre Jackson, who finished with 31 points and 7 assists.
After having to sit out his senior season of high school with a back injury, one might expect Ryan Arcidiacono to take some time to get into the groove of the college game. Instead, the freshman PG has stepped up to the challenge, averaging 18 ppg and 5.3 apg while leading Villanova to a 3-0 start. Last night Arcidiacono overcame 7 turnovers to lead the Wildcats to a 89-81 victory over Purdue in the 2k Sports Classic.
North Texas knew they had a rough start to the season facing off against a Top 20 in Creighton. Doug McDermott got the better of former 2011 U19 Team USA teammate Tony Mitchell and the Bluejays won the match-up 71-51. Following that up with a match-up against a DII school would be easy for the Mean Green. Turned out that was not the case.
After only garnering 10 minutes in Kentucky's 72-69 victory over Maryland, it was assumed that Ryan Harrow might already be in Coach Calipari's dog house. Despite the great story that came of former walk-on Jarrod Polson playing very well he was on the sidelines, the truth behind it all was that Harrow is coming off of a bout with the flu.
It may have only been one game, but Michael Carrera made his presence felt for South Carolina. Carrera finished with 17 points, 15 rebounds and 3 blocks in a 82-75 OT victory over UW Milwaukee. He also hit a pair of FT's in overtime that gave South Carolina the lead for good. After a season where they only had 10 victories, getting a player with Carrera's redounding and defensive ability could go a long way towards improvement.
With Jeff Withey set to graduate after this season, the Jayhawks found a possible replacement in 7-foot Cameroon native Joel Embiid. The Jayhawks recruiting class had yet to add a front court player and now has a huge body in young Embiid.
New to the game, Embiid got a slightly rude awakening last year in the ESPN National High School Invitational by top 2012 recruit Brandon Ashley. Well, despite his lack of experience, Embiid took that as motivation, with his combination of size and athleticism vaulting him to near the top of 2013's center prospects.
Expected to have a breakout sophomore season, Otto Porter did not have much of a chance to make noise Sunday against Duquesne. Porter had a rebound and assist before getting hit in the head with 11:55 left in the first half. Porter did not return and was being monitored for a possible concussion. The Hoyas were still able to get the W as D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera had a very strong first collegiate contest, finishing with 19 points on 6-7 FG (4-4 3PT). No news on the severity of Porter's injury, though the initial feeling is that he was held out for cautionary reasons.