Basketball Hoop

By James Blackburn

I had a chance to evaluate each of Wake Forest new players against Radford in a home game tonight. Each will have significant roles this season for a young Demon Deacon squad.

Brandon Childress, PG, 6’0”, FR

Played good minutes tonight as the backup PG and looked comfortable at times and rushed at other times. Once he figures out the speed of the college game I expect him to get better and better. He can get to the paint at will with good quickness and ball handling ability but needs to improve his ability to finish. Coming in as a true freshman from local Wesleyan Christian Academy, Childress was known to be a big time shooter from deep. He showed the ability transfers to the college game as he knocked down a few tonight.

Keyshawn Woods, G, 6’3”, R-SO

The transfer from Charlotte coming off of a redshirt season looked full of confidence early on. Provides really good energy, athleticism, and shooting off the bench. Solid on both sides of the ball and is a good overall scorer. Should be a big contributor this year and will see his role increase going into ACC play.

Austin Arians, F, 6’6”, GR

Austin arrives from playing at Milwaukee and will be doing a grad season at Wake. Smart player who got the start tonight. Opened the game with a really nice looking 3. Has a fundamentally sound stroke and his shooting will be counted on this year. Lacks athleticism but uses good basketball IQ and strength to compensate. Moves well without the ball. Underrated passer who plays unselfish basketball.




Dexter Strickland UNC

Catching up on some NBL action recently, I noticed a couple of familiar names from the ACC on some rosters. here’s some quick notes on former ACC players that are getting pro court time in the Canadian league this season:

Alex Johnson (NC State) Halifax Hurricanes – Johnson played his senior collegiate season for the Wolfpack after transferring from Cal State Bakersfield, suiting up for the 2011-12 ACC season. He played his first pro season in Romania before moving to the Canadian league.

Dexter Strickland (North Carolina) Moncton Miracles – Strickland was a highly touted recruit coming in to UNC, and saw heavy minutes in the rotation even as a freshman. Strickland started for much of his career for the Tar Heels before finishing his collegiate career as a senior in 2013. After stints playing in France and the D-League, he moved to the NBL this season.

Malcolm Grant (Miami) Island Storm – Grant played his freshman college season at Villanova before transferring to Miami, where he started his junior and senior seasons, averaging double figures in scoring. After finishing up his college career in 2012, he played pro ball in Cyprus and Australia before moving to the Canadian league.

Sammy Zeglinski (Virginia) Niagara River Lions – Known as a three point threat during his college days, Zeglinksi ranks fifth in career three-pointers completed. After finishing up in the ACC in 2012, he played in Iceland and Austria prior to the NBL.

ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – Virginia’s Tony Bennett is the 2014-15 recipient of the Henry Iba Award, presented annually to the national coach of the year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. The award, voted on by the entire membership of the USBWA, is based on regular-season performance.

Bennett will be formally presented with the Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award on Tuesday, April 14, at the Devon Energy College Basketball Awards gala in Oklahoma City.


The Oscar Robertson Trophy will also be presented that evening. The winner of the Oscar Robertson Trophy as the national player of the year will be announced on Friday, April 3, at a 10:15 a.m. ET news conference in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium in conjunction with the NCAA Final Four.

In his sixth season at Virginia, Bennett, 45, led the Cavaliers to a 30-4 record, which tied the school record for wins in a season set last season and in 1982-83. For the second straight season, Virginia won the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title. Bennett’s career mark at Virginia is a stellar 136-64 (.680 winning percentage).

Bennett, the Henry Iba Award winner in the 2006-07 at Washington State, is the ninth coach to earn the award more than once and the second to win it at two different schools. Roy Williams has won the award at Kansas (1990) and North Carolina (2006). The legendary John Wooden was named the USBWA National Coach of the Year six times, joinining five other coaches to win it twice (Lou Carnesecca of St. John’s, John Chaney of Temple, Gene Keady of Purdue, Bob Knight of Indiana, Ray Meyer of DePaul and Fred Taylor of Ohio State).

The USBWA District III Coach of the Year and the ACC Coach of the Year guided the Cavaliers to a national ranking as high as No. 2 and the No. 2 seed in the East Region before being eliminated in the second round of the NCAA Tournament by Michigan State.

“Tony Bennett is no longer a rising star in the coaching ranks; he is an established winner,” said USBWA President Dana O’Neil of “This year he led the Cavaliers to their second consecutive ACC regular-season title, earning the top spot in the league despite playing for a long stretch without one of his best players. On behalf of the USBWA, it is my pleasure and privilege to honor Tony Bennett.”

Including this season, the Clintonville, Wis., native now boasts a 205-97 (.679 winning percentage) overall career record in nine seasons as a college head coach. Prior to coming to Virginia, Bennett was 69-33 in three seasons at Washington State, including two NCAA Tournament appearances.

The Henry Iba Award is named in honor of the legendary Oklahoma State coach who won 655 games and two national championships in 36 seasons in Stillwater. The award is voted on by all members of the USBWA at the conclusion of the regular season. The USBWA has presented a National Coach of the Year Award each year since the 1958-59 season.

Tickets and sponsorship information for the Devon Energy College Basketball Awards are available at or by contacting Scott Hill (405-640-0406, The April 14 banquet will also honor Duke center Jahlil Okafor with the Integris Wayman Tisdale Awardas the national freshman of the year.

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. Today, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. For more information on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Joe Mitch at 314-795-6821.

Related link:
Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award

ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has selected Miami guard Shane Larkin as itsOscar Robertson National Player of the Week for games ending the week of Sunday, Feb. 3. The USBWA’s weekly honor is presented by Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook and will be handed out each Tuesday through Feb. 19 this season.


As the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Week, Larkin was nominated for the weekly award, which was chosen by a representative of the USBWA board of directors from a list of Division I conference players of the week.

Larkin, a 5-11 sophomore from Orlando, Fla., averaged 19.0 points, 4.0 assists, 4.0 steals, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 38.5 minutes for the Hurricanes, who scored a pair of road conference wins to climb to No. 8 in the Associated Press poll. Larkin hit 60.9 percent (14-23) from the field, including 7-15 (.467) from 3-point range. In a 73-64 win at Virginia Tech last Wednesday, he scored 25 points, hitting a career-high five 3-pointers. Then, on Saturday at No. 19 N.C. State, Larkin had five steals and five assists while pulling down three rebounds. He scored 13 points in the 79-78 win.

This is the fourth season that the USBWA has selected a national player of the week. The weekly Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week will be considered for the Oscar Robertson Trophy watch list, which will be released at mid-season.

Since the 1958-59 season, the USBWA has named a National Player of the Year. In 1998, the award was named in honor of the University of Cincinnati Hall of Famer and two-time USBWA Player of the Year Oscar Robertson. It is the nation’s oldest award and the only one named after a former player.

Oscar Robertson TrophyAt the conclusion of the regular season, the USBWA will name finalists for the award, which is voted on by the entire membership. The winner of the Oscar Robertson Trophy presented by Aflac will be presented by its namesake, Oscar Robertson, at the Devon Energy College Basketball Awards on April 15, 2013, at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. TheHenry Iba Coach of the Year Award and the Integris Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award will also be presented at the gala to be held annually the Monday following the NCAA Men’s Final Four.

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. With some 900 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. It has selected an All-America team since the 1956-57 season. For more information on the USBWA and the Oscar Robertson Trophy, contact executive director Joe Mitch at 314-795-6821.

Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, the most comprehensive college basketball publication in the world, returns for its 32nd season, bigger and better in 2012-13. Blue Ribbon – long-known as “The Bible of College Basketball” – gives its readers the most thorough, up-to-date and timely evaluations of every Division I team in the country. For more information about Blue Ribbon Yearbooks, visit

2012-13 Oscar Robertson National Players of the Week
• Week of Dec. 9: Brandon Paul, Illinois (Big Ten Conference)
• Week of Dec. 16: Doug McDermott, Creighton (Missouri Valley Conference)
• Week of Dec. 23: Victor Rudd, South Florida (Big East Conference)
• Week of Dec. 30: Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA (Pac-12 Conference)
• Week of Jan. 6: Trey Burke, Michigan (Big Ten Conference)
• Week of Jan. 13: Elston Turner, Texas A&M (Southeastern Conference)
• Week of Jan. 20: Roosevelt Jones, Butler (Atlantic 10 Conference)
• Week of Jan. 27: Darrun Hilliard, Villanova (Big East Conference)
• Week of Feb. 3: Shane Larkin, Miami (Atlantic Coast Conference)

By Marcus Shockley

Alex Murphy Commit Duke

Duke basketball landed a talented junior in Alex Murphy (SF, 6’8″, 2012), who has stated for some time that Duke and Florida were the two schools that were recruiting him with the most intensity. Murphy took an unofficial visit to Durham and the Duke campus last month.

Murphy is a slender forward with a good shooting touch, if a little bit on the slow side with his release. Naturally, comparisons to current Blue Devil Kyle Singler are going to be made, but Murphy definitely will need to add strength and does not look like he’s ready to play much post at the college level yet, but has a good offensive game and can handle the ball.

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Gerald Henderson knows all about the Duke vs. UNC rivalry, and even though he’s focused on his own pro career now, he’s still well aware of the implications of the game. James talked with Gerald last summer, and here’s his thoughts on the biggest rivalry in basketball:

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By Marcus Shockley

The basketball season has moved into conference play in the ACC, with Duke winning it’s conference opener against Miami at home in Durham. No surprise, really. Sorry, Hurricanes, but you’ve got three potential All-ACC players on your roster and you play like you’ve never seen a man-to-man defense. But, let’s put that aside for the moment and take a moment to discuss the landscape of the ACC. My Big East pals hate the smack talk over the ACC, and they keep telling me how the ACC is down this year, except Duke. Now, I have a crazy amount of respect for the Big East, but I also know ACC ball, and the last two years, the ‘ACC is down’ story resulted in two national champions. Kyle Singler
I also know that ACC ball is tough, and the season forges out teams that are stronger at the end of the season than the start.

So, is anyone besides Duke really a threat in the ACC this season?

The ACC has some good coaches and stellar recruits. Despite everyone declaring them dead, UNC is playing like an NCAA tournament team, quickly leaving the awful season of last year behind. No, right now, they don’t look as good as Duke, but they are talented, albeit young. Duke versus UNC is a brawl, and there is a good chance that UNC will split the games with Duke this season. No, I’m not crazy. Not only is Roy good against K, UNC is getting better by the week and both teams play all out against each other. But UNC isn’t Duke’s only threat.

Maryland has managed to take it to both Duke and Maryland even in years when it looked like Gary Williams was trying to win with a team that he rounded up from the rec the night before. He’s got a legit star and is a good coach. He’s going to be a problem for the ACC this year.

Sid Lowe is my pick for a coach who’d better get it done this season. The good news for Lowe is that NC State has more talent on this year’s team than they’ve had since the 80’s. The bad news is that they are all young. Lowe finally has a team that could compete with Duke and UNC, but he still hasn’t proven that he can stand toe-to-toe with the heavyweights. He needs to get into the NCAA tournament this season, and he needs to give UNC and Duke the same fits that Gary Williams does.

Virginia Tech was supposed to be the team that could compete with Duke this season, but so far they’ve lost their way. Wake Forest tanked when they lost their point guard, and Georgia Tech lost too much talent to the NBA. Only Florida State seems like a team with promise to compete with the upper part of the conference.

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