Sights, sounds from first practices
Monday provided a visual glimpse of what's ahead in 2022-23. Plus, K-State adds another 2023 recruit, an early look at 2025 prospects, news from the day and more.
Maybe Mondays aren’t so bad. Many college basketball teams held their first practices of the 2022-23 season yesterday (many more start today), giving Twitter feeds some good news to share (for once). Also nice? The Almanac finally landed in inboxes. Savor it. At 814 pages, it’s meant to be consumed over the course of the next five-to-six weeks.
If you wrap on Nov. 6, that’s perfect.
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Now, let’s get to the news.
1. Sights for hoops eyes
Who knew the first day of practice was such an occasion to smile?
If a picture is worth a thousand words, I’m gonna save most of those for other parts of today’s Daily, and let the good work done by various social media managers (and others) carry the first headline.
For those who prefer audio with their visuals, you’re in luck. Plenty of teams sent out first-day videos. Among them: Butler, BYU, Carolina, Clemson, Creighton, Duke, Gonzaga and Texas Tech. And that’s just for starters. More will trickle through social media in the coming days, reminding us that the season is just a few weeks away.
What a welcome sight.
2. K-State’s 2023 class beefs up
New Kansas State coach Jerome Tang snagged his backcourt of the future this summer with RJ Jones and Dai Dai Ames. Now he’s got some muscle up front.
The 6-7, 225-pound Macaleab Rich is a 3-star prospect out of St. Louis who thrived last summer thanks to his powerful build and athleticism. He says he’ll “do whatever I have to do to help the team win,” which only cements the idea that Tang is building a contender in Manhattan.
After all, the Big 12 already features its share of bruising, defensive-minded teams, and will only get better with the likes of Houston and Cincinnati coming in for the 2023-24 season. Even if Tang can’t put together an NCAA Tournament squad this season, don’t expect that to last.
Also on the recruiting front:
Chris Coleman, a 6-9 forward from South Plains JC, is headed to UAB.
Class of 2023 forward Jonathan Ogunfuye is headed to Mount St. Mary’s.
Wisconsin Green Bay added Marcus Hall, a 6-6 wing out of Weston, Wisc.
3. Let the 2025 arguments begin!
Cooper Flagg or Cameron Boozer? Which 2025 player do you think is better? That’ll be the question for the next two years. Maybe. (In the spirit of remembering that these are high school sophomores, nothing should be absolute.)
Those two big men unsurprisingly occupied the top two spots of On3.com’s newly released 2025 rankings, followed by Isiah Harwell, Darryn Peterson and Jamier Jones. There will certainly be changes in the next few years before they decide on a college or professional route. But most of the attention now centers on those big guys.
On3 highlighted Flagg’s elite defense and versatility, not to mention his hoops IQ. That was on full display this summer when he was perhaps the key part of Team USA’s Gold medal at the FIBA U17 World Cup (which also featured elite 2023 prospects such as DJ Wagner, Ron Holland and Jeremy Fears.
Then again, when Flagg faced Boozer at Peach Jam this summer, Boozer dominated, and his team won. Boozer’s also younger than Flagg. On3 describes this as more of a 1a and 1b scenario. There’s more on the rankings here, including its abundance of wings and how players grade out thus far.
THE FAST BREAK
Links as you wonder if NASA just now watched the movie Armageddon.
BYU likely won’t have Trevin Nell until 2023 due to a torn rotator cuff.
Georgia Tech fired football coach Geoff Collins on Monday. As Kevin Sweeney notes, that might be a good sign for Josh Pastner.
Aaron Bradshaw, a consensus Top 10 recruit in 2023, will announce his college of choice on Nov. 16.
Kentucky’s annual Blue-White game will be in Pikeville on Oct. 22. Proceeds go to benefit flood relief in the eastern part of the state.
Shaq will be at Late Night in the Phog with Kansas on Oct. 14.
TALES FROM THE ALMANAC
Freshmen who’ll need to grow up fast
Tennessee was one of the few programs that didn’t open practices Monday (it starts today). That allowed Rick Barnes to hit the golf course one last time before turning his attention to yet another talented Vols roster — in particular, freshman Julian Phillips.
Speaking at his Emerald Youth Golf Classic, Barnes told the Knoxville News that Phillips is “a whole different weapon in some ways” because of his versatility. The 6-8 wing headlined Tennessee’s 2022 recruiting class and is probably a one-and-done player. As Rob Dauster wrote in The Almanac (available now), sophomore Zakai Zeigler and senior Josiah-Jordan James will set the tone for Tennessee, but Phillips is the X-Factor who could elevate them into an SEC contender and potential Final Four team.
The Vols are probably a step behind Kentucky and Arkansas in the SEC, but it’s worth remembering that they’ve finished tied for 1st or 2nd in three of the past five seasons. Underestimate Barnes’ regular-season acumen at your own risk.
Also, an important note: If you’re still waiting on your Almanac, try this: Go to the original email you received when you pre-ordered, there will be a link that says "Bookmark This Page." You can download the file at that link. (It’ll be worth the wait, but we are working on making it easier for next season.)
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