Posted by & filed under Men's Basketball.

University of Evansville point guard Duane “Boo” Gibson is recovering well from late-June surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee, Aces coach Marty Simmons said Wednesday.

“I talked to Boo today and he feels great,” Simmons said. “I think it’s going to be another three or four weeks before they begin to do some physical activity. I’m just excited at how well he feels. He feels pretty darn good and has no pain. We’ve just got to be cautious.”

Gibson, a 6-foot-3 junior, sustained the injury during a workout over the summer. He played in all 36 games last season, starting 23. He led the Aces with 36 steals while averaging 5.1 points and 2.7 assists per game.

Posted by & filed under Men's Basketball.

The University of Evansville plans to release its men’s basketball nonconference schedule Wednesday afternoon. Here’s what I already know about the schedule:

PREVIOUSLY REPORTED IN THE COURIER & PRESS 

— Home games: Belmont, Southeast Missouri State, Norfolk State on Dec. 17

— Road games: Murray State on Dec. 5, Arkansas on Dec. 8, Fresno State on Dec. 20

JUST LEARNED

The Aces will host NAIA opponent Marian University on Nov. 17. Marian, coached by former UE assistant Carson Harris, is the only non-Division I opponent on Evansville’s regular-season slate.

UE will host Mississippi Valley State on Dec. 12. The Delta Devils finished 6-25 last year, including 5-13 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

The Missouri Valley Conference portion of the schedule hasn’t been released, but there isn’t much mystery there. Each team plays the other nine conference teams twice, once at home and once on the road.

Posted by & filed under Recruiting, Women's Basketball.

Benton Central (Indiana) senior Kaylan Coffman picked up a scholarship offer from the University of Evansville women’s basketball team this weekend, according to a tweet from her AAU program, Best Choice United.

Coffman, listed in various places as 6-foot-2 or 6-foot-3, helped Benton Central hold the No. 1 ranking in Class 3A for most of last season. The Bison’s only loss came to Rochester in the Rochester Regional despite Coffman’s 23 points.

Coffman had a breakout season as a sophomore in 2013-14, averaging 18 points, eight rebounds and four blocks per game. She was named the Big School Player of the Year by the Lafayette Journal & Courier. After last season, Coffman was named honorable mention underclass all-state by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association.

Posted by & filed under Men's Basketball.

Here’s a look at what Missouri Valley Conference men’s basketball teams have been doing this summer, with summaries compiled from beat writers:

Bradley

After a furiously busy spring in which new coach Brian Wardle replaced eight players with eligibility remaining and senior Auston Barnes with eight freshmen and a transfer, Bradley was hit with another defection at summer’s end.

Senior guard Warren Jones, the Braves’ top returning scorer at 11.9 points per game, was dismissed from the team for a reported violation of team rules. Other early BU departures included Josh Cunningham, Tramique Sutherland, Xzavier Taylor, Omari Grier, Anthony Fields, Nate Wells, Jermaine Morgan and Kendahl Amerson. Jones’ dismissal left senior guard Ka’Darryl Bell, who averaged just 6.1 points last season, as the leading returning scorer.

The Bradley scholarship roster for 2015-16 is now painfully young — eight freshmen, one sophomore and two seniors. Some of the more promising first-year players during summer workouts included 5-11 point guard Joel Okafor, 6-8 forwards Luuk van Bree and Scottie James and 6-3 combo guard Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye. Sophomore forward Donte Thomas also showed improvement before undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in July. He is expected to be fully recovered before the start of fall workouts.

The program’s nearly complete facelift has allowed Wardle to establish a new culture at BU, which was 46-86 during Geno Ford’s four years as head coach. The 35-year-old coach, who won 48 games the past two years at Green Bay, has preached hard work, passion and intensity to his young team.

— Dave Reynolds, Peoria Journal Star

Drake

Drake wrapped up its European tour this week with a 2-1 record. Kale Abrahamson, a West Des Moines native who transferred back from Northwestern, scored a team-high 18 points in the Bulldogs’ last and toughest game, an 84-79 loss to BC Atletas.

C.J. Rivers contributed 10 points. Drake bolstered its depth in the post with the addition of Dominik Olejniczak, a 7-foot freshman from Poland who runs the floor well. Sophomore point guard Reed Timmer continues to be the “face” of the program.

Having 10 extra practices over the summer should help the Bulldogs, who have 11 underclassmen, including four true freshmen, four true sophomores and three guys coming off of redshirt seasons. Coach Ray Giacoletti expects the team to make a jump this season and it could move into middle of the pack within the Valley. But these guys are still young, so it feels like it’ll be another year before Drake is ready to join the Valley’s upper-division.

— Andrew Logue, Des Moines Register

Evansville

Point guard Duane Gibson tore the meniscus in his knee at the beginning of summer workouts and had surgery in late June. He is expected to return in September or October.

The rest of the summer news regarding UE is mostly positive. The Aces signed Ohio University transfer Ryan Taylor with their final scholarship, and he’s expected to contribute immediately once he becomes eligible in 2016-17. Taylor, a 6-foot-5 guard, started 28 games at Ohio as a freshman, averaging 8.1 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists.

UE center Egidijus Mockevicius competed in the World University Games, averaging 11 points and more than five rebounds in the group stage to help Lithuania advance to the quarterfinals. He sprained his ankle in the quarterfinal loss to the United States – represented by the University of Kansas – and didn’t play in Lithuania’s final two exhibition games. Aces swingman Mislav Brzoja participated in a training camp with the Croatian national team.

UE is still finalizing contracts for its non-conference schedule, but what is already completed is a marked upgrade from last season. The Aces have added a road game against Arkansas and will play Providence in the first round of the Wooden Legacy, which also features 2015 NCAA tournament participants Arizona, Michigan State, Boise State and UC Irvine. Evansville will also play a pair of respected mid-major programs in Belmont and Murray State.

— Daniel Allar, Evansville Courier & Press

Illinois State

The Redbirds went 3-1 on an exhibition tour in Spain, playing two games each in Madrid and Barcelona during a 10-day trip in August. ISU had an 17-point lead in the only game it lost, 89-87 to the Madrid All-Stars, when play was halted after Quintin Brewer broke the rim on a dunk. DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell was “spectacular and very efficient” on the trip, said ISU coach Dan Mueller, and looks poised for a huge season. The 6-5 senior guard averaged 20.7 points and 6.2 rebounds.

Muller suspended sophomore forward Deontae Hawkins after the second game in Madrid for violation of team rules and sent him home to Dayton, Ohio. However, Hawkins was back on campus and attended the first day of classes this week. When the suspension will be lifted is not clear, but players usually practice and weight lift during past Muller suspensions.

Otherwise, Muller was pleased with everything about the trip. He thought the team bonded well with five freshmen, Brewer (graduate transfer from Bethune-Cookman) and Nick Banyard (transfer from New Mexico) getting on the court with the six returners. Three freshmen — point guard Keyshawn Evans (pulled muscle in hip), guard Matt Hein (pinky finger) and center Daouda “David” Ndiaye (foot) — missed some game action, but Muller expects all to be 100 percent when practice officially begins in October.

— Jim Benson, The Pantagraph

Indiana State

The injury bug destabilized Indiana State’s 2014-15 season when Brandon Burnett, expected to play a big role, was knocked out for the season after he injured his foot in a car accident just before the season began. When T.J. Bell ruptured his Achilles and was lost for the season on July 29, Greg Lansing decided he needed to act quickly to avoid a similar fate.

Bell, a power forward/center in 2015, was projected to be a starter at the five-spot. Rather than recruit a big man late in the summer, ISU exploited a loophole to bring guard Trey Knight to ISU from Cedar Park, Texas. Immediately eligible, Knight will likely redshirt in 2015-16, given the depth of ISU’s backcourt. The idea was to make sure ISU had enough practice players to get through the season.

To get Knight, ISU put Bell on a non-participant scholarship similar to that given to injured football players who serve as managers when they’re hurt. Bell will regain his athletic scholarship in 2016-17. Since classes had not begun when this transpired, ISU could take advantage of this rarely-used-for-basketball option.

Knight is a combo guard, and along with guard St. Louis-based guard Jordan Barnes, who signed in mid-July, ISU’s scholarship allotment is maxed out for the 2016-17 season (for now).

Sophomore Brandon Murphy, junior college transfer Niels Buncschoten and freshman Emondre Rickman will fill Bell’s role by committee. Aside from Bell, Bronson Kessinger — ISU’s top true freshman recruit — will sit out the season as a redshirt. Kessinger is still recovering from a broken leg and wrist suffered during his senior high school season when he pushed from behind on a dunk attempt and fell awkwardly.

All other Sycamores are healthy and there have been no defections or dismissals since the spring.

Citadel transfer Matt Van Scyoc is the likely starter at power forward with Burnett to get significant minutes. Some combination of Khristian Smith, Brenton Scott, Devonte Brown and Everett Clemons will fill the small forward, shooting guard and point guard starting positions, respectively. Burnett will also play the three. Grant Prusator and Laquarious Paige fill out a crowded guard contingent.

ISU completed its non-conference schedule. Highlights include Wyoming’s visit in the Mountain West-MVC Challenge, participation in the Paradise Jam, and trips to Butler, Western Kentucky and Saint Louis. SLU bought ISU. Unlike their most recently two-year series, there will be no return game.

— Todd Golden, Terre Haute Tribune Star

Missouri State

It’s probably an ominous sign when fall semester classes are underway and the roster is not written in ink. That’s where Missouri State finds itself, losing one player and adding another as school begins.

Junior college guard Kevin Baker apparently did not make his qualifying grades out of Pensacola State College and has been removed from the roster. But the Bears, anticipating the scholarship opening, added 6-6 wing forward Aldonis Foote out of Trinity Valley Community College in Texas.

Foote is billed as an athletic type who could provide immediate help to a team that will have a much-different roster after an 11-20 season in Paul Lusk’s fourth year. Two other juco transfers and four freshmen join seven holdovers – but two of those veterans had offseason surgery.

Junior center Tyler McCullough had shoulder surgery for a torn ligament in June and might not be able to play until December. Senior guard Dorrian Williams had surgery for a torn labrum in his left shoulder in the spring and should be back by the start of the regular season.

— Lyndal Scranton, Springfield News-Leader

Northern Iowa

The major news over the summer dealt with the schedule Northern Iowa will play in 2015-16.

Earlier this week, the Panthers learned they would once again be part of the field for the ESPN 24-hour College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon. UNI’s opponent on Nov. 17 will be a familiar one — Stephen F. Austin. This time, though, the game is set for the McLeod Center at 7 a.m. Nov. 17.

Last season, UNI ended SFA’s 34-game home winning streak with a 79-77 win during the Tip-Off Marathon.

Head coach Ben Jacobson’s team also learned it will face host Hawaii in the first round of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic Dec. 22.

The non-conference portion of the Panthers’ 2015-16 was completed with the announcement that North Texas will come to Cedar Falls Nov. 30.

Overall, UNI will open with four straight home games, a stretch that includes the Nov. 21 matchup with North Carolina and Iowa native Marcus Paige.

— Jim Sullivan, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

Southern Illinois

Southern Illinois had a busy last two months of the summer as it finalized its roster, coaching staff and schedule.

SIU’s three main newcomers, junior college guards Mike Rodriguez and Leo Vincent and prep school forward Rudolfs Stradnieks, were unable to come to Carbondale over the summer to work out with the returnees. Rodriguez and Vincent were finishing up academic work at their respective schools and Stradnieks, a 6-foot-9, 225-pound power forward, played for the Latvian National Team at the FIBA Under-20 Championship in Italy. Stradnieks played sparingly, but competed against NBA lottery pick Kristaps Porzingis in practice and got some good international experience.

The Salukis are counting on redshirt freshman forward Austin Weiher (6-8, 205 pounds) and Stradnieks to help them inside, along with returnees Bola Olaniyan and Ibby Djimde. Junior Sean O’Brien also may play more inside this season.

SIU added three players late, 6-5 guard Sean Lloyd out of Mount Zion Prep in Baltimore, walk-on guard Aaron Siler from Lincoln Trail College and 6-6 junior college guard Jeremy Postell, and hired Brad Autry from Hawaii as its last assistant coach.

Lloyd is the nephew of two-time Missouri Valley Conference player of the year Lewis Lloyd, who has his number retired at Drake. Sean Lloyd averaged 15 points and seven rebounds per game this past season and, according to coach Barry Hinson, will help SIU out on the perimeter, defensively. Postell could also help SIU on the perimeter and is its fourth junior college transfer.

One of the youngest teams in the country this past season, SIU suddenly has three seniors, seven juniors and four freshmen, two of them redshirt freshmen.

SIU also announced its non-conference schedule, which includes seven home games, the most in school history in that portion of its schedule. The Salukis play almost all of their toughest opponents on the road: Sam Houston State, either Portland, Colorado State or UTEP at the Corpus Christi (Texas) Coastal Challenge, Murray State and Saint Louis.

–Todd Hefferman, The Southern

Wichita State

The summer ended on a down note when Wichita State’s coaching staff committed a minor NCAA violation for contact with a recruit one day before permitted. WSU reported the violation to the MVC and NCAA and will take a small hit to its recruiting calendar.

Peyton Allen, a transfer from Texas A&M, committed to WSU the next day while on his official visit, providing one of the highlights to the summer. Allen, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, will sit out this season and have three seasons of eligibility remaining. He canceled his look at schools such as Butler, Illinois State, Drake and Northwestern. Along with Conner Frankamp, he should give the Shockers a good start on their 2016-17 backcourt, when Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet are no longer around.

Reports from practice and pickup games highlight transfer center Anton Grady and freshmen Markis McDuffie and Landry Shamet as the fastest-rising newcomers. McDuffie projects as a talented scorer with significant athletic potential.

Baker played for Team USA in the Pan Am Games, starting all five games, and drew praise from ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla as the top college athlete on the roster. VanVleet made the final 16 for the 12-man roster before getting cut. He is using that to fuel summer workouts and wants to come back quicker and more athletic.

— Paul Suellentrop, The Wichita Eagle

Posted by & filed under Men's Basketball, Recruiting.

Three members of the Indy Hoosiers AAU basketball team plan to visit the University of Evansville in early September, according to Jeff Rabjohns of Peegs.com.

All three in-state, Class of 2017 prospects have received multiple Division I scholarship offers. Neese and Adaway have already been offered by UE.

The 6-foot-5 Adaway averaged 18.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.8 blocked shots last season. The 6-foot-3 Neese averaged 17.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.7 steals.

Posted by & filed under Baseball.

Former University of Evansville pitcher Kyle Freeland threw three hitless innings Friday night in his 2015 debut, helping the Grand Junction Rockies defeat the Ogden Raptors 5-0.

Freeland, the Colorado Rockies’ first-round draft pick a year ago, had been rehabilitating from shoulder fatigue and minor surgery to have bone chips removed from his arm. He finished the 2014 season in Single-A, but went back to Rookie League on the rehab assignment.

The left-hander got the start Friday but was on a pitch count. He struck out three batters and walked one.

Posted by & filed under Men's Basketball, Recruiting.

The University of Evansville basketball program has offered scholarships to Class of 2016 guards Tarkus Ferguson and Zac Saddler, according to Twitter reports.

UE is also one of 14 schools to offer 6-foot-9 rising senior power forward John Fulkerson, according to Andrew Pearson of the Asheville Citizen-Times. As a junior, Fulkerson set a single-season record with 93 blocks for Christ School in Arden, North Carolina, while averaging 10 points and 6.1 rebounds.

Saddler tweeted the news Monday. The 6-6 Saddler averaged 20.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists as a junior at New Braunfels (Texas) High School.

https://twitter.com/ZSaddler/status/623189658663456769

News of Ferguson’s offer also hit Twitter on Monday, first reported by a coach with his AAU program, the Southwest Illinois Jets.

Ferguson helped Althoff Catholic to its first appearance in the Illinois Class 3A state championship game as a junior, averaging 14 points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. Evansville’s Missouri Valley Conference rivals Southern Illinois and Missouri State are also among Ferguson’s six Division I scholarship offers, according to his Verbal Commits page.

Saddler also holds an offer to Texas-Rio Grande Valley, which is set to join the Western Athletic Conference in 2015.

Saddler has a fairly comprehensive highlight tape published after the 2014-15 high school season.

Ferguson has several video snippets on the internet, including this impressive recent dunk.

Posted by & filed under Men's Basketball, Recruiting.

The men’s basketball coaching staff at the University of Evansville continues to go after in-state prospects.

According to an article Sunday by Kyle Neddenriep of the Indianapolis Star, Evansville is one of several school that have offered a scholarship to Fort Wayne Carroll forward Kyle Mallers.

The 6-foot-6 Mallers is set to graduate in 2016. He averaged 12.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals during his junior season while sinking 45 of 119 3-point attempts (37.8 percent). Carroll went 23-4, losing 59-57 in a Class 4A regional to eventual state champion Homestead.

Mallers was one of six players named to the Indiana Junior All-Stars core team.

According to Neddenriep, Mallers holds scholarship offers from Akron, Ball State, Central Michigan, Evansville, Indiana State, Kent State, Ole Miss and Toledo.

Mallers said in the story he would like to visit UE.

Mallers is the fourth in-state, high school player to receive an offer from the Aces. The others: Class of 2016 guard Dru Smith (Reitz), Class of 2017 guard Cooper Neese (Cloverdale) and Class of 2017 forward Jack Nunge (Castle). Ohio University transfer Ryan Taylor, a native of Gary, Indiana, reportedly visited UE on Saturday.

Posted by & filed under Men's Basketball, Recruiting.

The University of Evansville men’s basketball team is reportedly courting Ohio University transfer Ryan Taylor to fill its one remaining scholarship.

Taylor started 28 games as a true freshman last season, ranking fourth on the Bobcats at 8.1 points per game. The 6-foot-5 wing player also averaged 2.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists.

Jason Arkley, who covers Ohio for the Athens Messenger, tweeted Saturday that Taylor was taking an official visit to UE.

Taylor scored in double figures nine times in 2014-15, including a career-high 21 points in his collegiate debut against Appalachian State.

Evansville coach Marty Simmons said earlier this summer the Aces were still looking to fill their final scholarship, but hadn’t progressed to the point of a campus visit with any prospects. At the time, he said he would prefer to add a college transfer rather than a late high school signee.

Posted by & filed under Men's Basketball, Recruiting.

The University of Evansville reportedly offered a men’s basketball scholarship to Adrian Moore this spring.

Moore, a 6-foot-4, 185-pound wing player, also holds offers from Tulsa and Wake Forest, according to a July 10 Rivals.com article. And other high-major programs have shown interest in Moore, according to the Rivals.com story.

The North Little Rock High School (Ark.) senior-to-be took an unofficial visit to Kansas and has heard from LSU, Georgia, Houston and Arizona, among others.

Moore has a few highlight videos on Youtube, but the following one appears to be the most recent. If you can get past the monotonous music (or just mute the video), you’ll see why Moore is drawing all the attention. He can clearly finish above the rim and appears to possess a decent shooting stroke.

Moore is one of three Class of 2016 players who have drawn scholarship offers from UE; the others are guards Dru Smith (Reitz HS) and Christian Willis (Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis). The Aces also extended offers within the last week to a pair of in-state 2017 prospects: forward Jack Nunge and guard Cooper Neese.

Posted by & filed under Baseball.

Another periodic update on how former University of Evansville baseball players are faring in the minor leagues:

 

Kyle Freeland, the No. 8 overall pick to the Colorado Rockies last season, hasn’t pitched in a game yet this season. He is currently with the Rookie League Grand Junction Rockies to rehabilitate from shoulder fatigue and a minor surgery to have bone chips removed from his arm, according to the Denver Post.

Eric Stamets, a 23-year-old shortstop in the Los Angeles Angels organization, is batting .249 for the Double-A Arkansas Travelers. Known for his slick fielding, Stamets has an on-base percentage of .303 with 11 extra-base hits in 49 games (10 doubles, one home run).

Sam Johns, a 6-foot-2 right-handed reliever, has a 4.63 ERA in 22 appearances with the Class A Hagerstown Suns, a Washington Nationals affiliate. Johns has allowed 36 hits and 10 walks while striking out 19 in 35 innings. He is 0-2 and has two saves in three opportunities.

— Catcher Kyle Pollock has seen his production increase since being demoted from Class A to the Rookie League Idaho Falls Chukars of the Kansas City Royals organization. In 14 games with Idaho Falls, Pollock is batting .302 with six RBIs and seven extra-base hits (five doubles, one triple, one homer). He was hitting just .214 with the Class A Lexington Legends.

— Right-handed pitcher Kyle Lloyd is 5-6 in 11 starts with the High-A Lake Elsinore Storm, a San Diego Padres affiliate. Lloyd’s last two appearances have come in relief. On Thursday, he struck out eight in three innings, but also allowed three hits, a walk and an earned run. For the season, Lloyd has a 4.63 ERA with 84 strikeouts and 25 walks in 79 2/3 innings.

Posted by & filed under Men's Basketball, Recruiting.

Castle High School forward Jack Nunge picked up a scholarship offer from the University of Evansville men’s basketball program Saturday, according to Nunge’s AAU program.

Nunge is the second Class of 2017 player the UE coaching staff has offered while at the Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis; Cloverdale High School guard Cooper Neese also drew an offer from the Aces this weekend.

Already 6-foot-9 going into his junior year of high school, Nunge projects to be a stretch forward at the college level. He averaged 13.1 points and 6.2 rebounds for Castle last season while knocking down 26 of 68 3-point attempts (38 percent).

Evansville is the first school known to have offered a scholarship to Nunge.