Zagoria: Countdown to the Early Signing Period: 10 Top Committed and Uncommitted Prep Prospects

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The NCAA early signing period for basketball runs from Nov. 13-20, and even with Tuesday’s commitment by Trey Lyles to Kentucky, there’s still a slew of elite prospects and future NBA lottery picks left on the board.

Here’s a look at the top 10 uncommitted and committed prospects in the Class of 2014, including perhaps the projected top three overall picks in the 2015 NBA draft.

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Tweet of the Day: Rubio Excited for Wolves Basketball

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As expected, the Minnesota Timberwolves have picked up the fourth year options on Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams contract’s, the team announced today.

It’s been speculated the third year players would both be picked up to avoid unnecessary bidding wars with another team once they hit free agency.

Rubio, who’s career is finally on track, was excited about the news.

 

Everything in Minny seems perfect now, but things weren’t always that way in the Twin Cities.

After being drafted fifth overall by the Wolves in 2009, red flags were immediately raised.

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It was suspected Rubio didn’t want to play in Minnesota because of the lousy team and the frigid weather.

Just after being drafted, Rubio’s father stated to a Spanish media outlet that his son would be staying in Spain for one more season. The following offseason a similar announcement about Rubio staying overseas to play with Barcelona was made.

The point guard finally began playing with the Wolves in the 2011-2012 season. After putting up impressive numbers in the first half of the season, Rubio found himself out of the Timberwolves lineup again, this time it wasn’t by choice.

During a game against the Los Angeles Lakers in March of 2012, Rubio suffered a knee injury that would later be revealed as a torn ACL.

With only 41 NBA games under his belt, concern about his future in Minnesota was put in question again. After missing nine months with injury, Rubio returned to action in December of 2012.

Since the return, Rubio has become a leader on the team. Averaging 10.7 points, 7.3 assists and 2.4 steals per game, it appears he’s found his niche in the league.

NCAA Selection Sunday: Names and Games to Know About

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Sportsbook.agIt’s Selection Sunday, and March Madness officially kicks off this week.  Now that the brackets are out, office productivity around the country will take a nose dive.

While there is so much excitement around the games and tradition, NBA teams will be watching closely trying to find their next draft pick.

Here is a look at a few games and top prospects in each region to keep an eye on.

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Minnesota Golden Gophers: Five Facts for the NCAA Tourney

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Sportsbook.agFor the first time since 2010, the Minnesota Golden Gophers are back in the NCAA Tournament. They’re on their way there behind head coach Tubby Smith and a starting lineup worth marveling.

So what is it that you should know about Minnesota?

1. If there is only one name you should know on Minnesota’s team, it’s third team All-Big Ten selection Trevor Mbakwe. Mbakwe is a massive load on the interior, standing at 6’8″ and 245 pounds. He puts his size to good use, averaging 10.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in just 24.9 minutes of action.

2. Minnesota stumbled into the NCAA Tournament, having lost 11 of their past 16 games. With that being said, they own victories over No. 3 Indiana, No. 8 Michigan State, No. 10 Ohio State, No. 20 Memphis and No. 22 Wisconsin.

3. I previously said that Trevor Mbakwe was the one worth knowing if there was only one name to learn. Fortunately, you have the opportunity to know the starting five—Andre Hollins, Austin Hollins, Rodney Williams, Joe Coleman and Mbakwe. These five players account for 78.7 percent of the team’s total scoring.

4. Andre and Austin Hollins are not related. What they are, however, is one heck of a backcourt tandem that accounts for 24.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.8 steals per game. Austin, for the record, is the son of Memphis Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins.

5. Seven of Minnesota’s 12 losses have come by single-digits. 14 of their 20 wins have come by double-digits.

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NCAA Tournament Teams Five Facts Index

2013 NBA Draft: Top Power Forwards

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Think back to the days of Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, and even Kevin McHale and what a power forward meant to teams. For the most part this position was filled by players with low-post games who were very good rebounders.

Flash forward to the new generation of superstar power forwards, and you see an aging group led by champions Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kevin Garnett. The major difference between these newer stars and those Hall of Famers is the versatility the younger generation brings to the court.

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