Jeff Eisenberg

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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of the Dagger. Prior to joining Yahoo! Sports in Feb. 2010, Eisenberg worked for 4 1/2 years at The Press-Enterprise covering everything from UCLA basketball, to USC football, to the Los Angeles Lakers. If he's not watching basketball, you'll usually find Eisenberg enjoying the California sunshine, sampling craft brews or cooking on the grill.

  • Newly released Battle 4 Atlantis bracket not as loaded as usual

    Wisconsin celebrates the 2014 Battle 4 Atlantis crown (AP)
    Wisconsin celebrates the 2014 Battle 4 Atlantis crown (AP)

    In 2012, the Battle 4 Atlantis featured five preseason Top 25 teams. In 2014, every team in the field besides Florida made the NCAA tournament. Last year, the four semifinalists each went on to win at least one NCAA tournament game.

    The Battle 4 Atlantis has produced some astonishingly strong fields since its inception, so the 2016 first-round matchups announced Wednesday feel a little underwhelming by comparison.

    One half of the draw will feature Louisville-Old Dominion and Wichita State-LSU. The other will include Michigan State-St. John’s and Baylor-VCU.

    Granted Michigan State is expected to land in the preseason top 10 this fall and Louisville has preseason top 20 potential, but there may not be another top 25 team in the bunch.

    Wichita State is entering a transition year without Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet. Baylor must replace first-round pick Taurean Prince and rebounding machine Rico Gathers. LSU loses Ben Simmons and two

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  • Heralded Buffalo transfer will be coveted by high majors

    Lamonte Bearden (AP)
    Lamonte Bearden (AP)

    The point guard who led Buffalo to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances the past two seasons will seek a bigger stage to showcase his talents.

    The Bulls announced Wednesday that leading scorer Lamonte Bearden intends to transfer. Bearden will sit out the 2016-17 season and then have two years of eligibility remaining at his new destination.

    “I spoke with Lamonte Bearden last week about his basketball future and he thought it would be in his best interest to transfer,” Buffalo coach Nate Oats said in a statement. “Even though I am disappointed in his decision, I want him to be at peace with where he is at. He has been given his release to pursue other options.”

    Credit Buffalo for granting him a full release even though his decision came far later in the offseason calendar than most transfers. Bearden will seek a high-major program with a vacant scholarship and playing time available at point guard following next season.

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  • Five-star center's commitment is big for Illinois coach John Groce

    AP_918512016677If the potential for a huge 2017 recruiting class was among the biggest reasons Illinois opted to show patience with John Groce last spring, then the fifth-year coach is making that decision look wise.

    Groce is assembling a class deep and talented enough to one day help the Illini return to Big Ten title contention.

    The latest addition to the class is Jeremiah Tilmon, a five-star center rated Rivals.com’s No. 24 prospect in the 2017 class. Tilmon, the highest rated recruit Groce has landed during his tenure, committed to the Illini on Monday despite offers from the likes of Kansas, North Carolina, Michigan State, Texas and Missouri.

    Tilmon joins a class that already includes two other Illinois natives.

    llinois already has landed a commitment from guard Da’Monte Williams, the son of

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  • Larry Brown abruptly resigns at SMU amid contract dispute

    Larry Brown (AP)
    Larry Brown (AP)

    When SMU began searching for a new basketball coach in March 2012, school officials were eager to make a splashy hire.

    A Mustangs program that hadn’t made the NCAA tournament since 1993 sought a jolt of energy from a proven winner in time for its move to the higher-profile American Athletic Conference the following year.

    An overly ambitious coaching search targeted the likes of Marquette’s Buzz Williams, St Louis’ Rick Majerus and Harvard’s Tommy Amaker, but each turned down lucrative offers. Only then did SMU turn its attention to basketball’s ultimate vagabond, a coach with a reputation for delivering spectacular success before running afoul of NCAA rules and abruptly moving on to his next gig.

    Larry Brown’s four-year SMU tenure followed that exact pattern. The hall of fame coach quickly made the long-struggling Mustangs relevant in college basketball before major NCAA violations tarnished that success and a contract dispute paved the way for his latest hasty exit.

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  • Could new AD's hire alter Jim Boeheim's retirement timetable?

    Jim Boeheim (AP)
    Jim Boeheim (AP)

    From the moment Syracuse announced last year that Jim Boeheim intends to retire after the 2017-18 season, there has been speculation that the legendary basketball coach has no intention of sticking to that timetable.

    That will only increase now that the Orange have hired a new athletic director who has a strong relationship with Boeheim.

    John Wildhack, ESPN’s executive vice president for programming and production, has been hired to replace Mark Coyle as Syracuse’s athletic director, the school said Wednesday. The ESPN executive is a Buffalo native, a 1980 graduate of Syracuse and a longtime friend of Boeheim.

    Boeheim told Syracuse.com he views Wildhack’s hire as “a great positive.” He was non-committal about how Wildhack’s arrival would affect his retirement date, telling Syracuse.com “We’re trying to get a lot better for this coming year. I’m really focused on that right now.”

    Syracuse’s announcement of Boeheim’s retirement timetable in March 2015 arrived soon after

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  • Kansas lands coveted transfer Malik Newman

    Mississippi State transfer Malik Newman is Kansas-bound (AP)
    Mississippi State transfer Malik Newman is Kansas-bound (AP)

    If Kansas endures massive roster turnover as anticipated next spring, the Jayhawks at least now have some insurance.

    They secured a commitment on Friday from one of the most intriguing transfers available this offseason.

    Ex-Mississippi State guard Malik Newman, a former top 10 prospect in the 2015 class, will continue his career at Kansas. The 6-foot-3 sophomore will sit out the 2016-17 season per transfer rules but has three years of eligibility remaining thereafter.

    Hailed as one of the elite prospects in his class after earning MVP honors at the FIBA U-17 World Championships two years ago, Newman did not live up to expectations in his lone season at Mississippi State. Newman averaged 11.3 points per game, but he shot barely 40 percent from inside the arc, turned the ball over nearly two times per game and earned just 67 trips to the foul line.

    At Mississippi State, Newman played mostly off ball and struggled to adjust to

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  • Heralded prospect turns pro instead of coming to Arizona

    Arizona signee Terrance Ferguson will instead play professionally next year (AP)
    Arizona signee Terrance Ferguson will instead play professionally next year (AP)

    No longer does Arizona have such a glut of talent at wing next season.

    The school confirmed on Thursday that McDonald’s All-American shooting guard Terrance Ferguson will pursue professional opportunities instead of playing for the Wildcats. Ferguson, Rivals.com’s No. 14 prospect in the 2016 class, is expected to sign with the Adelaide 36ers of Australia’s National Basketball League.

    “I hope this next chapter of his basketball career goes well, and his goal of one day becoming an NBA player is realized,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said in a release from the school.

    While Ferguson’s decision to turn pro may reignite the conversation about whether more elite prospects will consider skipping college, the reality is it shouldn’t. The high-profile prospects who have passed on college to play professionally overseas have typically done so because of eligibility concerns.

    Brandon Jennings was unsure if he could

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  • Believe it or not, Perry Ellis is now endorsing Perry Ellis

    Seldom has there been a more perfect marriage between a company and the athlete endorsing it.

    Perry Ellis, the former Kansas basketball star, shared on social media on Wednesday that he has landed a sponsorship deal with Perry Ellis, the clothing brand.

    The sportswear brand released a statement to Yahoo Sports on Thursday morning confirming the clever partnership between namesakes. Lisa Kauffman, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Marketing Officer for Perry Ellis, said the company is “very excited about the association” because the “playful partnership stays true to the fun, lighthearted nature of the brand.”

    Asked to provide further details about how the sponsorship deal was conceived and what the campaign will include in the future, Perry Ellis clothing brand publicist David

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  • Five-star center picks Western Kentucky over higher-profile schools

    Western Kentucky coach Rick Stansbury (AP)
    Western Kentucky coach Rick Stansbury (AP)

    Whether as the head coach at Mississippi State or an assistant at Texas A&M, Rick Stansbury has shown he can attract elite prospects to high-major programs.

    Now the new Western Kentucky coach is proving he can also do it at a less prestigious destination.

    Stansbury on Wednesday received a commitment from center Mitchell Robinson, Rivals.com’s No. 11 prospect in the 2017 class and one of high school basketball’s top shot blockers and rebounders. Robinson’s Dallas-based AAU team confirmed the commitment on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon.

    How does a five-star big man commit to an out-of-state program that fired its coach this past spring after losing 16 games and finishing below .500 in Conference USA? His loyalty to Stansbury apparently outweighed

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  • This stat should be a reality check for future NBA draft hopefuls

    Here's a statistic that should serve as a lesson for the 2017 draft class.

    Of the 44 college players selected Thursday night in this year's NBA draft, all but two received invites to the draft combine in Chicago last month. The exceptions were Iowa State senior Abdel Nader and Cal senior Tyrone Wallace, two of the final three players selected in Thursday's second round.

    What that suggests is future NBA hopefuls would be wise to take advantage of the new rules governing the early-entry process and wait until after the May combine to decide whether to stay in the draft or not. Those not among the roughly 70 draft combine invitees have little chance of being drafted and even less hope of being taken high enough to receive a guaranteed contract. 

    Whereas the NCAA's draconian rules have forced previous draft classes to decide by late-April whether to turn pro or return to school, a much-needed rule change allowed this year's prospects until one week after the May combine to make that

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