Three Things — April 8: Naismith Starting Five, San Diego State lands transfer, more draft declarations

Eli Boettger | @boettger_eli | 04/08/20

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Welcome back to Three Things!

The intention of Three Things is simple: Keeping you informed. The offseason can be a busy time and college basketball isn’t always on everyone’s radars from April to October.

Here’s how it will work: Every morning, Monday through Friday, we will provide you with three things that you need to know from the previous day. Pretty simple, right? You’ll be amazed by your new college basketball wisdom!

Here are the three things you need to know for April 8.

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Naismith Starting Five

The annual Naismith Starting Five was released on Tuesday, naming the season’s five positional award winners. These awards are named after five of the game’s icons, including Bob Cousy (point guard), Jerry West (shooting guard), Julius Erving (small forward), Karl Malone (power forward) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (center).

Here are the 2019-20 winners: Payton Pritchard (Oregon), Myles Powell (Seton Hall), Saddiq Bey (Villanova), Obi Toppin (Dayton) and Luka Garza (Iowa). No big surprises.

San Diego State lands transfer

While the Aztecs await the hugely important draft decision from star guard Malachi Flynn, Brian Dutcher has reeled in another high-scoring backcourt member. Terrell Gomez, formerly of Cal State Northridge, announced his commitment to SDSU on Tuesday, bringing a heavy scoring pop along with him.

Gomez is one of the nation’s top shooters, drilling 228 3-pointers over the past two seasons, the third-highest total in college basketball. The 5-8 guard is automatic at the charity stripe as well, knocking down 89 percent of his free throw attempts in his career. Defensively, Gomez will have to step things up, though he should be made better by the players around him at SDSU. A Gomez-Flynn duo would be much-watch television.

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More draft declarations

In terms of draft declarations, Tuesday was a blockbuster. Several big names announced their professional intentions: Jalen Smith (Maryland), Nico Mannion (Arizona), Cassius Stanley (Duke), Chris Smith (UCLA), Kofi Cockburn (Illinois) and Saddiq Bey (Villanova).

Smith is the most surprising declaration of the group. The junior forward led UCLA with 13.1 points per game this past season and said he is “100 percent committed to the process” despite not appearing on several mock drafts and currently ranking outside of ESPN’s top 70. Without Smith’s contributions, Mick Cronin’s team will likely bump up the role of Cody Riley (20.4 minutes per game) and throw in some small-ball offense with lengthy perimeter shooter Jake Kyman. The Bruins don’t really have any other options.


Eli Boettger is a college basketball writer and founder of HeatCheckCBB.com. He has previously worked for Sporting News, DAZN and USA TODAY SMG.

Boettger’s content has been featured by Bleacher Report, NBC Sports, FiveThirtyEight, Yahoo Sports, Athletic Director University, Washington Post, Illinois Law Review and Notre Dame Law Review, among other publications. Boettger is also a current USBWA member and Rockin’ 25 voter.