The Blind Side, Part II: In considering who might be the “next mid-major star” in his Aug. 30 article on ESPN.com, Jeff Goodman listed College of Charleston’s Adjehi Baru, a 6-9 junior forward from the Ivory Coast. Baru averaged 9.8 points and 8.3 rebounds for the Cougars last season. Goodman noted that Baru “can rebound at a high level. Imagine a poor man’s Kenneth Faried. His skill level should continue to improve.” Baru’s background brings to mind the movie The Blind Side, as the Charleston standout has an American family—the Branins of Richmond, Va. Baru and Pat Branin, a junior guard for the Cougars, were recruited to Charleston by former coach Bobby Cremins in the spring of 2011. You can see Baru's game in the inaugural Wooden Legacy, beginning Nov. 28.
Hurricane Update: Jim Larrañaga has had his contract as the head basketball coach at the University of Miami extended through May 31, 2022. The announcement was made on Sept. 5 by Blake James, director of athletics. In two seasons at Miami, Larrañaga has amassed a 49-20 record. He earned three national coach-of-the-year honors after the 2012-'13 season, when he led the Hurricanes to 29 wins—including capturing the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season and tournament championships—and a Sweet 16 spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Freshman Spotlight: George Washington incoming freshman Skyler White was featured in an Aug. 29 video on the Colonials’ basketball website. A 6-foot-8 forward from Clyde Hill, Wash., White played the past two seasons at Northfield Mount Hermon School (Mass.), a prep program that had more than two dozen players competing in NCAA Division I during the 2012-'13 season. This past season, White helped the Hoggers to a 29-5 overall record and the 2013 National Prep Championship title. White had also played at Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish, Wash., and Bronxville High School in Bronxville, N.Y., during his scholastic career. He also suited up for England’s U-18 National Team during its run to the 2010 Haris Memorial Tournament title.
Tough Ticket: As of Sept. 2, San Diego State had fewer than 100 men’s basketball season tickets available for 2013-'14. At Viejas Arena, rated as having the fifth-best atmosphere in the country by the Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy, the Aztecs have played in front of 22 straight capacity crowds. On the road, the team’s play has also attracted many fans; San Diego State defeated UCLA last Dec. 1 before an audience of 17,204 at the Honda Center, where the 2013 Wooden Legacy will be played on the same day this season.
More tidbits to come.