While a certain LeBron James was hogging the basketball betting spotlight, the college hoops scene was busy churning up some pretty bizarre storylines. And yes, we’ve even got a guy on a moped.
And you thought NBA free agency was crazy. Yes, LeBron James went back to the Cleveland Cavaliers. But other things are happening in the hoops world. The college basketball betting season never stops, and this week, we’ve been hit with some crazy storylines. You want mopeds? We got ‘em. But first, we present the tale of one elite blue-chip prospect who’s decided to give the whole NCAA thing a pass.
The SMU Mustangs were on the cusp of making it back to the Tournament last year after pounding the NCAAB lines at 27-10 SU and 20-13 ATS. But they took one on the chin Monday morning when point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, the No. 2-ranked prospect for 2014-15 according to Rivals.com, decided to turn pro instead. Mudiay is reportedly considering playing in the Chinese Basketball Association.
This one really stings. Mudiay had already shocked the world when he committed to Larry Brown and the Mustangs over both the Kentucky Wildcats and the Kansas Jayhawks. But the 6-foot-5 phenom, projected by some as the No. 1 overall betting pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, didn’t want to spend the year playing basketball and not getting paid for it. SMU was available at 25-1 on the March Madness futures market before Mudiay’s decision. Expect those basketball betting odds to tumble when the prices are updated.
Tharpe Dressed Man
Mudiay isn’t the only player who wants to get paid. Point guard Naadir Tharpe (13.3 PER) has decided not to return to the Jayhawks (25-10 SU, 16-18-1 ATS) for his senior year. Instead, he told CBS Sports last week that he’d try his hand in the D-League. Tharpe had already left the program this spring to be closer to his family in New England, including his daughter. This probably won’t hurt Kansas’ title chances too much at 14-1; Tharpe would have been competing for minutes with sophomores Frank Mason (12.6 PER) and Conner Frankamp (10.7 PER).
The Tennessee Volunteers (24-13 SU, 21-13-1 ATS) are also a man short for next year. Forward Eric McKnight (14.2 PER) was supposed to come to Knoxville after graduating from Florida Gulf Coast, who made it all the way to the Sweet Sixteen in 2013. The NCAA originally gave McKnight a waiver, but the SEC blocked the move as part of a larger ban on graduate transfers. That ban was lifted at the end of May; however, McKnight is still not being allowed to join the Vols. We’ll see if their 100-1 March Madness odds are affected by the news.
Last Dance with Mary Jane
Elsewhere in the SEC, the Georgia Bulldogs (20-14 SU, 18-14 ATS) are going to have to find a replacement for junior forward Brandon Morris (14.4 PER). He was arrested early Sunday morning for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and was kicked off the team as a result. Morris was one of four returning starters for the Bulldogs this year; they were right up there with SMU at 25-1 before the arrest was made. Morris had previously been suspended for three games last year for an undisclosed team violation that some speculate was also drug-related.
Here the one you’ve been waiting for: Iowa Hawkeyes (20-13 SU, 15-16 ATS) sophomore guard Peter Jok (16.9 PER) has been suspended indefinitely after he was arrested Monday night for driving his moped on a revoked license. Iowa City police had originally stopped Jok because of improper tail lights and the absence of a safety flag. As it turned out, Jok had already been arrested in April for riding his moped under the influence. Jok was expected to play increased minutes this year with the departure of Roy Devyn Marble (22.6 PER) to the Orlando Magic. Iowa remains a tempting NCAA basketball betting pick at 66-1 on the March Madness title odds as we go to press.