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UConn, Walker prove San Diego State had problems guarding perimeter

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They had a great season, won the first two NCAA Tournament games for the program, and even boasted a bona-fide pro prospect player who will likely bolt for the NBA Draft.

Yes, San Diego State was a fun little team to follow from the Mountain West Conference, but tonight UConn asserted themselves on the perimeter…er…Kemba Walker scored 36 points with a big broad grin on his face en route to a 74-67 victory.

Walker was absolutely prolific tonight, most notably during a stretch in the second half where he scored 14 consecutive points and set Twitter aflutter.

That, complimented by rising star Jeremy Lamb’s 24 points, confirmed to me my developing suspicions on the Achilles Heels heel of this Aztecs squad: they can’t stop the dribble drivers. In fact, they can’t even contain them. They also really like to jack three-pointers when they should just enter the ball into the post, but that’s besides the point.

While we gush over Jimmer Fredette and Walker’s superior scoring abilities, touting them as unstoppable, we must be honest with ourselves and acknowledge that every player is at least containable. Jimmer was slowed tonight by Florida, and Walker was tempered for much of the last month of the regular season. Neither player was hardly even bothered though when matched-up against Steve Fischer’s club.

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In three games against BYU, tonight against UConn, and a game wayyy back in November against Gonzaga the Aztecs yielded point totals to their opponent’s star player of 43, 25, 30, 36, and 35 against the Bulldogs Steven Gray, respectively. With the exception of Fredette’s 25-point performance in mid-February, all those point totals were above or well above the player’s scoring average.  It’s not necessarily a knock on the defensive abilities of the Aztecs perimeter players, but more of a lack of understanding from the entire team on why it’s of uber-importance to pay a lot of attention to a ball handler who can score, or get to a place where he can score, once he steps across half-court.

Perhaps this sort of flaw went overlooked because SDSU only lost three games all season, but the evidence was there to suggest they would really, really have problems with Walker tonight, and they did.  The UConn junior was left open on the perimeter, saw his defender frequently go below the screen to allow the wide open jumper, and he got into the lane and hit that mid-range jumper.

It may be hard to argue that there’s a way to stop Kemba Walker, but there’s got to be a way to at least contain him and give yourself a real opportunity to win.

Nick Fasulo is the manager of Searching for Billy Edelin. Follow him on Twitter @billyedelin.

VIDEO: Arizona commit Terrance Ferguson throws down under-the-legs dunk after making 3-pointer

"CHARLOTTE, NC - JULY 9: Terrance Ferguson during the 2015 Under Armour All-America Basketball Camp on July 9, 2015 at Queens College in Charlotte, NC. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Under Armour)"
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Arizona commit Terrance Ferguson has been known as one of the best dunkers in the country for the last few years. So you knew the 6-foot-6 wing was going to attempt the latest internet dunk craze that’s been going around.

Some call it the, “5-point play” in which the dunker makes a 3-pointer and immediately sprints following the shot release to catch the make for an under-the-legs dunk.

It’s as tough as it sounds and Ferguson makes it look easy.

VIDEO: Manute Bol’s 6’11” son Bol Bol throws down in-game under-the-legs dunk

McPherson's Jacob Loecker attempts to steal the ball form Shawnee Mission-Bishop Miege's Bol Bol during the first quarter of the boys' Class 4A Division I state championship basketball game Saturday, March 12, 2016, in Salina, Kan. (Travis Morrise/The Hutchinson News via AP)
(Travis Morrise/The Hutchinson News via AP)
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Bol Bol is the son of former NBA center Manute Bol, and the younger Bol is earning quite a bit of attention himself as a five-star prospect in the Class of 2018.

The 6-foot-11 Bol showed off some of his freakish coordination and athleticism on Friday night, by ripping a steal and taking it coast-to-coast for an under-the-legs dunk in the middle of a game at the Jayhawk Invitational.

Bol will be one of the players to watch this spring as he plays with KC Run GMC.

Iowa State guard Naz Mitrou-Long gets hardship waiver to play additional year

Iowa State guard Nazareth Mitrou-Long defends Buffalo guard Jarryn Skeete during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 84-63. (AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
(AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
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Iowa State got a boost to its roster for next season as senior guard Naz Mitrou-Long has been granted a hardship waiver by the Big 12 conference.

“Everything happens for a reason and although it hurt to not be able to play for a group of guys I loved last year, my body needed time to recover and that time off allowed me to feel the best I’ve felt since my freshman year,” Mitrou-Long said in the release. “I’m glad I’ll be able to play for the best fans in the country and represent the name on the front of my jersey, Iowa State, one more year. Words can’t describe this feeling. Cyclone Nation, be ready for a special year.”

The 6-foot-4 Long played in eight games last season for Iowa State as he averaged 12 points per game. He missed the rest of the season to deal with pain in his surgically repaired hips. Mitrou-Long has been a very effective three-point shooter during his career at Iowa State and he should be a nice option to have for next season if he’s healthy.

CIAA will stay in North Carolina despite state’s LGBT law

Protesters rally against House Bill 2 in Raleigh, N.C.,  Monday, April 25, 2016. While demonstrations circled North Carolina's statehouse on Monday, for and against a Republican-backed law curtailing protections for LGBT people and limiting public bathroom access for transgender people, House Democrats filed a repeal bill that stands little chance of passing. (Chuck Liddy/The News & Observer via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
(Chuck Liddy/The News & Observer via AP)
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association says it won’t move its headquarters, its basketball tournament or other conference championships from North Carolina, despite the state’s controversial new LGBT law.

The CIAA said in a statement Thursday that it will instead partner with the NCAA to educate its members on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues as it does on other issues, like graduation rates and concussion management.

The Charlotte Observer reports that the CIAA, the oldest African-American sports conference in the U.S., has hosted its annual basketball tournament in Charlotte since 2006 and announced it was moving its headquarters to Charlotte from Virginia in 2015.

The CIAA said Thursday that it will continue to “monitor the issues,” as it has since House Bill 2 passed.

 

VIDEOS: Stephen Curry’s personally invites athletes to his select camp

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, left, holds the championship trophy and Andre Iguodala holds the series MVP trophy as they celebrate winning the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Cleveland, Wednesday, June 17, 2015. The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers 105-97 to win the best-of-seven game series 4-2. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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As he did last year, the NBA’s MVP is sending out personal invites to Under Armour’s SC30 Select Camp for some of the best high school and college point guards in the country.

It’s a pretty cool thing for the kids. Can you imagine how you would feel as a high school junior getting a personalized invitation to a camp from Stephen Curry himself?