Kentucky Wildcats forward Anthony Davis cuts a piece of the net after the Wildcats defeated the Baylor Bears in their men's NCAA South Regional basketball game in Atlanta

Thoughts on potential pros at the Final Four

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Be it the coaching carousel or a player’s NBA Draft prospects, it’s fascinating to watch the impact that these three weeks can have. While all four head coaches in the Final Four are more than secure in their positions, what about the players?

There will be some surefire lottery selections on display in New Orleans, and there will also be some guys who may not receive much publicity in June (in whatever year they enter the draft) yet wind up hanging around the league for quite some time.

Guaranteed successes? Likely busts? Role players on playoff teams? Here are a few possibilities.

Louisville

The Cardinals really don’t have a guy in their rotation one would point to as being a likely lottery selection, but there is one whose best basketball is ahead of him: Wayne Blackshear. Hampered by a shoulder injury for much of the season, keep an eye on Blackshear in his sophomore campaign.

NBA success: Chane Behanan (he’s got the motor and athletic ability to do so, and with some seasoning that includes a mid-range game Behanan’s got a shot)

NBA bust: Peyton Siva (he’s a bottom portion of the draft projection for 2013 and that seems about right; decision-making’s been better but there’s still room from growth there as well as with his jumper)

Playoff rotation guy: Gorgui Dieng (improving but still has a ways to go offensively; his work on the defensive end as a shot-blocker would help him stick around, and with a team that can afford to give him time to develop Dieng could be successful)

Kansas

Thomas Robinson is the lottery guy for Kansas but similar to Louisville they’ve got a player who will get there down the line. Remember the name Ben McLemore, as he’s only been able to practice due to his not being cleared academically. He’ll make some serious waves next season.

NBA success: Thomas Robinson (may be undersized for an NBA ‘4’ but he’s got a motor and athleticism that would more than make up for that; he’ll be a lottery pick this summer)

NBA bust: Tyshawn Taylor (this likely depends on where he’s selected as a situation like Draft Express’ projection of late 1st to Miami would be ideal; team workouts will be key especially from a turnover standpoint)

Playoff rotation guy: Elijah Johnson (he and Travis Releford have been valuable glue guys for the Jayhawks, and with Johnson’s athleticism he could be the kind of 2nd round player who helps a team out come 2013)

Kentucky

Loaded. Absolutely loaded. In addition to the guys listed below there’s also point guard Marquis Teague, and with a couple years of seasoning Kyle Wiltjer has the potential to be a pro as well.

NBA success: Anthony Davis (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist would also qualify here; no school has ever had the top two picks in the draft and that’s possible should these two enter the same year)

NBA bust: Terrence Jones (Jones put together one of his best all-around games of the season against Baylor but consistency is the issue here; he’ll be a lottery pick but what happens after that would be up to him)

Playoff rotation guy: Darius Miller (he’s done a very good job of filling whatever role needed over four years in Lexington, and that’s a good rehearsal for what he’d have to do at the next level)

Ohio State

It seems pretty easy to pick out which Buckeyes have the best chances of hearing their names called in an NBA Draft, but some franchise with a track record of success will find room for Aaron Craft. With his ability as a defender, distributor and leader Craft would fit perfectly as a backup point guard. And keep an eye on Sam Thompson as his game matures over the next couple of years.

NBA success: Jared Sullinger (Sullinger can be successful in the NBA and that’s the expectation here; as his body matures Sullinger will fit into the role of an NBA ‘4’ and it’s important to keep in mind that he’s still playing out of position at the ‘5’)

NBA bust: Deshaun Thomas (he’s improved defensively over the last month but the question is what position would he be able to guard at the next level; too small to be a ‘4’ at the NBA level he’d likely have to be a ‘3’, and defensively that’s a major question mark)

Playoff rotation guy: William Buford (he hasn’t had the best luck offensively in the last two NCAA tournaments, but there’s no doubt that Buford can score as he ranks among the best scorers in school history)

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Seton Hall’s Derrick Gordon won’t pursue pro basketball to become a firefighter

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12:  Derrick Gordon #32 of the Seton Hall Pirates celebrates after hitting a basket against the Villanova Wildcats during the Big East Basketball Tournament Championship at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2016 in New York City. Seton Hall Pirates defeated Villanova Wildcats 69-67.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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After a successful career that included stops at Western Kentucky, UMass and Seton Hall, Derrick Gordon, Division I college basketball’s first openly gay player, will not pursue professional opportunities and will instead become a firefighter.

The 6-foot-3 Gordon averaged 8.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a senior for the Pirates, helping the team reach the NCAA tournament during his graduate transfer year. By making the NCAA tournament with Seton Hall this past season, Gordon became the first college basketball player to reach the event with three different teams.

A tenacious perimeter defender who could have earned a pro contract if he stuck with basketball, Gordon will instead pursue a career as a firefighter in San Francisco.

“I’ve had an amazing basketball career and want to thank everybody who has always been there supporting me every step on the way,” Gordon said via his Instagram. “But I’m making a change in my career…I will now be working towards becoming a San Francisco Firefighter!! I’m excited about this and looking forward to having a long career!!”

While Gordon likely would have never made the NBA on talent alone, his defensive prowess would have likely given him a shot overseas or in the D League. It’s hard to say why Gordon is making this decision, but given what we saw with all of the attention surrounding Michael Sam when he tried to play in the NFL, Gordon was probably going to face a lot of scrutiny wherever he decided to play.

Hopefully Gordon finds his calling as a firefighter and brings the same energy and leadership that he brought on the floor to helping other people outside of basketball.

Washington guard Markelle Fultz pulls off sick spin and dunk at FIBA U18 Americas

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Kelly Kline/Under Armour
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Washington incoming freshman guard Markelle Fultz is going to be one of the premier players in the country next season as his unique game is going to be fascinating to watch.

The 6-foot-5 Fultz is currently playing with the USA U18 team in Chile for the FIBA U18 Americas as he’s second on the team in scoring and first in assists as the Americans play Canada for the title on Saturday.

Against the host country, Fultz had an electric spin move in the paint and finished with an easy dunk. If you’re not willing to stay up late to watch this dude play this year, then set your DVRs, because Fultz is going to have some fun moments during the season.

(H/t: Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report)

POSTERIZED: Class of 2016 forward Chris Seeley has a massive dunk on defender

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The Las Vegas AAU events are all going on this week and it’s the final event for rising seniors.

At the Las Vegas Fab 48, forward Chris Seeley of the Splash City 17U team put down one of the best poster dunks of the summer as he skied over a defender for an emphatic finish.

The Class of 2016 forward attends Central High School in Fresno, California as he’s receiving plenty of buzz for his recent play.

 

 

 

Five-star forward Jarred Vanderbilt cuts list to nine

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LAS VEGAS, NV — Five-star Class of 2017 forward Jarred Vanderbilt has been one of the most sought-after recruits in the country since he was a freshman in high school.

The 6-foot-8 native of Houston is beginning to wind things down in the recruiting process as he cut his list to nine schools on Friday. Vanderbilt’s list includes some of the most storied programs in college basketball and plenty of schools from his home state of Texas.

“I just followed my heart. Went with the schools I liked the most and who I have the best relationships with. Thear were the schools I could see myself playing for,” Vanderbilt told NBCSports.com.

Regarded as the No. 13 overall prospect in the Rivals.com national rankings, Vanderbilt is currently recovering from a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot.

Vanderbilt will see a doctor in three-to-four weeks as he’s currently in a boot to help his foot heal.

Report: Michigan State and Penn State will play at the Palestra

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Head coach Patrick Chambers of the Penn State Nittany Lions looks on against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has previously expressed a desire to coach a game at the legendary Palestra in Philadelphia and it appears he’ll get his chance in a Big Ten game this season.

According to a report from Brendan F. Quinn of MLive, Penn State will use the Palestra as its home gym for the Jan. 7, 2017 Big Ten game against Michigan State. It is the only time the two teams are scheduled to play during Big Ten season and Penn’s home gym will offer a unique setting for the game.

Since the capacity of the Palestra is 8,722, it should make for a fun atmosphere for both programs since this will be a game both fan bases will likely want to attend.

With Nittany Lions head coach Pat Chambers making Philadelphia a major recruiting priority for his program, a game like this in Philadelphia makes sense while Michigan State has always been open to playing games in unique settings such as aircraft carriers.

The Palestra has been a college basketball mainstay since it was built in 1927 as it hosts all Penn home games and, in the past, hosted a lot of Big 5 Philadelphia college games between La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph’s, Temple and Villanova.

Overall, a fun idea that should make for an interesting experience for both programs. It’s not often that a team will change its home venue for a conference game, but it could be the start of something we see other schools look to do.