For the first time in history, a college basketball team has gone 40-0. The Baylor Bears, led by their star Brittney Griner, beat Notre Dame 80-61 to win the women’s National Championship.
Baylor had led by six at halftime. Notre Dame was able to cut the lead to three with 15:09 left in the 2nd half, but then the wheels came off. They were outscored by 16 the rest of the way. Notre Dame had stayed in the game for the first 25+ minutes thanks to poor shooting by Baylor, but once the Bears started making shots it was over. Baylor made all 3 of their 2nd half 3-point attempts, after shooting 1-8 in the first half.
Brittney Griner scored 17 of her 26 in the 2nd half. And she added 13 boards and 5 blocks. This, despite Notre Dame (35-4) using every defense in the book to stop her. They changed so much that announcer Doris Burke called out the Irish defense on just about every possession. And whatever defense they were running, it was designed to keep Brittney Griner from touching the ball.
But even double-teaming Griner at all times couldn’t keep her from dominating, and Griner led the Bears to their 2nd ever National Title. It was the 2nd straight loss in the championship game for the Fighting Irish.
Griner has already stated that she’s coming back for her senior season. But she’s also made it known that her dream is to play for the L.A. Sparks, and the Sparks happen to have the 1st pick in this year’s draft.
Kawhi Leonard to be inducted into SDSU Hall of Fame
Kawhi Leonard is, and probably always will be, the greatest player to ever come through the San Diego State ranks.
And this week, the Aztecs announced that they will be honoring the all-NBA wing due to his accomplishments in Viejas Arena: Leonard will be enshrined in the SDSU Hall of Fame this October.
Leonard is a terrific story, one that most people probably already know. A former Mr. Basketball in California, Leonard was somewhat under-recruited, winding up at SDSU where he proceeded to post monster numbers for an Aztec team that climbed into the top five in the country his sophomore season. He went pro after just two years with the program, getting picked 15th by the Spurs due to concerns about his ability to adjust to the perimeter full-time.
And we all know how that worked out.
VIDEO: South Dakota walk-on Logan Power get surprised with a scholarship
Sometimes moments like this can feel like artificial, like a production designed to boost a coach’s Q rating as much as it is to award the player that scholarship. This doesn’t feel like that at all, as head coach Craig Smith barely can even offer a speech about the player as he fights to hold back tears.
It’s a touching moment.
Well done, USD.
Why did Trevon Duval list Seton Hall, St. John’s and not Duke, Kentucky?
Trevon Duval is the reason that mixtapes were created.
A top five player and the top point guard in the Class of 2017, Duval is 6-foot-3 and super-athletic, boasting the kind of handle that would make Uncle Drew blush. It’s not possible to do any kind of scouting off of a mixtape; judging what a player can and can’t do based off of a highlight package doesn’t happen.
But given what Duval is capable of doing, it makes him the perfect player to have game film cut and edited so that his highlights fit seamlessly within the beat of an instrumental.
That’s why this mixtape is so good.
But unlike a lot of mixtape phenoms, Duval’s game goes beyond the tricks that look good in slow motion.
His ranking isn’t a fluke. He’s far and away the best point guard in 2017, but you wouldn’t know that based on his offer list.
On Monday, “trimmed” his list to ten schools: He’s not following a typical path for the top point guard in the class. Much has been written in the last six months about how Duke and Kentucky, the two preeminent programs on the recruiting trail, have been targeting second tier point guards in the Class of 2017, the likes of Trae Young and Quade Green and Tremont Waters.
Young and Green and Waters are all terrific players, top 30 recruits with a shot at becoming McDonalds All-Americans, but Duval is in a tier all by himself. He’s the only surefire one-and-done point guard in the class.
And he listed Seton Hall and St. John’s in his final ten.
He didn’t list Duke and Kentucky.
What do Seton Hall, St. John’s and Trevon Duval all have in common?
Duval plays for We-R-1 on the travel circuit, a program that is sponsored by UA. He played his junior season at API, a high school program in Texas that was sponsored by Under Armour. Emmanuel Mudiay and Terrence Ferguson, the last two elite prospects to forego college to head directly to the professional ranks overseas, both came from API and reportedly signed sponsorship deals with UA. If UA has a reputation at the grassroots level, it’s that they’re as loyal as any of the three major shoe companies. They do everything they can to keep it all in the family.
The best example of this?
Diamond Stone, a product of the Under Armour Association circuit and Wisconsin native that bucked in-state powers Wisconsin and Marquette to play for Maryland, the program that is to UA and Oregon is to Nike.
It doesn’t always work that way — see: Josh Jackson — and of the final 10 schools on Duval’s list, only four are programs sponsored by Under Armour.
But it’s not an accident that Seton Hall and St. John’s made the cut, and it’s not a coincidence that UCLA — who just this summer signed a massive sponsorship deal with the apparel company — is now considered to be the favorite to land Duval.
The idea that shoe companies control where elite prospects go to school is a bit overblown in this day and age. If it wasn’t, Kansas, an adidas school, wouldn’t have landed Andrew Wiggins or Josh Jackson, two of the last four No. 1 players in the country, neither of whom played with an adidas sponsored team before college.
But it does happen.
And when it does, it’s not all that hard to identify.
The CBE Hall of Fame Classic historically has included on-campus games and a flagship four-team championship round at the Sprint Center. This year’s headliners include Kansas, Georgia, George Washington and UAB.
Certainly securing four high-majors is a significant get for the event, which will also likely coincide with the induction of the 2017 class of the Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. The 2016 class is highlighted by Mark Aguirre, Doug Collins, Dominique Wilson, Jamal Wilkes and Mike Montgomery.
Coach Cal softball game raises $300K for La. flood relief
The Coach Cal Celebrity Softball Classic brought Kentucky stars like Keith Bogans, Andrew Harrison and Karl-Anthony Towns and the likes of former UK quarterback Tim Couch and NFL Hall of Famer Chris Carter to Lexington to help aid Louisiana in conjunction with the Red Cross after the area suffered major flooding earlier this month.
“I didn’t want to really do a softball game,” Calipari said according to his website, “but then we decided to do it and then Louisiana happens and now you have a cause. … It’s kind of neat. You have a cause, you have a why.”
Towns’ team was the 18-12 victor over Team Calipari on the day.
“This is amazing,” Towns said on CoachCal.com. “This is something that we get a chance to rarely do. We get to help the community out but at the same time have fun. There’s nothing better than doing something that we would do for free but for charity. This is something we’re going to have a lot of fun doing today.”
The softball game was played the same weekend as the John Calipari Basketball Fantasy Experience which generated $1 million that will be shared with 14 charities.