Adam Silver, Quincy Miller

The biggest losers from the NBA Draft

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Will Barton and Quincy Miller: I’m not exactly a proponent of returning to school for underclassmen, especially for guys that are guaranteed to get guaranteed contracts. I hate to make things so simple, but I truly believe that it is smart to capitalize on your potential; when the money is there, go get it. Miller and Barton were both a long way from being first round locks in the 2012 NBA Draft, and that became abundantly clear as they plummeted through the first round to the 38th and 40th picks, respectively.

Miller went pro after initially announcing that he would be returning the school, ending his collegiate eligibility after a mediocre freshman season in which he was coming off of a torn ACL. If he had returned for his sophomore campaign with the quickness and explosiveness that he had lost, I don’t think it’s even a question of whether or not he could have locked up a first round pick. Barton doesn’t have the same kind of upside that Miller does, but if he returned for his junior season at Memphis after spending the summer improving his handle and jump shot, he has the heart and the talent to be a first round pick. Instead, both players will have to play their way into a contract.

Indiana Pacers: The Pacer’s first pick in the 2012 NBA Draft ended up being Miles Plumlee. This wouldn’t have been terrible if Indiana didn’t have a first round pick, but they did. The 26th pick, to be exact. Now, I understand how impressive it is to see a man that stands 7-feet tall in shoes show off his 40.5″ vertical, I really do. But Plumlee averaged career-highs of 6.6 points, 7.1 boards and 20.5 minutes as a nearly-24 year old senior at Duke last season. And he just got a guaranteed contract. I don’t get it.

Milwaukee Bucks: I’m not a huge fan of John Henson’s professional prospects, but I don’t think he’s a horrible pick in the 14th spot. He is long and he can block shots at the NBA level. But I do think this is a horrible pick when a) Tyler Zeller is still on the board and b) the Bucks picked Larry Sanders just two years ago.

Anyone recruiting against John Calipari: The Wildcats had six players drafted. Four went in the first round — including the fifth straight Calipari freshmen point guard — and that included the top two picks. That ain’t bad. You know what ain’t worse? Kentucky has more players drafted during Calipari’s tenure the past three years (15) than the Big Ten (10), the Pac-12 (10) and the rest of the SEC (11). During that time, 11 of those 15 draft picks were first rounders. In the 15 YEARS prior to Calipari’s arrival, Kentucky had 15 players drafted and 10 first rounders.

Maalik Wayns, Hollis Thompson, J’Covan Brown, Dominic Cheek and Dominique Ferguson: These five players entered the NBA Draft with collegiate eligibility remaining, and none of the five were picked. They were far from the only underclassmen that went undrafted, but the others — Renardo Sidney, Tony Mitchell, Terrell Stoglin, etc. — had extenuating circumstances that made returning to school nearly impossible. Each one of these guys has the talent to put together a long career as a pro ball player, but it is a shame to see them leave school without a degree when the riches of the NBA aren’t waiting.

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.