Kahlil Dukes

Connecticut native Kahlil Dukes is headed to the West Coast, commits to USC

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Kahlil Dukes, a 5-11 guard from Hartford, Conn., has committed to USC, multiple outlets are now reporting.

Dukes reportedly impressed scouts at the adidas Super 64 in Las Vegas this week, scoring 48 points in one game and 42 more in another. Playing for the Connecticut Basketball Club, Dukes was paired in the backcourt with Jared Wilson-Frame, another solid guard prospect.

Though smaller in stature, Dukes is quick and aggressive at getting to the basket and can distribute to his open teammates off of the drive.

He had interest from a number of mostly mid-major schools, including Drexel, FIU, Loyola-Marymount, Ohio, and UTEP.

For USC coach Kevin O’Neill, Dukes is the first to commit to the Trojans from the Class of 2013. This comes after USC brought in three players from the Class of 2012, led by forward Strahinja Gavrilovic.

USC struggled last season, going 6-26, including 1-17 in the Pac-12. They finished 338th in the nation in assists last season with 9.5 per game, something that Dukes could help to improve on when he steps on campus in 2013.

For the 2012-13 season, the Trojans welcome back guard Maurice Jones, who led the team in scoring and assists last season.

Photo Credit: Hartford Courant

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: