Lavin

St. John’s JaKarr Sampson making a statement slam at Midnight Madness

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Friday night, the first of many highlight slams from Midnight Madness surfaced, as St. John’s freshman forward, JaKarr Sampson threw down a 360 dunk at Carnesecca Arena.

The video was uploaded to SocialCam.com via NYCHoops.net (VIDEO).

As part of the dunk contest, Sampson received some assistance from junior forward Orlando Sanchez. The 6-foot-9 Sanchez, showed off some soccer skills, using a rainbow kick to flip the ball to himself and throwing an alley-oop to Sampson charging from the baseline.

The athleticism Sampson provided in the dunk contest became the theme for the evening and potentially the season. Following the Midnight Madness in New York, ESPN analyst, Tarik Turner, talked about the revamp Red Storm team.

The athleticism and the depth. Those were the two things that stood out to me. You have so much talent on the court now because you have a bigger frontline.

Sampson is one of Steve Lavin’s impressive recruiting class, along with forward Chris Obekpa and guard Felix Balamou.

St. John’s struggled in 2011-2012 ending 13-19 (6-12 Big East)

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

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: