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
Expected to be one of the favorites in the Mountain West this season, Boise State’s perimeter ranks have shrunk by one player due to injury. Thursday it was reported by the Idaho Statesman that freshman guard Malek Harwell will redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in practice. Along with fellow freshman Paris Austin, Harwell is expected to be a key part of the Broncos’ future beyond the upcoming season.
Now, instead of competing with an experienced backcourt that includes four redshirt seniors, Harwell will work to get his knee back to full strength for the 2016-17 season.
Among the guards who will play significant minutes this season are Anthony Drmic, who took a medical redshirt last season, Montigo Alford, Mikey Thompson and grad transfer Lonnie Jackson (Boston College). Chandler Hutchison, who started in Boise State’s final 18 games of the 2014-15 season as a freshman, will also compete for playing time.
Illinois will be shorthanded in its front court for the time being, as during the team’s media day Thursday head coach John Groce announced that sophomore forward Leron Black is out due to injury.
Black will undergo surgery Friday to repair a meniscus tear in his knee, and he’s expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks. A return after four weeks would have Black back on the court just before the Fighting Illini open their season November 13 against North Florida. Any longer and the Memphis native would wind up missing some game action.
Black averaged 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in just under 15 minutes of action per game as a freshman. He’s one of the players expected to contribute in the front court for the Fighting Illini, who lost their best interior defender and second-leading rebounder in Nnanna Egwu at the end of last season (guard Rayvonte Rice, who led the team in rebounding, is also gone).
In addition to Black and junior Maverick Morgan, Illinois adds redshirt freshman Michael Finke and grad student Mike Thorne Jr. (via Charlotte) to their front court rotation.