Josh Pastner

Late night snacks: What got you ready for the marathon

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This is the only night where Late Night Snacks serves as the primer for the college basketball day rather than the ending. I see absolutely nothing wrong with this and neither should you.

Games of the Night

1.) No. 1 Indiana 87, North Dakota State 61

There weren’t any nail-biters pre-marathon, so we’ll start with the top team in the land. Cody Zeller had 22 and nine rebounds. Remy Abell and Jeremy Hollowell chipped in 14 each and Hoosiers are living up to all the hype. Tom Crean has the team we all thought he had.

2.) No. 17 Memphis 81, North Florida 66

The curtain opened on what is supposed to be Josh Pastner’s best team since he took the job three years ago. They started off on the right foot. Joe Jackson had 14 points and six assists and the Tigers out-rebounded the Ospreys 45-30 in the victory.

3.) Virginia 54, Fairfield 45

The outcome was a win, but the Cavaliers should be doing better against a team that lost most of it’s talent off last season’s squad. Especially after blowing the season opener at home to George Mason. The loss of Tony Scott hurt, but this is a team that’s better than these scores. Or at least we all thought they were.

4.) Lafayette 98, LIU-Brooklyn 94 (OT)

Well, anyone want to figure these Blackbirds out? The got no bench play and allowed a guy no one saw coming to score 30 in the post against one of the best front lines in mid-(low?)-major college basketball. There’s going to be some major changes needed for Jack Perri’s team if they plan to contend for the NEC title.

Starred

Trey Burke, Michigan

A lot is riding on Burke this season. He hasn’t disappointed yet, including a team-high 22 points and nine assists with only three turnovers in a win over IUPUI. He’s an All-American candidate and he’s playing like it early on.

Dan Trist, Lafayette

You’ve got to love when a relative unknown gets his shine. He dropped 30 in a 98-94 victory over LIU-Brooklyn in overtime at home. Trist was 14-of-18 from the field overall, all twos. He’s teammate Seth Hinrichs chipped in 20 in the win.

Garrick Sherman, Notre Dame

The Fighting Irish will be looking for the compliment to Jack Cooley in the post. Maybe it’s Sherman. He poured in 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds in Notre Dame’s 84-57 rout of Monmouth. Sherman averaged 3.1 points and 2.6 boards for the Fighting Irish last season.

Jackie Carmichael, Illinois State

He was the dark horse for Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year. He more than likely will have to settle for first team all-conference, but the senior made a compelling case early with 27 points and 10 boards in a 100-72 victory over UC-Santa Barbara.

Stunk

LIU-Brooklyn

The favorite in the Northeast Conference is now 0-2 after a loss at Lafayette. It’s tough to imagine this team isn’t 0-4 when the Barclay’s Center Classic concludes with games upcoming against Kentucky and Maryland.

North Texas

So, Tony Mitchell isn’t going to be enough? New coach Tony Benford has some serious work to do. The Mean Green lost to Division II Alabama-Huntsville tonight. The score doesn’t even matter. I don’t care if the Chargers (UAH’s mascot, GSC represent) win the DII national title, you can’t have problems with inferior teams when the games count.

Stuffing the Stat Sheet

Kendrick Perry, Youngstown State

You’ll find out more about the actual game, but one of the favorite’s for Horizon League Player of the Year turned in one of the biggest nights for any player across all facets of the game. Perry finished with 23 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals on the road. He’s going to be the catalyst for the Penguins and he’s playing like he knows it this season.

Fanbases That Can Take a Breath

UNLV

Some of those fans had to be talked off the ledge after the Runnin’ Rebels needed overtime to beat Division II Dixie State in an exhibition game. Monday night, UNLV beat Northern Arizona 92-54 in their season opener. Five players finished in double figures led by Anthony Bennett‘s 22 points.

Florida State

The Seminole Nation was flipping out after their team suffered a season-opening loss to South Alabama at home and All-American candidate Michael Snaer went 2-for-9 from the floor. They rebounded with a satisfying 95-68 home win over Buffalo and Snaer had 19 points and was 4-for-7 from three-point range.

Fanbase That Had The Breath Knocked Out of Them

Georgia

Some of us thought the Bulldogs would be a one-man team with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Some of us were right (so far). KCP was the lone player in double figures for UGA with 27 points in a 68-56 loss at home to Youngstown State. If that’s the case, this team can feel free to make plans for the CBI or CIT.

David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

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.