Chris Mack

Late Night Snacks: Tryptophan galore

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Given the holiday and the fact that there were just 14 games on Thursday, Late Night Snacks is getting a one night overhaul.

Today’s game recaps:

Leftover Turkey: Xavier

If you can figure out Xavier, please, do share. The Musketeers scored 117 points in their first outing and whipped up on Butler in during Marathon Madness. After Butler went out and knocked off Marquette before running over No. 9 North Carolina, we had to seriously reconsider whether or not Xavier is better than anyone had considered.

And then Chris Mack’s team went out and lost to Pacific, 70-67, in the first round of the DirecTV Classic. Because that makes complete sense.

Midnight Piece of Pumpkin Pie: Mike Dixon

Missouri needs him, and their win over Stanford in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis proves it. The Tigers won 78-70 thanks to 18 points and nine assists from Phil Pressey, but one can only wonder how many assists Pressey would have finished with if the open looks he got for Earnest Ross and Negus Webster-Chan had gone down. Those two combined to go 4-26 from the floor and 1-10 from three. Ross was 3-19 from the field.

Your Second Midnight Piece of Pumpkin Pie: Matthew Dellavedova

He finished with 32 points as St. Mary’s beat Drexel 76-64 in the first round of the DirecTV Classic, and he did it in a variety of ways: drives, threes, post-ups (seriously). The Dragons were missing some pieces, but that is still a Bruiser Flint-coached team, which means they are tough and defensive-minded.

And Dellavedova still got 32.

The Empty Carton of Ice Cream that forced your Pumpkin Pie to be eaten alone: Drexel

Drexel’s season looks to be headed on the same frustrating path that last year’s was. The Dragons were without Chris Fouch at the start of the season, as they lost four of their first six games, which meant that after winning 25 of their last 26 games, they were still deemed to be worthy of the NIT.

Drexel lost Fouch for the season this week to a fractured ankle. They have been without Damion Lee because of a concussion. And they are now 1-3 on the season after losing to St. Mary’s. The silver lining? Xavier lost, too, so at least they get another chance to be a quality opponent.

Booze. Lots of Booze: Kelly Olynyk

The scary part about Gonzaga’s rout of West Virginia is that they weren’t even at full strength. Kelly Olynyk, the 6-foot-11 long-haired Canadian, missed the first three games due to a suspension, but came back against Clemson and jumped straight into the starting lineup. And it worked, as Olynyk had 13 points in a 57-49 Gonzaga win over Clemson.

The Tigers did a good job of mucking things up with the Zags, taking a lead into the half, but in the end Mark Few’s team was just too talented.

Brussel Sprouts: Rice

Rice shot 11-48 from the floor, which is a cool 22.9%, in a 54-36 loss to Georgia Tech. As a team, they managed just two field goals from inside the arc, as they were 9-30 from downtown. And outside of Austin Ramljak, who was 6-12 from three, the Owls shot 5-36 from the floor. You may not know too much about basketball, but that’s really, really bad.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

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.