Stephen Holt, Chris Bolden, Mfon Udofia

It’s going to take Saint Mary’s time to adjust to life without Rob Jones

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With point guard and reigning WCC Player of the Year Matthew Dellavedova back on campus, the general consensus was that Randy Bennett’s Saint Mary’s Gaels would once again be a factor in the WCC race (Gonzaga being the favorite).

But if their 1-2 weekend at the DirecTV Classic in Anaheim, capped by a 65-56 loss to Georgia Tech, revealed anything about the Gaels it’s the fact that they’re still adjusting to life without the graduated Rob Jones.

While somewhat undersized at his position the 6-6 Jones was one of the WCC’s most productive players last season, posting averages of 15.0 points and 10.8 rebounds per contest for a team that won the WCC regular season and tournament titles.

Jones’ presence gave Saint Mary’s a front court player that could go out and get them points when teams focused too much attention on Dellavedova, and while the Gaels entered Sunday’s game with three players other than Dellavedova averaging double figures they don’t have that consistent interior option right now.

Brad Waldow (10.8 ppg through the first five games), who played well in WCC play last season, scored just five points against the Yellow Jackets and shot better than 50% from the field once (85.7% in the win over Drexel) in Anaheim.

While Saint Mary’s also has James Walker III, Stephen Holt and Jorden Page on the perimeter to help out Dellavedova, who’s going to step when Waldow’s struggling inside?

Beau Levesque has raised his scoring average four points but like Waldow he struggled from the field (8-of-21) this weekend. And both Mitchell Young and Matt Hodgson are players who will prove most valuable defensively and on the boards.

As a team the Gaels shot just 37% from the field against Georgia Tech (those 21 turnovers didn’t help either) with Dellavedova making just one of his eight shots from the field and scoring five points. Obviously he’s going to be the first line (hell, first page even) in any opponent’s scouting report.

But unlike last season it isn’t so obvious who will pick up the slack on a consistent basis.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Henry Ellenson wins Marquette Madness dunk contest

Steve Wojciechowski
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Marquette freshman forward Henry Ellenson won the Marquette Madness slam dunk contest on Friday night with a between the legs dunk.

The 6-foot-10 Ellenson, the top recruit in Steve Wojciechowski’s freshmen class, defeated sophomore Sandy Cohen, fellow freshman Sacar Anim and Wally Ellenson, his older brother.

Ellenson joins the Golden Eagles as the No. 11 overall recruit in the Class of 2015.

Bill Self signs $10,000 check for KU student


Late Night in the Phog is typically a night to remember for Kansas fans. For Kansas student Jerrod Martin Castro, Friday night’s event is one he won’t forget.

Castro, a sophomore, was selected as a contestant for a $10,000 giveaway. The only thing standing in the way of a big payday was a half-court shot. Brennan Bechard, the Kansas director of basketball operations, attempted the long-distance shot and hit nothing but net.

Kansas head coach Bill Self signed a $10,000 check on the spot.