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.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson throws down a vicious putback

(YouTube)
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Zion Williamson made another highlight-reel play on Saturday outside of Atlanta as he threw down a vicious putback dunk at the Best of the South.

The five-star prospect has returned from a minor knee injury this spring to look like his old self in July as he’s entertained packed gyms of fans and college coaches the last two weeks.

The Class of 2018 star is currently regarded as the No. 3 overall prospect in the latest Rivals.com national rankings.

(h/t: Courtside Films)

Five-star 2018 point guard Darius Garland cuts list to six schools

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Five-star Class of 2018 point guard Darius Garland revealed the final six schools that he’s considering on Friday.

The N0. 12 overall prospect in the Class of 2018, according to Rivals, the 6-foot-0 Garland is one of the top floor generals in the nation as he is still considering Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA and Vanderbilt.

A native of Nashville, Garland is a potentially elite perimeter threat at the college level as he’s one of the more deadly three-point marksmen in the nation.

Garland spent this spring and summer playing with Bradley Beal Elite in the Nike EYBL as he averaged 16.8 points and 4.8 assists per game in the league this spring.

VIDEO: Kentucky’s John Calipari participates in the #DriveByDunkChallenge

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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The #DriveByDunkChallenge is sweeping the nation on social media this summer.

Rules to participate are pretty simple:

  1. Drive around in your vehicle.
  2. Find a basketball hoop (or a basketball ring if you’re Ted Cruz) on a random driveway.
  3. Run out of your car and dunk on that random hoop while a friend films.
  4. Run back to your car and drive away.

Let Anthony Davis show you how it works:

Pretty simple, right?

The #DriveByDunkChallenge isn’t raising money or awareness for ALS like the #IceBucketChallenge did three years ago, but it’s something harmless and fun to do to pass the time during the dog days of summer.

Sensing an opportunity to join an Internet craze, while also following in the footsteps of his former player Kentucky star, Wildcats head coach John Calipari got involved with his own dunk late Friday night.

And his video is much funnier than I thought it would be.

While most #DriveByDunkChallenge videos are done by healthy and spry teenagers who are cruising neighborhoods during the day, Calipari, and his hip replacement, got in on the fun with a late-night dunk.

I love that Calipari ditched the ball behind his back while running back to the car after the dunk.

Most people who participate in the challenge usually have their own ball and keep it with them through completion. But Calipari either picked up a random ball in the driveway or just he lost the handle with his own ball and had a turnover.

The next time Calipari goes hard on one of his point guards for losing control and playing too fast, remember this moment.

Creighton’s Khyri Thomas posterizes defender

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Creighton rising junior wing Khyri Thomas, like several of his teammates, are taking part in the Omaha Summer League this offseason.

On Thursday night, the 6-foot-3, 205-lb. Thomas eviscerated a defender with a one-handed posterization.

Thomas is coming off a breakout sophomore campaign for the Bluejays. He started all 35 games, averaging 12.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Aside from the increase in offensive production, Thomas served as one of the top defenders in the Big East. He shared the Big East Defensive Player of the Year Award with Villanova’s Josh Hart and Mikal Bridges.

Zion Williamson throws down 360 windmill dunk

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Zion Williamson added another jaw-dropping dunk in the layup lines on the first night of the second live evaluation period.

Williamson and his SC Supreme team took on Each 1 Teach 1 at the Hoopseen Best of the South at the LakePoint Sporting Community in greater Atlanta.

The 6-foot-7 power forward threw down a 360 windmill dunk during his pregame routines.

Each 1 Teach 1 would pick up a 70-67 victory over SC Supreme. Williamson would end with a monster stat line of 37 points and seven rebounds.