With the departure of junior center Joshua Smith, UCLA is down to eight scholarship players. But the news of Smith deciding to leave the program came too late for the people in charge of selecting a cover photo for the game program for Wednesday’s game against Cal State Northridge.
Smith graced the cover of the game program but it didn’t have an adverse impact on the Bruins, who whipped the Matadors 82-56.
Since the programs are no doubt printed a few weeks in advance, there’s always a good chance the player gracing the cover is no longer a current member of the team.
According to Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports Smith’s departure is the 11th since the last of UCLA’s three consecutive trips to the Final Four in 2008. To say the least these haven’t been the most stable of times for Ben Howland and his program.
But with Smith gone the Bruins had to make the move that many have been clamoring for: going small and even playing some zone. Howland did both on Wednesday night, as Jordan Adams moved into the starting lineup and the Bruins began the game in a 2-3 zone.
They also played faster, as their 77 possessions was UCLA’s second-highest total (83 in their 80-79 overtime win over UC Irvine) of the season to date. UCLA did turn the ball over 16 times against the Matadors, breaking even in turnover margin, but they also shot 53.1% from the field and 26 of their 34 field goals were assisted.
Norman Powell scored 17 points off the bench to lead the way for UCLA, but the question as to whether or not they have enough interior depth to contend in the Pac-12 remains. To be fair freshman power forward Tony Parker is still dealing with an ankle injury and played just one minute last night and wore a protective boot while on the bench (why he even played that minute is a valid question given this fact).
Once Parker’s back to full strength UCLA will be able to go with an eight-man rotation, which should help them down the road against Pac-12 heavyweights such as Arizona, Colorado and California. Whether or not the Bruins actually contend will depend on how well the players adjust to their new style, as well as whether or not Howland sticks with it.
h/t The Dagger
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
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.
The #DriveByDunkChallenge is sweeping the nation on social media this summer.
Rules to participate are pretty simple:
- Drive around in your vehicle.
- Find a basketball hoop (or a basketball ring if you’re Ted Cruz) on a random driveway.
- Run out of your car and dunk on that random hoop while a friend films.
- 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 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 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.
A 3-point threat became a late addition to the transfer market earlier this week.
Appalachian State rising sophomore Patrick Good informed head coach Jim Fox on his intentions to leave the program. He was granted his release on Wednesday, according to Bret Strelow of the Winston-Salem Journal.
“I was pretty shocked when he came in to tell me he was leaving,” Fox told the Winston Salem-Journal. “He was a guy who had a very good freshman season, and we’re surprised to see him go.”
“I enjoyed being around the team and the experience that I got from the first year,” Good added. “I don’t think I would change that for anything. I just felt like moving forward, there is just so much more that I was capable of.”
Good appeared in 29 of 30 games, all of the bench, for the Mountaineers. The 6-foot guard averaged 7.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. His biggest asset to his newest team will be in his ability to shoot from deep, connecting on 41 percent of his attempts during the 2016-17 season.
If Good plans to remain in at the Division I level, avoiding a year spent at a junior college, he will need to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations. He will have three years of eligibility remaining.