Player of the Week: Rodney McGruder, Kansas State
McGruder came into this season with the expectation of being one of the most dominant players in the Big 12, but it took a while for the Kansas State senior to really find his groove in Bruce Weber’s new system. In the Wildcat’s first Big 12 game of the season, McGruder showed why he came into the season with all of the hype: the Washington DC native scored 26 of his 28 points in the second half — hitting five threes in the second 20 minutes after entering the game with just 11 triples on the season — to lead K-State to a win over Oklahoma State.
“Rod got cooking and that was great for him,” Weber told reporters. “He got in one of those zones, and we needed it, and he rose up.”
The funniest part about McGruder’s Saturday had nothing to do with what happened on the court; it was what he did after he left the court. Following the game, McGruder did an interview with Kansas State radio and a spot on TV, took a shower … and left the arena without making his way to the press conference. It’s a good thing he lives close, because he had to turn around and make his way back to talk to local reporters.
The All-They-Were-Good-Too Team
- G: Joe Jackson, Memphis: Jackson had 20 points, seven assists, four steals and just two turnovers in the Tiger’s 85-80 win over Tennessee on Friday night. The uber-talented Jackson looks like he is finally starting to play up to his potential. Over the last four games, he’s averaging 17.5 points, 5.3 assists and has just five turnovers in 141 minutes while shooting 19-34 from the field. The Tigers won the last four games. The last time they lost? Five games ago, when Jackson went for 23 points and eight assists against Louisville. And based on the way he’s played the past three weeks, I think we can chalk up the eight turnovers he had to Louisville’s pressure.
- G: Preston Medlin, Utah State: After getting out to a slow start this season, Medlin is averaging 21.3 points and shooting 41.9% from three over his last four games. That’s includes a 3-0 stretch this week. In a 75-66 win over Seattle, Medlin had seven points and an assist in a game-changing 13-3 run late in the second half. And in the 82-75 OT win against Idaho, Medlin not only hit the game-tying three at the buzzer, but he took over in the extra period. The Aggies are now 4-0 in WAC play and 13-1 on the season.
- G: Troy Daniels, VCU: You already should know about how hot Troy Daniels was over the last few weeks, but it culminated on Wednesday when he hit 11 threes in a win over East Tennessee State. He didn’t put up those same numbers against Lehigh on Saturday, but he did finish with 11 points and hit arguably the most important shot of the game in the final minutes.
- F: Jerelle Benimon, Towson: Benimon has been one of the most improved players in the country this season, and he proved it again this week. The Georgetown transfer averaged 18.5 points, 12.0 boards, 4.5 assists and 4.0 blocks as the Tigers jumped out to a 2-0 start in CAA play. That includes a win at Drexel.
- C: Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga: Olynyk may be the one player in the country that is actually more improved that Benimon. He had 21 points in the second half to lead the Zags to a win at Oklahoma State on New Year’s Eve and followed that up with 33 points and 10 boards — his first career double-double against a Division I opponent — in a win at Santa Clara.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
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 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.