Late Night Snacks: Chase Tapley caps night with last-second shot to beat Boise State (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

Tapley beats Boise

Game of the Day: Wisconsin 74, Iowa 70 (2OT)

Four Badgers scored in double figures, as Iowa dropped another close game to a quality Big Ten opponent. Wisconsin trailed by three, 58-55, with 0:21 to go, but a clutch three-pointer from Traevon Jackson tied the game and sent it into overtime. In the first extra period, the teams scored just one field goal between them, but Jackson came through again with two free throws to tie the game at 62 and force a second overtime.

That’s when the offenses finally opened up.

Important Outcomes 

1. TCU 62, No. 5 Kansas 55

TCU, a winless 0-8 team in Big 12 play, somehow almost inexplicably took it to the nation’s No. 5 team. But how? The Jayhawks shot an awful 29.5 percent from the floor and had just 13 points at halftime. Kansas’ need for a point guard was prominently on display, as Naadir Tharpe and Elijah Johnson shot a combined 5-of-27 from the floor. If there were ever a more appropriate time for a team’s fanbase to storm the floor, it was Wednesday night at TCU.

2. No. 7 Arizona 73, Stanford 66 

Solomon Hill and Mark Lyons were the keys to an Arizona victory, combining for close to 66 percent of the Wildcats’ offensive output Wednesday night. Without the senior leadership of those two, we would likely be talking about a streaking Stanford team with an impressive road upset. But it was not to be.

3. No. 12 Michigan State 61, N0. 18 Minnesota 50

Without much production from its interior presences until the final minutes, guards Gary Harris and Keith Appling needed to carry Michigan State. Appling injured his shoulder late, but he returned to the bench. With an already thin backcourt, Izzo and the Spartans will hope that Appling does not miss any time.

Starred

1. Mark Lyons, Arizona (25 points, 6 assists)

With Aaron Bright putting up big numbers for Stanford Wednesday night, Arizona needed a counter. Alongside Solomon Hill, who also had a big night, Lyons produced when the Wildcats needed it. He was key to a second-half run that gave Arizona its first lead of the night and he helped to seal the deal in the end.

2. Jared Berggren (16 points, 14 rebounds, 5 blocks)

Wisconsin needed everything it got from Berggren to fend off a pesky Iowa team in double overtime. His eight offensive rebounds helped the Badgers to get second-chance points. Bo Ryan’s team is now 7-3 in a tough Big Ten.

3. Shayne Whittington, Western Michigan (21 points, 13 rebounds) 

As always, it’s important to recognize a big game from a mid-major player. Wednesday night, it was Whittington, whose double-double helped Western Michigan to a win over Kent State.

Also of Note: Devon Moore, James Madison (17 points, 12 assists, 2 TOs) | Dwight Powell, Stanford (24 points, 10 rebounds)

Struggled 

1. Kansas (30% FG, 14% 3pt FG, 29 PF, Loss to TCU team that was previously 0-8 in Big 12 play)

It was a combination of problems that led to Kansas’s loss to TCU, but poor offensive flow was one of the worst. The Jayhawks started 1-of-17 from the floor and never found their groove.

2. Roy Devyn Marble, Iowa (2 points, 1-of-10 FG)

The junior averages over 13 points per game, but was only able to muster two in the Hawkeyes double-overtime loss to Wisconsin. His team did not shoot well either, going just 25-of-74 from the floor. 

3. Doug McDermott, Creighton (8 points, 3-of-10 FG)

McDermott was contained for the most part Wednesday night, leading to an Indiana State blowout victory. The National Player of the Year candidate is the engine of the Creighton offense and without him producing, it was a bad night for the Bluejays.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

USC forward Bennie Boatwright returning for junior year

J Pat Carter/Getty Images
Leave a comment

USC has a chance to be really good next season as forward Bennie Boatwright announced that he’s returning for his junior season.

The 6-foot-10 forward put up 15.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game while shooting 36 percent from three-point range as his return means that the Trojans should be a major contender in the Pac-12 next season. Elijah Stewart also announced this week that he is returning as USC could start Jordan McLaughlin, De’Anthony Melton, Stewart, Boatwright and Chimezie Metu next season.

With Duke transfer Derryck Thornton Jr. also becoming eligible and McDonald’s All-American guard Charles O’Bannon Jr. entering the program, the Trojans are a potential top-10 team.

Following decommitment, four-star recruit makes eye-opening remarks about Ohio State

(AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Leave a comment

Ohio State lost a four-star recruit on Wednesday when in-state Class of 2018 wing Darius Bazley opted to open up his recruitment.

As a rising senior who is just finishing his junior season of high school, Bazley’s decommitment isn’t going to immediately hurt the Buckeyes next season. But the 6-foot-7 wing’s comments about why he opted to open up his recruitment are pretty jarring.

In a story with Adam Jardy of the Columbus Dispatch, Bazley opened up about why he decommitted from Ohio State. Bazley’s eye-opening remarks include how the Buckeyes might not get him ideal NBA exposure and how Ohio State might miss the NCAA tournament in his freshman year.

“I was excited when I first got the offer,” Bazley said to Jardy. “Ohio State is still a great place. It’s nothing against the school or anything, but my one ultimate goal is to get to the NBA and I just didn’t feel as confident as I did when I first committed that Ohio State was one of those schools that could get me there. At the end of the day I’ve got to perform no matter where I go, but I think there’s other schools out there that could put me on a bigger stage and in a better position to show those NBA scouts when I get to college what I can do.”

Bazley also didn’t appear to be pleased at the recruiting class coming into Ohio State for the Class of 2017, which is the class that is coming in this season. Remember, Bazley is a Class of 2018 recruit who still has to finish his senior season.

“Ohio State, they didn’t make the NCAA Tournament this year,” Bazley said to Jardy. “They didn’t even make the NIT, which is unfortunate, but I looked into the recruits they have coming into next year, they didn’t look too good for the future. So I felt like when my class came in, yeah, we would’ve been OK, but good enough to make the tournament? I don’t know. I just felt as if I was to de-commit, actually take my time, figure everything out it would just be a lot better.”

Ohio State was once one of the major destinations for one-and-done players a decade ago so these remarks are very surprising. D’Angelo Russell was a top-five pick in the NBA Draft only two years ago, and while the Buckeyes might not be as successful in recent years as they once were, they still get plenty of national exposure with regards to producing NBA talent.

The NCAA tournament comments might carry some more weight though. The Buckeyes have missed the NCAA tournament in two consecutive seasons and things are also looking difficult for them to reach the Big Dance for next season. If Bazley wants to play in the NCAA tournament, then I could understand him wanting to open things up and explore more options.

Still, you don’t often see a player make comments like this about a school after decommitting–especially a program with as much national exposure as Ohio State. Bazley is likely going to face some heat for his remarks, but if those are his true feelings about a future life decision, then he should explore what else is out there.

Nevada gets transfer commitment from Omaha forward Tre’Shawn Thurman

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Nevada continues to build its roster through transfers as the Wolf Pack added Omaha forward Tre’Shawn Thurman on Thursday.

The 6-foot-7 Thurman will have to sit out one season before playing his senior season but he is coming off of a very good campaign for the Mavericks. The versatile forward put up 13.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while shooting 49 percent from the field.

One of the Summit League’s better players the last two seasons, Thurman should be a solid rotation forward for Nevada as he has a chance to be a breakout player with one more year of development. If Thurman can improve his 25 percent three-point shooting then he could be a major factor for Nevada.

D-League salaries, two-way contracts increase NBA Draft early entries

Steve Dykes/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Yesterday, I wrote a piece about how it’s dumb to criticize players for entering the NBA Draft without costing themselves their collegiate eligibility when the NCAA’s new NBA Draft rules are specifically designed for said players to be able to do that.

In that column, I mentioned that D-League salaries are on the rise and that the NBA’s new CBA instituted something called “two-way contracts,” and I wanted a chance to elaborate and clarify a couple of the points that I made.

Let’s start with the “two-way contracts,” which NBA teams each get two of. They are essentially a retainer that those teams can place on younger players they want to be the 16th and 17th men on their roster, holding their rights as they bounce between the D-League — where they will likely spend the majority of the year — and the NBA. The catch is that those players have to have less than three years service as a professional, and the point of it is to provide a financial incentive for younger players with the potential to reach the NBA to remain stateside while allowing those NBA teams to develop them.

That financial incentive is fairly large, as well: Two-way players will make $75,000 guaranteed and will be able to make up to $275,000, depending on the amount of time they spend with the NBA team.

That means there are an extra 60 jobs this season that can end up paying players with less than three years of professional basketball experience upwards of a quarter-of-a-million dollars.

That’s not a bad starting salary.

The other point that I wanted to address is the rising D-League salaries which, technically, will not be rising. There are still going to be Tier A and Tier B players, who make $26,000 and $20,000 respectively. But the NBA has something called affiliate players, which each of the now-25 NBA teams with a D-League affiliate can pay up to $50,000 for training camp. NBA teams are allowed a maximum of four affiliate players, who will still make their $26,000 salary from their D-League team.

In other words, that’s 100 more jobs available in the United States where a professional basketball player can make $76,000, and that’s before you consider that the five NBA teams that do not yet have a D-League affiliate will still have to play players to get them into training camp.

That $76,000 is not a life-changing amount of money. Neither is the $275,000 that a two-way contract can pay. But it’s a pretty damn good paycheck to make for an entry-level job into the industry that you always dreamed of being in.

Athletes have an unbelievably small window where they can capitalize monetarily on their gifts.

If a 21-year old sophomore decides that he wants to continue to develop his game and chase his NBA dream by making $76,000 as a D-League player, is that really all that crazy?

After all, 135 of the 450 players, or 30 percent of the roster spots, on NBA’s opening night were taken by guys that had spent time in the D-League.

There’s more than one way to make a dream come true.

A record $439 million was bet on basketball in March in Las Vegas

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The month of March was quite friendly to Las Vegas.

According to ESPN, more money was bet on basketball during the month of March than in any month in the state’s regulated sports betting history.

And while the numbers produced by Las Vegas books don’t separate college and professional basketball betting, the money coming in on college hoops is pretty clear: $439 million was bet on basketball in March, more than double the $213 million bet on the sport in February.

It was profitable, too.

Those Vegas books kept more than $40 million dollars of the money that was gambled on basketball, which shattered the previous record of roughly $28 million in winnings.