Khalif Wyatt, Roosevelt Jones

Home loss reveals Temple’s need for more than Khalif Wyatt offensively

Leave a comment

Jim Ferry’s Duquesne Dukes entered Thursday’s game at Temple having lost 11 straight games, so it looked to be a safe bet that the Owls would take care of business at the Liacouras Center.

That wasn’t the case, as two Derrick Colter free throws with 2.9 seconds remaining gave Duquesne the 84-83 victory while handing Temple a loss the Owls could not afford to have on its resume. With the defeat Temple drops to 16-8 overall (5-5 Atlantic 10), and now the possibility of the Owls not making the NCAA tournament is a real one.

It goes without saying that as Khalif Wyatt goes so go the Owls, and the senior accounted for 35 points, six rebounds, six assists, six steals and five turnovers on the night. While there’s no doubt that Wyatt is one of the Atlantic 10’s best players, could the fact that Temple still relies so much on their star be the reason for their struggles in conference play?

Remove Wyatt’s 9-of-20 night from the equation and the other Owls combined to shoot 15-of-43 from the field, with Scootie Randall (15 points) and Dalton Pepper (13) accounting for ten of those 15 field goals. And Anthony Lee, the team’s second-leading scorer, shot 0-of-1 from the field and scored all five of his points from the foul line.

Consistency has been an issue for the Owls, whose December victory over then-No. 3 Syracuse seems to have come ages ago. Add to that a defensive effort that didn’t show up until late in the game (Duquesne shot 49% from the field and hit ten three-pointers) and the end result is a loss that does serious damage to the Temple resume.

The good news for Temple is that they’ll have opportunities to not only improve their resume but also claw their way back into the conversation for a first-round bye in the Atlantic 10 tournament, beginning with a game at UMass on Saturday night.

“We have presented ourselves with an extraordinarily difficult challenge as we move forward in the last seven games,” noted Dunphy. “But that’s who we are and we need to respond right now.”

But in order to take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead, Temple’s ancillary parts need to step up and take some of the weight off of Wyatt’s shoulders. While he’s capable of carrying Temple offensively, it’s going to take more than that to punch their ticket to the NCAA tournament.

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

Auburn continues to stockpile talent, adds top 50 prospect in 2017

Bruce Pearl
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey
Leave a comment

Auburn’s hire of Bruce Pearl was almost universally lauded as the first step towards the return of relevance for the Tiger basketball program.

And while the results have yet to shine through on the floor, Pearl is unequivocally stockpiling the kind of talent that will allow him to push for trips to the NCAA tournament and maybe one day contend for a league crown with Kentucky.

The latest step came on Sunday, when Pearl landed a commitment from Chuma Okeke, a top 50 wing prospect out of Georgia.

“He is a versatile wing who can handle and score,” said NBCSports.com recruiting analyst Scott Phillips. “Coming off of a big July, Okeke could move up the national rankings and Auburn pounced on him right away.”

Okeke joins big man Austin Wiley, a top ten player in the class, and Davion Mitchell, who is likely one of the five best point guards in the country, in what is currently the nation’s best recruiting class in 2017. That’s before you consider that Pearl already has Mustapha Heron, a top 25 prospect, joining the mix this season.

“This group has the makings of a monster recruiting class for Auburn,” Phillips said.

Okeke picked the Tigers over Florida State, Georgia and a number of other programs across the southeast.

VIDEO: Watch Virginia freshman Jay Huff dunk from the free throw line

Tony Bennett
AP Photo/Nell Redmond
Leave a comment

Jay Huff is a member of Tony Bennett’s best recruiting class to date, a 6-foot-11 top 50 recruit from North Carolina.

He also happens to be pretty athletic.

Don’t believe me?

Check out this video that McDonald’s All-American Kyle Guy tweeted out on Sunday night:

Yup, that’s Huff taking off from the foul line to dunk.

Not bad, young fella.

Seton Hall’s Derrick Gordon won’t pursue pro basketball to become a firefighter

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12:  Derrick Gordon #32 of the Seton Hall Pirates celebrates after hitting a basket against the Villanova Wildcats during the Big East Basketball Tournament Championship at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2016 in New York City. Seton Hall Pirates defeated Villanova Wildcats 69-67.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

After a successful career that included stops at Western Kentucky, UMass and Seton Hall, Derrick Gordon, Division I college basketball’s first openly gay player, will not pursue professional opportunities and will instead become a firefighter.

The 6-foot-3 Gordon averaged 8.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a senior for the Pirates, helping the team reach the NCAA tournament during his graduate transfer year. By making the NCAA tournament with Seton Hall this past season, Gordon became the first college basketball player to reach the event with three different teams.

A tenacious perimeter defender who could have earned a pro contract if he stuck with basketball, Gordon will instead pursue a career as a firefighter in San Francisco.

“I’ve had an amazing basketball career and want to thank everybody who has always been there supporting me every step on the way,” Gordon said via his Instagram. “But I’m making a change in my career…I will now be working towards becoming a San Francisco Firefighter!! I’m excited about this and looking forward to having a long career!!”

While Gordon likely would have never made the NBA on talent alone, his defensive prowess would have likely given him a shot overseas or in the D League. It’s hard to say why Gordon is making this decision, but given what we saw with all of the attention surrounding Michael Sam when he tried to play in the NFL, Gordon was probably going to face a lot of scrutiny wherever he decided to play.

Hopefully Gordon finds his calling as a firefighter and brings the same energy and leadership that he brought on the floor to helping other people outside of basketball.

Washington guard Markelle Fultz pulls off sick spin and dunk at FIBA U18 Americas

Kelly Kline/Under Armour
Kelly Kline/Under Armour
Leave a comment

Washington incoming freshman guard Markelle Fultz is going to be one of the premier players in the country next season as his unique game is going to be fascinating to watch.

The 6-foot-5 Fultz is currently playing with the USA U18 team in Chile for the FIBA U18 Americas as he’s second on the team in scoring and first in assists as the Americans play Canada for the title on Saturday.

Against the host country, Fultz had an electric spin move in the paint and finished with an easy dunk. If you’re not willing to stay up late to watch this dude play this year, then set your DVRs, because Fultz is going to have some fun moments during the season.

(H/t: Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report)

POSTERIZED: Class of 2016 forward Chris Seeley has a massive dunk on defender

seeley
Leave a comment

The Las Vegas AAU events are all going on this week and it’s the final event for rising seniors.

At the Las Vegas Fab 48, forward Chris Seeley of the Splash City 17U team put down one of the best poster dunks of the summer as he skied over a defender for an emphatic finish.

The Class of 2016 forward attends Central High School in Fresno, California as he’s receiving plenty of buzz for his recent play.