Report: Presidents considering ‘America 12’ as name for new conference

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With the splitting of the Big East Conference reportedly on the horizon, the football-playing members led by holdovers Cincinnati, Connecticut and South Florida need to come up with a name for their league.

And according to a tweet from Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com there may be a favored name for the group.

America 12? While there is the enticing “Team America: World Police” possibility (no profanity here, of course) that name sounds silly. From a geographical standpoint going with “America” isn’t all that bad, unless they somehow end up debating the possibility of adding Division II member Simon Fraser University to the conference.

The big issue is the use of a number, because as we’ve seen in realignment membership can be a fluid situation with the notable exception of a league such as the Big Ten or SEC. Those conferences aren’t losing members, and in the case of the Big Ten the league has built up an incredible amount of brand equity with that name.

That clearly won’t be the case for this group, which will begin the 2013-14 academic year with ten members (Louisville and Rutgers hang around for one more year before leaving for the ACC and Big Ten, respectively). East Carolina (football-only) and Tulane replace those two in 2014, and Navy (football-only) will join along with a 12th school (to be determined, although various reports have Tulsa as the favorite) in 2015.

So while 12 members may be the goal it hasn’t happened yet, and it isn’t as if a Cincinnati or Connecticut (or another school) would stick around if offered membership to a more prestigious conference. So stay away from the numbers when deciding on a name for the new league, especially when there’s another option that would be more suitable.

The Metro Conference name is another possibility being debated, and when 2014 rolls around the conference will be home to three schools that were charter members of the first Metro Conference. And with the majority of the programs being located in metropolitan areas (UConn, which is located in Storrs, being one exception) using the Metro Conference name would definitely fit.

Regardless of the name the presidents ultimately choose, there’s no need to rush the process. They aren’t going to come up with a “name brand” that will immediately result in national respect, and with a new television deal already completed the name isn’t going to boost those financial numbers either.

So consider all the available options, and if the Metro Conference name isn’t appealing hopefully the presidents do not come up with a name that includes the use of a number.

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

VIDEO: Zion Williamson throws down a vicious putback

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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.