Big East Basketball Tournament - Villanova v Louisville

Russ Smith scores 28 to beat Villanova playing with a heavy heart

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Jack Curran, the New York State’s all-time winningest high school coach and a legend in both basketball and baseball at Archbishop Molloy High School, passed away on Thursday morning.

A lot of talent passed through Molloy during Curran’s 55 years at the program, including such notable names as Kenny Smith, Kenny Anderson and Jim Larranaga.

Louisville’s all-american guard Russ Smith also played at Molloy, and on Thursday night, he had to take the court in his final Big East tournament with a heavy heart. To get an idea of just how much Curran meant to Smith, take a look at his facebook status from Thursday morning:

source:

Smith wasn’t a highly-regarded recruit coming out of high school. In fact, when Rick Pitino began recruiting Smith during his prep season at South Kent, a lot of people thought he was crazy. But Smith wound up at Louisville, and has made his way from bench-warmer to sparkplug to an all-american as a junior.

On Thursday, it all came together as Smith put on one helluva show to honor his old high school coach.

Smith went off for 28 points, hitting 7-12 from the floor and 4-6 from deep while playing catalyst to a nightmarish press that had Villanova paralyzed. The Wildcats finished with 24 turnovers, and while Smith only had two steals, his on-ball defense contributed to at least a third of them.

More importantly, Louisville advanced to the semifinals of the Big East tournament with the 74-55 win, where they will play either Marquette or Notre Dame in tomorrow’s nightcap. The win also gets Louisville one step closer to that elusive No. 1 seed; it may require a Big East tournament title to land it.

And it was Smith that led the way, heavy heart and all.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

VIDEO: Marquette’s Henry Ellenson shows off his versatility

Marquette's Henry Ellenson is fouled by Providence's Ben Bentil as he drives to the basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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I’m on record saying that I would consider Marquette freshman Henry Ellenson if I had the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft, and while, at this point, I think that Brandon Ingram is probably going to end up going No. 2 — (Maybe No. 1???) — I still believe that Ellenson is going to be one of the best players from this draft class.

Why?

Well, just take a look at these highlights from the 26-point, 16-rebound performance he had in a win over Providence last night.

Then remember that Ellenson is 6-foot-11:

POSTERIZED: Pensacola State’s Jamal Thomas dunks through block attempt, makes coach go nuts

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A solid poster dunk went down in the junior college ranks last night as Pensacola State sophomore Jamal Thomas finished a dunk through a block attempt against Northwest Florida State.

The 6-foot-3 Thomas used his power and momentum to go through the opposing shot blocker and the play made his head coach, Pete Pena, go nuts with an over-exaggerated fist pump. The video is short, but be sure to watch for Pena’s reaction near the logo at the top right of the screen.