Ryan Kelly

Duke’s Ryan Kelly has foot surgery, out 12 weeks

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Ryan Kelly had surgery to repair damage to the same foot he broke earlier this season, his second surgery on the foot in 13 months, according to multiple reports.

The Duke forward, who was a senior this season, missed 13 games after breaking the foot in a win over Clemson on Jan. 8. He averaged 12.9 points, 5.3 rebounds this season.

After returning with authority right after the injury — the 6-11, 230-pound Kelly scored a season-high 36 on 10-of-14 shooting, including 7-of-9 from three in 32 minutes in a 79-76 win over Miami on March 2 — Kelly’s production tapered off late in the season. He scored 18 in the Blue Devils’ next game, a win over Virginia Tech, but never scored more than his nine-point effort in Duke’s Sweet 16 win over Michigan State for the rest of the season, ending with a seven-point game in the Elite Eight loss to Louisville. Sounds like there might have been a legitimate reason.

Can’t blame a senior for wanting to play his final games in college, injury and all.

The surgery, while a short-term setback, should help Kelly get healthy and catch on with an NBA team, at the very least for the summer. The league likes big shooters (Steve Novak comes to mind when comparing Kelly, duh) and Kelly shot 42 percent from three-point range and 81.2 percent from the free throw line this season.

Kelly’s career at Duke is one to be admired. He steadily improved his scoring average each year. Going from 1.2 points as a freshman to 12.9 as a senior. And also built his game around the arch — from 26.3 percent as a frosh to his percentage this season.

Those last two paragraphs alone could get Kelly a shot. I mean, just down the road, the Charlotte Bobcats need all the help they can get.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.