Charlotte Bobcats ownerJordan watches as his team plays against the Chicago Bulls during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Charlotte

Jordan Brand All-Stars predict they could beat Michael Jordan, nation laughs


The naivety of youth is great. When most of us were younger, we all had fantasies of doing things that, while we didn’t know it yet, were impossible. Apparently those thoughts extend into the older teenage years of some Jordan Brand All-Stars.

Some of the players got into a debate over whether or not they could beat Michael Jordan in 1-on-1. No, not 50-year-old M.J. We’re talking Jordan in his prime.

So USA Today took a poll. Some of the players, such as Washington-bound guard Nigel Williams-Goss, knew the right answer.

“He’s the best to ever do it,” said Findlay Prep point guard Nigel Williams-Goss. “I mean, c’mon now, it’s M.J. No one’s beating him one-on-one.”

Goss said he would lose, in a game to 11, 11-0. Kennedy Meeks (11-6), Wayne Selden (11-2) and Chris Walker (11-7) shared his thoughts.  Turns out not all of them shared their opinion.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (11-10), Dakari Johnson (11-10), Andrew Harrison (11-7) and Matt Jones (11-5) all think they could beat Jordan in a game of 1-on-1.

They all were asked to provide an explanation as to why they would win or lose.


“I think he’d get a couple buckets here and there, but then I’d start to lock him down and give him buckets. Yeah, I think I’d get him.”

Yea, Andrew. You’d lock down a career 30.1 points per game scorer down.


“Well, I’m feeling a little generous today, so I think he’d get his five points. This is how it would go: I’d get ball first, then I’d score the first few baskets because he’d definitely be sleeping on me. Then I’d go to my old-man game and take it to the hole every time. No matter how small the foul was I’d call ball every time until I made it. So it’s gonna be a long grind-it-out win. But I’d win.”

I’m going to assume he was joking. The man was too competitive to sleep on anyone. This is a dude, at 50, that just beat Charlotte Bobcats guard Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who is barely older than these guys, in 1-on-1. Oh and your “old-man game” isn’t getting past a former NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Have fun.

Then there’s Johnson, who provided the most reasonable answer to the question.

 “I’m taking him to the post every time. He’d stop me a couple of times, but I’d just keep going back down there. I’d just contest his jump shots and pray that he’d miss. I think in the end, I’d get him though. I’m too big down there.”

Ok, this I can at least deal with. He’s a great post player. And a 6-6, Jordan would have an issue with him. But for starters, praying is the  best you can do to hope a career 49.7-percent shooter misses. Then we could just show Dakari what happens when Jordan gets the ball against big dudes.

I understand the competitive fire that drives these guys. It’s all in fun and hey, they’ve worked hard enough to earn some bragging rights, being that all of these guys are major college signees and some might be future NBA draft picks. But someone needs to show these guys an hour-long highlight film of Jordan. Or just a video of Game 2 of the 1986 Eastern Conference First Round.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

No. 1 Kentucky survives without Tyler Ulis in lineup

Tyler Ulis
AP Photo/Chuck Burton
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Less than a week after giving No. 2 Maryland all they could handle, Illinois State went into Lexington and gave No. 1 Kentucky fits.

The Redbirds never really threatened UK in the second half, but they went into the break tied and were within single digits down the stretch, eventually losing 75-63.

Kentucky was flustered. They turned the ball over 15 times compared to just eight assists, they shot 2-for-12 from three and just 29-for-46 (63 percent) from the charity stripe. They simply did not handle Illinois State’s pressure all that well.

And there was a reason for that.

Tyler Ulis didn’t play.

Sometimes it’s difficult to appreciate just what a player brings to a team until that player is not in the lineup, and that was precisely the case with Ulis on Monday night. It was crystal clear what he provides Kentucky. Beyond leadership and the ability to break a press without throwing the ball to the other team, he’s a calming presence. He doesn’t get rattled when a defender is harassing him and he doesn’t get overwhelmed by a situation like a mid-major threatening the No. 1 team in the country in their own gym.

He’s everything you look for in a pure point guard, and for as good as Jamal Murray and Isaiah Briscoe have looked at times this season, it should be crystal clear who the most important player on this Kentucky team is.

LSU loses to Charleston, eliminates at-large bid margin for error

Ben Simmons
AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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Ben Simmons scored 15 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, the second time in his six-game career that the LSU freshman has collected that many caroms, but that wasn’t enough for the Tigers to avoid dropping a game on the road to the College of Charleston, 70-58. It was the third straight loss for Simmons’ crew, as they fell to Marquette and N.C. State at the Legends Classic last week.

But here’s the thing: LSU didn’t just lose.

The game really wasn’t close.

LSU was down by as many as 23 points. It was 39-17 at the half, and that was after Charleston had a shot at the buzzer called off upon review. They made a bit of a run in the second half but never got closer than seven. When LSU would cut into the lead, the Cougars would respond with a run of their own, killing LSU’s spirit while keeping them at arm’s length.

[RELATED: Ben Simmons’ one college year a waste?]

Now, there are quite a few things here to discuss. For starters, LSU’s effort was, at best, apathetic, and, at worst, regular old pathetic. The team has a serious lack of leadership that was plainly evident on Monday night; would Fred VanVleet let his team fold against a program picked to finish at the bottom of the SoCon? Would Tyler Ulis? For that matter, would Tom Izzo or Mike Krzyzewski or John Calipari?

Perhaps more importantly, does any of that change when Keith Hornsby and Craig Victor get back?

Simmons did show off his potential — 18 boards, four assists, he even made his first three of the year — but he also showed precisely why there are scouts that are trying to curtail the LeBron James comparisons. Simmons was 4-for-15 from the floor with seven turnovers against a mediocre mid-major team. There are so many things that Simmons does well, but scoring efficiently — particularly in half court setting — and shooting the ball consistently are not on that list.

But here’s the biggest issue: LSU may have put themselves in a situation where they aren’t a tournament team. As of today, they’re 3-3 on the season with losses to a pair of teams that, at best, seem destined to be in the bubble conversation on Selection Sunday in addition to this loss to Charleston. The rest of their non-conference schedule is ugly. The only game worth noting is at home against No. 6 Oklahoma at the end of January.

The NCAA factors in non-conference schedule strength when determining at-large teams. You need to at least try, and LSU didn’t try; they have one of the worst non-conference schedules in the country.

The great thing about being in the SEC — as opposed to, say, the Missouri Valley — is that the Tigers will have plenty of chances to earn marquee wins. Six, by my court: Kentucky twice, Texas A&M twice, Vanderbilt on the road and Oklahoma at home. They probably need to win at least two or three of those games to have a real chance, and that’s assuming they can avoid anymore horrid losses in the process.

The season isn’t over six games in, not by any stretch of the imagination.

But LSU has done a hell of a job eliminating their margin for error.