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

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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.

Harrison:

“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.

Jones:

“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

Minnesota adds Vanderbilt transfer Payton Willis

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Minnesota has added some depth for the future.

The Golden Gophers received a pledge from Vanderbilt transfer Payton Willis over the weekend, giving him a guard with two seasons of eligibility remaining starting in 2019-20.

Willis will sit out the upcoming season under NCAA transfer rules.

The 6-foot-4 guard played a limited role in two seasons in Nashville, never averaging more than 18. 5 minutes or 5.2 points per game. He scored in double figures in three games as a sophomore.

Willis was a top-150 prospect in the Class of 2016 coming out of Fayetteville, Ark. with offers from the likes of Tulsa, Rice and Dayton. Vandy and Minnesota were his two high-major offers.

After being ranked in the top-15, Minnesota was beset by injury and suspensions last season as they limped to the finish line in a 15-17 season that featured losses in 12 of its last 13 games.

Richard Pitino still has two available scholarships for the 2018-19 campaign.

Report: Quade Green returning to Kentucky

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John Calipari just landed a critical recruit for 2018-19, and he was already on the roster.

Quade Green, who averaged 25 minutes per game last season, is returning to Kentucky for his sophomore season, his mother told the Lexington Herald-Leader on Monday.

Given that six Wildcat players have entered the draft (Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Hami Diallo are signing with agents), getting the 6-foot point guard back for a second season is a massive deal for Calipari and Co. The Wildcats have always been at their best under Calipari with returning players as the cornerstones of the roster with talented one-and-dones providing the extra boost. Getting one such returner at the point guard position is even more critical.

Green, who came to Kentucky as a five-star recruit last year, averaged 9.3 points and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and a respectable 37.1 percent from 3-point range, an area where Kentucky continually needs help.

With Green back in the fold, Kentucky will now await the decisions of PJ Washington, Wenyen Gabriel and Jarred Vanderbilt, who are all going through the pre-draft process without hiring agents, which will potentially allow them to return to school and bolster a Kentucky roster has the look of a top-five team.

CBT Podcast: NBA Draft Early Entry Deadline: Winners, losers and who has the most on the line?

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The NBA Draft Early Entry Deadline came and went on Sunday night, meaning there are now roughly 60 college players that have signed with an agent and another 100 or so that have declared for the draft while retaining their college eligibility. Who were the winners? Who were the losers? Who has the most on the line? Sam Vecenie of the Game Theory podcast joined Rob Dauster to talk through all of it. The rundown:

OPEN: What do NBA teams value in players these days?

10:00: Villanova has more on the line during this testing the water process than anyone

19:00: Just how important was De’Andre Hunter’s decision to return to Virginia

25:25: Gonzaga getting Rui and Killian Tillie back makes them a title favorite

32:10: Nevada has a top ten season on the line with the Martin twins and Jordan Caroline

36:15: #RANTALERT – The decision to turn pro is so much more complicated than “is he a first round pick”

48:30: Rapid fire: Maryland, Kansas, Syracuse, Nebraska, Purdue and Michigan. What do they have on the line?

North Carolina’s Luke Maye declaring for NBA draft without hiring agent

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina junior Luke Maye has declared for the NBA draft but isn’t hiring an agent.

The 6-foot-8 forward was a third-team Associated Press All-American after averaging 16.9 points and 10.1 rebounds. He was named the Atlantic Coast Conference’s most improved player after increasing his scoring average by 11.4 points from his sophomore to junior seasons.

Coach Roy Williams says in a statement that it’s ”a great opportunity” for Maye to work out for NBA teams and get feedback on what to improve in his game.

The deadline for college players to declare early for the draft was Sunday night. Players who don’t hire an agent can maintain their college eligibility as long as they withdraw by May 30, which is 10 days after the NBA draft combine.

Gonzaga star undergoes surgery on his shoulder

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The most important players for Gonzaga heading into the 2018-19 season will have an offseason dedicated to rehabilitation.

Josh Perkins, Gonzaga’s starting point guard, underwent surgery on Friday to repair a shoulder that he injured back in December. According to the Spokesman-Review, Perkins expects to be healthy and ready to play by the start of next season.

Perkins averaged 12.3 points and 5.3 assists during the 2017-18 season despite playing through those shoulder issues. After December’s win over Washington, a game in which Perkins left wincing in pain and clutching his shoulders, Perkins said “Just popped out a little bit. It’s not very strong right now, but everything is good.”

For my money, Perkins is the player that is going to be the x-factor for the Zags next season. They have a terrific front court with Rui Hachimura and Killian Tillie returning, and with the likes of Zach Norvell and Corey Kispert back, there is plenty of talent on the wings. Perkins, the senior point guard, is the blue that is going to be needed to hold it all together.

Gonzaga is a top five team heading into next year. They have national title aspirations. Perkins might end up being the guy that determines whether they live up to those goals or get knocked out of the field in the Sweet 16.