Mitch McGary, Adreian Payne

Michigan and Michigan State will sweat out the NBA Draft deadline

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The NCAA’s meaningless deadline to enter the NBA Draft has come and gone, but there are still 12 days until the NBA’s April 28th deadline to declare passes.

That means there are still 12 days for current underclassmen to leave school and put their names up for draft consideration. The smart players have waited, and there are a number of them that are still weighing their options.

These next 12 days could shape how college basketball looks in 2013-2014. If Kelly Olynyk returns to Gonzaga, Mark Few should have another Final Four contender on his hands. Marcus Smart coming back for another season would make Oklahoma State a Big 12 title favorite. Baylor will be waiting patiently to hear back from Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson. Syracuse (CJ Fair), Miami (Shane Larkin), Creighton (Doug McDermott) and UConn (Shabazz Napier) all have potential all-americans considering whether it’s worth it to make to jump to the league.

(CLICK HERE to follow along with who is turning pro and who is returning to school.)

Hell, even Andrew Wiggins, the best high school player in the country and a near-lock to be the first pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, has yet to pick a school.

But nowhere will the next 12 days have more of an impact than in the state of Michigan.

The Wolverines already know that they are losing Trey Burke, which really isn’t a surprise. Burke wanted to leave for the NBA last season, but he decided to stay and became the National Player of the Year. Beilein knew he was gone before this season even began. Luckily, Beilein has a couple of point guards in the fold, as top 50 recruit Derrick Walton enters the program and Spike Albrecht — he of ’17 points in the first half of the national time game’ fame — returns for his sophomore season.

That probably would be enough to make Michigan a Big Ten contender once again, if they get everyone else back.

And that’s a big ‘if’.

Mitch McGary has the makings of a superstar at the college level, but since he finally showed that off during the NCAA tournament, the NBA has taken notice as well. McGary would likely get snatched up somewhere in the first round if he left school this year, and has a shot at sneaking his way into the back end of the lottery. Draft Express currently ranks McGary as the 17th best NBA prospect. Is that enough to get him to leave?

What about Glenn Robinson III? Many think that he actually wants to leave school this year, and there’s a decent chance that he could get snatched up in the first round of the draft if he did. Draft Express ranks him as the 21st best prospect in this draft and projects him to go 6th in their 2014 mock draft. He’s a 6-foot-6 athlete with three-point range and tremendous athleticism. His skills can be developed. You can’t teach potential.

That leave Tim Hardaway Jr., who would become the face of the program next season. But does he want to be the face of a program that looks nothing like the one that he played in this past season? If the rest of his team leaves, what else is there left for Hardaway to do at the college level?

And if those three end up going to the NBA, where does that leave Michigan? With Albrecht, Nik Stauskas, Caris LaVert and a bunch of freshman? There’s a chance that team could end up missing the NCAA tournament?

Michigan State doesn’t have the same kind of doomsday scenario as Michigan does. Keith Appling will be back in school, as will Denzel Valentine and Branden Dawson. Travis Trice also returns, and they’ll be joined by a trio of big men capable of playing in a Big Ten rotation. That group should be enough to get Michigan State into the top 25 in the preseason.

But that doesn’t include Adreian Payne and Gary Harris in the conversation.

Payne was a top 20 recruit coming out of high school that finally found a way to put his ridiculous skill set to good use this season, coming on strong in Big Ten play and shooting his way up NBA Draft boards. He’s a borderline first round pick if he leaves. His teammate, shooting guard Gary Harris, may actually be worthy of a higher pick but, as Gary Parrish reported today, may actually be more likely to return to school. He’s dealt with a bad shoulder all season long, and he could be a top ten pick with a full season of playing at full strength.

Michigan State, with Payne and Harris in the fold, is a top five team and a national title contender.

Michigan, with McGary, Hardaway and Robinson back, is likely a top ten team and a Big Ten contender.

But if all five end up leaving, you may see a top 25 poll with neither Michigan school ranked.

That’s a lot on the line over the next 12 days.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Seton Hall’s Derrick Gordon won’t pursue pro basketball to become a firefighter

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12:  Derrick Gordon #32 of the Seton Hall Pirates celebrates after hitting a basket against the Villanova Wildcats during the Big East Basketball Tournament Championship at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2016 in New York City. Seton Hall Pirates defeated Villanova Wildcats 69-67.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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After a successful career that included stops at Western Kentucky, UMass and Seton Hall, Derrick Gordon, Division I college basketball’s first openly gay player, will not pursue professional opportunities and will instead become a firefighter.

The 6-foot-3 Gordon averaged 8.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a senior for the Pirates, helping the team reach the NCAA tournament during his graduate transfer year. By making the NCAA tournament with Seton Hall this past season, Gordon became the first college basketball player to reach the event with three different teams.

A tenacious perimeter defender who could have earned a pro contract if he stuck with basketball, Gordon will instead pursue a career as a firefighter in San Francisco.

“I’ve had an amazing basketball career and want to thank everybody who has always been there supporting me every step on the way,” Gordon said via his Instagram. “But I’m making a change in my career…I will now be working towards becoming a San Francisco Firefighter!! I’m excited about this and looking forward to having a long career!!”

While Gordon likely would have never made the NBA on talent alone, his defensive prowess would have likely given him a shot overseas or in the D League. It’s hard to say why Gordon is making this decision, but given what we saw with all of the attention surrounding Michael Sam when he tried to play in the NFL, Gordon was probably going to face a lot of scrutiny wherever he decided to play.

Hopefully Gordon finds his calling as a firefighter and brings the same energy and leadership that he brought on the floor to helping other people outside of basketball.

Washington guard Markelle Fultz pulls off sick spin and dunk at FIBA U18 Americas

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Kelly Kline/Under Armour
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Washington incoming freshman guard Markelle Fultz is going to be one of the premier players in the country next season as his unique game is going to be fascinating to watch.

The 6-foot-5 Fultz is currently playing with the USA U18 team in Chile for the FIBA U18 Americas as he’s second on the team in scoring and first in assists as the Americans play Canada for the title on Saturday.

Against the host country, Fultz had an electric spin move in the paint and finished with an easy dunk. If you’re not willing to stay up late to watch this dude play this year, then set your DVRs, because Fultz is going to have some fun moments during the season.

(H/t: Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report)

POSTERIZED: Class of 2016 forward Chris Seeley has a massive dunk on defender

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The Las Vegas AAU events are all going on this week and it’s the final event for rising seniors.

At the Las Vegas Fab 48, forward Chris Seeley of the Splash City 17U team put down one of the best poster dunks of the summer as he skied over a defender for an emphatic finish.

The Class of 2016 forward attends Central High School in Fresno, California as he’s receiving plenty of buzz for his recent play.

 

 

 

Five-star forward Jarred Vanderbilt cuts list to nine

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LAS VEGAS, NV — Five-star Class of 2017 forward Jarred Vanderbilt has been one of the most sought-after recruits in the country since he was a freshman in high school.

The 6-foot-8 native of Houston is beginning to wind things down in the recruiting process as he cut his list to nine schools on Friday. Vanderbilt’s list includes some of the most storied programs in college basketball and plenty of schools from his home state of Texas.

“I just followed my heart. Went with the schools I liked the most and who I have the best relationships with. Thear were the schools I could see myself playing for,” Vanderbilt told NBCSports.com.

Regarded as the No. 13 overall prospect in the Rivals.com national rankings, Vanderbilt is currently recovering from a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot.

Vanderbilt will see a doctor in three-to-four weeks as he’s currently in a boot to help his foot heal.

Report: Michigan State and Penn State will play at the Palestra

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Head coach Patrick Chambers of the Penn State Nittany Lions looks on against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has previously expressed a desire to coach a game at the legendary Palestra in Philadelphia and it appears he’ll get his chance in a Big Ten game this season.

According to a report from Brendan F. Quinn of MLive, Penn State will use the Palestra as its home gym for the Jan. 7, 2017 Big Ten game against Michigan State. It is the only time the two teams are scheduled to play during Big Ten season and Penn’s home gym will offer a unique setting for the game.

Since the capacity of the Palestra is 8,722, it should make for a fun atmosphere for both programs since this will be a game both fan bases will likely want to attend.

With Nittany Lions head coach Pat Chambers making Philadelphia a major recruiting priority for his program, a game like this in Philadelphia makes sense while Michigan State has always been open to playing games in unique settings such as aircraft carriers.

The Palestra has been a college basketball mainstay since it was built in 1927 as it hosts all Penn home games and, in the past, hosted a lot of Big 5 Philadelphia college games between La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph’s, Temple and Villanova.

Overall, a fun idea that should make for an interesting experience for both programs. It’s not often that a team will change its home venue for a conference game, but it could be the start of something we see other schools look to do.