Bill Self says Oklahoma State has best roster in the Big 12

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That’ll be a fun matchup to watch when conference play starts next year.

Kansas for nine straight years has either won or at least shared the Big 12 regular season title. The Jayhawks have constantly reloaded and continued its success for a decade until Bill Self, but Self can see down the going into next season, the Oklahoma State Cowboys could knock Kansas off its place at the top of the Big 12.

“I don’t know who everybody returns, but based on their roster, no question Oklahoma State would have the best roster returning,” Self told Gary Bedore of the Lawrence Journal World at a fundraiser on Thursday.

Earlier this week, freshman guard Marcus Smart — a projected top-5 pick — would return to OSU for a sophomore season, making the Cowboys not only a strong contender, but the favorite in the Big 12.

“They’ll be preseason top-5, -10 team for sure,” Self added. “It’ll be good for our league, not a bad thing at all for our league. No question going into the summer they have the best roster. There’s also some schools not finished recruiting yet. We’ll see how it plays out.”

Smart returns along with LeBryan Nash, Markel Brown and Phil Forte, the team’s top four scorers, all of which averaged double figures in 2012-2013.

While OSU brings back some familiar faces, Kansas reloads with a five-person class that Rivals considered second best only to Kentucky’s heralded 2013 incoming group. Kansas’ class is headlined by guards Conner Frankamp and Wayne Selden, along with small forward Brannen Green and center  Joel Embiid. The class could also get better if KU lands Andrew Wiggins.

Those freshman will need to play a big role, especially with a team losing Ben McLemore, Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford and Jeff Withey. Perry Ellis (5.8 minutes per game), Naadir Tharpe (5.5 minutes per game) return for the Jayhawks.

Smart is taking a lot of heat for not going for the riches of the NBA. He’ll return as one of the nation’s top players in 2013-2014, and could prove those critics wrong in his sophomore campaign.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Four conferences sign on to basketball officiating alliance

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Four more Division I conferences will join a men’s basketball officiating alliance formed last year by the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East, the Atlantic 10 and Colonial Athletic Association.

The Big South, the Ivy League, the Northeast and the Patriot League are joining ahead of the 2017-18 season, according to announcements from the leagues Thursday. The alliance launched last summer for conferences to work together on officiating matters and enhance training, development, recruitment, retention and feedback for officials.

John Cahill, the Big East’s supervisor of officials, and Bryan Kersey, the ACC’s coordinator of men’s basketball officiating, will continue to lead the alliance operations.

ACC commissioner John Swofford says the new additions to the alliance “provide an even greater opportunity to build chemistry and quality” across the officiating ranks.

North Carolina to unveil national championship banner in October

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The latest addition to the rafters of the Dean Dome will be unveiled this fall.

North Carolina will raise the banner for its 2017 national championship on Oct. 13, according to a report from Inside Carolina.

The event will coincide with the Tar Heels’ “Late Night With Roy” event that marks the public start to the season for the program and also serves, like many other top programs, as a recruiting tool.

North Carolina won its sixth NCAA national championship in April by defeating Gonzaga, 71-65, in Phoenix to avenge its last-second loss in the title game to Villanova the year prior. It was the Tar Heels’ first championship since 2009.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball highlights

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It was the most anticipated matchup of the summer.

Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball.

People were turned away at the door – and LeBron James reportedly came and went – as the gym reached capacity for SC Supreme’s 104-92 victory over the Big Ballers. That’s Williamson over Ball (LaMelo and LaVar).

The game was mostly spectacle, and you can see it’s top moments right here.

 

VIDEO: Zion Williamson’s coach is holding a sleeping baby

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LaMelo Ball vs. Zion Williamson was insane, but it wasn’t quite crazy enough to wake up the sleeping toddler that Williamson’s coach is holding in his arms:

This is peak AAU basketball.

It will never be more AAU than that.

PHOTOS: Zion Williamson, LaMelo Ball showdown was, of course, insane

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In a showcase game in the adidas Uprising event in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, LaMelo Ball — the youngest member of the Big Baller Brand — faced off with Zion Williamson, who is a force on youtube and a highlight machine.

The crowd was insane for the game:

According to a report from ESPN, there were even concerns about whether or not the game would actually be allowed to be played; the police and fire marshall considered shutting the event down.

Williamson, of course, put on a show in warmups:

At the time of this posting, there were more than 60,000 people watching a livestream of the game on BallIsLife’s facebook page:

(UPDATE: It’s now over 70,000)