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Kelly Oubre: “UConn is coming at me the hardest”

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HAMPTON, Va. — When playing on a team that includes Justise Winslow, Justin Jackson and Khadeem Lattin, getting noticed isn’t the easiest thing to do.

But through three games at the Nike EYBL Hampton, Kelly Oubre hasn’t had that problem. The athletic, 6-foot-6 wing is averaging 17.7 points, 8.7 boards and 2.7 assists while hitting 40% from beyond the arc.

It’s enough that Oubre has climbed to No. 27 in the latest Rivals top 150 and has gotten offers from “all the big schools”, including the likes of Georgetown, Arizona and UCLA. Kansas, Alabama, and Baylor are the schools that have made in-home visits.

There is one school, however, that has stood out for the Richmond, TX, native.

“UConn is coming at me the hardest,” Oubre said. “As of right now, I’m really starting to get serious into my recruiting process. And the more people call me, the more serious I’m going to start settling down and thinking about it.”

And what will you be thinking about?

“The atmosphere. The coaching staff. The fanbase. The offense, most definitely,” Oubre said. But perhaps most importantly, Oubre is looking for a program with a coaching staff that’s going to help to fulfill his potential.

“Whoever is going to push me to be the best that I can be and get me to where I want to go,” he said.

To do that, Oubre is going to have to work on his all-around game. Right now, the left-handed Oubre is best known for his athleticism and for his ability to shoot from the perimeter. But if he’s going to live up to the hype of being a top 30 player in the Class of 2014, he’s going to have to fill out the rest of his game, in particular his ball-handling.

“I can dribble up the court, I can do whatever my coach needs me to do, but I wanna be strong with it and keep getting stronger,” Oubre said.

Getting stronger off the bounce will help keep defenses honest, and with his size and athleticism, having the handle to beat a defender off the dribble should allow Oubre to get to the free throw line at will. As that part of his game develops, he’s only going to get better.

But that doesn’t change the fact that Oubre will always be a jump shooter first.

“That’s my game,” he said. “I feed off of that.”

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: