Pac 12 Basketball Tournament - Quarterfinals

Two sources of motivation led to Jordan Loveridge’s weight loss

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In his freshman season at the University of Utah, 6-7 forward Jordan Loveridge proved to be one of the better freshmen in the Pac-12. Playing alongside center Jason Wahsburn,

Loveridge averaged 12.1 points and 7.0 rebounds per game for a team that improved its win total by nine games and won four straight before losing to eventual Pac-12 tournament champion Oregon in the semifinal round.

With Washburn and leading scorer Jarred DuBois both out of eligibility, more will be required from both Loveridge and fellow sophomore Brandon Taylor if Larry Krystkowiak’s Utes are to take the next step towards respectability in a league that has improved.

With that in mind Loveridge has gone about the task of reshaping his body, eschewing the junk foods that so many young college students succumb to in favor of healthier choices. But the reason for the change wasn’t solely about basketball, according to Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune.

For years his father, Bill Loveridge, has worked the graveyard shift for a packaging company. Though often exhausted after leaving work at five each morning, he would still take Jordan to the local gym to shoot jumpers before school started. That basketball bond is just one reason Loveridge and his father are extremely close.

In late March, Bill Loveridge was diagnosed with diabetes, a condition which has required him to lose significant weight and to watch what he eats.

Jordan Loveridge wasn’t about to sit back and watch his father take the journey alone. So he and his dad educated themselves on the process of eating right.

“As close as we are, it’s something that’s made us closer,” Bill Loveridge said. “We talked about it once, and then we’ve just kind of gone out and done it.”

Loveridge has reportedly lost some 25 pounds since the end of the season, a development which could lead to him spending even more time on the perimeter in 2013-14.

But where he plays next season will depend on Utah’s personnel, as the lack of depth inside in 2012-13 resulted in Loveridge spending more time at the four than originally anticipated. Regardless of which position Loveridge plays, he has the talent needed to emerge as one of the Pac-12’s better forwards as a sophomore.

The hope is that his weight loss will benefit Utah on the court, but the potential benefits from a family standpoint shouldn’t be ignored either.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

No. 10 Gonzaga outlasts No. 18 UConn despite late offensive struggles

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No. 10 Gonzaga survived a furious rally from No. 18 UConn to win the third place game in the Battle 4 Atlantis, 73-70.

The Zags were up by as much as 21 points early in the second half, leading 48-27, but UConn slowly chipped away at the lead. Kyle Wiltjer led four players in double-figures with 17 points while Eric McClellan added 15 points, making a number of key plays in the second half when it looked like the Zags were in danger of giving away the lead.

As good as Gonzaga looked in the first 22 minutes of this game — and they looked really, really good — the second half exposed the concerns that many had with this group entering the season. Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr., who both shot around 40 percent from beyond the arc and started for four years, graduated, meaning that Gonzaga’s point guard situation is, more or less, Josh Perkins.

Perkins was terrific in the second half of a loss to Texas A&M on Thursday. He played 17 foul-plagued minutes against UConn. When UConn’s defense ratcheted up during the second half, Gonzaga struggled finding a way to consistently get good shots on the offensive end. Part of that was due to ineffective point guard play and part of it was a result of not really having anyone on the offensive end that can create a look on their own. As skilled as Wiltjer is, his impact can be limited when pick-and-pop actions aren’t working and he’s getting doubled in the post.

Perkins is talented, but this is essentially his first season of college basketball; he was a medical redshirt last season after breaking his jaw last November. There are going to be ups-and-downs, and that’s problematic on a team where he is essentially the only point guard on the roster.

The good news?

Gonzaga beat a good UConn team on a day when their best players struggled in crunch-time. It was McClellan and Kyle Dranginis that made the big plays down the stretch, not the big names on the Gonzaga roster.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady ‘awake, alert’ after getting stretchered off court

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Wichita State big man Anton Grady was stretchered off of the floor in the second half of a loss to Alabama after a nasty collision with Dazon Ingram.

The video can be seen above. There was nothing malicious about the way that Grady was injured. When he turned to run up the floor after missing a shot in the lane, he went face first into Ingram’s shoulder. He neck bent in an awkward directions and, after stumbling a few steps, he laid motionless on the floor.

It took 10 minutes for the training staff to strap Grady to a backboard and wheel him out of the arena.

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A Wichita State spokesman told that Grady was taken to a local trauma center for evaluation and that he is “awake, alert and is answering questions appropriately”.

We will have more updates as they come available.

From a basketball perspective, the No. 20 Shockers lost their second game in a row and are now 2-3 on the season.

While for some the Shockers’ résumé is up for questioning following losses to USC and Alabama, two teams projected to finish in the bottom half of their respective leagues, the team’s health is the biggest concern.

Fred VanVleet has been dealing with a hamstring issue since the season began, and an ankle injury limited him in a loss at Tulsa earlier this month. He won’t play again until at least Dec. 5th. and who knows when he’ll be back to full strength. The same can be said for back up point guard and freshman Landry Shamet, who underwent surgery to address a stress fracture in the fifth metatarsal in his left foot. Their injuries have led to even more being asked of senior guard Ron Baker, and the loss of Grady for any significant amount of time certainly isn’t going to help matters..

These early-season losses won’t help Wichita State when it comes to the NCAA tournament, but it’s important to make note of the circumstances surrounding those defeats. To be shorthanded, with one of the absent players ranking among the nation’s best point guards, has an impact that has to be accounted for when evaluating Wichita State. The Shockers will add Conner Frankamp in mid-December, which will help them on the perimeter.

But with their rotation currently being in flux, it’s tough to make any definitive statements on what Wichita State will have to do in order to make another trip to the NCAA tournament. At this point Gregg Marshall and his staff will look for other contributors, one of whom being Markis McDuffie (14 points, seven rebounds vs. Alabama), to emerge and show themselves capable of picking up the slack.