Beach Ball Classic Basketball

Jahlil Okafor’s AAU coach believes he and Tyus Jones headed to Duke


There may not be a more important story line for the 2014-2015 basketball season than where Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor decide to go to college.

The best point guard in the Class of 2014 and one of the most technically sound big men to come through the high school ranks in a long time — who also happens to be the top recruit in 2014 — haven’t been quiet about the idea of playing their college basketball together.

The question that everyone wants to know: Where do they end up?

Jones is down to seven schools and Okafor is down to eight school, and six of them are recruiting both — Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Ohio State, Baylor and Duke.

The latter is the team that many believe will end up getting both players, and that speculation was fueled by some quotes that were given by Mike Irvin, a coach for Okafor’s AAU team, Mac Irvin Fire.

“[Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski] was at every game, he was the only head coach that was really following Jahlil all over the place,” Irvin told Michael O’Brien of the Chicago Sun-Times. “If [Cliff Alexander] was sitting out it would only be Coach K watching that game. In my mind Duke has a really good chance to land [Okafor]. Coach K has done a good job of recruiting him.”

“I think there is a great chance Tyus is going to Duke,” Irvin said. “So if [Okafor and Tyus] are going to school together…”

Okafor’s father said last week that he believes his son still has no idea where he’s going, and I’ve yet to see an interview where either Okafor or Jones really opened up about where they want to go to college. They may be 17 years old, but they’re media savvy; how many times have you heard them open up about how close their friendship is?

Whatever the case, if Jones and Okafor do end up going to school together, it’s tough to imagine a scenario where that team isn’t the favorite to win the national title.

Unless, of course, Andrew Wiggins pulls a Marcus Smart.

VIDEOS: Rhode Island, Maryland exchange heated words in Cancun

Dan Hurley
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No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.

Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.

But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.

It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:

After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”:

Wayne Selden stars as Kansas wins the title in Maui

Wayne Selden Jr., Jeff Roberson
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The last time we wrote about Wayne Selden in this space, it was my colleague Scott Phillips who questioned, after a poor performance in the Champions Classic, whether or not Selden is capable of bring a primary scorer for a team with NCAA title aspirations.

At the time, it wasn’t an unfair question to ask.

Selden is a former top 15 recruit. He is a guy who was expected to go one-and-done that played poorly in the first big game of his third year on campus. But after three days it Maui, it appears that the old Wayne Selden is gone.

[MORE: Kansas got Cheick Diallo news today]

He capped an MVP performance in the Maui Invitational with 25 points and seven boards on 8-for-11 shooting as the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks knocked off No. 19 Vanderbilt, 70-63, in the title game. Selden was terrific for the entire weekend, averaging 21.5 points in the two games against Division I competition and shooting 12-for-17 from beyond the arc in the three game tournament.

It was the best that we’ve seen Selden play during his Jayhawk career, and it came in a game the Jayhawks desperately needed it. Vanderbilt is a damn good team. They’re ranked 19th, which may actually be too low, and they seem to clearly be the biggest challenger to Kentucky in the SEC. They jumped out to a double-digit lead on Kansas in the first half as the Jayhawks seemed to be sleep-walking early in the game.

Enter Selden. He drilled three threes in the first half and scored 13 of the 26 Jayhawk points to keep them close. In other words, he played like a star on a night Kansas desperately needed someone to step up and play like a star. Remember: this is a dude that had enough talent and potential in high school to be considered a McDonald’s All-American and a potential lottery pick. The ability is there:

(That move is filthy.)

The question has always been whether or not he is capable of putting it all together, of being the guy that can be relied upon to make the big play in the big moment, to carry a team with title aspirations.

And to be fair, the jury is still out in that regard. Are we just going to ignore those four free throws he clanged down the stretch?

But seeing Selden have this kind of performance in a game like this against a team that is this good is unquestionably a positive for Kansas moving forward.