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Iowa puts walk-on Darius Stokes on scholarship for 2013-14

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With an open scholarship for the 2013-14 season, Iowa and head coach Fran McCaffery decided to reward redshirt junior walk-on Darius Stokes with a one-year scholarship this week according to a story from Hawkeye Insider.

A 6’7″ forward and son of former Iowa great Greg Stokes, the younger Stokes isn’t much of a contributor for the Hawkeyes, but his drive to get better is the real story here.

Stokes played 12 games in ’12-13 and only saw 38 minutes of floor time, but the forward continued to play hard in practice and has added 25 pounds of muscle since arriving on campus as a freshman. The additional scholarship opened up with guard Patrick Ingram transferring to IUPUI and the Hawkeyes not finding a transfer or late recruit to fill the spot.

“(McCaffery) said right away that they had been talking about this for awhile and they all felt that I deserved a scholarship for this year,” Stokes told Hawkeye Insider. “It’s a dream come true. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity.

“To see how far I have come, how hard I have worked, and to earn a scholarship, it’s an amazing feeling. I look forward to continued improvement and the challenges ahead.”

While Stokes likely won’t see many minutes this season as Iowa competes for an NCAA Tournament bid, it’s nice to see that hard work pays off for some players that do the little things to make a team better.

As a lightly recruited player out of high school, for Stokes to earn a Big Ten scholarship is a tremendous accomplishment.

“(McCaffery said that) they appreciate the effort that I have given everyday in practice and the fact that I have continued to improve every year since i have been here,” Stokes told Hawkeye Insider. “When I told my dad, he was extremely happy and proud of me. He knows how much work I have put in and to see his son reach his dream is a great feeling.”

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: