John Wall continued his success inside the storied Rupp Arena, on Monday night during the UK Alumni Charity Game. The former UK point guard dropped 40 points leading his blue team in a 111-95 over the white team. Brandon Knight led the white team with 30 points.
“E. Bled [Eric Bledsoe] told me I wasn’t going for 40 so I just tried to get 40,” Wall said after the game.
Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Patrick Peterson and Terrence Jones were some of the other former first round picks to return to Lexington to play in front of 19,255 fans for event that raised more than $1 million.
While Kentucky uses this game as way to help a cause and honor its history, Monday night’s exhibition game was a way for John Calipari to build for the program’s future. Whitney Young (Ill.) center Jahlil Okafor is the top player in the Class of 2014, and he was inside Rupp Arena for the game on Monday night, as part of his official visit. Moss Point High (Miss.) shooting guard Devin Booker and Marian Catholic High (Ill.) point guard Tyler Ulis were also on hand for the alumni game, as the two four-star guards were both visiting UK as well.
Okafor visited Baylor last weekend, and is likely to visit Arizona, Duke and Kansas. Ulis is down to UK, Iowa, Michigan State and USC. Booker is down to Florida, Michigan, Michigan State and Missouri along with Big Blue Nation.
St. Joseph High (N.J.) 7-footer Karl Towns is currently the lone 2014 commit for Coach Cal.
Prospects from the Class of 2015 — Derrick Jones of Archbishop John Carroll High (Pa.), Luke Kennard of Franklin High (Ohio) and Charles Matthews of St. Rita High (Ill.) — were also expected to take in the alumni game.
It’s worth noting here that Derek Willis is not left-handed, yet he dunks this with his left hand.
No. 8 North Carolina knocked off Pitt on the road on Saturday afternoon, picking up an 85-67 win that clinched at least a share of the ACC regular season title for the Tar Heels this season.
It’s the second straight season and the eighth time in the 14 years that Roy Williams has been the head coach of the Tar Heels that they can make such a claim. For comparison’s sake, Mike Krzyzewski and Duke have won just three ACC regular season titles in those 14 years and they haven’t won one since 2010.
So this is a pretty good run that Roy Williams is on, and that’s before you consider the two national titles — plus a third national title game — that he’s won during that stretch.
And this year may be as impressive as any job that he’s done during his career.
This UNC team is different than past UNC teams in the sense that it’s the first time that one of his great teams doesn’t have a front line anchored by a future first round pick that is a killer on the block and a stallion running the floor in transition. There’s no Brice Johnson or Tyler Zeller or Tyler Hansbrough or Sean May. Joel Berry II is a really good college guard, but he’s not Kendall Marshall or Ray Felton or Ty Lawson, and his inconsistency is one of UNC’s bigger question marks heading into the tournament. Justin Jackson has turned into a killer this season, which is not something we would have said about Justin Jackson in any other year.
Put another way, this team is not a team that you can look at and know will be a title contender.
But they are.
They hold a two-game lead over an ACC that might get 10 teams into the NCAA tournament with two games left. If they win at Virginia next week, they will be playing for pride and for seeding when they take on Duke in the season finale.
I’d go as far as to say that the Tar Heels are as good, or better, than anyone in college basketball this season. They’ll probably end up as the No. 1 seed in the south and could very well make another run to the Final Four this season.
Considering just how good Williams has been throughout his career, and particularly during his tenure in Chapel Hill, you can understand what it means to say that this may very well be the best coaching job of his career.
Duke will be without star junior guard Grayson Allen on Saturday.
According to a report from Greg Gumbel of CBS Sports, Allen will miss the Blue Devils’ road game at Miami with an ankle injury.
The 6-foot-5 Allen is averaging 15.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game this season as he’s battled a few different injuries as well as getting suspended for another tripping incident. Duke is used to playing without Allen and the Blue Devils should still have enough to stay in this one against Miami but it is going to be a tough game to win on the road.
Duke is coming off of a road loss to Syracuse earlier this week as the No. 10 Blue Devils are trying to finish out a tough regular-season schedule these next three games.
Drake senior center Jacob Enevold received a special surprise on Saturday afternoon as his parents flew all the way from Denmark to surprise him for Senior Day.
The 7-foot-1 Enevold appeared perfectly content to take part in the Senior Day celebrations when his parents appeared on the floor and he ran to greet them.
Starting freshman guard De’Aaron Fox will be out for Kentucky on Saturday as the Wildcats host Florida in an important SEC showdown.
The 6-foot-3 Fox has a knee contusion, and without him, the Wildcats will start senior Mychael Mulder. Fox is averaging 15.5 points, 5.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game as he’s been one of the country’s best two-way freshmen this season.
Kentucky and Florida both enter Saturday’s game at 13-2 in SEC play but the Gators took the first matchup by 22 points between these two teams in Gainesville on Feb. 4.