Louisville guard Kevin Ware cleared to begin basketball workouts

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Given the nature of the injury suffered by Louisville guard Kevin Ware during the Cardinals’ Elite 8 win over Duke in the NCAA tournament, few expected the junior to be ready to practice in the days leading up to the defending national champion’s season opener on November 9 against the College of Charleston.

But less than two weeks after it was believed that Ware wouldn’t be back until the spring semester, there was video of Ware dunking. And on Friday head coach Rick Pitino stated during a press conference that Ware’s been cleared to begin basketball workouts, marking the latest step taken in Ware’s comeback.

“He has a clean bill of health,” coach Rick Pitino said Friday. “He can play all-out at the end of the month.”

Pitino said Ware has been cleared to begin basketball workouts immediately, but while he may be physically ready to return to the court, Pitino cautioned he may still need to get past his injury mentally.

As Pitino noted there’s a mental barrier Ware may need to overcome, and that’s something many elite athletes who suffer serious injuries need to address in order to complete their comeback. The question now is whether or not Ware will miss any games due to the injury. Louisville has three intra-squad scrimmages and two exhibitions before their season opener, with the first scrimmage taking place on Saturday.

We may not know when Ware will be able to play in games, but the fact that he’s received the clearance needed in order to participate in workouts is something to celebrate.

North Carolina to unveil national championship banner in October

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The latest addition to the rafters of the Dean Dome will be unveiled this fall.

North Carolina will raise the banner for its 2017 national championship on Oct. 13, according to a report from Inside Carolina.

The event will coincide with the Tar Heels’ “Late Night With Roy” event that marks the public start to the season for the program and also serves, like many other top programs, as a recruiting tool.

North Carolina won its sixth NCAA national championship in April by defeating Gonzaga, 71-65, in Phoenix to avenge its last-second loss in the title game to Villanova the year prior. It was the Tar Heels’ first championship since 2009.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball highlights

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It was the most anticipated matchup of the summer.

Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball.

People were turned away at the door – and LeBron James reportedly came and went – as the gym reached capacity for SC Supreme’s 104-92 victory over the Big Ballers. That’s Williamson over Ball (LaMelo and LaVar).

The game was mostly spectacle, and you can see it’s top moments right here.

 

VIDEO: Zion Williamson’s coach is holding a sleeping baby

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LaMelo Ball vs. Zion Williamson was insane, but it wasn’t quite crazy enough to wake up the sleeping toddler that Williamson’s coach is holding in his arms:

This is peak AAU basketball.

It will never be more AAU than that.

PHOTOS: Zion Williamson, LaMelo Ball showdown was, of course, insane

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In a showcase game in the adidas Uprising event in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, LaMelo Ball — the youngest member of the Big Baller Brand — faced off with Zion Williamson, who is a force on youtube and a highlight machine.

The crowd was insane for the game:

According to a report from ESPN, there were even concerns about whether or not the game would actually be allowed to be played; the police and fire marshall considered shutting the event down.

Williamson, of course, put on a show in warmups:

At the time of this posting, there were more than 60,000 people watching a livestream of the game on BallIsLife’s facebook page:

(UPDATE: It’s now over 70,000)

Puerto Rico Tip Off bracket revealed

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The bracket of the 2017 Puerto Rico Tip off was revealed Wednesday, setting up a showdown between a 2016 Final Four participant and the 2016 Big 12 tournament champion.

South Carolina and Iowa State headline the event, which will be played Nov. 16-19, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.

The Gamecocks are on the top half of the bracket, opening against Illinois State while the Cyclones are on the bottom half, squaring off against Appalachian State.

Boise State vs. UTEP is the other top-half quarterfinal while Tulsa vs. Western Michigan is the other.

The championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip Off on Sunday, Nov. 19.