Michigan v Syracuse

Jerami Grant returns to practice after injuring his hand

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Jerami Grant is a name that has popped up on a number of breakout player lists heading into the 2013-2014 season, but the sophomore forward has had a couple of setbacks this offseason that may hinder his ability to produce the way he would like.

The 6-foot-8 forward made the cut for the U19 team, but he couldn’t accept his spot thanks to a bout of mono that he dealt with.

That wasn’t it, however.

Syracuse kicked off their practices three weeks ago, but due to a hand injury, Grant didn’t really find himself in the full swing of things until last week.

The injuries have been frustrating, but the 13.3 points and 7.8 boards he averaged during a swing through Canada have helped him combat some of those concerns. From Mike Waters of the Syracuse-Post Standard:

“(He) played well,” Boeheim said. “He’s improved. He’s worked on his game. He’s a much-improved player. I think he’s still got a lot of things he can do to get better and will.”

Grant returned to practice last week and he’s already turning heads.

“I think (the injury) set him back a little bit,” SU assistant coach Adrian Autry said, “but I think the last two or three practices he’s started to get back into form. He’s starting to look the way he did at the end of the Canadian trip.”

Syracuse will head into the season as one of the favorites to win the ACC title, but there are some concerns on that roster. Obviously, how the Orange will be able to replace point guard Michael Carter-Williams is the biggest, but there are also question marks up front. C.J. Fair returns, but after that there is quite a bit of athleticism but not a lot of proven talent.

Grant’s ability to improve as a sophomore and become a guy that can provide interior scoring, energy and rebounding will play a big role in the success the Orange have this year.

POSTERIZED: Pensacola State’s Jamal Thomas dunks through block attempt, makes coach go nuts

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A solid poster dunk went down in the junior college ranks last night as Pensacola State sophomore Jamal Thomas finished a dunk through a block attempt against Northwest Florida State.

The 6-foot-3 Thomas used his power and momentum to go through the opposing shot blocker and the play made his head coach, Pete Pena, go nuts with an over-exaggerated fist pump. The video is short, but be sure to watch for Pena’s reaction near the logo at the top right of the screen.

VIDEO: Boise State robbed of insane, buzzer-beating win on incorrect timing by officials

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It looked like James Webb III of Boise State had hit the season’s craziest buzzer-beater.

With 0.8 seconds left, he caught an in-bounds pass on the run on the right wing, hoisted up a prayer of a three and watched as it banked it as the buzzer sounded.

It’s pretty fantastic:

And it also clearly left his hands before time expired, but there was a reason for that. According to the officials, the clock (for the road team, mind you) did not start when the ball was caught.

They were right.

Where they were wrong was determining that it took more than a second for Webb to catch and release the shot, meaning that they were wrong to waive off the bucket.

This awesome slo-mo clip of the shot from Matt Stephens of the Coloradoan is all the evidence I need, but if you need more, Sportscenter anchor Scott Van Pelt clocked it at 0.7 seconds:

The game would go to overtime, where Colorado State would go on to win, 97-93.

As you can imagine, Boise State players and coaches were livid with the call.

“I hope it’s not a situation where you get an apology later but don’t get the win. I don’t understand it,” head coach Leon Rice said in a radio interview after the game. “I hope they got it right somehow, some way. I don’t know. It didn’t look right to me, but I’m not the official.”

This comes just four days after officials blew a call in a game between New Mexico and San Diego State that allowed the Aztecs to force overtime and eventually beat the Lobos. (That call may have determined the outcome of the Mountain West regular season title, to boot.)

New Mexico was essentially told, “my bad”, but the league as a result.

And Boise State will probably get the same treatment despite the fact that, if the league determines that the referees botched this call as well, the tame technically was over then.

Will they have the guts to award the Broncos a road win that they earned and deserve?

I doubt it.

UPDATE: Here’s a statement from the officiating crew: