Kentucky Athletics

How did the top five freshmen fare in their first college game?

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There’s a ton of hype surrounding the top five in this year’s freshman class and last year’s Rivals Class of 2013 top five of Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon, Jabari Parker and Andrew Harrison played last night in their college debuts.

We’ll start with Kentucky, since they had the top class and started four freshman in yesterday’s win over UNC Asheville. Julius Randle led four freshman starters with 23 points and 15 rebounds in only 26 minutes while going 11-of-13 from the free throw line. The Harrison brothers — Andrew at point and Aaron at two — started and Andrew had eight points and five assists and only one turnover and Aaron had 10 points and five rebounds to go along with four steals. James Young has been great in practice according to many, but was 3-for-10 for 11 points. Marcus Lee was a surprise with 17 points in only 15 minutes off the bench and you forget he’s another McDonald’s All-American on the bench at Kentucky,

Duke freshman forward Jabari Parker had 22 points in 23 minutes that included 8-for-10 from the field and 3-for-3 from three-point range. Parker also added six rebounds in a great 111-77 debut win over Davidson.

Andrew Wiggins led Kansas in minutes (34) and points (16) in a balanced 80-63 win over Louisiana-Monroe and also added three rebounds and three steals. Center Joel Embiid played only 11 minutes and was saddled with four fouls, but was 7-of-10 from the free throw line with nine points.

Out west, Arizona freshman forward Aaron Gordon started at the four and had 13 points and 10 rebounds to go along with four blocks in 33 minutes in a 72-63 win over Cal Poly.

Overall, the top five freshman played well and they all started and contributed in wins. Next week comes the real test for many of them as the Champions Classic awaits.

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.