Fred Hoiberg

Sunday’s Pregame Shootaround: Michigan travels to Ames in a matchup against Iowa State

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 7 Michigan at Iowa State, 5:00 p.m. (ESPN2)

Michigan welcomed UMass Lowell to Division I, outscoring the River Hawks 46-19 in the second half. The Wolverines followed that opening night win with A 34-point beatdown — thanks to 15 3-pointers — of South Carolina State. Iowa State began the season with two wins by a margin of 30 points or more against the likes of UNC-Wilmington and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. After a pair of easy wins for each squad, Michigan travels to the Hilton Coliseum in an early season test between Big Ten and Big 12 programs.

This will be a sophomore-heavy game with Michigan’s Mitch McGary, Caris LaVert, Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III while Iowa State features Georges Niang and Naz Long. The matchup to watch though will be DeAndre Kane vs. Derrick Walton in the back court.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: Long Beach State at Kansas State, 4:00 p.m.

Long Beach State is one of the favorites in the Big West this season, but has put together a tough non-conference schedule. The 49ers lost the last two to No. 6 Arizona and Loyola Marymount. Up next after K-State are games against No. 7 Michigan, Washington, Creighton, USC, and North Carolina State before Long Beach State kicks off conference play with UC-Irvine. The 49ers are looking to be the second team to knock off the Wildcats in Manhattan this season after Northern Colorado did so on opening night.

MID-MAJOR MATCHUP OF THE DAY: Valparaiso at Ohio, 2:00 p.m.

Valparaiso and Ohio meet up in a Horizon League-MAC matchup after each team had battled with Big Ten programs. The Crusaders cut it close in the second half against Illinois only to lose 64-52. The Bobcats were also trying to pull the upset late in the game, but in-state rival Ohio State took care of business in a 79-69 win.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1) Rivalry game in Rupp Arena tonight? Well, not really. But you can imagine that Big Blue Nation wants to hand Robert Morris a beating after the Colonials upset the Wildcats in the first round of the NIT last season. Sure, Julius Randle, James Young and the Harrison twins were still in high school when the Cats when down in Coraopolis, Pa., but this will be their first game after Tuesday’s loss to No. 2 Michigan State at the Champions Classic.

2) Boston College looks for first win of the season against Florida Atlantic. The Eagles enter the contest at 0-3 after losing to short-handed Providence, followed with a loss to UMass two days later and then a loss at home to Toledo on Thursday. Steve Donahue put together a tough conference schedule and so far it has backfired. Rebounding has been the issue in all three games for BC.

3) Towson is looking to take down another Philly powerhouse after improving to 3-0 — the first time in four decades the Tigers started 3-0 — after taking down Temple at home on Thursday night. Towson will look to move to 4-0, but it will have to do so at Villanova.

4) Indiana State gave up 63 second half points to Belmont on Thursday night, blowing a 16-point halftime lead. The Sycamores, a team a that figures to contend in the Missouri Valley Conference, now has to turnaround and take the floor against No. 21 Notre Dame in South Bend. (12:00 p.m.)

5) Oregon State will travel to Maryland to take on the Terrapins on Sunday evening. As reported earlier in the week, President Obama will be the most notable fan in attendance. Beavers head coach Craig Robinson is the older brother of First Lady Michelle Obama.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • Robert Morris at No. 1 Kentucky, 7:00 p.m.
  • Belmont at No. 12 North Carolina, 4:00 p.m.
  • Oakland at No. 15 Gonzaga, 8:00 p.m.
  • Boston University at No. 19 UConn, 12:00 p.m.
  • Indiana State at No. 21 Notre Dame, 12:00 p.m.
  • Charleston Southern at No. 22 New Mexico, 6:05 p.m.
  • Louisiana-Lafayette at No. 23 Baylor, 5:00 p.n.

Seton Hall’s Derrick Gordon won’t pursue pro basketball to become a firefighter

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12:  Derrick Gordon #32 of the Seton Hall Pirates celebrates after hitting a basket against the Villanova Wildcats during the Big East Basketball Tournament Championship at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2016 in New York City. Seton Hall Pirates defeated Villanova Wildcats 69-67.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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After a successful career that included stops at Western Kentucky, UMass and Seton Hall, Derrick Gordon, Division I college basketball’s first openly gay player, will not pursue professional opportunities and will instead become a firefighter.

The 6-foot-3 Gordon averaged 8.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a senior for the Pirates, helping the team reach the NCAA tournament during his graduate transfer year. By making the NCAA tournament with Seton Hall this past season, Gordon became the first college basketball player to reach the event with three different teams.

A tenacious perimeter defender who could have earned a pro contract if he stuck with basketball, Gordon will instead pursue a career as a firefighter in San Francisco.

“I’ve had an amazing basketball career and want to thank everybody who has always been there supporting me every step on the way,” Gordon said via his Instagram. “But I’m making a change in my career…I will now be working towards becoming a San Francisco Firefighter!! I’m excited about this and looking forward to having a long career!!”

While Gordon likely would have never made the NBA on talent alone, his defensive prowess would have likely given him a shot overseas or in the D League. It’s hard to say why Gordon is making this decision, but given what we saw with all of the attention surrounding Michael Sam when he tried to play in the NFL, Gordon was probably going to face a lot of scrutiny wherever he decided to play.

Hopefully Gordon finds his calling as a firefighter and brings the same energy and leadership that he brought on the floor to helping other people outside of basketball.

Washington guard Markelle Fultz pulls off sick spin and dunk at FIBA U18 Americas

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Kelly Kline/Under Armour
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Washington incoming freshman guard Markelle Fultz is going to be one of the premier players in the country next season as his unique game is going to be fascinating to watch.

The 6-foot-5 Fultz is currently playing with the USA U18 team in Chile for the FIBA U18 Americas as he’s second on the team in scoring and first in assists as the Americans play Canada for the title on Saturday.

Against the host country, Fultz had an electric spin move in the paint and finished with an easy dunk. If you’re not willing to stay up late to watch this dude play this year, then set your DVRs, because Fultz is going to have some fun moments during the season.

(H/t: Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report)

POSTERIZED: Class of 2016 forward Chris Seeley has a massive dunk on defender

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The Las Vegas AAU events are all going on this week and it’s the final event for rising seniors.

At the Las Vegas Fab 48, forward Chris Seeley of the Splash City 17U team put down one of the best poster dunks of the summer as he skied over a defender for an emphatic finish.

The Class of 2016 forward attends Central High School in Fresno, California as he’s receiving plenty of buzz for his recent play.

 

 

 

Five-star forward Jarred Vanderbilt cuts list to nine

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LAS VEGAS, NV — Five-star Class of 2017 forward Jarred Vanderbilt has been one of the most sought-after recruits in the country since he was a freshman in high school.

The 6-foot-8 native of Houston is beginning to wind things down in the recruiting process as he cut his list to nine schools on Friday. Vanderbilt’s list includes some of the most storied programs in college basketball and plenty of schools from his home state of Texas.

“I just followed my heart. Went with the schools I liked the most and who I have the best relationships with. Thear were the schools I could see myself playing for,” Vanderbilt told NBCSports.com.

Regarded as the No. 13 overall prospect in the Rivals.com national rankings, Vanderbilt is currently recovering from a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot.

Vanderbilt will see a doctor in three-to-four weeks as he’s currently in a boot to help his foot heal.

Report: Michigan State and Penn State will play at the Palestra

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Head coach Patrick Chambers of the Penn State Nittany Lions looks on against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has previously expressed a desire to coach a game at the legendary Palestra in Philadelphia and it appears he’ll get his chance in a Big Ten game this season.

According to a report from Brendan F. Quinn of MLive, Penn State will use the Palestra as its home gym for the Jan. 7, 2017 Big Ten game against Michigan State. It is the only time the two teams are scheduled to play during Big Ten season and Penn’s home gym will offer a unique setting for the game.

Since the capacity of the Palestra is 8,722, it should make for a fun atmosphere for both programs since this will be a game both fan bases will likely want to attend.

With Nittany Lions head coach Pat Chambers making Philadelphia a major recruiting priority for his program, a game like this in Philadelphia makes sense while Michigan State has always been open to playing games in unique settings such as aircraft carriers.

The Palestra has been a college basketball mainstay since it was built in 1927 as it hosts all Penn home games and, in the past, hosted a lot of Big 5 Philadelphia college games between La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph’s, Temple and Villanova.

Overall, a fun idea that should make for an interesting experience for both programs. It’s not often that a team will change its home venue for a conference game, but it could be the start of something we see other schools look to do.