Late Night Snacks: Sunday’s excitement wasn’t just on the gridiron

Leave a comment

GAME OF THE DAY: No. 24 North Carolina 93, No. 3 Louisville 84

The Tar Heels got a career-high 32 points out of Marcus Paige and 13 points, 12 boards and seven assists from Kennedy Meeks as they ran over Louisville despite 36 points from Russ Smith. This win would have been impressive regardless of situation, but it was all the more impressive due to the issues that UNC had entering the game. Namely, everyone had written this group off. Guess they proved us wrong, eh?

THE OTHER GAME OF THE DAY: No. 6 Duke 91, Vermont 90

The Catamounts went shot-for-shot with the Blue Devils on Sunday night in Cameron, a thriller that featured about as much defense as you’ll find in the last game of over-30 pickup. Vermont shot 64.9% from the floor and scored 1.424 PPP. That’s not good. The game came to a thrilling end, as the final seconds featured a four-point play for the Cats, a free throw from Rodney Hood and UVM dribbling out the clock to end the game without getting off a shot to win the game.

THE OTHER BUZZER-BEATER: Florida State 62, Northeastern 60

Devon Bookert hit a fadeaway 10-footer with 0.5 seconds left to give the Seminoles the win over the Huskies and a 2-1 record in a tournament where Leonard Hamilton’s club made a statement.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) Charlotte came to Puerto Rico as an afterthought, but thanks to Terrence Williams, who tipped in his own miss with 0.4 seconds left, the 49ers left San Juan with a title in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Sunday’s win came over No. 14 Michigan, which should, in theory, be a marquee win come tournament time. The concern here for Michigan isn’t the loss; it’s injuries to Glenn Robinson III (back) and Nik Stauskas (ankle).

2) Georgetown managed to get out of Puerto Rico without a complete disaster as they picked up an 84-80 win over No. 10 VCU to win the fifth-place game. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Markel Starks combined for 49 points, and while VCU forced 26 turnovers, they had the same issues as they did against Florida State: 35% shooting while allowing Georgetown to shoot 56%.

3) Colorado rallied from a 14 point second half deficit to knock off Harvard, 70-62, and hand the Crimson their first loss of the season. Spencer Dinwiddie led four scorers in double-figures with 17 points.

STARRED

1) Cady Lalanne finished with 20 points and 12 boards to lead UMass to a 62-56 win over Clemson in the final of the Charleston Classic. Chaz Williams is the Minutemen’s superstar, but Lalanne may be their best player to date.

2) Stony Brook’s Jameel Warney finished with 32 points and 21 boards (11 offensive) in a 104-102 win in triple overtime over Detroit. He was 13-for-14 from the floor. Warney scored at the end of the second overtime to tie the game and won the game with five seconds left in triple-overtime.

3) Tyler Harris got a career-high 22 points to go along with nine boards to lead Providence to a win over La Salle in the final of the Paradise Jam.

STRUGGLED

1) Long Beach State shot 11-for-56 from the floor in a loss to Kansas State. That’s 19.6%. The were 4-for-32 in the first half, or 12.5%. Not good.

2) Georgia lost. Again. This time to Nebraska, 73-65. They went 0-3 in the Charleston Classic and now sit at 1-4 on the season. Not a great start to the season for Mark Fox.

3) After scoring 66 points in the first two games of the Charleston Classic, Chester Frazier went 3-for-13 from the floor as UAB lost to Temple, 87-66, in the fifth-place game.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • Elgin Cook had 18 points and six boards off the bench to lead No. 17 Oregon to a 100-82 win over San Francisco.
  • No. 19 New Mexico’s Cameron Bairstow and Alex Kirk continued their strong play with 34 points, 21 boards, eight assists and three blocks in a 79-58 win over Davidson.
  • No. 22 UCLA got 22 points from Jordan Adams and 17 points, 10 boards and seven assists from Kyle Anderso in a 106-65 over Chattanooga.

NOTABLES

  • Troy Huff had 32 points and 10 boards as North Dakota whipped up on their in-state rival North Dakota State, who got 34 points from Taylor Braun.
  • Evan Smotrycz had 20 points and nine boards for Maryland in a win over Northern Iowa.
  • 32 points, 13 assists and 10 steals from Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant will do a lot for a team like Notre Dame.
  • Justin Drummond led four scorers in double-figures with 23 points to lead Toledo to a 6-0 record with a win over Florida Atlantic.
  • D.J. Newbill’s 23 points, nine boards and seven assists led Penn State to a 93-67 win over Longwood.
  • Kerry Carter led St. Mary’s with 15 points in a win over Alcorn State.
  • Amric Fields had 16 points off the bench to lead TCU to a win over Washington State.
  • Mo Watson had 16 points, six assists, four boards and four steals to lead BU to a win over LIU.
  • Trae Golden went for 20 points and seven assists to lead Georgia Tech to a 78-71 win over North Carolina A&T.

VIDEOS: Michigan State’s Miles Bridges puts on another show at local summer Pro-Am

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Watching Michigan State’s Miles Bridges throw down high-level dunks in local summer pro-ams has been a good way to pass the time the last few weeks.

The 6-foot-7 Bridges has been annihilating rims all summer as he had more ridiculous dunks on Tuesday night. Playing with former Michigan State star Denzel Valentine and some of his current Spartans teammates, Bridges had more crowd-pleasing plays to add to his summer reel.

Lansing State Journal reporter James Edwards III has been on the scene for Bridges’ games all summer as he has more dunks from the future lottery pick.

Minnesota keeps in-state three-star 2018 guard Gabe Kalscheur at home

Jon Lopez/Nike
Leave a comment

Minnesota is keeping a big-time shooter at home as Class of 2018 shooting guard Gabe Kalscheur pledged to the Golden Gophers on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-4 Kalscheur is the third in-state prospect to pledge to head coach Richard Pitino in the Class of 2018 as he joins three-star forward Jarvis Thomas and four-star big man Daniel Oturu. The three-star Kalscheur gives Minnesota a valuable floor spacer and a winner as he’s a three-time state champion at DeLaSalle. All three of these commitments also played together with Howard Pulley in the Nike EYBL.

During this spring and summer in the Nike EYBL, Kalscheur averaged 14.9 points and shot 39 percent from three-point range as he made 61 treys in 21 games.

Pitino has certainly done a nice job of keeping local players home as he’s hoping that trend continues with upcoming in-state five-star prospects like 2018 point guard Tre Jones and 2019 forward Matthew Hurt. The Golden Gophers will have to win national recruiting battles to keep those guys home, but they’ve done a nice job of getting the other guys that they need to keep home.

North Carolina and NCAA set August hearing

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
1 Comment

North Carolina and the NCAA have released additional responses and set the dates for a future hearing on Tuesday amid an investigation into paper classes given by the university’s African-American Studies Department.

The NCAA’s allegations center around UNC’s athletes — most notably members of football, men’s and women’s basketball teams — allegedly being guided to the fake classes in order to keep GPAs high enough to remain eligible. The fake classes typically had a high number of athletes enrolled each semester.

While North Carolina argued in May that this should be a school matter and not an NCAA matter, the NCAA responded to the matter in its belief that it has the right to investigate the classes. North Carolina is facing five top-level charges in the case with lack of institutional control among the charges.

A two-day hearing will be held with the NCAA in Nashville on August 16-17.

“The hearing is the next step in bringing closure to this longstanding issue by allowing us the opportunity to address the Committee on Infractions and present the facts,” said Joel Curran, vice chancellor of University communications. “The NCAA has requested certain individuals from the University attend the proceedings. It is standard practice for the current head coaches of programs referenced in a notice of allegations to attend. Therefore, Coaches Larry Fedora (football), Sylvia Hatchell (women’s basketball) and Roy Williams (men’s basketball) will accompany University representatives to the hearing.”

Potential top ten pick Robert Williams discusses decision to return to Texas A&M

Leave a comment

PHILADELPHIA — Robert Williams knew that his family could use the money that would come with being a lottery pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. He also knew that he wasn’t ready — mentally, emotionally, skill-wise — to make the leap to the NBA, which is why all it took was one question from his mother, Tundra, to convince the 6-foot-9 19-year old to return to Texas A&M for his sophomore season.

“We haven’t been rich for 19 years,” Williams recalls Tundra, whom he describes as a “middle school cafeteria lady”, telling him. “What’s one more year?”

“That sealed the deal. If she’s good, I’m good,” Williams told NBC Sports as he nursed shin splints at the Under Armour All-American camp in Philadelphia last week. “My mom just wants to see me happy. I could quit basketball and go work at Burger King. If I’m happy, she’s happy.”


“Oil City made me, Vivian raised me.”


Williams may not be a household name the way that fellow members of his high school class — Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum, etc. — were, but he was certainly a known quantity on basketball circles. Williams was a potential top 10 pick in last year’s draft, a 6-foot-9 big man with a 7-foot-4 wingspan and the kind of athleticism most of us can only dream about. He has elite physical tools, even by NBA standards, and his ability to protect the rim along with his versatility defensively and budding post-game makes him a tantalizing long-term project.

Casual college basketball fans aren’t going to be familiar with bigs averaging 11.9 points on a team that didn’t even get a trip to the NIT, but NBA front office personnel were well-versed in his ability.

Just a borderline top 50 prospect coming out of high school, Williams’ ranking had as much to do with where he’s from as what he can do. He was born in Oil City, Louisiana, a town of roughly a 1,000 people tucked in the Northwest corner of Louisiana, five miles from the Texas on the west side of town and 18 miles from Arkansas to the north. “There’s just really nothing there,” Williams said. Oil City was small enough that he had to move to Vivian, a town of 3,600 people nine miles away, in order to attend high school.

Glen Johnson, Texas A&M Athletics

He spent four years playing for North Caddo High, a 2A public school in Louisiana, which isn’t exactly the best high school basketball in the country, and his role on the Houston Hoops team he played with in the summer after his junior year was somewhat limited, to say the least; he was teammates with De’Aaron Fox, Jarred Vanderbilt (a top 15 player in the Class of 2017) and Carsen Edwards, who started at the point for Purdue as a freshman. Combine that with the 25 pounds of muscle that he added to his frame, and what you have is a player that went from being a pogo stick that got pushed around on a team full of studs to a grown man that did the pushing and proved himself capable of playing a role that has value in the NBA.

“I went to Nike Camp, but I wasn’t that high of a recruit,” Williams said. “I was like No. 60 I think. It’s weird because I’ve never had this much ‘fame’, I guess is the word.”

“People knew who I was [in Vivian], but just because I was a people person. I was also always bigger than everyone.”

There weren’t many that expected Williams to have the season that he had as a freshman, averaging 11.9 points, 8.2 boards and 2.6 blocks in just 25 minutes a night. Even fewer expected him to return to Texas A&M once he caught the eye of NBA scouts, but head coach Billy Kennedy wasn’t one of them.

“Only because he told us,” Kennedy said with a chuckle, as if he knew just how lucky he and his staff are to be getting a second season with a talent like this. “We felt that during the year. But you never know until the end. We wanted to see him go through the whole process, but the cool thing is the kid made a decision and he did what was best for him.”


“Mentally and emotionally, I wasn’t ready.”


For Williams, the decision to return was two-fold. He knew that he wasn’t yet the player that he wants to be, and getting drafted as a dunker, a shot-blocker and an athlete can get a player pigeon-holed. “In the NBA,” Williams reasoned, “once you get there, what you are is what you are. I don’t want to be stuck in that jumping, that dunking position. I’m not necessarily saying I want to be able to play the two or the three, but I want to expand and show that I can sometimes push it and make a jump shot.”

“Rebounding, jumping, dunking. That’s been my game. That’s gets you paid well. But I know I have more. I want to be able to knock down a corner three. I’m not saying that I need to be coming off of screens and pulling, but I want to be able to knock down that shot and prove I’m able to get a rebound and start a fast break.”

He knew that it would take a lot of hard work and time in the gym this offseason to get to that point, and that’s where the second part of this comes into the equation. Williams knew that he wasn’t ready to be a professional yet, that he wanted to be able to enjoy life and basketball as a college kid for another year.

“People don’t understand that once you get to that level, it’s a job. It’s a business,” Williams said. “It’s not high school, it’s not even college, you’re competing for your job every time you go play.”

“Mentally and emotionally, I wasn’t ready.”

Thomas Campbell, Texas A&M Athletics

That didn’t necessarily sit well with everyone in Williams’ circle — specifically, Williams says his father wanted him to go to the NBA — because they all know the risk. Blake Griffin, who went from being a projected top ten pick as a freshman to the No. 1 overall pick as a sophomore, is the outlier. The likes of Ivan Rabb, Perry Jones III and Jared Sullinger tend to be the norm. When a player doesn’t take a step forward in his second season in college, the flaws are nitpicked instead of the potential being touted, and that’s to say nothing of the potential for devastating injury. For a player like Williams, who thrives on his athleticism, a torn ACL or a ruptured Achilles’ this season could be devastating to his earning power.

He knows all of that, and, Williams says, once he made his choice, the people closest to him rallied around him. There was some negativity, people calling his dumb for passing up on the guaranteed millions that come with being a first round pick, but for the most part, the feedback he heard was reassuring.

“You gotta grind now.”

“You made your decision, you made your bed, now you have to lay in it.”

“You know what you got to do.”

And that’s part of where being ready for the NBA comes into play.

Ask Williams what he needs to do to be successful at the next level, to prove that he can be more than just an athlete, and he’ll tell you that it’s developing his perimeter skills. Making corner threes and trail threes. Improving his handle and his footwork to the point that he is a threat as a face-up four. But if you ask Kennedy what the next step for Williams is, this is his answer: “Just getting to where he’s working out more, learning how to work at a higher level, and that’s something that he’s gotten better at.”

Williams didn’t need to work all that hard to dominate in high school, not with his physical gifts and not with the level of competition that he was facing. The same can mostly be said his his time as a freshman in the SEC. As Mike Schmitz, a scout working for Draft Express and ESPN, put it, Williams “is very much living off his elite physical tools.”

As the saying goes, you don’t know what hard work is until you see someone working harder than you, and there is no better role model for Williams than junior center Tyler Davis, who has streamlined what was once a 300 pound frame into a chiseled, 260-pound rock. He has “the best work ethic I’ve ever seen,” Williams says, and that’s rubbing off on him. Williams says he’s working out two or three times a day, doing conditioning with the team at 6 am before heading off to the gym at 8 am to work on his stroke — form-shooting, making 25 shots from each spot out to the foul line; step-in mid-range jumpers; trail threes — and closing the day with pickup or more skill-work in the afternoon.

The way he sees it, he can’t control injuries — although he has taken out an insurance policy on the off-chance he does something catastrophic — but he can control the work he puts in. Put another way, he is the one that will determine where he ends up. “My mindset,” Williams said, “is as long as you put in the work, results will come.”

And maybe those results will get him some notoriety on campus at a football school.

“Some people recognize me on campus, but it’s all football at A&M,” he said. “They say hi, ask for a picture, but people actually think I’m a mean guy. They don’t understand, I’m a people person! I like people!”

So say hi to Williams if you see him this year.

You won’t have a chance to do so much longer.

Texas A&M Athletics

VIDEO: Grayson Allen, Trevon Duval get in on #DriveByDunkChallenge

Al Bello/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Trevon Duval, the point guard that will finally replace Tyus Jones at Duke, and Grayson Allen added their flare on the #DriveByDunkChallenge, as Allen throws a picture perfect alley-oop through the sun-roof of the car Duval is driving:

This is solid work, but I still think Scott Cross has the best #DriveByDunkChallenge performance in the collegiate ranks. John Calipari’s effort is solid, but pretty awkward. He shouldn’t be running or jumping.