Late Night Snacks: Villanova, Harvard win in-season tournament titles

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GAME OF THE DAY: Villanova 88, No. 23 Iowa 83 (OT) 

James Bell scored 20 points to lead four players in double figures as Villanova came back from 15 down to beat Iowa in the Battle 4 Atlantis title game. The win caps a very good three-day run in The Bahamas for Jay Wright’s team, but the same can be said in defeat for Fran McCaffery’s Hawkeyes. Roy Devyn Marble led Iowa with 24 points, and they’ve got another big one on Tuesday as Notre Dame visits Iowa City as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES: 

1) No. 2 Kansas 67, UTEP 63: By no means was it pretty, but at the very least the Jayhawks managed to leave The Bahamas with a 2-1 mark. Perry Ellis led the way with 19 points and seven rebounds, and it’s clear that this young group has a lot to work on. Andrew Wiggins scored just six points, but he’s got teammates capable of picking up the slack offensively. The question: will he be willing to take over when he’s needed to in the bigger games that lie ahead of Kansas?

2) Pittsburgh 84, Duquesne 67: Pittsburgh capped a 3-0 week with a solid win over city rival Duquesne on Saturday afternoon. And in veterans Lamar Patterson and Cameron Wright head coach Jamie Dixon has two of the most improved players in the country. Patterson finished the game with 18 points, eight rebound, six assists and five steals, with Wright accounting for 20 points, five rebounds and five assists.

3) Ole Miss 79, Penn State 76: The Rebels moved to 6-0 on the season with their win over the Nittany Lions, and the key thing to take out of the 2-0 weekend in Brooklyn is the fact that it wasn’t “The Marshall Henderson Show.” He certainly received his fair share of the publicity, but against Penn State both Jarvis Summers (19 points) and Derrick Millinghaus (14) reached double figures as well. And if Ole Miss is to make a run at a second consecutive NCAA tournament bid they’ll need multiple offensive options to step up.

STARRED: 

1) Prince Okoroh (Howard): Okoroh’s Bison fell 84-79 in overtime to William & Mary but he was outstanding, shooting 15-for-19 from the field and 9-for-10 from the foul line in scoring 40 points to go along with six rebounds.

2) Kyle Collinsworth (BYU): Collinsworth may have scored just seven points in the Cougars’ 85-74 win over Utah State, but he also accounted for 13 rebounds and eight assists.

3) Jordan Aaron (Milwaukee): 33 points (10-for-14 FG, 7-for-10 3PT) in the Panthers’ 84-79 win over Kansas City.

STRUGGLED: 

1) Xavier: The Musketeers’ 84-78 loss to USC in the seventh place game of the Battle 4 Atlantis capped an 0-3 weekend in The Bahamas, exactly the kind of hit Chris Mack’s team couldn’t afford to take from a resume standpoint.

2) San Francisco’s three-point shooters: The Dons shot 4-for-27 from beyond the arc in their 90-76 loss to Illinois State. Inside of the arc Rex Walters’ team shot 27-for-35 (77.1%).

3) TCU: The Horned Frogs were never in it against Harvard, shooting from the 25% field in the 71-50 defeat.

TOP 25 SCORES: 

  • No. 2 Kansas 67, UTEP 63
  • No. 14 Oregon 91, North Dakota 76
  • Villanova 88, No. 23 Iowa 83 (OT)

NOTABLES: 

  • 6-foot-4 guard Mike Anderson led six players in double figures with 19 points (and 16 rebounds) as Washington held off Long Beach State 92-89 in double overtime.
  • On the day that Georgetown announced Greg Whittington’s dismissal from the program the Hoyas put together a solid second half in their 70-49 win over Lipscomb. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivers led the way with 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
  • Harvard took care of business at the Great Alaska Shootout, beating TCU in the title game 71-50. The three wins in Anchorage won’t do much for the Crimson when it comes to a possible NCAA tournament resume, but they avoided the loss that would look really bad come March.
  • Matt Carlino and Tyler Haws combined to score 39 points in BYU’s 85-74 win over Utah State. But it would be wise to not overlook the contributions of some members of the supporting cast, including Eric Mika and Kyle Collinsworth.
  • Kendall Williams went on a personal 8-0 run late in New Mexico’s 73-66 win over San Diego. Williams finished with 28 points and Alex Kirk added 21.
  • Justin Anderson scored 23 points in 23 minutes to help lead Virginia to an 83-63 win over Missouri State that wasn’t all that close. Next up for the Cavaliers is a home game against Wisconsin on Wednesday, and a win would do wonders for their resume.
  • St. John’s rebounded from a sluggish first half to beat Georgia Tech, 69-58, and they’ve got their pressure defense to thank for it.

Illinois lands important commitment from four-star Class of 2017 guard Mark Smith

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Illinois landed a very important Class of 2017 commitment on Wednesday as guard Mark Smith pledged to the Illini.

The 6-foot-4 Smith was previously a Missouri commit for baseball, but some issues with his arm caused him to look back into basketball last summer. A native of Edwardsville, in the St. Louis metro area, Smith came out of nowhere to win the Illinois Mr. Basketball award as a senior this season as he averaged 21.9 points, 8.4 assists and 8.2 rebounds while becoming a consensus national top-100 prospect.

Rivals rates Smith as the No. 52 overall prospect in the Class of 2017 as he could come in and earn immediate minutes at Illinois next season at either guard spot.

This is a very important commitment for head coach Brad Underwood and the Illini as the new head coach was able to hold off some elite programs like Kentucky and Michigan State for Smith’s services.

Northwestern gets commitment from Boston College transfer A.J. Turner

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Northwestern landed a transfer on Wednesday as former Boston College wing A.J. Turner pledged to the Wildcats, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com.

The 6-foot-7 Turner just finished his sophomore season with the Golden Eagles as he averaged 8.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. A well-rounded wing who also shot 37 percent from three-point range, Turner will have to sit out one season due to NCAA transfer regulations before getting two more years of eligibility.

With Scottie Lindsay and Vic Law only having limited time left in Evanston, Turner provides a bit of insurance on the wing for the Wildcats for the future as he’s a proven rotation player coming from the ACC.

Oakland’s Greg Kampe hosting charity golf event with big-name coaches

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Oakland head coach Greg Kampe hosted a successful charity event for cancer research two years ago by allowing people to bid online to play a round of golf with some of college basketball’s best coaches.

Kampe is back again this year as he’s hoping to eventually raise $1 million for the American Cancer Society.

According to a report from Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press, Kampe has 11 high-profile names that fans can play with this year.

  • Tom Izzo, Michigan State
  • Frank Martin, South Carolina
  • Rick Barnes, Tennessee
  • Mick Cronin, Cincinnati
  • Chris Holtmann, Butler
  • Kevin Willard, Seton Hall
  • Greg Kampe, Oakland
  • Stan Van Gundy, Detroit Pistons
  • Steve Lavin
  • Fran Fraschilla
  • Bill Raftery

Fans can find more details about the auctions and all of the details here.

The minimum bid is $15,000 per coach. A “buy now” bid of $24,000 is also available.

Each round includes the following, according to the event’s website:

Up for auction will be 11 spectacular packages, featuring a private dinner with elite basketball coaches and VIPs, a one night stay at MotorCity Casino Hotel on Sunday, June 4, and an afternoon of golf on Monday, June 5 at Oakland Hills Country Club on the South Course. The winning bidders and their two guests will round out the foursomes with their selected VIP: Rick Barnes, Mick Cronin, Fran Fraschilla, Chris Holtmann, Tom Izzo, Greg Kampe, Steve Lavin, Frank Martin, Bill Raftery, Stan Van Gundy, or Kevin Willard.

There are a lot of great selections to choose from for this sort of thing, but I can’t imagine a better afternoon than playing golf with Bill Raftery and a few friends. There are some other tempting choices on this list, but that’s the one I would have to jump at.

If you think 137 players declaring for the draft is stupid, you’re probably stupid

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The NBA Draft’s full early entry list came out on Tuesday afternoon, and there were 137 underclassmen listed on it.

137.

For 60 spots in the NBA Draft, only 30 of which guarantee you a contract in the NBA.

And that’s before you factor in the 45 international players that also declared for the NBA Draft, as well as the crop of seniors — Josh Hart, Monte’ Morris, Jaron Blossomgame, Alec Peters — that are going to end up hearing their names called. All told, there are going to be roughly 200 players competing to be one of the 60 people that end up getting drafted on June 22nd, and you don’t have to be any good at math to realize that 200 is a much, much bigger number than 60.

This unleashed a torrent of bad takes on the decision of these players.

And bad may not be doing those takes justice.

Because the bottom-line is this: You cannot paint the decision on whether or not to go pro with a broad brush.

For some players, making money of any kind is something they need to do to support their family, whether it’s what they’ll get with a first round guarantee, the $75-100,000 they’ll get for making a training camp roster to subsidize their time in the D-League while teams develop them or the money they can make in the D-League or overseas. You don’t know what their financial situation is. Maximizing their ability to capitalize on every available dollar they can make off of their athletic gifts may be more important than working towards a degree.

And it’s worth noting here that a guaranteed contract isn’t the only way to make a living in professional basketball. To say nothing of the money that can be made overseas or the number of second round picks and undrafted players that make guaranteed money — which is more than you probably realize — it needs to be noted that D-League salaries are getting a bump this year with the new CBA.

The NBA has also instituted something new called a “two-way contract”. Without getting into the legalese, it’s essentially a retainer worth well into the six figures that they will be able to give to two players that will allow them to retain that player under contract while sending them between the D-League and the NBA roster. In a sense, it creates an extra 60 NBA roster spots for players that have 0-3 years worth of professional basketball on their résumé.

Some players are simply declaring without signing with an agent because they want to get feedback directly from NBA personnel on what their professional prospects. Some will hear that they need to return to school to work on their body, or work on their jumper, or mature as a person to be able to handle everything that comes with being a professional. Others will be told they’re going to make a lot of money by staying in the draft, or that they need to go back to school because, frankly, they are not professional basketball players. Not getting invited to the NBA combine is a pretty good indication of where you stand in the eyes of NBA teams.

Still other players are putting their name into the draft to leave their options open should they be recruited over by the program they are a part of. Take Frank Jackson, for example. If he can return to school and thrive as Duke’s point guard, maybe he turns into a top 20 pick. But what happens if Trevon Duval, the best point guard in the Class of 2017 and a top five pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, picks Duke? Would it be in Jackson’s best interest to come back to Duke when he won’t be playing the position that he needs to learn to play to turn himself into a lasting NBA player?

Jackson, like the roughly 100 underclassmen that have declared without an agent, has until May 24th to make his decision on whether or not he will keep his name in the draft. Until then, he can return to school without damaging his eligibility.

The entire reason that the NCAA changed their rules to allow players to test the waters is so that they can make the most important decision of their lives with as much information as humanly possible. This thing exists for the sole purpose of allowing the kids to have as much knowledge about their options as possible.

And that is exactly what these kids are doing.

So the idea that this rule, or players taking advantage of that rule, however high that number may be, is a bad thing is stupid.