Dorian Finney-Smith

Late Night Snacks: Kentucky, Florida get back in the win column

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 19 Florida 67, No. 13 Kansas 61

Florida played the first month with many players sidelined for various reason. Chris Walker, the Gators hope, will be another piece they get back soon. On Tuesday night, Scottie Wilbekin and Kasey Hill returned from injuries to team up in the back court. The length of the front court caused problems for the Kansas offense. The 1-3-1 defense sparked a 21-0 run in the first half. Wilbekin ended with 18 points, six assists and four steals. Andrew Wiggins also finished with his first collegiate double-double.

Don’t worry Kansas fans. Rob Dauster says so: Read here

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 11 Kentucky 70, Boise State 55: The Wildcats bounced-back from Friday night’s loss to Baylor. The young UK team held the nation’s top offense to 55 points. James Young with a game-high 21 points, Julius Randle with another double-double and Willie Cauley-Stein with nine blocks and blonde hair.

No. 20 Gonzaga 80, West Virginia 76: The Zags trailed for much of the ball game, but three consecutive 3-pointers from Kevin Pangos capped an 18-2 run late in the second half.

STARRED

Andrew WigginsKansas: The freshman went for 26 points (20 in the second half) and 11 rebounds, both career highs, in the Jayhawks loss. It was his first double-double and his threes down the stretch gave KU a shot after a horrid first half.

Jerrell Benimon, Towson: A triple-double for Benimon. It was against Central Pennsylvania College. But still 17 points, 18 and 10 assists is a tough feat to accomplish.

Z. Mason, Chattanooga: Went for 41 points and 12 rebounds against Hiwassee College, a liberal arts school of less than 400 students. He also goes by just Z, that should also be noted.

STRUGGLED

Kansas offense: Jayhawks committed 24 turnovers, 16 to help dig a 15-point hole in the first half. The turnovers went along with an eight-minute stretch without a basket.

Jon Severe, Fordham: The heralded freshman is in a major slump. Continued with 2-of-9 for seven points in a 77-73 win over Colgate.

Travis Bader, Oakland: Mid-major standout finished 2-of-11 from the field for 11 points in an 81-54 loss to Indiana. He was 0-for-10 from three, which breaks his 62 game streak of connecting on at least one 3-pointer.

NOTABLES

    • First off, Seton Hall guard Tom Maayan played his last game. He’s going back to Israel to fulfill his military service. Best of luck. Stay safe.
    • Illinois moves to 9-1 in a 72-65 win over Dartmouth. Rayvonte Rice led five members of the Illini in double figures with 13 points.
    • Semaj Christon had 19 points, but Xavier had to rally in the second half to defeat Evansville 63-60.
    • Austin Hollins’ 20-point, 14-rebound performance leads the Golden Gophers in Minnesota’s 75-59 win over South Dakota State.
    • After losing to Fairliegh Dickinson on Dec. 1, Seton Hall has knocked off fellow New Jersey programs Rutgers and on Tuesday night N.J.I.T. in a 71-55 win.
    • Evan Gordon was 10-of-12 and scored 26 points off the bench for Indiana in the Hoosiers’ win over Oakland.
    • Central Connecticut State defeats Hartford 73-59 in a Constitution State clash. Kyle Vinales and Faronte Drakeford both with 14 for the Blue Devils.
    • Eastern Michigan tops Green Bay 67-58. Green Bay had topped Virginia three days before.
    • Jordan Loveridge with 27 points in Utah’s 74-66 win over Idaho State. Utes are 8-1.
    • And finally, Nevada’s Deonte Burton dunked on the entire state of California, but the Wolf Pack lost to Cal 92-84:

Kansas players make weight room gains – and losses – this summer

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - JUNE 18: Udoka Azubuike #105 in red runs back for defense the NBPA Top 100 Camp on June 18, 2015 at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Kelly Kline/Getty Images)
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Summer is the time to refine not only players’ skill sets, but also their bodies. Kansas’ highly-touted freshman duo of Josh Jackson and Udoka Azubuike have fulfilled the latter thanks to the Jayhawks’ strength and conditioning program.

Azubuike has dropped 27 pounds from his 7-foot frame while the wiry Jackson has added 17 pounds, according to the Kansas City Star.

“These guys have goals,” Adrea Hurdy, Kansas’ long-time assistant director for sports information, told The Star. “They come here in part because we have the resources to help them attain their goals.

“They want the challenge and want to become better people, better basketball players and better athletes.”

Only 16 years old, Azubuike arrived in Lawrence having been consistently listed as weighing around 270 pounds throughout his prep career. Getting leaner while still maintaining – and increasing – strength is a significant development for such a young player, who was a consensus top-50 player in the 2016 class.

Jackson, the country’s top rated incoming freshman, now weighs in at slightly over 200 pounds at 6-foot-8. Six-foot-10 forward Carlton Bragg,a sophomore, also got in on the body-changing as he’s put on 26 pounds to head into the fall at 247 pounds.

Kansas is a likely top-five preseason team with returners like Frank Mason III, Devonte Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk, and having newcomers like Jackson and Azubuike along with sparsely-used but talented returnees like Bragg making gains in the weight room will only make them more formidable as they look to capture an astounding 13th-straight Big 12 title.

 

Texas bolsters 2017 frontcourt

Texas head coach Shaka Smart calls a play during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan., Monday, Feb. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
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Shaka Smart has added another four-star forward to his 2017 recruiting class.

Texas picked up a commitment Tuesday from 6-foot-8 Jericho Sims of Minnesota, according to multiple reports.

Sims, who visited Texas this past weekend, is ranked in the top-50 by Scout and in the top-75 by ESPN and 247Sports. He joins Royce Hamm, a top-100 forward from Houston, as members Smart’s second recruiting class at Texas.

“Jericho Sims is a late-blooming big man who has a lot of room to grow in terms of upside,” NBCSports.com recruiting analyst Scott Phillips said. “A good athlete with a good frame to work with, Sims should help immediately on the glass and defensively but his offense will be a work in progress.

“Texas has a large recruiting class and targeted Sims later than many, so this is a nice commitment for the Longhorns.”

The commitment represents a significant get for the Longhorns, who beat out the likes of Kansas, Iowa State, Ohio State, Connecticut and Sims’ hometown Gophers, whom his father played basketball for in the 1970s and his brother football more recently.

Sims and Hamm both are players that could help Smart and his staff transition more back to the Havoc style of play Smart employed at VCU as both have the length, speed and athleticism to help the Longhorns dial up the pressure and push tempo.

Five-star 2017 point guard Trevon Duval down to 10 schools

CHARLOTTE, NC - JULY 9: Trevon Duval during the 2015  Under Armour All-America Basketball Camp on July 9, 2015 at Queens College in Charlotte, NC. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Under Armour)
(Photo by Ned Dishman/Under Armour)
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Five-star point guard Trevon Duval is the most electrifying lead guard in the Class of 2017. The native of Delaware dominated the Under Armour circuit this spring and is currently regarded by many as a top-five player in the class by most recruiting services.

Now he’s down to 10 schools as his recruiting is starting to become more of a focus. The 6-foot-2 Duval is down to Arizona, Cal, Kansas, Maryland, Oregon, St. John’s, Seton Hall, UCLA, USC and Villanova.

Things are still early in the process for Duval and it will be interesting to see if he schedules any official visits soon.

Ohio State gaining recruiting momentum with two 2018 commitments

DAYTON, OH - MARCH 24: Head coach Thad Matta of the Ohio State Buckeyes claps on the sideline in the first half against the Iowa State Cyclones during the third round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at UD Arena on March 24, 2013 in Dayton, Ohio.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Ohio State has lost quite a few transfers and hasn’t had a lot go their way with regards to recent recruiting, but things could be changing after a good weekend.

The Class of 2018 is starting to look really good for the Buckeyes as they landed commitments from wings Darius Bazley and Justin Ahrens this weekend. The two in-state products are grassroots teammates together on King James and they give Ohio State three commitments in that class.

Bazley is considered a four-star prospect on Rivals while Ahrens checks in as a three-star. They join another Ohio native, guard Dane Goodwin, in the class as this could be the group that helps bring Ohio State back in regular Big Ten contention.

Butler lands commitment from four-star 2017 forward Kyle Young

Atlanta, GA - SUNDAY, MAY 29: Nike EYBL. Kyle Young #34 of King James Session 4. (Photo by Jon Lopez)
(Photo by Jon Lopez)
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Butler picked up an important commitment on Monday as four-star forward Kyle Young committed to the Bulldogs.

A Class of 2017 stretch forward who can hit jumpers and has an improving skill set, the 6-foot-7 Young comes from Massillon, Ohio and he’s regarded as the No. 109 overall prospect.

Young was impressive in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer with King James as he averaged 15.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game as he shot 48 percent from the field and 36 percent from 3-point range.

This is a nice grab for Butler as Young is the type of versatile perimeter shooter that they like to utilize and he should be able to help a bit on the glass as well.

Young joins a class that includes guards Cooper Neese and Jerald Butler.