Assigned Reading: The source of Butler guard Kellen Dunham’s improvement

Leave a comment

With the graduation of Rotnei Clarke and the season-ending injury suffered by Roosevelt Jones before the season even began, the Butler Bulldogs found themselves with some serious adjustments to make in their first season as a member of the Big East. One player asked to step up under first-year head coach Brandon Miller has been sophomore guard Kellen Dunham, and he’s been up to the task thus far.

Dunham’s averaging 18.2 points per game for the Bulldogs, who are 7-2 on the season with a game against Purdue next on the schedule. Dunham worked hard during the offseason and he continues to do so, and he’s reaped the rewards thanks to his use of a rigorous late-night shooting routine.

It is a calculated routine — every cut, every screen, every shot designed to simulate looks he’ll soon see in a game. First, 3-pointers from around the arc. Then, jumpers from the elbow of the free throw line. Right side. Left side. Shot-fakes and jumpers. Right hand. Left hand. Curls off screens, catch-and-shoot. Then, curls off screens, catch, shot-fake, shoot.

Dunham, joined on this night by freshman teammate Steven Bennett, flies through the repetitions like it’s the last minute of a tie game. The sweat drips off his frame while his gaze alternates between the floor and the rim, one repetition after another after another. This is his toil, the labor he’s grown to love.

The full profile on Dunham, written by Zack Keefer of the Indianapolis Star, is an interesting read and it can be found here.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
Leave a comment

Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Leave a comment

Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: