Late Night Snacks: Kansas takes down unbeaten Toledo

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 16 Kansas 93, Toledo 83

The Jayhawks continued their difficult non-conference schedule by hosting unbeaten Toledo on Monday night and Kansas prevailed with a 93-83 victory in Lawrence. Naadir Tharpe continued his improved play of-late with 20 points and eight assists to lead the way for No. 16 Kansas as they outlasted a solid offensive effort from Toledo. Although Toledo hasn’t faced anyone the caliber of Kansas this season, they showed that they can hang with anyone in the country offensively, and they’ll be a tough team to beat in the MAC.

CBT’s Rob Dauster has more on this one and how if affects both Kansas and Toledo going forward.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) No. 6 Oklahoma State 92, Robert Morris 66

The Cowboys picked up a home win over Robert Morris, but the news here is Oklahoma State losing center Michael Cobbins to an apparent Achilles’ tendon injury. Cobbins’ status going forward seems uncertain and we should know more in the coming days, but it would be a major loss for the Cowboys.

2) Louisiana Tech 102, Oklahoma 98, overtime

Busy night of hoops in the Sooner State, huh? Preseason mid-major darling Louisiana Tech withstood a ridiculous three-pointer from Cameron Clark at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime, as the Bulldogs held on for the four-point win over Oklahoma. This gives Louisiana Tech a nice win going into Conference USA play after the Bulldogs fell to St. Mary’s and Oklahoma State earlier in the year.

3) St. Louis 57, Vanderbilt 49

Is America sleeping on the Billikens? St. Louis has won six straight — with their only losses on the year to unbeatens: Wisconsin and Wichita State — and their defense is one of the best in the country as the Billikens completely shut down Vanderbilt’s offense in their own gym. St. Louis held the Commodores to 33 percent shooting and 17 percent shooting from the three-point line in the win and they’ll head into the Atlantic 10 with a ton of momentum.

STARRED

1) Tennessee had a great night from its supporting cast as the Volunteers rolled past Virginia 87-52. Jordan McRae (21 points) and Jarnell Stokes (20 points) led the charge as usual for Tennessee, but it was the offensive play of Josh Richardson (20 points, 8-for-9 shooting) and Antonio Barton (14 points, 5-for-6 shooting) that took Tennessee to a new level.

2) T.J. Warren led North Carolina State with 24 points and nine rebounds as the Wolfpack escaped with a 68-64 win over UNC-Greensboro on the road. Warren knocked in 1-of-2 free throws to give North Carolina State a three-point lead with 23.4 seconds remaining before the Wolfpack got a stop to seal the game.

3) Despite missing starters Gary Bell Jr. and Sam Dower Jr., No. 24 Gonzaga cruised past San Francisco 69-41 behind a balanced scoring effort as Drew Barnham knocked in five three-pointers and finished with a team-high 15 points.

STRUGGLED

1) Southern 116, Champion Baptist College 12. Nuff said.

2) BYU fell behind 40-28 at halftime and never recovered as the Cougars fell on the road to Pepperdine 80-74 in a WCC contest. The difference in this one: three-point shooting. BYU was 1-for-11 from beyond the arc while Pepperdine was 13-for-24. BYU has now dropped four straight games.

3) VMI trailed by a point at halftime against Clemson before being blown out of the water in the second half of an 80-50 road loss. VMI averages 89 points a game, but was held to a season-low of 50 points, including only 18 in the second half.

OTHER TOP 25 SCORES

  • No. 9 Baylor 81, Oral Roberts 55

Gonzaga lands their first post-Final Four commitment

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Gonzaga capitalized on their run to the national title game by landing a commitment from French point guard Joel Ayayi, who announced the news on twitter.

Ayayi is an interesting long-term prospect, according to Draft Express. He has the size and the frame to eventually be a significant contributor in the college game, but he’s raw. His handle needs work, as does his ability to create off the dribble and find teammates off of the bounce.

That said, he’s 6-foot-4 with a 6-foot-7 wingspan and the ability to shoot it from the perimeter, and if Gonzaga can do anything, it’s develop players that enter their program.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson, top three prospect in 2018, breaks defender’s ankles

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Zion Williamson, one of the most sought-after recruits in college basketball, had himself a highlight-worthy moment at the Adidas Gauntlet event in Dallas over the weekend, breaking a defender’s ankles before hitting a three.

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.

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.