NCAA Men's Final Four - Practice

The Secondary Break: Friday’s Links

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An oral history of Hoop Dreams 20 years after its premiere (The Dissolve)
In 1994 the documentary Hoop Dreams made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival, with the film documenting the lives of two youngsters from Chicago looking to realize their dreams through the game of basketball. A critically acclaimed movie, the lessons that can be derived from Hoop Dreams still apply this very day. In this story the creators of the film discuss everything that went into the making of Hoop Dreams.

Why is the NCAA still hounding Sonny Vaccaro? (Sports on Earth)
With the pending Ed O’Bannon lawsuit hanging over college athletics, the games as we’ve come to know them could be in for major changes if the plaintiffs win the suit. One person who’s been looking for change for quite some time is Sonny Vaccaro, whose work for Nike, Reebok and adidas changed the course of college basketball. But even though he no longer connected with a particular shoe company, the NCAA is still after him according to Vaccaro.

“They want us to have a voice, but they put a muzzle on us” (The Chronicle for Higher Education)
With the NCAA holding meetings in San Diego this week, the membership is having discussions on a number of topics important to the present and future of the organization. Also important are the student-athletes themselves, but according to one member of the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee they aren’t allowed the forum to fully express their thoughts on the current state of the NCAA.

Syracuse basketball practice narrated by Mike Hopkins and Adrian Autry (Syracuse Post-Standard)
It’s always interesting to learn how some of the nation’s best teams approach practice, from skill development to how they go about preparing for their next opponent. This post provides audio from Syracuse assistants Mike Hopkins and Adrian Autry, complete with a photo gallery. Unfortunately there’s no actual practice video, but that’s to be expected in most stories like this.

Memphis, UConn need rivalry to begin (Connecticut Post)
With conference realignment seemingly done for the time being programs need to get used to their new surroundings, establishing new rivalries with teams they rarely met in the past. That’s the case for UConn and Memphis in the American Athletic Conference, with Thursday’s meeting being their first as members of the same conference. And given their successes over the years, these two programs (as well as Cincinnati) will be asked to carry the American banner into the future.

Throwback Thursday Q & A with Indiana’s A.J. Guyton (Big Ten Network)
Former Indiana guard A.J. Guyton was an outstanding player during his time in Bloomington, winning Big Ten Player of the Year and earning first team All-America honors as a senior. Now coaching the junior varsity team at his high school alma mater as well as in the Premier Basketball League, Guyton answered some questions about his playing career and what he’s up to now. Question: how does he not own a pair of Indiana’s iconic candy-striped warmup pants?

Energy Bus (Slam Magazine)
Given how much they lost from last season’s CBI championship team, not much was expected of Kerry Keating’s Santa Clara Broncos this season. With senior Evan Rocquemore and freshman Jared Brownridge leading the way the Broncos hope to surprise some people this season, while also building a stable foundation for the future. And one of the points of motivation for this group was inspired by Jon Gordon’s book entitled “Energy Bus.”

Watch the first official trailer for the new Wilt Chamberlain film “Jayhawkers” (Fox Sports Kansas City)
On Thursday the makers of the film “Jayhawkers” released the first official trailer, with the movie telling the story of Wilt Chamberlain’s path to and experiences at the University of Kansas. The actor playing Chamberlain in the movie is none other than current Kansas reserve forward Justin Wesley.

Seton Hall’s Derrick Gordon won’t pursue pro basketball to become a firefighter

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12:  Derrick Gordon #32 of the Seton Hall Pirates celebrates after hitting a basket against the Villanova Wildcats during the Big East Basketball Tournament Championship at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2016 in New York City. Seton Hall Pirates defeated Villanova Wildcats 69-67.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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After a successful career that included stops at Western Kentucky, UMass and Seton Hall, Derrick Gordon, Division I college basketball’s first openly gay player, will not pursue professional opportunities and will instead become a firefighter.

The 6-foot-3 Gordon averaged 8.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a senior for the Pirates, helping the team reach the NCAA tournament during his graduate transfer year. By making the NCAA tournament with Seton Hall this past season, Gordon became the first college basketball player to reach the event with three different teams.

A tenacious perimeter defender who could have earned a pro contract if he stuck with basketball, Gordon will instead pursue a career as a firefighter in San Francisco.

“I’ve had an amazing basketball career and want to thank everybody who has always been there supporting me every step on the way,” Gordon said via his Instagram. “But I’m making a change in my career…I will now be working towards becoming a San Francisco Firefighter!! I’m excited about this and looking forward to having a long career!!”

While Gordon likely would have never made the NBA on talent alone, his defensive prowess would have likely given him a shot overseas or in the D League. It’s hard to say why Gordon is making this decision, but given what we saw with all of the attention surrounding Michael Sam when he tried to play in the NFL, Gordon was probably going to face a lot of scrutiny wherever he decided to play.

Hopefully Gordon finds his calling as a firefighter and brings the same energy and leadership that he brought on the floor to helping other people outside of basketball.

Washington guard Markelle Fultz pulls off sick spin and dunk at FIBA U18 Americas

Kelly Kline/Under Armour
Kelly Kline/Under Armour
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Washington incoming freshman guard Markelle Fultz is going to be one of the premier players in the country next season as his unique game is going to be fascinating to watch.

The 6-foot-5 Fultz is currently playing with the USA U18 team in Chile for the FIBA U18 Americas as he’s second on the team in scoring and first in assists as the Americans play Canada for the title on Saturday.

Against the host country, Fultz had an electric spin move in the paint and finished with an easy dunk. If you’re not willing to stay up late to watch this dude play this year, then set your DVRs, because Fultz is going to have some fun moments during the season.

(H/t: Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report)

POSTERIZED: Class of 2016 forward Chris Seeley has a massive dunk on defender

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The Las Vegas AAU events are all going on this week and it’s the final event for rising seniors.

At the Las Vegas Fab 48, forward Chris Seeley of the Splash City 17U team put down one of the best poster dunks of the summer as he skied over a defender for an emphatic finish.

The Class of 2016 forward attends Central High School in Fresno, California as he’s receiving plenty of buzz for his recent play.

 

 

 

Five-star forward Jarred Vanderbilt cuts list to nine

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LAS VEGAS, NV — Five-star Class of 2017 forward Jarred Vanderbilt has been one of the most sought-after recruits in the country since he was a freshman in high school.

The 6-foot-8 native of Houston is beginning to wind things down in the recruiting process as he cut his list to nine schools on Friday. Vanderbilt’s list includes some of the most storied programs in college basketball and plenty of schools from his home state of Texas.

“I just followed my heart. Went with the schools I liked the most and who I have the best relationships with. Thear were the schools I could see myself playing for,” Vanderbilt told NBCSports.com.

Regarded as the No. 13 overall prospect in the Rivals.com national rankings, Vanderbilt is currently recovering from a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot.

Vanderbilt will see a doctor in three-to-four weeks as he’s currently in a boot to help his foot heal.

Report: Michigan State and Penn State will play at the Palestra

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Head coach Patrick Chambers of the Penn State Nittany Lions looks on against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has previously expressed a desire to coach a game at the legendary Palestra in Philadelphia and it appears he’ll get his chance in a Big Ten game this season.

According to a report from Brendan F. Quinn of MLive, Penn State will use the Palestra as its home gym for the Jan. 7, 2017 Big Ten game against Michigan State. It is the only time the two teams are scheduled to play during Big Ten season and Penn’s home gym will offer a unique setting for the game.

Since the capacity of the Palestra is 8,722, it should make for a fun atmosphere for both programs since this will be a game both fan bases will likely want to attend.

With Nittany Lions head coach Pat Chambers making Philadelphia a major recruiting priority for his program, a game like this in Philadelphia makes sense while Michigan State has always been open to playing games in unique settings such as aircraft carriers.

The Palestra has been a college basketball mainstay since it was built in 1927 as it hosts all Penn home games and, in the past, hosted a lot of Big 5 Philadelphia college games between La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph’s, Temple and Villanova.

Overall, a fun idea that should make for an interesting experience for both programs. It’s not often that a team will change its home venue for a conference game, but it could be the start of something we see other schools look to do.