The Secondary Break: Monday’s Links

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Former La Salle great Tom Gola passes away (Philadelphia Daily News)
On Sunday it was reported that Tom Gola, who led the La Salle Explorers to NCAA and NIT titles as a player, passed away at the age of 81. In four seasons at La Salle, Gola accounted for 2,461 points and 2,201 rebounds, with the rebounding total being a mark that likely won’t be reached again.

Ex-RMU coach Schmidt has transformed St. Bonaventure (TimesOnline.com)
After putting Robert Morris in a position where they could eventually win the Northeast Conference and reach the NCAA tournament, Mark Schmidt accepted the position at St. Bonaventure with the Bonnies having gone 24-88 under Anthony Solomon. What Schmidt has done in Olean is turn the program in the right direction, even reaching the NCAA tournament in 2012.

Virginia Cavaliers on Emersonian win streak (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
With their blowout win over Virginia Tech on Saturday, Virginia moved to 6-1 in ACC play with all six wins being by double digits. Head coach Tony Bennett used the occasion to quote Ralph Waldo Emerson while addressing his players, noting that “a hero is not fed on sweets.”

Stony Brook’s Anthony Jackson embracing bench role (Big Apple Buckets)
Stony Brook is the lone remaining undefeated team in America East, and while players such as Jameel Warney and David Coley have been key pieces so has Anthony Jackson. Jackson, a senior guard, has been referred to as a “sixth starter” by head coach Steve Pikiell.

Pitt’s Lamar Patterson: Focus on performance, not Wooden snub (Sporting News)
One of the players surprisingly left off of the midseason Wooden Award list was Pittsburgh senior forward Lamar Patterson, who has been a key figure for a team that’s been among the best in the ACC. But that doesn’t concern Patterson, who’s focused on more important matters such as the team’s game against Duke on Monday night.

Seniors, upperclassmen share spotlight with superstar freshmen (USA Today)
The freshmen arrived on the scene amidst much fanfare, but as the season’s worn on a number of older players have stepped forward across the country. Creighton’s Doug McDermott, Syracuse’s C.J. Fair and UConn’s Shabazz Napier are just a couple of the players who have had major impacts on college basketball this season.

With less flash, Bluejay Brooks making a splash (Omaha World-Herald)
Creighton junior guard Devon Brooks has been an important addition for the Bluejays, especially with Grant Gibbs currently out of the lineup with a knee injury. But there was some fine-tuning to be done, as Brooks needed to remove some of the flash in order to become a more effective player.

California’s Justin Cobbs, Richard Solomon bring balance to court (Los Angeles Times)
While California’s trip to southern California didn’t go as planned, with the Golden Bears losing to both USC and UCLA, they’re still in a tie for second place with the Arizona schools visiting Berkeley this week. Two key players are point guard Justin Cobbs and power forward Richard Solomon, who have been friends since high school.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball highlights

Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images
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It was the most anticipated matchup of the summer.

Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball.

People were turned away at the door – and LeBron James reportedly came and went – as the gym reached capacity for SC Supreme’s 104-92 victory over the Big Ballers. That’s Williamson over Ball (LaMelo and LaVar).

The game was mostly spectacle, and you can see it’s top moments right here.

 

VIDEO: Zion Williamson’s coach is holding a sleeping baby

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LaMelo Ball vs. Zion Williamson was insane, but it wasn’t quite crazy enough to wake up the sleeping toddler that Williamson’s coach is holding in his arms:

This is peak AAU basketball.

It will never be more AAU than that.

PHOTOS: Zion Williamson, LaMelo Ball showdown was, of course, insane

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In a showcase game in the adidas Uprising event in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, LaMelo Ball — the youngest member of the Big Baller Brand — faced off with Zion Williamson, who is a force on youtube and a highlight machine.

The crowd was insane for the game:

According to a report from ESPN, there were even concerns about whether or not the game would actually be allowed to be played; the police and fire marshall considered shutting the event down.

Williamson, of course, put on a show in warmups:

At the time of this posting, there were more than 60,000 people watching a livestream of the game on BallIsLife’s facebook page:

(UPDATE: It’s now over 70,000)

Puerto Rico Tip Off bracket revealed

AP Photo/Sean Rayford
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The bracket of the 2017 Puerto Rico Tip off was revealed Wednesday, setting up a showdown between a 2016 Final Four participant and the 2016 Big 12 tournament champion.

South Carolina and Iowa State headline the event, which will be played Nov. 16-19, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.

The Gamecocks are on the top half of the bracket, opening against Illinois State while the Cyclones are on the bottom half, squaring off against Appalachian State.

Boise State vs. UTEP is the other top-half quarterfinal while Tulsa vs. Western Michigan is the other.

The championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip Off on Sunday, Nov. 19.

VIDEO: Michigan State’s Miles Bridges is dunking again

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Just what you wanted to see, a video of former Michigan State star Denzel Valentine throwing an alley-oop off the glass to current Michigan State star Miles Bridges in a Pro-Am in Michigan: