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No. 19 UConn’s offense continues to struggle in embarrassing road loss at No. 11 Louisville

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As No. 19 UConn struggled mightily in its 81-48 loss at No. 11 Louisville on Saturday, it continued on a recent trend that the Huskies have been going through.

UConn (24-7, 12-6) simply can’t score on a consistent basis if any of their main three weapons are having an off-night, and lately, that’s definitely been the case. The Huskies are averaging a little over 73 points a game this season but they’ve failed to crack 70 points its last six games and haven’t done it since a February 15th overtime win over Memphis.

Shabazz Napier is playing heavy minutes during that stretch — at least 37 minutes in UConn’s last five games before 34 minutes in the Louisville loss — and finally had an off-day against the Cardinals, but the senior point guard needs more help from Ryan Boatright, DeAndre Daniels and his Huskies teammates if UConn wants to make a postseason run.

Napier and Boatright combined for 14 points on 4-for-24 shooting from the field in the loss to Louisville (26-5, 15-3) on Saturday while Daniels finished with 17 points. The UConn backcourt duo of Napier and Boatright usually averages just over 30 points per game.

RELATED: Our latest bracket projections — is your team in?

Boatright, a junior guard, and Daniels, a junior forward, both average just over 12 points a game this season but have gone cold over the recent six-game stretch.

Boatright has shot 18-for-62 from the field over the six-game stretch while Daniels has only averaged 8.6 points a game while failing to crack double-figures in four of those games.

Connecticut could try to turn to other options, but Niels Giffey is rather one-dimensional as a shooter on the offensive end while Lasan Kromah provides a lot of energy but isn’t necessarily a guy that can create on his own.

(MORE: Browse through all of our conference tournament previews)

The Huskies also have to miss the production of sophomore guard Omar Calhoun, who is going through one of the worst sophomore slumps in America. The 6-foot-6 Calhoun had a respectable freshman season, averaging 11.1 points in 32.1 minutes on 40 percent shooting, but after scoring in double-figures the first three games of the season, Calhoun has only done that twice since then as he hasn’t registered a point since a February 6th loss to Cincinnati.

Calhoun hasn’t scored in the last seven games he’s appeared in, a span that totals 49 minutes of playing time. The sophomore is averaging 4.5 points in 15.1 minutes while shooting 31 percent this season.

So without a lot of other options to turn to, UConn really needs Boatright and/or Daniels to get rolling as the postseason begins next week or the Huskies could be in serious trouble.

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

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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.