delaware

NCAA Tournament Primer: Delaware Blue Hens

Leave a comment

Get to know all of the NCAA Tournament’s automatic bids here.

Conference: Colonial Athletic Association

Coach: Monté Ross

Record: 25-9 (14-2 CAA)

Rankings and Ratings:

– Kenpom: 105
– RPI: 78
– AP/USA Today: Not ranked

Seeding?: In Dave Ommen’s most recent bracket, Delaware was projected as the CAA’s lone representative, potentially earning a strong 13 seed but beginning their tournament ride more than 2,500 miles from Newark, Delaware (in Spokane).

Names you need to know: Devon Saddler (19.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg); Davon Usher (19.7 ppg, 6.0); Jarvis Threatt (18.1 ppg, 5.6 apg, 2.6 spg)

Stats you need to know: The backcourt trio of Saddler-Usher-Threatt rarely turns the ball over — just 13.6 percent of the Blue Hens’ possessions result in a giveaway, fifth best in Division I. The squad isn’t completely dependent on their guards for point production: as evidenced in the CAA title game, senior big Carl Baptiste is the conference’s most improved player. The 6-foot-9 Baptiste scored 24 points against William & Mary, and he is making roughly 57 percent of his twos. Bonus: per @JV_Looper, the Blue Hens are the first top seed to so far win their conference tournament.

Tendencies: The Blue Hens are the epitome of a non-power six team that the high majors would like to avoid in late March. They are capable of scoring in bunches — their overall offensive efficiency rate is just outside DI’s top fifty — and they love to push the pace, letting their backcourt trio, along with long-range sharpshooter Kyle Anderson (39 percent from three), quickly pick apart an opposing transition defense. One caveat is a suspect defense: while UDee forces a fair amount of turnovers, they don’t particularly attack the defensive glass and are susceptible to teams finishing strongly on the interior.

Big wins, bad losses: Delaware’s biggest win came during CAA play, a January 20th victory at home against Towson. The Blue Hens played a difficult non-conference schedule, but weren’t able to capitalize on their OOC strength of schedule (which ranked among the nation’s top 75; single-digit losses to Villanova, Richmond, and a closer than expected loss to Ohio State). Ross’ club did drop games to Charleston Southern and St. Bonaventure.

How’d they get here?: Hofstra threw a scare into Delaware in the conference quarterfinals before the Blue Hens stretched the margin of victory to double digits. A blowout of Northeastern in the conference semifinals led to Monday night’s cuticle shortening win against the Tribe. Despite Tony Shaver’s squad making 38 percent of their threes and scoring 1.12 points per possession, Delaware was able to exploit their frontcourt advantage and dance for the first time since 1999.

Outlook: Ross has been entrenched in Newark since the 2006-07 season, and while progress has been slow — the 2014 season is the first 20-plus win season for UDee — the team possesses the experience (all juniors and seniors) and offensive makeup to pose an opening round threat.

How do I know you?: During the 2013 CAA tournament, Delaware was the second-ranked seed which lost to the eventual CAA tourney winner, James Madison. And for the second straight season, another former Phil Martelli assistant will lead his CAA squad into the NCAAs — both Ross and Matt Brady were longtime assistants at St. Joseph’s and were on the bench during the Hawks’ 2003-04 season.

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)
Leave a comment

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
Leave a comment

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

seeley
Leave a comment

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

Adidas Nations Houston
1 Comment

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)
Leave a comment

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.