evans

The Secondary Break: Wednesday’s Links

Leave a comment

First Four: A play-in game, and insult (CBS Sports)
The NCAA tournament began Tuesday night with two games in Dayton, and while the city has embraced the concept of the First Four the same can’t be said for others. Do teams who fail to advance past Dayton truly experience the NCAA tournament? There are some who believe that they do not.

College basketball world is shrinking (Associated Press)
Back in the earlier days of the 64/65/68-team era of the NCAA tournament, many upsets were true surprises to much of the nation. With games not being televised as often, fans and even teams wouldn’t know as much about these smaller programs until after the fact. But with the exponential growth of the sport on television and other mediums, are there fewer surprises amongst the NCAA tournament field?

Loe has come a long way with Saint Louis (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Midwest region five-seed Saint Louis will begin its NCAA tournament with a game against 12-seed N.C. State on Thursday, and one of the key figures for the Billikens is senior forward Rob Loe. Loe, known for his ability to knock down shots from beyond the arc, has made major strides during his four years at SLU.

Recalling Villanova’s 2009 Final Four season (Philadelphia Daily News)
Five years ago Villanova made a run few expected, reaching the Final Four with Scottie Reynolds’ shot with less than a second remaining pushing the Wildcats past one-seed Pittsburgh in the Elite 8. The Daily News takes a look back at that team, and the current Wildcats are capable of putting together a similar run.

Askia Booker transforms his game after Spencer Dinwiddie’s injury (Denver Post)
When Colorado point guard Spencer Dinwiddie tore his ACL in a game at Washington in late-January, Tad Boyle’s Buffaloes needed to make adjustments if they were to make a third consecutive NCAA tournament. The most important player in all of this was guard Askia Booker, who would need to do even more as a distributor if Colorado were to remain afloat. And Booker has handled the additional chores well.

Staying power: Drew’s guidance has Baylor men firmly on map (Waco Tribune-Herald)
At one point in Big 12 play the Baylor Bears lost eight of ten games, and Scott Drew’s team looked to be a long way from earning a spot in the NCAA tournament field. However due in large part to the head coach’s leadership Baylor’s a six-seed and a team a few believe to be capable of advancing to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament.

Stanford not a big mystery (Albuquerque Journal)
South region seven-seed New Mexico will begin its NCAA tournament with a tough game against ten-seed Stanford on Friday. And thanks to some lasting connections the Lobos are very familiar with the Cardinal, who lost two of their three meetings with a UCLA team coached by former New Mexico head coach Steve Alford.

KU freshmen: Big 12 tournament good prep for NCAAs (Lawrence Journal-World)
South region two-seed Kansas will lean on some players who have yet to play in the NCAA tournament, most notably freshmen Wayne Selden and Andrew Wiggins. But instead of being nervous the Jayhawks feel prepared, thanks to their experiences in last week’s Big 12 tournament.

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.