Illinois seemed headed for glory in ’89, but Michigan prevailed (Chicago Sun Times)
While the 1989 Final Four ended up being remembered for Michigan’s winning the national title, one of the two teams the Wolverines beat was an Illinois squad some felt was the favorite to win it all. But they fell two points short, and it’s a missed opportunity that still weighs on the minds of some of the members of the “Flying Illini.”
Look who’s talking: Ollie tells Daniels to be more vocal (Hartford Courant)
Guards Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright are the leaders for No. 7 UConn, and with that comes a lot of attention nationally. But junior forward DeAndre Daniels is also an important piece, and if anything there are times when head coach Kevin Ollie needs the Los Angeles native to be more assertive. And that goes for the verbal aspect of the game just as much as it does Daniels’ skill.
Gators heed advice of Billy Donovan, put aside Final Four distractions (Bradenton Herald)
One key for the teams in this weekend’s Final Four is to manage the distractions that come off the court. That means taking care of ticket requests and anything else that can get in the way of the players keeping their focus on the task at hand. For No. 1 Florida, head coach Billy Donovan gave his players Sunday and Monday to handle those areas, and his experience coaching in the Final Four is something the players will look to draw from.
Saints hope to rock the old house (Albany Times Union)
Siena hosts Game 2 of the CBI championship series on Wednesday, with the Saints looking to close things out after beating Fresno State on the road in Game 1. And they’ll be doing so on campus, with the Times Union Center unavailable due to events that have been scheduled for the facility.
The Northwestern Decision: An Explainer (Grantland)
With Northwestern football players winning the right to form a union, there’s been confusion as to what the development means for college sports as a whole. Here’s a solid breakdown of the situation, what it all means now and what it could mean down the line for Northwestern and collegiate athletics as a whole.
Calipari reminds Kentucky players: “we ain’t dead yet” (Louisville Courier-Journal)
Earlier this season Kentucky head coach John Calipari was forced to spend a lot of his time teaching things such as effort and body language, which stunted the growth of his young team. Once that changed in the latter portion of the season so did the Wildcats’ fortunes, and they’re in the Final Four as a result. And Calipari has made sure to remind his players that they aren’t done yet.
Bassett will require surgery in his right foot and his projected recovery time will be four-to-six months. The injury will force Bassett to redshirt the 2016-17 season.
A three-star recruit coming out of Oldsmar Christian in Florida, the 6-foot-9 forward wasn’t expected to be a big contributor during his first year with the Gators, but his loss does hurt some of the team’s frontcourt depth. With John Egbunu, Devin Robinson, Justin Leon and Kevarrius Hayes all returning, the Gators should have plenty of players to use in the frontcourt this season without Bassett.
Once Bassett is healthy and able to play next season he showed good athleticism and an ability to hit the glass hard while he was in high school. Bassett should be able to join Florida’s rotation as an energy defender and rebounder right away.
Iowa State lands four-star Class of 2017 guard Lindell Wigginton
Iowa State has its point guard of the future as four-star Class of 2017 prospect Lindell Wigginton pledged to the Cyclones on Friday.
The 6-foot-1 Wigginton is regarded as the No. 40 overall prospect on Rivals.com as the Canadian has spent the last few seasons at powerhouse Oak Hill Academy. With an ability to play both guard spots and defend a few spots, Wigginton is a valuable addition to head coach Steve Prohm’s ballclub as Wigginton could help replace Monte Morris after he exhausts his eligibility.
Wigginton is going to need to improve his consistency on his perimeter jumper, but he’s a good pull-up scorer who can make plays for himself or others off the bounce. Iowa State’s Class of 2017 recruiting haul now includes Wigginton, four-star wing Terrence Lewis and three-star guard Darius McNeill.
This commitment is huge for Prohm as Wigginton is the most highly-regarded recruit that he has landed with the Cyclones. With Prohm’s point guard history with guys like Isaiah Canaan at Murray State and Monte Morris now with Iowa State, Prohm did a nice job of finding his next young guard to mold for the future.
Davidson star Jack Gibbs to miss a few weeks with shoulder injury
Davidson senior guard Jack Gibbs is one of the most under-the-radar players in college basketball as he will be among the nation’s leading offensive threats this season if he’s healthy.
But health is going to be a question for the 6-foot-1 guard as Gibbs is dealing with a shoulder injury that will sideline him for 2-to-3 weeks, according to head coach Bob McKillop. McKillop told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman that tests came back negative for Gibbs and he’s expected to be back for the Wildcats’ season-opener. The injury for Gibbs occurred during Thursday’s Davidson practice.
As a junior, Gibbs averaged 23.5 points, 4.9 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game as he became one of the nation’s premier offensive players. Gibbs is going to be a huge key for Davidson this season as he needs to be healthy in order for the Wildcats to make it back to the NCAA tournament.
VIDEO: Dennis Smith Jr. electrifies N.C. State fans at team’s scrimmage
N.C. State freshman point guard Dennis Smith Jr. excited fans with some absurd plays at the team’s Primetime with the Pack event last night.
The highly-touted, five-star prospect is the most electric prospect to come to the Wolfpack in years and Smith had the crowd buzzing with some highlight-reel dunks during the team’s 20-minute scrimmage.
Smith made one teammate look silly by putting it between his legs and throwing down a vicious dunk during one play while he also threw an alley-oop to himself to finish another break.
Kentucky freshman guard Malik Monk is going to be one of the newcomers to keep an eye on this season as the 6-foot-3 Arkansas native is an explosive scorer who packs vicious athleticism.
Monk showed Big Blue Nation some of what they can expect to see during Friday night’s Blue/White Scrimmage as he unleashed a ferocious dunk in some traffic and also had another good dunk in transition. While Monk has great lift off the floor, he also isn’t afraid to cock the ball back and put some authority on his dunks. He’s going to be a ton of fun to watch this season.