AP Photo

Kentucky freshman Julius Randle entering NBA Draft

Leave a comment

In a move that shocked absolutely no one, Julius Randle made it official — he will be in the NBA next season.

“Talking with my family, a lot of prayer, I’m deciding to declare for the NBA draft,” Randle said. “I came here to grow and mature. I’ve done that.”

MOREThe list of players entering the 2014 NBA Draft

Randle averaged 15.0 points and 10.4 boards despite double- and triple-teams all season long, leading Kentucky to the national title game, a run that helped erase the memory of a disappointing regular season. Randle is expected to be taken in the top five, meaning that he should earn himself a guaranteed two-year contract worth at least $6 million come draft day. That would be enough to convince me to leave school.

Randle is a powerful left-handed forward, strong enough to score in the post and athletic enough to beat slower defenders off the dribble. He’s going to need to add some more finesse moves to his repertoire at the NBA level, as his game right now revolves around overpowering defenders. He won’t be able to do that as consistently at the next level. He also needs to continue to develop his ability to see the floor and distribute the ball. Don’t be surprised to see Randle make a number of all-star teams in his career.

As far as Kentucky is concerned, they are still waiting on four players to make a decision. In the front court, Willie Cauley-Stein and Marcus Lee have both decided to return to school while Dakari Johnson and Alex Poythress are still in the midst of the deciding their future. The key, however, is going to be whether or not the Harrison twins decide to return to school. The deadline to enter the NBA Draft is midnight on Sunday night.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
1 Comment

Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Leave a comment

Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: