Kim Anderson

Former Missouri signee Namon Wright officially able to speak with other schools

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Days after reports surfaced that shooting guard Namon Wright would request to be released from the National Letter of Intent he signed to attend Missouri, the 2014 prospect announced via his Twitter account that he is now free to speak with other schools. The announcement comes two days after new head coach Kim Anderson was to meet with Wright in southern California.

Wright stated that the meeting went well and he’s still considering Missouri, but he wanted to take the time to be sure that he’s making the right decision.

Among the schools that could possibly look to land Wright is Utah, which has a scholarship available after Marko Kovacevic made the decision to return to his native Serbia for family reasons. What could also help the Utes is the presence of rising junior guard Brandon Taylor, who was a teammate of Wright’s at Pacific Hills HS.

Well, Utah offered him before he signed with Missouri in November. Not only that, but Utah point guard Brandon Taylor is a fellow Pacific Hills alum and, [Pacific Hills HS head coach Ivan] Barahona says, so close to Wright that they communicate on a daily basis.

“Brandon has flourished over at Utah,” Barahona said. “He has nothing but positive things to say about the coaching staff, and they’re trending in the right direction.”

Utah, which also returns Delon Wright and Jordan Loveridge as part of a rotation that could make Larry Krystkowiak’s team a contender in the Pac-12 next season, reached the Postseason NIT in 2013-14.

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)
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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)
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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: