Summer league debut represents step forward for Iowa State’s Georges Niang

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Entering the NCAA tournament on the heels of winning their first Big 12 tournament title since 2000, Iowa State had the look of a team capable of making a run to the Final Four. With the triumvirate of guard DeAndre Kane and forwards Melvin Ejim and Georges Niang leading the way, Fred Hoiberg was in charge of one of the nation’s most efficient offensive attacks.

But the Cyclones’ Round of 64 win over North Carolina Central came at a cost, as Niang broke his right foot late in the second half. While Iowa State had enough to get past North Carolina in the next round, thanks in large part to the Herculean effort put forth by Kane, they were unable to advance any further as eventual champion UConn eliminated them in the Sweet 16.

With Kane and Ejim out of eligibility, Niang will be Iowa State’s most productive returnee in 2014-15 and that makes his health even more important for the Cyclones. On Sunday the 6-foot-7 forward made his return to game action, playing in the YMCA Capital City Summer League in West Des Moines, Iowa.

It was a productive afternoon for Niang, who accounted for 29 points and 11 rebounds. And in speaking with Randy Peterson of the Des Moines Register, Niang mentioned the work he’s done in not only rehabbing his foot but also changing his body.

Niang finishes above the rim better than last season because his body has changed — he’s down 20 pounds, to around 220.

“I’m working to get my body fit,” he said. “It’s more like a lifestyle change, than a quick fix. I’m working on eating healthy. Guys tell me your body is a temple, so you might as well treat it as one.

“You can’t put diesel fuel in a regular car — and you have to put good stuff in your body. When you do, good things will come out of it.”

Niang and fellow forward Dustin Hogue are Iowa State’s two returning double-figure scorers, and they’ll have help from players such as Naz Long, Monte Morris, Matt Thomas (who’s currently suspended) and newcomers Bryce Dejean-Jones and Jameel McKay. With that being the case the cupboard certainly isn’t bare in Ames, but Niang’s transformation will be something to keep an eye on as Iowa State looks to make another NCAA tournament appearance.

Playing in a summer league game may not be a big deal when compared to the battles of the Big 12, but being healthy enough to do so is a positive step for Georges Niang.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson throws down a vicious putback

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Zion Williamson made another highlight-reel play on Saturday outside of Atlanta as he threw down a vicious putback dunk at the Best of the South.

The five-star prospect has returned from a minor knee injury this spring to look like his old self in July as he’s entertained packed gyms of fans and college coaches the last two weeks.

The Class of 2018 star is currently regarded as the No. 3 overall prospect in the latest Rivals.com national rankings.

(h/t: Courtside Films)

Five-star 2018 point guard Darius Garland cuts list to six schools

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Five-star Class of 2018 point guard Darius Garland revealed the final six schools that he’s considering on Friday.

The N0. 12 overall prospect in the Class of 2018, according to Rivals, the 6-foot-0 Garland is one of the top floor generals in the nation as he is still considering Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA and Vanderbilt.

A native of Nashville, Garland is a potentially elite perimeter threat at the college level as he’s one of the more deadly three-point marksmen in the nation.

Garland spent this spring and summer playing with Bradley Beal Elite in the Nike EYBL as he averaged 16.8 points and 4.8 assists per game in the league this spring.

VIDEO: Kentucky’s John Calipari participates in the #DriveByDunkChallenge

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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The #DriveByDunkChallenge is sweeping the nation on social media this summer.

Rules to participate are pretty simple:

  1. Drive around in your vehicle.
  2. Find a basketball hoop (or a basketball ring if you’re Ted Cruz) on a random driveway.
  3. Run out of your car and dunk on that random hoop while a friend films.
  4. Run back to your car and drive away.

Let Anthony Davis show you how it works:

Pretty simple, right?

The #DriveByDunkChallenge isn’t raising money or awareness for ALS like the #IceBucketChallenge did three years ago, but it’s something harmless and fun to do to pass the time during the dog days of summer.

Sensing an opportunity to join an Internet craze, while also following in the footsteps of his former player Kentucky star, Wildcats head coach John Calipari got involved with his own dunk late Friday night.

And his video is much funnier than I thought it would be.

While most #DriveByDunkChallenge videos are done by healthy and spry teenagers who are cruising neighborhoods during the day, Calipari, and his hip replacement, got in on the fun with a late-night dunk.

I love that Calipari ditched the ball behind his back while running back to the car after the dunk.

Most people who participate in the challenge usually have their own ball and keep it with them through completion. But Calipari either picked up a random ball in the driveway or just he lost the handle with his own ball and had a turnover.

The next time Calipari goes hard on one of his point guards for losing control and playing too fast, remember this moment.

Creighton’s Khyri Thomas posterizes defender

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Creighton rising junior wing Khyri Thomas, like several of his teammates, are taking part in the Omaha Summer League this offseason.

On Thursday night, the 6-foot-3, 205-lb. Thomas eviscerated a defender with a one-handed posterization.

Thomas is coming off a breakout sophomore campaign for the Bluejays. He started all 35 games, averaging 12.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Aside from the increase in offensive production, Thomas served as one of the top defenders in the Big East. He shared the Big East Defensive Player of the Year Award with Villanova’s Josh Hart and Mikal Bridges.

Zion Williamson throws down 360 windmill dunk

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Zion Williamson added another jaw-dropping dunk in the layup lines on the first night of the second live evaluation period.

Williamson and his SC Supreme team took on Each 1 Teach 1 at the Hoopseen Best of the South at the LakePoint Sporting Community in greater Atlanta.

The 6-foot-7 power forward threw down a 360 windmill dunk during his pregame routines.

Each 1 Teach 1 would pick up a 70-67 victory over SC Supreme. Williamson would end with a monster stat line of 37 points and seven rebounds.