Purdue’s Bryson Scott, Basil Smotherman working to become better perimeter scorers in 2014-15

Leave a comment

As evidenced by their 15-17 overall record and 5-13 mark in the Big Ten, the 2013-14 season was a tough one for Matt Painter’s Purdue Boilermakers. Purdue had issues on both ends of the floor as they finished last in the Big Ten for the first time in eight seasons, but one of the biggest problems for the Boilermakers was their ability to shoot.

Purdue finished the season shooting 42.7% from the field and 32.7% from beyond the arc, figures that ranked ninth and eighth in the Big Ten, respectively. With that in mind, not to mention the goal of putting together a better season, rising sophomores Bryson Scott and Basil Smotherman have set a goal for themselves this offseason.

According to Nathan Baird of the Lafayette (Ind.) Courier & Journal, Scott and Smotherman have decided to take at least 50,000 shots apiece in hopes of improving their respective shooting percentages in 2014-15. And with the hard work comes confidence, not just from within themselves but also from teammates who see them taking the necessary steps to improve their games.

“I’ve been getting more confident, and the people that have been helping me are Bryson and Kendall,” Smotherman said after Purdue’s first summer workout. “They’re helping me get my confidence back. I always felt like when I shoot one and miss one I go away from it, but they’re like, ‘Just come back to it. Just keep shooting it. You can’t get down on yourself.’”

Purdue does have a low post scoring threat in rising junior center A.J. Hammons, who briefly considered entering the 2014 NBA Draft. But with Terone and Ronnie Johnson both having moved on, there’s a pressing need for perimeter scoring options to step up alongside Kendall Stephens. If that happens there will be other benefits for Purdue, one of which being Hammons having a little more room to operate with in the paint.

Both Scott (35.9% FG in 2013-14) and Smotherman (1-for-12 3PT) are working towards providing that relief, and it’s something that will need to happen if Matt Painter’s program is to bounce back from a disappointing 2013-14.

Sunday’s NCAA Tournament Elite Eight schedule, tip times, and announcer pairings

Leave a comment

Regional Finals – Sunday, March 26

2:20 p.m.,CBS, New York
No. 7 South Carolina vs. No. 4 Florida (Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce)

5:05 p.m., CBS, Memphis
No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 2 Kentucky (Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson)

Steve Alford: ‘I’m very happy at UCLA’

Leave a comment

UCLA head coach Steve Alford was still processing an 86-75 season-ending loss to Kentucky in the Sweet 16 on Friday night when he had to answer questions about another blueblood program.

Sine the dismal of Tom Crean at Indiana, Alford has been one of the names rumored to be in the mix for the coaching vacancy. A reporter in the press conference in Memphis didn’t even get a chance to finish his question before Alford cut him off and a publicly state that he was happy in Westwood.

“I said it last week, and I’ll reiterate it again even more so, I guess, that I love Los Angeles,” Alford said. “To begin with, it’s a beautiful place, and our family has fallen in love with it. I’ve got two sons now, Kory first and now Bryce, that have graduated. Bryce is done, so he’s graduating from UCLA, so I’ve got two sons that are graduates from there, a daughter that loves the school she’s going to in Thousand Oaks. I’m very happy. I’m at UCLA. I don’t know of a lot of people that are out there wanting to leave UCLA.

“This is a pretty special place. We’ve worked awfully hard. Our staff has worked hard. We’ve got the No. 2 recruiting class coming in next year. We’re opening a brand-new, state-of-the-art, 60-plus million practice facility, Mo Ostin Center, that is going to be spectacular that we’ve worked awfully hard to be a part of that, and I want to see that through, and we’ve got some special kids that are coming to join us.

“I’m very, very happy where I’m at, and hopefully, that’ll continue.”

Alford won a national championship with the Hoosiers in 1987, scoring more than 2,400 points in his career under head coach Bob Knight. He has been with UCLA since 2013, reaching the Sweet 16 in three of his four seasons with the Bruins.

Crean was fired on March 16 after nine season in Bloomington.

Lonzo Ball has officially declared for the 2017 NBA Draft

Leave a comment

Following a season-ending loss in the Sweet 16 of the 2017 NCAA Tournament, UCLA freshman point guard unsurprisingly announced that he will enter the NBA Draft.

“That was my final game for UCLA. I appreciate the fans,” Ball told reporters.

The 6-foot-6 point guard has a strong case to be the No. 1 overall pick. It could be almost too enticing for the Los Angeles Lakers to pass on a Southern Cal product if the ping pong balls fall in their favor. New Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka were in Memphis for Friday night’s Sweet 16 matchup with Kentucky.

Ball, in an All-American freshman season with the Bruins, averaged 14.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and a nation’s best 7.6 assists per game, while shooting 56 percent from the field and 42 percent from three.

He ended his college career with an 86-75 loss to the Wildcats, scoring 10 points, off 4-of-10 shooting, with eight assists.

VIDEO: Florida’s Chris Chiozza beats Wisconsin at the buzzer

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
1 Comment

NEW YORK — So you didn’t think the NCAA Tournament had enough excitement this year?

Wisconsin and Florida solved that problem for you.

The Badgers started things, as they erased a 12-point deficit in the final 4:15 to force overtime, a stretch that included an 8-0 run at the end of regulation that was capped by a Zak Showalter running three with 2.5 seconds left on the clock to tie the game at 72.

Wisconsin jumped out to a lead in overtime, but the combination of an inability to make free throws and and this epic chasedown block from Canyon Barry left the door open for the Gators, who eventually won the game on this running three from Chris Chiozza:

What.

A.

Game.

KeVaughn Allen led the way for the Gators with 35 points, and no one else on the Gators scored more than eight points, but it didn’t matter.

Playing in his final game for Wisconsin, Nigel Hayes had 22 points, but he’s going to be haunted by the free throws he missed. He was 7-for-14 from the line on the night, including four missed freebies in overtime.

With the win, Florida becomes the third member of the SEC in the Elite 8, and with a regional final against South Carolina on Sunday afternoon, it guarantees that there will be at least one SEC team in the Final Four.

VIDEO: Canyon Barry saves Florida with epic chase down block

Rob Carr/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Florida’s Canyon Berry had the best chase down block since LeBron James in the 2016 NBA Finals.

It kept Wisconsin’s lead at two points and gave the Gators a chance to tie and, eventually, win the game.

Look at this: