Rising Coaches Elite preparing for fifth annual conference July 22-24

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It goes without saying that the month of July is an important one for college basketball programs. With there being three five-day open recruiting periods, coaches are traveling the country to keep tabs on prospects they’ve already been following while also learning more about those who they may not have seen during the high school season and the lone open period of the spring (late April).

This is also an important time for current players, as many are going through summer school while also being put through the paces by their program’s strength and conditioning staff in preparation for the upcoming year. Support staff members, including graduate assistants and managers, can’t be forgotten either during July for two reasons.

First of all, they can help keep an eye on things in the office while the head coach and his assistants are on the road recruiting. And secondly the added knowledge they pick up working camps and attending seminars can prove beneficial not only to the staffer from a career advancement standpoint, but also in regards to making them a more valuable member of their current program.

Later this month Rising Coaches Elite, a program founded by three former Clemson staffers (former Longwood assistant Andy Farrell, current Mississippi State director of basketball operations Adam Gordon and current Miami University assistant Trey Meyer), will hold its fifth annual conference from July 22-24 in Las Vegas. The location helps in that this runs right into the third open period of the month, with Las Vegas hosting three separate grassroots events.

And with the number of coaches due to show up in Las Vegas, this helps with the process of finding speakers for the event. Among those currently scheduled to speak are Chattanooga head coach Will Wade, Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon, Arizona assistant Joe Pasternack and Georgetown assistant Kevin Sutton.

“We are a grassroots organization that wants to focus on two things,” Farrell told NBC Sports. “First, develop lifelong friendships in the profession through networking and brainstorming of ideas. Second, we want to learn how to be assistant coaches and head coaches from some of the highest level coaches in the game.

“These coaches will also share insights on how to do our current jobs better, how to continue to serve the game of basketball the right way, and how to better ourselves as future coaches.”

And for the second year in a row the Rising Athletic Directors conference will run in conjunction with Rising Coaches Elite, allowing young coaches and administrators to not only learn from those experienced in their respective fields but also network with each other as they look to climb through the ranks.

“Over the past 4 years, we have been able to connect coaches from all over the country with one another, that have led to a variety of positive experiences,” noted Farrell. “Some attendees have gotten jobs directly from meeting speakers, some attendees have been able to get reccommended for jobs from their peers they’ve met, and other have been able to use this conference as a platform to grow their network to learn the game at a higher level and enhance their own development and job responsibilities.”

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.