adidas Unrivaled Day 1: Brandon Ingram gets the best of Jaylen Brown, Ray Smith hurts his knee

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CHICAGO — Although the inagural adidas Unrivaled camp began at the Quest Multiplex in Chicago a day after Reebok and LeBron on Thursday, there were still plenty of talented players and coaches on display throughout the day.

The camp has a nice setup for the players in which they do two hours of drills in the morning, break for lunch, play two sessions of games in the afternoon, break for dinner and then close out the evening with two more sessions of games.

With each player running in two games a day, and getting plenty of time to rest, legs hopefully won’t look as tired as a typical camp setting as adidas Unrivaled gets into the weekend.

Brandon Ingram shines in matchup with Jaylen Brown: Camp games opened on Thursday with an intriguing matchup of elite small forwards as North Carolina native Brandon Ingram and his team matched up against Georgia native Jaylen Brown and his squad.

The two top-25 Class of 2015 prospects rarely defended each other, but the long and lanky 6-foot-8 Ingram soundly outplayed the No. 3 ranked Brown as Ingram’s team won in a romp.

Playing in front of head coaches like Kentucky’s John Calipari, Florida’s Billy Donovan, North Carolina State’s Mark Gottfried and a host of other high-major assistant coaches, Ingram went 8-for-9 from the field as he confidently scored from all three levels of the floor.

Ingram especially did damage from the left side of the floor, as he scored through traffic, hit a mid-range jumper off of a curl and also knocked in a three-pointer. The knock on Ingram has always been his willingness to play with and against physicality, but a second-half post-up against a smaller opponent that led to a dunk was refreshing to see.

Brown, on the other hand, didn’t play well but he wasn’t exactly bad either. The 6-foot-7 power wing was 2-for-10 from the field with four turnovers, but he played an okay overall floor game that included getting his big men involved on post touches, making passes up the floor to push tempo and also operating out of the mid-post when he realized his shot wasn’t falling.

It didn’t help Brown’s cause that the rest of his team came out flat, either.

Ingram is the story, though. He’s playing with a lot of confidence right now and seems looser than he was in the spring. Ingram told that Kentucky and Kansas have recently shown interest while Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Louisville also remain active with scholarship offers and interest. Ingram said he would like to see the campuses of the aforementioned schools and I’ll have more on his recruitment later.

Ray Smith goes down with a concerning knee injury: July was going to be a very big showcase for recent top-10 Class of 2015 small forward Ray Smith. The Las Vegas native recently vaulted into five-star status as the bluebloods of college basketball were trailing his every move in Chicago.

But the thoughts of college recruiting, and basketball in general, were put on hold during the night session of games on Thursday when the 6-foot-7 Smith went down untouched while clutching his knee.

While working an in-and-out dribble to go past a defender, Smith planted his foot and his knee just gave way as he lost the ball and instantly collapsed to the ground. The injury looked scary, and Smith had to be carried off the floor and into the back-room medical area, but adidas officials told that they were cautiously optimistic that the injury wasn’t serious.

For his part, Smith took to Twitter to try to stay positive after the injury, but I would be surprised if he played at the rest of the Unrivaled camp.

You hate to see any player get hurt and hopefully Smith can get healthy and return to playing basketball soon.

CBT Podcast: Recapping the first weekend of the 2018 NCAA Tournament

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Eamonn Brennan of The Athletic joined Rob Dauster for an epic, two-hour podcast on the first weekend of the tournament. It was so good that we had to split the podcast into two parts. On this show, the two go through everything that happened in the South and West Regions, from Sister Jean to UMBC to Nevada’s comebacks to Kentucky’s chances at a Final Four.

On this show, the two go through everything that happened in the East and Midwest Regions, from Villanova and Duke steamrolling to Michigan State collapsing to Syracuse and Clemson and Texas Tech and Purdue. It’s all in there.

2018 NCAA Tournament: Eight viral heroes from first weekend of March Madness

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One of my favorite parts of the NCAA tournament is seeing who comes out of nowhere to turn into a viral celebrity during this month of madness.

By my estimation, we had eight true candidates for the award of March Madness Viral Celebrity of the Year. Here they are:


He was more fired up for Houston’s success in the tournament than any Houston fan in the history of basketball in the city of Houston.


Jordan Poole is spelled a lot like Jordan Peele, which inevitably led to people tweeting at Peele instead of Poole. Peele’s thank you tweet was a highlight of the first weekend.


Having to answer questions from a bunch of reporters after suffering the most humiliating moment of your life is not an easy thing to do. Having to answer ridiculous and stupid questions could be intolerable, which is why I loved Ty Jerome’s response to a stupid question he was asked:


I loved seeing Robert Williams’ teammate do a panotmine windmill in the background while Williams was throwing down a windmill in real time on Providence:


Nevada head coach Eric Musselman has led his team to the Sweet 16, cussed on live television and gone shirtless to celebrate with his team, but the star of the Musselman family is his daughter Mariah:


He really does have great hair:

2. @UMBCAthletics

This dude lived the dream of every twitter user out there. When your shot is there, you have to take it.


Mic drop:

VIDEO: Eric Musselman celebrates Nevada win without a shirt

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Nevada head coach Eric Musselman went shirtless to celebrate his team’s come-from-behind win over No. 2 seed Cincinnati on Sunday.

I guess this is better than dropping F-bombs live on national TV. Maybe that’s why they had Steve Lappas talking over him …

Penny Hardaway to be named next Memphis head coach

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The worst-kept secret in college basketball no longer appears to be a secret: Penny Hardaway is going to be the next coaching at the University of Memphis.

ESPN is reporting that a deal has been agreed upon. The Memphis Commercial-Appeal is reporting that Penny was waiting for his season to end with East High School before he made anything official. NBC Sports can confirm that an announcement is expected to be made early this week, likely as soon as Tuesday, to introduce the former Memphis and NBA star as Tubby Smith’s replacement.

The truth, however, is that we all knew this was what would be happening the second that Memphis formally fired Tubby Smith. Hell, we knew it a month before that decision was made final. This was always how it was going to play out.

What’s interesting to me is now the discussion of whether or not Penny will be able to handle being a Division I head coach, because it’s been hit or miss with basketball programs hiring legends of their past. Chris Mullin and St. John’s hasn’t exactly gone to plan but Fred Hoiberg was quite successful at Iowa State. Kevin Ollie won a title with UConn then fell off a cliff. Patrick Ewing’s start wasn’t great, but he was better than expected.

Where does Penny fall on this scale?

Well, let me just drop this section of a column from Geoff Calkins in here:

Hardaway isn’t a guy who woke up one morning and decided he’d like to be a Division I head coach. He’s not a former player who got bored with retirement and decided he’d like to do something other than play golf.

Hardaway started coaching at middle school. Middle school! Because an old friend needed some help.

Then he built one of the best AAU programs in the country. Then he spent years coaching a high school team.

Does that sound like someone who doesn’t want to roll up his sleeves and do the work? Does that sound like someone who is just in it for the glory and the glitz?

The truth is, if it weren’t for Hardaway’s iconic stature, he might be characterized as a grinder, as a guy who worked his way up from the lowest levels of basketball on the strength of his relationship with the kids.

I think that this is going to work out for both Penny and Memphis, especially if Penny hires a staff that can help him with the intricacies of running a college basketball program.

2018 NCAA Tournament: All-First Weekend Team

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PLAYER OF THE WEEKEND: Jevon Carter, West Virginia

So Carter’s numbers themselves were ridiculous this weekend. He had 21 points, eight assists, six steals and five boards in a first round win over Murray State. He followed that up with 28 points, five assists, five steals and four boards in a win over in-state rival Marshall to advance to the Sweet 16. For the weekend, he shot 54 percent from the floor and 63 percent from three.

But perhaps the more telling state in regards to what Carter did this weekend are the numbers that the Murray State and Marshall stars put up this weekend. Jon Elmore — whose averages of 23 points, seven assists and six boards matched what Markelle Fultz averaged a season ago — was 4-for-12 from the floor with eight turnovers in Marshall’s second round loss. Jonathan Stark, who entered the tournament averaging 22 points, had nine points on 1-for-12 shooting in Murray State’s first round loss.

On Friday night, we get Jalen Brunson squaring off with Carter.

Buckle up.


  • ROB GRAY, Houston: Gray is the only guy on this list that didn’t reach the Sweet 16 — blame Jordan Poole for that — but he did put together one of the most memorable and impressive first round NCAA tournament performances I can ever remember when he dropped 39 points and a game-winner on San Diego State.
  • KEENAN EVANS, Texas Tech: Evans averaged 22.5 points in this weekend’s two games, but what got him on this list was that he averaged 16.5 points in the second half of those two games, closing out a come-from-behind win against Stephen F. Austin with drive after drive and hitting the go-ahead three in the win over Florida.
  • ZACH NORVELL, Gonzaga: Not only did the Zags freshman averaged 21.5 points in two games — including a career-high 28 points, a career-high 12 boards, a career-high six threes and his first career double-double against Ohio State — but he hit the dagger in both of those games; a game-winner in the final minutes against UNCG and a three to put the Zags up six in the final two minutes against Ohio State.
  • SHAI GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER, Kentucky: We spent the entire season talking about how Kentucky didn’t have a star this year. That may not be true anymore. SGA averaged 23 points, 7.0 boards, 6.5 assists and 3.5 steals as the Wildcats reached the Sweet 16 as the highest remaining seed in the South Region.
  • THE MARTIN TWINS, Nevada: Caleb was the hero in the come-from-behind win over Texas, doing bonkers in overtime, while Cody had 25 points, seven assists and six boards in the come-from-behind win over Cincinnati. But mostly they were both awesome all weekend.