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Five-star wing Brandon Ingram elevates his play during July

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CHICAGO — July in the recruiting world is all about peaking at the right time. While the spring portion of the grassroots basketball season is big for dictating rankings and developing skills, July is the time when scholarships are earned and reputations are cemented.

Entering July, North Carolina native Brandon Ingram was already a top-25 national prospect in the 2015 class, but the 6-foot-8 small forward was still a question mark in the eyes of some coaches and scouts because of his sporadic play.

For Ingram, the upside and ability was there, but the lightbulb was flickering.

With a long and lanky frame and developing ball skills, Ingram would look great one game in the spring and look invisible in other games.

But at the adidas Unrivaled Camp in Chicago this week, Ingram has come out focused and aggressive. The No. 25 prospect, according to Rivals, outplayed the top small forward in the country, Jaylen Brown, in the opening game at camp on Thursday and has had a tremendous week at adidas so far.

“I think I played with a better motor than in early June and May and the spring. My spring was good, but I think I came out with a better motor today,” Ingram told NBCSports.com. “Getting used to my teammates, we’re communicating more and we just had a good game.”

MOREAll our content from the 2014 July Live Recruiting Period

The matchup against Brown, the No. 3 prospect in the class, was added motivation for Ingram. Although the two rarely guarded each other, it was still a chance for Ingram to showcase that he belonged in the conversation with his peers on the wing.

“Everybody wants to be No. 1, everybody wants that top ranking,” Ingram said. “It just gives me a little bit more drive to go at each and everybody. We’re always friends off the court, but when we get on the court, it’s business.”

Ingram even seems different in interviews from how he was this spring. His confidence is up and seems to have found what makes him a consistent impact player on the floor. Ingram maintained that the work he’s put in this spring is really paying off.

“Lot of things I talked about early in May when I was getting interviewed, I went back and I worked on it and I got better at it,” Ingram said.

Getting better for Ingram means two-a-day summer workouts with his Dad and consistently getting in the gym.

“I’m just waking up early in the morning and going to the gym with my Dad and go to work about 6 [a.m.],” Ingram said. “And then when he gets off of work we’re right back in there.”

College coaches are noticing the upside and ability that Ingram has to offer. Clemson, Duke, Florida, Louisville, North Carolina, NC State, VCU, and Wake Forest have offered scholarships while Kansas and Kentucky have made recent contact. During the week at adidas camp, multiple national championship-winning head coaches have watched Ingram play, including Coach K and Roy Williams on the side court at Quest Athletics on Friday afternoon.

“Kentucky has come on-board more,” Ingram said. “Seeing Coach Calipari out here, we actually had a phone call and he talked to me about three days ago. He’s just been doing a lot of research on me and he wanted to come out and see me.”

Ingram also acknowledged that Kansas was, “anxious to get out here and see me,” and even though the in-state North Carolina schools have been heavily involved, Ingram is open in the recruiting process.

“Same schools have been in the mix,” Ingram said. “I know there were rumors around that I was supposed to be narrowing my list at the end of last month, but it’s coming soon.”

Iowa cruises past No. 25 Iowa State

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 20:  Head coach Fran McCaffery of the Iowa Hawkeyes reacts in the first half against the Villanova Wildcats during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Barclays Center on March 20, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Iowa picked up a major win on Thursday night, defeating in-state rival No. 25 Iowa State, 78-64, in a contest the Hawkeyes thoroughly dominated.

Let’s put it this way: the Hawkeyes have played four top-100 teams, according to kenpom. In those games, all losses by the way, their defense has surrendered 91 points to Seton Hall, 74 points to a Virginia team that plays at the slowest tempo in the country, 100 points to Memphis and 92 points to Notre Dame.

On Saturday, on the same floor Iowa demolished the Cyclones, its defense allowed 98 points in a loss to Nebraska Omaha.

This is exactly the sort of win Fran McCaffery and Co. needed to right the ship as we inch closer and closer to conference play.

When the Cyclones went to their bench in the first half, Nick Baer sparked a 10-0 run which helped set the tone for the remainder of the half. Iowa State went without a field goal for more than six minutes during that span.

Iowa kept Iowa State from getting out and running, holding the Cyclones to zero fast break points through the first 20 minutes and limiting them to only 36 percent from the floor as a team. Iowa, on the other hand, shot 47 percent, including 59 percent in the first half, which led to a 15-point halftime lead.

Peter Jok torched Iowa State to the tune of 23 points (4-of-7 from distance).

Monte Morris was held in check with 10 points, while Naz Mitrou-Long and Matt Thomas shot a combined 4-of-13 from three (they each hit a three with less than three minutes to play and the outcome all but decided).

Iowa State’s offense is becoming a bigger concern. Just like against Gonzaga, the Cyclones dug a first-half hole they could shoot out their way of. And like last week’s overtime loss to Cincinnati, they struggled from beyond the arc.

Iowa landed a marquee win it needed, while its rival headed home with questions to answer after losing three of four.

 

Alabama wing sidelined due to weight loss

ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 29: Head coach Avery Johnson of the Alabama Crimson Tide during the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at HP Field House on November 29, 2015 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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Alabama junior wing Nick King will not be with the team for Sunday evening’s matchup against No. 24 Oregon in Eugene.

According to Rainer Sabin of the AL.com, Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said King undergoing a series of tests after losing more than 10 pounds in less than a week and a half.

Johnson told reporters that he is “very concerned” and estimates that as of now King will be sidelined for “a week or two.”

King, who played his first two seasons at Memphis, has appeared in all seven games for the Crimson Tide, averaging 3.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in 12.7 minutes per game.

Damonte Dodd out with MCL sprain

COLLEGE PARK, MD - FEBRUARY 13: Melo Trimble #2 and Damonte Dodd #35 of the Maryland Terrapins react to a call as Alex Illikainen #25 of the Wisconsin Badgers looks on in the second half at Xfinity Center on February 13, 2016 in College Park, Maryland. Wisconsin won 70-57.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Maryland could be without the services of starting center Damonte Dodd for the remainder of the non-conference slate, the team announced on Wednesday.

Dodd suffered a MCL sprain in his left knee during practice earlier this week. The injury caused him to miss Wednesday’s 76-56 win over Howard. He will not be available for matchups with St. Peter’s and Jacksonville State. The Terrapins then close out the non-conference slate at Charlotte on Dec. 20 before opening up Big Ten play a week later.

Dodd has started in six of seven games he’s appeared in this season. He’s averaging 5.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. Michael Cekovsky started in place of Dodd on Wednesday night. Ivan Bender, who returned to the lineup against Howard after missing the previous contest, should also see an increase in minutes with Dodd sidelined.

Federico Mussini goes coast-to-coast, beats buzzer with and-1

CINCINNATI, OH - FEBRUARY 03:  Chris Mullin the head coach of the St. John's Red Storm gives instructions to Federico Mussini #4 during the game against the  Xavier Musketeersat Cintas Center on February 3, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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St. John’s capped the first half with a 6-0 run.

Sophomore guard Federico Mussini went coast-to-coast to beat the buzzer, and draw the foul, as the Johnnies went into the break up 42-33 on city rival Fordham.

The 6-foot-4 guard had gone cold during a five-game stretch, but since Thanksgiving he’s scored in double figures in four consecutive games, including on Thursday night.

Washington State coach begins game on opponent’s bench

Ernie Kent
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In September, during the Coaches vs. Cancer Gala in Spokane, Washington, there was a live auction, which included the chance to be Idaho’s honorary coach for a regular season during the 2016-17 season.

Washington State head coach Ernie Kent’s $2,000 bid more than tripled the next highest bid, according to the Spokesman Review.

On Wednesday night, during Washington State’s game against the Vandals, Kent sat next to his counterpart on the Idaho bench.

Kent returned to his side of the court following the game’s first possession.

Behind 16 points from Ike Iiroegbu, the Cougars defeated the Vandals, 61-48.