adidas Unrivaled Camp Day 3 Recap: Jaylen Brown/Brandon Ingram II was special, Kobi Simmons, Deng Adel have strong days

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CHICAGO — The adidas Unrivaled Camp chugged along on Saturday as some of the nation’s best players continued to perform well in front of a lot of college coaches. Although Chase Jeter continued to play at a high level, other high-end prospects have also had strong performances throughout the week as the camp gets more into the thick of things.

But the matchup that dominated the headlines on Saturday night was a rematch of the camp’s opening game when five-star small forwards Jaylen Brown and Brandon Ingram battled in an incredible display of high-level scoring.

Jaylen Brown and Brandon Ingram II turns into an instant classic: As two of the best players in the adidas Unrivaled Camp, it made for headlines when No. 3 overall prospect Jaylen Brown battled No. 25 overall prospect Brandon Ingram in the opening game at the Unrivaled Camp on Thursday afternoon.

Even more surprising was the way Ingram came out and outplayed Brown, as the wiry 6-foot-8 Ingram went 8-for-9 from the field while Brown was only 2-for-10.

But the rematch of the Class of 2015 wings Saturday night was special.

In Thursday’s game, the two five-star wings rarely defended each other, but this time around, you could tell Brown had a chip on his shoulder and wanted to go directly at Ingram.

And with his brute strength on the wing and general overall intensity, you don’t want to mess with an angry Jaylen Brown.

But to Ingram’s credit, he never backed down from Brown in the second matchup either.

It made for a fun back-and-forth battle of different types of players: Brown’s strength and physicality against Ingram’s slithery skill-based game.

The rest of their respective teams seemingly took a backseat to what was a tremendous one-on-one battle on the wing, which was physical and featured a number of high-level moves. Brown and Ingram went at each other hard each and every possession.

Some other players at the camp might have rested the final game to nurse injuries or fatigue, but that wasn’t going to happen with these two elite players.

Both of them finished 10-for-16 from the field, as Ingram finished with 26 points and three blocks and Brown tallied 21 points and five rebounds. But Brown’s team got revenge by picking up the win. His intensity lifted the rest of his team and they avenged a borderline embarrassing loss on the first day to Ingram’s team.

It was a fun game to cap off a week full of camp games before Sunday’s all-star games. Brown showed why he’s a consensus top-5 player in the 2015 class while Ingram continued a very strong week.

Kobi Simmons takes control: Kobi Simmons is one of the most fun-to-watch prospects in all of high school basketball. A 6-foot-5 point guard from Georgia, Simmons is jet quick and athletic enough to do a tremendous amount of damage in the open floor. It’s why he’s the No. 15 player in Rivals‘ Class of 2016 rankings and among the top point guards in the country.

During the spring, Simmons was prone to some wild moments with the Atlanta Celtics, but at the Unrivaled Camp, he’s taken the reins as a steady lead guard. While Simmons can still take some wild shots in traffic, he also has a propensity to make them while drawing a lot of fouls. He’s just the classic case of a bad-shot taker being a bad-shot maker.

But as a point guard, Simmons has really shown well this week. Gone are the highlight-hunting alley-oop attempts and Simmons instead is moving the ball and making the easy pass. He’s good enough off-the-bounce where he can rack up assists and limit turnovers just by getting into the paint and making an easy pass to a big man for a layup or a wing shooter when the defense collapses. He’s had a solid week of play at adidas.

Deng Adel has a strong afternoon: In only his first year of American basketball, four-star Class of 2015 wing Deng Adel has quickly acclimated to the American style of play. A native of South Sudan, Adel moved to Australia in 2004 and coveted the chance to play college basketball in the United States and get an education, so he made the move to Florida to play at Victory Rock Prep under head coach Loren Jackson.

On the basketball court at adidas camp, Adel has shown some flashes of great play this week as his versatility really shows through in a major way. The No. 47 overall prospect in Rivals‘ 2015 rankings, Adel can knock in shots, put the ball on the floor and he’s also a skilled passer. As an athlete, Adel can impress with his leaping ability and his end-to-end speed is also very good. It’ll be interesting to watch Adel develop as he gets more adjusted to being in the United States and playing American competition.

No. 7 South Carolina upends No. 3 Baylor to advance to the Elite 8

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NEW YORK — It was with a whipping and a whimper that Baylor’s season can to an end on Friday night.

The final two minutes of the game wasn’t actually a game. No. 7 seed South Carolina dished out a 70-50 beatdown that wasn’t in doubt after the Gamecocks used an 18-0 run at the end of the first half to turn a rock fight into statement, and for the final two minutes of the game, the Gamecocks and, eventually, Baylor dribbled out the remaining seconds before joining arms at center court for a postgame prater.

It’s the third straight year that Baylor has been bounced from the NCAA tournament by a team seeded lower than them. In 2015, it was R.J. Hunter’s heroics that knocked his dad off of a stool and sent No. 14 seed Georgia State into the second round of the tournament. In 2016, the Bears fell in the first round to No. 12 seed Yale, prompting one of the most memorable press conference moments in NCAA tournament history.

And on Friday night, it was South Carolina that sent the Bears into offseason hibernation.

It was a disheartening end to a season, a loss that will surely provide fodder for the people that traffic in ‘Scott Drew can’t coach’ jokes, the irony being that the 2016-17 season was definitive proof that Scott Drew is almost certainly better at his job than you are at yours.

“When you coach for a while and you make Elite Eights and Sweet 16, you kind of start taking it for granted that you will always be successful in March,” Drew said. “But it’s a good reminder to be here and know how hard it is.”

No. 1 North Carolina handles No. 4 Butler en route to Elite Eight

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North Carolina, the top seed in the South Region, led by as many as 20 en route to a 92-80 win over No. 4 Butler in the Sweet 16 matchup on Friday night at the FedEx Forum in Memphis.

The Tar Heels were led by 26 points, off 8-of-13 shooting, from junior point guard Joel Berry II. The 6-foot floor general had been hampered by an ankle injury through the first weekend. While he still seemed to favor that same ankle at times, his play was a big improvement on his 3-of-21 shooting through the NCAA Tournament’s first two rounds. Justin Jackson nearly matched Berry’s game-high with 24 points.

Andrew Chrabascz, in the final game of his four-year career at Butler, finished with 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

North Carolina, the last of the ACC’s nine tournament bids, advances to the Elite Eight to face the winner of No. 3 UCLA and No. 2 Kentucky. The Wildcats own a win over North Carolina, defeating the Tar Heels, 103-100, on Dec. 17 behind 47 points from Malik Monk.

Missouri lands No. 1 player in Class of 2017 as Michael Porter Jr. commits

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Missouri and new head coach Cuonzo Martin have landed the No. 1 player in the Class of 2017 a week after he took the job as forward Michael Porter Jr. committed to the Tigers on Friday.

Formerly a Washington commit under now-fired head coach Lorenzo Romar, the 6-foot-9 Porter was released from his Letter of Intent this week and many believed he’d end up back at Missouri.

The Porter family lived in Columbia for many years as two of Michael’s older sisters play for the Missouri women’s team while Michael Porter Sr. was an assistant coach for the women’s team.

When Porter Sr. was hired to Missouri to be an assistant coach on Martin’s staff this week — after losing his assistant coaching job at Washington when Romar was fired — it all but sealed the deal that the Porters would return to Missouri and Michael Jr. would play for the Tigers.

Missouri might not be an NCAA Tournament team next season after struggling to an 8-24 finish and 2-16 record in the SEC. But Porter might be the most productive freshman entering college basketball next season as he has a chance to be dominant in the SEC.

Oklahoma State promotes assistant coach Mike Boynton to head coach

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Oklahoma State has decided to promote assistant coach Mike Boynton to head coach, the school announced on Friday.

Boynton was an assistant with the Cowboys under former head coach Brad Underwood, who left Oklahoma State to take the Illinois job last weekend. Also an assistant coach at Stephen F. Austin, South Carolina, Wofford and Coastal Carolina, Boynton is a native of New York City who played his college ball for the Gamecocks.

The hire of Boynton is surprising since he doesn’t have any head-coaching experience as it follows in the footsteps of Cal promoting assistant coach Wyking Jones earlier in the day. Boynton also notably won the job over broadcaster and former Oklahoma State guard Doug Gottlieb as Gottlieb interviewed for the job but wasn’t selected.

 

Rhode Island junior E.C. Matthews will return to school

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Rhode Island junior guard E.C. Matthews will return to school for his redshirt senior season, the school announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-5 Matthews led the Rams in scoring at 14.9 points per game this past season as he returned from a torn ACL and helped Rhode Island reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999.

Besides for being a talented scorer, Matthews is a good overall playmaker for the Rams as he also put up 4.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

With Matthews returning, it gives head coach Dan Hurley a huge weapon for next season as Rhode Island returns everyone besides the senior front court of Hassan Martin and Kuran Iverson.