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BasketBull Summer Championships Recap: Donovan Mitchell to take officials to Indiana, Louisville

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The first weeks of the July Live Evaluation Period is dominated by the shoe companies, with the Reebok Breakout Challenge in Philadelphia and adidas Unrivaled in Chicago. While LeBron James stole headlines all throughout the week, his skills academy out in Las Vegas received plenty of buzz, as well.

Still, coaches have found talent at other events this weekend, as dozens have made their way to the BasketBull Summer Championships at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass.

Some teams were working without full rosters, as players were participating in different showcases across the country, but those absences allowed for others the opportunity to shine. With Jalen Adams, the UConn commit, in Chicago, 2016 recruit Saul Phiri, who has received an offer from Rhode Island was able to lead Mass Rivals in scoring with 23, including four 3-pointers.

Bruce Brown, the No. 53 overall recruit in 2016, according to Rivals, suited up with BABC 16u team. He got going early offensively with shots from behind the arc and transition layups, but his highlight of the day was when he dunked over a 6-foot-11 center. Brown will be with BABC next week for the Nike EYBL Peach Jam.

Dupree McBrayer continued his strong play on the grassroots circuit with New Heights. The lanky 6-foot-2 guard, who is averaging 15.6 points per game in the Under Armour Association, was one of the top scorers in the field, as New Heights cruised to three wins on Friday and Saturday. He may find himself in New England this fall, as several prep schools are pursuing him.

Donovan Mitchell has added offers, will visit Indiana and Louisville: The City, out of New York, was upset in its second game on Saturday by a gritty Maine Athletic Club team. That seems to be the only bump in the road for guard Donovan Mitchell so far this live period. The 6-foot-3 rising senior picked up three offers this past week from Louisville, Memphis, South Florida.

He told NBCSports.com that he plans to take official visits to Indiana and Louisville. Schools like Boston College, Cincinnati, Creighton, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Providence have all offered him. BC head coach Jim Christian was front row to watch both of Mitchell’s games on Saturday while assistants from Florida State and Providence were in attendance.

Mitchell, ranked No. 101 in the Class of 2015 by Rivals, was aiming for a September decision, but with new offers and new teams showing interest that timetable has been altered.

MOREAll our content from the 2014 July Live Recruiting Period

Mustapha Heron is “100 percent” committed to Pittsburgh: In January, Mustapha Heron, the No. 23 overall recruit in 2016, verbally committed to Pittsburgh. Pitt assistant Barry “Slice” Rohrssen helped land the early commitment, but this offseason was hired by Kentucky.

In April, after Rohrseen had accepted the spot at Kentucky, Heron said he was looking to build a good relationship with Jamie Dixon and his coaching staff.

“I’m a 100 percent committed to Pittsburgh,” Heron told NBCSports.com on Saturday. “I stay in contact with Coach Dixon and Coach [Brandin] Knight.”

Seton Hall’s Derrick Gordon won’t pursue pro basketball to become a firefighter

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12:  Derrick Gordon #32 of the Seton Hall Pirates celebrates after hitting a basket against the Villanova Wildcats during the Big East Basketball Tournament Championship at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2016 in New York City. Seton Hall Pirates defeated Villanova Wildcats 69-67.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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After a successful career that included stops at Western Kentucky, UMass and Seton Hall, Derrick Gordon, Division I college basketball’s first openly gay player, will not pursue professional opportunities and will instead become a firefighter.

The 6-foot-3 Gordon averaged 8.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a senior for the Pirates, helping the team reach the NCAA tournament during his graduate transfer year. By making the NCAA tournament with Seton Hall this past season, Gordon became the first college basketball player to reach the event with three different teams.

A tenacious perimeter defender who could have earned a pro contract if he stuck with basketball, Gordon will instead pursue a career as a firefighter in San Francisco.

“I’ve had an amazing basketball career and want to thank everybody who has always been there supporting me every step on the way,” Gordon said via his Instagram. “But I’m making a change in my career…I will now be working towards becoming a San Francisco Firefighter!! I’m excited about this and looking forward to having a long career!!”

While Gordon likely would have never made the NBA on talent alone, his defensive prowess would have likely given him a shot overseas or in the D League. It’s hard to say why Gordon is making this decision, but given what we saw with all of the attention surrounding Michael Sam when he tried to play in the NFL, Gordon was probably going to face a lot of scrutiny wherever he decided to play.

Hopefully Gordon finds his calling as a firefighter and brings the same energy and leadership that he brought on the floor to helping other people outside of basketball.

Washington guard Markelle Fultz pulls off sick spin and dunk at FIBA U18 Americas

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Kelly Kline/Under Armour
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Washington incoming freshman guard Markelle Fultz is going to be one of the premier players in the country next season as his unique game is going to be fascinating to watch.

The 6-foot-5 Fultz is currently playing with the USA U18 team in Chile for the FIBA U18 Americas as he’s second on the team in scoring and first in assists as the Americans play Canada for the title on Saturday.

Against the host country, Fultz had an electric spin move in the paint and finished with an easy dunk. If you’re not willing to stay up late to watch this dude play this year, then set your DVRs, because Fultz is going to have some fun moments during the season.

(H/t: Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report)

POSTERIZED: Class of 2016 forward Chris Seeley has a massive dunk on defender

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The Las Vegas AAU events are all going on this week and it’s the final event for rising seniors.

At the Las Vegas Fab 48, forward Chris Seeley of the Splash City 17U team put down one of the best poster dunks of the summer as he skied over a defender for an emphatic finish.

The Class of 2016 forward attends Central High School in Fresno, California as he’s receiving plenty of buzz for his recent play.

 

 

 

Five-star forward Jarred Vanderbilt cuts list to nine

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LAS VEGAS, NV — Five-star Class of 2017 forward Jarred Vanderbilt has been one of the most sought-after recruits in the country since he was a freshman in high school.

The 6-foot-8 native of Houston is beginning to wind things down in the recruiting process as he cut his list to nine schools on Friday. Vanderbilt’s list includes some of the most storied programs in college basketball and plenty of schools from his home state of Texas.

“I just followed my heart. Went with the schools I liked the most and who I have the best relationships with. Thear were the schools I could see myself playing for,” Vanderbilt told NBCSports.com.

Regarded as the No. 13 overall prospect in the Rivals.com national rankings, Vanderbilt is currently recovering from a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot.

Vanderbilt will see a doctor in three-to-four weeks as he’s currently in a boot to help his foot heal.

Report: Michigan State and Penn State will play at the Palestra

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Head coach Patrick Chambers of the Penn State Nittany Lions looks on against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has previously expressed a desire to coach a game at the legendary Palestra in Philadelphia and it appears he’ll get his chance in a Big Ten game this season.

According to a report from Brendan F. Quinn of MLive, Penn State will use the Palestra as its home gym for the Jan. 7, 2017 Big Ten game against Michigan State. It is the only time the two teams are scheduled to play during Big Ten season and Penn’s home gym will offer a unique setting for the game.

Since the capacity of the Palestra is 8,722, it should make for a fun atmosphere for both programs since this will be a game both fan bases will likely want to attend.

With Nittany Lions head coach Pat Chambers making Philadelphia a major recruiting priority for his program, a game like this in Philadelphia makes sense while Michigan State has always been open to playing games in unique settings such as aircraft carriers.

The Palestra has been a college basketball mainstay since it was built in 1927 as it hosts all Penn home games and, in the past, hosted a lot of Big 5 Philadelphia college games between La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph’s, Temple and Villanova.

Overall, a fun idea that should make for an interesting experience for both programs. It’s not often that a team will change its home venue for a conference game, but it could be the start of something we see other schools look to do.