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Introducing Cinderella: The Iona Gaels are headed to the NCAA tournament

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Conference: Metro Atlantic Athletic

Coach: Tim Cluess

Record: 22-12 (12-8 T-3)

Ratings and Rankings:

Kenpom: 119
RPI: 100
AP/USA Today: N/A

Seeding: With an RPI hovering around the triple-digits, look for the Gaels to be seeded 14th or 15th.

Names you need to know: Jordan Washington has helped fill the void left play star A.J. English, by putting up 17.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. He’s shooting better than 50 percent from the field and gets to the line a ton. Jon Severe is the Gaels’ sharpshooter, converting 43.9 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. Sam Cassell, Jr. and Rickey McGill are both double-figure scorers.

Stats you need to know: Few teams center their offense around a player like Iona does around Washington. He’s scored more than a fifth of the team’s overall points and shoots 36.1 percent of the team’s shots when he’s on the floor, which ranks fifth in the country, per KenPom.

Big wins, bad losses: The Gaels bested Nevada on a neutral in November, but were bested by Delaware, Fairfield, Quinnipiac and Rider, who all are slotted outside the KenPom 200.

How’d they get here?: Iona rolled Rider in its first postseason game and then outlasted Saint Peter’s in the semis. The Gaels avoided MAAC top seed Monmouth after the Hawks lost to four-seed Siena. The title game was a classic with both Iona and Siena trading big shot after big shot before the Gaels came out on top in overtime, 87-86.

Outlook: This Gaels team doesn’t feel as dangerous as last year’s team that was a trendy upset pick that ultimately couldn’t escape the first round, but they do have a go-to player in Washington and a supporting cast capable of getting buckets. It’s hard to escape the 14 or 15 line, but Iona’s got some chops and Tim Cluess is coaching in his fourth NCAA tournament.

How do I know you?: The Gales were the team last year that denied the Monmouth bench mob from an NCAA tournament experience, besting the Hawks, 79-76, to earn their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2013.

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

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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.