So I don’t know if you guys realized this, but that Marvin Bagley III kid is a pretty good basketball player.
In four games this week, he averaged 27.5 points and 12.3 boards as No. 1 Duke went 4-0 and took home the title in the PK80 Motion bracket.
But that’s kind of burying the lede, isn’t it?
Against Texas in the semifinal of the event, Bagley went for 34 points and 15 boards as the Blue Devils pounded the ball into him in the second half, sparking a comeback from 16 points down that eventually led to a win in overtime. And then on Sunday night, Bagley did it all again! He had 30 points and 15 boards against a very good Florida team in a game where the Blue Devils erased a 17-point deficit in the final 10 minutes.
So he was unbelievable this week.
No one will tell you otherwise.
But I think that he also did something to prove himself to NBA scouts that will be considering whether or not he is worth the No. 1 pick over Luka Doncic, Deandre Ayton and Michael Porter Jr. He defended. On the perimeter. Well.
Granted, he didn’t look like Draymond Green and he wasn’t totally locking up guys like Chris Chiozza and Egor Koulechov, but he more than held his own. He’s quick enough that he can stay in front while his length allows him to contest shots while playing off just a little bit.
All things considered, I’m not sure just how much better this week could have gone for Bagley.
THE ALL-‘THEY WERE GOOD, TOO’ TEAM
- TRAE YOUNG, Oklahoma: If you want to know just how ridiculous some of the individual performances were this week, consider this: Young scored 43 points and handed out seven assists in a win over Oregon on Sunday night and I’m not sure that cracks the top five. On the week, he averaged 34.7 points and 6.7 assists. On the season, he’s averaging 28.2 points and 8.6 assists. As a freshman. That’s not bad.
- TRA HOLDER, Arizona State: The Sun Devils put together one of the most impressive wins of the young season on Friday, as they whupped up on a very good Xavier team thanks in large part to a 40-point explosion from Holder.
- COLLIN SEXTON, Alabama: On Tuesday, Sexton scored 29 points – including the bucket that clinched the game with less than 30 seconds left – to beat a very good UT Arlington team at home. On Saturday, he finished with 40 points in a loss to No. 14 Minnesota, and 19 of those points came after the Crimson Tide were forced to play with just three players. He cut a lead from 17 points to three playing 3-on-5. I’ve never seen anything like it.
- CHRIS CHIOZZA, Florida: There are about four players from Florida that were in consideration for this list, but Chiozza to me is their most important player. He sets the tone on both ends, and his ability to get into the paint offensively opens up a lot of things on the perimeter. He was on another level in the double-overtime win over Gonzaga on Friday night, finishing with 26 points and 10 assists.
- MIKAL BRIDGES, Villanova: It looks like Bridges finally took the next step. He’s hit for at least 17 points in five straight games, he’s shooting 50 percent from three on the season and he was Villanova’s best player during their run to the Battle 4 Atlantis title.
Wake Forest will be down a key player next season as the school announced that guard Keyshawn Woods will either transfer or go pro after graduation.
The 6-foot-3 Woods was the team’s second-leading scorer this season as he put up 11.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Woods shot 43 percent from the floor and 37 percent from three-point range for the 2017-18 campaign.
Also a key member of last season’s NCAA tournament team for the Demon Deacons, Woods transferred to Wake Forest after spending his first season at Charlotte.
“I appreciate the opportunity that Coach Manning gave me to be a part of this program and to graduate from this great university,” said Woods in the release. “I am proud that I was able to help the coaches change the culture of the program and build a foundation for the future.”
The loss of Woods won’t be easy for Wake Forest, but the team is scheduled to return some talented guards like Bryant Crawford and Brandon Childress next season. Incoming freshmen like Jaime Lewis and Sharone Wright Jr. are also signed to add to the perimeter depth.
Louisville announced on Wednesday afternoon that interim head coach David Padgett would not be retained.
Padgett, who is 32 years old, stepped in and took the program over in the wake of a scandal that cost Hall of Fame head coach Rick Pitino his job.
“We all owe a great debt of gratitude to David for his leadership and poise this season,” said U of L Interim Director of Athletics Vince Tyra. “He took over during incredible circumstances, has handled himself respectfully throughout the season and I believe he has a bright future in coaching. We expect to determine a new head coach in a short period to build upon the great basketball tradition of this university.”
Pitino was fired because an FBI complaint contained an allegation that he and his staff had arranged for a $100,000 payment to be funneled to Brian Bowen from Adidas.
In his one season with the Cardinals, Padgett went 22-14 and reached the quarterfinals of the NIT.
Louisville will now conduct a search for their next head coach, and current Xavier coach Chris Mack has long been considered the favorite to take that job.
One of the most surprising parts about Kansas State’s run to the Sweet 16 is that they have done it without the services of their leading scorer, Dean Wade.
Wade injured his foot prior to the Big 12 tournament loss to Kansas. He did not play in that game or in either of Kansas State’s first two tournament games, but it is looking more and more like he’ll be on the floor on Thursday night when they play Kentucky.
“I don’t play percentages very well, but I’m feeling good,” Wade said, via SEC Country. “I’m very positive about it. It’s getting better every day and today I felt great out there, doing a little more than usual. It felt good.”
Wade averaged 16.5 points per game, but the big question is going to be whether or not he is actually healthy when he takes the court. Just because he’s on the floor doesn’t mean he’s at 100 percent.
“Really just trying to get it out of my mind that it’s not hurt,” Wade said. “Just more of a mental thing, just getting out there and running around. I think I got moved past that and it’s feeling better.”
With speculation mounting about who Pitt will hire to replace Kevin Stallings as their new head coach, current Arizona head coach Sean Miller released a statement saying that he is not in the running to fill the opening.
“I am not a candidate for the University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball head coaching vacancy. I wish them well in their search for a new coach,” the statement read.
Miller is a native of Pittsburgh and an alumni of the school — he’s the guy that had the assist on Jerome Lane’s famous dunk — and with the issues that are currently swirling around him and the Arizona program, there was speculation that he was looking for an escape plan.
Maybe he wasn’t.
Maybe he was and the Pitt administration decided they couldn’t risk hiring someone who had an assistant coach arrested in the FBI’s sweep of college basketball and who himself may be on wiretaps talking about who knows what. Releasing this statement would then be a way for him to save face and say he was never interested.
And then maybe there’s option No. 3: Pitt has won the Dan Hurley sweepstakes.
As it stands, both the Panthers and UConn are in the process of chasing after the Rhode Island head coach, and it’s not uncommon in coaching searches for a coach to announce that he is not a candidate for the job after the job decides they want someone else. Call it a professional courtesy.
But that’s neither here nor there.
What we do know now is that Sean Miller will not be the next head coach at Pitt.
Bonzie Colson rushed back from a broken foot to try and help his Notre Dame team get into the NCAA tournament this season.
They were bumped out of the field when Davidson upset Rhode Island and earned the Atlantic 10’s third bid to the league tournament. The Fighting Irish were NIT bound, and in their second round loss to Penn State late last week, Colson reinjured the left foot that held him out of action for eight weeks.
On Wednesday, Yahoo reported that Colson suffered another fracture in the foot.
“I’m sitting there and he’s limping off and I’m going, ‘You gotta be kidding me,’” coach Mike Brey said after the game. “Everything we’ve been through? I thought we were out of the woods with him.”
There was a poignant moment at the end of the game.
Colson’s injury came during the third quarter. He returned to the bench at Purcell Pavilion with ice on his foot after going into the locker room. With 30 seconds left and a loss imminent, Colson walked right past Mike Brey, said “I’m going in”, and finished his college career on the court.
Colson is a potential second round pick. He was an all-american last year and a preseason selection this year. He was averaging 19.7 points, 10.2 boards and 2.2 blocks when he was injured.