Author: Eric Angevine

Shabazz Napier, Breanna Stewart

Team Geno beats Team Kevin in UConn’s coed “First Night” scrimmage

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UConn has been a powerhouse in both men’s and women’s college basketball for decades now. Both teams enjoy massive popularity in Storrs, but they have sometimes rumored to be at odds with one another – especially when Jim Calhoun and Geno Auriemma were vying for the spotlight at the same time.

Under Kevin Ollie, however, things are definitely more cordial. At Friday’s “First Night”, as UConn’s version of midnight madness is known, the men and women split up into mixed teams and scrimmaged against one another. According to the school’s website, Team Geno took a hard-fought (that might be an exaggeration) 51-49 victory in the abbreviated twenty minute game.

Team Geno was led to victory by 11 points from Shabazz Napier, who hit three deep shots. His teammate Breanna Stewart had five points and three boards.

Team Kevin got 11 points from NC State transfer Rodney Purvis, and Tyler Olander, who had a rough offseason, attempted to make it up to his teammates by dishing out three assists.

The coed scrimmage was something new for the Huskies, who had never done anything similar in the past. There’s video, so go check it out.

“You can’t sit back and keep doing the same thing over and over again,” Auriemma said after the game. “I think you need to figure out ways to do things differently and create new events. This is just another event that the marketing people came up with that we thought was a great idea. The kids are very excited about this, I’ll tell you that.”

I’m not sure if Tennessee has ever done something like this, but it’s not a bad idea.

Watch Brian Greene, Jr’s #DunkCity After Dark highlights (VIDEO)

Photo: FGCU Athletics
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There are only two dunks on this highlight reel from Florida Gulf Coast’s midnight madness event, but they are pretty impressive.

In case you miss the degree of difficulty on the first run-through, a helpful editor has slowed them down on the second and third passes.

The dunker in question is Brian Greene, Jr., a native of Chicago and a transfer from Auburn. As such, this video will have to serve FGCU fans for a season, while Greene sits out. But it’s good to know nobody will have to change that hashtag any time soon.

One thing I would like to know, however. Who is the guy playing the East German Judge down on the end? How do you give that a nine?

Spurned by GW, Akil Mitchell is standing tall at UVA

Akil Mitchell
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When Anthony Mitchell thinks his son needs a little push, he whispers a name in his ear.

“Karl Hobbs”

This might seem strange, since Hobbs is currently the Director of Basketball Operations at UConn, and Akil Mitchell is a senior forward for Tony Bennett at Virginia, but there’s a story behind it all. A story well-told by the Washington Post, reporting from ACC Media Days.

Though he grew up in Charlotte, Mitchell’s family hails from the Washington area and he had his sights set on playing his college basketball there. In the Colonials, led by former Coach Karl Hobbs at the time, he saw a program that appreciated how he blossomed after a late growth spurt during his junior year of high school.
Until, that is, George Washington’s coaches called him and his father into an office after he had trekked to Washington for a campus visit. Hobbs informed them he was pulling Mitchell’s scholarship offer, because “he was kind of trying to put a team together that would save the program and he didn’t think I was the guy that would help them right away,” Akil said.
Akil Mitchell’s father told the Post that a reminder of that slight usually provokes a double-double from his son in the next game.
In a way, you can kind of see where Hobbs was coming from. He wanted immediate contributors, and MItchell was, admittedly, a bit raw as a big man coming out of high school. When Tony Bennett offered Mitchell a scholarship late in the process, he was showing vision and patience. Mitchell thought he was a wing forward, but Bennett took the time to turn him into a post presence and a crucial piece of this year’s UVA squad, which is considered an ACC contender.With Mitchell doing the dirty work on the inside, Joe Harris sniping from the perimeter, and a talented supporting cast, it would appear that Bennett’s vision of what could be was ahead of its time. Wanna bet Hobbs wishes he had a do-over?