Maurice Ndour

D'Angelo Russell (AP Photo)

Weekly Awards: D’Angelo Russell’s ascension, Kansas takes the next step

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D’Angelo Russell (AP Photo)

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: D’Angelo Russell, Ohio State

It took a while for Russell to find his rhythm against high-major competition, but the talented freshman is rolling these days. This week, he went for 33 points, seven boards, six assists and no turnovers in a win at Northwestern, following that up with 22 points, 10 assists and six boards as the Buckeyes got revenge on No. 23 Indiana at home. He shot 21-for-32 (65.6 percent) from the floor and 8-for-18 (44.4 percent) from three in the two wins. If you do that math, Russell missed just one shot from inside the arc in those two games.

Russell has shot his way up NBA Draft Boards of late, turning himself from a potential first round pick down the road into a guy that not only appears to be a lock to be a lottery pick, but could climb his way into the top five. The 6-foot-4 lefty is a big-time scorer that has made Sportscenter for his ability to throw mind-bending passes, and while he lacks that next-level explosiveness of a point guard like John Wall or Russell Westbrook, he’s crafty around the rim. And, more importantly for our purposes, he’s making sure that Ohio State remains relevant in the Big Ten.

THE ALL ‘THEY WERE GOOD, TOO’ TEAM

  • Hassan Martin, Rhode Island: Rhode Island moved to 5-2 in the Atlantic 10 with wins over La Salle and St. Bonaventure this week, and Martin was the biggest reason why, averaging 12.0 points, 10.0 boards and 8.0 blocks.
  • Maurice Ndour, Ohio: After scoring 17 points in a win at Ball State, Ndour followed it up with 31 points, six boards, three blocks and this game-winning dunk against Buffalo.
  • Saah Nimley, Charleston Southern: In wins over UNC-Asheville and Gardner-Webb, Nimley averaged 34.0 points and 3.5 assists. In his last four games, he’s averaging 32.0 points and shooting 25-for-57 (!!!) from three.
  • Gary Payton II, Oregon State: The Beavers are a surprising 5-2 in the Pac-12 after sweeping the LA schools. Payton had 39 points, 17 boards, eight assists and seven steals in the two wins.
  • Stanley Johnson, Arizona: Johnson led the Wildcats to wins at Stanford and Cal this weekend, playing his best basketball while leading a second half charge in the win over the Cardinal. In his last four games, Johnson is averaging 20.0 points and 8.3 boards.
  • Notables: Cam Payne (Murray State), Tyler Harvey (Eastern Washington), Nic Moore (SMU)
source: Getty Images
Getty Images

TEAM OF THE WEEK: Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas made a statement on Saturday, going into Austin and smacking around No. 17 Texas, 75-62. That came after the Jayhawks built a 19-point lead on No. 19 Oklahoma, blew that lead in 10 minutes of game time and managed to come-from-behind to win anyway.

Yeah, I don’t get it either.

I don’t think anyone does.

But the bottom-line is that the Jayhawks, with all the inconsistencies and question marks that they’ve had this season, are sitting all alone in first place in the toughest conference in college basketball. And, finally, Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre seem to be hitting their stride. This team has always had the potential to be among the nation’s elite, and they got a step closer this week.

THEY WERE GOOD, TOO

  • Georgetown: After blowing out Villanova in Washington, D.C., the Hoyas went up to Milwaukee and survived a scrappy Marquette team in overtime. Their freshmen have been terrific of late, with Isaac Copeland, who averaged 17.0 points in the two wins, leading the way.
  • Duke: The Blue Devils have officially bounced back from their two losses. This week, they beat Pitt and won at St. John’s — Coach K’s 1,000th win — due in large part to the play of Tyus Jones. He averaged 22.0 points and 5.0 assists.
  • Davidson: Despite playing without Jack Gibbs, who has a knee injury, the Wildcats blew out Dayton at home and won at George Mason in overtime.
  • Murray State: The Racers have now won 15 straight after winning at SIU-Edwardsville and Eastern Illinois this week. Cameron Payne may be the best player you’ve never seen play.
  • Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane moved to 7-0 in the American with a blowout win over Memphis at home and a victory in a trip to East Carolina, which turned into a bittersweet homecoming for head coach Frank Haith.
  • Notables: Butler, Miami, Texas A&M

SET YOUR DVR

  • No. 17 Texas at No. 9 Iowa State, Mon. 9:00 p.m.
  • No. 5 Duke at No. 8 Notre Dame, Tue. 7:30 p.m.
  • No. 14 Wichita State at No. 20 Northern Iowa, Sat. 4:00 p.m.
  • No. 15 North Carolina at No. 10 Louisville, Sat. 4:00 p.m.
  • No. 5 Duke at No. 2 Virginia, Sat. 7:00 p.m.

 

Ohio’s Maurice Ndour beats the buzzer with a dunk after full-court inbound pass for last-second win (VIDEO)

Darrick Wood, Antonio Campbell, Maurice Ndour
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Ohio and Buffalo were locked in a tie game before a full-court inbound pass from Antonio Campbell found senior forward Maurice Ndour at the opposite 3-point line.

Ndour took the Bulls’ Justin Moss off-the-dribble and emphatically dunked with .1 seconds remaining to give the Bobcats an improbable last-second 63-61 win.

(H/T: Ohio Bobcats)

FIBA Basketball World Cup comes to an end for Orlando Antigua, Maurice Ndour

Orlando Antigua
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Among those currently connected to college basketball, there are five players and one head coach participating in the FIBA Basketball World Cup. With two (Angola’s Yanick Moreira and Ukraine’s Sviatoslov Mykhailiuk) playing on teams that failed to advance out of group play, Saturday’s action began with three players and one coach remaining in the field.

Both categories dropped by one Saturday evening, with the Dominican Republic (led by USF head coach Orlando Antigua) losing 71-61 to Slovenia and Senegal (which includes Ohio senior forward Maurice Ndour) losing to hosts Spain 89-56.

Antigua, who took over for former boss John Calipari as head coach of the Dominican Republic national team, became the first coach to lead the team into the knockout rounds of the event since 1978 by leading the team to a 2-3 mark in Group C. Unfortunately for Antigua his team managed to score just 13 points in the second quarter Saturday, and Slovenia’s Dragic brothers (Zoran and Goran) combined to score 30 points with Zoran responsible for 18.

The Dominicans were led offensively by former Quinnipiac guard James Feldeine, who scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds in a losing effort. Now that his tournament is over Antigua will rejoin his program at USF, a group that looking to rebound from two disappointing seasons under former head coach Stan Heath.

As for Ndour, he and his teammates ran into one of the tournament favorites by virtue of their finishing fourth in Group B, and as expected things didn’t go well against Spain. Senegal trailed by just six points (23-17) at the end of one quarter, but an 11-point second quarter resulted in Spain eventually pulling away for a comfortable victory.

Ndour finished the game with four points and two rebounds, and for the tournament he averaged 5.8 points and 2.5 rebounds per contest at one of Senegal’s first players off the bench. Ndour’s role will be different during his senior season at Ohio, as he’ll look to build on a productive 2013-14 season under new head coach Saul Phillips.

The two remaining current college players in the event are New Zealand’s Tai Webster (Nebraska) and Isaac Fotu (Hawaii), and they’ll be in action Sunday morning as they take on Lithuania.

Ohio senior forward contributes to Senegal’s first FIBA worlds victory since 1998

Maurice Ndour
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Prior to Sunday, Senegal’s senior national team hadn’t won a game at the FIBA Basketball World Cup (formerly known as the FIBA World Championships) since 1998. That changed Sunday afternoon, as the Senegalese held off Puerto Rico by the final score of 82-75. Senegal’s squad was led by Mouhammad Faye (20 points) and former Louisville (and current Minnesota Timberwolf) center Gorgui Dieng, who accounted for 18 points and 13 rebounds in the victory.

Senegal is also one of four teams at the FIBA Basketball World Cup that has a current college player on its roster, and on Sunday Ohio senior forward Maurice Ndour provided some help off the bench. Ndour accounted for eight points, two rebounds and two steals in 30 minutes of action off the bench. In two games at the Basketball World Cup Ndour, who was a second team All-MAC selection last season, is averaging 6.0 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.

Next up for Ndour and his teammates is a game against Croatia Monday morning.

Ndour was the only collegian at the event to experience victory on Sunday, and he was also the most productive from an offensive standpoint. New Zealand’s college tandem of Isaac Fotu (Hawaii) and Tai Webster (Nebraska) combined to score four points and grab six rebounds in their team’s 75-62 loss to the Dominican Republic, with Webster accounting for four of the six rebounds. Next up for New Zealand: the United States on Tuesday.

SMU senior center Yanick Moreira, who posted a double-double in Angola’s win over South Korea on Saturday, wasn’t as effective in his team’s 75-62 loss to Lithuania. Moreira finished the game with two points and two rebounds in just five minutes of action. Lastly there was Kansas freshman Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, who played ten minutes in Ukraine’s 81-76 loss to Finland. Mykhailiuk scored four minutes during his time on the floor, which came after not playing at all in Ukraine’s opener Saturday.

SMU center’s double-double leads Angola to win at FIBA Basketball World Cup

SMU v Memphis
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Saturday marked the start of the FIBA Basketball World Cup, with the United States and hosts Spain both coasting to comfortable victories. The event is loaded with professionals, which is to be expected, with there being just five players currently on college basketball rosters participating. Among those five is Angola center Yanick Moreira, who’s a member of Larry Brown’s program at SMU.

Moreira played in just 23 games last season due to injury, so this time on the court ahead of the 2014-15 season could prove valuable for him as he looks to solidify his spot alongside Markus Kennedy in the SMU front court rotation. Moreira got off to a good start Saturday, accounting for 16 points and ten rebounds in Angola’s 80-69 victory over South Korea. Moreira made seven of his eleven field goal attempts, and six of his ten rebounds were of the offensive variety.

After being outscored 30-16 in the third quarter, which wiped out most of Angola’s 18-point halftime advantage, the Angolans outscored Korea 28-21 in the final quarter. As part of Group D, which includes Lithuania, Slovenia, Australia and Mexico, Angola is looking to earn one of four available slots in the knockout rounds. Saturday’s win gets them off to a good start, and Moreira and company will look to move to 2-0 when they face group favorite Lithuania Sunday afternoon.

Moreira was the lone collegian to reach double digits Saturday, but he wasn’t also the only player to experience victory. Ukraine’s Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, who will join the Kansas program immediately after his tournament is completed, did not see any action in Ukraine’s 72-62 win over the Dominican Republic. The Ukraine is in Group C, which in addition to the favored USA has three current college basketball players.

The other two current collegians in Group C are New Zealand’s Isaac Fotu (Hawaii) and Tai Webster (Nebraska). Both saw time in New Zealand’s 76-73 loss to Turkey, with Fotu accounting for seven points and four rebounds in the defeat and Webster finishing with six points and five rebounds. Corey Webster led New Zealand with 22 points and Rob Loe, who played his college basketball at Saint Louis, added 11 to go along with six rebounds.

Maurice Ndour, who will be a senior at Ohio this season, accounted for four points, three rebounds and two steals in Senegal’s 87-64 loss to Greece in Group B play. Gorgui Dieng, who played at Louisville, paced Senegal with 21 points and 14 rebounds.

Five college basketball players to participate in FIBA Basketball World Cup

Nebraska v Ohio State
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With the first FIBA Basketball World Cup (formerly the FIBA World Championships) set to tip off next weekend in Spain, most of the attention has been focused on the many professional players who will be participating. And rightfully so, when considering the fact that the rosters of favorites such as the United States, Spain and Argentina are loaded with NBA players.

But the event will also feature five college basketball players who will be on campuses in 2014-15, with New Zealand’s roster having two of those five players. One of those two, Nebraska sophomore guard Tai Webster, even played a key role in New Zealand’s surprising 102-96 win over Serbia on Sunday, as he scored 21 points. Professional veterans Kirk Penney (you may remember him being on Wisconsin’s 2000 Final Four team) and Mike Vukona led the way offensively, scoring 29 and 22 points respectively.

The experience of playing in the FIBA Basketball World Cup is an incredibly valuable one for the college players, as they get to sharpen their skills and compete against the best players in the world ahead of the upcoming season. And for Webster, who averaged 3.9 points and 2.0 assists per game as a freshman at Nebraska, a good tournament would provide the springboard needed to put together a solid sophomore campaign.

Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields return to lead the way for Tim Miles’ Cornhuskers, but they’re going to need more from players such as Webster if they’re to make a second consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament.

Joining Webster on the New Zealand national team is forward Isaac Fotu, who in his two seasons at Hawaii has emerged as one of the best front court players in the Big West. Fotu averaged 14.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game last year, earning first team All-Big West honors as a result. And with leading scorer and rebounder Christian Standhardinger out of eligibility, Fotu stands to receive even more attention from opponents in 2014-15.

The other three current collegians participating in the FIBA Basketball World Cup are SMU senior forward Yanick Moreira (Angola; 6.0, 3.9), Kansas freshman guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (Ukraine) and Ohio senior forward Maurice Ndour (Senegal; 14.1, 6.9). As a junior at Ohio, Ndour earned second team All-MAC honors.