Yanick Moreira

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POSTERIZED: UConn’s Rodney Purvis dunks on SMU’s Yanick Moreira (VIDEO)

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UConn guard Rodney Purvis blew by SMU guard Nic Moore, rose up and punched one on big man Yanick Moreira during Sunday’s AAC clash.

(Vine credit: George Shepherd)

SMU’s Yanick Moreira finishes with 38 points, 15 boards against Australia

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The most impressive collegian playing at the FIBA World Cup has been Yanick Moreira, and he put together one of the best performances of the entire event on Thursday.

The rising senior big man at SMU finished with 38 points and 15 boards, 10 of which came on the offensive end of the floor, as Angola knocked off Australia, 91-83, in the final game of group play. Moreira had 34 points in the second half.

That came of the heels of a 20-point outing against Slovenia, one of the best teams in the event.

(*One thing that is worth noting here is that a loss might have been what the Aussies were playing for. Finishing second in Group D would mean they would have to play the Americans in the quarterfinals of bracket play. A third place finish in the group means the Aussies miss out of Team USA until the semis.)

This kind of performance from Moreira is a very positive sign for the Mustangs. Larry Brown’s club already has one of the better big men in the country in Markus Kennedy, the former Villanova Wildcat, and may end up with former Texas Tech big man Jordan Tolbert eligible for this season as well. Even if Tolbert is forced to sit out the 2014-2015 season, SMU may end up having the best front court in the American.

Losing Emmanuel Mudiay hurt, there is no question about that. But with Nic Moore and Keith Frazier back and Xavier transfer Justin Martin eligible this season, there is enough talent on that roster for Brown to turn them into a top 15-caliber team.

Angola falls despite Yanick Moreira’s best offensive performance of FIBA Basketball World Cup

SMU v Memphis
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While some have jumped off the SMU bandwagon thanks to Emmanuel Mudiay’s decision to turn pro and play in China this year, the fact of the matter is that Larry Brown has a team capable of winning its first conference title since 1972. With guard Nic Moore and forward Markus Kennedy leading the way, the Mustangs will likely still be the favorite to win the American Athletic Conference this upcoming season.

With that being the case senior center Yanick Moreira’s time with the Angolan national team at the FIBA Basketball World Cup could prove incredibly valuable should he use it as a springboard into 2014-15. And given the way Moreira’s played in Spain, Kennedy will have a more than capable front court sidekick.

Angola fell short of victory Wednesday, losing 93-87 to undefeated Slovenia, but Moreira put forth his best offensive performance of the event with 20 points on 7-for-13 shooting from the field. Moreira also grabbed five rebounds, four of which came on the offensive end of the floor. For the tournament Moreira, who averaged six points and just under four rebounds per game in 23 appearances last season, is averaging 12.8 points and 6.5 rebounds with one contest left to play.

That final game will provide Moreira and his teammates with quite the test, as Australia has multiple big men capable of making life difficult. If Angola can win that game and get some help in the form of Korea beating Mexico, they’d advance out of the group stages and into the Round of 16. But regardless of what happens Thursday, this has been a successful tournament for a player who missed a month of action in 2013-14 due to a knee injury.

And if Moreira can carry this production over into the 2014-15 season, SMU will reap the rewards as they look to earn a trip to the NCAA tournament.

Yannick Moreira, New Zealand’s Haka dance highlight Tuesday’s World Cup

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New Zealand got their chance to play against the United States in group play of the FIBA World Cup on Tuesday, and while the Kiwis impressed with their pregame Haka dance, the Americans still won, 98-71.

The loss dropped New Zealand to 0-3 in group play and put them in a position where advancing is going to be a tall task.

That’s really neither here nor there for college hoop fans, but it’s worth noting that there are two collegiate hoopers on that New Zealand team — Tai Webster of Nebraska and Isaac Fotu of Hawaii. Against the Americans, Webster finished with just four points in 15 points, going 1-for-5 from the floor and turning the ball over four times against Team USA’s loaded back court. Fotu faired a little bit better, chipping in with eight points and a pair of rebounds in 17 minutes.

Webster and Fotu have been solid playing against some very good competition, but perhaps the most impressive college player at the event has been Angola’s Yannick Moreira, who plays for Larry Brown at SMU. Moreira was a top JuCo recruit in the Class of 2013 but wasn’t quite as good as he was expected to be as a junior. That may change next season, however, as Moreira has had a pair of big games in Bilbao. He finished with 16 points and 10 boards last week against Korea and, on Tuesday, he posted team-highs of 13 points and nine boards in a loss to Mexico.

The only other college hooper in action in Tuesday’s World Cup action was Kansas guard Svi Mykhailiuk. He went scoreless in nine minutes against Turkey, but the Urkanians picked up a key win over Turkey. The win will go a long way towards getting Urkaine through group play.

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.