The 2011-12 college basketball season, in photos

Leave a comment

The college basketball season goes by too quickly. The games flow into one another, there’s always news breaking, stories to read and stuff to track.

But just like that, the 2011-12 season is done. Kentucky took its eighth title and the Baylor women put the finishing touches on an historic 40-0 season.

So why not relive the best moments of the season? Here, presented for your pleasure, are the top photos of the college basketball season.

(For those seeking nothing but NCAA tournament action, try this slideshow. There are roughly 400 photos in there. For those reading this via your SportsTalk phone app, better email it to yourself. These’ll look better on a big screen.)

source:

Connecticut sophomore Roscoe Smith goes airborne during for the Huskies at Midnight Madness. (Jessica Hill/AP)

source:

Pyrotechnics at the Breslin Center for Michigan State’s Midnight Madness event. (Al Goldis/AP)

source:

Baylor freshman Quincy Miller has some fun during the school’s Midnight Madness festivities. (Photo credit: Tony Gutierrez /AP)

 

source:

The amazing setting for the Carrier Classic, the game’s unofficial opener between North Carolina and Michigan State on Nov. 11 in San Diego. There were dozens of amazing shots from this game. (Harry How/Getty Images)

source:

Another great shot. Click here for more. (Harry How/Getty Images)

source:

This dunk by UConn’s Jeremy Lamb over Columbia’s Mark Cisco was the early leader for “wow” image of the season. (AP photo)

source:

Arizona junior Kevin Parrom was shot in the leg less than a month before practices began. When he was healthy enough to play, he got a huge hug from assistant Emanuel “Book” Richardson on Nov. 13. (Wily Low/AP)

source:

When Duke coach passed legendary coach — and mentor — Bob Knight on the all-time wins list with No. 903, it called for a nice moment between friends. More photos from that night are here. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

source:

Kentucky’s Anthony Davis blocks a potential game-winning shot by North Carolina’s John Henson during the Wildcats’ thrilling 73-72 win  on Dec. 3 in Chapel Hill. It was THE moment of the early season until … (Robert Willett/AP)

source:

Indiana stunned Kentucky — one of two losses the champs suffered this season — thanks to Christian Watford’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

source:

Fans reacted accordingly. (Brian Spurlock/US Presswire)

source:

It wasn’t all fun and games. The off-court scandal affecting longtime Syracuse assistant Bernie Fine was the biggest non-game story of the year. (Kevin Rivoli/AP)

source:

It wasn’t much fun for head coach Jim Boeheim, either. This was a typical press conference after Fine was fired. (Kevin Rivoli/AP)

source:

Then there was the Cincinnati-Xavier brawl, the ugliest moment during the season. Yancy Gates’ fist summed it all up in one image. (Al Behrman/AP)

source:

Days after UNLV stunned North Carolina, Wichita State delivered a knockout blow to the Rebels. (Jeff Tuttle/AP)

source:

Former Maryland coach Gary Williams is honored by the school with his name on the court. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

source:

Dick Vitale got the court named after him at Detroit. Not bad for his only college coaching stop. (Carlos Osorio/AP)

source:

Jay-Z, Kentucky fan. He was on hand for the first Kentucky-Louisville game on New Year’s Eve. (James Crisp/AP)

source:

Kansas’ Eljiah Johnson goes airborne vs. Towson.

source:

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan still can’t believe the Badgers lost to Michigan State. (AP)

source: Getty Images

Where is Mason Plumlee gonna land? (Grant Halvorsen/Getty)

source:

I think opponents often thought Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne had this many arms. (Alex Brandon/AP)

source:

Georgia Tech’s Kammeon Holsey dives for a loose ball. (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

source:

Kansas’ Travis Releford didn’t hurt himself on this play. That’s just a reaction to a foul being called on him. (Jamie Squire/Getty)

source: Getty Images

Mike Moser is a rebounding stud for UNLV. This is not him. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

source:

Who says Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger can’t get up? (Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

source:

Illinois guard Brandon Paul provided the Illini’s highlight of the season when he poured in 43 vs. Ohio State. (Heather Colt/AP)

source:

Florida State trounced North Carolina by 33 points on Jan. 15. That was an ill omen for the Heels. (Steve Cannon/AP)

source:

This was a typical sight for teams playing Kentucky this season. (John Sommers II/Reuters)

source:

Yep, that’s Denard Robinson celebrating Michigan’s wild win against Michigan State. (Carlos Osorio/AP)

source:

Duke freshman Austin Rivers after Michael Snaer’s buzzer-beating 3-point saved Florida State. (Grant Halverson/Getty)

source:

Who didn’t love Murray State’s 23-0 start to the season? (John Wright/AP)

source:

It wasn’t all bad for Syracuse. Boeheim did pass Dean Smith on the all-time wins list.

source: Getty Images

Georgia State coach Ron Hunter in his fifth annual barefoot game in support of Samaritan’s Feet, an organization that provides shoes for underprivileged children in over 62 countries around the world.  (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

source:

Austin Rivers. Dagger. (Jim R. Bounds/AP)

source:

Kendall Marshall can’t believe Rivers hit that shot. (Streeter Lecka/Getty)

source:

What did Wichita State’s Garrett Stutz do to that rim? (Jeff Tuttle/AP)

source:

Purdue would really like for Draymond Green to miss that free throw. (Getty)

source:

Jack Blankenship. The face. The poster. The legend. (Photo via the Birmingham News)

source:

Missouri, Kansas State. This one’s just lovely. (Getty)

source:

Duke’s Miles Plumlee goes in for the kill. (Streeter Lecka/Getty)

source:

Mega-Kansas fan Jason Sudeikis took flame Olivia Wilde to a game at Allen Fieldhouse. I like his style. (Jamie Squire/Getty)

source:

Hey look! It’s Rob Lowe! Was Peyton Manning nearby? (Lance King/Getty)

source:

UConn coach Jim Calhoun missed games due to health reasons. He assumes a Big Brother presence during a game against Syracuse. (Jessica Hill/AP)

source:

Travis Releford celebrates a miraculous comeback against Missouri. (Orlin Wagner/AP)

source:

This block by Michigan State’s Adreian Payne on Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger just looks painful. (Leon Halip/Getty)

source:

Seton Hall’s Jordan Theodore soars against Providence during the Big East tournament. (Chris Trotman/Getty)

source:

Illinois coach Bruce Walker walks in front of his bench late. Nebraska won 80-57. (Dave Weaver/AP)

source:

Roy Williams, workin’ it for his Heels during the ACC tournament. (Getty)

source: Getty Images

This is the agony Nebraska basketball fans face. (Eric Francis/Getty)

source:

This was the last time things didn’t go Kentucky’s way. (Getty)

source:

Kim English celebrates Missouri’s last win of the season. (Ed Zurga/Getty)

source:

Another season, another year Northwestern misses the NCAA tournament. (Kiichiro Sato/AP)

source:

Anthony Davis’ impact off the court.

source:

Rob Brandenberg celebrates VCU’s CAA tournament title. (Steve Helber/AP)

source:

President Obama gave British Prime Minister David Cameron a taste of March Madness. (Jim Watson/Getty)

source:

Yancy Gates. (Jamie Squire/Getty)

source:

Kyle O’Quinn moments after helping Norfolk State make history against 2-seed Missouri.

source:

Duke’s Austin Rivers, right, goes up for a shot against Lehigh’s B.J. Bailey. Another 2 seed, out. (Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images)

source:

Florida State’s Bernard James gets into St. Bonaventure defenders. (Mark Humphrey / AP)

source:

Ohio coach John Groce, center, slaps hands with guard Ricardo Johnson after the Bobcats’ win. (Mark Humphrey / AP)

source:

Bring the Payne. (Jamie Squire / Getty Images)

source:

The moment North Carolina’s title prospects changed. (Chris Keane/Reuters)

source:

C.J. Leslie does something few people did during the Big Dance — dunk over Jeff Withey. (Sarah Conard / Reuters)

source:

Indiana guard Victor Oladipo gets past Kentucky forward Terrence Jones. (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)
 
source:
 
Anthony Davis, dominator. (Chris Steppig / AP)
 
source:
 
That’s national title No. 8 for Kentucky. (Jeff Gross / Getty Images)

source:

This is Brittney Griner’s world. We’re just living in it. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

John Petty Jr. returns to Alabama for senior season

Getty Images
3 Comments

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama guard John Petty Jr. is staying in school instead of entering the NBA draft.

The Crimson Tide junior announced his decision to return for his senior season Monday on Twitter, proclaiming: “I’m back.”

Petty, the Tide’s top 3-point shooter, averaged 14.5 points and a team-high 6.6 rebounds rebounds last season. He was second on the team in assists.

Petty made 85 3-pointers in 29 games, shooting at a 44% clip.

Alabama coach Nate Oats called him “one of the best, if not the best, shooters in the country.”

“He’s made it clear that it’s his goal to become a first round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and we’re going to work with him to make sure he’s in the best position to reach that goal,” Oats said.

Fellow Tide guard Kira Lewis Jr. is regarded as a likely first-round draft pick.

McKinley Wright IV returns to Colorado

Getty Images
3 Comments

McKinley Wright IV will be back for season No. 4 with the Colorado Buffaloes.

The point guard tested the NBA draft process before announcing a return for his senior year. It’s a big boost for a Buffaloes team that’s coming off a 21-11 mark in 2019-20 and was potentially looking at an NCAA Tournament bid before the season was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wright was an All-Pac-12 first team selection a season ago, along with an all-defensive team pick. He and athletic forward Tyler Bey declared for the draft in late March. Bey remains in the draft.

“We’ve got unfinished business,” said Wright, who averaged 14.4 points and 5.0 assists per game last season.

Midway through the season, the Buffaloes were looking like a lock for their first NCAA Tournament appearance since ’15-16. Then, the team hit a five-game skid, including a loss to Washington State in the Pac-12 tournament. Simply put, they hit a defensive rut they just couldn’t shake out of, Wright said. It drove him to work that much harder in the offseason.

“This is my last go-around and I’ve got big dreams,” the 6-footer from Minnesota said. “I want to take CU to a place they haven’t been in a while. We want to go back to the tournament and win high-level games.”

The feedback from NBA scouts was reaffirming for Wright. He said they appreciated his transition game, movement away from the ball and his defensive intangibles. They also gave Wright areas he needed to shore up such as assist-to-turnover ratio and shooting the 3-pointer with more consistency.

He took it to heart while training in Arizona during the pandemic. He recently returned to Boulder, Colorado, where he’s going through quarantine before joining his teammates for workouts.

“The work I put in and the time I spent in the gym compared to all my other offseasons, it’s a big gap,” Wright said. “Last offseason, I thought I worked hard. But it was nothing compared to the time and different type of mindset I put myself in this year.”

Another motivating factor for his return was this: a chance to be the first in his family to earn his college degree. He’s majoring in ethnic studies with a minor in communications.

“My grandparents are excited about that. My parents are excited about that,” Wright said. “I’m excited about that as well.”

Wright also has an opportunity to take over the top spot on the school’s all-time assists list. His 501 career assists trail only Jay Humphries, who had 562 from 1980-84. Wright also ranks 13th all-time with 1,370 career points.

NOTES: Colorado announced the death of 95-year-old fan Betty Hoover, who along with her twin sister, Peggy Coppom, became fixtures at Buffs sporting events and were season ticket holders since 1958. Wright used to run into them not only on the court, but at the local bank. “I’ve never met anyone as loving and supporting and caring as those two,” Wright said. “They hold a special place in my heart. It sucks that Betty won’t be at any games this year. Maybe we can do something, put her name on our jersey. They’re two of the biggest fans in CU history.”

Jared Butler returns to Baylor

jared butler baylor
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Baylor got some huge news on Monday as potential All-American Jared Butler announced that he will be returning to school for his junior season, joining MaCio Teague is pulling his name out of the 2020 NBA Draft to get the band back together.

Butler was Baylor’s leading scorer a season ago, averaging 16.0 points and 3.1 assists for a team that went 26-4, spent a portion of the season as the No. 1 team in the country and was in line to receive a 1-seed had the 2020 NCAA Tournament taken place.

With Butler and Teague coming back to school, the Bears will return four starters from last season’s squad. Starting center Freddie Gillespie is gone, as is backup guard Devonte Bandoo, but those are holes that can be filled. Tristan Clark, who was Baylor’s best player during the 2018-19 season before suffering a knee injury that lingered through last year, will be back, and there is more than enough talent in the program to replace the scoring pop of Bandoo. Matthew Mayer will be in line for more minutes, while transfer Adam Flagler will be eligible this season.

Baylor will enter this season as a consensus top three team in the country. They will receive plenty of votes as the No. 1 team in the sport, making them not only a very real contender for the Big 12 regular season crown but one of the favorites to win the national title.

Preseason Top 25 | Mock Draft 3.0 | Early Entry Tracker

As MaCio Teague returns, Baylor now awaits Jared Butler’s NBA draft decision

Butler is the key.

Baylor was one of college basketball’s best defensive teams last year. They finished fourth nationally in KenPom’s defensive efficiency metric, a ranking that dropped after they Bears lost two of their last three games to TCU and West Virginia. Where they struggled was on the offensive end of the floor. The Bears would go through droughts were points were at a premium and their best offense was a missed shot. Butler’s intrigue for NBA teams was his ability to shoot and to create space in isolation. He’s the one guy on the roster that can create something out of nothing for himself.

And now he is back to try and lead Baylor to a Final Four.

Arizona State’s Martin to return for senior season

Getty Images
3 Comments

TEMPE, Ariz. (–Arizona State guard Remy Martin is withdrawing from the NBA draft and will return for his senior season in the desert.

“I’m blessed to have the opportunity to coach Remy Martin for one more season,” Sun Devils coach Bobby Hurley said in a statement Sunday. “Remy will be one of the best players in college basketball this year and will be on a mission to lead Arizona State basketball in its pursuit of championships.”

A 6-foot guard, Martin is the Pac-12’s leading returning scorer after averaging 19.1 points in 2019-20. He also averaged 4.1 assists per game and helped put the Sun Devils in position to reach the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year before the season was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Martin’s return should put Arizona State among the favorites to win the Pac-12 next season.

Martin joins fellow guard Alonzo Verge Jr. in returning to the Sun Devils after testing the NBA waters. Big man Romello White declared for the draft and later entered the transfer portal.

Hurley has signed one of the program’s best recruiting classes for next season, headed by five-star guard Josh Christopher.

Michigan State forward Xavier Tillman will remain in the 2020 NBA Draft

xavier tillman nba draft
Getty Images
Leave a comment

In the end, Xavier Tillman Sr.’s decision whether or not to return to remain in the 2020 NBA Draft for his senior season came down to security.

A 6-foot-8 forward that averaged 13.7 points, 10.3 boards, 3.0 assists and 2.1 blocks this past season, Tillman was an NBC Sports third-team All-American a season ago. He’s projected as the No. 23 pick in the latest NBC Sports mock draft. He was the best NBA prospect that had yet to make a decision on his future until Sunday.

That’s when Tillman announced that he will be foregoing his final season of college eligibility to head to the NBA.

In the end, it’s probably the right decision, but it’s not one that the big fella made easily.

Tillman is unlike most college basketball players forced to make a decision on their basketball future. He is married. He has two kids, a three-year old daughter and a six-month old son. This is not a situation where he can bet on himself, head to the pro ranks and figure it out later on.

Preseason Top 25 | Mock Draft 3.0 | Early Entry Tracker

He needs something stable, particularly given the fact that we are living in the midst of a pandemic that has put the future of sports in doubt, at least for the short term.

He needs security.

He needed to know that there would be a job for him in the NBA. Not a two-way contract. Not a spot on a camp roster or a chance to develop in the G League. Hell, there might not even be a G League next season. That was an option at Michigan State. He was living in an apartment with his family that was covered by his scholarship and stipend. He had meals paid for. He was able to take food from the training room home and have dinner with his family. He was able to get to class, to the gym, to practice and back home in time to do the dishes at night. He told NBC Sports in March that the school was able to provide him with $1,200-a-month to help pay for things like diapers high chairs. That was all going to be there if he returned to school. It was a great situation, one that lacked the uncertainty that comes with the professional level.

Because as much as I love Tillman as a role player at the next level, NBA teams do not all feel the same. The tricky thing about the draft is that it makes sense to swing for the fences on the guys that can be locked into salaries for the first four years of a contract. The Toronto Raptors took Pascal Siakam with the 27th pick and have paid less than $7 million in total salary in his first four years for a player that made an all-star team. Kyle Kuzma is averaging 16.0 points through three seasons and is on the books for $3.5 million in year four.

Tillman’s ability to defend, his basketball IQ, his play-making and his professional demeanor means that he can step into the modern NBA and do a job as a rotation player for just about any team in the league. But he doesn’t have the upside that other bigs in the same projected range have — Jalen Smith, Daniel Oturu, Jaden McDaniels, Zeke Nnaji — so there are teams that are scared off.

I don’t get it.

But Tillman’s decision to head to the professional ranks indicates that he does, indeed, feel confident in the fact that he will have gainful and steady employment next season. Since he would have walked at Michigan State’s graduation in May had it been held, that doesn’t leave much to return to school for.

The Spartans will now be left in a tough spot. There are quite a few pieces to like on this roster. Rocket Watts had promising moments as a freshman, as did Malik Hall. Gabe Brown and Marcus Bingham are both talented players. Joey Hauser had a good season at Marquette, and the early returns on freshman Mady Sissoko are promising. But this is going to be a young and unproven group.

Izzo has had less at his disposal before, but this is certainly not an ideal situation for Michigan State.