Late night snacks: What got you ready for the marathon

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This is the only night where Late Night Snacks serves as the primer for the college basketball day rather than the ending. I see absolutely nothing wrong with this and neither should you.

Games of the Night

1.) No. 1 Indiana 87, North Dakota State 61

There weren’t any nail-biters pre-marathon, so we’ll start with the top team in the land. Cody Zeller had 22 and nine rebounds. Remy Abell and Jeremy Hollowell chipped in 14 each and Hoosiers are living up to all the hype. Tom Crean has the team we all thought he had.

2.) No. 17 Memphis 81, North Florida 66

The curtain opened on what is supposed to be Josh Pastner’s best team since he took the job three years ago. They started off on the right foot. Joe Jackson had 14 points and six assists and the Tigers out-rebounded the Ospreys 45-30 in the victory.

3.) Virginia 54, Fairfield 45

The outcome was a win, but the Cavaliers should be doing better against a team that lost most of it’s talent off last season’s squad. Especially after blowing the season opener at home to George Mason. The loss of Tony Scott hurt, but this is a team that’s better than these scores. Or at least we all thought they were.

4.) Lafayette 98, LIU-Brooklyn 94 (OT)

Well, anyone want to figure these Blackbirds out? The got no bench play and allowed a guy no one saw coming to score 30 in the post against one of the best front lines in mid-(low?)-major college basketball. There’s going to be some major changes needed for Jack Perri’s team if they plan to contend for the NEC title.

Starred

Trey Burke, Michigan

A lot is riding on Burke this season. He hasn’t disappointed yet, including a team-high 22 points and nine assists with only three turnovers in a win over IUPUI. He’s an All-American candidate and he’s playing like it early on.

Dan Trist, Lafayette

You’ve got to love when a relative unknown gets his shine. He dropped 30 in a 98-94 victory over LIU-Brooklyn in overtime at home. Trist was 14-of-18 from the field overall, all twos. He’s teammate Seth Hinrichs chipped in 20 in the win.

Garrick Sherman, Notre Dame

The Fighting Irish will be looking for the compliment to Jack Cooley in the post. Maybe it’s Sherman. He poured in 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds in Notre Dame’s 84-57 rout of Monmouth. Sherman averaged 3.1 points and 2.6 boards for the Fighting Irish last season.

Jackie Carmichael, Illinois State

He was the dark horse for Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year. He more than likely will have to settle for first team all-conference, but the senior made a compelling case early with 27 points and 10 boards in a 100-72 victory over UC-Santa Barbara.

Stunk

LIU-Brooklyn

The favorite in the Northeast Conference is now 0-2 after a loss at Lafayette. It’s tough to imagine this team isn’t 0-4 when the Barclay’s Center Classic concludes with games upcoming against Kentucky and Maryland.

North Texas

So, Tony Mitchell isn’t going to be enough? New coach Tony Benford has some serious work to do. The Mean Green lost to Division II Alabama-Huntsville tonight. The score doesn’t even matter. I don’t care if the Chargers (UAH’s mascot, GSC represent) win the DII national title, you can’t have problems with inferior teams when the games count.

Stuffing the Stat Sheet

Kendrick Perry, Youngstown State

You’ll find out more about the actual game, but one of the favorite’s for Horizon League Player of the Year turned in one of the biggest nights for any player across all facets of the game. Perry finished with 23 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals on the road. He’s going to be the catalyst for the Penguins and he’s playing like he knows it this season.

Fanbases That Can Take a Breath

UNLV

Some of those fans had to be talked off the ledge after the Runnin’ Rebels needed overtime to beat Division II Dixie State in an exhibition game. Monday night, UNLV beat Northern Arizona 92-54 in their season opener. Five players finished in double figures led by Anthony Bennett‘s 22 points.

Florida State

The Seminole Nation was flipping out after their team suffered a season-opening loss to South Alabama at home and All-American candidate Michael Snaer went 2-for-9 from the floor. They rebounded with a satisfying 95-68 home win over Buffalo and Snaer had 19 points and was 4-for-7 from three-point range.

Fanbase That Had The Breath Knocked Out of Them

Georgia

Some of us thought the Bulldogs would be a one-man team with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Some of us were right (so far). KCP was the lone player in double figures for UGA with 27 points in a 68-56 loss at home to Youngstown State. If that’s the case, this team can feel free to make plans for the CBI or CIT.

David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

North Carolina gets commitment from four-star 2020 forward

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North Carolina has its first piece in its 2020 recruiting class.

Day’Ron Sharpe, a 6-foot-9 forward, committed to the Tar Heels on Sunday, according to multiple reports.

The Winterville, N.C. native picked Roy Williams’ in-state program over offers from Florida, Georgetown and Virginia, among others, after a second visit to Chapel Hill recently.

“We weren’t expecting it, and it kind of came out of the blue,” his father, Derrick Sharpe, told 247 Sports about the commitment. “He told coach Williams and coach was just really excited about it.”

Sharpe averaged 14.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game during his sophomore season.

“He’s a very multi-talented player,” Dwayne West, executive director of the Garner Road Bulldogs told the Raleigh News & Observer. “He does several things very well at a high rate. He can obviously score the ball around the basket, has a solid shot and is actually a very good playmaker. Handles the ball very well.”

Sharpe is a four-star, consensus top-75 player in the 2020 class. Williams also has one commit in the 2019 class, top-50 point guard Jeremiah Francis, who, like Sharpe, committed to the Tar Heels the summer before his junior season.

Former Western Michigan basketball player cleared of murder

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — A jury has acquitted a former Western Michigan basketball player of murder in the shooting death of a fellow student but convicted him of armed robbery and a weapons charge.

The Kalamazoo County jury deliberated two days before returning the verdict for Joeviair Kennedy. He faces a possible life sentence when he’s sentenced July 16.

Nineteen-year-old Jacob Jones was killed near the campus on Dec. 8, 2016.

Co-defendant Jordan Waire of Muskegon was convicted last month of felony murder, armed robbery and weapons charges.

Prosecutors said it was Waire who shot Jones. Kennedy has said they took marijuana and about $25.

Kennedy’s attorney, Eusebio Solis, said his client agreed to the robbery but not the killing.

Kennedy was arrested in 2016 at the start of his second basketball season.

Kansas, Missouri to play alumni game for charity

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Kansas and Missouri are putting their differences aside for charity.

Kareem Rush, a former Missouri Tiger and the brother of Brandon Rush, a former Kansas Jayhawk, is organizing a game called “Rivarly Renewed“, which will pit alumni from Missouri against alumni from KU.

On July 28th, the two teams will face-off in a game where the proceeds will go towards benefitting the Boys and Girls Club as well as Kareem Rush’s “Rush Forward Foundation”.

It’s also a chance for the Tigers and the Jayhawks to reignite a rivalry that has been dormant since Missouri left the Big 12 for the SEC, although they did play a scrimmage prior to the start of last season. There is no lack of hatred between those two fan bases and any chance they get to square off is a good thing.

There should also be some big names involved. According to the Kansas City Star, Mario Chalmers, Cole Aldrich, Drew Gooden, Kim English, Ricky Paulding and Marcus Denmon are among the players that will be participating.

I love it.

Can we make sure that Bill Self is invited so that he can get convinced to play the Tigers in a non-conference game?

Doppelgangers Grayson Allen, Ted Cruz finally meet

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Ever since Grayson Allen burst onto the national scene during the 2015 Final Four, the former Duke star has been called a Ted Cruz lookalike.

That, frankly, is not exactly a compliment, and it is a comparison that Allen initially bristled at, but now that his college career, Allen seems to be embracing the long-running joke.

We know that because Allen met Cruz this weekend as he helped the senator from Texas beat Jimmy Kimmel in a game of one-on-one:

The actually game won’t be broadcast until Monday night so we won’t know exactly how Cruz won or what Allen did to help, but Cruz did beat Kimmel 11-9.

We will get getting our answers this evening.

2018 NBA Draft: What top ten picks are the most likely to be busts?

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The 2018 NBA Draft is loaded with top-end talent and potential future all-stars.

The fascinating thing about this group in the top ten is that you can make a solid case that most of these guys could become stars.

On the flipside, all of them also have some kind of glaring weakness.

Deandre Ayton is likely going No. 1 overall and there is a healthy contingent of draft analysts and skeptics who point to his lack of defensive presence as a 7-footer.

Some of these same detractors also believe the NBA is continually going smaller — meaning giants like Ayton will get played off the floor by certain small-ball lineups like the Golden State Warriors just did to some teams during another title run.

That’s just one example.

Going down the list of top-ten prospects and you can point to a lot of potential flaws that could lead to downfalls. But here are two top-ten prospects who could wind up being busts.

MICHAEL PORTER JR.

Before his freshman season at Missouri, I thought Michael Porter Jr. was going to put up monster numbers and be a Player of the Year candidate. His top-five status in the 2018 NBA Draft appeared to be safe. After a decorated high school career in which he destroyed most challengers and played well on the international stage with USA Basketball, Porter looked like he could be a jumbo scoring wing at the game’s highest level.

Then the back and hip issues began.

Porter only played in three games during his lone season with the Tigers — including two uninspiring postseason efforts in which he couldn’t get his shot to fall while trying to prove that he was healthy. And now it feels like there are a million questions about MPJ and his health.

During the NBA Draft process, Porter has cancelled and rescheduled pro days, kept medical records private for long lengths of time and given plenty of teams pause as to whether or not he is truly healthy. If Porter’s back and hip stay as a lingering issue then it changes who he is as a basketball player. Already a bit rigid, with hips that aren’t particularly fluid, Porter could have trouble moving laterally in an increasingly quick and nimble league that is only getting smaller.

Porter’s jumper also uses his whole body to elevate. It didn’t look nearly the same during those March games where he tried to gut it out. And Porter has been such a gifted scorer during his high school career that he’s never had to worry about passing or making others around him better.

Some have also questioned Porter’s ego and his ability to be a willing teammate — which are legitimate questions in a league that often sees its stars feud with others and move on to new teams.

Again, if Porter is fully healthy and ready to go, he could be a double-double threat on the wing and a 20-point per game scorer. But if Porter isn’t healthy? Some team is taking a big risk on not only taking an injured player but passing on a talented healthy player who could morph into an all-star.

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TRAE YOUNG

Perhaps the most fascinating prospect in the draft because of his insane range and overall offensive ability, Young is going to be one of the names to watch on draft night.

Some mock drafts feel he’s a top-three talent, or even the best prospect overall because of his new-age ability to pull-up and hit threes from 30 feet away. Others feel like he’s a potential defensive liability who doesn’t necessarily play winning basketball all the time because of his shot selection and high number of turnovers.

While Young could be a monster steal for some team hoping to get the next Steph Curry, those comparisons are also going to be dangerous, while likely following Young the rest of this career.

For Young, it could be all about fit and who winds up taking him.

When Young was in high school, he was at his best when he had elite talent around him. Michael Porter Jr. was the go-to scorer on a MoKan team that won the Nike Peach Jam. Young also looked solid during stretches with USA Basketball when he had tons of weapons around him.

Once teams in the Big 12 figured out his individual offensive tendencies after a hot start last season, they forced him into being a playmaker and the Sooners struggled to win games. Of course, the lack of talent around him doesn’t fall on Young, who didn’t recruit his teammates at Oklahoma. But what happens if Young falls to a dysfunctional franchise like the Orlando Magic? He’ll be expected to be a savior right away with minimal help — while also having to overcome glaring deficiencies like perimeter defense and a high number of turnovers.

And how do you think NBA players are going to react to the task of guarding Young? There’s an old Dream Team story about Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen practically fighting so they could defend future Chicago Bulls teammate Toni Kukoc one-on-one during the ’92 Olympics. They had heard about the hype surrounding Kukoc, even though he had never played in an NBA game.

After being a national media darling much of last season, Young is going to get a lot of strong one-on-one defenders who are hungry to slow him down. Game plans will revolve around limiting Young’s touches and ability to launch shots. Teams and veteran players are going to do everything they can to frustrate Young and make life tough.

Young is talented and skilled enough to make all of these questions go away. He’s a unique talent who could very well end up being worthy of all of the hype. But he’s going to need some help reaching his full potential, and some of those things are out of his control.