Who are the names to watch for the 2016 NBA Draft?

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Skal Labissiere, Kentucky: Labissiere overtook Ben Simmons as the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2015 this spring, and it’s no surprise why. He’s a seven-footer with a soft shooting touch, three-point range, a face-up post game and the ability to block shots at the rim. He’ll draw comparisons to the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge, which should give you an idea of what his ceiling is.

Ben Simmons, LSU: Simmons was long considered the best player in the 2015 class, and while many outlets dropped him off of that top spot in their more recent rankings, he could still end up being the No. 1 pick in the 2016 BA Draft. A strong-bodied 6-foot-9 forward, Simmons is actually at his best with the ball in his hands, playing a point forward role. He has terrific vision and is tough to stay in front of off the dribble. He’s a jumper away from being unguardable.

Kris Dunn, Providence: The Providence redshirt junior guard is a terrific story. He overcame two brutal shoulder injuries to become as all-american asa junior. He by passed the NBA Draft– and a possible spot in the lottery — after last season. He’s a big, strong point guard and terrific creator that excels in ball-screen actions, but he needs to show an improved jumper and better ball control this season.

Jakob Poeltl, Utah: The seven-foot Austrian has all the tools in the world. He’s mobile, he’s athletic, he blocks shots, he runs the floor, he’s got great hands. He needs to add some core strength and balance, not to mention a post game, but Poeltl was a first round pick had he left after his freshman season. The Utes were lucky to get another year with him.

Caris LeVert, Michigan: LeVert was considered by many to be a preseason all-american and potential lottery pick entering this season, but that went up in smoke when he broke his foot again. He’s a big guard that can makes plays with the ball in his hands, but can he stay healthy?

Jaylen Brown, Cal: On a team loaded with perimeter talent, Brown is the best NBA prospect. He’s a prototype power wing, an aggressive 6-foot-6 scorer that could have had a nice career as a tight end. Think Justise Winslow more than Stanley Johnson.

Malik Newman, Mississippi State: Newman can score. There is no question about that. The 6-foot-3 all-american, who doubles as the best guard prospect in the Class of 2015, will have ample opportunity to showcase that skill after picking the Bulldogs over Kentucky. He could average 20 next season — points and shot attempts per game.

Demetrius Jackson, Notre Dame: We got a glimpse of what Jackson is capable of during the NCAA tournament, and with Jerian Grant graduating, he’ll be the next point guard Mike Brey builds his offense around. I think he’s a preseason all-american, and asa hyper-athletic, 6-foot point guard,, I think he will be a lottery pick as well.

Malik Pope, San Diego State: Pope has all kinds of potential given his length, athleticism and ability to shoot. The problem? He’s thin and he can’t stay healthy. It will be interesting to see what he can produce if he can play an entire season.

Diamond Stone, Maryland: Outside of Labissiere, Stone is the most intriguing big man prospect in the 2015 class. He’s 6-foot-10 with a strong frame and some low-post ability, but he’s also skilled enough to play on the perimeter as a stretch four. He’ll do that quite a bit this season playing alongside Robert Carter, the Georgia Tech transfer.

Domas Sabonis, Gonzaga: A strong four-man with terrific pedigree, a nose for the ball, a motor that doesn’t stop running and some developing post moves? The Gonzaga sophomore is not a typical European prospect.

Jamal Murray, Kentucky: Murray may be the most interesting name on this list. He was ranked in the 30s in the Class of 2016 until he showed out for the World team in the Nike Hoop Summit. A 6-foot-5 combo-guard that doubles as a terrific shooter is always tantalizing, but is he being overhyped off of his play in one game?

Boum, Jones lead No. 13 Xavier over No. 19 UConn, 82-79

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STORRS, Conn. – Souley Boum scored 21 points, Colby Jones added 20 and No. 13 Xavier went on the road and held off No. 19 Connecticut 82-79 Wednesday night.

The win was the 13th in 14 games for the Musketeers (17-4, 9-1 Big East) and it gave them a season sweep over the struggling Huskies (16-6, 5-6).

Jack Nunge had 12 points and Jerome Hunter added 11 for Xavier, which led by 17 in the first half and 39-24 at halftime.

Jordan Hawkins scored 26 of his 28 points in the second half for UConn, leading a comeback that fell just short.

Tristen Newton added 23 points for the Huskies, who won their first 14 games this season but have dropped six of eight since.

The Musketeers never trailed but had to withstand UConn runs that cut the lead to a single point four times in the second half.

A three-point play from Hawkins made it 78-77 with 2:40 left. But a second-chance layup from Nunge put the lead at 80-77 just over a minute later.

Newton was fouled with two seconds left by Desmond Claude, but his apparent attempt to miss his second free throw went into the basket.

Boum then hit two free throws at the other end, and Newton’s final attempt from just beyond halfcourt was well short.

Xavier jumped out to a 9-0 lead as UConn missed its first nine shots.

A 3-pointer from Zach Freemantle gave the Musketeers their first double-digit lead at 20-9, and another from Jones pushed it to 35-18.

BIG PICTURE

Xavier: The Musketeers lead the Big East, and the win over UConn was their ninth conference victory this season, eclipsing their total from last season.

UConn: The Huskies came in with a 17-game winning streak at Gampel Pavilion dating to February 2021. They fell to 1-4 against the four teams in front of them in the Big East standings. The lone win came at Gampel against Creighton.

UP NEXT

Xavier: The Musketeers continue their road trip with a visit to Creighton on Saturday.

UConn: Doesn’t play again until next Tuesday, when the Huskies visit DePaul.

No. 12 Iowa State holds on to beat No. 5 Kansas State 80-76

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AMES, Iowa – Jaren Holmes matched his season high with 23 points as No. 12 Iowa State held on to beat No. 5 Kansas State 80-76 on Tuesday night.

The Cyclones (15-4, 6-2 Big 12) moved into a three-way tie atop the conference standings with the Wildcats and Texas.

Gabe Kalscheur added 19 points for Iowa State. Osun Osunniyi finished with 16.

Markquis Nowell led Kansas State (17-3, 6-2) with 23 points.

A 3-pointer from Holmes gave Iowa State a 59-49 advantage with 8:12 remaining. Kansas State responded with a 10-1 run to trim the margin to 60-59.

Caleb Grill’s 3-pointer steadied the Cyclones and pushed the lead back to 63-59 with five minutes left.

Free throws by Osunniyi, Grill and Holmes sealed the victory in the final 24 seconds.

The first half featured eight lead changes and ended with Kansas State up 33-31.

A 3-pointer by Kalscheur ignited an early 9-0 run for the Cyclones and helped them build a 19-14 lead. Iowa State made just one of nine 3-point tries in the first 20 minutes.

BIG PICTURE

Kansas State was trying to extend its best start to a season since 1961-62.

Iowa State improved to 11-0 at home. The Cyclones have not lost back-to-back games this season.

UP NEXT

Kansas State hosts Florida on Saturday as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

Iowa State travels to Missouri on Saturday.

Georgetown snaps 29-game conference losing streak

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WASHINGTON – Primo Spears scored 21 points and Georgetown snapped a 29-game conference losing streak with an 81-76 victory over DePaul on Tuesday night.

Georgetown (6-15, 1-9) won its first Big East game since March 13, 2021, ending the longest skid in the history of the conference. The Hoyas also ended a 10-game losing streak this season.

Spears also contributed six assists for the Hoyas. Akok Akok scored 12 points and added six rebounds and four blocks and Brandon Murray recorded 12 points.

Umoja Gibson led the Blue Demons (9-12, 3-7) in scoring, finishing with 24 points, four assists and three steals. Javan Johnson added 13 points.

Spears scored nine points in the first half and Georgetown went into the break trailing 37-36. Georgetown used a 10-0 run in the second half to build a 12-point lead at 75-63 with 1:39 remaining.

Nance scores 21 as North Carolina survives Syracuse, 72-68

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Pete Nance scored 21 points, capped by a dunk with 19 seconds left that put North Carolina in front for good as the Tar Heels pulled out a hard-fought, 72-68 battle with Syracuse on Tuesday night.

Joe Girard hit from beyond the arc to put Syracuse up, 68-66 with 1:28 left, but after Nance hit the first of two free throws to get North Carolina within one, he missed the second free throw and in the scramble to gather in the rebound, the ball caromed toward the end line and Girard dove to save it. Instead, he flicked the ball right to Nance, who dunked for the lead.

Judah Mintz tried to drive the lane for a go-ahead layup but was called for an offensive foul that was upgraded to a flagrant foul. North Carolina took possession and Caleb Love converted three straight free throws to put the game away.

Armando Bacot scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds with four assists for North Carolina (15-6, 7-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). Love finished with 15 points and five assists.

Girard hit 4 of 9 from beyond the arc and finished with 18 points to lead Syracuse (13-8, 6-4). Mintz scored 17 points and had three steals and Chris Bell hit 3 of 5 from deep and finished with 15 points.

North Carolina has a week off before playing host to Pitt on Feb. 1. Syracuse plays at Virginia Tech on Saturday.

Green Bay fires Will Ryan after 11th straight loss

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — Green Bay fired Will Ryan three days after the Phoenix suffered their 11th consecutive loss.

Ryan, the son of former Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, posted a 15-61 record in 2 1/2 seasons. Freddie Owens, who had been an assistant coach on Ryan’s staff, will be interim head coach for the rest of the season.

“UW-Green Bay is committed to continuing its legacy as an outstanding Division I athletics program in the future, and Phoenix men’s basketball needs to help lead the way as we work to elevate all of our programs and be a shining light for this region and beyond,” athletic director Josh Moon said in a news release announcing the move.

Moon thanked Ryan and his family for their contributions to the program and said that “we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Stadium first reported Ryan’s firing.

Green Bay dropped to 2-19 overall and 1-9 in the Horizon League with a 72-38 home loss to Robert Morris.

Ryan was hired by Green Bay after going 14-13 in his lone season as the head coach at Division II program Wheeling (West Virginia). Green Bay went 8-17 in Ryan’s debut season and finished 5-25 last year.

Ryan had taken over for Linc Darner, who went 92-80 and posted a winning record in four of his five seasons.