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Michigan State’s Bridges tops AP preseason All-America team

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Michigan State’s Miles Bridges has everyone’s attention.

The 6-foot-7 sophomore headlines The Associated Press preseason All-America team as the leading vote-getter by a wide margin for the five-player squad. Bridges received 61 votes from the 65-member national media panel that selects the weekly AP Top 25 poll, 14 more than Notre Dame senior forward Bonzie Colson — the preseason Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year and the No. 2 vote-getter.

Arizona junior Allonzo Trier, Villanova junior Jalen Brunson and Missouri freshman Michael Porter Jr. rounded out the rest of the five-man team released Monday.

Bridges was forced to play inside last season for the undersized Spartans, but averaged 16.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.5 blocks. Second-ranked Michigan State has more size and depth this season, so Bridges will likely see more time at small forward on the perimeter.

“He’s got some things he’s got to get better at,” coach Tom Izzo said. “He’s going to be moving around different positions. Got to get better with the ball, better guarding. There are going to be some things that are more difficult for him. I can’t think of a guy that’s worked harder all summer to make sure he’s ready. I think he’ll be more than ready for an incredible season.”

The 14-vote gap between Bridges and Colson marked only the third time there was a double-digit difference between the top two vote-getters since the AP preseason All-America team launched for the 1995-96 season. The last time was in 2003-04.

The 6-6 Colson averaged 17.8 points and an ACC-best 10.1 rebounds to go with a league-best 19 double-doubles. He knows that he’ll wear a target this season; assistant coach Ryan Humphrey recently gave him a poster featuring Colson sporting a photoshopped bullseye on his chest and the message of “Every game.”

“I’m always going to be humble and hungry,” Colson said. “That’s just who I am, that’s just how my parents raised me. Just going out there every day and playing loose.”

The 6-5 Trier was third with 39 votes. He opted to return to the third-ranked Wildcats instead of entering the NBA draft after averaging 17.2 points and 5.3 rebounds last year despite missing the first 19 games due to a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.

“Allonzo has a special place in my heart because I don’t know if I’ve been around a player that has overcome so much adversity and at the same time continued to be an outstanding player,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said, adding: “He’s had a terrific offseason, and I think all of us are hoping that he can do it from start to finish, from the first game to the end.”

The 6-3 Brunson, who earned 33 votes, averaged 14.7 points and 4.1 assists while shooting 54 percent last year for the Wildcats.

“Last year he stepped up a little bit more,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “But this year, he’s stepped up to become the player and leader that he is. He’s just a natural born leader.”

The 6-10 Porter earned 30 votes for the final spot, making him the fifth freshman to make the preseason AP All-America team — joining North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes, Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins, Duke’s Jahlil Okafor and LSU’s Ben Simmons.

“I feel there’s a lot of people that would like to be in my situation,” Porter said. “But I try to stay grounded, stay humble and realize I’m nowhere near where I want to get to, so I just have to take all the attention with a grain of salt and just keep getting better and better.”

North Carolina senior Joel Berry II, last year’s Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four for the reigning national champions, was the top vote-getter who missed the squad. Berry, who had 25 votes, is recovering from a broken bone in his hand that could sideline him for the start of the season.

Duke senior Grayson Allen, a preseason AP All-American last season, had 20 votes.

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The Associated Press’ 2017-18 preseason All-America team, with school, height, year and votes from a 65-member national media panel (key 2016-17 statistics in parentheses):

Miles Bridges, Michigan State, 6-7, 225, sophomore, 61 votes (16.9 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.5 blocks)

Bonzie Colson, Notre Dame, 6-6, 224, senior, 47 (17.8 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 52.6 fg pct, 1.4 blocks)

Allonzo Trier, Arizona, 6-5, 205, junior, 39 (18 games, 17.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.7 apg, 81.0 ft pct)

Jalen Brunson, Villanova, 6-3, 190, junior, 33 (14.7 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 4.1 apg, 54.1 fg pct, 87.6 ft pct)

Michael Porter Jr., Missouri, 6-10, 215, freshman, 30 (HS: 36.2 ppg, 13.6 rpg)

Others receiving votes: Joel Berry II, North Carolina, 25; Grayson Allen, Duke, 20; Devonte’ Graham, Kansas, 19; Ethan Happ, Wisconsin, 17; Angel Delgado, Seton Hall, 15; Jock Landale, Saint Mary’s, 6; Trevon Bluiett, Xavier, 5; Marvin Bagley III, Duke, 3; Deandre Ayton, Arizona, 3; Yante Maten, Georgia, 1; Landry Shamet, Wichita State, 1.

VIDEO: Former Michigan athletes Austin Hatch and Abby Cole tie the knot

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The life of former Michigan basketball player Austin Hatch has not been without its challenges, as during his pre-college years he survived two separate plane crashes that took the lives of his parents, a stepmother and two siblings.

Hatch’s scholarship offer to Michigan was honored by head coach John Beilein despite the impact that the crashes had on Hatch physically, and Hatch would go on to earn his degree and land a job at the corporate office for Domino’s. This past spring, Hatch was honored during the team’s Senior Day festivities.

By that point Hatch was already engaged to Abby Cole, who played volleyball at Michigan from 2013 to 2016. And over the weekend, the two tied the knot in what was a highly emotional day for all involved. Below is a video of their wedding day, which was chronicled by Derek Postma.

Congratulations and best wishes to Abby and Austin on their marriage.

Arizona lands Cornell forward Stone Gettings for 2019-20 season

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Arizona landed its first addition for the 2019-20 season on Monday, as an Ivy League power forward revealed his intention to join Sean Miller’s program as a graduate student.

6-foot-9 forward Stone Gettings, who averaged 16.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game at Cornell last season, picked Arizona over Stanford and Vanderbilt according to Evan Daniels of 247Sports.com. A second team All-Ivy selection, Gettings is on course to graduate from Cornell in December. Instead of using his final season of eligibility at Cornell, Gettings will sit out this season before playing at Arizona.

Gettings does have a connection to the Arizona program, as one of his high school teammates was former point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright. The addition of Gettings will give Arizona a front court player who can score around the basket and from the perimeter, as he shot nearly 37 percent from beyond the arc last season.

Gettings isn’t the first Ivy League player to make his decision regarding a new school well in advance of his being able to move as a grad transfer, as former Yale point guard Makai Mason took a similar approach. Mason, who missed the entire 2016-17 season with a torn ACL, announced prior to last season that he be joining the Baylor program as a grad transfer for the 2018-19 campaign.

Not counting Gettings, Arizona has four scholarship front court players on its current roster who will have eligibility remaining in 2019-20, in current junior Chase Jeter, sophomores Emmanuel Akot and Ira Lee and freshman Omar Thielemans.

Bill Self: Silvio De Sousa’s eligibility not in jeopardy ‘at this stage’

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One of the biggest question marks heading into the 2018-19 season for the Kansas Jayhawks is the eligibility status of Silvio De Sousa.

If you’ve forgotten, a player that is believed to be De Sousa was referenced in a second round of indictments handed by the FBI. In those documents, De Sousa’s guardian is alleged to have asked an Adidas rep for at least $20,000 to repay a rival apparel company for a payment that was made to secure De Sousa’s commitment to another school. Prior to a surprise commitment to Kansas, De Sousa was long considered a Maryland lean. His AAU program and high school team were both sponsored by Under Armour, whose flagship program is Maryland.

According to Kansas head coach Bill Self, at this point De Sousa is still eligible.

“Nobody at this stage has given us any information that he could be in jeopardy at this stage,” Self said.

This is not surprising.

The way that I would expect this to play out is similar to the way it played out for players that were referenced in the indictments that came down last fall. Kansas is going to string this thing along until we get to a point in time close to the start of the season, when they will announce that De Sousa is being held out of competition. It is better for Kansas to bite the bullet and play without De Sousa than it would be for them to risk knowingly suiting up a player that can be retroactively ruled ineligible.

That sucks for De Sousa.

The good news for Kansas, however, is that Udoka Azubuike is back, as is Mitch Lightfoot, while both Dedric and K.J. Lawson will be eligible as they add freshman David McCormack. There is more than enough frontcourt depth to withstand the loss of De Sousa.

VIDEO: The #ShiggyChallenge has reached college hoops with Loyola’s coach showing his skills

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New Loyola-Maryland head coach Tavaras Hardy became the first college basketball head coach to get in on the Shiggy Challenge, as he posted this video to twitter on Tuesday morning:

What is the #ShiggyChallenge?

It’s the latest viral dance, which started just two weeks ago when an online personality named Shiggy posted himself dancing to Drake’s “In My Feelings” on Instagram:

#Mood : KEKE Do You Love Me ? 😂😂😂 @champagnepapi #DoTheShiggy #InMyFeelings

A post shared by Shoker🃏 (@theshiggyshow) on

From there, it took off, with everyone from Odell Beckham Jr. to James Harden trying to prove themselves capable of taking down the #ShiggyChallenge.

And now Tavaras Hardy is doing it.

The end.

Takeaways from the UAA Challenge: Nico Mannion and Josh Green are must-see, Anthony Edwards tops 2020

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EMERSON, Ga. — Although the Peach Jam was huge focal point of the first evaluation period, Under Armour had themselves a solid event with the UAA Challenge just north of Atlanta. With plenty of signature matchups and five-star talents, there were a lot of things to watch during a brief stop there during the first live evaluation period.

Here are some things to watch with the UAA, when they’ll be the focal point during the third live evaluation week as they host the UAA Finals in Las Vegas next week.

NICO MANNION AND JOSH GREEN aRE THE BEST 1-2 PUNCH IN THE UAA

Over the last few years, the duo of Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis have built a big reputation in the UAA. Deservedly so. But, over the next few weeks, the West Coast Elite duo of point guard Nico Mannion and Josh Green will be more fun to watch.

While the duo of Antoine and Lewis could end up being better long-term prospects (that’s a debate for another time), the duo of Mannion and Green have a unique chemistry playing with each other that Antoine and Lewis can lack at times since they play such similar positions.

Both Mannion and Green made major waves this weekend in the UAA Challenge.

Confirming to NBCSports.com that he intends to reclassify into the Class of 2019 from the Class of 2020, Mannion looked like he was ready to make the leap into college hoops. Second in the event in assists per game, Mannion had 38 of them over a six-game span (6.3 per game) and only had four turnovers in 164 minutes of action.

Also shooting 59 percent from the field and 83 percent from the free-throw line on his way to 15.8 points per contest, Mannion was incredibly efficient. He showed court savvy, athleticism and a solid perimeter jumper. Mannion has Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Marquette, Oregon and USC hard after him as he will be an intriguing point guard to watch during July.

Green, a 6-foot-6 two-way wing, was also incredibly efficient as he shot 71 percent from the field and 60 percent from three-point range on his way to 18.0 points, 3.1 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game. With four or more assists in four games, Green has natural floor vision and passing ability to go along with his scoring prowess. After showcasing a shaky perimeter jumper at times in the past, Green has worked with a trainer the past few months to become more consistent from deep. Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, UCLA, USC and Villanova are some of the schools that Green mentioned to NBCSports.com as being in the mix.

Both Green and Mannion are already five-star prospects. It’ll just be interesting to see them close out the live period the next two weeks because they have a chance to make some major noise.

ANTHONY EDWARDS HAS A CHANCE TO BE 2020’S BEST

The Class of 2019 doesn’t have a lot of star power in terms of No. 1 quality players — my colleague Rob Dauster went over that yesterday — but there seem to be a few worthy contenders in the Class of 2020.

Among them includes 6-foot-5 shooting guard Anthony Edwards. The Atlanta native was one of the must-see players of the first evaluation period. Playing in a high-profile matchup against five-star 2020 guard Jaden Springer, Edwards displayed a natural scoring ability thanks to his ridiculous athleticism and acumen for putting the ball in the basket; he’s what hoopheads will call a “bucket-getter”.

Although his jumper wasn’t falling from three-point range (5-for-22), Edwards still shot 57 percent from the field while putting up 22.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game during the weekend.

Displaying more vision and passing ability with his Atlanta Xpress team than in the camp setting, Edwards looked like a more complete guard at the UAA Challenge. He also defended to the tune of an event-leading 2.4 steals per game as Edwards has long arms and a quick first step to jump into passing lanes.

There is plenty of competition for the top spot in 2020, but Edwards is going to be among the major contenders with his summer play.

JEREMIAH EARL-ROBINSON IS AS PRODUCTIVE AS ANYONE IN THE CLASS

This summer has seen Jeremiah Robinson-Earl produce everywhere he has played. The 6-foot-8 Class of 2019 forward helped the USA U18 team win a gold medal while also leading the UAA Challenge in rebounds the first week of July.

A double-double machine who is improving his perimeter skill, Robinson-Earl is a hard-playing and intriguing combo forward who should join a high-level college rotation immediately. He has great secondary leaping ability that enables him to be a menace on the offensive glass as he’s particularly adept at putbacks.

If Robinson-Early can show an improved perimeter jumper and an ability to attack off the dribble, then he’ll have a chance to be a top-ten player in the class. He has the motor and production to rise if he fixes his flaws and he’ll have plenty of time to be a showcase player at IMG Academy next season.

Kansas is a perceived favorite with Robinson-Earl, as Bill Self coached him on the U18 team over the past several weeks before the live period. North Carolina and Arizona are among some other schools also trying to stay in the mix for Robinson-Earl as they try to pry him away from the Midwest.