Posted April 19, 2014

Jahlil Okafor, Cliff Alexander, others shine at Jordan Brand Classic

Jordan Brand Classic
Jahlil Okafor will attend Duke next season. (Robin Alam/Icon SMI)

Jahlil Okafor will attend Duke next season. (Robin Alam/Icon SMI)

NEW YORK — The top high school prospects in the country were on display Friday night at Barclays Center for the Jordan Brand Classic national game. The East topped the West, 158-147.

But in a game in which neither team was particularly committed to playing defense — Mike Bethea, the coach of the West, said at the postgame news conference, “Defense was out the window” — the outcome isn’t all that important. What college hoops fans are interested in are the players who shined. Here are four: Continue Reading

Posted April 20, 2014

LSU recruit Ben Simmons could be the next ambassador of Australian basketball

Recruiting
ben-simmons-monte-verde

Ben Simmons chose to attend Montverde without ever stepping foot on the school’s Florida campus. (Kelly Kline/Getty)

Ben Simmons hunched uncomfortably behind a table at Madison Square Garden, with a towel over his shoulder and a microphone in front of him. Montverde Academy’s 17-year-old junior forward had just led his team to a second consecutive national high school title, winning MVP honors in the process. Save for the white National Champions hat pulled low over his brow with tag still attached, you wouldn’t have known it.

Continue Reading

Posted April 18, 2014

Kentucky vs. Wichita State leads the 10 best games of the NCAA tournament

Kentucky Wildcats, March Madness, NCAA Tournament, Wisconsin Badgers
Aaron Harrison

Aaron Harrison’s heroics propelled Kentucky to the national title game and to three spots on this list. (MCT via Getty)

The NCAA tournament culminated in a championship game featuring a No. 7 seed (Connecticut) facing a No. 8 seed (Kentucky), the first time in history the title match did not feature a No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 seed. It took some nuttiness just to get to Monday night.

As it happened, Final Four entrants Kentucky, Connecticut and Wisconsin were involved in a good deal of the craziness. Here’s a look back at the 10 best games of the 2014 NCAA tournament:

Continue Reading

Posted April 17, 2014

Jordan Adams back to UCLA, Kentucky’s Young, Duke’s Hood heading to NBA draft

Duke Blue Devils, Kentucky Wildcats, NBA draft, UCLA Bruins
Jordan Adams, UCLA Bruins

Jordan Adams will be back for a Bruins team that lost Kyle Anderson and Zach LaVine to the draft. (Danny Moloshok/AP)

On Wednesday, both Kyle Anderson and Zach LaVine officially announced the decisions that had long been expected: they would be leaving UCLA early for the NBA draft. That left Jordan Adams, the Bruins’ leading scorer in 2013-14 and the key element to their hopes of contending next season, to decide if he would follow in their footsteps or come back to Westwood for his junior season. On Thursday, Adams decided to return, ensuring that UCLA will still matter in 2014-15.

Continue Reading

Posted April 18, 2014

Duke has the talent to cope with Jabari Parker’s departure, but other questions remain

Coach K, Duke Blue Devils, NCAA Tournament
Jabari Parker

Jabari Parker is gone, but talent may not be the biggest concern in Durham. (Lance King/Getty)

Well, it was a nice little fantasy for Duke fans: Maybe Jabari Parker might be wired differently. Maybe the tears after a stunning NCAA tournament loss and a contemplative stay-or-go process meant he’d fight the current sweeping him away from campus. Instead, Parker declared his intent to enter the NBA draft after one season in an essay published Thursday on SI.com. It was no surprise. It was one-and-done according to plan.

All it meant was that the Blue Devils’ faithful can move on to their next fantasy. Because Parker leaves, and in comes an overloaded recruiting class that makes the program a national championship contender again.

Continue Reading