Why Duke is the Best College Basketball Program

To no surprise, the Duke Blue Devils’ head into the 2017-18 season as one of the top ranked teams. You would think losing four players, three in the first round, to this year’s NBA draft would have hurt them. Instead, the Blue Devils brought in three of the top seven players among the Top 100 prospect list, as well as kept Grayson Allen for his senior year.

Barring injury, it looks like another National Championship banner could be headed to Durham. With all of Duke’s recent success, it got us thinking… do the Blue Devils have the best program in the NCAA?

Just going by the numbers, it is clear that no team in the modern era is even close to accomplishing what Duke has done, on and off the court.

To start off, let’s take a look at the five-time champions basketball résumé.

COACH KRZYZEWSKI & DUKE’S WINNING TRADITIONS

Before everyone freaks out about Duke being named a better program than UCLA, who won 10 titles from 1964 to 1975, let’s take a look back at the rules and regulations of that era. In nine of their 10 titles, UCLA only had to win four games during the NCAA Tournament. One thing that should also be noted, freshman weren’t even allowed to play varsity basketball until the 1972-73 season. In this past NBA draft, nine of the first ten selections were freshman. Imagine playing in a time in which some of the best players could not even step on the court? Players could not dunk the ball from 1968-1976. Not to mention the three-point shot wasn’t even introduced until 1986.

Let me say that one more time.

The three-point shot was not apart of the NCAA until 1986, thus proving that the game was much different, and not comparable to the one we see today.

Now that it’s clear the game really became official in 1986, let’s see how Duke compares to other major programs.

 

SCHOOL # OF CHAMPIONSHIPS SINCE 1986
DUKE 5
UNC 4
UCONN 4
KENTUCKY 3
SCHOOL # OF NCAA TOURNAMENT WINS SINCE 1986
DUKE 90
UNC 85
KANSAS 79
KENTUCKY 76
CONNECTICUT 55
ARIZONA 54
MICHIGAN STATE 54

ADDITIONAL FACTS

  • Duke has had 11 National Player of the Years
  • Duke has made the National Championship 11 total times
  • Duke has made 16 Final Fours
  • Duke has made 20 Elite Eights
  • Duke has made 29 Sweet Sixteens
  • Duke has had 71 McDonalds All-Americans (Most in NCAA)
  • Duke has the Most Consecutive APR Awards (Most in NCAA)

Next Level

  • Duke has had 23 Lottery Picks (MOST in NCAA)
  • Duke has had 32 First Round Picks (MOST in NCAA)
  • Duke has had 10 Top Three Picks since 1992 (MOST in NCAA)
  • Duke has had Multiple 1st Round Picks in five out of the last seven years

So how does one school stay on top, year after year? The answer: Krzyzewski.

The winningest coach in NCAA men’s basketball history, Mike Krzyzewski is clearly the most important piece to this storied university. His ability to lead, coach, and teach his players has made Duke a hot destination for upcoming freshman, year after year.

PAST FRESHMAN CLASSES

YEAR PLAYER(S) in Top 30 of ESPN Top 100
2017 Wendell Carter (#4), Trevon Duval (#5), Gary Trent Jr (#7)
2016 Harry Giles (#1), Jayson Tatum (#3), Frank Jackson (#10), Marques Bolden (#16)
2015 Brandon Ingram (#3), Chase Jeter (#11), Derryck Thornton (#17), Luke Kennard (#24)
2014 Jahlil Okafor (#1), Tyus Jones (#4), Justise Winslow (#15), Grayson Allen (#21)

What makes coach K so special? He tries not to focus too much on the x’s and o’s. Krzyzewski builds relationships with all of his players. He constantly asks them about their goals, both on the floor and off. Coach K focuses on the “we” concept, which is vital in creating a championship team. When recruiting, he doesn’t just look at talent. In an interview with Entrepreneur.com, coach explained how “academic ability and character” are two major evaluation areas for all incoming recruits.

Photo Courtesy of (nytimes.com)

When a relationship is established, it is very easy to gain trust. “Without trust, you have nothing” says Krzyzewski in an interview with Championship Coaches Network. His .755 winning percentage in March can be credited to the type of environment he creates for his team. In that same interview, when asked about culture and how he deals with players failing, Coach K exclaims how it is essential to “create an environment where people can make mistakes without worrying about it too much.” He would go on to say that, in order to successfully lead a program, one must “empower your assistants and the leadership on your team (like the captains) to speak and express themselves.” Coach K trusts his players and gives them confidence, which creates his winning culture.

Another significant advantage is the fact that Krzyzewski has been the head coach of the USA men’s basketball team since 2005. In that span, he has gone on to win Olympic Gold medals in each of the past three Olympics (2008, 2012, 2016). As a high school kid, whose dream is reaching the NBA, there is no better coach to play under than the guy who has spent countless summers with the best players in the world. Not only does Coach K offer great leadership and mentoring to the pros, but he is also able to pick up on how they train, and what they do to be successful. This information is then transferred over to his boys, which is a clear advantage for the talented young men.

Off the court, Krzyzewski remains nothing short of spectacular. Each semester, he keeps copies of everyone’s syllabi, and is alerted each week on how the team is doing. He constantly checks in with his players and asks them about upcoming papers and tests, making sure they feel just as confident in the classroom, as they do on the court.

This type of leadership has done wonders for the boys in the classroom. For instance, it is nearly impossible to find a year in which multiple Duke basketball players did not make the All-ACC Academic Team. In order to qualify for this team,  “a student-athlete must have earned a 3.00 grade point average for the previous semester and maintained a 3.00 cumulative average during his academic career” (theacc.com).

In the Classroom

As we know, academics is a huge part of the university itself. Duke University holds a 9% acceptance rate, one of the top 10 schools with the lowest acceptance rates.

What does that mean?

It means that one of Coach K’s roles is to ensure that his players can obtain the education at the university with no problems. By the looks of it, he has established great success regarding his players and their transcripts.

The last two years, the Blue Devils basketball team has posted a total of seven NCAA Academic ACC All Americans: Grayson Allen (2), Chase Jeter, Justise Winslow, Tyus Jones, Amile Jefferson (2) and Marshall Plumlee. The highest amount among any ACC team. Not to mention that Grayson 

Duke Basketball Grads IG: (@dukembb)

Allen was named an NCAA Academic All American. 2016 marked Duke’s 22nd consecutive year with at-least one player on the ACC all-academic team. To add, Duke holds a historical list of 91 total players on the ACC All Academic team. UNC stands in second place with only 57 players. 

With that being said, Duke produces talent on the basketball court, and definitely in the classroom.  Unfortunately, there are a plethora of other NCAA men’s basketball programs in which players are openly admitting to their tutors writing their papers, as well as constantly skipping out on classes. For example, in an interview with ESPN, Rashad McCants from UNC’s 2004-05 National Title team, he publicly announced his academic secrets by saying “he rarely went to class…and took bogus classes designed to keep athletes academically eligible” showing that his time was centrally focused on basketball. Or how about when Derrick Rose never took the SAT, instead having a friend take the test under Rose’s name. Rose went on to play at the University of Memphis, where John Calipari was coaching at the time. Now coaching at Kentucky, who knows what Calipari is allowing in his classrooms.

Let’s close the books and head back to the court. Cameron Indoor Stadium, home of the Duke Blue Devils, and the biggest homecourt advantage in all of college hoops. What gives Duke such an advantage? The Cameron Crazies. 

“The Cameron Crazies”

Cameron Indoor Stadium: the wildest stadium among any NCAA basketball stadiums, and home to “The Cameron Crazies”. It’s safe to say, the Cameron Crazies affect each and every home-game. Their ability to remain standing the entire game with the same antics play-by-play gives Duke the full advantage.

“The rowdiest…best-organized college basketball fans in the land” Says ESPN.

Photo Courtesy of (syracuse.com)

A major leap from other college basketball programs is Krzyzewskiville, also known as “K-Ville”. For those unaware of this, “K-Ville” is one of the homes to the Cameron Crazies besides the stadium itself. It stands as a spot designated for the “Crazies” to camp out before games. Yes, camp out. They set up tents, move their dorm furniture in, and live there until game-time. Something unlike any college basketball fan-base. The “K-Ville” is the rowdiest during the UNC rival game. Students camp out for days, waiting for the tip-off of the biggest college rivalry matchup.

During the last eight seasons, the Duke basketball team has lost only eight total games at home. Can you guess how many they have won?

125 games.

Yes, this team holds a 125-8 record at home, during the last eight seasons. Four of the last eight seasons, the Blue Devils recorded undefeated home records.

Its obvious that this team exceeds at their home stadium. I mean, who wouldn’t with a fan-base like the “Cameron Crazies”? They have been known for their antics to rattle the opposite-team. In the past, they have thrown Twinkies at players who were considered overweight. They have also said “you’ll work for us one-day”, exhibiting the academic levels at Duke compared to other schools.

Senior Grayson Allen calls them “The Best Fans in the World”. 

It’s no surprise that Duke will have yet another successful season. The history shows what this program is capable of doing.

This piece was a collaboration by Shane Leary and Jeremy Bhandari. You can Like The Game Haus on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter for more esports and sports coverage.

De’Aaron Fox 2017 NBA Draft: The highest ceiling of all players

History has shown us that quick, explosive guards can wreak havoc on opposing NBA defenses. De’Aaron Fox is no exception.

Background

De'Aaron Fox 2017 NBA Draft

Photo: USA Today Sports

De’Aaron Fox is a 6-foot-3, 190 pound 19-year-old point guard coming off a one-and-done stint with the Kentucky Wildcats. The one knock on him is that he is an inconsistent jump shooter, shooting just 24.6 percent from 3 per 40 minutes. Despite that, he still shoots 52.1 percent inside the three point line and averaged 16.7 points and 4.6 assists to go along with 4.0 rebounds.

His assist to turnover ratio is nearly 2/1 and he shoots 73.6 percent from the free throw line. Fox is an electric point guard who loves to turn up the pace. He loves to get out in transition and put pressure on defenses which is when he’s at his best.

Performance against top prospects

Obviously against a few of the top prospects Fox isn’t guarding them directly, however, he does show up in big games against tough competition. In two games against Lonzo Ball and UCLA, the prospects split the two games. Lonzo finished the two games averaging 12 points, 7.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds. Fox finished with an average of 29.5 points, 6.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds, effectively dominating his two matchups with UCLA’s star guard.

De'Aaron Fox 2017 NBA Draft

Former Kentucky guard De’Aaron Fox, photo courtesy of Sports News Empire.

 

In a tough road loss against Louisville, Fox outplayed prospect Donovan Mitchell. Fox scored 21 points had three assists, two rebounds while Mitchell had 13 points, four rebounds and one assist.

 

He also had a let down game against top-five prospect Josh Jackson. Fox had just 10 points, two assists and two rebounds in a home loss to the Kansas Jayhawks. Jackson capitalized and had 20 points, 10 rebounds and three assists, outplaying Fox in every category.

Ultimately, showing he can play in big games and on a big stage is important to NBA owners. Fox has shown that when the lights are brightest he puts some of his best games together.

Comparison

De'Aaron Fox 2017 NBA Draft

Former Kentucky guard John Wall, photo courtesy of ESPN.

Another Kentucky Wildcat comes to mind when watching Fox play. John Wall was a fast paced one-and-done player that lacked a jump shot coming into the NBA. He is now one of the top point guards in the league and has steadily improved his 3-point shot every year since his collegiate days.

The freshman year statistics for both are eerily similar. Fox averaged .1 more points per game while Wall averaged 1.9 more assists, .3 more rebounds a game and shot 1.8 percent better from the free throw line.

Fox shot 1.7 percent better from the field than Wall and had a higher assist to turnover ratio (Fox:1.9/1, Wall:1.63/1). Both are extremely close in almost every statistical category and both led their teams to the Elite Eights.

Best Fit

Obviously Fox has a lot to prove. He is a surefire lottery pick that seems destined to go top five in the draft.

Fox’s best fit in the draft is at the fifth pick to the Sacramento Kings and would join an aging back court with Darren Collison and Ty Lawson. This creates an opportunity to take the reigns for years to come. 

Fox, along with guard Buddy Hield would look to form a young nucleus. The two would look to create a backcourt that could be lethal for years to come. Fox would get an opportunity to play in his first year and raise his NBA value as soon as he gets into the league.

De’Aaron Fox might not be the best player in the draft pool at this point but he is quickly on the rise and full of potential. There have been countless players who have developed a jump shot throughout their years in the NBA and Fox is a jump shot away from being an All-Star for years to come.

 

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Mohamed Bamba

You’ll want to remember this name: Mohamed Bamba

This year’s recruiting class has been very interesting to watch. Players are finalizing their decisions, committing and signing with schools and looking ahead to their college careers.

One player has stood out though: Mohamed Bamba.

He is the No. 3 prospect in the nation, and he recently chose Texas over Kentucky, Duke and Michigan. The Longhorns’ 2017 class is ranked fifth in the nation according to ESPN’s most recent rankings.

Why he chose texas

If there was one word to describe the Harlem native, it would be unconventional. Bamba is a high-profile recruit who could turn the college scene upside down next year. The 7-footer could be a big contributor to Texas’ high strung press. If he can use his length on defense around the rim, he’ll be hard to stop.

Mohamed Bamba

Mohamed Bamba, No. 3 recruit in the nation (Photo by Getty Images)

The Longhorns were 4-14 in conference play last season and 11-22 overall. They don’t have the best track record in the postseason either. They didn’t make it to the tournament this past season, and they lost to Northern Iowa in the first round of the 2016 tournament. In 2015, they lost to Butler in the second round.

Needless to say, they have a lot of room for improvement.  Texas also has a very competitive conference with West Virginia, Baylor and Kansas. However, why would one of the top prospects choose a team that did so poorly over some of the top teams in the nation?

That’s just who he is. He does things people wouldn’t expect. He’ll be in the spotlight a lot more than he would be at Kentucky or Duke. He would stand out regardless of the school he chose, but he’ll really stand out at Texas. Some people are predicting him to be a top-five draft pick for 2018, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

What sets him apart

Mohamed Bamba is distinct for many reasons. The 7-footer has a wingspan of 7-foot-9 and a standing reach of 9-foot-6, which is incredible. As a senior he averaged 14 points, 12 rebounds and 8 blocks per game at Westtown High School. He also brought home two state titles for the school his junior and senior years, the first state titles the school has ever had, in any sport.

“It’s his arms, man … his arms,” said Ayton, who’s taking his No. 1 ranking to Arizona next year. “He will contest every shot. And trust me, he’s going to block you. When I say he dominates the defensive end, it’s crazy. Like, for me to not even go in the post and be out shooting jumpers? It’s like — that’s what coaches want. He takes you out of your game. He’s dominant.”

-DeAndre Ayton, University of Arizona commit

Bamba will be dominant because he takes players out of their comfort zone. He forces them to shoot shots they wouldn’t normally take. He’s also agile, lengthy, athletic as all get out and quick. No doubt he will be a strong force in the conference, and for the Longhorns in general.

other freshman talent

Mohamed Bamba will be joined by signees Matt Coleman, Jericho Sims, Royce Hamm and Jase Febres. Like mentioned before, they are the fifth-ranked class in the nation.

The Longhorns have been out of the spotlight for the past couple years, but this class could be the one to put them back into college basketball conversation.

Coleman especially will have a big impact at the point guard position. That’s been part of the problem for the Longhorns. They haven’t had leadership from the point guard. Coleman should be able to change that.

The freshmen will also have some upperclassmen talent to round out the team. Andrew Jones will be back for his sophomore season. Kerwin Roach Jr. and Eric Davis Jr. will also be returning as guards. Most importantly, the team has Mohamed Bamba. Trust me, you’ll be hearing his name a lot this year.

 

Featured image by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

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Trevon Bluiett

All hail Xavier: Trevon Bluiett is coming back

Christmas has come early for the Xavier men’s basketball team. Trevon Bluiett announced that he will be returning for his senior season. Here’s a few reasons why this isn’t your regular old sports update- this is BIG news.

Trevon Bluiett gets buckets

I think the headline says it all. Bluiett has been a dream for head coach Chris Mack because his scoring average has consistently gone up each year. As a freshman he averaged 11 points per game, which increased to 15.1 his sophomore year and 18.5 this past season. He has also averaged over four rebounds per game in all three seasons.

Let us not forget when he dropped 40 points against Cincinnati this year, despite losing the game. In fact, he shot better from behind the 3-point arc (81.8 percent) than he did from the free throw line (77.8 percent). Now that is respectable.

The Indianapolis native shot 43.8 percent from the field while averaging 35.1 minutes per game throughout the season. It’s no doubt he’ll be putting in a lot of time this summer to further increases his averages and draft stock for next year.

future big east title

Trevon will be in good company with returners J.P. Macura (who averaged 14.4 PPG last season), Sean O’ Mara, Kaiser Gates and Quentin Goodin.

Quentin Goodin averaged 3.4 assists per game and 5.1 points per game. As a freshman he averaged 24.1 minutes per game and gave the team good boosts throughout the season.

He scored 16 points against St. John’s the second time around and 15 points in a two-point victory over Creighton. Throughout the tournament he played a lot of minutes but didn’t put up big numbers. Hopefully with a year of experience under his belt, he’ll be able to contribute more next year.

Trevon Bluiett

Mandatory photo credit: Orlando Rising

Sean O’ Mara will bring great senior leadership to Xavier’s squad. He and Trevon will be able to fearlessly lead the team. Sean only played an average of 13.8 minutes per game last year, but with players leaving, there will be an opportunity to pick up more minutes.

Kaiser Gates, the 6-foot-8 forward from Georgia, will be entering his junior year for the Musketeers. He added 14 points against Florida State in the second round of the tournament and will be a strong presence in the forward position.

In addition to the wealth of returners, Xavier has the 12th-ranked incoming freshman class as well as Kerem Kanter (Green Bay graduate transfer).

As for freshman, the Musketeers are adding Paul Scruggs, Naji Marshall, Jared Ridder, Elias Harden and Kentrevious Jones to their roster. Scruggs had offers from Louisville, Michigan State, Kansas, Indiania, Washington plus a few more. At Xavier, he’ll have a direct impact at the point guard position.

Xavier came in seventh place in a very tough Big East conference this past year. They were topped by Villanova, Butler and Marquette to name a few.

However, not many teams have the same amount of returning power and young guns to compete with this seasoned Xavier team. Next year will be interesting to watch as the Musketeers look to run at a high-pace in conference play and the tournament.

NCAA tournament hopes

Tournament time might as well be known as Trevon time. He averaged 21.3 points per game in their four-game tournament run. If you don’t recall their March Madness run, here’s a quick recap: wins over Maryland, Florida State and Arizona but a loss to Gonzaga.

Trevon knows the atmosphere and he’s already showed that he can perform well under pressure. Surely, he will do the same thing next year.

As a whole, Xavier is bringing back six out of nine of their top scorers. Don’t forget, they still reached the Elite Eight without Edmond Sumner (torn ACL) and they have a great freshman class, as stated above. The sky is the limit for this team.

Xavier has always been a consistently good tournament team as well. Last year they made it to the second round and lost by three to Wisconsin. Trevon’s freshman year, the Musketeers made it to the Sweet Sixteen and lost by eight to a second-ranked Arizona team.

The statistics speak for themselves, Xavier is not a team you want to mess with, especially with Trevon Bluiett coming back.

 

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One and Done

One-and-Done Rule is Not Making College Basketball Any Better

The one-year after high school rule was implemented in in 2005 and hasn’t gotten any less controversial since.

In 2005, the NBA under David Stern ruled that a player had to be at least 19 years old to play in the NBA and must be one year removed from high school. College basketball hasn’t been the same since.

We have seen some of the greatest players in NBA history skip college to go to high school. Kevin Garnett in 1995 opened up the door, Kobe the year after and Tracy McGrady the year after that. Those are three really huge names.

One and Done

Kevin Garnett was one of the more successful players to go to the NBA straight out of high school (Photo/ Google Images).

But players who have skipped college haven’t all been good and have produced some busts. Including Korleone Young in 1998, Jonathan Bender in 1999 and Darius Miles in 2000.

After a number of busts skipped college and came through the draft lottery, it was an incentive to commissioner at the time David Stern to take a closer look into the rule. He believed that it was in NBA owner’s best interest to see a player for a year before they drafted them.

And one of the other main believers of this rule was Michael Jordan, who was both part owner of the Washington Wizards and in charge of basketball operations at the time.

Jordan thought there was a decreasing level of professionalism in the league. He argued that it was hard to scout high schoolers and they need to learn the fundamentals in order to be successful in the league.

Of course Jordan couldn’t help drafting, straight out of high school, Kwame Brown with the first pick in the 2001 draft. That didn’t turn out well for the Wizards.

Then of course came LeBron James in 2003, but that obviously didn’t stop Stern.

Stern’s rule does make sense in a way. It is smart in the fact that it often times gives NBA teams more time and opportunity to scout. It also gives players more time to develop their skills in college for another year. But here’s the problem with the “one and done” rule.

The fact that a person can join the military and fight for your country right after high school, and get paid doing it, seems rather odd. You can handle a M16 in Iraq at 18 but you can’t play basketball for money in America.

One and Done

Coach K (Right) and Coach Cal (Left), seem to be taking advantage of the one and done players the most (Photo/ Getty Images).

It has also changed the game of college basketball. It hasn’t necessarily made it worse but it definitely hasn’t made it better. Teams like Duke and Kentucky are virtually unrecognizable from one year to the next. Players draft stock can decrease, they could get injured, and any number of things could happen that would affect their ability to play at the next level.

Still after twelve years of the one-year after college rule, it is still one of the most debated topics in college basketball.

It hasn’t made college basketball worse, but it hasn’t made it any better.

 

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Purdue Basketball Roster 2017

Purdue Basketball Roster 2017: The Future is Bright

If there could be one word to describe Purdue’s 2017-18 basketball roster, it would be hopeful. However, hope doesn’t win basketball games, players do.

The Boilermakers finished off this past season with a Big Ten regular season conference title and went 27-8 on the season. Their road to the final four was cut short with a loss to Kansas in the Sweet 16, but it’s just motivation to work over the summer. They also have key players returning and a good class of freshmen coming in.

On the downside, the Boilermakers will most likely be losing their, 6-foot-9 big man, Caleb Swanigan. He averaged 18.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game this past season and will likely be a first-round pick in the NBA.

“He’s a borderline first-round guy, and I’m not sure how he will have a better year than he did this past year,” one NBA GM told ESPN.com. “I don’t see how he improves his stock coming back,” another NBA executive said. (Source: ESPN)

Swanigan was more than just a big man. There were many games fans might call him “Mr. Clutch.” Despite his numbers dropping a little at the end, he had some stellar games during regular season play. In the matchup against Notre Dame, Swanigan scored 26 points for a five-point victory over the Fighting Irish. He also added big numbers against Minnesota, Illinois and on Michigan State’s home floor.

The squad will miss his talents for sure, but it isn’t set in stone that he’s going to the NBA yet. Swanigan hasn’t hired an agent yet, but people are skeptical that he’ll have a better season if he stays another year.

who’s coming back

Purdue can count on senior Isaac Haas, the center who averaged 12.6 points in 19.5 minutes per game. He also had a field goal percentage of 58.7 percent, the highest on the team.

In addition to Haas, Dakota Mathias will be returning for his senior season at the guard position. Mathias led the team with 3.8 assists per game as he took on a larger role for the team. His playing time increased significantly from his sophomore season.

Purdue Basketball Roster 2017

Photo Courtesy of hammerandnails.com

Senior Vince Edwards will also be returning, and contributing big minutes and points. He’s a threat at the forward position with his strong skill set and athleticism.

P.J. Thompson, another senior guard, will also be finishing up his career as a Boilermaker. Thompson at 5-foot-10 doesn’t seem like the crafty guard he is, but teams are learning to respect him more.

The senior class will be the backbone of the team, providing strong leadership and standards for all the new kids coming in. Carsen Edwards will also be entering his sophomore year, which comes with higher expectations and hopefully more minutes. Purdue will also look to him a little more.

like I said, the future is bright

Purdue has Nojel Eastern signed at the shooting guard position, straight out of Evanston, Illinois. He should have an early impact as a freshman. Eastern will also be joined by Matt Haarms, Aaron Wheeler, Eden Ewing and Sasha Stefanovic. While it isn’t quite the same caliber players that Kentucky has coming in, Purdue will be a strong contender for the Big Ten title again next year.

NAME POS STATUS GRADE
Nojel Eastern SG Signed 83
Matt Haarms C Signed 80
Aaron Wheeler SF Signed 78
Sasha Stefanovic SG Committed
Eden Ewing SF Signed

(Source: ESPN)

Featured Image by Bleacher Report

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LaVar Ball

LaVar Ball is The Worst Thing In Basketball

LaVar Ball is one of the most disliked, if not the most disliked person in sports right now. It’s safe to say that LaVar Ball has rubbed some feathers with people over the past year.

He’s said some absurd things for sure. Like how he thinks his son Lonzo is better than Steph Curry and could do more on the Warriors and contribute more than Steph does. And then came the Jordan comments.

Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time (arguably), LaVar said he could beat one-on-one in his hay day. LaVar averaged 2.2 points in one year at Washington State, the same year Michael Jordan averaged 35 in the NBA and won defensive player of the year.

The comment was one thing, but the fact that LaVar Ball actually meant it and continues to stand by it, is another.

LaVar Ball

LaVar and his son Lonzo after a game last season (Photo/ Richard Mackson).

And now we have the new Lonzo Ball shoes, which are set at $495 a pair as well as flip flops, which are set at $220 a pair.

From a business standpoint LaVar Ball is extremely smart, even though he may not be making the decisions because of that reason. It seems like he’s making decisions based on the fact that he believes his sons are the greatest basketball players of all time.

But he does get people talking about his son’s and now his shoes.  If the shoes where in the $200 range people wouldn’t be talking about them as much as they are now.  So from a business standpoint LaVar Ball is pretty smart, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t obnoxious.

No player has come into the NBA with their own shoe brand, so Lonzo is the first to do that. But, the reason for that is because Nike, Adidas and Under Armour all passed on endorsement deals. Which will make Lonzo, the potential top pick in the draft, a rare exception as many top three picks get endorsement deals.

And it might very well be safe to say it’s because of his dad because LaVar did meet with all three companies to try and get a deal done. None of them bought in.

Longtime Nike executive George Raveling said LaVar Ball was “the worst thing to happen to basketball in the last hundred years.”

It’s true, LaVar Ball is the worst.

What makes it so sad and annoying is not the Jordan comments or the laughable price for his shoes, but how he could be affecting his son’s draft stock.

Lonzo is quiet and doesn’t say much, which is kind of strange, as his father doesn’t stop. Like father, like son doesn’t really apply here. When asked about his father all Lonzo had to say was, “No, I’m not embarrassed. I know how he’s going to act. I just go out there and play. Let him be him.”

For the most part the sports universe has no problem with Lonzo as a whole. Sure, people dislike him for different reasons but nothing like his father.

LaVar Ball

Lonzo (left) is the oldest among the three Ball brothers. LiAngelo (Right) is the second oldest and Lamelo (middle) is the youngest. (Photo/ Google Images).

The draft order has yet to be set but the Boston Celtics are the favorite to get the number one overall pick. Many have argued that Lonzo should be the number one pick, but then that would entail having to deal with his father. The Celtics, who already have all star point guard, Isaiah Thomas, will most likely have Lonzo play behind of along side Thomas.

If you draft Lonzo Ball, you get LaVar and most teams don’t want LaVar.

We’ll have to see where Lonzo lands but if he lands anywhere besides Los Angeles it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

And don’t think this is going to end anytime soon. Even if Lonzo was to get injured and never play again, which we hope doesn’t happen because he seems like a good kid and a good teammate, there are two more Ball kids. And they both already committed to UCLA, which means more LaVar.

In the grand scheme of things, there’s a reason why Michael Jordan hasn’t responded to any of LaVar’s comments.

He’s not worth Jordan’s time.

 

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It’s on the Haus: Spurs win, Trail Blazers’ new logo, LaVar Ball talked again and Matt Harvey

It’s on the Haus is a daily installment of sports news from the past day. Rather than waiting an entire hour to see the big news on a television program or come to multiple stories on multiple websites to get your sports fix, It’s on the Haus gives you the biggest sports happenings all in one place. You may feel guilty for reading this concise article that gives you everything you need to know, but don’t worry, It’s on the Haus.

San Antonio Spurs Score More Points Than Houston Rockets

The San Antonio Spurs won a pivotal Game 5 against the Houston Rockets last night, taking a 3-2 series lead with their 110-107 win. The game needed an overtime period to decide the winner, and James Harden choked. Harden was 1-6 from the field, including 0-5 from behind the arc and also had four turnovers in what ESPN Stats & Info called “clutch time”.

It’s about time that the NBA feeds us fans a good playoff game. I’m tired of watching teams win in easier fashion than I dumped my AB calculus exam in high school (I got a one, which is either good or bad, depending on your worldview).

The game was a thriller from the tip to the final buzzer. The series heads to Houston for Game 6, and the Rockets will need to take each of the next two in order to advance to the Western Conference finals.

Now, that I’ve made my obligatory actual news post, let’s get onto the more important and pressing news from the day.

Portland Trail Blazers Dump Old Logo for Basically the Same Thing

The Portland Trail Blazers’ marketing scrubs are getting paid six figures for this garbage?

Spurs Portland Trail Blazers LaVar Ball Matt Harvey

 

I know the internet is no place for crude language, so excuse my next sentence.

What the frickin’ heck, Portland? My 18-month-old niece is as creative as this new logo. I know I’m one of the more crucial logo pundits this side of the internet, but this is terrible. The only differences I see are that the red is now on top and the lines are a little differently shaped.

This is an outrage, and I will not stand for it. Luckily, I’m typing this while sitting, so let’s move onto the next topic.

LaVar Ball Continues to Say Questionable Words

LaVar Ball insinuated that his son, Lonzo, is more accomplished than Michael Jordan in his appearance on Fox Sports 1’s Undisputed on Monday.

When co-host Shannon Sharpe questioned how LaVar thinks anyone will buy his son’s shoe when MJ couldn’t sell his for $100, LaVar symbolically laid in front of a steamroller with his reply.

“Cause he ain’t Lonzo Ball, that’s why,” LaVar said. “This is a new era called the Ball era.”

There’s really no analysis to give here. There’s no reason to break down what LaVar said, because we’ve heard it all before.

I truly feel bad for Lonzo and all the Ball sons. Their dad won’t shut up, and he doesn’t even have the decency to talk calmly about Lonzo. Lonzo Ball will live a career that is unprecedented to this point, and will be endlessly ridiculed if he turns out to be a bust in the NBA.

Even if all the Ball sons are busts, they’ll be able to live off the 263 pairs of shoes they sold for the next ten years.

Matt Harvey Can’t Stop and May Never Stop

The New York Mets duped Matt Harvey out of his scheduled start last Sunday and suspended him for three games retroactive to Saturday. Harvey skipped the Mets’ game on Saturday after being inflicted with a migraine during the day.

Spurs Portland Trail Blazers LaVar Ball Matt Harvey

Photo: (JIM MCISAAC/GETTY IMAGES)

On Tuesday, Harvey held a press conference to talk about his whereabouts. Harvey revealed he was out past curfew on Friday night and hit the green for some golf on Saturday morning. Harvey expressed remorse for his actions and said he was ready to put the incident behind him.

Harvey has put himself in between a rock and a hard place with all his shenanigans in his time with the Mets. He’s got a 5.14 ERA this season after posting a 4.86 ERA last season. The Mets won’t cut lose the 28-year-old, but his leash has got to be as short as it’s ever been.

And while we’re here, can we talk about why Harvey went golfing in the morning after being out past curfew the night before? My sources couldn’t tell me when a typical curfew is for MLB teams, but a half-hearted search on your favorite search engine database will probably give you the answer.

I love my sleep, as do all respectable humans. Why in the world would Harvey stay out late, lose sleep and then decide to go golf of all things the next morning? There’s not many things to sacrifice sleep over, but golfing is definitely not one of them.

 

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Kentucky Basketball: The Manufacturer of NBA Players

Coach John Calipari has the top-ranked recruiting class of 2017. This isn’t a surprise, considering the nature of his program. Coach Cal had the second-ranked recruiting class in the nation last year that included Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo.

These three players have declared for the 2017 NBA Draft and are forgoing the rest of their college eligibility. They also led the team statistically in many areas and were the reason for a lot of the team’s success. This isn’t a new trend, and Kentucky will continue this process with the 2017 recruiting class.

Looking back

In six of the past seven years, the Wildcats have had at least two players go in the first round of the draft. Three out of those seven years, a Wildcat was the No. 1 overall pick. Those players were John Wall, Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns.

The statistics speak for themselves. Kentucky knows how to manufacture NBA players. Whether this process is moral or not, isn’t what I want to discuss. I just want to look at why it happens and how it impacts college basketball as a whole.

Kentucky Basketball Manufactures Players for NBA Draft

Karl-Anthony Towns who previously played for Kentucky Wildcats (Photo by en.yibada.com)

More specifically, I’d like to discuss the amount of freshmen that are one-and-done. In 2015, Skal Labissiere and Jamal Murray played their freshman year and were both drafted in the first round.

The same applied for 2014, as Towns, Trey Lyles and Devin Booker were drafted after their freshman season. Towns was also the No. 1 pick as previously noted.

If you don’t see the trend yet, take a look at 2013. Nerlens Noel and Archie Goodwin were two additional freshmen that declared for the draft after their first year. Goodwin was the leading scorer for the Wildcats that year, as well as Freshman All-SEC.

This is all to make the point that Kentucky brings in top-notch recruits and sends them to the NBA.

SEC and NCaa tournament success

The Wildcats are a powerhouse, and this is why they draw in so many high-caliber recruits. It’s inevitable that everyone will talk about the morality of one and done. Kentucky is the team that takes advantage and has produced a winning program that attracts these players. Duke is another school that takes part in this type of recruiting, but not as much.

The Wildcats took first in the SEC with big production from their freshmen this year. Malik Monk lead the team, averaging 19.8 points per game. De’Aaron Fox lead the team in assists per game with 4.6. Finally, Bam Adebayo had the top field goal percentage of 59.9 percent and averaged over 30 minutes per game for the Wildcats. These three players led the charge for Kentucky.

Malik Monk, freshman at Kentucky who recently declared for 2017 NBA Draft (Photo by CBSsports.com)

However, a program that relies solely on freshmen is bound to have some problems. Leadership is evident but not prevalent.

These guys are 18-20 years old and haven’t played in big-time games yet, but their team still relies on them. This leads to uncharacteristic losses like the loss to Indiana in the second round in 2016. However, once these true freshmen get to play on the big stage, they usually don’t look back.

Kentucky is quite successful in the tournament. The Wildcats have played in four Final Fours since 2011. They won the 2012 title back when Anthony Davis was a freshman and Doron Lamb ruled the court.

2017 Recruiting Class

Looking ahead, the trend should continue. Kevin Knox just announced his commitment to Kentucky for the 2017 season and he is the No. 9 prospect in the country. Knox joins P.J. Washington (No. 11), Nick Richards (No. 16), Jarred Vanderbilt (No. 18), Quade Green (No. 23), and Hamidou Diallo.

However, Diallo will not be playing on the college stage next year. He enrolled in January of this year and declared for the draft without playing in a true college game.

What does all of this mean? Unless the one-and-done rule changes anytime soon or Coach Calipari is involved in a major scandal, Kentucky will continue to dominate. That is, dominating the NBA through the amount of players they send after one year of college ball.

 

(Featured Image by Sportingnews.com)

 

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Kentucky Recruiting Class

Kentucky Lands a Stacked 2017 Recruiting Class

Just when you think the Kentucky Wildcats can’t get any stronger, they do.

The Wildcats recently landed five-star commit Kevin Knox on Saturday. He is the No. 9 prospect in the class of 2017. Knox committed to Kentucky over Duke, Florida State, North Carolina and Missouri.

The addition of Knox adds to Kentucky’s already stacked recruiting class for next year. Kentucky, who already had the No. 1 ranked recruiting class before Knox, will add yet another five-star prospect.

Kentucky

Kevin Knox the No. 9 recruit in the 2017 class is just the most recent addition of John Calipari’s stacked recruiting class (Photo/ Brian Rothmuller).

Knox took an official visit to all five of his finalists as well as another visit to Duke in October and visits to Florida State, Kentucky and North Carolina in January and February.

Missouri came back into the running late when they signed Michael Porter Jr., the No. 1 overall ranked recruit. However, Kentucky prevailed as the top dog as usual.

Knox joins other five-star recruits P.J Washington (No. 11), Nick Richards (No. 16), Jarred Vanderbilt (No. 18), Quade Green (No. 23) and Hamidou Diallo.

Diallo enrolled in Kentucky in January and has been practicing with the team ever since, but never appeared in a game. He has also entered his name in the NBA draft, but did not sign with an agent.

“When I decided to enroll in school in January, my plan was to come to Kentucky to work on my game and to focus on school,” Diallo said in a release. “At the end of the season, I knew I wanted to see where I was in the draft process and go through that so I could get a proper evaluation.”

Diallo said his plans are still the same, but he wants to see where he stands among other NBA prospects.

“That plan hasn’t changed, and that’s why I am declaring for the NBA draft,” he said. “I do not plan on hiring an agent at this time. I want to see where my game is and explore my options.”

There is a chance Diallo isn’t with the Wildcats next year. However, if he does come back, it will be another dangerous addition to this 2017-18 Wildcat squad.

On top of the five-star recruits, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (No. 33), Jemarl Baker (No. 63) and a couple of four-star recruits also join the 2017 Wildcat class. There could be more coming too. Mohamed Bamba, the top uncommitted prospect, is still yet to choose between Kentucky, Duke, Texas and Michigan.

Kentucky lost freshmen De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk and Bam Adebayo to the NBA draft. The Wildcats also lost sophomores Isaiah Briscoe and Isaac Humphries in addition to potentially Diallo.

If there’s one thing we know about Kentucky, it’s that they can restock fast. The 2017 recruiting class is just another example of that.

Come the start of the 2017 season, the Wildcats will most likely be the No. 1 ranked preseason team again and favorite to win the National Championship.

 

(Featured Image by Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos)

 

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