Posts Tagged ‘College Hoops’

kareem

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar kept up his criticism of LaVar Ball on Friday, saying that the publicity-seeking hoops dad is cheapening the college game.

“Everybody knows about his sons because he has been able to hype them,” Abdul-Jabbar told Philadelphia radio station 97.5 The Fanatic. “But I don’t think that’s good for college basketball. It looks like it’s a huckster show. And that bothers me, you know. You have people going those lengths to promote their kids. I don’t get it.”

The 70-year-old Hall of Famer has been critical of Ball before, saying last month that he doesn’t think LaVar is doing his sons any good. Like Abdul-Jabbar, Lonzo Ball starred at UCLA and could also end up playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Abdul-Jabbar, who has won more NBA MVPs (six) than anyone else in history, also reiterated his viewpoint that the one-and-done rule is a “travesty” for college basketball.

“One-and-dones doesn’t make any sense to me,” he said. “To have somebody come and be on campus for six months and play a basketball season, what is that? … it’s not good for the college game and it hasn’t been good for the pro game. I think they better find a different way of dealing with those issues.”

There’s a sense that alterations will need to eventually come to both eligibility and draft rules. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has gone on record saying the league is considering ditching the one-and-done rule as early as next season.

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Duke is on top of the college basketball world again.

The Blue Devils outlasted a resilient Wisconsin squad 68-63 to take home its fifth national title on Monday night.

For Duke, the story wasn’t Jahlil Okafor or Justise Winslow. Instead, this was Tyus Jones’ game and Grayson Allen’s coming out party.

Jones was too much for the Badgers, notching a game-high 23 points to go with five rebounds, including 19 of Duke’s 37 points in the second half, earning Most Outstanding Player honors. But Jones, one of the Blue Devils’ catalysts all season, was expected to come up big. Allen, on the other hand, was a rude awakening for Wisconsin.

The freshman guard didn’t play against the Badgers the first time around. But on the night that mattered most, he made his case as the best player on the court.

Allen was everywhere – diving for balls, pulling down rebounds and scoring critical baskets. On numerous occasions, he created must-see moments, making layups he had no business attempting.

In the last six games, Allen scored a combined 18 points. In the title game, he finished with 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line.

Now, it’s not to say that Okafor and Winslow were invisible, because they were far from it. The problem was that they got into foul trouble early, earning spots on the bench with four personal fouls each.

That didn’t stop the duo from combining for 21 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks in the win.

But despite Duke’s late surge, it was impossible to dictate who would come out on top early, as the teams exchanged the lead 11 times in the first half and 16 times overall.

Duke shot 50 percent to Wisconsin’s 38 percent in the first half, taking the title game into halftime with a tie for the first time since 1988. They finished shooting 47 and 41 percent, respectively.

Across the court, inconsistent play by the Badgers proved to be their Achilles’ heel down the stretch.

Wisconsin converted six of their 20 shots from the field to go with three turnovers in the opening 14 minutes. On the flipside, they had no turnovers on 6-of-11 shooting from the field over the final six of the first half.

At one point in the second half, Wisconsin went close to four minutes without scoring a basket, while Duke continued to pad the score sheet in that same stretch.

Although the awards belonged to Frank Kaminsky over the weekend, he wasn’t able to carry the team to the promised land. Still, he did his part, scoring a double-double with a team-high 21 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

Kaminsky’s performance was good enough for a win, but Wisconsin found success in the tournament – most notably against Kentucky – because everyone was involved in a big way, not a one-man show.

In the title game, that wasn’t the case. When the Badgers struggled, they depended on Kaminsky – and Duke knew it. Sam Dekker notched 12 points and eight rebounds, while Nigel Hayes scored 13 of his own.

But Traevon Jackson, the star when Duke upended Wisconsin in December, was invisible with a modest two points. Senior Josh Gasser also stumbled, failing to sink a basket while pulling down six rebounds.

So what was the turning point in the game?

Up nine with both Okafor and Winslow on the bench, that was the window for the Badgers to tighten the screws – and they couldn’t do it.

Allen went on a personal 8-3 run, keeping his team in the game long enough to pull away one last time before the final buzzer went off in the 2014-15 season.

While most coaches would revel in being undefeated, Kentucky coach John Calipari calls for punishment instead.

“We need somebody to punch us in the face,” Calipari told Myron Medcalf of ESPN, ahead of his team’s matchup Saturday with fourth-ranked Louisville (11-0). “Now let’s see if we can still have fun. Can we enjoy this? If we’re a world-class team, you enjoy this even if they’re coming after you. It’s going to be a tough game for us.

“We know that.”

The No. 1 Wildcats (12-0) are preparing for a raucous atmosphere on the road Saturday at Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center.

“It’s loud, it’s a really fun environment because they hate us,” Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein said. “It’s fun to play in those conditions. It just makes the game that much more passionate. It’s not dull. It’s not quiet. It’s going to be loud the whole time.

“They hate us, though. I guess that’s just how rivalries are. It goes both ways. Our fans hate them.”

The Wildcats lead the all-time series against the Cardinals, 32-15.