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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

College Basketball

Michael Porter Jr says he is best player in NBA Draft

Michael Porter Jr

This year’s NBA Draft class is absolutely loaded, and Michael Porter Jr. says he is the best of the bunch.

Porter spoke with reporters on Thursday at the NBA scouting combine and expressed confidence in himself.

Porter entered his freshman season as one of the top prospects in his class. His season at Missouri was marred by a back injury that required surgery, limiting Porter to just 53 minutes in three games.

Time will tell whether Porter shakes out to be the best player in the 2018 draft, but he certainly will have competition. Luka Doncic, Marvin Bagley III, Deandre Ayton, Mo Bamba, Trae Young and Collin Sexton are among the other top prospects in the class.

Kentucky adds non-conference games against Utah, Ohio State

Kentucky Wildcats logo

The University of Kentucky on Thursday announced that they have added some new games to their non-conference schedule in upcoming years.

The Wildcats will face Utah in each of the next two seasons. The first matchup will take place on Dec. 15, 2018 at Rupp Arena. The two teams will meet again on Dec. 18, 2019. The second game will be played in Las Vegas at T-Mobile Arena.

Kentucky will also take on Ohio State in Las Vegas in 2019. That game is scheduled for Dec. 21, 2019 also at T-Mobile Arena. The game will be a part of the CBS Sports Classic.

Kentucky and Utah have history even though they haven’t played since 2005. They played each other for the national championship in 1998, which was won by the Wildcats. Kentucky has a 9-2 series lead against Utah all-time.

Trae Young aspires to be as good as his ‘favorite player’ Steve Nash

Trae Young

The Phoenix Suns earned the No. 1 overall pick in Tuesday night’s NBA Draft Lottery, and the player who led the nation in scoring last season may be trying to appeal to their fan base.

Former Oklahoma point guard Trae Young attended the event, and he said during an interview that his favorite player growing up was Suns legend Steve Nash.

“My favorite player of all time is Steve Nash — how cerebral he is, how he can score from all three levels,” Young said. “He’s just been my favorite player growing up and I’ve watched a lot of film on him. Hopefully one day I can look back and say I achieved a lot of the things he did.”

While he never won a championship, there’s no question Nash is one of the best guards to ever play in the NBA. He’ll be inducted into the Hall of Fame later this year, and he ranks third on the league’s all-time assists list behind only John Stockton and Jason Kidd. He also scored over 17,000 points in his career and hit 90.3 percent of his free throws throughout his career, which is the best mark in NBA history.

Young led the country last season with 27.4 points and 8.7 assists per game, but he struggled a bit late in the year. Some say his game is similar to Stephen Curry’s, while other comparisons have not been as flattering. Either way, he has virtually no shot at being picked first overall by the Suns, but they probably appreciate his nod to the best player in franchise history.

Michigan AD wants to keep Jim Harbaugh, John Beilein for life

Jim Harbaugh

Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel couldn’t possibly be happier with his men’s basketball and football coaches, from the sounds of things.

Manuel told reporters on Tuesday that he is finalizing a new contract for basketball coach John Beilein, who took the Wolverines to the championship game this year. Manuel says he would like to have the 65-year-old around for as long as he wants to coach.

“I love my coaches across the board, love those two guys (Harbaugh and Beilein) in particular,” Manuel said, via the Detroit Free Press. “I’m extremely pleased with where we are from a staffing standpoint. Jim and John are two people that I would love to see retire at this institution (when they) retire from coaching.”

Harbaugh is entering the fourth of a seven-year deal and has already received pay raises from Michigan, so there does not seem to be too much urgency to give him another raise. But the confidence and positive thoughts expressed by Manuel have to be comforting to both coaches.

Top PG Brandon Williams recommits to Arizona

Brandon Williams Arizona

Brandon Williams’ breakup with the University of Arizona was a brief one, as the relationship is now back on.

Williams announced on Saturday at the Ball is Life All-American Game that he has recommitted to Arizona. He chose the Wildcats over Oregon and Gonzaga.

Williams said his heart led him to Arizona and Sean Miller first, which is why he’s following his first instinct.

Williams is a five-star point guard according to 247 Sports. He played high school ball at Crespi in the Los Angeles area and had decommitted from the program two months ago amid the Sean Miller wiretap reports. Apparently he now feels secure with the way things shook out for the Wildcats.

Indiana student pulls Romeo Langford prank at graduation

It’s safe to say that the state of Indiana is pretty pumped that local phenom Romeo Langford is staying home to play his college ball.

Earlier this week, Langford, the five-star shooting guard prospect from New Albany, Indiana, announced his commitment to the Indiana Hoosiers and coach Archie Miller. It didn’t take long for the hype train to leave the station from there as, several days later, an Indiana school was hit with a Langford-themed prank. The Kelley School of Business, a public school in Bloomington, held their graduation ceremony on Friday night. There, one graduate wrote his name as “Romeo Langford” on a cue card, which the MC then read aloud.

Judging by the cheers and subsequent Twitter reaction, the prank was a hit.

The 18-year-old Langford is one of the top-rated players in the 2018 class, and he will headline a star-studded group of incoming freshmen for Miller’s second season at the helm in Indiana. As for the prank, it’s just the latest evidence that the Hoosier State goes hard with their basketball fandom.

H/T IndyStar

UCLA player involved in shoplifting scandal declares for NBA draft

Cody Riley may off to the pros without ever playing in an actual college game.

The LA Times’ Ben Bolch reported on Tuesday that Riley, the UCLA freshman who was involved in the notorious shoplifting scandal in China last year, has declared for the NBA draft. Riley’s name is on a list of 236 players who filed as early entry candidates, which was released by the NBA earlier in the day.

The 20-year-old Riley, a 6-foot-10 forward, appeared in just one exhibition game for the Bruins last season before he was involved in the overseas incident along with fellow freshmen LiAngelo Ball and Jalen Hill. Riley and Hill were ultimately suspended by the school for the remainder of the season as a result. Meanwhile, Ball, who instead chose to withdraw from UCLA, is now playing professionally in Lithuania and is also listed as an early entry candidate for the draft. Hill’s status for the future remains unclear.

Bolch also adds that Riley is not believed to have hired an agent, meaning that he could still potentially return to school if he withdraws his name from draft consideration by May 30. However, Riley would probably be stuck on the depth chart behind this incoming star forward should he return to UCLA.

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