Scotto: Future Stars Shine Bright in Jordan Brand Classic

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Jordan Brand Classic LogoThe Jordan Brand Classic introduced us to the game’s future stars. And from the looks of it, the future is bright.

Top recruits from Duke, Kansas and Kentucky dazzled in the All-American Game and showed why each program has drawn considerable buzz heading into next season.

Seton Hall – which had five recruits named to the Jordan Brand Classic – dominated the Regional Game.

Canada shined in the International Game once again thanks to Jahvon Blair’s MVP performance with the help of his fellow countryman, Anthony McNish.

In addition, Udoka Azubuike – a 14-year-old from Nigeria – looked like a man amongst boys poised to become the next top recruit in a few years.

Mock Draft Lottery: Wiggins back at No. 1 Despite Poor NCAA Tournament

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Surprisingly, it has only taken one weekend of the NCAA Tournament to knock out my first four projected picks in the NBA draft. It has been six weeks since I did my last Mock Lottery, so expect to see a few changes in the positioning, but the personnel staying relatively the same.

As I have mentioned previously, it is important to note that this list is purely based on the best overall current prospects. Once we know who is picking where and which players decide to stay in school, things will obviously change.

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Bernucca: You Can Have the NCAA Tournament

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sportsWICHITAstate_t640I don’t like the NCAA Tournament.

I don’t like that college basketball’s regular season provides little postseason incentive. I don’t like that the coach is a bigger personality than the players. I don’t like that the games are played on neutral courts. I don’t like that one bad game or bad call or bad break can end a team’s season. I don’t like that “close” becomes a synonym for “well-played.” And I don’t like that poor play determines the outcome much more often than great play.

Most of all, I don’t like how I’m supposed to just accept that it’s fantastic and wonderful and beautiful, when it’s actually substandard basketball in a flawed format that tells me less and less every year about the game I love, which is the NBA.

I’m not trolling here. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I’ve truly felt this way for a while. Part of it is admittedly a lingering distaste developed over more than a decade of working on a sports news desk and spending countless hours having to plan, preview, write, edit, update and package all of the words and numbers associated with the NCAA Tournament.

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SH Blog: Jabari Parker considering return to Duke after loss; Scouts break down Andrew Wiggins; Calhoun linked to Boston College; Amar’e will sacrifice to stay with Knicks

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It’s mid-March, and that certainly means it’s time for the NBA to take a backseat to the NCAA Tournament, because, well, there’s just nothing like it.

In the first day and a half we’ve seen four overtime games, two buzzer beaters and several other games come down to the last few seconds. Oh, and Duke lost Mercer.

Mercer

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Tweet of the Day: Damian Lillard Takes Note of Andrew Wiggins 41-Point Game

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wiggy_crop_north

Not every day a college freshman scores 41 points, actually, it’s only been done twice in the past 18 years.

If any kid is going to amaze, it’s Andrew Wiggins.

On Saturday Wiggins lit up the West Virginia Mountaineers with 41 points in a losing effort that saw his Kansas Jayhawks falling 92-86.

The 41 points are impressive, but how he did it is even better. On only 17 shots he somehow managed to score nearly half of his team’s points.

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, who was one of the best college players in the country his senior year, took notice of Wiggins’ big game.

 

This massive scoring output will surely heat up the NBA 2014 draft debate. Who goes first? Who gets snubbed?

The 2014 class is so good it’s unfair to playoff teams. Along with Wiggins, there’s Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Dante Exum and Marcus Smart, all players who would undoubtably have been the first overall pick in 2013.

June comes quickly, and the mock draft order will change dozens of times before that. But if a player like Wiggins isn’t a first overall pick, I can live with losing the lottery.

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Brett Poirier is a contributor to Sheridan Hoops.