SH Blog: Jabari Parker uncertain over pro future; will next Knicks coach have to run the Triangle?

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harvardNot that anybody should care, but my bracket is looking pretty good. Not only did I manage to get through the first round without losing a Final Four team (one year I lost two on the first day), but I haven’t even lost an Elite Eight team yet. Of course, four of them still haven’t played their second game yet, but things are looking pretty good. Not as good as last year, when I called Louisville over Michigan in the final, but good enough. This year, I’ve got Arizona over Iowa State. It’s published now. I have proof.

Anyway, the NCAA Tournament is a lot of fun even if you don’t watch college basketball, because the storylines unfold all at once, and you only really need to pay attention to the teams that are winning. Also, it’s pretty much nonstop basketball for four straight days, and who doesn’t love that?

Here’s your latest news from the NBA and NCAA:

DUKE, PARKER BOUNCED FROM NCAA TOURNAMENT

275px-Jabari_ParkerI didn’t shed too many tears when Duke lost to 14-seed Mercer, but this could have major implications on the draft this summer.

Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune:

So distraught after the Blue Devils’ one-and-done exit from the NCAA tournament, Parker barely could speak.

The South Side native and four-time Simeon state champion said the 78-71 loss to 14th-seeded Mercer would influence his decision whether to turn pro.

Speaking barely over a whisper, Parker twice summarized his feelings with this word: “Incompletion.”

“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” he said.

A few feet away, teammate Amile Jefferson called Parker “a great kid, an amazing person. It was an honor to play with him this year. … (Mercer) did a good job of packing it in on him. He didn’t really see any daylight.”

Parker finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, four turnovers and zero assists. He shot 4-for-14, failed to draw iron on two off-balance shots close to the rim, committed an obvious goaltend and declined to close out on Jakob Gollon’s 3-pointer late in the first half.

This was the first NCAA tournament game for Parker and Duke’s second-best player, Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood, and it showed. They combined to shoot 6-for-24.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski made it sound like both would depart for the NBA. Everyone, it seems, expects Parker to enter the draft and get picked in the top three.

“I’ve loved coaching them and I feel bad for them,” Krzyzewski said. “We all have to live with that (result).”

WILL THE KNICKS RUN THE TRIANGLE?

photo (3)Mitch Lawrence of the Daily News looks at some of the candidates for Phil Jackson’s first hire as coach of the Knicks, and whether or not they run the Zen Master’s famed Triangle offense.

At his welcome-back presser this past week, Jackson did what he had to do and supported Mike Woodson. But Woodson isn’t part of his clique and Jackson is almost guaranteed to have one of his closest allies take over the coaching duties.

Will that person be required to use the Triangle? Jackson said no at his presser — something he has also told associates, privately — but he will demand that his coach installs some kind of offensive system.

We all know what kind of success Jackson had with the Triangle when he coached Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. But it didn’t work for Rambis during his two seasons as head coach in Minnesota; or for another member of Jackson’s circle, Jim Cleamons, when he was coach for 98 games in Dallas; or for Quinn Buckner, when he coached the Mavs for one season, in 1993-94.

Shaw hasn’t used the Triangle in his first season in Denver, but not because the aforementioned coaches all had dismal records employing system. He has told former colleagues with the Indiana Pacers, where he was No. 2 to Frank Vogel, that he would be running it now if the Nuggets had the right personnel.

EMBIID OUT VS. STANFORD

joel embiidOne of tomorrow’s big NCAA matchups pits 2-seed Kansas vs. 10-seed Stanford, who looked great in their first game. Kansas could boast the top two picks in the NBA’s draft, with Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins, but they’ll be without Embiid tomorrow.

Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com:

Jayhawks coach Bill Self told ESPN.com on Saturday that Embiid, who is nursing a back injury, has been ruled out of Sunday’s third-round contest against the Cardinal. Embiid sat out the final two regular-season games and Self had maintained it was a “long shot” that he would be able to play in the team’s second game this weekend.

Self also told ESPN.com that Embiid remains questionable for a Sweet 16 matchup, should Kansas get past Stanford. The second-seeded Jayhawks knocked off Eastern Kentucky on Friday night.

The Cameroon native averaged 11.2 points and 8.1 rebounds this season, but suffered a back injury in Big 12 play that he aggravated toward the end of the regular season.

NASH RETURNS, HAS 11 ASSISTS

nashDane Carbaugh of SBNation:

Steve Nash took the NBA by surprise on Friday night, not just by returning to action for the Los Angeles Lakers, but by returning to action as the old Steve Nash. No, not that one. The other old Steve Nash. In just 19 minutes off the bench, the former Suns and Mavericks point guard dropped 11 assists, adding five points on 2-of-4 shooting with four rebounds and three steals.

Nash went through non-contact practice on Thursday and joined the Lakers for shootaround before the game on Friday. Coach Mike D’Antoni had previously ruled him out for the rest of the season back on Mar. 13. His career has been in question since ongoing nerve issues in his leg forced him out of action in February, with Nash himself saying that if he isn’t playing for the Lakers next season that he would retire.

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Dan Malone is in his fourth year as a journalism student at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and spent last summer as a features intern at the Cape Cod Times. He blogs, edits and learns things on the fly for Sheridan Hoops. Follow him on Twitter.

Sheridan: Who Will Play for Team USA in Spain?

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Kevin_Durant_gold_medal_2010Of the pool of 28 Team USA players announced earlier today, three have made verbal commitments to play this summer at the World Cup (formerly called the World Championship) in Spain. They are Kevin Durant, Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge.

Additionally, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul will definitely NOT play in Spain … although all three should be considered locks to play at the 2016 Rio Olympics. (James and Anthony will become the first American players to appear in four Olympics).

So let’s take a look at the pool of players and try to figure out who will be going to Espana.

Zagoria: Duke Emerges as Big Winner in Early Signing Period; Who’s Left on the Board?

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The NCAA early signing period for basketball ended Wednesday and the big winner was Duke and coach Mike Krzyzewski.

The Blue Devils landed three of the top 15 players in the Class of 2014 and three players pegged to go No. 1, No. 11 and No. 15 in the 2015 NBA draft, according to DraftExpress.com.

With the additions of 6-10 center Jahlil Okafor, 6-1 point guard Tyus Jones and 6-5 wing Justise Winslow, as well as 6-4 shooter Grayson Allen, Duke now has the undisputed No. 1 recruiting class for 2014.

Zagoria: Duke Emerges as Big Winner in Early Signing Period; Who’s Left on the Board?

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The NCAA early signing period for basketball ended Wednesday and the big winner was Duke and coach Mike Krzyzewski.

The Blue Devils landed three of the top 15 players in the Class of 2014 and three players pegged to go No. 1, No. 11 and No. 15 in the 2015 NBA draft, according to DraftExpress.com.

With the additions of 6-10 center Jahlil Okafor, 6-1 point guard Tyus Jones and 6-5 wing Justise Winslow, as well as 6-4 shooter Grayson Allen, Duke now has the undisputed No. 1 recruiting class for 2014.

Bauman: Randle, Parker and Wiggins can improve upon spectacular performances

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Julius RandleCHICAGO — Three headlining freshmen. Three spectacular performances.

Julius Randle?

All he did was take his youthful Kentucky Wildcats and rally them with a dominant second half performance of 23 points and eight rebounds against Michigan State, one of the more consistently well coached and talented teams in college basketball.

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