Video: Vanilla Ice rocked the halftime show at Timberwolves game

Rob Van Winkle—aka Vanilla Ice—performed at halftime of Thursday night’s Timberwolves-Pistons game.
And he rocked out in a Wolves jersey in front of a packed house at the Target Center. Fans seemed to really enjoy themselves.

Vanilla Ice should probably perform every Wolves halftime show. Let’s sign him to a lifetime contract [...]

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WATCH: Cavs intro in LeBron James’ first game back was wild

The Cleveland Cavaliers made a huge production for LeBron James’ first game back with his old team, and they really blew the house down with their show. For pregame introductions prior to the game against the New York Knicks, they had a hype video featuring the players on the team. They gave LeBron an orange…Read More

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Cam Newton Rocks Charlotte Hornets Cleats During Warmups Before Saints Game

The return of the Charlotte Hornets to the NBA has the people of North Carolina buzzing, and even Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has gotten caught up in the excitement.

During warmups before Thursday night’s game against the New Orleans Saints, Newton took the field in Hornets cleats. That’s a pretty cool way to show support for another team in the state.

The Hornets saw the awesome cleats and gave Newton a shoutout.

[Twitter]

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Michael Jordan rips Obama’s golf game, calls him a ‘hack’

Michael Jordan was known as an all-world trash-talker in his storied NBA career. Some things never change. The Hall of Famer, who often spends his spare time on the golf course, didn’t hesitate to call President Obama a terrible golfer (except in much different terms). The Charlotte Hornets owner did a sit-down interview with Ahmad Rashad, who asked, “Who is your ideal golf foursome?” “I’ve never played with Obama, but I would,” Jordan said. “But naw, that’s OK. I take him out. He’s a hack. Man, it would be all day playing with him.” When Rashad replied, “Do you really want to say that to the president of the United States? That he’s a hack?” Jordan said, “Yeah, don’t worry about it. I never said he wasn’t a great politician, I’m just saying he’s a (expletive) golfer.” Your browser does not support iframes. To be fair, Jordan’s choices of Rory McIlroy, Arnold Palmer, a clone of himself (because of course) and former president Teddy Roosevelt aren’t terrible picks. A

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WATCH: Michael Jordan trashes President Obama’s golf game

Your browser does not support iframes. Michael Jordan is not only the greatest basketball player to ever live, he’s also one of basketball’s best trash talkers of all time. So, it is not that surprising that no one is spared from Jordan’s wrath, not even the President of the United States. Ahmad Rashad sat down Article found on: Next Impulse Sports

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Rookie Julius Randle suffers broken leg in first career game

Los Angeles Lakes Power Forward and former Kentucky Wildcat Julius Randle leaves the season opener with a leg injury.  Initial reports say that it is a broken leg.  He’s headed to the hospital for further evaluation.  We’ll provide updates as we get them. Here’s a video of the injury: RT @SerenaWinters: Julius Randle on the […]

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Spurs’ Boris Diaw Breaks Dirk Nowitzki’s Ankles Twice in Same Game

Boris Diaw isn’t known for his fleet feet, but maybe the weight clause in his contract is helping out.

In Tuesday night’s season opener between the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks, Diaw took Dirk Nowitzki off the dribble twice.

Both times, Dirk found himself on the floor—not the best start for the Mavs’ future Hall of Famer.

[TNT]

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Kentucky Basketball Blue-White Game 2014: Score and Twitter Reaction

While the Kentucky Blue-White Game is just a scrimmage, there was likely as much talent on the floor as there will be in just about any college basketball game this season.

The squad was split into two teams, which could be the first look at John Calipari‘s platoon system. The Blue team, which seemingly featured more likely starters, came out with the 65-44 “win” until the scores were reset about three-quarters into the game.

Calipari announced the two teams on Facebook:

After the under-12 timeout, the teams shifted to freshmen versus veterans, with the older players coming away with a 29-22 victory.

The breakout star of the game had to be Karl-Anthony Towns. The versatile freshman was as good as advertised, showing the ability to score both inside and out. He officially finished with 18 points and nine rebounds with a number of highlight-reel plays throughout.

Kyle Tucker of The Courier-Journal noted an impressive stretch for the player who can likely play any frontcourt position this season:

On the other hand, it was not all roses for the young player:

Still, he did showcase some serious talent, which Jerry Tipton of Kentucky.com described:

ESPN’s draft expert Chad Ford had some high praise for the young player:

When he wasn’t dealing with cramps or committing close double-digit fouls (it is a scrimmage, after all), Devin Booker also had a strong performance, with 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting. He showed a great shooting touch, as well as the ability to get to the basket and score in the paint.

He has the skill to be the best natural scorer on the team, and at the very least, he could be a valuable piece off the bench who can score in bunches.

Fellow freshman Tyler Ulis was also solid in his start, making some key plays early, as noted by Ben Roberts of the Lexington Herald-Leader:

There were some turnovers and plenty of mistakes for the young point guard, but this is hardly something to be worried about in an October scrimmage. The important thing is that he showed the speed and quickness that many expected coming into the year, along with the court vision to make great passes on the break.

Just as importantly, his ability to step back and hit a three gives the squad something it desperately lacked last season outside of Aaron Harrison.

Of course, it was not just the freshmen who shone in this one. Andrew Harrison, who was too inconsistent in his first season, played in control throughout this one and finished with 19 points in the first session.

Jeff Drummond of Fox Sports was impressed with the improvements seen in the second half:

Dakari Johnson also appears ready to take a big leap in his sophomore season with some play that Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio liked to see:

He was strong in the low post and was an excellent rebounder throughout. On the other hand, he struggled mightily from the free-throw line, which could be a problem for the entire season.

Also playing well inside was Willie Cauley-Stein, who found his normal place on the end of numerous alley-oops and easy putback dunks. However, his most impressive play came thanks to a steal and dunk, as described by Roberts:

Marcus Lee, Alex Poythress, Trey Lyles and Derek Willis each had their moments in the spotlight, but they will likely only see limited playing time this season on such a deep roster.

Likely the biggest challenge Calipari will have this season is finding a way to get everyone enough minutes to remain satisfied. This is why he will try to use his platoon system with mass substitutions to make sure he goes 10-12 players deep in each game.

He discussed his thoughts with the plan earlier in the week, via Kami Mattioli of Sporting News:

It’d probably be better for me and my program if I played seven, but that’s not what this is about. How do I do this to make sure every player on this team eats and we still do all of the other stuff? What I’m doing is what’s best for these kids. And that’s this way of playing.

We saw how much skill was available at his disposal in this scrimmage, so there likely will not be too much of a drop-off no matter what types of substitutions he makes.

Still, it is clear this season is championship or bust for Kentucky, so Calipari has to do whatever it takes to get the most out of his players throughout the year.

 

Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.

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Searching for the Next Anthony Davis: Which NBA Prospect Could Change the Game?

Anthony Davis seemingly cut about 10 guys in the line that leads straight to the top of the NBA superstar pyramid. 

He’s gone from five-star recruit to national champion and Player of the Year at Kentucky to the game’s next big thing at the highest level. 

In a recent survey conducted by NBA.com’s John Schuhmann, NBA general managers were asked who they’d sign first if they were building a franchise from scratch, and behind LeBron James, Davis tied with Kevin Durant for 25 percent of the votes. 

He’s still got a long ways to go at only 21 years old, which seems like a joke, but he’s right on track to eventually join the game’s elite tier of players.

Now that we’ve got that figured out, the only move to make is locating the next NBA game changer. 

The upcoming high school recruiting classes are lined up with some pretty special prospects at the top. And between FIBA, all the camps and showcase events, fans, scouts and writers get the chance to track their development from when many are just 15 and 16 years old. 

We’ll take a look at some of the draft-eligible prospects up until 2017 who might just be next in line after Anthony Davis.

 

Draft Eligible: 2015

Jahlil Okafor, Duke, 6’11″, C, 1995

The consensus No. 1 recruit, MVP of the McDonald’s All-American game, co-MVP of the Jordan Brand Classic and gold medalist for USA’s FIBA Under-17 World Championship team, Jahlil Okafor has quite the resume for an 18-year-old.

You can’t miss him—at 6’11″, 272 pounds with a 7’5″ wingspan, few players at high school or college level can take up as much space around the basket. And none of them have Okafor’s footwork, hands or post skills, which when combined with his size and strength, can lead to some easy buckets and high-percentage offense.

He’s a guy you can feed the ball down low, someone who can go to work as a one-on-one scorer. 

But Okafor lacks the kind of standout athleticism that propels a guy like Anthony Davis coast to coast—from a defensive board to a finish on the break. 

It doesn’t mean he can’t be the next big star—Tim Duncan wasn’t exactly a “freak” back in his prime—it just makes his upside tougher to spot.

Just a few weeks prior to college basketball tip off, Okafor will start off at No. 1 on our big board, though I’m not sure his ceiling comes close to the towering height of Davis’.

 

Karl Towns Jr., Kentucky, 7’0″, C ,1995

Karl Towns Jr. might actually have the most upside of any prospect in the projected 2015 draft class. At 7’0″, his skill set dips into every category across the board, from scoring and shooting to passing and rebounding. 

It’s the type of versatility that could create quite the mismatch in the pros; the type that drives All-Star upside long term. 

A fluid athlete, Towns is a threat in both the pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop games, as well as from the elbows, where he likes to dish or put the ball on the floor.

As a freshman, he’ll be playing in one of the deepest frontcourts that college hoops has ever seen. Towns won’t get the chance to dominate like Okafor will at Duke, but there’s no question regarding his outlook as an elite NBA prospect. 

The only issue relates to how much better he’ll get.

 

Emmanuel Mudiay, China, 6’5″, PG, 1996

Emmanuel Mudiay certainly has the look of an NBA star, standing 6’5″ with smooth athleticism at point guard. But he’s spending the year in China, where he will be tougher to evaluate in a different game against grown men.

No matter, Mudiay did enough damage under the high school spotlight to justify No. 1 overall consideration in 2015. 

He resembles John Wall in more ways than one, from his size, athleticism and playmaking ability to his capable yet uninspiring jumper.

There actually aren’t that many standout point guards coming up through the high school ranks over the next few years. If any of them are going to emerge as an NBA superstar talent, Mudiay is probably the best bet.

 

Draft Eligible: 2016

Jaylen Brown, 6’6″, SF, 1996, Wheeler High School, Georgia

From the Nike Global Challenge, Elite 24 and Adidas Nations to the Under-18 FIBA World Championships, Jaylen Brown has been arguably the hottest name at the junior level over the past couple of months. 

He’s establishing himself as one of the real potential prizes of the 2016 draft.

A terrific athlete with a toned body and textbook size for the wing, Brown fits the physical profile of an NBA small forward. And fundamentally, he’s as complete as they come. 

Brown is quick off the bounce and tough in traffic, where he plays through contact and always maintains effortless body control at the rim. He’s also a willing passer and looks fairly natural as a shooter, which should mix well with his excellent defensive tools.

Brown went for 32 points and 15 boards on national television against fellow elite prospect Thon Maker this summer.

He’s now a can’t-miss name at the junior level entering his senior year in high school. Mark him down as a No. 1 overall candidate in the 2016 draft and a potential NBA star down the road. 

 

Ben Simmons, 6’8″, SF/PF, 1996, Montverde Academy (Committed to LSU)

Ben Simmons’ awesome versatility and impact at the high school level have pushed him atop the majority of recruiting services’ big boards. 

At 6’8″, he plays a face-up style of ball in the form of a point forward. Simmons is a terrific passer, as well as a standout athlete and crafty finisher at the rim.

He’s also a smooth lefty who can just as easily take his man and finish with the right. 

Simmons’ true NBA position isn’t quite clear just yet, as he’ll have some strides to make in order to successfully transition to the wing, but if he’s able to carve out a niche for himself and exploit his unique versatility, watch out. 

 

Draft Eligible: 2017

Thon Maker, 7’0″, PF, 1997, Athletes Institute

There probably isn’t another prospect with a ceiling that reaches the height of Thon Maker’s. At 7’0″, he’s got the size of a center, the mobility of a 4 and the ball skills of a wing. The mismatch potential here is really through the roof.

Born in Sudan and raised in Australia, Maker spent his early high school years in the U.S. before he decided to take his talents to Canada, where he’ll be training at the Athletes Institute.

Maker has turned heads with this ability to handle the ball, work from the perimeter and knock down shots from outside. The Kevin Durant and Kevin Garnett comparisons are a little much, but that’s the type of outlook his physical tools and face-the-rim skill set project. 

“My game is built inside-out,” Maker told Bleacher Report’s Josh Martin. “I’ve got to attack first, weaken the defense and just foul the team out, basically, is what I’m trying to do. That opens up the lanes and also it sucks the defense in and leaves the outside open.”

With Maker, the possibilities are essentially endless. He’s as fascinating to watch as any prospect in the country, and that will likely continue to be the case as he builds up his body and all-around game. 

Expect absurd hype when he chooses to declare for the NBA draft, whether it be in 2016 or 2017, depending if he chooses to reclassify or not.

Either way, Maker’s potential star power reaches Anthony Davis-like levels, although it’s a little too far away to declare him next in line. 

At such a young age, a lot can happen in a short amount of time. Davis grew from roughly 6’3″ to 6’10″ over a two-year span. 

By October 2015, there could three or four more guys who propel themselves into the conversation. 

Regardless, as of October 2014, we’re looking at some exciting up-and-coming talent for the near future. It’s tough to say who it will be, but odds are one of these world-class prospects breaks through and follows Davis’ path to the top of the NBA.

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Why Delon Wright Has the Most Complete Game in College Basketball

Unless you are an avid Pac-12 follower, chances are that Utah’s Delon Wright was probably the best college basketball player you didn’t hear about last year. Don’t expect him to fly under the radar this time around, however, as Wright is poised to have a huge senior season thanks to his array of arsenals on the court.

Wright spent the first two years of his collegiate career at a junior college before making the transfer to Larry Krystkowiak’s team. In the 33 games he played for the Utes, Wright averaged 15.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.3 blocks, according to Sports-Reference.com.

These video game-like numbers earned Wright a Pac-12 All-Conference honor, making him the first player to accomplish such a feat in Utah’s program history, and his defensive efforts earned him a spot on the Pac-12 All-Defensive First Team as well.

Among all returning players for the 2014-15 season, Wright also leads the pack in the win-shares column (based on last season) sorted by Sports-Reference.com.

 

Top Returning Players in 2014-15
Name School PPG RPG APG Win Shares
Delon Wright Utah 15.5 6.8 5.3 7.3
Fred VanFleet Wichita St. 11.6 3.9 5.4 7.2
Jacob Parker S.F. Austin 14.2 7.1 2.0 6.6
Montrezl Harrell Louisville 14.0 8.4 1.2 6.4
Frank Kaminsky Wisconsin 13.9 6.3 1.3 6.2
Ron Baker Wichita St. 13.1 3.8 3.1 6.1
Keifer Sykes Green Bay 20.3 4.4 4.9 6.1
Michael Frazier Florida 12.4 3.5 1.1 6.0
Malcolm Brogdon Virginia 12.7 5.4 2.7 6.0
R.J. Hunter Georgia St. 18.3 4.6 1.7 5.9

 

One of the reasons to why Wright’s game is so versatile is because of his size. At 6’5″, Wright often causes mismatches at the combo guard position for the Utes.

He defends his position and reads passes well, as indicated by his steals average that was ranked No. 8 in the country last year. What stands out, however, is his ability to provide help defense despite being a perimeter player, as shown at the 1:10 and 1:38 marks in the video below.

On the offensive end, Wright possesses above-average ball-handling skills, and his height allows him to have a better court vision as well.

If you add in the fact that Wright draws plenty of attention from the opposing defense, then you usually have plays resulting like this.

When Wright decides to score on his own, however, he becomes much more dangerous.

Wright shot an impressive 63.3 percent on two-pointers last season, and his ability to get to the basket was a major factor in that.

Just by judging from the eye test, Wright does not have blazing speed to blow defenders by. What he does have, however, is a plethora of dribble-penetrating moves that primarily include hesitations and Eurostep layups that would make the likes of Manu Ginobili and James Harden proud.

Wright’s body control and ability to finish in traffic allows him to attack the basket at ease, and when he does draw contact from the defenders, he makes sure they pay for their mistakes. On an average of 5.8 attempts from the charity stripe last year, Wright shot 79.3 percent and averaged 4.6 points there alone.

If there is one downside in his offensive game, it would be the perimeter shooting. With a 22.2 shooting percent from downtown last season, Wright was often dared by the opposing teams to shoot the ball. However, with just 1.6 attempts from beyond the arc per game, it wasn’t as if Wright was giving away plenty of possessions by hitting the brick.

For a player of his caliber, you would have to believe that the three-point shooting was one of his focal points during the offseason, and that was exactly the case when he spoke with Raphielle Johnson of CollegeBasketballTalk.

That’s the main thing I need to work on,” Wright said. “I’ve been shooting a lot of shots in the gym, and I’m trying to work on my form, release and confidence [in taking those shots]. A lot of teams packed the lane against me because they knew I like to drive to the basket. They gave me the outside shot and I wasn’t comfortable with it. So I feel that if I can knock those shots down, it will open up my game and open up the game for the entire team.

Apparently there were signs of Wright’s work paying off in Utah’s team scrimmage on Tuesday, according to The Salt Lake Tribune‘s Matthew Piper.

If the outside shooting indeed becomes another addition to Wright’s game, then one can only imagine how much better of a player he can be for the upcoming season.

Utah has not made an appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2009 and fell to Saint Mary in the first round of the NIT last year. But the Utes will feature many returning players and look for Wright to take them further this season with an All-American campaign.

 

Honorable Mentions

Frank Kaminsky - Wisconsin

Fred VanFleet - Wichita State

Bobby Portis - Arkansas

Marcus Paige - North Carolina

Georges Niang - Iowa State

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