No. 1 Kentucky gives Kansas a Top 25 tumble (Yahoo Sports)

Kentucky head coach John Calipari watches his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Boston University, Friday, Nov. 21, 2014, in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 89-65. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

Top-ranked Kentucky certainly made a believer of Kansas coach Bill Self last week.

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LeBron James Gives Kentucky Wildcats Custom LeBron 12s

When you play at a top-tier college basketball program, you’re going to get some pretty sweet gear.

NBA superstar LeBron James gave the No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats basketball team some new custom LeBron 12s. The Wildcats will likely debut the new shoes in their next game on Sunday against Montana State.

[Twitter, h/t College Spun]

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Frank Kaminsky Nearly Gets Posterized, Gives Props to Opponent After Game

Green Bay’s Keifer Sykes wasn’t quite able to posterize Wisconsin star Frank Kaminsky on this dunk attempt Wednesday night, but he did miss in spectacular fashion.

The 6’0” guard drove hard to the basket and went right at the 7’0Kaminsky. However, when it came time to throw down the hammer, Sykes was rejected by the rim. 

It would have been a serious candidate for Dunk of the Year if Sykes had completed the play. Instead, it will just go down as a spectacular miss. 

Sykes’ near-posterization of Kaminsky led to a pretty great Twitter exchange after the game:

What a cool display of respect between opponents.

[Vine, Twitter]

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LeBron James Gives Headband To Young Cavs Fan After Beating Celtics (Video)

LeBron James scored 41 points in a close win against the Boston Celtics on Friday night at TD Garden, but it was what he did after the game that made one fan’s night.
As King James was heading back to the locker room following the win, he encountered a child wearing a Cavs jersey holding his hand in the air wishing for a high-five.
Instead of a high-five, James took off his sweaty headband and gave the child a souvenir he’ll always cherish along with a pat on the head.

Good move, LeBron.
There’s no doubt that the young fan will be the most popular kid in elementary school for the rest of the year after scoring the headband.
Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports ImagesFiled under: Andre Khatchaturian, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA, Top Stories

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UNC Basketball: Quality Depth Gives Tar Heels More Options, Less Predictability

North Carolina’s relatively stress-free 76-60 win over North Carolina Central isn’t one of those games that’s going to get much mention in the season review. It could, however, be looked back on months from now as the place where the Tar Heels first showed signs of what they were capable of.

While both the box score and highlight reel might show that UNC appears deeper than it has been in years, it takes a much closer look to understand just how important that depth is. And, more importantly, how that depth appears to be interchangeable and can allow coach Roy Williams to mix and match to find the perfect player groupings.

“We did share the bulk around quite a bit,” Williams said during his postgame press conference. “I think we’ll have five or six guys that, throughout the course of the season, will have 20 points. I’ve always liked to balance teams; it’s harder to prepare for.”

In other words, the 2014-15 Tar Heels are not going to be Marcus Paige and four other guys in Carolina blue. You’ll become well acquainted with the names and numbers on those other jerseys.

On a night when Paige scored single digits (eight in 31 minutes) for only the sixth time since the start of last season, his lack of production was far down on the list of developments. Paige, like every player, is capable of having an off night, but unlike last season, when such a situation almost guaranteed a loss, it won’t always be cause for concern anymore.

Not when UNC is getting valuable input from fellow guards J.P. Tokoto, Nate Britt and Joel Berry and tremendous efforts from all of its frontcourt players. In Friday’s game, Brice Johnson led all scorers with 12 points, while Kennedy Meeks had 10, Justin Jackson had nine, Isaiah Hicks had eight and Joel James had seven.

Numbers don’t really tell the story, though, because the opener wasn’t a numbers-driven game.

Instead, it was one where Williams got to see how comfortable different players were with each other, such as when he brought out a three-point guard lineup with Paige, Berry and Britt or how he opted to go with four forwards to start. That meant starting not only Jackson at the 3 but fellow freshman Theo Pinson, thus having Tokoto come off the bench.

Tokoto had started the two exhibition games at the 2, but Williams said that he was benched because “he made a mistake in practice, did something I didn’t like.” Whatever disappointment he might have had about the lineup snub came forth in a very spirited effort. Tokoto had 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting, with five rebounds, four assists and one of UNC’s 10 blocked shots. 

“He’s had a great preseason, he’s done some nice things for us,” Williams said.

This was also the chance to see how well Johnson’s and Meeks‘ new bodies looked in real action. The beefed-up Johnson showed more strength and power, while Meeks showed a greater agility and better stamina in putting up 10 points with nine rebounds and two blocks in 17 minutes. His time on the court wasn’t a matter of fatigue as much as Williams’ desire to give James and Hicks their shots in there, and they both impressed as well.

Hicks had eight points and six boards in 14 minutes. James, hardly used last season, looks vastly improved, as he made both of his field-goal attempts (including a sweet turnaround on the baseline while getting fouled) and all three foul shots for seven points in seven minutes.

It’s a work in progress, noted Andrew Carter of The News & Observer, writing that “it won’t always be as smooth as they’re capable of making it looking. Sometimes, it will rarely be that smooth.”

Williams spoke to this at length in the postgame, referring to the poor shooting from inside players and the higher-than-expected number of turnovers. Such things will occur with players who are not used to working together, who when put together will take time to adapt to each other’s strengths and tendencies.

A very different starting lineup is likely on Sunday night against Robert Morris—which lost by 27 at home on Friday to Lafayette—as Williams continues to tinker ahead of the litmus test at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas in less than two weeks. And as that next game progresses, you’ll probably see several more unique quintets.

This could lead to some rough stretches of play during Atlantis as well as in tough nonconference games against Iowa, Kentucky and Ohio State. But by the time ACC play begins, UNC should have a firm handle on which lineups work best in which situations and be playing with confidence and momentum at that point.


Follow Brian J. Pedersen on Twitter at @realBJP.

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Burke’s buzzer-beater gives Jazz win over Knicks

Burke hits jumper at buzzer as Jazz overcome Anthony’s 46, beat Knicks 102-100



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Burke’s shot gives Jazz win over Anthony, Knicks (Yahoo Sports)

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 14: Trey Burke #3 of the Utah Jazz shoots a game-winning shot over J.R. Smith #8 of the New York Knicks in the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden on November 14, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — Trey Burke was so deep in the corner, so well defended, that Carmelo Anthony was sure the game would continue.

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Monmouth gives basketball coach Rice an extension (Yahoo Sports)

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. (AP) — Monmouth University has given basketball coach King Rice a three-year contract extension through 2019.

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Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis Gives Blake Griffin an Emphatic Hug After Drawing a Charge

The Los Angeles Clippers haven’t had the start they wanted this NBA season, but an inspiring performance in a 106-102 win over the Portland Trail Blazers has the team fired up—especially Glen “Big Baby” Davis.

In the fourth quarter of a tight game, Davis drew a charge on Blazers guard Damian Lillard.

While on the floor, an excited Big Baby grabbed teammate Blake Griffin and gave him the most emphatic hug you’ll see during the holidays.

Clippers beat writer Dan Woike agreed it was quite a sight:

Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding shared a humorous tidbit from coach Doc Rivers’ postgame presser:

[Gfycat, Twitter, Vine]

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Allen Iverson Says His Team Would Never Practice If He Coached, Gives His Top 5

Even though his playing days are over, Allen Iverson still knows how to entertain. Reporters in the Philippines caught up with The Answer and got him to touch on a number of topics.

For starters, Iverson made it clear that his 1996 NBA draft class is the greatest of all time. The Philadelphia 76ers made Iverson the No. 1 overall pick in that draft, but he was hardly the only star selected that night.

The 1996 draft also produced Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Stephon Marbury, Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, just to name a few.

Iverson was also asked if he would be interested in coaching the Philadelphia 76ers. His answer: No, because his team “would never practice.”

The Answer also went on to name his all-time starting five. Check out the video to see whom he lists.

[YouTube, h/t BallisLife]

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