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Stan Van Gundy and Dwight Howard Awkward Interview

April 6, 2012 Leave a comment

By: Kels Dayton

Stan Van Gundy’s awkward interview with reporters after the Orlando Magic’s shootaround on Thursday. Van Gundy told reporters that he heard that Dwight Howard wanted him fired. The look on Van Gundy’s face when Howard comes in is priceless. Watch all the way through; it’s fantastically awkward.

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Categories: News

Ohio State guard Aaron Craft wins Roundball Daily.com Danny Abbott Unsung Hero Award

April 5, 2012 Leave a comment

By: Kels Dayton

Of all of the awards we have just bestowed on some of the best collegiate basketball players in the nation, this is our favorite. The Danny Abbott Unsung Hero Award was voted on in a survey of over 3,300 college basketball coaches and sports information directors from across Division 1. It is given to the player who most impacted his team’s performance this season, even if his play was not dramatically reflected in the box score.

Danny Abbott was the man. He was an unbelievable athlete, hilarious personality, and at times an unwitting pain in the neck. He could make you laugh for 4 hours straight by saying the same thing over and over. There was never a dull moment when you were around him. Danny’s spirit embodied perseverance, youthful exuberance, and an insatiable enthusiasm for life that touched everyone within 250 feet of him. Abbott died in 2001 at the age of 16, but he could not have left a more lasting memory had he lived 120 years.

Aaron Craft is the winner of the 2012 Danny Abbott Unsung Hero Award. (AP Photo)

With Danny’s spirit in mind, Roundball Daily.com is proud to announce that the winner of the inaugural Danny Abbott Unsung Hero Award is Ohio State University point guard Aaron Craft.

Craft is the perfect candidate for what this award stands for. He averaged 8.8 points and 4.6 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game this season, but his impact on the Buckeyes could not be measured merely by those statistics.

The 6-2 sophomore was perhaps the nation’s best defensive point guard, hounding opponents with a non-stop, in-your-shorts relentlessness that embodies the passion Abbott had.

New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist John DeShazer described Craft as “the itch that can’t be scratched, the faucet with the never-ending drip, and the gnat that buzzes around your ear no matter how many times it’s the target of a swat.”

“He’s one of the best lead guards in the nation,” said Kansas head coach Bill Self.

Craft was possibly Ohio State’s most important player as he led the Buckeyes to a 31-8 record and an appearance in the Final Four. Perhaps most fitting is the fact that Aaron’s personality reflects Danny’s, as evidenced in this piece by Sports Illustrated. His father John Craft recalls Aaron playing in the driveway with former Ohio State guard Jon Diebler on the night before a big tournament in his freshman year of high school. (Diebler was getting ready to go off to Ohio State at the time).

“It was 2 a.m., and they were drenched in sweat, going at it as hard as they could go,” John Craft said. “I said Aaron, you’ve got to get up early tomorrow and play, and he said `I know, I’ll be ready.’ It reminded me of when he was in fourth or fifth grade – he was not going to back down, and he was out there trying to prove himself.”

“Both boys and my daughter just work relentlessly,” John Craft said. “If they had to sit out and not do something for two days, they would go stir crazy.”

Nothing could describe Abbott more accurately. And that’s one of the reasons that we at Roundball Daily.com are honored to present the Buckeye point guard with this award.

Craft garnered 39.3% of the vote, and edged out Purdue senior forward Robbie Hummel, who earned 33.5%. Louisville junior Peyton Siva picked up 15% of the vote, while Kansas junior guard Elijah Johnson came in at 5.3%.

Other top responses included Missouri senior guard Kim English, Long Beach State senior guard Casper Ware, Colorado State junior forward Pierce Hornung and Syracuse senior guard Scoop Jardine.

Congratulations to Aaron on an outstanding season and for winning the inagural Danny Abbott Unsung Hero Award.

Danny would be proud, although he’d never stop talking about it.

______________________

Award voting was conducted and votes tabulated by email via www.surveymonkey.com.

Roundball Daily.com College Basketball Conference Player of the Year Awards

April 4, 2012 Leave a comment

By: Kels Dayton

Here at Roundball Daily.com, we like to think of ourselves as a college basketball authority. But as supremely knowledgeable as we are, we can’t do it alone. So we surveyed over 3,300 Division 1 college basketball coaches and sports information directors and asked them for their picks on the National Player of the Year, Danny Abbott Unsung Hero Award, and the Player of the Year in each of their respective conferences. Today, we are proud to announce the winners of the Roundball Daily.com Conference Player of the Year Awards. Because that’s what you do when you’re an authority. Now, check out the well-deserving winners:

USC-Upstate's Torrey Craig was the surprise winner of our Atlantic Sun Player of the Year award. (Photo: Fox Sports.com)

America East- Darryl Partin, G, Boston University (19.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg)- The senior guard was terrific for the Terriers this season. BU finished 12-4 in the America East.

ACC- Tyler Zeller, F, University of North Carolina (16.5 ppg, 9.3 rpg)- Zeller took home 33% of the vote, and captured the award over teammates Kendall Marshall and Harrison Barnes, and North Carolina State’s C.J. Leslie.

Zeller on winning the award: “This is certainly a great honor and one that I appreciate very much. I’d like to thank my coaches and teammates, without whom I wouldn’t have had the season I did. I wish our season could have lasted a couple games longer, but it wasn’t meant to be.”

Atlantic 10- Andrew Nicholson, F, Saint Bonaventure University (18.4 ppg, 8.5 rpg)-Nicholson dominated the award voting, capturing over 75% of the vote in the A-10. Saint Joseph’s C.J. Aiken finished in second.

Atlantic Sun- Torrey Craig, F, University of South Carolina-Upstate (16.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg)-Craig was the surprise winner in the A-Sun. He led little-known upstart USC-Upstate to a 13-5 record in the conference, which was good enough for a second-place tie with Mercer.

Big East- Jae Crowder, F, Marquette University (17.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.1 apg)-Crowder edged West Virginia’s Kevin Jones in a tight race, recieving 38% of the vote.

High Point's Nick Barbour was another small-conference surprise winner, beating out J.P. Primm and Matt Dickey of UNC-Asheville. (Photo: High Point University Campus Chronicle)

Big Twelve- Thomas Robinson, F, Kansas University (17.9 ppg, 11.8 rpg)- Robinson won the Big 12 Player of the Year by a wide margin and finished second in the voting for National Player of the Year (28.2%).

Big Ten- Draymond Green, F, Michigan State University (16.1 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 3.6 apg)- Green won the Big Ten POY award over Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger and Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor. He also finished third in the voting for National Player of the Year (13.1%).

Big Sky- Damian Lillard, G, Weber State University (24.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 4.0 apg)- The junior finished second in the nation in points per game (behind Oakland’s Reggie Hamilton) and beat out Montana’s Will Cherry for the RD Big Sky award.

Big South- Nick Barbour, G, High Point University (20.4 ppg,.484 3-Point FG Pct.)- UNC-Asheville’s J.P. Primm won the AP award, but Barbour won the Roundball Daily.com award with 44 percent of the vote.

Big West- Casper Ware, G, Long Beach State University (17.4 ppg, 3.3 apg)- The senior guard beat out UCSB’s Orlando Johnson for the award in leading the 49ers to the NCAA Tournament.

Casper on winning the award: “It is a big honor to be named the Big West Player of the Year by Roundball Daily.com, and I need to give thanks to my coaches and teammates for helping put me in position to win the award.”

Colonial Athletic Association- Bradford Burgess, G, Virginia Commonwealth University (13.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg)- The senior Burgess’ leadership was key in winning him this award in a tightly-contested battle with Drexel’s Frantz Massenat.

Conference USA- Will Barton, G, Memphis University (18.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 3.0 apg)- The do-everything sophomore guard ran away with the C-USA Player of the Year award.

Buffalo's Mitchell Watt ran away with the MAC Player of the Year Award. (Photo: Mitchell McAtee)

Horizon League- Ray McCallum, Jr., G, Detroit University (15.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.9 apg)- McCallum won the Roundball Daily.com award in an extremely tight race with Valparaiso forward Ryan Broekhoff.

Independents-Antwan Carter, C, Longwood University (19.4 ppg, 9.2 rpg)- Carter was outstanding for Longwood, which went 10-21 this season as a Division 1 Independent.

Antwan on winning the award: ” I feel very honored to receive this award from Roundball Daily.com. I’d like to thank my coaches and teammates for making awards like this possible for me to receive, and I appreciate this recognition as a player on an Independent team this season.”

Ivy League- Zach Rosen, F, University of Pennsylvania (18.5 ppg, 5.2 apg)- The senior guard ran away with our award despite sharing AP honors with Harvard’s Kyle Casey.

Mid-American- Mitchell Watt, F, University of Buffalo (16.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 2.3 apg)- Watt ran away with the MAC Player of the Year award, receiving the highest percentage (79%) of votes of any player in the country. Ohio’s D.J. Cooper finished in second.

Watt on winning the award: “It’s an honor to win this award. It’s especially gratifying because it was voted on by coaches around the country. I truly appreciate the acknowledgment, but it couldn’t be possible without the help of my coaches and teammates. They have helped make this a truly special year.”

Metro Atlantic Athletic- Scott Machado, G, Iona College (13.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 9.9 apg)- The nation’s assists leader is an outstanding point guard and could be an NBA Lottery pick. He dominated the voting.

Norfolk State's Kyle O'Quinn calls winning our MEAC Player of the Year honor "a team award." Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Mid-Eastern Athletic- Kyle O’Quinn, C, Norfolk State University (15.9 ppg, 10.4 rpg)- Not sure which is the greater honor for O’Quinn, leading Norfolk State to one of the biggest upsets in tournament history in defeating 2nd-seeded Missouri, or winning this award? Wait, don’t answer that.

O’Quinn on winning the award: “It feels great to be honored for the year I had and we had as a team. But I couldn’t have done this without my teammates, so this is like a team award to me. We all accomplished a lot this season and we’re proud to have been the first NSU team to win the MEAC title and an NCAA Division 1 tournament game.”

Missouri Valley Conference- Doug McDermott, F, Creighton University (23.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg)-The sophomore forward and coaches’ son was a national revelation this season, and was named as a first-team All-American.

Mountain West- Drew Gordon, F/C, University of New Mexico (13.4 ppg, 10.9 rpg)-The senior forward beat out San Diego State guard Jamal Franklin and Colorado State forward Dorian Green for this honor.

Northeast Conference- Julian Boyd, F, Long Island University-Brooklyn (17.4 ppg, 9.5 rpg)- Boyd edged teammate Jamal Olasewere and Robert Morris’ Velton Jones for the NEC Player of the Year honors.

Julian on winning the award: “It’s a great honor. I could not have done it without my teammates, especially Jason Brickman. He runs the team and gets me more than half my points.”

Colorado's Andre Roberson won Roundball Daily's Pac-12 Player of the Year award after leading the Buffs to a Pac-12 title and the Round of 32. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Ohio Valley Conference- Isaiah Canaan, G, Murray State University (19.2 ppg, 3.7 apg, 3.2 rpg)- The junior guard also finished fourth in our National Player of the Year voting, garnering 5.3% of the vote.

Pac-12- Andre Roberson, F, University of Colorado (11.6 ppg, 11.1 rpg)- Jorge Gutierrez won the Pac-12 AP Player of the Year award, but Roberson dominated this vote, which also took into account the postseason. Roberson was outstanding in leading Colorado to a Pac-12 tournament championship in the school’s first season in the conference. The Buffaloes then knocked off sixth-seeded UNLV to advance to the third round of the NCAA Tournament, while Cal was blown out by South Florida in a play-in game.

Andre on winning the award: “It means a lot to be recognized for what I accomplished in the Pac-12 Conference this year. I’m looking forward to the challenge of getting better this off-season and look to continue to build on what we did as a team in the Pac-12.”

Patriot League- C.J. McCollum, G, Lehigh University– (21.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg)-McCollum was the best player on the floor when the 15th-seeded Mountain Hawks took down Duke in the Round of 64 in the NCAAs. He won this award easily, capturing 77% of the vote.

SEC- Anthony Davis, F, University of Kentucky (14.3 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 4.7 bpg)- No duh. Just as a reminder, Davis put up 16 rebounds, 5 assists, 6 blocks, and 3 steals in UK’s national championship win over Kansas. He went 1-for-10 from the field and still completely dominated the game. Amazing.

Southern Conference- DeMon Brooks, F, Davidson College (16.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg)- The sophomore forward will be a player to keep an eye on next season in the SoCon.

Southland Conference-Patrick Richard, G, McNeese State University (18.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg)- Richard took home the award in one of the most hotly-contested of all of the conference races. Texas-Arlington’s LaMarcus Reed III (17.8 ppg) finished a very close second.

Richard on winning the award: “I am certainly excited to win the award and be named our conference player of the year. It’s an honor for me just to be considered in the same grouping of outstanding athletes that we have in our conference. To be named our league’s top player is an honor not only for me but for our entire team and our coaching staff.”

The Valley's Paul Crosby won our SWAC Player of the Year Award, and might be an NBA prospect. (Photo: ESPN)

Southwestern Athletic- Paul Crosby, C, Mississippi Valley State (13.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg)-Crosby was the runaway winner in the SWAC, and earned a spot in Roundball Daily.com’s heart for his heart-wrenching press conference after the Delta Devils’ opening-round loss to Western Kentucky.

Crosby on winning the award: “It’s an honor to be recognized for my talent on the court. It was a thrilling senior year for me and I’ll always remember it.”

Summit League- Nate Wolters, G, South Dakota State University (21.3 ppg, 6.0 apg, 5.2 rpg)- This kid will be heard from next season. The junior guard is one of the nation’s most anonymous superstars, even after leading the Jackrabbits to the NCAA Tournament this year.

Nate on winning the award: “It’s a great honor to be named Player of the Year in the Summit League, especially in a league with some really good players this year. It was fun to compete against some of the top scorers in the country almost every week. Our goal as a team was to win the Summit League Tournament and play in the NCAA Tournament, and to accomplish that for the first time in school history was great.”

Sun Belt Conference- Tony Mitchell, F, University of North Texas (14.7 ppg, 10.3 rpg)-Speaking of players who will be heard from in the future, North Texas’ Mitchell won this award as a freshman, beating out Middle Tennessee State’s LeRon Dendy.

Western Athletic Conference-Raheem Appelby, G, Louisiana Tech University (13.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg)-Another freshman winner, the 6-2 guard was a surprise choice in the WAC. Appelby did come on strong in the conference tournament in leading the Bulldogs to the championship game.

West Coast Conference- Matthew Dellavedova, G, Saint Mary’s College (15.6 ppg, 6.4 apg)-The sweet-shooting Australian was a runaway winner in the WCC. It seems like Dellavedova has been with the Gaels forever, but he’s only a junior, which means that next season could be just as magical in Marauga.

_______

Award voting was conducted and tabulated by e-mail via www.surveymonkey.com.

2012 NCAA Tournament bracket

March 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Categories: News

Gerald Green’s filthy windmill throwdown

March 11, 2012 Leave a comment

By: Kels Dayton

There aren’t many things in the Association that could turn our attention away from college basketball on Selection Sunday. This qualifies as one of them. Gerald Green throws down an absolutely disgusting windmill alley-oop dunk in his return to the NBA with the Nets, forcing us to stop thinking about bubble teams and brackets–if only for a second. You may remember Green  blowing out a candle on a cupcake and winning the Slam Dunk contest a few years back, but this may be the best in-game dunk of his career.

Categories: News

Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio lost for season to torn ACL

March 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — Ricky Rubio’s sensational rookie season has come to a devastatingly abrupt end.

The Minnesota Timberwolves point guard will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL in his left knee, the team announced Saturday. Now the upstart Wolves will have to keep chasing a playoff berth without the flashy, fiery leader of the franchise’s resurgence.

Losing Ricky Rubio hurts basketball fans everywhere, not just in Minnesota. (AP Photo)

“It’s a big emotional shock,” All-Star forward Kevin Love said. “He makes winning plays. He’s a winner. We love having him around. On and off the court. We hope for a speedy recovery so he can help this team next year. It’s a big loss for us.”

It also means that Rubio will miss the upcoming Olympics, where he was expected to be a vital part of Spain’s bid for the gold medal.

Rubio went down in the closing seconds of a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night, when his knee buckled as he tried to help out on defense against Kobe Bryant. An MRI on Saturday confirmed everyone’s fears, and there were plenty of long faces before the Wolves hosted the New Orleans Hornets.

“It’s just too bad,” coach Rick Adelman said. “He was having such a great year, he had such a great influence on our team and the way our team was playing and I think the league. It’s too bad any time you see a young player go down like that with an injury like that. You feel for him more than anyone else.”

A date for surgery has not yet been set, but team president David Kahn said he expected Rubio to be back for the start of next season.

In his first season after coming from Spain, the 21-year-old was averaging 10.6 points and 8.2 assists, but his impact has been so much greater than his numbers.


Categories: News

Davidson survives Western Carolina in overtime thriller to win Southern Conference championship

March 6, 2012 Leave a comment

By: Kels Dayton

Information from ESPN and the Associated Press was used in this report.

It’s one of the things you have to love about Championship Week. An underdog team from a small conference that took some lumps during the regular season, in this case Western Carolina and its 8-10 Southern Conference record (17-18 overall), makes a glorious run through their conference tournament, upsetting some high seeds and making an impossible run at the ultimate dream–an NCAA Tournament bid. Like most of these teams, though, Western Carolina fell short in the championship game, falling in double overtime to a 25-win Davidson team after making a furious comeback from double-digits down with just minutes to play. It might have been the best game of championship week thus far. Here are the heartbreaking highlights.

Associated Press

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Davidson is back in the NCAA tournament. Getting there was tougher than expected.

Clint Mann’s dunk with 1:04 left in double overtime put Davidson ahead to stay as the Wildcats defeated Western Carolina 93-91 to win the Southern Conference championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament Monday night.

Western Carolina’s Keaton Cole, who helped spark a furious rally at the end of regulation, missed a 3-pointer from 20 feet with three seconds left that would have given the Catamounts a huge upset and their first tournament berth since 1996.

Bob Leverone/Associated Press

“We did a terrific job of creating a lane for Clint,” coach Bob McKillop said of the winning shot. “We tell them they’re unleashed, they’re freed up and to take what’s there. But you must see the game. He saw the open lane and we had sealed inside and Clint went inside and threw it home like a man.”

Neither team scored in the final minute of double overtime, although both had chances.

Catamounts coach Larry Hunter said his team was so tired after playing four games in four days that he went for the win at the end of the second overtime after getting a rebound with 14 seconds left.

“I told the guys in the last timeout that I didn’t think we had a third overtime in us,” Hunter said. “I said that we were going to go for the win. We got our best shooter a really good look and it just didn’t go.”
JP Kuhlman and De’Mon Brooks, the tournament’s most outstanding player, each scored 19 points to lead the top-seeded Wildcats (26-7).

Western Carolina was led by Cole’s 21 points. Tawaski King and Harouna Mutombo had 20 points each for the Catamounts (17-18).
Davidson, the tournament’s top seed after finishing 14-2 in the regular season — four games better than the nearest opponent — came in as a heavy favorite.

But Western Carolina didn’t play like a .500 team.

“It wasn’t about fatigue out there tonight,” Mutombo said. “Guys had adrenaline rushing through them. We knew it was going to be a tough one and some guys bodies reached badly, but mentally and in our heart we didn’t give up. That was the key.”

Davidson had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation and again in the first overtime, but couldn’t get shots to fall.

Davidson led by 13 points with 2:47 left in regulation but the Catamounts mounted a furious comeback behind a pair of 3-pointers by Trey Sumler.

Then Davidson made the mistake of fouling Cole as he was attempting a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left in the game. Cole made all three shots.

Davidson’s Nik Cochran’s driving layup was slapped away at the end of regulation and the game went to overtime.

In the first overtime Davidson had an even better chance to win as Brooks’ turnaround jump shot in the lane at the buzzer hit the rim softly three times before bouncing away, sending the game into double overtime.

Davidson advanced to the NCAAs for the first time since 2008, when a baby-faced Stephen Curry led the Wildcats to the Elite Eight. (AP Photo)

“I thought it was in,” Brooks said. “I was ready to run down the court, but it just came out. We had to keep on playing. That shows the character of our team.”

Said McKillop: “To see the faces when they came to the bench when overtime occurred the resolve was still there. Everyone could be part of that blame game, but they didn’t relent. Then, to go into a second overtime, you want to be able to talk about letdown. To be able to come out after two experiences like that it shows the extraordinary resolve of this group of men.”

It is Davidson’s first NCAA berth since 2008 when a boyish-looking shooter named Stephen Curry led the Wildcats on a magical run to the regional championships where they lost to eventual national champion Kansas.

Now the Wildcats are back.

They may not have an NBA lottery pick this year, but they do have is a balanced scoring attack that features five starters who average in double figures.

Jake Cohen scored 17 points before fouling out in the second overtime and Cochran added 16. Mann had 10 points off the bench, including the monster dunk.

“Western didn’t back down, they kept coming after us and we just couldn’t pull away,” Cohen said. “It’s a testament to these guys in our locker room that we didn’t get down when they made those big shots. We stayed positive and kept attacking them back and it paid off down the stretch.”

Western Carolina went 8-10 in the conference during the season but played like an inspired team.

But behind a partisan crowd, the Catamounts kept pressing on looking to become the first Southern Conference team to win four games in four days. Mutombo scored 10 of his team’s first 15 points as Western Carolina bolted to a 30-18 lead.

“There were probably some breakdowns in execution, but what a whale of a ballgame in terms of heart and competitive effort on both teams,” Hunter said. “Congratulations to Davidson. They are a really nice club and so well coached. They really did what they had to do.”

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

Categories: Champ Week 2012, News