By Daniel Dullum
Sports Radio Service
Monday, November 12, 2018
North Carolina used a dominant first half to defeat Stanford 90-72 in its men’s basketball home opener at Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C., handing the Cardinal their first loss of the season.
No. 7-UNC (3-0) led 52-26 at the half behind an early run kick-started by Kenny Williams. The senior guard, after starting the season missing his first 10 shots, made a layup and followed that with a 3-pointer 90 seconds into the game.
Stanford (2-1) got off to such a bad start that Coach Jerod Haase used his first time out nearly 2 ½ minutes into the game. The Cardinal opened the game shooting 1 of 12.
KZ Okpala led the Cardinal with 16 points, hitting 6 of 13 from the field — 1 for 2 on 3-pointers. Okpala also grabbed nine rebounds. Cormac Ryan was next with 14 points and six assists, and Oscar Da Silva had 11 points.
Cameron Johnson led UNC with 17 points. Johnson connected on 7 of 11 from the field — 3 of 4 3-pointers. Luke Maye was next with 16 points, with Garrison Brooks and Kenny Williams each adding 12 points apiece.
Tar Heels held a 45-35 rebounding edge, with Ray and Brooks each pulling down eight boards, and Johnson adding seven. Williams, Coby White and Seventh Woods each had four assists.
The Cardinal return home to host Wofford this Friday night at 7:00 pm PT on PACN.
BERKELEY, Calif. — Undoubtedly the California Golden Bears got a break in their sun-drenched opener against the North Carolina Tar Heels, but did they take advantage of it?
The Tar Heels were rocked by suspensions of 13 players including starting quarterback Chazz Surratt and defensive lineman Malik Carney due to improper benefits derived from the sale of team-issued Air Jordan tennis shoes. That created one obvious mismatch with junior quarterback Nathan Elliott facing the fastidiously prepared Golden Bears’ defense.
But while Elliott struggled until the end of the third quarter, the Bears did little outside two, early touchdowns that put the game out of reach. Down 24-3, North Carolina came up with a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to turn the final minutes anxious.
After the game, UNC’s early, offensive struggles and Cal’s uneven defense late stood out, but the Tar Heels four turnovers trumped both happenings in explaining how this one was won.
“Unfortunately, we turned the ball over four times today, and if you turn the ball over like we did, you’re going to have a hard time winning football games,” UNC coach Larry Fedora admitted. “You can still be in the game, but you’re going to have a hard time winning the football game. They didn’t turn it over and we turned it over four times.”
Elliott managed just one UNC first down before halftime, and three interceptions put the Tar Heels at a huge disadvantage on the scoreboard, trailing 17-0 at the break. With the Carolina receivers unable to create separation, and the Cal secondary jumping routes, Elliott found third downs to be disastrous.
Jaylinn Hawkins snatched Elliott’s overthrow late in the first quarter and that set up Cal’s first touchdown, Patrick Laird’s three-yard run three plays later.
Defensive end Cameron Goode joined the party in the second quarter going 23 yards with Elliott’s errant throw to give Cal a 14-0 lead.
Two other interceptions bogged down UNC’s offense that converted just one of their first 13 third down opportunities. Elliott finished 15 of 35 for 137 yards. Thirteen UNC penalties spoke to the team’s disjointed play given the numerous suspensions. But Cal never pulled away, as the Tar Heels crowded the line of scrimmage and dared Cal quarterback Ross Bowers to throw.
“We forced them to go to their quick game really the whole second half,” Fedora said. “I thought our guys played extremely well. The only other thing I would have liked to see from them would be a couple takeaways, but they played their hearts out. We were aggressive, we tackled. I thought we played really well on defense.”
The Bears head to LaVell Edwards Stadium to take on the BYU Cougars on Saturday, September 8 at 7:15 pm PDT.
PALO ALTO–It was a packed house in Palo Alto as the #9 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels came in into Maples Pavilion with the first sellout crowd since 2015. With a 3-1 record entering play, the Stanford Cardinal were looking to keep this one competitive with the 2-0 Tar Heels. The Tar Heels were in control from the tip and defeated the Cardinal 96-72 Monday night.
The first period was a blur of scoring. The Cardinal sprang out of the gate, garnering an 11-6 lead–just the start they were hoping for. The Tar Heels came back with a haymaker, going on a 24-to-4 scoring run. Kenny Williams of North Carolina was on fire, scoring his team’s first five baskets. Williams was 7-11 from the floor, including six made from downtown for the night. The short-staffed Cardinal wouldn’t bounce back after that and would go into halftime down by 14 (50-36).
In the second half, it was a sprint to the finish for the Tar Heels. Joel Berry would leave the court with 29 points for North Carolina. Reid Travis and Isaac White would do their best to defend home court with 21 and 20 points, respectively. The Cardinal will be looking to retrieve their injured players Marcus Sheffield and Dorian Pickens soon in order to remain competitive this season.
Cardinal coach Jerod Haase is now 1-3 against his former coach, Tar Heels coach Roy Williams. Haase played for Williams at Kansas and coached under him in North Carolina. Hopefully some of the winning spirit will go with Haase and company into their next matchup against #8 Florida this Thanksgiving Thursday.
The Sacramento Kings entered the 2017 NBA Draft on Thursday night hoping that Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox would still be available when they had the opportunity to make their selection with the number five pick. “Lady Luck” smiled upon the Kings and Fox was still on the board when they went on the clock. There was never a doubt that the Kentucky connection with Sacramento was going to continue as the Kings made Fox the newest member of the “Sacramento Royalty”.
There had been many rumors that the Lakers were considering Fox over Lonzo Ball at number two. Many analyst feel that Fox is a more well rounded player than Ball. Ball is seen as a “true” point guard but Fox is more “well rounded” player who can create his own offense when necessary. The Lakers went with Ball despite the baggage that comes in form of his father.
There had also been rumors that Phoenix would take Fox and then move Eric Bledsoe – with whom they have been less than thrilled with over the past two seasons – on to another team. In the end, Phoenix drafted to their need – which was a shooting guard – and selected Josh Jackson out of Kansas.
The Kings were able to draft their point guard of the future which they have wanted for sometime. Fox has the elite size and wingspan that NBA teams are looking for in a point guard today. He is not only a play-maker but Fox can be a force on offense. He averaged 16.7 points per game for the Wildcats.
Fox is a strong mid-range shooter who suffered from behind the 3-point line for much of the season. With a great deal of hard work, Fox greatly improved his 3-point shooting production late in the season and in the NCAA Tournament.
Fox is also known for his rebounding. He is considered to be an outstanding rebounder for a guard.
Had the Kings not moved up from number eight to number five in draft lottery, De’Aaron Fox would have not been available to Sacramento. A little luck is always a good thing.
Turning three draft picks into four
The Kings held the number ten pick in the draft. They had that selection as part of the DeMarcus Cousins trade so getting a player of value was of great importance to the Kings.
The Kings did not have a burning desire for any player who was projected to go at number ten. Instead of wasting the selection, Sacramento made a deal with Portland to get the 15 and 20 selections in the draft in exchange for the 10 pick.
Number 15 pick
The Kings went to the ACC for their pick at number 15. Small Forward Justin Jackson from North Carolina was the Kings choice with their second selection in the first round.
Jackson- a junior – was the ACC player of the year while helping lead the Tar Heels to a National Championship. He also was a consensus First Team All-American and ACC Player of the Year.
Jackson is known for having a diversified game on offense and a high basketball IQ.
And with the number 20 selection …
The Kings went “high risk – high reward” with the number 20 pick. They chose 6-foot-10 forward/center Harry Giles out of Duke.
Prior to enrolling at Duke, Giles was predicted to be the number one draft pick this season. An ACL surgery (his third knee surgery) and missing the first 11 games of his freshman season lowered Giles stock in the draft.
Scouts compare a healthy Giles to Chris Webber. How could the Kings not take a chance on him?
This is a roll of the dice that has the potential to have a huge payoff.
The second round selection
Sacramento had the fourth (34th overall) selection in the second round. The Kings went with experience by selecting senior combo guard Frank Mason out of Kansas. He was a consensus Player of the Year and a First Team All-American.
The four-year Jayhawk player posted 20.9 points, 5.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds during his senior year at Kansas. He led the Big 12 in 3-point shooting percentage at 49-percent.
How did the Kings do in the draft?
Most analyst are giving Sacramento high marks for their moves in this year’s draft. The experts seem to really like the Kings move to trade the number 10 pick to add two first round picks at number 15 and 20.
All of the experts love the Kings selection of Fox. Virtually every draft analyst believes Fox will be a star in “the association”. They also believe that if Giles can get healthy he could be the steal of the draft.
Grading the Kings draft
Ben Stram of FANRAG Sports will join me on our Sacramento Kings podcast to grade the Kings 2017 draft. That podcast will be available beginning on Saturday June 24 at 8:00 a.m. on SportsRadioService.com.
According to a report from Chad Ford of ESPN, the Sacramento Kings really see De’Aaron Fox of Kentucky as their point guard of the future. The Kings have been looking for a point guard they can build around since trading away Isaiah Thomas in 2014 (the Thomas trade was made by the previous basketball operations management).
Fox – a “one and done” star point guard – was a standout at Kentucky for John Calapari averaging 16.7 points per game and 4.6 assists per game. He is a 52-percent shooter from 2-point range but just a 25-percent shooter form 3-point land. To his credit, Fox’s 3-point shooting did improve considerably late in the season and during the NCAA Tournament.
Because of his talent and speed, Fox is most often compared to Kentucky basketball great John Wall now of the Washington Wizards. Who wouldn’t want the next John Wall on your team? However, how many championships has John Wall won? That would be none. He has helped lead his team into the playoffs but the goal is also a ring and a banner.
What is Fox worth?
The real question is – how much is too much to give up for a player like Fox? Two number one draft picks is too much for a team like the Kings. They have so many needs and having two lottery picks in the most talented draft in decade is not a situation to be squandered. Sacramento needs depth and they have the chance to add young talent that they can have under team control for years to come.
There are two top rated point guards that will be available when the Kings select at number five if Fox is gone. Dennis Smith out of North Carolina State who averaged 18.1 ppg and 6.2 apg will almost certainly be there, and maybe the most intriguing player in the draft will also be there as well.
18-year old point guard Frank Ntilikina who plays in France and who is the “darling of Europe” will be available. Ntilikina is 6-foot-5 “pass first” point guard. He was the European junior player of the year. At just 18, Ntilikina is not considered NBA ready and he is seen as a high risk/high reward selection, but who doesn’t want a 6-foot-5 point guard?
In order to take one of these two point guards, the Kings might need to select them a little higher than they are currently ranked. There is no problem with that. Sometimes, you have to draft for need instead of just drafting the next best player available. That type of creative thinking would allow the Kings to keep both of their lottery picks.
Why are the Kings so concerned?
The Kings are getting nervous because the Lakers are making noise about not taking Ball (would you want to deal with his father?), Philly really needs to think backcourt players, Phoenix has interest in Fox (why they would draft another guard would a mystery but they are the Suns).
The danger for the Kings is they are about to become the Chicago Bears of the NBA Draft. Every team would like to have two lottery picks and might be willing to entertain a deal. Sports professionals everywhere are laughing at the Bears because the 49ers snookered them out of an extra draft pick for nothing. The Kings need to be very careful not to make the very same mistake.
Who can the Kings get with the number 10 pick?
The Kings are projected to have some very interesting possible selections at the number 10 spot. Arizona power forward Lauri Markkanen has been projected to be there. He has been labeled as a Ryan Anderson type player. Center/power forward Zach Collins from Gonzaga is seen as a 10 pick. The very talented small forward Justin Jackson from North Carolina could be there at number 10. If Rudy Gay opts out, the Kings will need someone at the three spot. Jonathan Issac out of Florida State is also a possibility.
On June 22, the Sacramento Kings have the opportunity to change the fortunes of the franchise for the next decade. The brain trust in the basketball operations department led by Vlade Divac cannot afford to take a swing and miss. They must hit a home run with both of their lottery draft selections on that franchise changing night.
BERKELEY–What you want to do is construct a schedule that challenges your team and give it the opportunity to give it different kinds of looks. What a way for Cal (8-3) to rack up a win over the Fresno State Bull Dogs (6-5) an 11 point victory on Saturday night at Haas with a 67-56 victory. It’s silly the way you can beat non-conference teams like this but this is the way you get into the NCAA Tournament.
Getting there you need to play North Carolina, Duke, Michigan in the pre season and it really doesn’t matter who else you play you can play 11, 12, 13 non conference games and you want to make sure you win most of them and you want to be sure your team is challenged a little bit in the process. 8-0 at home is good, they lost three away from home not so good but that’s how Cal constructs their pre conference schedule so that their almost entirely at home.
The interesting thing is a lot people are wondering how Cal would be this year without Allen Crabbe, without a two time Pac 12 player, who was a good shooter, a good scorer who left early for the NBA and is intimately acquainted with the bench up in Portland now. The answer is their doing just fine the Bears are not relying on just one guy to score for them now their spreading that scoring all around.
The Bears had six players in double figures earlier this week against Nevada and three of those players came off the bench. You like to have an eight man rotation that has eight guys that can score in double figures and so Saturday night against the Bull Dogs the Bears spread the scoring around quite as thickly but you did have two guys with double figures in rebounds from Richard Solomon and David Kravish both.
One night Justin Cobbs comes and gets you 25 points and the next night he gets eight or nine assists so Cobb can find different ways to adjust his game to what needs to be done on the floor. The conference games will be starting soon enough and there are a lot of very good teams in the Pac 12 this year. Washington is always a tough team for Cal, Oregon is a nationally ranked team, UCLA is a nationally ranked team Arizona is a top ranked team.
You have just a variety of squads in the Pac 12 that could give anybody fits on any given night and Cal is always going to struggle when they go to places like Utah or Colorado because of the altitude. It’s going to be a very competitive conference, it will not surprise me Cal in the top second tier after Arizona and UCLA who will be right up there with Oregon.
The Cal Bears Tyrone Wallace you look at him on the floor and you think he’s a tweener and it’s the same position that former Bear Patrick Christopher used to play he has the scoring ability to rebound like a power forward with Kravish and Solomon and with that many rebounds to be gathered in right around the bucket and paint he is one of those guys like Kravish was a couple of years ago who has a nose for the ball. I don’t know if Wallace studies and scouts down the other team but he’s got a playbook in his mind where to go on the floor.
Michael Duca covers the Cal Bears for Sportstalk Radio each week