Wizards

Top 25 Capsules

Top 25 Capsules

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Russ Smith scored 23 points and Peyton Siva added 10 points and 10 assists as No. 2 Louisville pulled away from Manhattan for a season-opening 79-51 victory on Sunday.

Chane Behanan had nine rebounds and eight points for the Cardinals. They won their ninth straight season opener and beat the Jaspers in the first meeting between the schools since 2002.

The Cardinals won despite continuing woes with their 3-point shooting. They went 8 for 30, with Smith making 4 of 13.

Siva, the Most Outstanding Player in last season's Big East Conference tournament, matched his career high in assists while recording only his second double-double.

Rhamel Brown had 18 points and 15 rebounds for Manhattan. George Beamon, the Jaspers' top scorer, did not play because of an injured ankle.

No. 4 OHIO STATE 82, ALBANY 60

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Deshaun Thomas scored 13 of his 19 points in a 17-2 run to end the half, leading Ohio State to a victory over Albany.

They were supposed to play on Friday night against Marquette in aboard the USS Yorktown but condensation on the court led to that game being canceled.

Thomas, one of the stars of the Buckeyes' Final Four run last season, hit just one of his first six shots and Ohio State trailed 23-22 late in half. But he asserted himself as the Buckeyes took control.

Aaron Craft had a career-high 20 points to lead the Buckeyes with Lenzelle Smith Jr. adding 18 and LaQuinton Ross 10.

Mike Black had 20 points and Jacob Iati scored 13 for Albany (1-1).

No. 9 SYRACUSE 62, No. 20 SAN DIEGO STATE 49

SAN DIEGO (AP) - C.J. Fair and Michael Carter-Williams each scored 16 points and Syracuse blew past San Diego State on the flight deck of the decommissioned USS Midway.

The Orange (1-0) effectively put it away when Fair made a jumper to make it 17-4 with 11:30 to go in the first half. He had nine points at that point.

Syracuse was just too tall and bulky for the Aztecs (0-1), who couldn't crack the Orange's 2-3 zone.

Of the three games on ships this year, this was the only one that was completed. On Friday night, the Marquette-Ohio State game on the USS Yorktown in Charleston, S.C., was canceled and the Georgetown-Florida game on the USS Bataan in Jacksonville was called off at halftime, both because of condensation on the court.

This game was postponed from Friday night due to the threat of rain.

No. 10 FLORIDA 84, ALABAMA STATE 35

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Kenny Boynton scored 22 points and Florida cruised past Alabama State.

Florida was supposed to begin the season Friday against Georgetown aboard the USS Bataan, but the game was canceled at halftime because there was moisture on the court.

The Gators led Alabama State 47-9 at halftime, the fewest points Florida has allowed in the first half since the implementation of the shot clock.

Boynton shot 8 of 10 and made all four of his 3-point tries. He also had six rebounds and five assists.

Backup guard Bobby Brown led Alabama State (0-2) with 14 points.

No. 11 NORTH CAROLINA 80, FLORIDA ATLANTIC 56

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - James Michael McAdoo had 19 points and 11 rebounds to help North Carolina beat Florida Atlantic.

Reggie Bullock added 16 for the Tar Heels (2-0), who shot 44 percent from both the field and the foul line. Still, North Carolina led by double figures throughout the second half before blowing the game open in the final 7 minutes.

McAdoo entered the season expected to take the lead for UNC after the loss of four NBA first-round draft picks. The sophomore had 26 points and 14 rebounds in the season-opening win against Gardner-Webb, then followed that with an 8-for-17 shooting performance against the Owls (0-1).

Greg Gantt scored 18 points to lead Florida Atlantic, which shot 28 percent and had no other player reach double figures.

The game was an opening-round contest in the Maui Invitational, though it is separate from the tournament rounds in Hawaii.

No. 12 ARIZONA 82, CHARLESTON SOUTHERN 73

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Mark Lyons scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half of his debut for Arizona and the Wildcats escaped with a season-opening victory over Charleston Southern.

The senior transfer from Xavier led five Arizona players in double figures. Solomon Hill scored 14, Brandon Ashley and Nick Johnson 12 apiece and Jordin Mayes 10 for the Wildcats.

Arlon Harper scored 20 and Mathiang Muo 16 for Charleston Southern (0-2). Saah Nimley added 11 points and seven assists for the Buccaneers.

Charleston Southern trailed just 59-57 with eight minutes to play. Hill, on the bench much of the game with foul trouble, re-entered the game and sank a 3-pointer that put Arizona up 62-57 and the Wildcats slowly pulled away from there.

No. 19 BAYLOR 78, JACKSON STATE 47

WACO, Texas (AP) - Pierre Jackson had 25 points and seven assists for Baylor, and the Bears rolled to a victory over Jackson State.

Jackson, the senior guard named the preseason Big 12 player of the year, scored the game's first five points - on a free throw, a jumper and a tip-in in the first 3 minutes - and the Bears (2-0) never trailed.

Cory Jefferson added 14 points, seven rebounds and six blocked shots for Baylor. Rico Gathers and Taurean Prince, both freshman post players, had 13 points each. Gathers also had 10 rebounds.

Jeff Stubbs had 15 points to lead Jackson State (0-1).

Before the game, Baylor unveiled a banner for its NCAA regional final appearance last season, when Baylor had a school-record 30 wins.

No. 23 WISCONSIN 87, SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA 47

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Junior Ben Brust had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Wisconsin scored the first 19 points in a rout of Southeastern Louisiana.

Jared Berggren led the Badgers with 19 points and fellow senior Mike Bruesewitz added 10 in a 13-minute appearance. Bruesewitz cut his lower right leg during practice Oct. 9 and returned Friday.

Redshirt freshman George Marshall, starting at point guard for Wisconsin with junior Josh Gasser out for the season because of a torn knee, hit a 3-pointer 13 seconds into the game to set the tone.

Dre Evans had 13 points for Southeastern Louisiana, which missed its first five shots and committed four turnovers before Todd Nelson's 3-pointer 7:21 into the game.

No. 24 CINCINNATI 80, TENNESSEE-MARTIN 57

CINCINNATI (AP) - Cashmere Wright scored 16 points and Sean Kilpatrick added 14 as No. 24 Cincinnati cruised to a win over Tennessee-Martin.

Eleven different players scored for the Bearcats. Justin Jackson had 11 rebounds and Cincinnati blocked 10 shots.

Titus Rubles, a junior-college transfer making his Bearcats debut, came off the bench to score eight points and grab seven rebounds.

The game drew 5,728. A couple of miles south, the Cincinnati Bengals hosted the Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Brandon Clarke

2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Brandon Clarke

The Washington Wizards will have the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...

2019 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Brandon Clarke

School: Gonzaga
Position: Forward
Age: 22 (turns 23 in September)
Height: 6-8
Weight: 207
Wingspan: 6-8
Max vertical: 40.5 in.

2018/19 stats: 16.9 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.2 spg, 3.2 bpg, 68.7 FG% (6.8/9.7), 26.7 3PT% (0.1/0.4), 69.4 FT%

Player comparison: Montrezl Harrell, Dominic McGuire

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 17th, NBADraft.net 23rd, Bleacher Report 19th, Sports Illustrated 25th, Ringer 11th

5 things to know:

*Clarke is a forward who probably swings more towards the four-spot at the NBA level. He is considered one of the best defensive players in this draft, having won the West Coast Conference defensive player of the year award this past season. He averaged 3.2 blocks and 1.2 steals per game for Gonzaga and was known for his versatility to guard multiple positions. 

*There are questions about whether Clarke's shot-blocking will translate to the next level. There aren't a ton of 6-foot-8 rim protectors in the NBA and there have been many before Clarke who racked up blocks in college but then couldn't in the pros. His height suggests a potential problem and also his lack of a plus-wingspan. But working in Clarke's favor is his 40 1/2-inch vertical leap. Only three players had better numbers at this year's combine and all were guards. That type of jumping ability is rarely seen with players at Clarke's size.

*A big concern for Clarke is that at this point he can't shoot from the outside. He attempted only 24 threes in his three years in college and made six of them. If he can't develop a three-point shot, he will need to live in the midrange and around the rim and that's just not how the best players his size play these days. Clarke doesn't need to become a sharpshooter, but a respectable three would open up his game.

*Clarke is going to be 23 years old by the time the season tips off. That is quite old for an NBA prospect, as many of the top players will only be 19 at the start of the year. That could mean he will contribute right away in the NBA, but it could also tell teams that his ceiling is limited compared to younger, less-polished players. Clarke just took a little longer to develop into a pro prospect after starting his college career at San Jose State. He transferred and played one year at Gonzaga. Dropping a guy's stock just because of his age, though, can be risky. Malcolm Brogdon has been making teams pay for that decision for years.

*He is from Canada. The country continues to pump out top NBA prospects and this year alone can claim Clarke, R.J. Barrett of Duke and Nickeil Alexander-Walker of Virginia Tech. Though many have come from the Toronto area, Clarke hails from Vancouver, in the western part of Canada. He also spent much of his youth in the United States, having moved to Arizona when he was three.

Fit with Wizards: The Wizards like Clarke, as evidenced by their interview with him at the NBA combine. And there are reasons to suggest he would fit in quite well with what they are looking for.

He would be plug-and-play and provide an instant impact at a position of need. Depending on what they do with their free agent forwards, he could even start as a rookie at the four.

They also need a complete overhaul defensively and he would help them improve on that end of the floor. He would provide rim protection and help shore up their midrange defense as well. 

Clarke plays smart, team-oriented defense and the Wizards need more of that. He could help them change their mindset on that end of the floor. Clarke seems like the type of player good defensive teams like the Bucks and Pacers would covet, that too often in recent years the Wizards have overlooked.

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Team meetings like the one the Nationals had this week are no guarantee of a turnaround – but it can happen

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Team meetings like the one the Nationals had this week are no guarantee of a turnaround – but it can happen

Sometimes the doors shut on the outside world and struggling teams find clarity inside the sanctuary of a locker room. Sometimes they do not. 

The Nationals experienced the downside of a players’ only meeting this week when a clear-the-air session on Wednesday at Citi Field in New York was followed by two horrifying losses to the NL East rival Mets.

Now 12 games under .500, the season slipping away, their manager facing daily questions about his job security, the hardest part is here: Where do the Nationals go after a team meeting doesn’t solve the problem? 

Washington doesn’t need to go too far back into the history books to see that team meetings are often just exercises in frustration, They held one after a 3-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox last July 4. It capped a 9-20 stretch where they were shut out eight times in 34 days. 

You know what happened next. The Nationals drifted through an 82-80 season and failed to reach any of their preseason goals. A team 10 games over .500 and tied for first place in the NL East on May 31 was a game under .500 (42-43), seven games out and never got closer than five again. 

Of course, if there were no problems there would be no meetings. But sometimes players can root out issues by shutting out everyone, including the coaches. The Capitals did it each of the past two seasons. 

It’s easy to forget in the wake of winning the Stanley Cup in 2018 and a fourth straight Metropolitan Division title in 2019 that the Capitals had plenty of problems to work through. Former coach Barry Trotz blistered his team after a 6-2 loss at Colorado on Nov. 16, 2017 and left his players to sort things out. Washington was floundering at 10-9-1. 

The message got through. They won 12 of their next 15 games and finished the rest of the season 39-17-6. They went on to win the Cup – though there were a few more bumps in the road and a defensive overhaul following another team meeting in March. 

This year an embarrassing 8-5 loss at Chicago left the Capitals in third place in the Metro at 27-16-5. Maybe that doesn’t seem too bad, but they were in the midst of what would become a seven-game losing streak. They were teetering. Again the brutally honest talk after the loss to the Blackhawks eventually helped turn the tide.

“At the end of the day we’re pretty close, we’re a team. This group isn’t guys yelling,” Capitals forward Tom Wilson said after that Jan. 22 game. “We’re close, we know how we need to play. We just needed to address it, we needed to talk it out a little bit, get on the same page.

 But it took two more losses – one a brutal 7-6 overtime defeat at home to San Jose where they coughed up a two-goal lead twice, gave up the game-tying goal with one second to go and lost in overtime. Even productive team meetings rarely have linear results. 

 But they can also make things worse. The Wizards had a team meeting in January 2018 and soon after got destroyed by Charlotte 133-109. They rallied and beat Detroit two days later and their record was 26-20. 

But the fruitless meeting couldn’t solve Washington’s underlying issues. And while injuries played a factor, the Wizards only made the playoffs as the No. 8 seed and lost to Toronto in the first round in six games. 

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