Wizards

Top 25 Capsules

Top 25 Capsules

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Trey Burke had 20 points and seven assists, and No. 3 Michigan eased past Western Michigan for a 73-41 victory Tuesday night.

The Wolverines (8-0) had actually lost their previous two games against the Broncos, but that was more than a decade ago. Western Michigan (6-2) had won six straight coming into this game, including a victory over South Florida, but the Broncos wasted a chance to stay with the Wolverines, turning the ball over 13 times in the first half.

Nik Stauskas scored 11 points for Michigan, and fellow freshman Mitch McGary added 10 on 5-of-5 shooting.

Freshman Darius Paul had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Western Michigan.

It is Michigan's first 8-0 start since 1996-97.

No. 5 LOUISVILLE 80, CHARLESTON 38

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Wayne Blackshear had 18 points and Louisville used its stifling defense to take control against College of Charleston.

The Cardinals (7-1) used a 22-7 run midway through the opening half to build a 36-14 lead and easily win their second straight since a loss to Duke.

Russ Smith had 13 points and Peyton Siva 12 for Louisville, which turned up its defense at the sold-out TD Arena. The Cardinals finished with a season-high 18 steals and forced Charleston (5-3) into a season-high 27 turnovers, 11 more than it had averaged coming in.

Adjehi Baru had 16 points and 14 rebounds for the Cougars. Charleston leading scorer Andrew Lawrence finished with three points on 1-for-6 shooting.

No. 8 ARIZONA 63, SOUTHERN MISS 55

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Nick Johnson scored 23 points, Kevin Parrom had 13 of his 14 in the second half and Arizona overcame a season-high 27 turnovers to hold off Southern Mississippi.

Arizona (6-0) struggled against Southern Miss' zone defense, throwing passes into traffic and to open spaces, even one that sailed over the coaches on the bench into the crowd.

The Wildcats hung on behind their defense, forcing Southern Miss into 17 second-half turnovers to pull away to their best start since opening the 1999-2000 season with six straight wins.

Southern Miss (6-2) used its swarming zone while building an eight-point halftime lead and kept forcing Arizona into mistakes.

The Golden Eagles struggled against Arizona's pressure in the second half, though, missing all eight of their 3-point attempts while nearly quadrupling their turnovers from the first half.

Neil Watson led Southern Miss with 17 points.

No. 12 MISSOURI 81, SE MISSOURI STATE 65

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Laurence Bowers scored a career-high 26 points to help Missouri rally from 10 points down at halftime and beat Southeast Missouri State.

The Tigers trailed for 17 minutes before Bowers made a turnaround jumper to give Missouri a 57-56 lead with 10:56 remaining. The Tigers stretched the lead to 73-62 with 4:16 left on an alley-oop dunk by Keion Bell.

Phil Pressey added 17 points for the Tigers (7-1) after going only 3 of 14 from the field in the first half, including 1 for 6 from 3-point range.

Corey Wilford scored all 14 of his points in the first half to lead the Redhawks (6-5). Nino Johnson and Missouri transfer Tyler Stone both added 13.

No. 13 ILLINOIS 72, WESTERN CAROLINA 64

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Brandon Paul scored 14 points and Illinois held off Western Carolina after the game was tied at 54 with 5:53 left.

Illinois guard D.J. Richardson hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions for a 62-56 lead. Richardson finished with 13 points.

After a Western Carolina turnover, Illini guard Tracy Abrams made two free throws and a basket on the following possession for a 66-56 lead. Abrams added 10 points for the Illini, who shot 40 percent.

Preston Ross paced the Catamounts (3-6) with 17 points. James Sinclair added 13 points and eight rebounds. Brandon Boggs had 16 points off the bench.

The Illini (9-0) play at No. 10 Gonzaga on Saturday.

No. 14 MINNESOTA 88, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 64

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Andre Hollins scored 20 of his 22 points before halftime and Minnesota breezed past a South Dakota State team missing point guard Nate Wolters.

Hollins hit his first six 3-point attempts and finished 8 for 9 from the field for the Gophers (9-1), who reached their highest ranking in The Associated Press poll this week in six years under coach Tubby Smith.

Austin Hollins had 17 points, five assists and four steals, Joe Coleman added 15 points and seven rebounds, and the Gophers notched their largest winning margin this season.

Jordan Dykstra scored 17 points for the Jackrabbits (6-3), who missed Wolters. The standout from nearby St. Cloud has an ankle injury that prevented him from playing in his home state for the final time.

No. 15 GEORGETOWN 64, TEXAS 41

NEW YORK (AP) - Otto Porter had 14 points and eight rebounds to lead Georgetown over Texas in the opener of the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.

Nate Lubick added 13 points and Markel Starks had 11 for the Hoyas, who led by 13 at halftime. The lead grew to 23 and was never less than eight in the second half.

The Hoyas (6-1), whose only loss this season was to No. 1 Indiana in overtime, scored the first nine points of the game, the last four from Lubick on layups.

Sheldon McClellan had 12 points to lead the Longhorns (5-3), who had their lowest point total under coach Rick Barnes, who took over for the 1998-99 season. Texas had won three straight after losing two in a row.

No. 21 UNLV 68, PORTLAND 60

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Justin Hawkins had 15 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in a second-half rally that sent UNLV past tenacious Portland.

Playing their first game on the road this season, the Runnin' Rebels (6-1) were without top rebounder Mike Moser, who sat out with a hip injury in his home city. Anthony Bennett had 18 points and Anthony Marshall added 16 for UNLV.

Ryan Nicholas had 15 points and 19 rebounds for the Pilots (3-5), who led 28-22 at halftime and extended the lead to nine early in the second half.

Hawkins' 3-pointer tied it at 42 and Quintrell Thomas' dunk gave the Runnin' Rebels the lead with 13:45 left. David Carr answered with a 3-pointer for Portland, but UNLV took charge with a 12-0 run that included a jumper, a free throw and consecutive 3-pointers from Hawkins for a 56-47 lead.

No. 25 NORTH CAROLINA ST. 69, CONNECTICUT 65

NEW YORK (AP) - Richard Howell had 13 points and grabbed all 10 of his rebounds in the second half, and C.J. Leslie had 16 points and 13 rebounds to lead North Carolina State over Connecticut in the second game of the Jimmy V Classic.

The Wolfpack (5-2), who had lost two of three, have dropped 19 spots in the AP poll over the last four weeks after being ranked No. 6 in the preseason Top 25.

Howell, a 6-foot-8, 257-pound senior, led North Carolina State's second-half rush to the boards. The Wolfpack had 20 rebounds in the second half, 11 on the offensive end - and Howell grabbed seven of those. The Huskies had 13 rebounds in the second half, six offensive.

Shabazz Napier led the Huskies (6-2) with 19 points and Ryan Boatright added 18. Napier scored Connecticut's first 10 points of the game and led the Huskies to an 11-point lead.

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Though not a big man, first round pick Troy Brown fills several needs for Wizards

Though not a big man, first round pick Troy Brown fills several needs for Wizards

The Wizards' selection of Troy Brown of the University of Oregon with their first round pick has been met with a strong reaction among fans, many of whom argue he doesn't play a position of need, that it was a luxury pick when other areas could have been addressed, most notably in their frontcourt. Big man Robert Williams of Texas A&M, for example, was still on the board. 

The Wizards, though, did address needs by picking Brown. And really, they arguably filled more pressing needs in the short-term than those at power forward and center.

Though the Wizards clearly need some help at big man in the long-term, as both of their starting bigs are on expiring deals, they need help immediately at both shooting guard and small forward. Brown, though he is only 18 years old and offers no guarantees to contribute right away, can play both of those positions.

Shooting guard is where he can help the most. The Wizards have one backup shooting guard in Jodie Meeks and he is due to miss the first 19 games of the 2018-19 season while serving a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.

Even when Meeks was available this past season, he only helped so much. He shot just 39.9 percent from the field and 34.3 percent from three. Head coach Scott Brooks often chose to rely more on starter Bradley Beal than go to Meeks as his replacement. As a result, Beal logged the fourth-most minutes of any player in the NBA.

More depth at shooting guard will help relieve Beal of some of that workload. That would be great for keeping him fresh throughout the season and help him be at his best when they need him most in the playoffs.

The Wizards also have some urgency at small forward. It is their strongest position in terms of one-two on the depth chart, but they have no logical third option. That was magnified in the playoffs once Otto Porter got injured. They were left with Kelly Oubre, Jr. and had to trot out Tomas Satoransky, who has limited experience at the position.

Brown can play both shooting guard and small forward, giving them much needed depth. If he can play well enough to earn a rotation spot, the emergency situations the Wizards encountered last season could be avoided in 2018-19.

The Wizards still need to find long-term solutions at power forward and center, but they were going to need to find answers at shooting guard and small forward as well. Both Meeks and Oubre have one year left on their deals. Brown helps solidify the long-term outlook at wing.

Now, there's no denying the Wizards already had considerable talent at both shooting guard and small forward with Beal, Porter and Oubre. That begs the question of how much Brown can offer particularly in the first year of his career. But the Wizards would like to play more positionless basketball and to do that requires depth at wing.

The Boston Celtics have helped make positionless basketball famous and their roster shows that the one player-type you can't have enough of is similar to Brown. Boston has Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Morris. All are around 6-foot-7 or 6-foot-8 and offer versatility on both ends of the floor.

The Wizards also now have four players of that size and with positional versatility in Brown, Porter, Oubre and Satoransky. They can roll out different combinations of those guys and possibly have an advantage on defense with the ability to switch seamlessly on screens.

In the age of positionless basketball, players of Brown's ilk have become major assets especially for teams that have many of them. There is such a thing as having too many point guards or centers because they can't coexist on the floor. Versatile wings, in most scenarios, can play together in numbers.

It's different but in a way similar to certain positions in other sports. In baseball, you can have too many catchers but you can't have too many talented pitchers and utility players. In football, you can have too many running backs or tight ends, but you can't have too many defensive linemen. 

Brown gives them options from a roster perspective in the long-term. Oubre has one year left on his contract and if he continues his trejectory with a strong 2018-19 season, he could price himself out of Washington. Brown could move up the depth chart as his replacement one year from now. The Wizards also now have the option to consider trades at the position given their depth.

The problem, one could argue, with drafting Brown over a Williams-type is that it limits their options at center in particular. Drafting Williams would have made it easier to trade Marcin Gortat, for instance, because they would have had depth to deal from. Now, it's more difficult to trade Gortat, whom they have shopped on and off for months, without a plan to replace him. Finding a Gortat substitute in free agency with the limited resource they have would not be easy.

But big man wasn't their only need and in Brown the Wizards may have found a solution at other areas where they clearly needed help.

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Wizards' second round pick Issuf Sanon will take time, much like Tomas Satoransky did

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Wizards' second round pick Issuf Sanon will take time, much like Tomas Satoransky did

The first round of the NBA Draft played out expectedly for what the Wizards had planned for the night. In Troy Brown, they clearly got the guy they wanted all along, seeing as there were many interesting prospects they passed on to choose him.

The second round was a bit more chaotic. Team president Ernie Grunfeld said there were a few players picked just ahead of them at No. 44 that they had their eyes on. They contemplated trading up, but no perfect deals were presented.

So, they decided to think long-term, like really long-term. In choosing Ukrainian point guard Issuf Sanon, the Wizards understand it may be years before he plays in the NBA.

"We hope to have him developed in a few years," Grunfeld said.

Sanon, just 18, plays for Olimpija Ljubljana in Slovenia. He may stay in Europe into his 20s before he comes to the United States.

The Wizards have utilized the draft-and-stash model with other players. Their 2015 second round pick, Aaron White, has been playing in Europe for the past three seasons.

Sometimes those players never convey and contribute for the Wizards. But sometimes they do and Grunfeld pointed to a player already on their roster as a model to consider.

"We drafted Tomas [Satoransky] at an earlier age, he went overseas [and] he played at the highest level and it got him ready for the NBA," Grunfeld said.

The difference between now and then is that the Wizards have a G-League franchise starting this fall, the Capital City Go-Go. Because of that, it seemed more likely going into the draft that the Wizards would use the second round pick on a guy who can play there right away. 

Grunfeld, however, opted for roster flexibility. By keeping Sanon in Europe, the Wizards can have another open roster spot. They could either fill that spot, or leave spots on the end of their roster open as they did for much of last season.

"We want to preserve a roster spot, so just because you draft someone in your second round, if you sign him, he still has a roster spot even if you let him play for the GoGo," Grunfeld said.

Sanon may have a bright future. He is a 6-foot-4 point guard with impressive athleticism who doesn't turn 19 until October. He said he models his game after Russell Westbrook, as a guard who can score the ball. More will be known about him once he plays for their summer league team in July.

The Wizards passed on several interesting prospects to pick Sanon. Still on the board were Keita Bates-Diop of Ohio State, Hamidou Diallo of Kentucky and Svi Mykhailiuk of Kansas, three players they brought in for pre-draft workouts. But instead, they went with a long-term investment, hoping they found the next Satoransky.

MORE 2018 NBA DRAFT COVERAGE:

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