Landon brings on a few fellow NBA nerds from the In My Bag Podcast and the Clubhouse Sports Pod to recap and react to the franchise-altering events that took place during this year’s NBA draft lottery.
Zion Williamson and the Duke Blue Devils were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament by Michigan State over the weekend. On Tuesday Williamson was named to the Associated Press All-America team.
This season Williamson averaged 22.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.2 blocked shots, and 1.8 steals. The Duke phenom also had a 69.3 field-goal percentage and was one of the stars of the NCAA tournament. It’s probably a safe bet that Williamson’s college basketball career is over. So where does he go?
It’s March, which means that the frozen hellscape outside will soon be transitioning into a sunny playland. The birds will sing, flowers will bloom, so I want to break down three of my favorite plays from this college basketball season.
First. For those of you unfamiliar with Tennessee’s Admiral Schofield I’ll allow him to introduce himself.
ANCHORS AWAY ADMIRAL. With that backdoor slam, Admiral Schofield and the Vols set sail for a beat down of the top ten Kentucky Wildcats. It should be a surprise to no one that Tennessee Basketball has seen a revival since being graced with the best name in college basketball. For those without the eyeballs or the time to watch the Vols this year, The Admiral—he doesn’t even need a nickname—has been the second leading scorer for the Vols. The 6’6 and 241-pound guard has been an offensive and defensive force—averaging sixteen points, six rebounds, and two steals a game. While the Admiral did not enjoy his normal scoring output in this game—he only scored seven points—he got the highlight of the contest by rocking the rim with that sweet jam.
Times have not always been this good for Admiral, patience has paid off for the senior. Tennessee suffered through two losing seasons his first two years before converting these last two seasons into a genuine SEC challenger to Kentucky and the Cal Pals. I wouldn’t be shocked the Admiral and the rest of the Tennessee Volunteers at the top of the SEC at the end of the week.
Second. JESUS JA. May I present to you the Lord and Savior of Murray State basketball.
With his burst, court vision, and heavens blessed athleticism Ja split the Belmont defense and blessed the rack with a divine dunk in the OVC championship game. That jam wasn’t the only inspiring play Ja had in the championship game—his footwork and handles also come from above. The way Morant moves in the paint to create space for himself or for his teammates to score is otherworldly. With a head fake or a quick spin, he’s either laying it in himself or willing into existence a scoring opportunity for a teammate. While the rest of Murray State might not share his top talent—Ja is the only division one player in the top ten of both scoring and assists—let us bask in Ja’s warm glowing warming glow while we still can.
Third. MOTHER OF GOD DID ZION JUST DO THAT!?
Zion Williamson—the thick boy to ever live and the most exciting prospect since Anthony Davis—just did an Olympic long jump to spike the basketball into a black hole. He is the best. Zion Williamson is without a doubt the G.O.A.T. of this college basketball season. Let us not forget that when this season began the common thought was that Steve Nash’s godson R.J. Barrett was considered the better player. Zion Williamson has hulk smashed that notion into oblivion with earth crushing dunk after earth crushing dunk. His superhuman leaping ability—no mortal weighing 285 pounds should be able to leap six feet straight into the air—has enticed everyone from Floyd Mayweather to Barack Obamas to Cameron Indoor Stadium. Nike shoes cannot contain him, the Super Bowl tickets cannot outsell him, and my eyes cannot wait to witness his return to the basketball court to rampage across the NCAA tournament.
In the second of two semifinal games Friday, Duke and UNC continue their rivalry and face off for the third time this season. The teams share a dramatic history and the rivalry is considered the greatest in college basketball. Duke is looking to see how they match up with their big 3 all healthy. UNC is looking to beat Duke three times in a season for the first time since 1976. Both teams are aiming to advance to the ACC Championship. IT DOESN’T GET BETTER THAN THIS!
No season in college basketball is created equal. Last year’s unpredictable nature in which top-ranked teams fell from grace at a higher clip than ever before, was certainly not expected to be duplicated one year thereafter.
While that narrative proved to be true, storylines and plot twists alike were in abundance once again as we now find ourselves on a crash course for what many believe to be the greatest tournament in all of sports.
With conference tournaments set to get juicy in the coming 48 hours, we look back on who stood out amongst the rest en route to my college basketball regular season awards for the 2018-2019 season.