Tag Archive | Seton Hall University

Duke Nails Top Prospects

By Christian Pierre-Louis

In the mere span of a few seconds Friday afternoon, Duke became the likely favorite for the 2014-15 national championship. That’s what happens when two of the five best high school players in the country announce their decision to be Blue Devils. Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones are both headed to play for Mike Krzyzewski and Duke. They chose the Blue Devils over Kansas and Baylor.

The two players always thought to be a package deal, never really wavered in that aspect of each one’s recruitment. Okafor and Jones didn’t play high school or AAU basketball on the same team, but represented USA Basketball together and became close friends from playing at elite camps and tournaments around the country. A couple of teams attempted to split them up, but it never worked. Despite various rumors to the contrary, Okafor and Jones followed through on their package deal.

 

Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor made a splash and signed with Duke (Via Adidas and AP)

Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor made a splash and signed with Duke (Via Adidas and AP)

Okafor, a 6-foot-11 center from Whitney Young (Ill.), is ranked No. 1 in most rankings including the 247Sports Composite, Rivals, and ESPN. He is an absolutely dominant force on the inside, and is the best back-to-the-basket player to come across the high school landscape in a very long time. He can get position on the interior, and then is able to score in a variety of ways. Okafor is also capable of passing out of double teams. He has terrific hands and is an outstanding rebounder.

Meanwhile, Jones, a 6-foot-1 point guard from Apple Valley (Minn.), is among the top five in all the major recruiting rankings. It became clear a couple of years ago that he would be the best pure point guard in the country, given his high-level basketball IQ and ability to run an offense and control tempo. Jones is a great passer with vision, but he’s also very adept at scoring in his own right. He has good range to the 3-point line and while he isn’t overly explosive, Jones can change speeds effectively.

Okafor and Jones join previous commit Grayson Allen in Duke’s 2014 recruiting class. Regardless of who stays and who goes pro from this year’s Blue Devil team, it’s certainly not a stretch to say that Duke will be the favorite heading into next season. Okafor gives them the most dominant big man in the country, while Jones is clearly one of the top point guards in the nation. Even if Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood decide to go pro, Krzyzewski will have the pieces to win a national title.

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Christian Pierre-Louis is a journalism major at Seton Hall University. He is a HUGE fan of the, LA Lakers, NY Giants, and NY Yankees. He is also an assistant sports producer at Seton Hall’s radio station WSOU 89.5 FM. You can follow him on twitter at @CPL_78.

Houston, We Have A Problem

By Christian Pierre-Louis

The Los Angeles Lakers hit 16 3-pointers against the Houston Rockets, but the last one meant the most.

With 1.3 seconds remaining, Steve Blake caught a short inbound pass from Jodie Meeks and drained his fourth 3-pointer of the night. Suddenly, the score was 99-98, and the Lakers held on for the final second and three-tenths to hand Dwight Howard an embarrassing loss against the Kobe Bryant-less Lakers.

Steve Blake hit a huge game winning 3-pointer to take down Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets (Via Getty)

Steve Blake hit a huge game winning 3-pointer to take down Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets (Via Getty)

Later in the game, Howard was repeatedly sent to the free throw line using the hack-a-Howard strategy, a strategy that Lakers’ fans painfully lived through last season. Howard finished 5-16 from the charity stripe, and his 15 points and 14 rebounds were overshadowed by his 31 percent foul shooting and four turnovers.

For Lakers fans, it was a case of déjà vu in more ways than one.

Watching Howard miss free throws late in the game was a familiar sight, even if it was welcomed for a change. Also, watching Howard lose the ball on careless turnovers was an all-too-familiar memory for fans watching at home.

This time, though, Howard wasn’t on the Lakers, so all of his mistakes were being celebrated across Laker Nation.

Aside from Howard, the Lakers were the same bunch they’ve been all season long. After getting out to a massive 17-point first half lead, the Lakers found themselves trailing at the end of a close ball game.

Howard’s consistent misses at the line allowed the Lakers to stay in the game, as LA ran out of ammo from behind the arc. Including Blake’s game-winner, the Lakers only made three field goals in the last five minutes of the game.

One of those field goals came via Meeks, who led the Lakers with 18 points on 5-7 shooting from behind the arc. The Lakers’ bench outscored the Lakers’ starters once again, but that didn’t seem to matter by the time everyone got into the locker room.

On a Thursday night in Houston, the Los Angeles Lakers won their first road game of the season, embarrassed the man who spurned their team, and made the Laker fans proud.

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Christian Pierre-Louis is a journalism major at Seton Hall University. He is a HUGE fan of the, LA Lakers, NY Giants, and NY Yankees. He is also an assistant sports producer at Seton Hall’s radio station WSOU 89.5 FM. You can follow him on twitter at @CPL_78.