Andrew Zimmermann sports college hoops’s best beard

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NEW YORK – There are a lot of reasons that college is one of the greatest times of a young man’s life.

You find yourself as person. You discover your calling in life. You figure out what you want to do to earn a living. And that’s to say nothing of the acceptability of the rampant alcoholism and utter lack of responsibility that exists between the end of classes on Thursday and the start of class on Monday morning every week.

But the best part? Being able to avoid shaving for three months without having to worry about a condescending bosses or disapproving clients.

Enter Andrew Zimmermann, a 6-foot-8, 230-pound senior forward for the Stanford Cardinal who sports college basketball’s most impressive facial follicles:

“Its just something that started before [our trip to] Spain,” Zimmermann said while his team was participating in the Preseason NIT Final Four in New York City over Thanksgiving. “It makes me look tougher and they respect me because of that.”

Zimmermann started growing the beard in mid-August, before Stanford went on their 11-day tour of Spain. And while he’s gotten the beard trimmed once since then, he hasn’t yet decided how long he’s going to let the beard get; he figures that, eventually, Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins is going to ask him to get a trim.

“I’m worried we’re at the point where coach will say ‘ehh, its a little too long,'” Zimmermann said.

If Dawkins is superstitious, he won’t. Heading into Friday’s NIT Final against Syracuse, Stanford is 5-0 on the season and playing well enough be thought of as a potential sleeper in a wide-open Pac-12. Zimmermann’s had success from an individual standpoint as well, taking advantage of the minutes made available by the ankle injury suffered by Dwight Powell. Zimmermann has started all five games for the Cardinal, finishing with a season-high seven points in Wednesday’s win over Oklahoma State.

“I think if we keep winning and playing well, it will have to stay,” Zimmermann said, although he tried to downplay the idea that the beard is a good luck charm. “I think the way we play when we play hard, its luck in itself.”

“Its a toughness look, which is something I try to play by and do on the court,” Zimmermann said. He’s an emotional leader and a glue guy for this Stanford team. Every defensive possession, he can easily be heard calling out screens and talking teammates through their rotations. The beard helps him embody his role.

“This is just a symbol of what we want to do,” Zimmermann said. “Not caring what other people think [about how we look], just doing what we gotta do.”

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.

Louisville campus police reviewing escort allegations

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Louisville campus police now say they are reviewing allegations that a former men’s basketball staffer hired escorts to dance and have sex with recruits and players in a dormitory.

Katina Powell has alleged in a book released online over the weekend that former Cardinals director of basketball operation Andre McGee paid her $10,000 for dancers to perform 22 shows from 2010-14 at the players’ Billy Minardi Hall dormitory. The school reported those allegations to the NCAA and has launched an investigation.

“The University of Louisville Police Department, in consultation with the Louisville Metro Police Department and the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, is reviewing allegations regarding the men’s basketball program,” University police chief Wayne Hall said Tuesday in a statement.

It was the first confirmation that police are looking into the allegations. When contacted last week, a campus police operator said they weren’t aware of the book allegations, and it was unclear at that time if an investigation had been launched.

Cardinals coach Rick Pitino has said that McGee denied Powell’s allegations.

McGee left in 2014 and is currently an assistant at Missouri-Kansas City, which has put him on paid leave.

Pitino said Saturday that he hasn’t read Powell’s book titled “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen” and doesn’t plan to. The 104-page book was published by an affiliate of the Indianapolis Business Journal and is scheduled for hardcover release Oct. 12.

The woman said that she and three of her daughters, along with other women, danced and stripped for Louisville recruits and players and performed sex acts with them, according to the book. Powell, 43, also said McGee offered recruits alcohol at those parties.

Upon hearing of the allegations, Pitino said he did some investigating on his own before being told by the school’s compliance department not to talk to players. But the coach said he talked to other assistants about the allegations and all of them denied knowing of the activities outlined in Powell’s book.

“I’m going through 15 people who worked here, and not one person even had a premonition of something wrong,” Pitino said. “Not one person living in the dorm had even the slightest premonition. It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

Louisville has hired Chuck Smrt of the Compliance Group, which assists schools in NCAA cases, to review the allegations.

McGee left Louisville in 2014 to become an assistant at Missouri-Kansas City under Kareem Richardson, who was a Cardinals assistant from 2012-13. He was placed on paid administrative on Friday and has been unavailable for comment. McGee’s Louisville attorney, Scott Cox, didn’t comment because the investigation is ongoing.

St. John’s hires Mitch Richmond as a special assistant

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St. John’s added its second Hall of Famer to the coaching staff on Tuesday, announcing Mitch Richmond had been hired as a special assistant to first-year head coach Chris Mullin.

Mullin and Richmond, along with Tim Hardaway, made up Run TMC, the short-lived, high-scoring offense the Golden State Warriors played from 1989-91.

Mullin was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 2011. Three years later, he was a presenter to Richmond’s enshrinement in Springfield.

“Mitch is committed to helping us build this program and develop an environment for sustained success at St. John’s,” Mullin said in a statement. “He has tremendous basketball insight, a vision for the game and a passion to share his knowledge. Obviously, his experience in different roles throughout his career as a player, scout and mentor will have an impact in many areas.”

Earlier this summer, Mullin bolstered his coaching staff with the additions of associate head coach Barry Rohrssen and Matt Abdelmassih. Greg St. Jean was hired later in the summer.

The Red Storm open the 2015-16 season on Nov. 13 against Wagner.