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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.

Illinois dismisses Kendrick Nunn

Illinois guard Kendrick Nunn (25) tries to go up for a basket against Indiana center Thomas Bryant (31) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at in Champaign, Ill., on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Heather Coit)
(AP Photo/Heather Coit)
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Illinois announced on Tuesday that they have dismissed Kendrick Nunn from the basketball program.

Nunn was sentenced to community service after pleading guilty to a battery charge that stemmed from a domestic violence incident. He was alleged to have hit a woman in the head and pushed her to the ground before pouring water on her.

“We have made the decision to dismiss Kendrick Nunn from the men’s basketball team, effective immediately,” a statement put out by head coach John Groce and athletic director Josh Whitman read. “After extensive deliberation, we think it best for our program to reaffirm our core values of trust and respect, to send a strong message about what is acceptable behavior.”

Nunn averaged 15.5 points as a junior last season.

Delaware hires Martin Inglesby as head coach

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Joe Raymond, AP
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Delaware has finally hired a head coach, a little more than two months after Monte’ Ross was fired.

The man that earned the right of taking over a program with just four returning scholarship players is Martin Inglesby, a Notre Dame assistant that has been under Mike Brey’s tutelage for more than a decade. A source confirmed the news with NBCSports.com. Brey spent his first six seasons as a Division I head coach in Newark.

The reason that the search for a new basketball coach took so long is that the university was in the midst of looking for a new athletic director. Chrissi Rawak was hired as AD on May 13th, and one of her first orders of business was finding a replacement for Ross.

CBS Sports was the first to report Inglesby’s hiring.

Report: UCLA signs record apparel deal with Under Armour

(Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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The latest arms race in the collegiate ranks centers around apparel deals, and UCLA has reportedly signed the largest in the history of amateur athletics.

Under Armour will pay the university $280 million over the next 15 years, according to ESPN.com, in exchange for their athletes to work as unpaid models, turning Pauley Pavilion and the Rose Bowl into a runway for the athletic apparel company to hawk their wares.

Here are the details from ESPN:

At those numbers, the deal would be the largest in college football history. In January, Ohio State said its 15-year deal with Nike was worth $252 million. Texas signed a 15-year deal with Nike worth $250 million in October, and Michigan signed an 11-year deal, with a four-year option, that could be worth up to $173.8 million.

Landing UCLA only furthers Under Armour’s presence on the west coast. Their most famous client is Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors.

Kentucky-Kansas headlines the 2017 SEC/Big 12 Challenge

Reuters
Reuters
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The Big 12 and the SEC announced the matchups for the 2017 SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Tuesday, and the highlight is, of course, Kansas and Kentucky.

The two schools, who played an instant classic in Phog Allen Fieldhouse last season, will square off in Lexington this season. If that wasn’t enough, Kentucky and Kansas are currently sitting second and third, respectively, in the NBCSports.com Preseason Top 25.

So that should be fun.

The game will be played on January 28th along with the rest of the matchups in the series. Those matchups are:

Texas at Georgia
Texas A&M at West Virginia
Florida at Oklahoma
Baylor at Ole Miss
Iowa State at Vanderbilt
Kansas State at Tennessee
Arkansas at Oklahoma State
Auburn at TCU
LSU at Texas Tech

To be frank, the rest of that schedule is not all that enticing. West Virginia should be a top 25 team, and they host a Texas A&M team that is talented but young. Florida and Georgia are arguably the two best non-Kentucky teams in the league, but they face off with a rebuilding Oklahoma and a young Texas squad, neither of whom are guaranteed to make the tournament.

The problem here?

Both the SEC and the Big 12 are likely going to be down this season, which puts a damper on just how excited we can get about this challenge.

Purdue forward to return to school, withdraw from NBA Draft

Purdue center A.J. Hammons (20) celebrates with forward Vince Edwards (12) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Michigan State in West Lafayette, Ind., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. Purdue defeated Michigan State 82-81 in overtime. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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Purdue announced on Tuesday that forward Vince Edwards will be returning to school for his junior season.

Edwards declared for the NBA Draft without signing with an agent and went through the process to gauge his value at the next level.

“After getting the NBA experience and going through the evaluation process, I have talked with my family and Coach Painter and decided it is best for me to return for my junior year,” Edwards said in a statement. “Although the NBA is still a dream for me one day, I am coming back to Purdue to make next year a special one. Thank you to all the organizations who gave me the chance to not only showcase my talents, but also the chance to know me as a young man and not just an athlete.”

Edwards averaged 11.3 points and 5.4 boards last season.

Purdue now has to wait to hear from Caleb Swanigan, a rising sophomore that was a top 20 recruit in the Class of 2015. The deadline to withdraw from the draft is Wednesday.