Jordan Clarkson, Philip Jurick

Jordan Clarkson and Damontre Harris still need to be fought for

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Bo Ryan is no longer college basketball’s Public Enemy No. 1.

After a couple of days where the coach was shredded by each and every outlet covering college basketball, Ryan finally relented. The only schools that Jarrod Uthoff is restricted from transferring to are other members of the Big Ten, which is about as good of a deal as you can get given the unfairness of the NCAA’s rule allowing coaches to block transfers.

Whether or not this was a result of Ryan simply wanting to hear Uthoff explain to him why he wanted the transfer or the Wisconsin program buckling under the pressure put on it by the media and the fans is, in the end, a moot point. Ryan is off the hook.

But he wasn’t the only one that was unfairly blocking a player’s efforts to transfer.

The nation’s latest transfer martyr is Jordan Clarkson of Tulsa. Tulsa is undergoing a complete overhaul of the program. Head coach Doug Wojcik was fired, replaced by Danny Manning. Manning brought with him an entirely new coaching staff. Tulsa also replaced their athletic director in January, as Ross Parmley took over for Bubba Cunningham, who was hired by North Carolina.

And it’s Parmley who has reportedly been the one fighting to keep Clarkson from being cleared to transfer where he would like to. Clarkson requested a release to eight schools. Five of them — Baylor, Texas A&M, Texas, Missouri and Arizona — were denied while Colorado, Vanderbilt and TCU were allowed. Ironically enough, not a single Conference USA school is on the banned list.

“We don’t know the reason behind it,” Jamie Clarkson, Jordan’s mother, told CBSSports.com on Thursday afternoon. “Jordan has been loyal and honest. We have not been in contact with any other schools.”

Parmley isn’t the only AD trying to prevent a player from transferring to the school that he wants to attend. Eric Hyman, South Carolina’s AD, has restricted Damontre Harris from receiving a release to talk with NC State about joining their program. Hyman believes that Harris was tampered with. Former South Carolina assistant coach Orlando Early is now on Mark Gottfried’s staff at NC State.

And therein lies to precise injustice with the way the current transfer rule is structured.

Like it or not, players pick what school they are going to attend based on their relationship with the coaching staff. In both Clarkson’s and Harris’ case, the coaching staff that they committed to is no longer heading up the program. Manning took over for Wojcik and Frank Martin was hired to replace Darrin Horn, who was fired in March.

There were no restrictions put on Manning’s or Martin’s move by their former employer. The ADs didn’t ask the players if they wanted to see Horn or Wojcik fired. These kids are now forced to: a) play in a program that bullied them into staying around, b) transfer to a school that isn’t the best fit for them athletically or personally, or c) transfer to the school that is their best fit and be forced off scholarship for a year.

How is any of that fair?

Bo Ryan is a public figure. Everyone knows who he is, if not because of the job he holds but because he looks exactly like Frank Costello in The Departed. Parmley and Hyman should be raked over the coals just as much as Ryan was.

We’ll see if that actually happens, however.

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

Johnson, Paige help No. 9 Tar Heels roll past Panthers 85-64

North Carolina's Isaiah Hicks (4) dunks against Pittsburgh during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
AP Photo/Gerry Broome
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) Brice Johnson scored 19 points to lead a dominating offensive performance that helped No. 9 North Carolina beat Pittsburgh 85-64 on Sunday.

Marcus Paige added 15 points for the Tar Heels (21-4, 10-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who shot 59 percent to stay atop the league ahead of the next renewal of their fierce rivalry with Duke.

UNC had plenty of balance, shared the ball and got out in transition in arguably their best performance in weeks, using a 13-0 second-half burst to blow the game open. UNC finished with 26 assists on 32 baskets, 24 points off turnovers and scored 16 fast-break points after managing a combined five in the past two games.

Michael Young and James Robinson each scored 15 points to lead Pitt (17-7, 6-6). But the Panthers shot 37 percent and committed 19 turnovers, and a strong effort on the glass did little to offset their troubles.

The Tar Heels were playing their first home game in two weeks after a difficult three-game road trip that started with losses at Louisville and Notre Dame. Then came Tuesday’s game at Boston College, where the Tar Heels struggled against a winless league team then had a scare when Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams briefly collapsed in a second-half huddle after an attack of vertigo and had to leave the sideline for the rest of the game.

Williams was back in the office on Wednesday’s off day, returned to practice Thursday and told reporters Friday he was fine and even cracked jokes about a two-decade history with vertigo dating to his Kansas years.

Getting back home certainly helped everyone feel better. After wrestling with shooting struggles for much of the past month, UNC’s offense kicked back into an efficient and balanced gear, while Paige – the player the Tar Heels are practically begging to jolt free from a prolonged shooting slump – looked more like his old self against the Panthers.

That included one second-half play in which he caught a crosscourt pass from Theo Pinson in transition and made sure to step back behind the arc before burying a 3-pointer.

The Panthers had lost three of four since a 5-2 league start coming in, including 65-63 on a late tip-in at No. 12 Miami on Tuesday. And Pitt again had trouble getting their offense going, failing to crack 70 points for the third straight game.

TIP-INS

Pittsburgh: Second-leading scorer Jamel Artis scored five points on 2-for-8 shooting. … Pitt finished with a 41-29 rebounding advantage. … Pitt made 9 of 21 3-point attempts.

UNC: Justin Jackson scored 14 points. … UNC made 8 of 15 shots from 3-point range and 13 of 15 free throws. … Jackson and Pinson had six assists each. … UNC managed just one offensive rebound.

UP NEXT

Pittsburgh hosts Wake Forest on Tuesday.

UNC hosts Duke on Wednesday.

Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap and the AP’s college basketball site at http://collegebasketball.ap.org

Denzel Valentine dominant as No. 8 Michigan State whips Indiana

Michigan State's Denzel Valentine (45) shoots over Indiana's Kevin Yogi Ferrell during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
AP Photo/Al Goldis
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Trailing by one point at the half, Indiana appeared to be in good shape at No. 8 Michigan State. However the fact that they were unable to slow down Denzel Valentine, who scored 15 first-half points, was a major concern for Tom Crean’s Hoosiers. Sure enough the national Player of the Year candidate continued on his tour de force in the second half, scoring another 15 points and dishing out seven assists as the Spartans rolled to an 88-69 victory.

For the game Valentine finished with 30 points, five rebounds, 13 assists and just one turnover. Of Michigan State’s 48 second half points, Valentine had a hand in 29 of them with all seven of his assists resulting in Michigan State layups. It was a dominant performance from one of the nation’s best players, a versatile guard whose four games missed due to injury may have led to some overlooking him when it comes to those national Player of the Year conversations.

When Valentine’s on everything else flows smoothly for Tom Izzo’s team, as his ability to both score and create results in quality looks for teammates who would struggle if they had to get that part of the job done themselves.

The biggest beneficiary Sunday afternoon was forward Matt Costello, who finished the game with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Of Costello’s ten made field goals (10-for-12 FG) five were assisted by Valentine, and he accounted for 13 points and seven rebounds in the second half. As a team Michigan State shot 63.3 percent from the field and assisted on 16 of their 19 made field goals in the second half, turning a tight contest into a blowout.

Tum Tum Nairn returned the court for the first time in seven games, but he played just two minutes and his time on the court will be managed carefully by Izzo moving forward. For many teams not having your point guard at full strength would represent a crippling blow, but that hasn’t been the case for Michigan State thanks in large part to Valentine. Michigan State went 4-3 in those seven games without Nairn, but the three losses were by a total of three points.

Valentine’s ability to make his teammates better will be a key factor down the stretch for Michigan State, and that skill was what led to the Spartans blowing out Indiana on Sunday.