Rick Pitino gets late signature, 2012 center Mangok Mathiang headed to Louisville

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Louisville added Montrezl Harrell to bolster their frontcourt and the Cardinals have now added even more size, securing the signature of 6-10 center Mangok Mathiang from IMG Academy (Fla.), according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Mathiang, a member of the Class of 2012 and native of Sudan, averaged 12 points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks per game last season for IMG. Despite that, though, he may reportedly run into some eligibility issues with the NCAA.

“We think there’s some things we’ve got to take care of, but he’ll be there when school starts,” his high school coach, Loren Jackson, told the paper.

This late signing was made possible because 2012 commit Terry Rozier has decided to do a prep year at Hargrave Military Academy (Va.), opening up a scholarship for Pitino to use.

Before signing with Louisville, he was reportedly garnering interest from Kansas State, Georgia, Central Michigan, Auburn and Mississippi State, according to the paper.

The Cardinals are coming off a season in which they finished 30-10, including 10-8 in the Big East. Coach Rick Pitino led his team to the Final Four, where they fell to the eventual national champion Kentucky Wildcats.

For 2012-13, he returns three of the most important pieces from last year’s team, Peyton Siva, Chane Behanan, and Gorgui Dieng, along with guard Russ Smith. The aforementioned Harrell and now Mathiang, if he qualifies, will add depth.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

VIDEO Ron Hunter dances at Georgia State’s midnight madness

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Georgia State’s Ron Hunter appears to have recovered from the Achilles tendon tear he suffered last March celebrating the Panthers winning the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.

On Thursday night, at the third annual GSU Jam, Hunter broke out the dance moves to the song “Hit The Quan” by iHeart Memphis.

Georgia State went on to defeat No. 3 seed Baylor in the Round of 64, thanks to a game-winning three from Hunter’s son, R.J. That shot made for one of the best moments of March Madness, as Ron Hunter fell of his rolling chair in disbelief.

R.J. Hunter is nowa a rookie with the Boston Celtics. Ron Hunter enters his fifth season with the Panthers.


SMU won’t appeal tournament ban, Brown suspension

Associated Press
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Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.

Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.

“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.

“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”

Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.

This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.