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Michigan State reportedly helps organize 16-team tournament to honor 80th birthday of Nike co-founder Phil Knight


We typically see large groups of branded basketball teams together on the AAU circuit at places like Nike EYBL or Adidas Nations, but now it’s coming to the college scene.

Andy Katz of is reporting that Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis has secured commitments from 16 of Nike’s most prominent sponsored schools to compete in a 16-team tournament to honor the 80th birthday of Nike co-founder Phil Knight.

The event isn’t slated to take place until 2017, with Knight’s birthday coming Feb. 24, 2018, but the lineup is impressive:

North Carolina, Michigan State, Duke, Kentucky, Oregon, Ohio State, Florida, Gonzaga, Texas, Georgetown, Oklahoma, Xavier, Butler, Stanford, Connecticut, and Portland.

“All of these great basketball programs have been supported by Phil Knight and Nike,” Hollis told “His support of the programs have created scholarships and resources for these departments to excel.”

According to Katz, the format would be similar to that of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic, Anaheim Classic, and Old Spice Classic, and they are pondering the idea of tying the event in with the Jimmy V Fund for cancer research.

Hollis maintains that this event was not organized by Nike, and is rather a show of appreciation by the schools toward the shoe company.

That aside, an event like this would seem fitting for a company that owns an incredible 95 percent of the basketball shoe market, according to Bloomberg.

Grab some of the largest flagship schools and get them together for a tournament? Sounds only fitting for the king of basketball apparel.

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

LATE NIGHT SNACKS: Syracuse wins Atlantis, Miami gets upset

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(This will be updated throughout the day.)

GAME OF THE DAY: Syracuse 74, No. 25 Texas A&M 67

The Orange got 20 points from Michael Gbinije and 15 points and five assists from Trevor Cooney as they won the Battle 4 Atlantis title on Friday afternoon. We wrote on this game earlier. Are the Orange for real this year?


No. 10 Gonzaga 73, No. 17 UConn 70: Eric McClellan and Kyle Dranginis made some big plays down the stretch as the Bulldogs held on to win a game they led by as much as 21 in the second half. Kyle Wiltjer scored a team-best 17 points for Gonzaga, which finished third at the Battle 4 Atlantis. Rob Dauster wrote more about the Bulldogs and their second-half performance here.

Alabama 64, No. 20 Wichita State 60: Not only did the Shockers drop their second straight at the AdvoCare Invitational, but they also saw Anton Grady leave the game on a stretcher after being involved in a scary second-half collision. He was awake and alert shortly after leaving the court. While the Shockers’ losses to USC and Alabama don’t help them from an NCAA tournament standpoint, the bigger issue is the team’s health.


Quincy Ford, Northeastern: Not only did he score 24 points in the upset win over No. 15 Miami, but he hit the game-winning jumper, too. Video here.


Wichita State’s bigs: Five of them (Anton Grady, Zach Brown, Rashard Kelly, Bush Wakumota, Eric Hamilton) finished a combined 3-for-21 from the floor with 14 points and 14 fouls. Wakumota shot one of the worst threes you’ll ever see with Wichita State down 62-60 with 10 seconds left.

Grady suffered a scary neck injury late in the game, but early reports sound positive.


  • Jamal Murray went for 21 points and three assists without a turnover at No. 1 Kentucky rolled over South Florida. The big question: How bad is Tyler Ulis’ elbow injury?
  • Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart both had 13 points as No. 8 Villanova knocked off Georgia Tech to win the Preseason NIT, 69-52.
  • No. 23 Xavier raced out of the gates against USC and led by as much as 32, going on to win 87-77 in Orlando. Trevon Bluiett led four Musketeers in double figures with 16 points and James Farr added 12 to go along with nine rebounds off the bench.


  • Stanford finished third at the Preseason NIT with a 69-66 win over Arkansas, closing the game on a stunning 21-1 run. Rosco Allen scored eight of his career-high 25 points during that run, and Marcus Allen’s goal-tended layup with 2.6 seconds remaining gave the Cardinal the lead for good.

Good luck Goodluck: UNLV’s Okonoboh to transfer

Goodluck Okonoboh
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UNLV sophomore Goodluck Okonoboh is transferring out of the program, a source told

The 6-foot-10 center was the No. 31 recruit in the Class of 2014, but he never was able to find a place in the UNLV rotation. He averaged 2.9 blocks as a freshman, but is a career 34 percent free throw shooter that never proved he could be more than just an athlete.

With Ben Carter getting eligible and UNLV landing Stephen Zimmerman this season, Okonoboh’s minutes dried up. He played just 19 minutes total against UCLA and Indiana.