Loyola (MD) point guard R.J. Williams suspended for violation of team rules

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The reigning MAAC tournament champion Loyola (MD) Greyhounds were due to return four starters from last year’s team, which made the program’s first NCAA tournament appearance since 1994.

But that number dropped to three on Sunday, as it was reported by the Baltimore Sun that the school suspended sophomore point guard R.J. Williams for a violation of team rules.

According to the school Williams, who averaged 4.0 points and 2.6 assists last season, won’t be able to return to game action until January 17 against Marist (first game of the spring semester, which begins on January 14).

“He is still on the team, he is still practicing, we are not going to turn our back on R.J.,” head coach Jimmy Patsos told Don Markus of the Sun.

Patsos did note that the suspension had nothing to do with academics, and according to the paper athletic director Jim Paquette cited federal student privacy laws in refusing to disclose a more descriptive reason for the suspension.

But while it does hurt to lose a starter, Loyola doesn’t lack for options when it comes to accounting for the loss of Williams.

Junior guard Dylon Cormier finished second on the team in scoring last season (13.4 ppg) while also averaging 1.8 assists per game, and senior Robert Olson (11.1 ppg, 1.9 apg) is a capable of making things happen as well.

Of the two Cormier is the one likely to slide over into a primary ball-handler role, and newcomers such as Jarred Jones, Eric Laster and Damian Rashford should have an opportunity to earn playing time on the wing.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

LaSalle parts ways with longtime head coach Dr. John Giannini

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La Salle announced on Friday that they are parting ways with head coach John Giannini.

Giannini had been the head coach of the program for 14 seasons, amassing a record of 212-226. Before taking over at La Salle, he spent seven seasons as the head coach at Rowan and eight seasons coaching at Maine.

“Today Bill Bradshaw and I mutually agreed that La Salle University could benefit from a new voice in leading the program,” said Dr. Giannini. “It is difficult to admit this but I have given every effort possible for success and I have received nothing but support and encouragement from Bill and President Hanycz. Greater things may be accomplished for this storied program and great university with the approach of a new coach. I am forever grateful, especially to my loyal staff and dedicated student-athletes. I look forward to my next challenge and La Salle’s future success.”

Kentucky clarifies ‘false reports’ they did not shake Kansas State hands after loss

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After Kansas State knocked off Kentucky in the Sweet 16, the purple Wildcats alleged that the blue Wildcats did not shake their hands after the game.

“They didn’t shake our hands,” Kansas State junior guard Amaad Wainright told ESPN last night. “It’s sorry.”

“They know what they did.”

Kentucky bristled at the allegations.

“They were turned and celebrating, so I walked off,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said. “There was no disrespect for anything. It’s just that they were celebrating, and I was happy for them.”

“My team’s not like that. There’s no disrespect in any way. They beat us. They deserved to win the game.”

NCAA amends rule to allow Isaac Haas to play

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BOSTON — The NCAA has changed their interpretation of the rule that kept Isaac Haas out of the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Haas broke his elbow in Purdue’s first round win over Cal St.-Fullerton, but he was not allowed to play in a second round game against Butler because his brace did not meet NCAA standards.

So they changed those standards.

“With ample time this week to review the intent of the playing rule, the committee decided to provide a more contemporary interpretation, while keeping health and safety for all players the highest priority,” said Gavitt. “Technology has improved materials used in braces, so now there will be more flexibility in applying the rule as long as the brace is fully covered and padded. Isaac and other players in similar circumstances should be able to play, as long as the brace is safe for all.”

Sources have told NBC Sports that, despite Haas’ lobbying to get onto the court, he is not expected to play on Friday night. If he does, it will be in a very limited capacity.

“He didn’t practice the last two days,” Painter said on Thursday, “and when you don’t practice, you don’t play.”

“I don’t see him playing until he can practice and show me he can shoot a right-handed free throw and get a rebound with two hands.”

USC’s Chimezie Metu declares for NBA draft

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USC junior forward Chimezie Metu announced on Thursday evening that he will be declaring for the NBA draft:

This decision is not surprising. Metu finished his degree — Law History and Culture —  in three seasons. He held himself out of USC’s NIT games in an effort to keep himself from getting injured with NBA workouts on the horizon.

Metu averaged 15.7 points, 7.4 boards and 1.6 blocks for the Trojans this season. He is considered a borderline first round pick.

VIDEO: Kansas State legend celebrates revenge on Kentucky 67 years in the making

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In 1951, Kansas State lost to Kentucky in the National Championship game.

Ernie Barrett, who eventually became the school’s athletic director and is known as “Mr. K-State“, played on that team.

He’s wanted to get revenge on Big Blue ever since.

On Thursday night, Kansas State did.

Ernie was there, and here was his reaction in the locker room: