Keith Rendleman returned to UNCW because he liked the beach?

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ARLINGTON, Va – Keith Rendleman, buried in the depths of the CAA standings, is one of the nation’s best kept secrets.

A 6-foot-8, 220 pound pogo stick — his head coach at UNC-Wilmington, Buzz Peterson, said he once reached 12-feet, one-inch when testing his max-jump — Rendleman averaged 15.1 points and 10.0 rebounds for the Seahawks last season, one of just 22 players nationally to average a double-double. You can probably understand why, then, Rendleman evokes comparisons with former mid-major rebounding machine.

They both even have long hair.

You should also be able to understand why, when UNCW’s APR scores came back and the Seahawks were hit with the news that they wouldn’t be allowed to play in the NCAA tournament this season, some bigger schools came-a-callin’. Since Rendleman’s senior season was to be played under a postseason ban, he was allowed to transfer anywhere in the country without sitting out the mandatory one season.

Who wouldn’t want to add a rebounding machine whose motor never stops running?

And why would Rendleman turn down the chance to make the jump to a bigger school — Peterson said ACC, Big East and SEC schools inquired — with an opportunity to make one final run at an NCAA tournament big on the line?

Well, actually it’s quite simple.

“He likes the beach,” Peterson said with what can only be described as a relieved chuckle. “He loves to go down there a lot. When practice is over with, he’s gone.”

UNCW, known as “the state’s coastal universtiy”, is the perfect place for a beach bum to go to school, as the campus is just a couple of miles from Wrightsville Beach.

“[The beach] was one of the main reasons I came here,” Rendleman said. “I hadn’t really been that much before my freshman year, but when I got here? I like to get out there and play in the water all the time.”

As much appeal as bikinis, waves and beach football has for a college student, there was much more that went into Rendleman’s decision than proximity to the water. UNCW isn’t the only school close to the ocean. He has friends on campus. He has fans in and around town. His teammates are his family. His coaches have his back. Missing out on the postseason will be tough, but for Rendleman, missing out on a final chance to play college ball with the same guys he’s spent the past three years with was unimaginable.

“It’s kind of like my home, so I’m not ready to go anywhere else,” he said.

It’s refreshing, really. At times, it almost seems as if the one-and-done era has made way for the transfer era, as key players are seemingly bouncing from team to team more than ever. Rendleman, however, values loyalty, both from and for his coaching staff and the rest of his team. What’s more, he doesn’t seem to understand why the decision that he made is noteworthy.

“A lot of people are thanking me for staying and talking about how loyal I am and stuff, but it’s just part of my personality,” he said. “A lot of people thought I was going to do something else, and I already made up my mind that I was going to try and stay and just play here. I didn’t see it as as big of a deal as everyone else, but I’m just thankful for having everyone support me behind it.”

Part of the reason that Rendleman feels indebted to the university is that the school was one of the only ones that offered him a scholarship for basketball. He was a much more highly-regarded football prospect as a high schooler in rural, northwest North Carolina. He caught 15 touchdowns as a senior. Some major programs were on his tail, but Rendleman knew hoops was his true love.

So Rendleman wound up at UNCW. And it’s why he’ll finish up at UNCW as well, playing out what is more or less a meaningless season for the chance to win the CAA’s regular season title and bring the CAA player of the year trophy back to Wilmington “because we haven’t had that in a while”.

He’s back for no reason other than the fact that he simply enjoys where he goes to college.

Well, that, and the opportunity to become a flag football legend.

“Our guys say all the time, ‘Coach, you should see him throw a football,'” Peterson said. “It’s incredible how far he can throw it. Unbelievable athlete. He goes to the beach, he’s whipping that thing 70 yards.”

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

Ohio State lands grad transfer Keyshawn Woods

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With three of the team’s top five scorers from this season, led by Big Ten Player of the Year Keita Bates-Diop, moving on Ohio State entered the offseason in need of players who could potentially have an immediate impact in 2018-19.

Tuesday evening the Buckeyes picked up a commitment from a grad transfer, as former Wake Forest guard Keyshawn Woods announced that he will play his final season at Ohio State.

Woods appeared in 28 games for the Demon Deacons in 2017-18, averaging 11.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 25.7 minutes per game. The 6-foot-3 guard was used primarily as a reserve this past season, making just five starts for Wake Forest. Woods began his collegiate career at Charlotte, playing the 2014-15 season there before transferring to Wake Forest.

During the 2016-17 season, the first in which he was eligible to play at Wake Forest, Woods started 22 of the 33 games he played in and averaged 12.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. Woods shot 49.5 percent from the field and 43.8 percent from three during that campaign, and the hope in Columbus is that he can get back to that level in his lone season as a Buckeye.

Ohio State’s best returnee on the perimeter next season will be rising junior C.J. Jackson, who averaged 12.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game as a sophomore. Ohio State also adds a talented freshman class that includes guards Duane Washington Jr. and Luther Muhammad. Florida State transfer C.J. Walker will have two seasons of eligibility remaining after sitting out the upcoming campaign per NCAA transfer rules.

Memphis to recruit in style with new souped-up van

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Traveling during live recruiting periods isn’t the most enjoyable process for college basketball coaches, with many having to work their way through airports and car rental lines in order to keep tabs on players they’re recruiting. For the programs at the top of the sport a private plane may be available, which certainly helps.

In the case of Penny Hardaway’s Memphis program, the coaching staff will be hitting the road in style as he showed off a new, souped-up van via his Twitter account Tuesday afternoon.

Notice the “One Cent” logo in the headrests, making it clear whose van it is and what Hardaway’s accomplished in the game of basketball as a player. For those too young to be intimately familiar with his playing career, Hardaway’s work with the Bluff City Legends (named Team Penny when he was in charge) on the Nike EYBL circuit and at Memphis East HS will likely register.

Since Hardaway’s hiring he and his staff, which includes assistants Tony Madlock and two-time NBA champion Mike Miller, have made Memphis a player on the recruiting trail. Will the van reel in top prospects? Maybe, maybe not. But there’s no denying the fact that Hardaway and his staff have already managed to connect in a way that the prior coaching staff was unable to.

Now we wait for the anonymous complaint from another athletic department to the NCAA about Hardaway and Memphis having this van, because that’s generally the way in which these things work.

NABC sends out talking points ahead of Rice Commission announcement

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Wednesday morning the NCAA will announced the recommendations of the Rice Commission, which is headed by former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. The commission was formed in the aftermath of the FBI’s September arrest of ten individuals in connection with an investigation into corruption and bribes in college basketball recruiting back, with the stated goal being to introduce reforms that would “clean up” the sport.

NBC Sports obtained an email the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) sent out to its members in preparation for Wednesday’s announcement. In the email, the NABC provided “talking points” while also encouraging coaches to support the Rice Commission’s findings — whether they agree with them or not.

“In short, it is imperative that the Commission’s recommendations be met with unequivocal support from each of us. The NABC Board of Directors affirmed the necessity of this unified response on a conference call earlier today,” the statement sent out by the NABC read.

The key talking points are:

  • Change was necessary, and we knew change was coming. As coaches on the front lines, we are uniquely positioned to offer valuable insight as the Commission’s recommendations progress through the legislative process;
  • As coaches, we are committed to working with the NCAA in evaluating the recommendations and will provide appropriate input as legislation is drafted;
  • We are appreciative of the Commission’s efforts to address necessary change, and for welcoming the input of the NABC.

The Rice Commission’s recommendations are highly anticipated in college basketball circles, and it remains to be seen just how quickly the NCAA would go about implementing them. One topic that’s bound to be discussed is the “one and done” player, but it once again must be noted that this is something controlled by the NBA and its Players Association (via the collective bargaining agreement). There’s also the connection with shoe companies, which became an even bigger point of conversation in the aftermath of the FBI arrest.

Hearing what coaches have to say about the Rice Commission’s findings would have been interesting. But with the NABC looking to present a unified front, there may not be much to take from what the coaches say in the aftermath of Wednesday’s announcement.

Kansas made no written report of its athletics review

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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas did not produce any written reports of an independent examination of its athletics department amid a federal investigation of corruption in college basketball because an external report wasn’t necessary, Chancellor Douglas Girod said.

The university review came before Kansas was named earlier this month as one of the schools where a former Adidas representative allegedly arranged payments to parents of athletes to ensure the athletes committed to the schools.

Girold said Monday he was given verbal briefings after last fall’s review but he didn’t receive any written reports. The university’s review was prompted by an Oct. 11 memo from the NCAA requiring Division I basketball programs to examine their men’s basketball programs “for possible NCAA rules violations, including violations related to offers, inducements, agents, extra benefits, and other similar issues.”

On April 13, Girod said in a statement that he had “complete confidence” that the athletics department had followed all rules.

“We didn’t feel the need to release an external report,” Girod said. “What we needed to be sure of is that we are comfortable and confident in the way our team operates and in meeting any and every requirement necessary.”

When The Lawrence Journal-World filed an open records request seeking all written reports related to the review Kansas officials said no such records exist. The newspaper said without a written report it was difficult to determine what the university examined and what methods were used.

Kansas hired an outside law firm but said the firm only provided assistance on technical matters.

Girod said Monday the examination reviewed several records to determine whether there is anything the university should be concerned about and found nothing.

The latest federal indictment in the wider investigation alleges that a former Adidas executive paid a mother and a guardian of two basketball players at least $130,000 to ensure they would play for the Jayhawks. No Kansas officials were implicated.

“We have gone back to look at anything we have access to, and we can’t find any evidence of that,” Girod said. “But we don’t have access to everything. That is all we really can do — make sure that on our side of the house we are doing everything appropriately and properly.”

Milwaukee to lose top three scorers to transfer

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Milwaukee announced this week that the three leading scorers off of last season’s fifth-place Horizon League team have been given their release to transfer out of the program.

Jeremiah Bell (14.1 ppg) and Brock Stull (13.4 ppg), both junior guards, as well as sophomore forward Bryce Nze (10.3 ppg) will all pursue other opportunities, which is trouble for a program with a coach that just finished his first season and a roster that finished below .500 on the season.

“Our staff wishes this group of players nothing but the best,” coach Pat Baldwin said in the statement. “We never like to see players leave, but each student-athlete has a unique set of circumstances and feels what is best for them is somewhere else. As they all wish to pursue options at the high-major level, we do want to thank them for their contributions to the Milwaukee basketball program.”