Rick Pitino

Louisville shot-blocker Gorgui Dieng likely to sit out with injury until after New Year’s Day

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Louisville center Gorgui Dieng will likely miss at least another two weeks with a wrist injury, Cardinals’ coach Rick Pitino announced Tuesday, as reported by Kent Taylor of NBC affiliate WAVE-TV in Kentucky.

Dieng has already missed five games after falling awkwardly and injuring the wrist Nov. 23 against Missouri in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. His absence was felt most strongly in Louisville’s loss to Duke, when Blue Devils’ center Mason Plumlee went for 16 points and 7 rebounds.

The 6-10 native of Senegal was averaging 8.2 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks at the time of his injury.

Reports over the weekend said that Dieng was looking to return early from the injury, with the cast being taken off his wrist. He was already slated not to dress for Friday’s match-up with Florida international, but Saturday’s game against Western Kentucky seemed like a possibility.

“He could play in the Western Kentucky game if he’s in shape,” said Pitino at the time. “That’s the biggest thing, not the hand, if he’s in shape to play.”

That is now not the case.

Pitino reportedly is aiming for Dieng to return Jan. 2 against Providence, which would be within the original 4-6 weeks that Dieng was expected to miss.

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

Akron reveals special bobble heads for LeBron, high school teammates

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When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.

LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.

Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).

All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.

NEW PODCAST: Indiana, Cal, troublesome trends and a weekend preview

California's Jabari Bird celebrates a score against Oregon in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.

Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.