Southern University will honor one of the program’s greatest players on Saturday, renaming the F.G. Clark Activity Center court in honor of Avery Johnson during a ceremony at halftime of their game against Grambling State.
Johnson, most recently head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, played two seasons at the SWAC school and won conference Player of the Year honors in both 1987 and 1988. Johnson dished out 20 assists or more in a game four times during his two seasons at Southern after transferring in from Cameron University (an NAIA school located in Lawton, Oklahoma).
A native of New Orleans, the “Little General” would go on to play 16 seasons in the NBA with his most noteworthy years coming with the San Antonio Spurs. Johnson’s baseline jumper in Game 5 of the 1999 NBA Finals clinched the franchise’s first NBA title.
But even with his achievements at the professional level, Johnson remains grateful for his time at Southern and looks forward to Saturday’s ceremony.
“We (he and his wife Cassandra) are just really honored to be a part of what we’re looking at as a celebration of hard work,” Johnson said in the release. “We’ll be able to share in that celebration with a lot of friends and family.”
In some cases there’s a concern that the visiting team can spoil the fun on a day like this one, but with all due respect to Grambling State that won’t be an issue Saturday. Grambling State (0-18) is the lone Division I team yet to win a game this season, with inexperience and roster issues proving to been too much for a team that didn’t play its first home game until January 6.
On that day Southern beat Grambling State 82-43, with the Tigers scoring just 12 points in the first half. Averaging just over 20 turnovers per game, the 2012-13 campaign has been one those associated with the program will want to forget as soon as its over.
With that in mind, Saturday sets up to be a good day for Southern to welcome back one of its greatest players.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
USC has cleared junior forward Chimezie Metu as he’ll be allowed to play on Saturday against Utah, the school announced.
The 6-foot-11 Metu is the leading scorer and rebounder for the Trojans this season as he was one of the players named in the Friday reports that linked him to NBA agent Andy Miller and Christian Dawkins.
The Trojans are the latest school to allow their player to play after the reports as they follow schools like Duke and Kentucky, as they also did the same with allowing Wendell Carter Jr. and Kevin Knox Jr. to play.
It’s also noted in the release that USC is reviewing Bennie Boatwright’s eligibility as well even though he’s out for the season with a knee injury.
On Friday, Yahoo Sports reported a wide-scale payment operation from Miller and Dawkins in order to recruit players for Miller’s agency. The records allege that Bennie Boatwright Sr. received about $2,000. The records also allege that Metu or his advisor, Johnnie Parker, also got $2,000.
Although the allegations look serious, Dawkins has also proven to be untrustworthy in many instances and it’s hard to tell what might be real and what might be a cover for another expense. It’s hard to prove a lot of these things presented in a business expenses spreadsheet. USC is backing Metu by saying he never received anything that would harm his eligibility as they try to make a final push at Arizona before the postseason.
As we will do every day throughout the rest of the season, here is a look at how college basketball’s bubble teams fared on Saturday.
It’s worth reminding you here that the way winning are labeled have changed this season. Instead of looking at all top 50 wins equally, the selection committee will be using criteria that breaks wins down into four quadrants, using the RPI:
- Quadrant 1: Home vs. 1-30, Neutral vs. 1-50, Road vs. 1-75
- Quadrant 2: Home vs. 31-75, Neutral vs. 51-100, Road vs. 76-135
- Quadrant 3: Home vs. 76-160, Neutral vs. 101-200, Road vs. 136-240
- Quadrant 4: Home vs. 161 plus, Neutral vs. 201 plus, Road vs. 240 plus
The latest NBC Sports Bracketology can be found here.
YET TO PLAY
MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE
Duke star freshman Marvin Bagley III will be available for the Blue Devils on Saturday when they play Syracuse in an ACC home game.
Bagley missed the past four games due to a knee strain that he suffered in the Feb. 8 game against North Carolina. During Bagley’s absence, the Blue Devils went 4-0 as their defense looked very good and senior Grayson Allen became an aggressive scorer.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of changes Duke makes with Bagley’s return. Watching Bagley’s health and seeing how many minutes he plays will be another subplot to watch against the Orange.
Kentucky has officially responded to recent reports that some of its players, notably freshman Kevin Knox, could be involved in the fallout from NBA agent Andy Miller and Christian Dawkins’ FBI investigation.
Knox is one of the players mentioned in a Yahoo Sports report on Friday that included documents for how Miller and Dawkins recruited players to the agency. In the report that Dawkins sent to Miller, it is noted that Knox or a family member of Knox allegedly had a meal with Dawkins.
Kevin Knox Sr. said he didn’t know Miller or Dawkins in a report on Friday. Kentucky also seems to be backing Knox entering Saturday’s SEC clash with Missouri. The Wildcats haven’t found anything wrong while reviewing the matter internally as it looks like Knox will play.
Kentucky seems to be following Duke’s path with Wendell Carter Jr.
Both are still allowed to play, despite being listed in the report, because there are a lot of factors still at play here. It should be noted that the evidence against all of these players in the Dawkins case looks bad. It’s also hard to prove whether an actual encounter occurred. Dawkins doesn’t have the greatest history of being honest as CBT’s Rob Dauster noted.
Dawkins could have been misleading about some of these encounters with his boss to make himself look good. It’s also difficult to tell who truly paid for the meal, as it is conceivable that some of these players or their families paid for themselves.
Regardless of the nuances of this case, Knox looks like he will continue to play for a recently resurgent Kentucky team that has won two straight games. It’ll be interesting to see if this case hovers over Knox and Kentucky or if they can continue to power through and play well.
The University of Memphis announced on Friday that junior point guard Jeremiah Martin will miss the rest of the season with a broken left foot.
The leading scorer in the AAC this season, the 6-foot-3 Martin injured his foot in the first half of the Tigers’ win over Houston on Thursday night. Martin did not return to the game as he left the arena in a protective boot. Martin is expected to have surgery to repair the foot on Tuesday as he’s expected to miss four-to-six weeks with the injury.
While the Tigers will be significantly worse without its best offensive player, Memphis did come back to beat the Cougars without Martin on Thursday night, as they’ll still be a tough out in the American. Martin was putting up 18.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game as he was in the midst of a breakout junior campaign.
If Martin returns to school for his senior season, he’ll be under heavy consideration as one of the top 100 players in college basketball next season.