Drake v Creighton

Drake announces dismissal of head coach Mark Phelps

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In the immediate aftermath of Drake’s 2008 Missouri Valley Conference title and trip to the NCAA tournament, there was hope in Des Moines that head coach Mark Phelps would be able to sustain the momentum generated by Keno Davis (who at the time filled the vacancy at Providence).

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs that didn’t happen, and after five seasons at the school Phelps was relieved of his duties as announced by the school.

Phelps leaves Drake with an overall record of 77-86, which includes a 37-53 record in MVC play. Drake’s best MVC finish under Phelps came in 2011-12, when they finished five-way tie for third place.

In the other four season Drake finished in either 7th or 8th place, with their 7-11 record in 2012-13 (15-17 overall) landing the Bulldogs in a three-way tie for seventh.

“A decision like this is never easy,” Drake athletics director Sandy Hatfield Clubb said in a statement released by the school. “However, we believe a change in leadership is necessary to create a sustained level of competitive excellence.

“Drake Basketball is important to our students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters, and we will continue to invest significantly in the program and have high standards for its success.”

Whomever Drake hires will have some work to do, as three of the Bulldogs’ top four scorers from this season graduate led by 6-8 forward Ben Simons.

According to scout.com Drake holds a verbal commitment from 6-8 power forward Joe Boyd (Scottsdale, Ariz.), the Bulldogs were also heavily involved in Las Vegas, Nev. wing Rashad Muhammad (younger brother of UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad). With the coaching change it may be difficult to reel in the Bishop Gorman product.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.

Albany’s Peter Hooley accepts Inspiration Award

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Last week, Albany senior Peter Hooley accepted the Inspiration Award at the Coaches vs Cancer Basket Ball in Troy, New York. The Albany athletic department uploaded his entire speech on Monday afternoon.

Hooley had one of the most uplifting moments of March after months and months of heartache.

The junior guard missed three weeks of the season to travel back home to Australia to be with his mother, who was battling colon cancer. She passed away in January. Hooley returned to the team in February and the following month, the Great Danes had a shot at an NCAA tournament berth. In the America East Tournament championship, Hooley sunk a game-winning shot with 1.6 seconds to go.

Hooley, who graduated in May, was selected to give the commencement speech.