Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum: ‘I’m healthy’

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C.J. McCollum, Lehigh’s high-scoring senior guard, was expected to be one of the nation’s most talked about players this season. He was. Until a broken foot days after the start of the New Year ended his storied collegiate career.

McCollum broke his foot in the first half of a game against VCU on Jan. 5. It’s now April, just over two months before the NBA Draft and McColllum wants to assure the basketball world, general managers especially, that he back to form.

“Teams, from what I’ve heard, are pretty positive about me,” McCollum told Nicole Auerbach of USA Today. “The biggest thing is they just want to see me healthy. I’m healthy. My X-rays are very, very beautiful. I think that’s just the biggest thing; they want to make sure my foot is OK.”

The 6-foot-3 senior guard was averaging 23.9 points and five rebounds per game in his 12-game season. Currently, DraftExpress.com has McCollum is predicted to go 15th overall. Ben McLemore, Victor Oladipo, Trey Burke and Michael Carter-Williams are listed as guards a head of McCollum.

Auerbach reports that McCollum was able to begin on court exercises after getting his boot on his left foot removed in the middle of March. It wasn’t until last week when McCollum began full-speed drills. Following a drive to the hoop against VCU on Jan. 5, McCollum fractured his fifth metatarsal.

“My draft stock is still pretty good right now,” McCollum told USA Today. “It’ll be better when I get back on the court and show teams that the injury hasn’t fazed me, and I’ve actually gotten stronger and improved aspects of my game.

“I think all the other guys who have had this injury have exceeded expectations after the injury, and I think I’ll be in a similar position to do so as well.”

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

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: