File photo of Washington Wizards' Jason Collins going to the basket against Chicago Bulls' Taj Gibson during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Chicago, Illinois

Jason Collins’ former Stanford teammates, coaches offer support

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The biggest story of the day has arguably been Jason Collins, who came out publicly in a piece that was posted Monday morning. As a result, he became the first openly-gay athlete to currently be playing in one of the four major sports in the United States.

Shortly after, statements from dignitaries, both in and out of sports, came rolling in. Social media platforms and websites had messages from a lot of places and people, but in college basketball, Collins received some of the first supporting messages from his former coaches and teammates at Stanford.

Eric Reveno, who currently serves as coach at Portland and spent nine seasons as an assistant under Mike Montgomery at Stanford, coaching Collins throughout his four years on campus, tweeted out a message of support.

Other well-wishers came in the form of statements, such as Stanford Athletic Director Bernard Muir, who assumed his role last year at the school.

“I am proud to hear that Jason, one of our Stanford sons, has taken a leadership role on this topic. I applaud his decision to be true to his identity and, from his own words, start this conversation in major professional sports. On behalf of a diverse athletic community I hope that we progress to the point in society where truthful moments like these are no longer newsworthy.”

Collins’ teammate while with the Cardinal, Mark Madsen, echoed a similar statement. Madsen is currently an assistant coach with the program.

In tweet form:

And in a statement.

“Jason Collins is one of the greatest people you will ever meet in your life,” Madsen said. “He is one of my all-time favorite teammates, both here at Stanford and for one season together in the NBA with Minnesota. What stands out to me about Jason is his leadership and sense of humor. Even at Stanford, Jason was involved with campus life outside of basketball. On NBA teams, he was a guy who kept everything loose and was able to bridge a lot of different gaps, whether it was international players, veterans or rookies. Basketball does not define Jason Collins. His decision to come out publicly doesn’t define Jason Collins. What defines Jason, is he is a first-rate human being who made a huge contribution to this University, and every team or community he has been a part of.”

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

Marcus Paige, Joel Berry lead No. 9 North Carolina past No. 2 Maryland

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.

For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the Preseason National Player of the Year.

On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.

Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.

Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.

In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.

As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.

(More to come from Chapel Hill…)

VIDEO: Melo Trimble drops Nate Britt with a crossover

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North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.

(H/T: The Cauldron)