Sam Morris/Las Vegas Sun

UNLV reveals design of statue honoring Jerry Tarkanian

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On Wednesday UNLV unveiled the design of the statue being built in honor of the school’s winningest head coach, Jerry Tarkanian, and it will include “Tark the Shark’s” famous towel.

The bronze statue, which is expected to be finished by July and unveiled outside of the Thomas & Mack Center shortly thereafter, will be approximately life size with Tarkanian sitting down in a folding chair, wearing his traditional short-sleeved shirt and tie. He’s holding the towel to his mouth in his right hand.

Those who aren’t familiar with Tarkanian’s career may wonder why the towel is important. According to his autobiography “Runnin’ Rebel,” Tarkanian first used a wet towel during his time as head coach at Redlands High School in California in 1960.

In a hot gym with his mouth getting dry constantly the coach soaked a towel in water to avoid having to make frequent in-game trips to the water fountain. Redlands won the game, and the rest was history.

“We won the game and the league championship,” said Tarkanian in his book (published by Sports Publishing L.L.C.). “Because I was a superstitious person, I kept sucking on towels the rest of my career.

“It became my trademark, me sucking on a white towel during the most stressful times of a game.”

Brian P. Scanlon, the official sculptor of the Hall of Fame, has been commissioned to handle the project. Estimated to cost nearly $150,000, the statue will be financed primarily through the raising of private funds.

The statue, which comes on the heels of Tarkanian being announced as a member of the 2013 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class on April 8, is part of the school’s Jerry Tarkanian Legacy Project.

There are also plans for a scholarship fund in Tarkanian’s name which may be used to help former players who leave UNLV without their college degrees return to school.

Sam Morris/Las Vegas Sun

Photo credit: Sam Morris/Las Vegas Sun

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

Iona’s A.J. English, Davidson’s Jack Gibbs both go for 40-plus in wins

Jack Gibbs
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Two of the best guards in the country went absolutely bananas on Tuesday night as Iona senior A.J. English and Davidson junior Jack Gibbs had huge nights.

English dropped 46 points and went 13-for-19 from the 3-point line as the Gaels raced past Fairfield. The Iona star went 15-for-25 from the field and also had eight assists in the win.

Not to be outdone, Gibbs started Davidson’s game against Charlotte by going 14-for-14 from the field. Finishing 14-for-17 for the game, Gibbs had 25 points by halftime and 39 points at the under-12-minute timeout in the second half before deferring to teammates in a blowout win.

The 40-point efforts for both English and Gibbs were the first of their college basketball careers, and given the way both have scored the past two seasons, it’s not out of the question that this could happen again.

LATE NIGHT SNACKS: Michigan gets nice road win; multiple 40-point games

Caris LeVert
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Michigan 66, N.C. State 59: Playing without starting point guard Derrick Walton Jr. in the second half, the Wolverines still played well enough to win on the road in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Caris LeVert played a tremendous overall floor game to finish with 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists while Duncan Robinson came off the bench to hit five 3-pointers and finish with 17 points.


A.J. English, Iona: Iona was able to run past Fairfield as the senior guard had 46 points and made 13 3-pointers in the win. English also tallied eight assists as he went 15-for-25 from the field and 13-for-19 from 3-point range.

Jack Gibbs, Davidson: The junior guard had 25 points by halftime and he went 14-for-14 before finally missing a field goal in the second half. Gibbs finished with 41 points in total in the win over Charlotte as he was 14-for-17 from the field.

Robert Hatter, Cornell: The junior guard helped the Big Red to a win over Siena as Hatter had 32 points and six assists to go along with three rebounds and three steals.

D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Georgetown: The Hoyas earned an easy home win over Maryland-Eastern Shore as the senior guard went for 30 points on 10-for-16 shooting.


  • Another big game for Wayne Selden Jr. as he had 18 points, six rebounds and four assists to lead No. 4 Kansas to a big win over Loyola (MD). In his debut, Cheick Diallo went 6-for-8 from the field for 13 points, six rebounds and three blocks.
  • Abdel Nader had 21 points and Jameel McKay had 15 points and 19 rebounds to lead No. 5 Iowa State past North Dakota State.
  • No. 8 Villanova won a road game in Philly as they defeated Saint Joseph’s, 86-72. Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart each finished with 18 points while Ryan Arcidiacono had 17 points.
  • Virginia was able to win on the road at Ohio State without London Perrantes as Malcolm Brogdon had 22 points and six rebounds. The Buckeyes have lost four consecutive games.


  • Quality blowout win for Florida as they easily dispatched Richmond. John Egbunu finished with 17 to pace the Gators while Dorian Finney-Smith had nine points, 13 rebounds, six assists and three blocks.
  • Northwestern outlasted Virginia Tech in overtime as Bryant McIntosh had 19 points and Tre Demps finished with 17.
  • Georgia Tech defeated Wofford at home as Adam Smith led with 16 points for the Yellow Jackets.
  • Georgia needed 23 points from J.J. Frazier and 21 points from Yante Maten to outscore Oakland in a close win.
  • B.J. Tyson had 15 points and nine rebounds to help lead East Carolina past Florida Atlantic.
  • Nice win for William & Mary over Old Dominion as Omar Prewitt had 18 points and seven rebounds.
  • Ohio got past Marshall as guard Jaaron Simmons had 25 points, six assists and five rebounds.