In their final season as a member of the WAC the Denver Pioneers managed to win a share of the regular season conference title, with forwards Chris Udofia and Royce O’Neale and guards Chase Hallam and Brett Olson leading the way.
The Pioneers are moving to the Summit League, and they may have to do so without two of those key contributors. Hallam is out of eligibility, and on Friday the school announced that O’Neale’s request to be released from his scholarship has been granted.
O’Neale, a native of Kileen, Texas, made the request due to the health of his grandfather, according to Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com.
“Royce has a personal situation at home in Killeen, Texas,” head coach Joe Scott said in a statement released by the school. “He has requested a release to explore schools that would place him in close proximity to his family. We are understanding and supportive, and therefore have granted Royce a release to those schools.
“As we do this, we are and have been working on a plan for him to stay at the University of Denver while also meeting and supporting his family needs. We are exploring all options to help him.”
If they’re able to work out something to where O’Neale is able to take care of the situation and remain at Denver, the Pioneers would be in position to be one of the preseason favorites to win the Summit League crown.
As a sophomore the 6-5 O’Neale averaged 11.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, leading the Pioneers in both rebounding and assists, earning third-team All-WAC honors.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
Nebraska forward Shavon Shields was stretchered off of the floor after a scary fall as the Huskers were taking on Rutgers.
Nebraska was up by 17 in the second half when Shields bit on a pump fake and tried to block a Rutgers player’s shot. But his momentum carried him over the player’s shoulder, and he landed on what appeared to be up upper back, neck and right shoulder.
Here is the video. Be warned: it’s a nasty fall:
According to the broadcast, Shields lost consciousness on the floor and was taken to a local hospital.
One of the biggest storylines of Saturday’s college basketball schedule had everything to do with a team that no longer matters in the championship picture.
Less than 24 hours after being informed that the school would be imposing a postseason ban that will leave the Cardinals out of the ACC and NCAA tournaments, No. 19 Louisville tipped off against Boston College, and they did so without leading scorer Damion Lee, who is battling a knee issue.
How would the team respond to the decision — the despicable, shameful decision — that the university’s president made?
Well, it seems.
The Cardinals jumped out to a 19-2 lead in the first eight minutes and cruised to a 79-47 win over an overmatched Boston College team in the Yum! Center.
And head coach Rick Pitino, after the quote, said exactly what everyone is thinking.
“We should be penalized, no question about it,” he said. “But not this team. But the NCAA didn’t make that decision. We made that decision.”
He’s totally right. The school sacrificed the season — and the only shot that a pair of fifth-year seniors would get to play in the NCAA tournament — to protect the school, the brand and the bottom-line moving forward. Like I said earlier, it’s despicable.
But credit the Cardinals for responding.
Because they still have something on the line. They’re just a game out of first place in the ACC, and while an ACC regular season title isn’t a shot to play in the ACC or NCAA tournament, it’s still a banner that would probably mean more to Damion Lee and Trey Lewis than any league title has meant to a Louisville player before.