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Parade Girls’ Basketball POY streak hits three for UConn

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Next October head coach Geno Auriemma and the UConn Huskies will begin their quest for a second consecutive (and ninth overall) national title.

On Saturday the program continued a streak of sorts, as signee Saniya Chong was named Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year by Parade Magazine. Chong, who hails from Ossining, N.Y., is the third Player of the Year in a row to sign with UConn.

Chong, who averaged 34.4 points per game and led her high school to its first-ever state title, beat out Rebekah Dahlman (Vanderbilt signee), Diamond Deshields (North Carolina), Kianna Holland (Duke), and Tori Jankoska (Michigan State) for the award.

North Carolina has three players on the Parade All-American Team, which can be seen below.

Name Pos. High School Ht. College
Lindsay Allen G St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) 5-7 Notre Dame
Lakota Beatty G Anadarko (Okla.) 5-8 Oklahoma State
Lexie Brown G North Gwinnett (Suwanee, Ga.) 5-8 Maryland
Dennisha Chambers G Louisiana New Tech (Plain Dealing, La.) 5-5 Grambling State
Saniya Chong G Ossining (N.Y.) 5-10 UConn
Alaina Coates C Dutch Fork (Irmo, S.C.) 6-5 South Carolina
Rebekah Dahlman G Braham (Minn.) 5-9 Vanderbilt
Nina Davis F Memphis Central (Memphis, Tenn.) 6-0 Baylor
Diamond DeShields G Norcross (Ga.) 6-2 North Carolina
Ally Disterhoft G West (Iowa City, Iowa) 6-0 Iowa
Makayla Epps G Marion County (Lebanon, Ky.) 5-9 Kentucky
Amanda Fioravanti F Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) 6-1 Virginia
Becca Greenwell G Owensboro Catholic (Ky.) 6-1 Duke
Ciara Gregory G Jeannette (Pa.) 5-7 Charlotte
Linnae Harper G Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) 5-6 Kentucky
Breanna Hayden G James Madison (Dallas, Texas) 5-9 Baylor
Olivia Healy F Reading (Mass.) 5-10 Richmond
Ahlisha Henderson C Reseda (Los Angeles, Calif.) 6-3 Grambling State
Kianna Holland G Seneca (S.C.) 5-9 Duke
Jessica Jackson F Jacksonville (Ark.) 6-2 Arkansas
Tori Jankoska G Freeland (Mich.) 5-8 Michigan State
Kailee Johnson F Central Catholic (Portland, Ore.) 6-3 Stanford
Breyana Mason G Forest Park (Woodbridge, Va) 5-8 Virginia
Stephanie Mavunga C Brownsburg (Ind.) 6-3 North Carolina
Erica McCall F Ridgeview (Bakersfield, Calif.) 6-2 Stanford
Brandy Montgomery G Lincoln Park (Fort Pierce, Fla.) 5-11 Auburn
KiKi Patterson G Columbus (Miss.) 5-9 Mississippi State
Kelsey Plum G La Jolla Country Day (Calif.) 5-9 Washington
Kaitlyn Pratt F McDonogh 35 (New Orleans, La.) 6-0 Arkansas-Little Rock
Bianca Quisenberry G Tecumseh (New Carlisle, Ohio) 5-8 Cincinnati
Taya Reimer F Hamilton Southeastern (Fishers, Ind.) 6-2 Notre Dame
Mercedes Russell C Springfield (Ore.) 6-6 Tennessee
Tyler Scaife G Hall (Little Rock, Ark.) 5-9 Rutgers
Ieshia Small F Florida High (Tallahassee, Fla.) 6-0 Baylor
Jazmine Spears F New Albany (Miss.) 5-11 Mississippi State
Malia Tate-DeFreitas G Steelton-Highspire (Steelton, Pa.) 5-8 Hampton
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough F Hopewell (Aliquippa, Pa.) 5-11 Maryland
Jessica Washington G Jenks (Tulsa. Okla.) 5-8 North Carolina
Ronni Williams F Atlantic (Port Orange, Fla.) 6-2 Florida
Faith Woodard F Freedom (Tampa, Fla.) 6-2 Georgetown

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Duke, Cincinnati lead Hall of Fame Tip-Off

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski gestures during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Florida State in Durham, N.C., Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)
(AP Photo/Ben McKeown)
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) Duke and Cincinnati, 2016 NCAA Tournament teams, highlight the eight-team field for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament.

The participants for the Nov. 19-20 event were announced Wednesday.

Also in the field are Rhode Island, Penn State, Grand Canyon, Albany, Marist and Brown.

The teams, split into two four-team brackets, will play two doubleheaders at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Duke, Cincinnati, Penn State and Rhode Island will meet in the Naismith Bracket, while the others will play in the Springfield Bracket.

The teams will play two early round games at campus sites from Nov. 11 through Nov. 16.

Brandone Francis-Ramirez transferring out of Florida

Florida State center Jean Marc Christ Koumadje (21) fouls Florida guard Brandone Francis-Ramirez (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015, in Gainesville, Fla. (Matt Stamey, The Gainesville Sun via AP)
(Matt Stamey, The Gainesville Sun via AP)
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Brandone Francis-Ramirez is transferring out of the Florida program, the school announced on Wednesday.

A former top 40 recruit, Francis-Ramirez had his two seasons in Gainesville ruined by an academic issues and a loss of confidence. He was academically ineligible in 2014-15, practicing with the team during the second semester. He was granted a redshirt for the year, but he struggled to find any kind of a rhythm this past season. There was a two-month stretch in the middle of the year where he shot 6-for-58 from the floor and 2-for-31 from three.

On the season, he shot 20.2 percent from the floor and 16.9 percent from three.

“I want it to work out for him,” Gators coach Mike White said in a release. “We really appreciate what Brandone did here and wish him the best.”

One of Villanova’s title game stars undergoes knee surgery

Phil Booth, Jack McVeigh
(AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)
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The forgotten star of the national title game underwent an arthroscopic on his left knee on Wednesday.

Phil Booth, who scored a season-high 20 points in the 2016 National Title game, will be a junior next season and one of the guys called upon to help replace Ryan Arcidiacono, who graduated. He should be ready to go by the middle of the summer; according to a statement put out by the program, Booth will need 6-to-8 weeks to heal.

“Phil is as mentally tough a young man as we have had at Villanova,” head coach Jay Wright said in the release. “He continually impresses our coaching staff with his outstanding attitude. Phil will attack this recovery challenge with great determination, as he does everything in life.”

Booth averaged 7.0 points and 2.2 assists this past season.

Jennings becomes seventh player to transfer from Kentucky

Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell watches his team during the team's regional semifinal in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament against Washington in Lexington, Ky., Friday, March 25, 2016. Washington won 85-72. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
(AP Photo/James Crisp)
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell has announced that sophomore forward Alexis Jennings will transfer, the seventh Wildcat to leave the program since last fall.

Jennings’ departure comes a week after Mitchell publicly addressed the mass exodus of players and assistant coaches and stressed the need for building stability. Jennings figured to be part of that process and the coach said in a release Wednesday night that “it saddens us that Alexis did not see a path for her at Kentucky. … She felt it was in her best interest to finish her career elsewhere and we owe her that opportunity.”

The 6-foot-2 Jennings started 18 of 33 games last season and averaged 10 points and 7.1 rebounds.

DePaul adds 2018 commit

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Wisconsin guard John Diener has committed to DePaul, his grassroots program announced Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-4 Class of 2018 guard ends his recruitment rather early with offers also from instate schools Green Bay and Milwaukee. He’s known as a shooter and becomes the first commit for Dave Leitao in the 2018 class.

Diener, who plays with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors in the spring and summer, commits to the Blue Demons with them coming off a disappointing campaign, Leitao’s first in Chicago. DePaul went 9-22 overall and 3-15 in the Big East, finishing only ahead of St. John’s.

DePaul has been recruiting the Midwest hard with incoming 2016 recruits from La Lumiere School in Indiana, Sagninow, Mich. and locally in Chicago.