Mike Davis

Texas Southern rewards Mike Davis with contract extension

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Texas Southern head coach Mike Davis took over the program last season under circumstances that were anything but ideal. Thanks to poor Academic Progress Rate (APR) marks, the Tigers were banned from postseason play for the 2012-13 season.

That didn’t stop Davis’ team from having a successful season in the SWAC, as Texas Southern went 16-2 in league play (17-14 overall) and won the outright regular season title. For that Davis has been rewarded with a two-year contract extension through 2018, with the news being announced by the school Friday afternoon.

“We were extremely happy with the outcome of last season during the circumstances in which we brought Coach Davis in,” Director of Athletics Dr. Charles McClelland said in a statement released by the school.

“He’s proven, not only to be a great coach, but a great leader and more importantly a great person and role model. It was incumbent on us to solidify one of the best coaches in my opinion that we could get at this point in time.”

Last week Texas Southern announced that for the first time since 2004, the APR scores of every team either meet or exceed current NCAA standards. With the necessary adjustments being made on that front, Davis and his staff can now concentrate on the task of getting Texas Southern back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2003.

Both Omar Strong (17.0 ppg) and Fred Sturdivant (11.1, 8.2 rpg) have graduated, leaving guards Ray Penn (12.2, 5.7 apg) and Lawrence Johnson-Danner (8.5) as the team’s leading returning scorers. Replacing two of the SWAC’s best players in Strong and Sturdivant will be difficult, but unlike last season they can win the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Lawyer: Pierre suspended due to ‘unfair and defective process’

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Dayton forward Dyshawn Pierre, who is suspended from school for the fall semester stemming from a sexual assault allegation, has sued the university over what his lawyer calls an “unfair and defective internal process”.

Peter R. Ginsberg, Pierre’s lawyer, released a statement to NBCSports.com on Wednesday stating that his client intends to file suit over the ruling, saying that the school arrived at a suspension through “fundamentally unfair and defective internal process that deprived him of vital rights and protections and has resulted in a disruption in his education, a drastic blow to his reputation, and a potentially fatal interference” with basketball.

Pierre was suspended due to an incident that allegedly took place in mid-April and was reported in May, according to the Dayton Daily News. The prosecutor declined to press charges in the case due to a lack of evidence, the paper reported.

Pierre, a 6-foot-6 wing that averaged 12.7 points last season, is not currently enrolled at the school.

“What has been done to me has been grossly unfair. The allegations against me are false,” he said. “And now I find myself with my reputation tarnished, my schooling interrupted and my dream of helping the basketball team win a national championship being threatened. I want justice, and I want a return to my normal life.”

Ginsberg represented Dez Wells in a similar case. Wells, then at Xavier, was expelled by the university in 2012 following a sexual assault allegation, but he won a settlement from the school in 2014. The crux of Ginsberg’s claims regarding Pierre’s case is that the process by which Dayton reached this conclusion is fundamentally flawed.

Skal Labissiere has not been cleared by the NCAA

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While the timeline surrounding Cheick Diallo’s eligibility has made headlines for months now, another elite recruit at a blue blood program is still awaiting word on whether or not he will be allowed to play college basketball this season.

Kentucky center Skal Labissiere, the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2015 and a potential No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, has not yet been cleared to play this season. His guard, Gerald Hamilton, confirmed as much to ESPN earlier today.

“Not yet,” Hamilton said. “We’re just trying to get everything squared away. They are asking a few questions.

“They haven’t cleared him, but we’re sticking with our faith. There’s no real concern about anything from the Kentucky compliance people.”

Labissiere has more red flags than you can count, almost all of them pertaining to Hamilton. It was the worst kept secret in high school basketball that Hamilton more or less had Labissiere for sale. It’s why he played three different AAU programs and two different high schools in four years. Hamilton runs a non-profit called Reach Your Dream and, after a transfer rendered him ineligible for his senior high school season, Labissiere played for a team called ‘Reach Your Dream Prep’, which Hamilton founded simply to ensure Labissiere had a place to play.

Here’s how CBSSports.com summarized things back in November:

Multiple coaches who have recruited Labissiere told CBSSports.com Hamilton either directly indicated or strongly suggested pursuing Labissiere would mostly be a waste of time if they couldn’t offer assistance in helping fund his foundation. One coach from a prominent staff said: “We couldn’t even get in the door.” Another added: “We recognized what it was about early on and decided not to get involved.”

In other words, no one is surprised that the NCAA is looking into Labissiere’s situation, and it’s not hard to look at Kentucky bringing in Isaac Humphries and Tai Wynyard as a sign that they’re not completely certain that Labissiere will make it through this. The surprise is in how quiet that investigation has been over the course of the last few months.

The shame in all of this is that Labissiere is a sweet kid with an incredible back-story. He survived the devastating earthquake in Haiti despite having a house collapse on him. If he can get through this investigation, he’ll easily be one of the biggest and most likeable stars in the sport this season.