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.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.

Albany’s Peter Hooley accepts Inspiration Award

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Last week, Albany senior Peter Hooley accepted the Inspiration Award at the Coaches vs Cancer Basket Ball in Troy, New York. The Albany athletic department uploaded his entire speech on Monday afternoon.

Hooley had one of the most uplifting moments of March after months and months of heartache.

The junior guard missed three weeks of the season to travel back home to Australia to be with his mother, who was battling colon cancer. She passed away in January. Hooley returned to the team in February and the following month, the Great Danes had a shot at an NCAA tournament berth. In the America East Tournament championship, Hooley sunk a game-winning shot with 1.6 seconds to go.

Hooley, who graduated in May, was selected to give the commencement speech.