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Introducing ’14 PG Lourawls Nairns Jr., the Bahamian ‘Tum Tum’?

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Lourawls Nairn Jr. may have the most interesting name in the country, but its origin is actually quite mundane: Sunrise Christian Academy’s point guard and the No. 61 player in the Class of 2014 was simply named after his father.

His grandparents named Lourawls Sr. after — you guessed it — Lou Rawls, a soul and R&B singer back in the ’60s and ’70s.

But Junior’s nickname is a pop culture reference that’s all his own, as he’s known to friends and family as “Tum Tum”, a reference that most children of the ’90s will recognize instantly. It’s the name of the youngest brother in ‘3 Ninjas’ movies, who was known more for his ability to eat than his skills as a ninja.

“When I was little I used to eat everything,” Nairn told NBCSports.com during a break in the action at last weekend’s Nike Global Challenge. “So they called me Tum Tum.”

While the nickname has managed to stick — those pesky family names always seem to, don’t they? — Nairn no longer looks like a “Tum Tum”. He’s a 5-foot-10, 170 lb rock of a point guard that lists offers from the likes of Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Arkansas, Memphis, Minnesota, and Creighton. He may be the fastest player in the country with the ball in his hands, a nightmare to try and keep out of the paint, particularly in transition.

Nairn has work to do on his perimeter shot, however, and he’s still learning the nuances of playing the point guard position, but that’s understandable. Six years ago, Nairn — who turns 19 in October — wasn’t a basketball player, he was a sprinter in the Bahamas, a nation where track and field is much more relevant that hoops.

“The Bahamas is a track nation, so everybody ran track,” Nairn said. “Ever since I touched a basketball, I knew it was me. I stopped running track immediately and just played.”

“I started playing basketball seriously at 12, almost 13. The first year I got serious with it, the next year I went to America.”

And that’s where Nairn’s journey started. He spent a couple years in Florida playing at South Florida Prep Christian Academy in Ft. Lauderdale before enrolling at Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, KS. Sunrise has become something of a pipeline for Bahamian basketball players. Buddy Hield, who Nairns calls his “best friend”, played at Sunrise last season before heading off to Oklahoma. Three other Bahamians — senior Andre Sands and juniors Travis Mullings and Nathan Bain — currently populate Sunrise’s roster.

The Bahamas is turning into a somewhat fertile recruiting ground for colleges and prep schools alike. Former LSU and Louisiana Tech big man Magnum Rolle, who was a second round NBA draft pick in 2010, is Bahamian. Houston’s ‘Chicken’ Knowles, Maryland’s Shaquille Cleare, UCLA signee Wanaah Bail, Wichita State’s Kadeem Coleby and former Texas Tech signee Michael Carey all hail from the islands most of us consider paradise.

“The thing is, we don’t have a lot of guys that’s really good, it’s just raw talent,” Nairn said. “The guys you see coming over from the Bahamas is guys that really have a chance to do something in the United States, because there’s way more opportunities here than there is back home.”

And the opportunities that Nairn is looking for aren’t just on the court.

“Free education is the most important thing. Basketball is basketball, but obviously, you gotta get the free education when you go to school,” Nairn said. His goal after basketball? To be a real estate agent. “I just think that’s me. I’m good with people, I can talk about anything.”

And it’s true. Nairn, who is quick to flash a smile and crack a joke with a voice that will remind you more of Marvin Gaye than Lou Rawls, says that there is only one thing he doesn’t like about moving from the tropics to the Midwest. “I hate the weather in Kansas,” he said. “Everything else is perfect. I go to a Christian school, people love basketball, give me opportunities to succeed.”

He also said he doesn’t miss home — No beaches? No problem. “I go to the pools.” — or the home-cooking, which is surprising considering the origins of his nickname. But it also makes sense, as his favorite meal back home consists of “barbecue chicken, peas and rice, coleslaw, potato salad, some mixed vegetables.” Sounds like something you can get in Wichita.

Nairn said he never ate much seafood back home, only on special occasions. He also said that, despite growing up on an island, he’s never been fishing.

“A lot of people ask me that, but I’ve never been fishing in my life. I never had the opportunity,” he said, which is one of the biggest reasons he came to the States.

“But I will. Once everything’s done here.”

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

CBT Podcast: Reminiscing about a road trip and the NCAA Selection Committee meeting

JACKSONVILLE, FL - MARCH 19:  Mississippi Rebels and Xavier Musketeers players run by the logo at mid-court during the second round of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena on March 19, 2015 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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Here is the latest episode of the College Basketball Talk podcast, featuring my former colleague Troy Machir talking about a road trip we took five years ago and Andy Glockner going over what was discussed at the meeting of the analytic minds in Indianapolis with the NCAA Selection Committee this weekend.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Audioboom

Arizona’s Miller elaborates on Trier’s suspension

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 21: Allonzo Trier #35 of the Arizona Wildcats goes up for a layup against TJ Leaf #22 of the UCLA Bruins during the first half of the game at Pauley Pavilion on January 21, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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Arizona sophomore guard Allonzo Trier sat out the first 19 games of the season for reasons not made clear until last week.

Now that Trier has been cleared to play after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug, Wildcats coach Sean Miller is able to elaborate on the process and the need to be so tight-lipped through it.

“It’s a process that had no history,” he said during his weekly news conference Monday. “I think the NCAA did the best they could. They were extremely fair. I think they really had the student-athlete welfare at the forefront of a lot of things. It might not have felt that way to the outside, but they were very communicative, very direct, vert cooperative, trying to hold to the standards that they need to hold these types of issues to.”

Trier was expected to be the key cog for No. 7 Arizona after bypassing a chance at the NBA to return for his sophomore season. Instead, he was replaced at the last minute for Pac-12 media day and spent the first three months of the season on the bench unable to play.

Trier issued a statement last Wednesday saying he tested positive for a banned PED he received to treat an injury from someone not affiliated with the university. Trier was conditionally cleared to play in November, contingent upon the PED leaving his system. He was cleared before Saturday’s game against UCLA, finishing with 12 points in the Wildcats’ 96-85 victory.

“There are just too many unknowns,” Miller said of not providing information on Trier’s suspension before last week. “The No. 1 here is to protect the student-athlete privacy of a situation that was very complicated and to not at all harm him in any way. There are no secrets, nobody is hiding anything. It’s just a matter of trying to do right by the young man. We would much rather have the criticism pointed toward us than to do something that is unnecessary and could potentially harm a young person.”

Arizona (18-2, 7-0 Pac-12) has played well through Trier’s suspension and a string of injuries, winning 11 straight games before his return on Saturday. Their 12th consecutive win moved the Wildcats up seven spots in Monday’s AP Top 25.

No. 3 Gonzaga improves to 20-0 with win over Portland

SPOKANE, WA - DECEMBER 07:  Nigel Williams-Goss #5 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs drives against the Washington Huskies in the first half at McCarthey Athletic Center on December 7, 2016 in Spokane, Washington.  Gonzaga defeated Washington 98-71.  (Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images)
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PORTLAND, Ore. — Zach Collins had 13 points and No. 3 Gonzaga remained the nation’s only undefeated Division I team with an 83-64 victory over Portland in a game Monday night that was rescheduled because of a winter storm earlier this month.

The Bulldogs have won 20 straight games, their longest streak since winning that many in the 2005-06 and 2003-04 seasons. Gonzaga is now 8-0 in West Coast Conference play.

Silas Melson and Jordan Mathews each added 12 points for the Zags, who led by as many as 33 points and had four players in double-digits.

Rashad Jackson and D’Marques Tyson had 15 points apiece for Portland, which won its first two games in conference but has lost six straight since then. The Pilots (9-11, 2-6 WCC) are playing their first season under former NBA player and coach Terry Porter.

The game was originally scheduled for Jan. 7, but a winter storm in Portland forced it to be postponed. Portland opened up extra seats and Gonzaga’s fans outnumbered the home team’s crowd.

The two teams had met just two days ago in Spokane, with Gonzaga leading from the start to win 73-52. But Portland, playing without top scorer Alec Wintering, out-rebounded the Zags 41-33 and held them to 45 percent shooting.

The Zags fared better on Monday, out-rebounding Portland 41-36 and shooting 42 percent.

Gonzaga guard Nigel Williams-Goss, who left the game against Portland because of a left hip injury with about five minutes left, was questionable against Portland but started.

But freshman forward Killian Tillie appeared to injure his right leg under Portland’s basket with 9:38 to go in the game, and teammates helped him from the floor. The 6-foot-10 Tillie, who is from France, is averaging 4.8 points this season.

Wintering, a senior, was hurt in last Thursday’s game against San Francisco and the Pilots announced this weekend that his college career was over because of a torn left ACL.

Wintering averaged 19.5 points and 5.6 assists a game this season. He was on Portland’s bench in street clothes, but during warmups before the game and at the break he was on the court, offering his teammates advice and encouragement.

Gonzaga jumped out to a 9-0 run but the Pilots closed within 9-8 following Philipp Hartwich’s dunk. Portland was competitive, answering Melson’s 3-pointer for Gonzaga with Jackson’s 3 that got the Pilots within 22-19.

But the Bulldogs responded with an 8-0 run to go up 30-19 and went into halftime with on a 16-4 run for a 38-23 lead. Melson and Jonathan Williams led Gonzaga at the break with eight points apiece. Jackson’s 13 first-half points for Portland were a new career high for a game.

Gonzaga extended the lead to 50-26 on Przemek Karnowski’s layup with just under 16 minutes to go, the Bulldogs were on the way to their 20th straight win.

THE BIG PICTURE:

Gonzaga: The Zags have won eight straight against Portland. … The Bulldogs’ longest winning streak was 22 games, set in the

Portland: Portland Trail Blazers President Neil Olshey was at the game. … The game, originally scheduled to be played over winter break, was sold out. So despite school being back in session, the usual student section wasn’t as large for the televised game.

POLL IMPLICATIONS: Gonzaga rose a spot from No. 4 and only trails No. 1 Villanova (19-1) and No. 2 Kansas (18-1) in the AP rankings released earlier in the day. The Bulldogs were also ranked No. 3 in the Feb. 23, 2015 poll.

VIDEO: Andrew Jones nails deep three to give Texas win over Oklahoma

AUSTIN, TX - DECEMBER 27: James Banks #4 and Andrew Jones #1 of the Texas Longhorns react during the game between the Texas Longhorns and the Kent State Golden Flashesat the Frank Erwin Center on December 27, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images)
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Texas freshman Andrew Jones nailed one of the most heroic game-winners of conference play with a dagger against Oklahoma on Monday night.

The Longhorns put together an 84-83 win over the Sooners as Jones took the final possession off of a missed free throw to dribble across the floor and fire an NBA-range bomb over a defender.

This win isn’t going to save a struggling Texas season, but it’s a nice win and a confidence-boosting shot for a McDonald’s All-American who has the potential to be a big-time player with some more seasoning. Jones finished with 16 points in the win as the Longhorns are now 8-12 and 2-6 in the Big 12.

(H/t: Mike Leslie)

VIDEO: Dennis Smith Jr. caps N.C. State win with thunder dunk

DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 23:  Dennis Smith Jr. #4 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack drives in for a dunk as time expires during their win against the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium on January 23, 2017 in Durham, North Carolina. North Carolina State won 84-82.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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Dennis Smith Jr. showed why he is a potential top three pick in this year’s draft and why he was the reason many thought that the Wolfpack could be an Elite 8 team coming into the season on Monday, popping off for 32 points and six assists as N.C. State won at No. 17 Duke, 84-82.

He capped off the performance with the perfect exclamation point, a dunk contest-worthy throwdown:

Let’s get another angle of that dunk, shall we?: