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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.

POSTERIZED: Class of 2016 forward Chris Seeley has a massive dunk on defender

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The Las Vegas AAU events are all going on this week and it’s the final event for rising seniors.

At the Las Vegas Fab 48, forward Chris Seeley of the Splash City 17U team put down one of the best poster dunks of the summer as he skied over a defender for an emphatic finish.

The Class of 2016 forward attends Central High School in Fresno, California as he’s receiving plenty of buzz for his recent play.

 

 

 

Five-star forward Jarred Vanderbilt cuts list to nine

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LAS VEGAS, NV — Five-star Class of 2017 forward Jarred Vanderbilt has been one of the most sought-after recruits in the country since he was a freshman in high school.

The 6-foot-8 native of Houston is beginning to wind things down in the recruiting process as he cut his list to nine schools on Friday. Vanderbilt’s list includes some of the most storied programs in college basketball and plenty of schools from his home state of Texas.

“I just followed my heart. Went with the schools I liked the most and who I have the best relationships with. Thear were the schools I could see myself playing for,” Vanderbilt told NBCSports.com.

Regarded as the No. 13 overall prospect in the Rivals.com national rankings, Vanderbilt is currently recovering from a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot.

Vanderbilt will see a doctor in three-to-four weeks as he’s currently in a boot to help his foot heal.

Report: Michigan State and Penn State will play at the Palestra

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Head coach Patrick Chambers of the Penn State Nittany Lions looks on against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has previously expressed a desire to coach a game at the legendary Palestra in Philadelphia and it appears he’ll get his chance in a Big Ten game this season.

According to a report from Brendan F. Quinn of MLive, Penn State will use the Palestra as its home gym for the Jan. 7, 2017 Big Ten game against Michigan State. It is the only time the two teams are scheduled to play during Big Ten season and Penn’s home gym will offer a unique setting for the game.

Since the capacity of the Palestra is 8,722, it should make for a fun atmosphere for both programs since this will be a game both fan bases will likely want to attend.

With Nittany Lions head coach Pat Chambers making Philadelphia a major recruiting priority for his program, a game like this in Philadelphia makes sense while Michigan State has always been open to playing games in unique settings such as aircraft carriers.

The Palestra has been a college basketball mainstay since it was built in 1927 as it hosts all Penn home games and, in the past, hosted a lot of Big 5 Philadelphia college games between La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph’s, Temple and Villanova.

Overall, a fun idea that should make for an interesting experience for both programs. It’s not often that a team will change its home venue for a conference game, but it could be the start of something we see other schools look to do.

 

OSU officials: Coger died after 40-minute outdoor workout

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 18:  Head coach Brad Underwood of the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks reacts in the first half against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Barclays Center on March 18, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) Oklahoma State basketball player Tyrek Coger died after a 40-minute team workout on the football stadium stairs in hot weather, university officials said Friday.

Coger, a 21-year-old forward who had recently transferred to OSU, did not appear to be struggling during Thursday’s workout at Boone Pickens Stadium, OSU spokesman Gary Shutt said Friday at a news conference. Afterward, Coger sat down and when the team went to check on him, they noticed there were issues.

The team called 911 and paramedics arrived at 5:08 p.m. Coger arrived at Stillwater Medical Center at 5:48 p.m. and was pronounced dead at 6:23 p.m., Shutt said.

The temperature at 5 p.m. Thursday in Stillwater was 99 degrees with a heat index of 105 degrees, The Stillwater NewsPress reported.

Oklahoma State basketball coach Brad Underwood broke down Friday as he remembered Coger, noting that he was in Las Vegas on a recruiting trip when he learned of Coger’s death and that the past two days have been the most difficult of his coaching career.

“This is the hardest couple of days I’ve ever experienced in my coaching life. You say goodbye to players when they graduate and that’s one thing,” Underwood said, pausing to wipe away tears with a towel. “Making that phone call to a mother is – there’s no words.”

OSU athletic director Mike Holder says the team will thoroughly examine its practices following Coger’s death. The NCAA’s Sports Medicine Handbook does not provide specific guidelines for when teams should avoid practicing in extreme temperatures.

The handbook says heatstroke is the third-leading cause of sudden death in athletes, and that athletes should be gradually introduced to activity in warm temperatures over a “minimum period of 10 to 14 days.” Coger had been in Oklahoma since July 5, the school said.

The NCAA handbook also provides a list of signs and symptoms of heat injury, notes that heatstroke is most likely to occur at the start of preseason practices and says that some athletes with certain health conditions or athletes who are not adequately in shape can be more susceptible to heatstroke. It was not clear whether that was the case with Coger. In an interview with the Stillwater newspaper published earlier this month, Coger spoke of frequent headaches that plagued him during his high school days. He said he underwent surgery several years ago to drain fluid from around his brain.

“At the moment, I’m thinking `Basketball is over,”‘ he told the newspaper, recalling his feelings at the time of the surgery. “`I gotta think beyond basketball now.”‘

Coger, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, said in the interview that he recuperated from his surgery then started his college career at Eastern Florida State College. He transferred after one season to Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, North Carolina, where he played last season. The 6-foot-8 player then initially signed with Ole Miss last fall but opted for Oklahoma State after the Southeastern Conference ruled he was ineligible because of rules on junior college transfers.

Shutt also said that under NCAA rules, basketball teams can meet for eight hours a week during the summer – time that can be broken up as two hours on the count and six on strength and conditioning, or all eight on strength and conditioning. NCAA spokesman Christopher Radford confirmed that was the case, and noted that staff members are allowed to conduct and supervise that activity.

In 2012, Coger played a friendly game of one-on-one with Washington Wizards star John Wall, who posted a photo of the matchup on Instagram following Coger’s death. Wall wrote: “Rest in Peace to the lil homie who always had the competitive spirt.. you will be missed Tyrek.”

Coger’s death is the latest tragedy for OSU. Last fall, a driver crashed into a crowd at Oklahoma State’s homecoming parade, killing four spectators and wounding dozens. In 2011, women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke, assistant Miranda Serna and two others died in a plane crash in western Arkansas. And in 2001, 10 people died in a Colorado plane crash, including two men’s basketball players and six staff members.

Associated Press writer Jill Bleed in Little Rock, Arkansas, contributed to this report.

CBT Podcast: Michael Porter Jr., George Washington and non-conference scheduling

Father Tolton Catholic's Michael Porter, Jr. (1) celebrates after sinking a basket and drawing a foul during the first half of the Missouri Class 3 boys high school championship basketball game against the Barstow Saturday, March 12, 2016, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
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In today’s podcast we spend quite a bit of time discussing the three major topics of discussion from the last week: The Washington Post’s story on Mike Lonergan and George Washington basketball, Michael Porter Jr.’s commitment to Washington and non-conference scheduling and how it is affected by expansion, both in conference realignment and by the number of games that are played in league.

As always, you can either click “play” in the Soundcloud player below or listen via iTunes or the Stitcher app. You can also subscribe in Audioboom.