Four-star 2014 center Goodluck Okonoboh cuts list to five

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One of the nation’s top defensive players is one step closer to make a college choice.

On Tuesday, Wilbraham & Monson Academy (Mass.) center Goodluck Okonoboh narrowed his list of offers to (in no order) Duke, Florida, Indiana, Ohio State and UNLV. ESPN’s Adam FInkelstein first reported the news, followed by Okonoboh, who confirmed the list.

“These coaches were all visible this summer, as were several others,” Vin Pastore, Okonoboh’s Mass Rivals AAU coach told NBC Sports in a phone interview on Tuesday afternoon. “But I guess these were the ones he felt the most connected to.

“It was time. He’s gonna start planning his visits. I think [it will] be sometime in the near future.”

Okonoboh has taken a big step in the college process, which led Pastore to believe that his commitment could happen during the early signing period.


For years, Okonoboh starred on the Tilton School (N.H.) and BABC frontlines along with his good friend and current Philadelphia 76er Nerlens Noel. Those BABC clubs were also made up of Kansas signee Wayne Selden and Iowa State rising sophomore Georges Niang. This season, after transferring to WMA and playing with the Mass Rivals for the second summer, Okonoboh established himself as a top 35 player according to Rivals, and is arguably the best shot blocker in the Class of 2014.

Looking at Okonoboh’s top five, one school stands out: Indiana. Last fall, Tom Crean got a commitment from another Mass Rivals product, Noah Vonleh.

“He’s friends with Noah, and Noah’s at Indiana, so we’ll leave it at that,” Pastore said.

Before Bloomington, Ind. prepares to be amazed by Goodluck’s highlight reel blocked shots, like this one, Pastore was quick to point out that based on recent recruitment developments, friendships might not sway Okonoboh.

“It certainly doesn’t hurt Indiana’s chances,” Pastore said. “But then again Syracuse didn’t make his list and they just got a commitment from Kaleb Joseph, and him and Goodluck were roommates this summer.”

Friendship, nor distance, seems to make an impact on the Boston native, who’s final five schools range in four different conferences, the closest one being a minimum of 700 miles away.

Okonoboh is ranked as the No. 32 player in the Class of 2014 by Rivals, and will be in action this Saturday as part of the 2013 Elite 24 in Brooklyn.

Iowa State lands three-star SG Jakolby Long

Steve Prohm
Associated Press
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Iowa State received its fourth verbal commitment in the Class of 2016 Friday morning, as 6-foot-4 shooting guard Jakolby Long made his pledge to Steve Prohm’s program. A native of Mustang, Oklahoma, Long attends Mustang HS and played for the Athletes First grassroots program this summer.

In Nike EYBL play for Athletes First, Long averaged 16.2 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.

According to Cyclone Fanatic, Long was also considering Georgia, Texas and Utah before deciding that he’ll play his college basketball at Iowa State. Long will join junior Matt Thomas, sophomore Hallice Cooke and transfer Nick Babb in the competition for minutes off the ball when he arrives on campus next year. According to Travis Hines of the Ames Tribune, Long could be a in a position where he sees solid playing time immediately.

Long joins junior college products Donovan Jackson and Emmanuel Malou, and 2016 forward Solomon Young in Iowa State’s 2016 class to date. And the Cyclones, who won’t use all 13 scholarships this season, still have room for a couple more additions for next season.

Iowa State has four seniors (Naz Long, Abdel Nader, Georges Niang and Jameel McKay), and junior point guard Monte’ Morris is considered by some to be a candidate to enter the 2016 NBA Draft.

UofL foundation hires firm to review escort allegations

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An independent Louisville affiliate has hired a law firm to review an escort’s allegations that former men’s basketball staffer Andre McGee hired dancers to strip and have sex with recruits and players.

The University of Louisville Foundation announced the hiring Thursday of the Stites & Harbison law firm. The foundation does fundraising for the university.

Louisville President James Ramsey also said Thursday he “fully” supports athletic director Tom Jurich “as we work to identify the facts in this situation.” Ramsey reiterated the school has hired former NCAA enforcement official Chuck Smrt to lead the athletic department’s investigation.

Men’s basketball spokesman Kenny Klein had no comment on a CBS Sports report that former Cardinals recruit JaQuan Lyle, now an Ohio State freshman, confirmed the “gist of allegations” detailed in Katina Powell’s book during a meeting Tuesday with the NCAA.

Lyle originally signed with Louisville before de-committing and eventually landing with the Buckeyes. OSU spokesman Dan Wallenberg confirmed the NCAA meeting via email on Wednesday but said there were no issues with Ohio State. He did not mention Louisville.

Powell’s book, “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen” was released online last weekend by a publishing affiliate of the Indianapolis Business Journal. A hardcover version of the 104-page book is scheduled for release on Monday.

The book states that McGee hired Powell and other dancers, including three of her daughters, for 22 shows allegedly performed from 2010 to 2014 at the players’ Billy Minardi Hall dormitory.

McGee left Louisville in 2014 for Missouri-Kansas City, which placed him on paid leave Friday. A message left Thursday with his Louisville attorney, Scott C. Cox, was not immediately returned. A spokeswoman for IBJ’s publishing arm could not be reached either.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino has said McGee denied Powell’s allegations. In a radio interview Tuesday he denied knowledge of what took place and said last week that others he talked to didn’t know about the activities described in the book.

“I’m going through 15 people who worked here, and not one person even had a premonition of something wrong,” Pitino said Friday. “Not one person living in the dorm had even the slightest premonition. It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

The Hall of Fame coach wasn’t mentioned in Ramsey’s statement in which the chancellor praised Jurich’s athletic program as “exemplary” at the school.

“It is important that the university – all of us – stay focused on our day-to-day work of providing our outstanding students with a world-class education,” Ramsey said. “The investigation of the allegations may take time and we must, as one university, continue doing the work we do to move our university and our community forward.”