Kareem Richardson

UMKC’s Municipal Auditorium to get a $5 million upgrade

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UMKC’s basketball program is entering a new era.

They’ve hired a new head coach, former Louisville assistant Kareem Richardson, whom they hope will turn around the trend of five losing seasons in their last six years. They’re heading into the WAC after spending the last six years in the Summit League.

And now the school will be getting a $5 million renovation to the famed Municipal Auditorium.

“We are extremely delighted to have the majority of our home games at Municipal,” Richardson said in a release put out by the school. “The improvements that will take place there will certainly enhance the fan experience.  We are confident with the support of the community that we can make Municipal Auditorium the best home court advantage in Western Athletic Conference.”

The renovation includes new video boards that are 47 feet wide and 12 ½ feet tall, an LED scorer’s table display that is 40 feet long, sound system, lighting, seating in the lower level and electrical upgrades.

“UMKC is Kansas City’s university, and we want the ‘Roos to be Kansas City’s team. That’s true for all sports, but particularly basketball, given our community’s historic ties to and love for college basketball,” said Leo E. Morton, UMKC chancellor. “That’s why we’re making the big move downtown, and making a big move to capture the community’s imagination and passion with a new coach and a new conference.”

Municipal Auditorium, which opened in 1936, hosted three of the first four Final Fours and was passed this season by Dayton Arena as the venue that has held the most NCAA tournament games.

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.