Charlie Villanueva

U-Conned: Charlie Villanueva testified Husky legend, alleged Ponzi schemer Tate George defrauded $250k

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Tate George made one of the most important shots in UConn history, a highlight that has been played over and over again during all NCAA tournaments.

With just one second left on the clock in a 1990 Sweet 16 matchup with Clemson, George caught a pass that was thrown the length of the floor and hit a turn-around jumper for a buzzer-beating, 71-70 win. You’ve seen the play before. If you’re a UConn fan, you know the name Tate George.

Unfortunately, life for George has taken a turn for the worse. Two years ago, George turned himself in to federal authorities on charges that he ran a Ponzi scheme that netted him more than $2 million for fake real estate deals. He faces five counts of wire fraud, each carrying with it a maximum sentence of 20 years.

To make matters worse, one of the people that George conned out of money was another Husky alum, Charlie Villanueva. Villanueva had just signed a $30 million deal with the Pistons, and as a way to give back to the Connecticut community, he invested $250,000 with George in a project he believed would help develop a rundown area in Bridgeport. The Trentonian has the details:

George didn’t send a key letter to the home of Detroit Piston Charlie Villanueva in Rochester, Michigan, testimony revealed. The papers saying the pro baller’s $250,000 could be used any way George wanted instead were mistakenly sent to Rochester, Minn.

Villanueva wasn’t the only former NBA player that George conned out of a six figure investment. He also tricked Brevin Knight out of $300,000 that was supposed to be used to buy a home in New Jersey. George instead used the money to pay off investors from prior deals.

Creighton lands 2016 combo guard

Greg McDermott
Associated Press
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Sunday evening Creighton got on the board in the Class of 2016, as 6-foor-4 combo guard Davion Mintz made his pledge to Greg McDermott’s program. Mintz made the decision on the tail end of his official visit to Creighton, picking the Bluejays over Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Tulsa and Wichita State.

News of Mintz’s commitment was first reported by Rick Lewis of the Phenom Hoop Report, with Mintz confirming the news via Twitter shortly thereafter.

Creighton has just two seniors on its current roster in guard Jams Milliken and forward Geoffrey Groselle, but that doesn’t mean they lack for experience. Among the guards on the roster who will be around when Mintz arrives on campus are redshirt juniors Maurice Watson Jr., Malik Albert, and Isaiah Zierden, and Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster will be eligible in 2016-17.

Mintz, who attends North Mecklenberg HS just outside of Charlotte, can play either on or off the basketball. Creighton’s veteran guards should help Mintz with his transition to the college game when he arrives in Omaha in 2016. Mintz played for the Charlotte Nets grassroots program this summer.

Three-star power forward commits to WVU

Bob Huggins
Associated Press
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Three days after landing one power forward in Sagaba Konate, West Virginia received a verbal commitment from another big man Sunday evening.

6-foot-11 Mountain Mission School (Gurndy, Virginia) power forward Maciej Bender became the Mountaineers’ fourth commitment in the Class of 2016 on Sunday, with the Mountain Mission program announcing the news via Twitter. Bender is a native of Poland, and in addition to Konate he joins guards Brandon Knapper and Chase Harler in West Virginia’s 2016 recruiting class.

West Virginia will lose two forwards in TyQuane Goard and Jonathan Holton at the end of the 2015-16 season, and the additions of Konate and Bender will help the Mountaineers account for those departures from a depth standpoint. Bender can score around the basket, but he’s also capable of facing up and scoring in pick-and-pop situations out beyond the three-point line.

Bender officially visited West Virginia last weekend, and he was a player the WVU coaching staff wanted to get in the fold. Other programs to offer Bender included Arizona State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Providence. Bender played his grassroots basketball for the West Virginia Wildcats program this summer.