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.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: