The Brayden Carr Foundation coaches clinic is a special event for many connected to the game of basketball. The event, which was held for the third time on Friday at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, N.J., attracts some of the game’s best minds with coaches speaking for a fee but rather for a good cause. All of the attendance fees collected go towards helping children dealing with epileptic seizures and their families, with money going towards medical costs and education.
Rhode Island assistant coach Jim Carr and his wife Natalie established the foundation in the aftermath of their 2 1/2 year-old son Brayden passing away after dealing with frequent seizures, with Carr a member of the Rutgers basketball staff at the time. Three-plus years later the clinic’s become a must-attend affair, both for the coaches looking to receive valuable tips and the established minds asked to impart some of their wisdom on the attendees.
One of those coaches on Friday was Marquette’s Buzz Williams, whose own “Buzz’s Bunch” program (which benefits special needs children) has been a staple of his program since Williams was named head coach back in 2008. And during his teaching session Coach Williams wore a shirt that honored the memory of Brayden Carr.
According to Brendan Prunty of the Newark Star-Ledger the clinic raised more than $100,000 for the foundation, and donations can be made at the foundation’s website. With the third event in the books, the Carr’s have a particular coach in mind when it comes to who they’d like to have speak in the future.
So far in three years, there have been 18 speakers. Hall of famers, NBA champions, NCAA champions. Most would take that as a pretty good start. Not the Carr’s. They’ve got one speaker on their wish list to get to the clinic at some point: Pat Riley.
“Nat keeps saying it’s her goal to get Riley here,” Carr said. “Why not? Aim high.”
No. 8 North Carolina knocked off Pitt on the road on Saturday afternoon, picking up an 85-67 win that clinched at least a share of the ACC regular season title for the Tar Heels this season.
It’s the second straight season and the eighth time in the 14 years that Roy Williams has been the head coach of the Tar Heels that they can make such a claim. For comparison’s sake, Mike Krzyzewski and Duke have won just three ACC regular season titles in those 14 years and they haven’t won one since 2010.
So this is a pretty good run that Roy Williams is on, and that’s before you consider the two national titles — plus a third national title game — that he’s won during that stretch.
And this year may be as impressive as any job that he’s done during his career.
This UNC team is different than past UNC teams in the sense that it’s the first time that one of his great teams doesn’t have a front line anchored by a future first round pick that is a killer on the block and a stallion running the floor in transition. There’s no Brice Johnson or Tyler Zeller or Tyler Hansbrough or Sean May. Joel Berry II is a really good college guard, but he’s not Kendall Marshall or Ray Felton or Ty Lawson, and his inconsistency is one of UNC’s bigger question marks heading into the tournament. Justin Jackson has turned into a killer this season, which is not something we would have said about Justin Jackson in any other year.
Put another way, this team is not a team that you can look at and know will be a title contender.
But they are.
They hold a two-game lead over an ACC that might get 10 teams into the NCAA tournament with two games left. If they win at Virginia next week, they will be playing for pride and for seeding when they take on Duke in the season finale.
Considering just how good Williams has been throughout his career, and particularly during his tenure in Chapel Hill, you can understand what it means to say that this may very well be the best coaching job of his career.
Duke will be without star junior guard Grayson Allen on Saturday.
According to a report from Greg Gumbel of CBS Sports, Allen will miss the Blue Devils’ road game at Miami with an ankle injury.
The 6-foot-5 Allen is averaging 15.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game this season as he’s battled a few different injuries as well as getting suspended for another tripping incident. Duke is used to playing without Allen and the Blue Devils should still have enough to stay in this one against Miami but it is going to be a tough game to win on the road.
Duke is coming off of a road loss to Syracuse earlier this week as the No. 10 Blue Devils are trying to finish out a tough regular-season schedule these next three games.
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Starting freshman guard De’Aaron Fox will be out for Kentucky on Saturday as the Wildcats host Florida in an important SEC showdown.
The 6-foot-3 Fox has a knee contusion, and without him, the Wildcats will start senior Mychael Mulder. Fox is averaging 15.5 points, 5.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game as he’s been one of the country’s best two-way freshmen this season.
Kentucky and Florida both enter Saturday’s game at 13-2 in SEC play but the Gators took the first matchup by 22 points between these two teams in Gainesville on Feb. 4.