Allan Chaney 2

High Point’s Allan Chaney wants to end long, challenging career with tourney appearance

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For three years, Allan Chaney watched college basketball from the sideline.

The first came while he was at Virginia Tech, where he sat out his sophomore season after transferring from Florida. The next two season, however, would be much more challenging than simply following NCAA transfer rules. The 6-foot-9 Chaney endured two grueling years after he was diagnosed with viral myocarditis, an infection that causes inflammation of the heart, in 2010. He was told he would never play basketball again.

He still has the scars. One, from the wireless defibrillator that was installed above his rib cage and under his arm, the other on his chest from when doctors cracked open his ribcage during a surgery in March of 2011.

He was cleared to play by his doctors, but not Virginia Tech, which put Chaney in a tough spot. Transfer, or see his career come to an end. He chose to play finish his eligibility at High Point, who would clear him to play. More good news came three weeks before the season when the NCAA granted him with a sixth year of eligibility due to his medical hardships.

“To hear I had the second year was great because only playing one year is only like an appetizer,” Chaney told NBCSports.com. “To get that second year back and know I would be coming back with no problems, I was happy.”

He made his debut for the Panthers on Nov. 9, 2012, making the good news he had received months leading up to it become a reality. The jitters were clear, as Chaney got hit with two fouls in the game’s first eight minutes.

“I didn’t do too well in the first half, I got in a little foul trouble, but I came on strong in the second half and showed I could still play,” Chaney said.

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High Point Athletics

Chaney clearly proved that not only could he still play, but he could do it at a high level, averaging 14.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game while earning Big South All-Conference second team honors. Combined with John Brown, the duo formed the league’s best front court. In his first season back, Chaney helped the Panthers amass a 12-4 conference record, which put the Panthers atop the North Division standings.

However, the good news for Chaney and the Panthers came to a halt when Brown was sidelined with an injury a week before the Big South Conference tournament.

In the quarterfinals, High Point was upset by Liberty. The Flames jumped out to a 17-point halftime lead and held off a High Point second half comeback. Liberty, a 20-loss team went onto advance to the NCAA tournament, with High Point settling for the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

“I didn’t,” Chaney said when asked if watched Liberty play in the tournament. “I didn’t. I was upset that we didn’t make it.”

After battling back from a pair life-threatening incidents and being told his career was over, Chaney can only see his last season end in one spot: with a trip to the NCAA tournament.

“Oh man, it’d mean everything,” Chaney said. “For us to get that tournament bid, and to get an opportunity to experience something like that would be great.”

At his lone season at Florida, Chaney was a member of a team that made it’s second straight trip to the NIT following back-to-back national titles. He never did get postseason experience at Florida, not playing in the final six games. Even though he never played a game for the Hokies, both those teams failed to make the tournament, as those Virginia Tech teams always seemed to be on the wrong end of the bubble.

High Point is expected to be one of the favorites in the Big South with the return of Chaney and Brown. In order to complete his journey — one that began six years ago — of qualifying for the NCAA tournament, Chaney dedicated his summer to basketball, the first time he was able to do so in years.

“This is my first summer working out for basketball, because of course I missed three years,” Chaney said. “I trained with Marvin Matthews, who used to wrestle at Morgan State. He’d meet me at Lake Montebello in Baltimore, and we’d go run in the morning, and every afternoon I’d go train for basketball.”

He also got good run at the Kenner League, played at Georgetown. He was in a league that included Victor Oladipo, Donte Greene and Jeff Green, who missed the 2011-2012 season after undergoing heart surgery, though the two forwards were never able to discuss their experiences.

The goal this season is to advance to the NCAA tournament, but the graduate student is taking courses in the Non-Profit Management field, preparing for his life outside of, but not too far away from, basketball. He has ambitions are to either start or contribute to a program that will help give children who were told they couldn’t play sports because of heart conditions the ability to play. The organization, he explained, would provide children heart examinations or defibrillators, including the subcutaneous defibrillator Chaney is currently considered a case study for, which is a defibrillator that allows more movement and freedom.

Of course, Chaney still has hopes of playing professionally, either in the NBA or overseas, and he is more than willing to put to rest any questions front office executives or coaches might have given his past.

“If a team had an concerns you can run me,” he said. “You can get me up at 6 a.m. and you can run me five miles. Five miles, 10 miles. I bet you I can do it.”

He’s already gone against the odds by returning to the floor, so when it comes to making a trip to the NCAA tournament, or even continuing his playing career following this season at High Point, can you really doubt him?

Illinois PG expected to be ready for practice

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Illinois point guards and injuries have been an unfortunate trend over the past two seasons with Tracy Abrams, who missed the past two seasons with a torn ACL followed by a torn Achilles the next year.

On Sunday, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports reported some good news for an incoming Fighting Illini floor general. Te’Jon Lucas, a three-star prospect from the Class of 2016, will be fully cleared for the start of practice, according to Rothstein. In February, Lucas had broke his fibula in his right leg in two places during a game.

Lucas had committed to Illinois the previous September.

Abrams received a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA in June, and he decided to remain in Champaign for his final season. If healthy, he’ll be the starter. Jaylon Tate is also back for another season. But they are both seniors, which makes Sunday’s report important for John Groce’s program. Lucas will be on the floor Day 1 of practice, being molded for the future by two experienced guards.

The 5-foot-11 Lucas is the only true freshman on the roster.

Illinois begins the 2016-17 season on November 11, hosting Southeast Missouri State.

Xavier adds to class with three-star center

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Xavier added a fourth piece to its 2017 recruiting class on Sunday morning.

Kentravious Jones, a 6-foot-11, three-star recruit, committed to the Musketeers. He announced the decision via Twitter.

Chris Mack’s current recruiting class is headlined by four-star swingman Naji Marshall. The incoming quartet also includes guard Elias Harden and forward Jared Ridder. But Jones’ commitment fits an area that needs to be addressed for the Musketeers moving forward. Xavier isn’t particularly deep when it comes to big men. That frontcourt only gets thinner once RaShid Gaston, a graduate transfer from Norfolk State, exhausts his eligibility after this season.

Jones, along with current freshman forward Tyrique Jones, gives Xavier a young foundation for the future. Jones is an old-school, big-bodied center. He’s got a nice back-to-the-basket game, and had his best stretch of the summer during the UAA Finals. In three games with the Atlanta Xpress, he averaged 15.3 points, shot 59 percent from the field, and grabbed nine boards per game.

Conditioning will be the emphasis for him over the course of the next year. However, we have seen Xavier work well with a big, skilled centers in the past (see: Stainbrook, Matt). According to Shannon Russell of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Jones has dropped 30 pounds.

Sunday morning’s news may not even be Xavier’s last score on the recruiting trail. The Musketeers have one scholarship remaining (two, or three if Edmond Sumner and Trevon Bluiett enter the NBA Draft this spring), and are in play for several coveted prospects like point guards Paul Scruggs, Quade Green and Matt Coleman, as well as forward Kris Wilkes.

Minnesota center to miss a month

ST. LOUIS, MO - MARCH 7: Reggie Lynch #22 of the Illinois State Redbirds and Fred VanVleet #23 of the Wichita State Shockers fight for control of a loose ball during the MVC Basketball Tournament Semifinals at the Scottrade Center on March 7, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Minnesota’s projected starting center is sidelined, but is expected to be ready for the season opener.

Reggie Lynch, the Illinois State transfer, had surgery on his left knee, the program announced on Friday night. According to Marcus R. Fuller of the Star-Tribune, the Golden Gophers are anticipating that Lynch is available for the season opener on Nov. 11 against Louisiana-Lafayette.

The 6-foot-10 Lynch has been in the news this offseason prior to his impending debut with Minnesota. In May, he was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault. On August 1, the Hennepin County attorney’s office was announced he would not face charges, citing insufficient evidence.

Lynch spent two seasons at Illinois State, averaging 9.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game for the Redbirds as a sophomore. He sat out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer rules. Minnesota is coming off a second-to-last place finish in the Big Ten with an 8-23 (2-16 Big Ten) record.

Women’s hoops coaches boycotting recruiting events

DENVER, CO - MARCH 31:  Head coach Muffet McGraw of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish directs her team during practice prior to the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Final Four at Pepsi Center on March 31, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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For some high-major women’s basketball programs, the final evaluation period of 2016 is being used as a vacation from the recruiting trail.

According to a report from Lindsay Schnell of Sports Illustrated, are not attending events during this weekend’s recruiting period for a host of reasons.

First, many are fed up with the price of tournament packets, booklets of rosters that college coaches receive upon paying their entry fee. Packets are supposed to be chock-full of contact information for the prospects, but sometimes aren’t accurate or up-to-date. (This has become a well-documented issue on the men’s side of college hoops. CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish wrote on it this summer.) Furthermore, there are so many events now that college coaches are often forced to pay obscene amounts of money to watch just one player at a single event, and play recruiting hopscotch around the country, criss-crossing the nation to see so many events and spend thousands of dollars. One Power Five coach said her staff crunched the numbers, and found that in just two years, they’ve spent more than $4,000 more than they did in 2014 on packets alone. Another coach told a story of sending an assistant across the country for one day, to one event, to watch one team. When the assistant arrived, the team had left early for its next event. No refund was available for the college that had paid what turned out to be a useless entry fee. The head coach called it “exasperating.”

Jeff Borzello of ESPN, who spoke to Notre Dame head coach and eventual Hall of Famer Muffet McGraw for his report, estimated that the cost for one of the coaches packets — the ones that include player contact information, rosters, etc. — can cost each school an average of $600 per event.

This era of grassroots basketball has taken off in recent years with Nike, Under Armour and adidas all creating their own sponsored leagues. All three run exceptional events from the staff to the facilities, all the way to the three, free meals a day for coaches. Organizers of these events will argue that there’s a cost to running such high-end events. These packets, some of which are so in-depth they include players’ GPAs, help fund these tournaments (events, paying a staff, etc.).

Coaches, mostly mid to low-major coaches, will argue that these packets aren’t worth the cost, considering that every coach (head and assistant) must purchase them in order to gain entrance. And you will find packets where the information inside is either inaccurate, or missing or both. For elite programs, this isn’t an issue. You show up, you’re seen, you leave, you go to the next event, repeat. For mid to low-major coaches, this really puts a dent in their budget, especially when they have to travel to multiple events (buying packets at each one) because you have to land that “steal,” you have to find that player who is overlooked.

This protest, or boycott (or whatever you want to call it) will hurt those these events are intended to help the most: the players. If coaches continue to avoid these tournaments, that late-bloomer may miss out on a scholarship, or that player with mid-major offers won’t get the chance to play in front of high-major coaches.

According to Schnell, there is a proposal, voted on in April, to eliminate a live recruiting period in April and September. But many coaches in women’s basketball have made it clear this weekend how they feel about the issue.

USC lands commitment from three-star center

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USC added to its 2017 recruiting class with a commitment from a 7-foot big man.

Andy Enfield and the Trojans beat out Florida, Vanderbilt and Tennessee for the services of Calvary Christian Academy (Florida) center Victor Uyaelunmo. He announced his college decision on Friday afternoon.

“It was the best fit for me academically and athletically,” Uyaelunmo said according to David Furones of the Sun Sentinel. “The basketball coaches really wanted me to come, and I thought it was the best place for me.

“They told me how they were going to use me, and they have a couple of guys leaving this year, so I just fit in right.”

Uyaelunmo is regarded as a three-star prospect by Rivals, however, ESPN rates him a four-star recruit. He joins a two-man class which includes four-star forward Jordan Usher.

The departure of Nikola Jovanovic, the Trojans’ leading rebounder during the 2015-16, was a surprising one, and one that left USC with a hole in the middle. While Uyaelunmo still has one more year before arriving on the Los Angeles campus, the Trojans have a promising piece in the paint for the future; a long, athletic big man who has the potential, in time, to become one of the nation’s top shot blockers.

Uyaelunmo played for Nike South Beach in the EYBL this spring and summer. In 12 appearances, he averaged 5.0 points. 5.9 rebounds and 1.0 block in 17.6 minutes per game.