Former player suing Holy Cross women’s head coach Bill Gibbons for abuse

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With the number of days between now and the start of games in college basketball, coaches and players across the country are working in order to make sure they’re well-prepared for the 2013-14 campaign. Practices, film study, weights and other essential activities occupy much of their time, with many wanting to simply focus on the task at hand.

Dealing with a lawsuit is an entirely different matter for a head coach and his/her program.

That’s what current Holy Cross women’s basketball head coach Bill Gibbons has on his plate, as a former player has filed a lawsuit alleging that the coach verbally, physically and emotionally abused members of the program during her two seasons at the Patriot League school. 20-year old Ashley Cooper, who now attends New York University, filed the suit in Manhattan alleging not only the abuse, but that the school ignored the allegations according to ABC News.

Gibbons’ “actions constitute the worst type of bullying because not only is defendant Gibbons her coach and supervisor, but also he is someone she is supposed to respect,” according to the lawsuit. Cooper was reduced to “fear of physical pain,” the filing states.

Cooper alleges that Gibbons also “struck another female player on the back” during a March 2013 Patriot League Tournament game against Lehigh. “Following the Lehigh incident, the player’s father verbally complained to” the athletic director, but the athletic director did nothing, Cooper alleges.

At one point, Gibbons — who would act in an “outrageous manner in his yelling, ranting, screaming and hysterics” — struck Cooper so hard he left a hand print that didn’t go away immediately, according to court papers.

In 29 seasons at the school Gibbons has amassed a record of 533 wins and 315 losses, making him the winningest coach in the history of the program. The school, which has brought in outside attorneys to review the allegations, issued the following statement to ABC News:

“The physical, mental and emotional well-being of our students is our highest priority at Holy Cross. We just received the lawsuit and are in the process of reviewing it. Ms. Cooper had brought her concern to the college and we investigated at that time. The lawsuit we received today includes a series of new allegations and we will now bring in outside counsel to review them.”

According to the roster on the school’s athletic website Gibbons is currently on leave. This is the second instance this month of a school being forced to deal with its’ women’s basketball coach being hit with allegations of abusive behavior. Georgetown head coach Keith Brown stepped down on October 10 after being placed on administrative leave due to allegations of “unprofessional conduct and inappropriate language” by some of his players.

In situations like these there’s always to short-term concerns regarding the well-being of the players and the team’s preparations for the upcoming season. But there’s also the long-term concern of the direction of the program, and how a coaching staff could possibly sell the program to recruits in light of these alleged actions.

How Holy Cross handles this lawsuit will impact the women’s basketball program well beyond the 2013-14 season.

Reports: Duke’s Frank Jackson to declare for draft

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Frank Jackson will declare for the draft but will not be signing with an agent, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Previous reports had indicated that Jackson “planned” to return to school, and that still may end up proving true. But the combination of Trevon Duval potentially enrolling at Duke combined with the fact that there is zero downside to going through the draft process, it makes sense for Jackson to declare.

Jackson averaged 10.9 points and shot 39.5 percent from three. He’s projected as a mid-first round pick in 2018 by Draft Express, but at 6-foot-3, he’s too small to play the two in the NBA and has yet to prove he can be a point guard.

Jackson is the fourth Duke player to declare, following Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles III and Luke Kennard. All three signed with an agent. Grayson Allen and Marques Bolden are both returning to school.

VIDEO: Top 2018 recruits Zion Williamson and Romeo Langford go head-to-head at adidas

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This weekend is the first live evaluation period of the spring recruiting calendar as college coaches from all over the country are scouting (and babysitting) the top recruits in the Class of 2018 and 2019.

Friday night the adidas Gauntlet in Dallas opened with a marquee matchup of two star players as five-star forward Zion Williamson and five-star guard Romeo Langford went head-to-head in what should be one of the best games of the spring.

Most scouting services have Williamson and Langford as the No. 2 and No. 3 overall prospects in the Class of 2018 as the duo didn’t disappoint in front of the huge crowd in Fort Worth.

Williamson helped his team to a win with 26 points and seven rebounds while Langford had 28 points, four rebounds and four assists. You’ll be hearing plenty about both of these guys over the next few months as both are still wide open in the recruting process.

(H/t: Ball is Life)

Report: Coppin State hires Juan Dixon as new head coach

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Coppin State has hired former Maryland star guard Juan Dixon to be its next head coach, according to a report from Don Markus of the Baltimore Sun.

The 38-year-old Dixon is best known for leading Maryland to the 2002 national championship as he was the Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four that year. Now Dixon will have a chance to lead a Division I program for the first time.

Dixon spent seven years in the NBA and also played professionally in Europe before joining the Maryland coaching staff in 2013 as a special assistant to head coach Mark Turgeon. Not retained by Maryland after the 2015-16 season, Dixon took the head coaching job for the women’s team at the University of the District of Columbia last season as the Division II program finished only  3-25.

Coppin State finished last season with an 8-24 record after losing its first 12 games of the season. While Dixon will generate some positive local buzz given his background, he’s going to have an uphill battle trying to rebuild that program.

Nebraska scores important Class of 2017 commitment from four-star guard Thomas Allen

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Nebraska landed an important commitment from the Class of 2017 on Friday as four-star guard Thomas Allen is heading to Lincoln next season.

The 6-foot-1 guard is considered the No. 99 overall prospect by Rivals in the national Class of 2017 rankings as Allen was previously committed to N.C. State before head coach Mark Gottfried was fired.

A scorer with a good amount of skill, Allen has a chance to come in and make an immediate impact at Nebraska as he can play a bit on or off the ball. Allen should help offset the loss of senior Tai Webster in the Husker backcourt.

Allen joins wing Nana Akenten in Nebraska’s Class of 2017 recruiting efforts.

North Carolina lands four-star Class of 2017 big man Garrison Brooks

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North Carolina pulled in a late Class of 2017 commitment to begin the weekend as the Tar Heels secured a pledge from four-star Class of 2017 big man Garrison Brooks.

The 6-foot-9, 225-pound Brooks was previously committed to Mississippi State, but he was granted his release this spring to explore other opportunities.

The Tar Heels pounced as they’re getting a low-post threat who could develop into a potential double-double threat. A solid rebounder who isn’t afraid to play with physicality, Brooks has a chance to earn some immediate rotation minutes with seniors like Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks exhausting their eligibility.

Brooks is regarded as the No. 120 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, according to Rivals, as he is a four-star prospect. The native of Auburn, Alabama joins a North Carolina recruiting class that includes point guard Jalek Felton, shooting guard Andrew Platek and big men Brandon Huffman and Sterling Manley.