James Dickey

Houston still waiting to hear about Chicken Knowles’ eligibility

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Danrad “Chicken” Knowles was a four-star forward, ranked No. 54 overall in the Class of 2012 by Rivals. Last season, he was expected to be an impact freshman for the Houston Cougars, in program’s final season of Conference USA play, however he was ruled academically ineligible and was forced to miss the entire 2012-2013 season.

Houston, now a member of the newly-formed American Athletic Conference, begins the season on Friday, and the eligibility status of the 6-foot-9 forward is still in question, according Joseph Durante of the Houston Chronicle.  Knowles will sit out Tuesday night’s exhibition game against the University of St. Thomas.

UH officials said they would have no further comment, citing federal student privacy laws. It remains unclear whether the university will hear from the NCAA before Friday’s season opener against Texas State.

James Dickey lost leading scorer Joseph Young, who transferred to Oregon, but does return a talented front court that includes junior TaShawn Thomas and sophomore Danuel House. The addition of Baylor transfer L.J. Rose, who was granted immediate eligibility in August, takes a little bit of the sting away from losing Young, as he teams up with Jherrod Stiggers in the back court.

Houston hosts Texas State on Friday for a 9 p.m. start.

VIDEO: Utah Valley’s Mark Pope dances, lip syncs with daughters

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New Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope made quite an impression on fans at the team’s Midnight Madness celebration last night. That’s because Pope did a dance and lip sync routine with his four daughters that turned out to be pretty impressive.

The former BYU assistant looks to be the leader in the clubhouse for best coach dance so far this preseason. We’ll see if any other coaches pull out elaborate routines at madness celebrations the next few weeks.

UConn commit tears ACL for second time

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UConn commit Juwan Durham, a four-star big man in the Class of 2016, has torn the ACL in his right knee for the second time in seven months. The Florida native committed to the Huskies and head coach Kevin Ollie back in September. The 6-foot-9 forward is regarded as the No. 31 overall prospect in the national Class of 2016, so he can really be a force when he’s healthy.

In a report from Tampabay.com’s Bob Putnam, UConn was notified of the injury immediately and there is no change in plans with the commitment. The Huskies also own commitments from four-star point guard Alterique Gilbert and three-star power forward Mamadou Diarra in the Class of 2016. Having Diarra, an active, rim-protecting presence, helps with Durham’s recovery, since he can provide some more front court depth.

If Durham rehabs back to full speed, UConn has a very talented power forward who was just hitting his stride in the Florida state playoffs last February. UConn has a nice class so far with this group, especially if Durham can recover, With a year to recover until next season, Durham can hopefully play during his freshman season in 2016.