FIU pulls Raymond Taylor from game over NBA Draft rule (ESPN)
FIU head coach Anthony Evans was without a starter on Thursday night, as guard Raymond Taylor was forced to sit as the school investigates his withdrawal from the 2012 NBA Draft. Yep, 2012. The school and NCAA are checking to see whether or not Taylor withdrew ahead of the NCAA’s deadline, which during that season fell on April 10. According to the report Taylor may have missed that date, which could compromise his eligibility.
Louisville reclaims No. 1 after Michigan State’s scare (Sports Illustrated)
Michigan State’s lackluster play in wins over Columbia and Portland cost the Spartans the top spot in Luke Winn’s latest power rankings, with defending national champion Louisville replacing them. One interesting thing to take note of: how efficient freshmen Jabari Parker (Duke) and Julius Randle (Kentucky) have been to this point in the season.
Marcus Smart and Jahii Carson- sophomore stars, career savers (CBS Sports)
While talented freshmen have received the majority of the attention thus far, there are some important returnees in college basketball as well. Two of those returnees are Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart and Arizona State’s Jahii Carson, both of whom went off in big wins Tuesday night. How important were their returns to their respective schools?
Austin Hatch, survivor of two plane crashes, refuses to quit on basketball dream (The Dagger)
One of the great stories of the early signing period is that of Austin Hatch, who inked a National Letter of Intent to play at Michigan. Hatch has survived two plane crashes, losing his parents and two younger siblings. Thought by many to have played his last basketball game, Hatch has worked hard to get back to the point where he can take the floor for Loyola HS in Los Angeles at some point this season.
Syracuse already selling commemorative T-shirts for their February game against Duke (Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician)
Think folks in central New York are excited about Jim Boeheim’s team playing in the ACC? There’s already a T-shirt commemorating the Orange’s February 1, 2014 matchup with Duke, stating that “the rivalry begins.” Using the word “rivalry” seems a bit much since they’ve only played four times, but “you can’t knock the hustle” I guess.
Hinson not happy with new rules (The Southern)
Another day, another coach displeased with the new rules meant to encourage freedom of movement in college basketball. This time it’s SIU head coach Barry Hinson voicing his displeasure, blaming the NCAA for some games turning into glorified foul shooting contests.
Point proved: Ex-Towson signee Frank Mason off to good start with KU (Lawrence Journal-World)
Kansas freshman point guard Frank Mason has gotten off to a good start, and Friday’s matchup with Towson will be a special one for the newcomer. Why? A failing grade in a high school government class cost Mason his scholarship to attend Towson, resulting in his having to attend prep school for a year. But that extra year resulted in more interest, and ultimately Mason chose to attend Kansas.
After over 20 inches of rain fell over three days and over 60,000 homes were damaged in southeastern Louisiana, New Orleans coach Mark Slessinger called his acquaintance, John Derenbecker, in the area to check in. Derenbecker and his family were fine, Slessinger learned, but many in the area were not.
“I told (Derenbecker) to figure out who needed the help the most,” Slessinger told the New Orleans Times-Picayune, “that I had my whole crew who could come help out on Saturday and Sunday.”
That led Slessinger and his team to the home of an elderly couple, Elbert and Ione Norred, whose house was ravaged by over four feet of flood water. The Privateers helped slog out debris, cut away wet insulation and whatever else needed removing from the soaked home.
“I appreciate everything you have done,” Ione Elbert told the Privateers. “Nobody knows how long it would have taken us to have done this.”
The Red Cross estimates that the relief effort for the flooding could cost upwards of $30 million in the region. To make a donation to the organization call 1-800-RED CROSS.
UNO’s baseball team also got in on the aid effort, heading to Baton Rouge over the weekend.
“We are proud to see our student-athletes, coaches and staff serve our fellow Louisianians in their time of need,” UNO Director of Athletics Derek Morel said in a statement. “The men and women of our program understand the importance of serving others and using our resources to help those in less-fortunate situations. We will continue to play for neighbors.”
Rutgers land 7-foot grad transfer from UNC Wilmington
Rutgers landed a commitment from seven-footer C.J. Gettys on Monday night.
Gettys is a graduate transfer from UNC-Wilmington, where he averaged 5.3 points, 5.1 boards and 1.4 blocks for a team that reached the NCAA tournament. Gettys is a slow-footed back-to-the-basket player, however, and that didn’t exactly fit with the way that UNCW head coach Kevin Keatts likes to play; think Shaka Smart’s VCU teams.
So Gettys opted for Rutgers, picking the Scarlet Knights over Dayton, Purdue and Chattanooga.
He is the fifth member of new head coach Steve Pikiell’s first recruiting class.
A Philadelphia basketball legend and a former National Player of the Year passed away on Monday night.
Michael Brooks, a 6-foot-7 forward who was named the NABC National Player of the Year in 1980, died in Switzerland on Monday night due to a massive stroke, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
He was just 58 years old.
Brooks finished his career with 2,628 points and 1,372 rebounds. He never averaged less than 20 points in his four seasons in college. (Think about that for a second.) He was the No. 9 pick in the 1980 NBA Draft and averaged double-figures for four years before season-ending knee injuries sent him to Europe to play. Brooks was also named the captain of the 1980 Olympic team that missed out on the Moscow games due to the USA’s boycott.
Brooks, according to the Inquirer, had aplastic anemia, which required him to receive a bone marrow transplant last week. His body rejected the marrow, which resulted in the strokes that ended his life.
UCLA, who will be the most interesting team in all of college basketball this season, played their first game of an Australian tour on Tuesday morning, and they won in pretty impressive fashion.
The Bruins had triple digits on the board early in the fourth quarter, eventually beating a club in Sydney by the score of 123-76. For comparison’s sake, Washington and potential No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz beat the same team 101-80 a couple of weeks ago, so the win and the margin of victory is somewhat impressive.
Also worth noting: None of UCLA’s freshmen started. Steve Alford rolled with Aaron Holiday, Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton on the perimeter — Holiday and Hamilton combined for 27 points, 18 assists and 11 boards while Alford had 17 points on just 10 shots — with G.G. Golomon and Thomas Welsh up front.
But the noteworthy performances here were from the McDonald’s All-Americans that Steve Alford brought into the program. In his first game in the blue and gold, Lonzo Ball, a potential top ten pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, was just OK. He finished with nine points and four assists while shooting 3-for-9 from the floor. Leaf, however, was terrific, as he led the team with 21 points to go along with nine boards and three assists.
The first exhibition game is hardly a great way to predict how a season is going to play out, but given the pressure and expectations currently surrounding the program, everything the Bruins do this season is going to be scrutinized.