PC coach Ed Cooley has dropped 100 pounds as he strives to improve his health (Providence Journal)
At the end of last season Providence head coach Ed Cooley knew that something had to change. Weighing 344 pounds and with friends and family concerned about his health, Cooley changed his diet and underwent a medical procedure that has resulted in him losing 100 pounds to date. His goal: to get down to 225, which was his playing weight at Stonehill College.
Big East nostalgia in the air as No. 2 Syracuse tops St. John’s (Sports Illustrated)
Sunday’s meeting between the Orange and Red Storm brought back memories of the good old days for some, when the Big East existed without the influence of major college football. But even with those feelings being present, things aren’t the same.
Book on Illinois’ 1989 Final Four team interesting, controversial (Chicago Sun-Times)
Stephen Bardo, currently a color commentator for both the Big Ten Network and Fox Sports I, was also the starting point guard on the 1989 Final Four team at Illinois. Dubbed the “Flying Illini” due to their explosive style of play, that team is one of the best in school history. Bardo’s written a book on the experience, and some of the stories in the book have gained attention.
BYU-Utah rivalry alive and kicking (Salt Lake Tribune)
On Saturday night Utah made quite the statement within the Beehive State, soundly defeating BYU 81-64. And amidst talk of the rivalry possibly coming to an end soon, the atmosphere showed that the rivalry is still alive.
Former Georgetown forward Greg Whittington commits to Rutgers (Gannett New Jersey)
Rutgers picked up a key addition on Sunday as 6-foot-8 forward Greg Whittington made the decision to transfer to the school. Whittington was a member of the Georgetown program and sitting out the season due to a knee injury until being dismissed from the program a few weeks ago.
Illini can’t close in loss vs. Oregon (Chicago Sun-Times)
Illinois had a key victory away from home well within reach on Saturday night, but they were unable to seal the deal against No. 15 Oregon. That’s part of the process of a team that has multiple newcomers in the rotation and lacks a credible interior scoring threat. But they will be competitive.
Embiid rouses Kansas in 80-63 win over New Mexico (Kansas City Star)
While Andrew Wiggins has received much of the attention when Kansas’ crop of freshmen are discussed, he has a teammate in center Joel Embiid who’s shown significant amounts of both talent and upside. In the Jayhawks’ win over New Mexico on Saturday Embiid played a critical role in the outcome, and as the season wears on Bill Self’s going to have to give him even more minutes.
Jelling woes still linger for Kentucky’s young basketball team (Lexington Herald-Leader)
Kentucky’s loss at North Carolina on Saturday was simply the latest piece of evidence that the Wildcats have plenty of growing up to do both collectively and individually. Who are the leaders capable of bringing the players together? That’s a question the team has yet to answer, and until they do Kentucky won’t be able to reach its full potential.
Colorado landed one of the best available point guards for next season on Friday as Class of 2017 floor general McKinley Wright committed during an official visit.
A former Dayton commit who opted out of his recruitment after former head coach Archie Miller took the Indiana job, Wright was one of the best available point guards left as he played last weekend on the adidas Gauntlet in front of college coaches with D1 Minnesota.
The 6-foot-0 Wright gives the Buffaloes another ball handler and distributor as he was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball during this past season. As a senior, Wright averaged 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.
It’s always hard to say if spring recruits who elevate a level in recruiting after decommitting are making the correct decision, but Wright looked the part of a high-major lead guard last weekend, and Colorado wasn’t the only high-major program that was pushing hard to add Wright at this late stage.
Oral Roberts has found its new head coach as they will hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills, as first reported by NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster.
Mills had been on staff with the Bears since 2003 as he’s been a big factor in why head coach Scott Drew has been able to turn around that program. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mills has been a full-time assistant at Baylor since the 2009 season.
“I am honored to accept this role of representing this historic institution, its students and its mission,” Mills said in a release. “Making this commitment today is a highlight of my career and I look forward with excitement to the basketball season directly ahead. Go Golden Eagles.”
Mills will replace former head coach Scott Sutton, who was relieved of his duties this offseason after 18 years at the helm.
Iowa commit Connor McCaffery is in a unique spot when he starts his freshman year in Iowa City next year.
Not only is the 6-foot-4 guard the son of basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, while being a four-star national basketball prospect, but Connor also has a bright future in baseball.
There was a lot of speculation as to what Connor might do for his future in athletics and he gave more clarification on what he might be looking to do on Friday.
McCaffery has decided to redshirt in basketball next season to focus on the beginnings of his baseball career at Iowa. A walk-on for both sports, the move enables Connor McCaffery to potentially play three years of basketball with his younger brother, Patrick, who is also a heralded basketball recruit for Iowa. This move also gives Connor the best chance to pursue both sports while he’ll also help out a young Iowa basketball team with its tough scholarship scenario.
Butler has agreed to a contract extension with head coach Chris Holtmann, the school announced on Friday, that will keep him under contract through 2025.
“Butler truly is a special place, and my family and I are thankful to be part of a great academic institution and an athletics department that is a source of pride for those who embrace Butler and The Butler Way,” said Holtmann. “Our student-athletes, our staff, and so many throughout our campus are remarkable at what they do, and I’m excited to continue to work alongside them.”
Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 25-9 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In three years with the program, Holtmann has a record of 70-31.
“Chris is a tremendous ambassador for Butler and the Butler Way, and his leadership has resulted in success both on and off the court for the talented young men in our program,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “This commitment – both by our university and by Chris – allows the momentum within our program to continue.”
Holtmann was in the mix for a couple of jobs this spring, including N.C. State and Missouri.
Lonzo Ball will enter his rookie season in the NBA without a sponsorship deal from Nike, Adidas or Under Armour, only his family’s Big Baller Brand apparel.
That, according to a report from ESPN, is due to his father LaVar’s insistence that Lonzo not sign with one of the three major apparel companies unless they opted to sign a licensing deal for Big Baller Brand merchandise instead of outfitting Lonzo with their own gear.
“We’ve said from the beginning, we aren’t looking for an endorsement deal,” LaVar told ESPN. “We’re looking for co-branding, a true partner. But they’re not ready for that because they’re not used to that model. But hey, the taxi industry wasn’t ready for Uber, either.”
LaVar had been representing his son in the negotiations, and is now expected to reach out to other shoe brands, including Chinese apparel companies like Li-Nang.
Big Baller Brand is a startup apparel company launched by LaVar Ball. They sell t-shirts, sweatshirts and hats, with most of their products costing at least $50.
Lonzo declared for the NBA Draft after an all-american season that saw him and the UCLA Bruins flame out of the NCAA tournament in the Sweet 16. UCLA lost to Kentucky in that game, and Lonzo had a quiet night while his point guard counterpart, De’Aaron Fox, went off for 39 points.
Lonzo is a likely top three pick in the NBA Draft and, potentially, could still end up going No. 1. He has two younger brothers as well. LiAngelo will be a freshman with the Bruins next season while LaMelo just finished his sophomore season in high school. Both will attend UCLA.