Reports: Buzz Williams to leave Marquette for Virginia Tech

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Buzz Williams will leave Marquette to take over the vacant head coaching position at Virginia Tech, according to multiple reports.

Williams had been the head coach of the Golden Eagles for the last six seasons, compiling a 139-65 mark and a 69-36 record in league play. He had made the NCAA tournament his first five seasons at the helm, making the Elite 8 in 2013 and the Sweet 16 in two other season, but Marquette missed the postseason all together this past season.

Unless something truly out of this world happens — and, quite frankly, this is pretty crazy — this will go down as the biggest move of the coaching carousel. There is not much basketball tradition at Virginia Tech, and it is currently buried at the bottom of an ACC that is going to add Louisville to the likes of Duke, North Carolina and Syracuse. Credit to new athletic director Whit Babcock for getting this hire done. Williams has quite the rebuilding job in front of him, as the Hokies are coming off of a 9-22 season in which they went just 2-16 in the ACC.

You have to wonder what was going on behind the scenes at Marquette that would make Williams decide that now was the time to leave the school. His relationship with the Marquette brass was strained, according to Yahoo! Sports, and it seems that he was not a fan of the direction that the new Big East was heading in. Throw in the fact that Marquette is currently without an AD — meaning that Williams does not know who his boss will be next year — and that was enough to make him decide to head to Blacksburg. Well, that and reports that a clause in his contract triggered by the change in AD reduced his buyout from $2 million to $100,000.

Williams will reportedly sign a seven-year deal worth around $18 million with the Hokies. He has been a hot name on the coaching carousel for a couple of years, as he was reportedly in the mix at places like Arkansas, Oklahoma, SMU and UCLA recently.

The name that has popped up to replace Williams at Marquette is Ben Howland, the former UCLA coach.

Iowa State lands three-star SG Jakolby Long

Steve Prohm
Associated Press
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Iowa State received its fourth verbal commitment in the Class of 2016 Friday morning, as 6-foot-4 shooting guard Jakolby Long made his pledge to Steve Prohm’s program. A native of Mustang, Oklahoma, Long attends Mustang HS and played for the Athletes First grassroots program this summer.

In Nike EYBL play for Athletes First, Long averaged 16.2 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.

According to Cyclone Fanatic, Long was also considering Georgia, Texas and Utah before deciding that he’ll play his college basketball at Iowa State. Long will join junior Matt Thomas, sophomore Hallice Cooke and transfer Nick Babb in the competition for minutes off the ball when he arrives on campus next year. According to Travis Hines of the Ames Tribune, Long could be a in a position where he sees solid playing time immediately.

Long joins junior college products Donovan Jackson and Emmanuel Malou, and 2016 forward Solomon Young in Iowa State’s 2016 class to date. And the Cyclones, who won’t use all 13 scholarships this season, still have room for a couple more additions for next season.

Iowa State has four seniors (Naz Long, Abdel Nader, Georges Niang and Jameel McKay), and junior point guard Monte’ Morris is considered by some to be a candidate to enter the 2016 NBA Draft.

UofL foundation hires firm to review escort allegations

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An independent Louisville affiliate has hired a law firm to review an escort’s allegations that former men’s basketball staffer Andre McGee hired dancers to strip and have sex with recruits and players.

The University of Louisville Foundation announced the hiring Thursday of the Stites & Harbison law firm. The foundation does fundraising for the university.

Louisville President James Ramsey also said Thursday he “fully” supports athletic director Tom Jurich “as we work to identify the facts in this situation.” Ramsey reiterated the school has hired former NCAA enforcement official Chuck Smrt to lead the athletic department’s investigation.

Men’s basketball spokesman Kenny Klein had no comment on a CBS Sports report that former Cardinals recruit JaQuan Lyle, now an Ohio State freshman, confirmed the “gist of allegations” detailed in Katina Powell’s book during a meeting Tuesday with the NCAA.

Lyle originally signed with Louisville before de-committing and eventually landing with the Buckeyes. OSU spokesman Dan Wallenberg confirmed the NCAA meeting via email on Wednesday but said there were no issues with Ohio State. He did not mention Louisville.

Powell’s book, “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen” was released online last weekend by a publishing affiliate of the Indianapolis Business Journal. A hardcover version of the 104-page book is scheduled for release on Monday.

The book states that McGee hired Powell and other dancers, including three of her daughters, for 22 shows allegedly performed from 2010 to 2014 at the players’ Billy Minardi Hall dormitory.

McGee left Louisville in 2014 for Missouri-Kansas City, which placed him on paid leave Friday. A message left Thursday with his Louisville attorney, Scott C. Cox, was not immediately returned. A spokeswoman for IBJ’s publishing arm could not be reached either.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino has said McGee denied Powell’s allegations. In a radio interview Tuesday he denied knowledge of what took place and said last week that others he talked to didn’t know about the activities described in the book.

“I’m going through 15 people who worked here, and not one person even had a premonition of something wrong,” Pitino said Friday. “Not one person living in the dorm had even the slightest premonition. It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

The Hall of Fame coach wasn’t mentioned in Ramsey’s statement in which the chancellor praised Jurich’s athletic program as “exemplary” at the school.

“It is important that the university – all of us – stay focused on our day-to-day work of providing our outstanding students with a world-class education,” Ramsey said. “The investigation of the allegations may take time and we must, as one university, continue doing the work we do to move our university and our community forward.”