Buried in the countless human emotions emitted during the NCAA tournament — ND State’s Lawrence Alexander and his three, Cameron Ridley of Texas sinking a buzzer-beater — are the actual, real life situations that affect the coaches and players in the field.
Fran McCaffery and Chris Mack of Iowa and Xavier, respectively, have both had family health scares in the lead-up to the tournament tip, and it was revealed yesterday that the wife and daughter of NC Central coach LeVelle Moton did not travel with the team to San Antonio because the son was recently hospitalized after suffering burns to his body.
While thankfully it appears Moton’s son will not suffer any long-term injuries — he knocked over a cup of coffee — the absence of his family clearly affected Moton: “I walk into an incredible hotel that looks like an apartment and I’m in there by myself. It just doesn’t feel the same with my son and my daughter and my wife who sacrifice so much to allow me to become a better person and a better basketball coach, and this unfortunate situation, this unfortunate accident, and they’re not here.”
Being a college basketball coach is a 720 days a year job. There are countless hours spent on the recruiting trail, in practice, or prepping themselves and the team for the coming games. It is exhausting. Even when the recruiting calendar is dark, it never lets up, and we are witnessing the slightly hidden (but always there) fact that there are families involved in this cycle. From the families of Mack to McCaffery and now Moton, there are other people involved, and that goes beyond the brackets. This is NC Central’s first ever NCAA appearance, and while Moton is relishing the opportunity to showcase his team, the conference, and himself — during one of these coaching carousels, Moton will be a high commodity — it is unfortunate that the family suffered this scare in the midst of great celebration and can’t be on-hand to support.
Taylor University celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Silent Night Game on Friday night.
The Division III school in Upland, Indiana has one of the best traditions in college sports as Taylor has its fanbase stay completely silent until the team scores its 10th point of the game. Upon scoring the team’s 10th point, the Taylor students go ballistic as they storm the court and temporarily stop the game. Dressing up in all sorts of group costumes, the Taylor students bring out some of the best ideas you’ll see from any college fanbase in the country.
As for the game, Taylor jumped out to a 37-9 lead on Lincoln Christian University and never looked back as they won 99-68. The win moves Taylor’s record to 20-0 all-time in Silent Night games.
Jake Heggeland was the game’s high scorer with 18 points for Taylor while Evan Crowe broke the Taylor silence for the second consecutive year.
Kansas forward Carlton Bragg Jr. was charged today with one count of battery.
According to a press release sent out by the Douglas County district attorney’s office, police received a call around 1 a.m. from a woman who said that “her boyfriend had struck her and pushed her down stairs during an argument.”
The DA also included a note in the statement that, essentially, said the only reason Bragg wasn’t charged with domestic violence – he was initially arrested on suspicion of domestic battery – was due to a technicality. Since the couple is only dating and not married, under Kansas law, the assault does not constitute domestic violence.
Battery is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in prison.
Bragg, who was still in custody until an appearance in court on Friday afternoon, was held on bond of $500. Bragg plead not guilty.
“We are still trying to gather information,” head coach Bill Self told The Star. “But it is a charge which we take very seriously.”
Bragg is a 6-foot-8 sophomore that lost his spot in the starting lineup earlier this year. He is averaging 7.8 points and 5.3 boards in 16 minutes. No. 3 Kansas hosts Nebraska on Saturday.
Yankuba Sima will transfer out of the St. John’s program, the school announced on Friday.
“I want to thank the coaching staff and the administration for all of their support since I arrived at St. John’s,” said Sima. “I enjoyed my experience at St. John’s, but right now I feel it is best for me to explore options that will be a better fit for me as I work toward my goals.”
“We wish Yankuba the best of luck,” said head coach Chris Mullin. “I know this wasn’t an easy decision for him, but we respect and understand it. He’s a good basketball player and a good person with a bright future ahead.”
Sima started 26 of the 34 games he played with the Johnnies, including eight starts this season. He was averaging 6.0 points and 3.5 boards this year.
South Carolina head coach Frank Martin commented on Sindarius Thornwell’s suspension during his call-in show on Thursday.
Thornwell, who was the leading scorer for the 8-0 No. 19 Gamecocks, was suspended indefinitely last Sunday. Martin has yet to provide a reason for the suspension.
“He’s been with us at practice, he’ll travel with us, he’s excited about our team, his role on the team,” he said, according to South Carolina’s 247 site. “Sindarius is one of my favorite guys I’ve ever come across. He messed up and it is what it is. He’s like a son to me. He messed up and he’s owned up to his mess up.”
“Outside of that, I’m not going to get into anything else. He has my full support. Our job is to prepare our team to play, we don’t prepare individual players to play. It’s no different to someone rolling an ankle. We’re down because of a bad decision. We’ll be fine.”
Thornwell is averaging 18.7 points, 6.0 boards and 4.1 assists. The Gamecocks play Seton Hall in New York City on Monday night.
Sophomore guard B.J. Taylor is out indefinitely after suffering a hand injury, UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins confirmed at a press conference earlier today.
According to a report from 247 Sports’ UCF site, the injury is a broken thumb, which was suffered in Saturday’s win over UMass.
Taylor is not expected to miss the rest of the season but will be out for an extended amount of time. He missed all of 2015-16 season dealing with a foot injury.
On the season, Taylor, a 6-foot-2 point guard, was having an all-AAC caliber season, averaging 17.0 points, 5.0 assists and 4.3 boards.