Top ten recruit Myles Turner is headed to Texas

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The most highly-regarded uncommitted recruit in the country finally made the decision on where he will play his college ball on Wednesday.

Myles Turner, the No. 9 recruit in the country, according to Rivals, announced on ESPN U that he will be headed to Austin to play for Rick Barnes and Texas.

“I’m excited to be pursuing my education and am excited to be part of the basketball program at the University of Texas,” Turner said. “Hook ’em!”

“Just watching Texas work last year, they’re a real blue-collar program. The only reason I’m here is through hard work. And I feel like that’s what Texas has done and will do in the future, I really like their work ethic. I had a great visit down there. It’s a great family atmosphere down there.”

As of right now, Turner’s biggest strength is his ability to be a force in the paint on the defensive end of the floor. He’s just a shade under 7-foot with length and athleticism, and he has proven that he has a knack for timing blocking shots. But he also can step out on the perimeter and knock down jumpers out to the three-point line, making him a nice pick-and-pop threat.

“He blocks shots, has outstanding touch as a pick and pop jump shooter and has a big frame,” said Rivals’ Eric Bossi. “He can run but is sometimes a little stiff laterally.”

Turner is a key recruit for the Longhorns, as he will likely add even more pop to what is already one of the best front lines in the Big 12. He joins Cameron Ridley, Prince Ibeh and Jonathan Holmes on that front line that will still add Shaq Cleare, who is sitting out this season after transferring from Maryland. It will be interesting to see how Barnes divvies up minutes up front, considering that both Ridley and Turner have some issues defending on the perimeter. That said, given the ability of Holmes and Turner to step out and hit from the perimeter, it will create plenty of space in the paint for Ridley.

With Isaiah Taylor and Javan Felix both returning in the back court as well, Texas has the look of a top ten team in the country in 2014-2015. And the better news may be that Turner doesn’t jump off the page as a one-and-done prospect. His upside lies in the long-term, which means that the Longhorns could end up keeping him on campus for more than one season.

It certainly doesn’t hurt that Turner’s idol is former Texas product Kevin Durant.

Or that Turner went to high school in Texas, right outside Dallas, which is perhaps the most important part of this commitment. Barnes and the Texas staff have had a lot of trouble keeping the elite talent in Texas at home over the course of the last three years, which made landing Turner a priority.

“I’m happy to be a Texan,” Turner said. “I’ve been a Texan my whole life. There’s a lot of pride coming from the state of Texas, and staying in-state means a lot to me.”

Turner picked the Longhorns over Kansas, as well as Duke, Ohio State, Arizona, Texas A&M and SMU.

NCAA: Former USF assistant provided extra benefits, lied to NCAA investigators

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The NCAA has alleged that former South Florida assistant coach Oliver Antigua provided roughly $500 in impermissible benefits and initially lied to NCAA investigators about it, according to the Tampa Bay Times, who obtained the NCAA’s summary disposition report.

Oliver Antigua is the younger brother of Orlando Antigua, who was the head coach at USF until he was fired in January. Now an assistant on Brad Underwood’s staff at Oklahoma State, Orlando was not alleged to have committed an NCAA violation in the report.

Oliver is alleged to have provided the extra benefits to two student-athletes while they were being tutored by the sister-in-law of Gerald Gillion, a special assistant to Orlando who resigned last fall, four months after Oliver did. USF has already self-imposed a $5,000 and reduced their scholarships from 13 to 12, according to the report.

“The University of South Florida and the NCAA continue to work together to resolve the inquiry into violations of NCAA bylaws and university standards by a USF intercollegiate athletic program,” according to a statement released by the school. “USF anticipates having a final resolution with the NCAA sometime this fall. Until the process concludes and the matter is fully resolved, USF cannot provide further comment.”

Villanova lands four-star 2018 guard

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Villanova added its first recruit in the Class of 2018 on Wednesday night.

Jay Wright and his staff landed a verbal commitment from Paul VI Catholic High School’s Brandon Slater, a four-star guard by Rivals as the No. 42 overall prospect in the rising senior class.

The 6-foot-5 Slater announced his decision via Twitter.

Slater, according to Jeff Borzello of ESPN, picked the Wildcats over Maryland, Miami, South Carolina, and Virginia.

He is currently playing the Nike EYBL with Team Takeover, the same grassroots program that produced current Villanova guard Phil Booth.

Comic-Con forces Providence to play at Alumni Hall for home opener

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Providence will play its first game at Alumni Hall, the on-campus facility, for the first time in 35 years this fall.

The Friars unveiled their 2017-18 non-conference schedule on Thursday afternoon. The team’s home opener will play either Houston Baptist or Belmont in Mullaney Gym inside Alumni Hall.

According to Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal, the reason for that is a schedule conflict at Providence’s home arena, the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, in downtown Providence. A Comic-Con convention is scheduled Nov. 10-12. As McNamara notes, it’s a busy part of the season for The Dunk. The arena also is home to the Providence Bruins, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Boston Bruins, and by mid-November, their season is in full swing.

The Friars haven’t played at Alumni Hall since 1972, the same year the Dunkin’ Donuts Center was opened. In the three decades since Providence last played a regular season game there, the facility has gone under necessary renovations, as you could imagine. Even with added seats, Mullaney Gym can host a maximum of 1,549. That’s a fraction of what The Dunk’s capacity of 12,400.

Providence will return to its downtown home on Nov. 13, hosting Minnesota as part of the Gavitt Games. The Golden Gophers will likely be a top-20 team to open the season. The Friars, who bring back every notable player from last year’s NCAA Tournament team, is a fringe top-25 team.

Jalen Coleman-Lands to transfer out of Illinois

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The already-thin Illinois roster got thinner on Thursday afternoon.

Evan Daniels of Scout.com reported that sophomore guard Jalen Coleman-Lands has requested and received his release from the program. He will have to sit out next season but will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Coleman-Lands was a top-40 recruit in the Class of 2015, according to Rivals. He becomes the second player from that recruiting class this month to exit the school. Reserve guard D.J. Williams elected to transfer on May 8. With Jeremiah Tilmon and Javon Pickett, two incoming recruits, both previously reopened their recruitments following John Groce’s firing.

Even with the addition of Wright State graduate transfer Mark Alstork, who officially joined the Fighting Illini on Wednesday, Illinois is left with only nine scholarship players as of right now.

Coleman-Lands’ production dipped from his freshman campaign, ending the 2016-17 season averaging 8.0 points and 2.3 rebounds per game, shooting 38 percent from three.

One destination that will likely be rumored will be nearby DePaul. Coleman-Lands played for new DePaul assistant coach Shane Heirman at prep school powerhouse La Lumiere School. Heriman quickly tapped into that prep pipeline, helping secure a commitment from La Lumiere from five-star 2019 point guard Tyger Campbell earlier this month.

Coleman-Lands had taken official visits to Notre Dame and UNLV before committing to the Illini in September 2014.

North Carolina releases response to latest NCAA Notice of Allegations

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North Carolina is still trying to convince the NCAA that their investigation into the paper classes given by the university’s African-American Studies Department is not, in fact, an NCAA matter.

On Thursday afternoon, the University released their response to the NCAA’s third iteration of the Notice of Allegations, and the core argument in that response is that the school’s “inadequate academic oversight” does not fall under the jurisdiction of the NCAA’s bylaws. In other words, North Carolina is arguing that a rogue professor creating fake classes is not an NCAA issue. It’s a school issue.

What’s more, North Carolina is also arguing that athletes taking these classes should not be classified as an extra benefit because they were available to the entire student body.

“No special arrangements were made for student-athletes in violation of NCAA extra-benefit legislation,” the response reads. “Student-athletes were not treated differently than other students who took the Courses.”

“The public narrative for the last six years, popularized by media accounts, is that Department of Athletics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill took advantage of ‘fake classes’ in the Department of African and African-American Studies to keep student-athletes eligible. That narrative is wrong and contradicted by the facts in the record.”

The NCAA’s allegations center around the idea that UNC’s athletes, most notably members of the football and men’s and women’s basketball teams, were guided to the fake classes within that department in order to keep their GPAs high enough to remain eligible. The classes in question had a disproportionate percentage of athletes.

A hearing in front of the Committee on Infractions is expected to take place at some point this summer.