Terrence Payne/NBC Sports

BasketBull Summer Championships Recap: Donovan Mitchell to take officials to Indiana, Louisville

Leave a comment

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The first weeks of the July Live Evaluation Period is dominated by the shoe companies, with the Reebok Breakout Challenge in Philadelphia and adidas Unrivaled in Chicago. While LeBron James stole headlines all throughout the week, his skills academy out in Las Vegas received plenty of buzz, as well.

Still, coaches have found talent at other events this weekend, as dozens have made their way to the BasketBull Summer Championships at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass.

Some teams were working without full rosters, as players were participating in different showcases across the country, but those absences allowed for others the opportunity to shine. With Jalen Adams, the UConn commit, in Chicago, 2016 recruit Saul Phiri, who has received an offer from Rhode Island was able to lead Mass Rivals in scoring with 23, including four 3-pointers.

Bruce Brown, the No. 53 overall recruit in 2016, according to Rivals, suited up with BABC 16u team. He got going early offensively with shots from behind the arc and transition layups, but his highlight of the day was when he dunked over a 6-foot-11 center. Brown will be with BABC next week for the Nike EYBL Peach Jam.

Dupree McBrayer continued his strong play on the grassroots circuit with New Heights. The lanky 6-foot-2 guard, who is averaging 15.6 points per game in the Under Armour Association, was one of the top scorers in the field, as New Heights cruised to three wins on Friday and Saturday. He may find himself in New England this fall, as several prep schools are pursuing him.

Donovan Mitchell has added offers, will visit Indiana and Louisville: The City, out of New York, was upset in its second game on Saturday by a gritty Maine Athletic Club team. That seems to be the only bump in the road for guard Donovan Mitchell so far this live period. The 6-foot-3 rising senior picked up three offers this past week from Louisville, Memphis, South Florida.

He told NBCSports.com that he plans to take official visits to Indiana and Louisville. Schools like Boston College, Cincinnati, Creighton, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Providence have all offered him. BC head coach Jim Christian was front row to watch both of Mitchell’s games on Saturday while assistants from Florida State and Providence were in attendance.

Mitchell, ranked No. 101 in the Class of 2015 by Rivals, was aiming for a September decision, but with new offers and new teams showing interest that timetable has been altered.

MOREAll our content from the 2014 July Live Recruiting Period

Mustapha Heron is “100 percent” committed to Pittsburgh: In January, Mustapha Heron, the No. 23 overall recruit in 2016, verbally committed to Pittsburgh. Pitt assistant Barry “Slice” Rohrssen helped land the early commitment, but this offseason was hired by Kentucky.

In April, after Rohrseen had accepted the spot at Kentucky, Heron said he was looking to build a good relationship with Jamie Dixon and his coaching staff.

“I’m a 100 percent committed to Pittsburgh,” Heron told NBCSports.com on Saturday. “I stay in contact with Coach Dixon and Coach [Brandin] Knight.”

AUDIO: Rick Pitino discusses allegations, future at Louisville

Rick Pitino
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Thursday afternoon marked the first time since Friday that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino commented on the controversy that has taken his program by storm. Speaking with Terry Meiners of 840 WHAS in Louisville, Pitino discussed the escort scandal, what could have possibly led former staffer Andre McGee down the path he’s alleged to have taken in Katina Powell’s book and his future at Louisville.

The interview began with Meiners asking Pitino if it changed his thinking as to whether or not he needed to resign, which (as one would expect) Pitino shot down. Also discussed was the statement released by school president Dr. James Ramsey, which expressed support for athletic director Tom Jurich but did not mention Pitino at all.

“Well I can’t answer that, Terry,” Pitino said when asked why he wasn’t mentioned in the statement. “Twenty-six years ago Kentucky brought me in to make the program compliant to NCAA rules. (Then-Kentucky president) Dr. (David) Roselle and (then Kentucky athletic director) C.M. Newton thought I was the guy to come in and change around the images, change around the culture and add a lot of discipline to the program. And I did that.

“And then I came here to the University of Louisville, and if someone was five seconds late or not early consequences would be paid from a disciplinary standpoint,” Pitino continued. “This is obviously not a person being late, this is not about a person (not) working hard. This is about things that are very disgusting, things that turn my stomach, things that keep me up without sleeping.

“But unfortunately, I had no knowledge of any of this and don’t believe in it. It’s sickening to me, the whole thing. But I’m thinking of my 13 players, I’m thinking of our program, and I’m sorry that Dr. Ramsey did not think enough to mention me but that’s something I cannot control.”

Below is audio of the full interview, which ran just over 17 minutes in length.

Boise State loses guard Harwell to torn ACL

Leon Rice
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Expected to be one of the favorites in the Mountain West this season, Boise State’s perimeter ranks have shrunk by one player due to injury. Thursday it was reported by the Idaho Statesman that freshman guard Malek Harwell will redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in practice. Along with fellow freshman Paris Austin, Harwell is expected to be a key part of the Broncos’ future beyond the upcoming season.

Now, instead of competing with an experienced backcourt that includes four redshirt seniors, Harwell will work to get his knee back to full strength for the 2016-17 season.

Among the guards who will play significant minutes this season are Anthony Drmic, who took a medical redshirt last season, Montigo Alford, Mikey Thompson and grad transfer Lonnie Jackson (Boston College). Chandler Hutchison, who started in Boise State’s final 18 games of the 2014-15 season as a freshman, will also compete for playing time.