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 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 on Saturday. “I stay in contact with Coach Dixon and Coach [Brandin] Knight.”

Reports: Rhode Island’s Dan Hurley mulling UConn, Pitt options

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Even before Rhode Island’s NCAA tournament came to an end Saturday in the Round of 32 against Duke, speculation was running wild about the future of Rams coach Dan Hurley.

Stay or go. If it’s go, where to?

There was no clarity, but maybe some progress Monday.

Both Connecticut and Pittsburgh, the prime candidates to pry Hurley away from Rhode Island, spoke with the coach, but no decision had yet been reached, according to multiple reports.

Hurley was set to meet with Rams athletic director Thorr Bjorn on Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. Heart Connecticut Media’s Jeff Jacobs reported that UConn was “closing in on an agreement” with Hurley but that Pitt was continuing its pursuit.

Hurley has led the Rams to the NCAA tournament the last two years and signed a seven-year contract with Rhode Island worth approximately $1 million per year last off-season. UConn was paying Kevin Ollie, who led the team to the 2014 NCAA title before being fired after this season, an average of $3 million per season while Kevin Stallings reportedly was due a buyout of nearly $10 million when he was fired by Pitt this season.

What Hurley will have to weigh beyond the financial circumstances will be his ability to win at either UConn or Pitt, should he decide to move on from Rhode Island.

Ollie – well, really Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright – showed you can win a national title out of the AAC at UConn. The league adding Wichita State only strengthens that point. Pitt, meanwhile, may be a tougher job now than it was when Jamie Dixon had it rolling since their move from the Big East to the ACC.

CBT Podcast: Recapping the first weekend of the 2018 NCAA Tournament

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Eamonn Brennan of The Athletic joined Rob Dauster for an epic, two-hour podcast on the first weekend of the tournament. It was so good that we had to split the podcast into two parts. On this show, the two go through everything that happened in the South and West Regions, from Sister Jean to UMBC to Nevada’s comebacks to Kentucky’s chances at a Final Four.

On this show, the two go through everything that happened in the East and Midwest Regions, from Villanova and Duke steamrolling to Michigan State collapsing to Syracuse and Clemson and Texas Tech and Purdue. It’s all in there.

2018 NCAA Tournament: Eight viral heroes from first weekend of March Madness

Getty Images
Leave a comment

One of my favorite parts of the NCAA tournament is seeing who comes out of nowhere to turn into a viral celebrity during this month of madness.

By my estimation, we had eight true candidates for the award of March Madness Viral Celebrity of the Year. Here they are:


He was more fired up for Houston’s success in the tournament than any Houston fan in the history of basketball in the city of Houston.


Jordan Poole is spelled a lot like Jordan Peele, which inevitably led to people tweeting at Peele instead of Poole. Peele’s thank you tweet was a highlight of the first weekend.


Having to answer questions from a bunch of reporters after suffering the most humiliating moment of your life is not an easy thing to do. Having to answer ridiculous and stupid questions could be intolerable, which is why I loved Ty Jerome’s response to a stupid question he was asked:


I loved seeing Robert Williams’ teammate do a panotmine windmill in the background while Williams was throwing down a windmill in real time on Providence:


Nevada head coach Eric Musselman has led his team to the Sweet 16, cussed on live television and gone shirtless to celebrate with his team, but the star of the Musselman family is his daughter Mariah:


He really does have great hair:

2. @UMBCAthletics

This dude lived the dream of every twitter user out there. When your shot is there, you have to take it.


Mic drop:

VIDEO: Eric Musselman celebrates Nevada win without a shirt

Leave a comment

Nevada head coach Eric Musselman went shirtless to celebrate his team’s come-from-behind win over No. 2 seed Cincinnati on Sunday.

I guess this is better than dropping F-bombs live on national TV. Maybe that’s why they had Steve Lappas talking over him …

Penny Hardaway to be named next Memphis head coach

Getty Images
1 Comment

The worst-kept secret in college basketball no longer appears to be a secret: Penny Hardaway is going to be the next coaching at the University of Memphis.

ESPN is reporting that a deal has been agreed upon. The Memphis Commercial-Appeal is reporting that Penny was waiting for his season to end with East High School before he made anything official. NBC Sports can confirm that an announcement is expected to be made early this week, likely as soon as Tuesday, to introduce the former Memphis and NBA star as Tubby Smith’s replacement.

The truth, however, is that we all knew this was what would be happening the second that Memphis formally fired Tubby Smith. Hell, we knew it a month before that decision was made final. This was always how it was going to play out.

What’s interesting to me is now the discussion of whether or not Penny will be able to handle being a Division I head coach, because it’s been hit or miss with basketball programs hiring legends of their past. Chris Mullin and St. John’s hasn’t exactly gone to plan but Fred Hoiberg was quite successful at Iowa State. Kevin Ollie won a title with UConn then fell off a cliff. Patrick Ewing’s start wasn’t great, but he was better than expected.

Where does Penny fall on this scale?

Well, let me just drop this section of a column from Geoff Calkins in here:

Hardaway isn’t a guy who woke up one morning and decided he’d like to be a Division I head coach. He’s not a former player who got bored with retirement and decided he’d like to do something other than play golf.

Hardaway started coaching at middle school. Middle school! Because an old friend needed some help.

Then he built one of the best AAU programs in the country. Then he spent years coaching a high school team.

Does that sound like someone who doesn’t want to roll up his sleeves and do the work? Does that sound like someone who is just in it for the glory and the glitz?

The truth is, if it weren’t for Hardaway’s iconic stature, he might be characterized as a grinder, as a guy who worked his way up from the lowest levels of basketball on the strength of his relationship with the kids.

I think that this is going to work out for both Penny and Memphis, especially if Penny hires a staff that can help him with the intricacies of running a college basketball program.