Richard Pitino

Minnesota freshman forward denied admission

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Minnesota was set to have two foreign-born players join the program this season, however, late on Tuesday night, it was reported that one of freshman big men did not gain admission to the university.

According to Amelia Rayno of the Star Tribune, Gaston Diedhiou, a native of Senegal, was denied entry to the University of Minnesota. The 6-foot-9 Diedhiou passed the NCAA Clearinghouse as a full-qualifier.

From the Star Tribune:

Those sources told the Star Tribune that Diedhiou’s English proficiency test scores were cited as the major concern. Minnesota does not have any thresholds for proficiency test scores set in stone, director of admissions Rachelle Hernandez said, but the results are considered as part of a holistic review done for every applicant. After being advised by other members of the department, Hernandez ultimately makes the decision whether to admit the prospective student.

“Our assessment is really related to can the student be successful academically and can they be successful in an English-speaking setting,” Hernandez said, speaking generally about the admissions process. “Admissions decisions are never based on just one thing.”

This news puts pressure on senior big men Mo Walker, Joey King and Elliott Eliason in Minnesota’s frontcourt. They are accompanied in the front court by freshmen forward Josh Martin and center Bakary Konate, both three-star recruits, according to Rivals. The 6-foot-11 Konate is from Mali, and according to Rayno’s sources, also had difficulty with the admissions process, but was ultimately admitted and is eligible.

The best case scenario for Diedhiou and Minnesota is if he passes the Test of English as a Foreign Language before the start of next semester and can be eligible for the second semester.

This is the second time a recruit was denied admission this summer. In late July, Oregon signee Ray Kasongo, a three-star power forward, was denied admission from the university, the start of a long ordeal that ended with him committing to a junior college.

Minnesota ended the first year of the Richard Pitino era 25-13 (8-10 Big Ten), winning the NIT title over SMU in April.

VIDEO: Arizona State’s Torian Graham dunks over teammate

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Arizona State fans won’t get a chance to see Torian Graham take the floor this season, but he did sky over fellow teammates (and transfer) Shannon Evans on Friday night at the team’s Maroon and Gold Madness. The 6-foot-4 Graham is a former Buffalo commit — Evans also came from Buffalo — and both players will have to sit out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer regulations.

Graham hasn’t had a chance to get into a Division I game, but he’ll be able to play for the Sun Devils next season. For now, fans can look forward to Graham’s athleticism on the wing in pregame dunk routines.

A former top-100 prospect, Graham also pulled off this ridiculous move in the dunk contest.


VIDEOS: Bill Self makes two skits, Bragg plays piano

Bill Self
AP Photo
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Kansas head coach Bill Self is known for being unique for the annual Late Night at the Phog and this season, he went with some parody videos centered around the recent DirecTV ads. In the two skits, Self plays himself — which acknowledges his many accolades — while playing alongside “short shorts Bill Self” and “graduate assistant Bill Self”.

Hard to say if these videos top Self showing up in a suit like Andrew Wiggins last year, but there do have good promotional value for the program and Self.

Kansas players also had their chance to shine, with both men’s and women’s teams doing dances. Perry Ellis and Jamari Traylor also attempted to lip sync to Michael Jackson. Freshman forward Carlton Bragg showed some solid ability on the piano, which got the crowd going. Bragg was also one of the strong points in a scrimmage.

Of course, the highlight of the night is Bill Self losing $10,000 on a halfcourt shot, but here’s everything else notable from Late Night at the Phog.