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Who are the candidates to replace Chris Holtmann at Butler?

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On Friday morning, Ohio State finally landed their guy.

Butler head coach Chris Holtmann agreed to an eight-year deal worth nearly $25 million to replace Thad Matta as the head coach of the Buckeyes.

Now, Bulldog athletic director Barry Collier finds himself in a tough spot. We’re just five weeks away from the start of the July live period and he is without a head coach, which is the third time in the last four years that he’s found himself forced to making a coaching decision in an awkward time in the college basketball calendar. In 2013, Collier hired Brandon Miller in July after Brad Stevens accepted the Boston Celtics job. A year later, in October, Collier, a former Butler coach himself, hired Holtmann as an interim coach following Miller’s leave of absence.

One thing to not about the Butler job: not only is it around a top 25 close in the sport, it’s a great stepping-stone job. The last four Butler head coaches that did not leave due to health reasons were Thad Matta (Ohio State by way of Xavier), Todd Lickliter (Iowa), Stevens and Holtmann.

So who will Butler target this time around?

Micah Shrewsberry, Boston Celtics: It’s not a secret that Butler like to keep it within the Butler family when it comes to making coaching decisions, and Shrewsberry certainly falls under that umbrella. He spent three seasons as a Butler assistant when Stevens was the head coach, helping lead the Bulldogs to both national title games, before moving onto Purdue and, eventually, the Celtics with Stevens. It is thought that Shrewsberry would have Stevens’ endorsement, and that still carries weight at Butler. Shrewsberry was a candidate for the UMass opening earlier this spring.

Lavall Jordan, Milwaukee: Jordan is a Butler grad that spent three years as an assistant with the Bulldogs before following Lickliter to Iowa. He spent six years on John Beilein’s staff with Michigan before taking over at Milwaukee this past season. The Panthers went just 11-24 this season, but they came within one game of reaching the NCAA tournament as they advanced to the Horizon League title game.

Terry Johnson and Ryan Pedon, Butler: Both Johnson and Pedon are assistants on Butler’s staff, and Collier has a reputation for giving his current assistants a shot at interviewing for coaching openings. Johnson has been on staff for 11 years while Pedon joined the program two years ago from Illinois. Mike Schrage, Butler’s third assistant, joined the program last spring after spending time at Stanford and Duke.

Michael Lewis, Nebraska: Lewis is a former star at Indiana — he held the program’s assist record until Yogi Ferrell broke it — that was a high school star in the state. He spent time on Bobby Knight’s staff at Texas Tech before a five-year stint as an assistant with the Bulldogs. He left Butler for Nebraska prior to last season.

Matthew Graves, South Alabama: Graves spent 13 seasons as a staffer at Butler, spanning the tenures of Matta, Lickliter and Stevens, before taking over at the head coach at South Alabama in 2013. He hasn’t had much success with the Jaguars — he’s never won more than 14 games or had a winning record in league play — and that may drop him down the list.

Ronald Nored, Long Island Nets: It’s a long shot — Nored is just 27 years old — but he was a Stevens favorite as a player on both of Butler’s Final Four teams that has bounced around the coaching ranks ever since. He spent a year in high school, time as an assistant in the D-Leauge and on Steven’s Boston staff as well as a year with Northern Kentucky before he took over Brooklyn’s D-League team prior to last season.

Syracuse walk-on accused of sexual assault

Syracuse Post-Standard
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Dominick Parker, an 18-year old freshman who was added to the Syracuse roster as a walk-on just 12 days ago, was arrested last Friday and charged with sexual abuse in the first degree, reports

Parker is accused of having sexual contact with an 18-year old female student while she was incapable of giving consent. His name and picture have been removed from the Syracuse athletics website.

“Sexual and relationship violence is not tolerated at Syracuse University,” the school said in a statement. “We are now doing all that we can to support and provide assistance to those affected by the alleged incident. As this is an ongoing investigation, Syracuse University will not be providing further comment.”

Wichita State to sell beer at Koch Arena

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As if it wasn’t already hard enough to win games at Koch Arena.

Starting this season, Wichita State fans will be able to buy beer during games at their home arena, a fact that should ensure that the raucous home environs that have made the Shockers so difficult to beat in Wichita remains the same.

That’s not a bad thing to add to a home court advantage while making the move into a new conference, the American, for the 2017-18 season.

Once a rarity, beer at college sporting events in a growing trend. Minnesota, Florida and Texas, among a number of others have added alcohol sales in recent years. Given the money that would seem likely to be generated, it’s a trend that will probably become even more pervasive in college athletics.

Let’s just make sure that everyone partakes in moderation.

Blue Ribbon release college basketball preseason top 25, all-american teams

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Blue Ribbon, the college basketball bible, has released their top 25 and preseason all-american awards, the first publication to do so as far as I know.

Their top five — Arizona, Michigan State, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky — contains the same teams as my top five will, only in a different order. The only crazy ranking that I see in their top 25 comes with Miami checking in at No. 16. I have a feeling they are going to end up regretting that by the end of the season.

What is somewhat crazy, however, is Blue Ribbon’s all-american teams.

Bonzie Colson is their Preseason National Player of the Year. That’s not my pick, but it’s justifiable. But having Miles Bridges as a second-team preseason all-american? Angel Delgado as a fourth-team preseason all-american? I disagree with both of those picks.

But that will all play out during the season.

And, frankly, I haven’t exactly had the best track record predicting all-americans in recent years, not after I opted to rate Skal Labissiere as a first-team preseason all-american over Buddy Hield.

That was a miss.

It happens to the best of us.

But I feel pretty comfortable saying that Miles Bridges as a second-team preseason all-american will end up being a miss.

4-star center commits to Purdue

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With Vince Edwards and Isaac Haas entering their senior seasons, adding front court options in the 2018 class was something that Purdue needed to do. Purdue added its second front court commitment in the 2018 class Tuesday evening, as four-star center Emmanuel Dowuona reportedly made his pledge. News of Dowuona’s commitment was first reported by the Lafayette Journal & Courier.

Dowuona, a 6-foot-11 big man who attends Westwood Christian School in Miami, joins fellow four-star prospect Trevion Williams in Purdue’s 2018 class to date.

Dowuona’s commitment comes just days before he was reportedly to visit Tennessee. Among the other programs to have offered Duwuona were Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami and UConn.

Dowuona played for the Team Breakdown program on the Under Armour Association circuit during the summer, averaging 7.9 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game while shooting 59.3 percent from the field. While still a bit raw offensively, the native of Ghana provides value as a defender and rebounder. Dowuona is joining a program that during Painter’s tenure as head coach has done a good job of developing big men.

Dowuona and the aforementioned Williams will look to compete for playing time in 2018-19 alongside current redshirt junior Jacquil Taylor and 7-foot-3 redshirt freshman center Matt Haarms.

Dayton freshman Toppin ineligible for 2017-18 season

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Dayton announced Tuesday afternoon that one of the program’s incoming freshmen will not be eligible to compete this season. 6-foot-8 forward Obadiah Toppin has been ruled by the NCAA to have not met initial eligibility requirements, and he will have to sit out the 2017-18 season as a result.

Toppin will be allowed to remain a member of the team and participate in practices, and he will have four seasons of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2018-19 season. While the NCAA’s decision leaves the Flyers short a front court option in head coach Anthony Grant’s first season at the helm, it did not come as a surprise.

“We knew this was a possible scenario for Obi early on in the recruiting process,” Grant said in the release. “And if it came to pass, we saw this as a chance for him to utilize this year acclimate as a student and enhance his strength and skill as an academic redshirt. This is a great opportunity for Obi to develop as a player and student over the next 12 months, and prepare himself for a very successful college career.”

Toppin, who averaged 17 points and eight rebounds per game at Mt. Zion Academy last season, is one of five freshmen who have joined the program. Matej Svoboda and Jordan Pierce will look to earn minutes alongside returnees Josh Cunningham and Xeyrius Williams, and the same can be said for redshirt freshman Kostas Antetokounmpo.

Toppin being declared ineligible is the third hit Dayton has taken to its front court this offseason. Ryan Mikesell, who played in 32 games last season, will redshirt after undergoing two hip surgeries. And Sam Miller, who was also part of the team’s front court rotation last season, was suspended from school for the fall semester after he was arrested during the summer.