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Richmond player back on court after collapse, heart scare

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Grant Golden had no idea what was happening when he collapsed.

“I just got extremely dizzy and then I ended up blacking out at half court,” the Richmond forward said, recounting a frightening few moments last December during a game against Texas Tech.

Teammate T.J. Cline yelled at him to get up, thinking Golden had slipped on a wet spot. On the bench, trainer Adam Smith remembers joking about Golden’s clumsiness.

“And then when he collapsed on the bench, we obviously knew it was something a little bit more serious,” Smith said.

Golden fell three times and was unconscious for “three to five seconds,” Smith said, before he came to, alert and talking.

Moments earlier, Coach Chris Mooney noticed that the 6-foot-9 freshman appeared “a step slow” on defense. Now there was an emergency, one that evoked memories of Loyola Marymount star Hank Gathers, who collapsed and later died during a nationally televised game March 4, 1990.

“The scariest moment I’ve ever had in coaching, for sure,” Mooney said.

Golden had no history of heart problems. But his heart was beating so fast the training staff couldn’t take his pulse manually. The Spiders’ medical team scrambled to assess what was wrong in the hushed arena. They put him on a stretcher and he was wheeled to an ambulance.

“Probably the scariest situation I’ve dealt with in my professional career so far,” Smith said.

Golden spent two nights in the hospital and was found to have an irregular heartbeat. Less than a week later, he underwent a relatively simple procedure to eliminate the abnormal electrical signal in his heart that caused the problem. He was later cleared to return to basketball.

Among those watching the game on television was Golden’s mother. Ellen DePoy-Golden was home in Winchester, recuperating from surgery.

“When he collapsed, the first thought was that he had slipped and the floor was wet,” DePoy-Golden said in a telephone interview, speaking of the announcers. “Didn’t think too much about it. The camera wasn’t on him, and then they said, ‘Something is wrong with Golden. He went down in front of the bench,’ and my heart just stopped.”

Among those attending to her son was her husband, Craig, who had made the trip to Richmond that morning. He alerted the doctors to his own history with atrial fibrillation. Mooney also had two friends at the game, sitting behind the Spiders’ bench. One is an ER trauma doctor, the other a heart surgeon.

“You don’t want it to happen during a game on national television, but he could have been in his dorm room alone and blacked out,” DePoy-Golden said. “He could have been driving and blacked out, so of all the places for it to happen, he was without a doubt in the best place possible just because of the people that were around.”

Dr. Kenneth Ellenbogen, chairman of the cardiology division at Virginia Commonwealth University, said VCU has cared for numerous athletes with similar issues over the past 30 years.

“Within a couple days after (the procedure), they can return to whatever sport they play,” Ellenbogen said.

Golden waited a few weeks to resume weight training. A week after the Spiders’ season ended, in late February, he was cleared to rejoin the team for workouts.

“That was definitely the hardest part, just mentally accepting that I was OK and everything,” he said.

Mooney acknowledges some trepidation at first. Golden recently was granted a medical redshirt by the NCAA, giving him an extra year of eligibility.

“He’s a tremendous athlete and he’s pushing himself and doing well and feeling confident,” Mooney said. “I know he doesn’t want to be treated (differently). He wants to be coached and normal and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Golden’s mom was certain her son would return to basketball.

“Believe me, Grant’s heart has had every test known to man now,” she said. “It concerned me, but there really was never a thought of telling him, ‘I don’t want you to do this,’ because it’s his dream and he has worked so hard.”

Report: North Carolina won’t attend White House

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After capturing a national championship earlier this year, the North Carolina men’s basketball team will not be visiting the White House, a North Carolina spokesman said to Andrew Carter of the The Charlotte Observer.

Although the Tar Heels were invited to go to the White House from the staff of President Donald Trump, the team couldn’t figure out a date that worked.

“We couldn’t find a date that worked for both parties,” North Carolina team spokesman Steve Kirschner said to Carter. “We tried about eight or nine dates and between they couldn’t work out that date, we couldn’t work out that date, so – we would have liked to have gone, but not going.”

According to Carter’s report, Kirschner also said that North Carolina players, “were fine with going.”

With Trump’s recent comments towards NFL players and the national anthem and his Saturday morning tweet at Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the President with regards to athletes over the past 24 hours.

Although the timing of this may seem like North Carolina is making some sort of political statement, the school is downplaying any sort of politics by focusing on the bad timing.

Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer

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Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer from the program to move closer to home, according to a release from the school.

The 6-foot-7 Ridder hails from Springfield, Missouri as he was regarded as a top-150 prospect by Rivals in the Class of 2017.

“After much consideration and talking with my family, I have decided that it is in my best interest to move home,” Ridder said in the release.

“Jared has indicated to the coaching staff that he has a desire to be closer to home,” Xavier head coach Chris Mack said. “While we are disappointed, we all want Jared to be happy moving forward. We wish him nothing but the best.”

A potent scorer and noted perimeter shooter at the high school level, Ridder helped MoKan win the Nike Peach Jam during the summer of 2016 playing alongside talented players like Missouri’s Michael and Jontay Porter and Oklahoma’s Trae Young. With a desire to move closer to home, could Ridder potentially land at a spot where one of his talented former teammates is playing?

Ridder averaged 24.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists during his senior season of high school ball at Kickapoo as he was a first-team, All-State selection in Missouri.

Four-star 2018 forward Ian Steere decommits from Creighton

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Creighton took a big hit to its recruiting efforts late this week as Class of 2018 forward Ian Steere is decommitting from the Bluejays, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Steere’s decommitment was first reported by Julius Kim of Elevate Hoops.

The 6-foot-8 Steere is considered a four-star prospect by Rivals as he is coming off of a very solid spring and summer playing with Team Charlotte in the Under Armour Association. A plus athlete who isn’t afraid to bang on the interior, Steere showing an improving skill level throughout the spring and summer as he could see his recruiting soar after opening things up.

According to a report from Jon Nyatawa of the World-Herald, one of the reasons that Steere is opening up his recruitment is his desire to be closer to his native North Carolina. With so many top programs looking for quality help on the interior, it’ll be interesting to see which programs jump in and try to recruit Steere the second time around.

John Wall emotional in Kentucky Hall of Fame induction speech

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John Wall was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night as he delivered an emotional speech while talking to his mother.

The first inductee into the Hall of Fame to play for current Wildcat head coach John Calipari, Wall only spent the 2009-10 season in Lexington but he became the first national player of the year to play at Kentucky before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

Thanking his mother, Calipari, his family, friends and Big Blue Nation, the Washington Wizards guard gave a very moving speech, including an emotional part directed to his mother at around 4:35.

Ohio State snags third 2018 commitment in a week with four-star guard Luther Muhammad

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Ohio State continued a strong week on the recruiting trail on Friday night by landing a commitment from Class of 2018 guard Luther Muhammad.

Regarded as a four-star prospect, the 6-foot-4 Muhammad is a tough and rugged perimeter defender who can attack the basket. Also showing some ability to play on the ball as a secondary handler, Muhammad is a very solid addition to Ohio State’s recruiting class since they need to overhaul their roster under new head coach Chris Holtmann.

Muhammad is the third player to commit to the Buckeyes in the Class of 2018 this week as he joins four-star forward Jaedon LeDee and three-star guard Duane Washington in the current Ohio State recruiting class. Since Washington is a three-point threat and Muhammad is more of an off-the-bounce specialist, the two guards are a good start for Ohio State in this class as they will likely try to find a true floor leader to play with them on the perimeter.