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Report | Cheating coaches encouraged to come forward by Bill Self and NABC

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With college basketball still dealing with the impact of the FBI’s ongoing investigation into corruption and bribery in basketball, with four Division I assistants among the ten people arrested last month, coaches across the country have needed to take stock of the way in which they do business.

According to a report by Dana O’Neil of The Athletic (subscription required), the NABC advised coaches who have participated in illegal activity to step forward during a conference call for the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).

While in the past cheating coaches could essentially operate with only the NCAA in mind when it came doing what was necessary to not get caught, the involvement of the FBI changes things. Instead of simply losing scholarships, receiving a postseason ban and/or a show-cause penalty, there’s now the possibility that wrongdoing could result in facing federal charges.

“You’re going to be found out, that’s all we wanted people to understand,” Kansas head coach Bill Self, who’s president of the NABC, said according to The Athletic.

With the investigation still in its early stages, how far this reaches depends upon what the already indicted parties say when questioned by the FBI. And given some of the possible sentences, ranging from 50 to 80 years depending upon the person and their involvement in the scheme, it would be fair to assume that the FBI will be able to acquire more information in time.

In addition to Arizona (Emanuel “Book” Richardson), Auburn (Chuck Person), Oklahoma State (Lamont Evans) and USC (Tony Bland) having coaches arrested as part of the probe, Louisville dismissed both head coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich.

While Louisville was cited in the FBI report, with a six-figure payment in exchange for the commitment of Brian Bowen being one of the actions documented, no one connected with the program has been indicted by the FBI.

Alabama and Miami also admitted to being investigated, with a member of Alabama’s support staff resigning in late September as a result. During a press conference last month Miami head coach Jim Larranaga said that he and his lawyers believe that he is cited in the FBI report (as Coach-3).

Bill Self’s stance on Kansas/Missouri series remains unchanged

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Sunday afternoon in Kansas City, bitter rivals Kansas and Missouri got together on the basketball court for the first time since 2012, with the Showdown for Relief raising $1.75 million for recent hurricane victims. In what was an entertaining game, the Jayhawks won by the final score of 93-87 with point guard Devonté Graham leading the way for the winners with 25 points and ten rebounds.

Kansas finished the game with five players in double figures, including Mississippi State transfer Malik Newman (17 points) and center Udoka Azubuike (16). On the other side freshman Michael Porter Jr. paced four Tigers in double figures with 21 points while younger brother Jontay grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds off the bench.

However despite the excitement for the two rivals being on the same court in any capacity, Sunday’s meeting was different given the circumstances. Following the game Kansas head coach Bill Self was asked about the possibility of the two teams meeting in a regular season game, and he maintained the stance he’s held since Missouri left the Big 12 for the SEC.

“I’m not going to say never, but I don’t think there’s been any change in our position as far as the university goes,” Self said following Sunday’s exhibition. “I’m the spokesman, I guess, on this but trust me, I’m not the only one that feels that way.”

While it would certainly benefit college basketball if Kansas and Missouri were to renew acquaintances down the line, it is understandable that Self — and maybe some others on the Kansas side of things — would have reservations. The programs, even with the arrival of Cuonzo Martin in Columbia and the freshman class led by the aforementioned Michael Porter Jr., are in different places right now.

The Jayhawks have their sights set on a 14th consecutive Big 12 title and a run at their first national title since 2008, Missouri is looking to fast-track a rebuilding process after struggling mightily under former head coach Kim Anderson. Yet with that being said, the state of the two athletic departments during realignment likely has more to do with the teams not playing each other.

Missouri was a school with options earlier this decade before joining the SEC, but that was not the case for Kansas. Had the Big 12 broken up as some believed would be the case, where would the Jayhawks have landed? Fortunately for the school the Big 12 survived the realignment craze, losing four schools (Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC, Colorado to the Pac-12 and Nebraska to the Big Ten) and adding TCU and West Virginia to get their membership number to ten.

Given that, the best bet for college basketball fans who want to see this rivalry played during the regular season may be to hope for the programs wind up in the same in-season tournament. Even better, how about the same NCAA tournament region?

No. 1 Kansas knocks off No. 1 Oklahoma in 3OT thriller

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It’s only January 4th, but we already have the Game of the Year in college basketball.

Hell, we might have just been a witness to the game of the decade, and I say that without a hint of hyperbole.

Frank Mason stole an inbounds pass with 15 seconds left with the Jayhawks up one and, after two Mason free throws, Buddy Hield missed a desperation three at the buzzer, giving Kansas, the No. 1 team in the AP Poll, a 109-106 win over Oklahoma, the No. 1 team in the Coaches Poll, in triple overtime.

“That was the toughest game I’ve ever played in,” Perry Ellis, who led the Jayhawks with 27 points and 13 boards, said afterwards.

“I just need a bed right now,” Hield said on Sportscenter after the game.

To get an idea of just how wild this game was, chew on this for a second: Hield, Oklahoma’s superstar senior that entered the night averaging 24.7 points, finished with 46 points on 13-for-23 shooting, hitting 8-of-15 from beyond the arc while adding eight boards and seven assists. He scored 33 of those points in regulation, popping off for 22 in the first half, and as crazy as this is going to sound, Kansas actually did a pretty damn good job defending him.

I know, right?

I mean, just watch this play, watch the way Mason defends Hield. What else can he possibly do?

“I thought we did a really good job holding him to 46,” Bill Self said after the game.

There’s so much more to dive into as well:

  • Hield, the kid who played like the G.O.A.T. for the first 54:39 of this game, was the goat in the final minute, as he committed a pair of turnovers — both steals by Mason — nine seconds apart that allowed Kansas to take the lead and extend the lead to 109-106. “I just had a couple careless turnovers that cost us the game,” Hield said, taking the blame for a loss where he scored 46 points in 54 minutes. Not many kids would do that.
  • Kansas was up 32-21 in the first half, but Hield sparked a furious comeback at the end of the first half, a 25-8 run that was capped by Self picking up a technical foul when Mason seemingly landed a clean strip of Hield. That tech mattered because Mason, as Self was screaming profanities directly in the official’s face, slammed the ball on the ground and had to be restrained by his teammates. If it weren’t for Self’s reaction, Mason would have picked up a technical. He finished the game with four fouls, having picked up his fourth at the very end of regulation. That technical, if he had received it, would have forced Mason to miss the overtimes.
  • Kansas was also down by as many as ten points in the second half, as the Sooners looked, for a while, like they were getting ready to pull away from the Jayhawks.
  • And should I mention that Kansas very nearly lost at the end of the first overtime when they had six players on the court?

There’s no question that this game lived up to the hype of being No. 1 vs. No. 1, and the timing couldn’t have been better, with this being the first Monday without Monday Night Football and the first weekday after New Year’s and essentially all of the college football bowl games. There were a lot of people paying attention to this, and it certainly delivered.

This not a game that we’re soon going to forget.

Hield’s performance is not one that we’re soon going to forget.

The best part?

The rematch in Norman is on February 13th.

Here’s to hoping the face-off in the Big 12 tournament for the rubber match.

 

Cheick Diallo doesn’t dress for Kansas opener; Self: ‘there wasn’t progress’

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Kansas played their first exhibition game on Wednesday night, and unlike the Johnnies, the Jayhawks were able to come away with a win.

Bill Self started his three guards, Perry Ellis scored 22 points, Svi Mykhailiuk was 0-for-3 in 15 minutes off the bench and Carlton Bragg went for 14 and six when he finally got on the court.

The most notable part of the exhibition was that Landen Lucas started alongside Ellis in the front court. That’s important because of who didn’t start: Cheick Diallo. The star freshman didn’t even dress, as he’s still awaiting word from the NCAA on whether or not he is going to be cleared to play this season.

The latest?

Self spent all Wednesday in meetings with the NCAA, trying to help them work through what it will take to get Diallo on the floor.

“There wasn’t progress, but there were certainly talks,” Self said after the game. “And the talks are ongoing. The process is still playing itself out.”

Kansas told Cheick at 4 p.m. yesterday he wouldn’t be able to play, and it’s possible, Self believes, that he could end up missing regular season games.

“I would like to say it’s not possible, but after going through the process I think anything’s possible,” he said. “Not putting any blame or fault on anything, it’s just there’s a few moving parts and the NCAA has to follow policy on those parts. It can be frustrating, but it’s not one, at this point in time, we’re going to stand up and beat the drum saying this should happen. We have to respect the process.”

“It’s disappointing that we’re still dealing with this on Nov. 4th.”

Cheick Diallo cleared to practice with Kansas

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Kansas is still awaiting word on whether or not Cheick Diallo will be allowed to play this season, but the good news for the Jayhawks is that Diallo will be allowed to practice with the team.

Friday, October 2nd, is the first day that college basketball programs are officially allowed to begin practicing in full, and earlier this week, the NCAA notified the program that Diallo will, in fact, be allowed to participate in those practices.

The Kansas City Star was the first to report the news.

This is good news for Kansas. While it’s not exactly an indicator of whether or not Diallo will eventually be allowed to suit up for Bill Self’s club this season, it does mean that, should be eventually get cleared, he won’t have to play catch-up. The first game of the season is still six weeks away, meaning that instead of having to sit out until a decision is finally made, the five-star freshman will be able to begin learning the system. He’ll be a part of putting in the offense and he’ll get to practice defensive rotations and he’ll have a feel for the lingo that the coaching staff uses. He’ll also be in shape if and when his time comes, meaning that he should be able to make an impact from Day 1.

Diallo spent three years at Our Savior New American, a high school in Centerreach, New York. His time at OSNA is at the crux of the NCAA’s investigation into his eligibility.