Rob Dauster

UCLA head coach Steve Alford, second from right, watches action against Cal Poly with his assistant coaches in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Los Angeles, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Baker)
AP Photo/Michael Baker

UCLA cruises in opener on Australian tour

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UCLA, who will be the most interesting team in all of college basketball this season, played their first game of an Australian tour on Tuesday morning, and they won in pretty impressive fashion.

The Bruins had triple digits on the board early in the fourth quarter, eventually beating a club in Sydney by the score of 123-76. For comparison’s sake, Washington and potential No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz beat the same team 101-80 a couple of weeks ago, so the win and the margin of victory is somewhat impressive.

Also worth noting: None of UCLA’s freshmen started. Steve Alford rolled with Aaron Holiday, Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton on the perimeter — Holiday and Hamilton combined for 27 points, 18 assists and 11 boards while Alford had 17 points on just 10 shots — with G.G. Golomon and Thomas Welsh up front.

But the noteworthy performances here were from the McDonald’s All-Americans that Steve Alford brought into the program. In his first game in the blue and gold, Lonzo Ball, a potential top ten pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, was just OK. He finished with nine points and four assists while shooting 3-for-9 from the floor. Leaf, however, was terrific, as he led the team with 21 points to go along with nine boards and three assists.

The first exhibition game is hardly a great way to predict how a season is going to play out, but given the pressure and expectations currently surrounding the program, everything the Bruins do this season is going to be scrutinized.

This isn’t a bad way to start.

East Tennessee State dismisses Shemar Johnson from team

East Tennessee State coach Steve Forbes shouts from the bench in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Villanova, Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in Villanova, Pa. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)
AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson
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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) East Tennessee State has dismissed guard Shemar Johnson from its basketball team.

Buccaneers coach Steve Forbes said Monday that Johnson was no longer part of the team. Forbes said in a statement that “being a Buc is a special opportunity and at ETSU we provide our student-athletes with a tremendous experience. With that privilege comes accountability and Shemar failed to meet the expectations I have to be a player in our program.”

Forbes added that “I wish him the best now and in the future.”

Johnson, a 6-foot-6 guard from Columbus, Mississippi, was a redshirt freshman who hadn’t yet played a game for ETSU.

Report: IRS auditing Louisville employment contracts, including Pitino

James Ramsey, Getty Images
James Ramsey, Getty Images

The problems at the University of Louisville seem to be neverending.

Over the weekend, Insider Louisville reported that the IRS is conducting an audit of the university’s 2014 tax return and has requested, among many other documents, the contract of head coach Rick Pitino as well as women’s coach Jeff Walz and then-head football coach Charlie Strong.

The audit also requested the contracts of former president James Ramsey and former provost Shirley Willihnganz. According to the Insider Louisville report, the cause for the audit could end up being to determine whether or not Ramsey and Willihnganz were paid excessive salaries for employees of a non-profit.

The situation at the school is a mess, and that’s before you factor in the NCAA’s investigation into the, ahem, recruiting techniques Pitino’s program used.

Louisiana-Lafayette lands Missouri transfer Gant

Missouri forward Jakeenan Gant (23) reacts after being called for a foul during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Missouri on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, in Athens, Ga. (AJ Reynolds/Athens Banner-Herald via AP) MAGS OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT
AJ Reynolds/Athens Banner-Herald via AP
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Louisiana-Lafayette has landed another talented transfer, as Jakeenan Gant has committed and signed with the Ragin’ Cajuns, according to a report from Joshua Parrot.

Gant was a big get for Missouri coming out of high school. A former top 50 recruit, he was expected to be an impact player for the Tigers in the SEC. But like so many other players in the Missouri program, Gant eventually transferred out after to disappointing seasons.

As a sophomore, he averaged just 5.1 points and 3.8 boards in 15 minutes.

He will be eligible to play in 2017-18 and has two seasons of eligibility remaining.

VIDEO: Frank Mason’s bad first pitch wasn’t his worst throw

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) celebrates a 3-point basket during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Harvard in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
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Frank Mason should stick to hoops.

The senior point guard for the Kansas Jayhawks had a rough debut on the mound over the weekend, as he threw the first pitch of a Royals game to the back stop:

That wasn’t even his worst throw of the afternoon. While warming up in the bowels of Kauffman Stadium, he almost decapitated some poor guy in a headset:

This is a low point for Mason.

But whatever, because he still can claim the greatest rap song written about an athlete (click here, but this so NSFW).

Report: Iowa State freshman Lard not enrolled in classes

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 15:  Head coach Steve Prohm of the Murray State Racers shouts from the sidelines against the Colorado State Rams  during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KFC YUM! Center on March 15, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Today marks the first day of classes at Iowa State and the Cyclones’ top recruit in the Class of 2016 is no where to be found.

Cameron Lard, a top 150 prospect from Louisiana, is not currently enrolled in classes at the school, according to a report from the Ames Tribune. Lard did not attend summer school in Ames as he attempted to finish up coursework.

As a high school senior, Lard transferred in-state but was ruled ineligible by the body that governs Louisiana athletics. He finished his senior season playing for a school in Houston.

Lard is one of six remaining members of Prohm’s first true recruiting class with the Cyclones. Emmanuel Malou, who was the prize of this class, opted to enter the NBA Draft instead of enroll in college.

Freshmen Jakolby Long and Solomon Young, JuCo transfer Donovan Jackson and grad transfers Merrill Holden and Darrell Bowie are the five newcomers that will join the Cyclone roster.