Rob Dauster

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 28:  Nigel Hayes #10 of the Wisconsin Badgers cuts the net after the Badgers 85-78 victory against the Arizona Wildcats during the West Regional Final of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Staples Center on March 28, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Wisconsin star Nigel Hayes takes strong stand against racial inequality in America

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The Wisconsin basketball program certainly isn’t shying away from political activism and speaking out on the social justice issues of the day.

Earlier this week, I wrote about point guard Bronson Koenig and how he has shouldered the burden of helping the Standing Rock Sioux fight against a pipeline that would cut across their sacred lands even though his Native American blood is Ho-Chunk, a totally different tribe.

On Wednesday night and all day Thursday, it was Nigel Hayes — who has lashed out against the NCAA and amateurism publicly — speaking out on racial inequality and police brutality, the same cause that San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is protesting the anthem over. In the last week, an unarmed black man with his hands up was shot and killed by a police officer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and a black man, whose family says he was armed only with a book, was shot and killed by police officers in Charlotte. The latter sparked a protest that turned violent on Wednesday night.

With Hayes, this all started with this tweet on Wednesday night … :

… and as his twitter mentions began to pile up, Hayes began to fire back. Regardless of your opinion on the matter, it doesn’t take long to figure out that Hayes is not only incredibly passionate about the subject, but he has the knowledge and facts to support his opinion. That shouldn’t be surprising, considering that the header photo on his twitter page is from the ‘Ali Summit’ in 1967, when Jim Brown, Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar joined Ali to support his take on the Vietnam War and the U.S. government.

I strongly suggest reading through his page, particularly if you’re inclined to disagree with the Black Lives Matter movement.

It is going to be interesting to see where Hayes — and the Badgers — go from here. Will he continue to voice his opinion? Will this manifest itself in a protest like Kaepernick? Will there be other college players that stand up with him?

Hayes has a chance to be the Big Ten Player of the Year, meaning he has a platform. Throw in that he’s a bright kid that clearly isn’t afraid to voice his opinion publicly, and he’s a pretty good choice to lead this push in the college basketball ranks.

South Carolina won’t bid for North Carolina NCAA games

COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 15: Athletic Director Ray Tanner, shakes hands with Hall of Fame inductee Paul Dietzel of the South Carolina Gamecock during  their NCAA college football game against UAB on September 15, 2012 at Williams Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Mary Ann Chastain/Getty Images)
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner said the school won’t bid for NCAA Tournament men’s basketball games removed from North Carolina because of its law limiting protections for LGBT people.

Tanner said Wednesday the area did not have enough full service hotels available for the dates the games would be played next March. The regional was supposed to be played in Greensboro, North Carolina, but the NCAA removed that and several other championship events from the state last week.

The NCAA had set a deadline of Sept. 27 for submitting bids to host the displaced contests.

Tanner said the university and the Columbia Regional Sports Council have bid for NCAA Tournament games from 2019 through 2022.

AP College Basketball website: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org

Indiana’s Hartman injures left knee during non-contact drill

Indiana's Collin Hartman (30) and Yogi Ferrell (11) celebrate late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Iowa, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Bloomington, Ind. Indiana won 85-78. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
AP Photo/Darron Cummings
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) Indiana forward Collin Hartman injured his left during a non-contact workout.

Coach Tom Crean said Wednesday that the injury was still being evaluated.

Hartman, a 6-foot-7 senior from Indianapolis, has played a key role for the Hoosiers each of the past two seasons, especially on defense.

Last season, he started 24 times in 35 appearances and averaged 5.0 points and 3.1 rebounds on a team that reached the Sweet 16. As a sophomore, Hartman started 12 of 32 games and shot 50 percent from the field and 47.5 percent from 3-point range as he averaged 4.8 points and 3.1 rebounds.

Hartman tore the ACL in his right knee after his freshman season, in 2013-14, but returned to the court at the start of his sophomore year.

The NBA establishing academies abroad is a good thing for college basketball

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An interesting report from The Vertical was published this afternoon, looking into the potential of NBA academies the league plans on setting up overseas.

For the most part, it’s a way to try and help parts of the world that are high on raw talent and low on new-age development and coaching methods produce better basketball players. Remember all that talk about how players are developed so much better overseas?

They aren’t, and these academies are proof of that.

So why am I writing about this on a college basketball website?

Because these academies will have an impact on the college game, one that is slowly adding more and more foreign players every year. From The Vertical’s Jonathan Givony:

The global academies could significantly increase the pool of eligible athletes for college basketball. The NBA will identify potential prospects early, and place them into educational structures to prepare them to meet NCAA academic guidelines.

Elite prospects could feel less compelled to sign with professional agents and enter into contracts with professional basketball teams overseas, which is a common practice now. Under the new system, amateur statuses can be preserved.

Especially in Africa, the NBA academies promise to expand options for young players turning 18 years old. This could dramatically transform the landscape of college basketball.

“Dramatically transform” seems a bit drastic, as the majority of the world’s best basketball players come from this country. That’s not going to change, but access to the talent pools abroad will continue to get easier. We’re already seeing the impact here, as just this season a pair of European freshmen — Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen, N.C. State’s Omer Yurtseven — have a chance to be one-and-done products. Then look at St. Mary’s, who has used an Australian pipeline to turn the program into a rival of Gonzaga in the WCC.

Smart mid-majors will find a way to replicate that process, and we’ll likely see more potential first round picks from overseas play here for a year or two. And to be perfectly frank, that’s a good thing for the game. After all, better basketball players makes for a better basketball product.

What will be interesting is whether or not the next step of this will be to establish similar academies in the United States. At some point, you have to figure that NBA teams believe they can develop American youth talent better than the prep school programs and AAU team.

Blue Ribbon releases preseason top 25

LOUISVILLE, KY - FEBRUARY 20:  Grayson Allen #3 of the Duke Blue Devils dribbles the ball during the game against the Louisville Cardinals at KFC YUM! Center on February 20, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Blue Ribbon, the college basketball preseason bible, has released their preseason top 25 list, and the top five is about what you should expect.

In fact, if there is an outlet that does not have this top five in some order, then you probably need to stop reading that outlet.

After that, there are some picks here that I disagree with. Wisconsin at No. 6 is a bit high, as is Purdue at No. 9. UConn at No. 15? Butler at No. 16? West Virginia at No. 21? I’m not on any of those three teams this season.

But beyond that, this is a pretty good ranking, and won’t differ from what ours will look like when it is released.

  1. Duke
  2. Oregon
  3. Kansas
  4. Kentucky
  5. Villanova
  6. Wisconsin
  7. North Carolina
  8. Louisville
  9. Purdue
  10. Virginia
  11. Michigan State
  12. Xavier
  13. Arizona
  14. Gonzaga
  15. Connecticut
  16. Butler
  17. Saint Mary’s
  18. Indiana
  19. Creighton
  20. Florida State
  21. West Virginia
  22. UCLA
  23. NC State
  24. Maryland
  25. Rhode Island

Top five prospect Wendell Carter Jr. cuts list to four

Wendell Carter, Jon Lopez/Nike
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Wendell Carter Jr. announced on Tuesday night that he has cut his list to four schools, and given his status as a consensus top five prospect in the Class of 2017, the names on that list may surprise you.

Duke is the one that won’t, but the Blue Devils are still competing against Georgia, Georgia Tech and Harvard.

Georgia and Georgia Tech make sense in the fact that Carter is a Georgia native, although most believe that those two are out of the running. It will likely come down to Harvard and Duke, and while Harvard may have a better chance than some think in this race, the smart money is on Carter becoming Coach K’s next one-and-done center.