Rob Dauster

Brad Horrigan/Hartford Courant via AP

Gonzaga’s Karnowski ‘ahead of schedule’ following back surgery

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Przemek Karnowski missed all but six games of the 2015-16 season with a back injury that required surgery in Dec., but the Gonzaga 7-footer told the Spokesman Review that he is “ahead of schedule” returning to the court.

Karnowski is cleared to play 5-on-5, but there’s no reason to push it at this point. Weight and getting into shape has been an issue for Karnowski throughout his Gonzaga career, and undergoing back surgery is the kind of thing that can be a major setback.

What is clear, however, is that Karnowski is a critical piece for a Gonzaga team that should be very good this season. He’s one of the best rim-protectors in college basketball and a solid low-post scoring threat. Perhaps more important, however, is the fact that the Zags just don’t have all that much size or experience on their front line. Missouri transfer Jonathan Williams III is eligible and Zach Collins will enroll this season, but Karnowski is going to be counted on to play a critical role this season.

Which is why hearing that he’s ahead of schedule is so important.

Alabama coach Avery Johnson gives supplies to flood victims

Avery Johnson
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) Alabama basketball coach Avery Johnson has donated a truckload of supplies to help flood victims in Louisiana.

The New Orleans native and Southern University graduate filled a rented 18-wheeler with items such as soap, towels, clothes and water to help flood victims. The truck departed Tuscaloosa on Thursday for Baton Rouge.

Johnson says his “heart goes out to all the residents of the Baton Rouge area that have been impacted by this devastating flood.” He says he was looking for an immediate way to lend a hand to recovery efforts.

Johnson says he will keep helping the area.

Alabama says in a news release that up to 400 flood victims have sought shelter at Southern’s F.G. Clark Activity Center on a court named after Johnson.

Xavier guard facing second charge from altercation with ex-girlfriend

Xavier's Myles Davis (15) drives against Providence's Kris Dunn (3) and Kris Dunn, second from left, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, in Cincinnati. Xavier won 85-74. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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Xavier guard Myles Davis is facing a new misdemeanor criminal damaging charge following an altercation with a former girlfriend last month.

Davis is already facing criminal damaging charges from the incident, which occurred in early July. He was also given a protective order requiring him to remain 500 feet from the alleged victim and 10 feet from her at all times on campus.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Davis is accused of having destroyed two different cell phones belonging to the woman and her family in two separate incidents on the same day. He is also alleged to have dented the victim’s car and, a few days later, punched holes in her walls.

Davis’ lawyer “vehemently” denied the accusations to the paper.

The senior point guard averaged 10.1 points and 4.1 assists for Xavier, who is expected to be a top ten team next season.

Arizona State awaiting word on eligibility of top 100 prospect

Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley gestures in the first half of a Legends Classic semifinal against North Carolina State in an NCAA college basketball game Monday, Nov. 23, 2015, in New York.  (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
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Bobby Hurley has himself an impressive recruiting class coming into the Arizona State program this season, but not all of those pieces have been cleared by the NCAA yet.

Romello White, a top 100 power forward from Georgia, has arrived in Tempe but is awaiting clearance from the NCAA, according to White initially signed with Georgia Tech in November, but he reopened his recruitment after Brian Gregory was fired by the Yellow Jackets in April.

White is one three top 100 recruits entering the program this summer, joining Sam Cunliffe and Jethro Tshisumpa.

Marist replaces Albany on Duke’s basketball schedule

Teammates congratulate Duke's Grayson Allen (3) during the first half of a second round game against Yale in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament in Providence, R.I., Saturday, March 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
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DURHAM, N.C. (AP) Duke has filled the hole in its men’s basketball schedule.

Officials said Tuesday that the Blue Devils will play host to Marist on Nov. 11 and Grand Canyon the following night as part of the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off.

Duke was scheduled to play Albany on Nov. 12 but officials from the State University of New York system that includes the school said that game wouldn’t be played because of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order barring publicly funded, non-essential travel to North Carolina. That came in response to a North Carolina law that opponents say can allow discrimination against LGBT people.

The Grand Canyon game was pushed back one day and Marist replaced Albany. As a private school, Marist is not subject to Cuomo’s travel ban.

Louisville lands commitment from Darius Perry

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Louisville landed their second commitment in the Class of 2017 as Darius Perry will plays for Rick Pitino in college.

Perry, a four-star, top 50 point guard, joins four-star forward Malik Williams on, who committed earlier this month, Louisville’s 2017 class.

“Darius Perry is a talented scoring guard who can really shoot,” said recruiting analyst Scott Phillips. “The way Louisville plays, Perry could play on or off the ball for the Cardinals.”

That, combined with the way Perry works defensively, makes Perry a really good fit for the way Pitino likes to play.