Rob Dauster

VIDEO: Check out Zion Williamson’s insane mixtape

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Zion Williamson isn’t the No. 1 player in the class of 2018 — that title would belong to Marvin Bagley III — but he is the greatest show in AAU.

Why?

Because he does the things that you see in the video above.

The April live recruiting period starts today, which means you should expect to see quite a few highlights of Williamson’s theatrics over the coming days and weeks.

NCAA considering significant changes to the college basketball calendar

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The fact that college basketball is one of the only sports without a recognizable and celebrated opening day has been an issue that has bugged critics of the sport for a long time.

Change could be on the way.

The Division I Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee discussed the potential for changing the start date for college basketball games, moving it up from the second Friday in November to the Tuesday before the second Friday in November; three days earlier.

“The men’s college basketball community has been discussing the possibility of establishing a uniform start date for the sport,” the NCAA wrote in a statement. “Many believe it can create a less compressed schedule, particularly for nonconference games, which they believe would benefit student-athlete well-being by providing more time for rest and recovery.”

It’s also worth noting that the committee is considering creating a mandatory mid-season break. “Committee members also discussed standardizing the playing season to 21 weeks with a mandatory three- or four-day break for the student-athletes at some point during their school’s winter vacation period,” the NCAA said.

The real story, however, is the NCAA’s effort to create a college basketball opening day. It would be a nice change, particularly if the games are played midweek, but the bigger issue would be putting together games that would actually make opening night worth watching. As it currently stands, the de-facto starting point for the college basketball season is the Champions Classic, a showcase that features four of the biggest brands in the sport playing a double-header that caps a 24-hour college basketball marathon. It’s game like that — Duke vs. Kentucky, Kansas vs. Michigan State, North Carolina vs. Indiana, etc. — that need to be played on opening night to drive interest.

If all we end up getting is a bunch of high-major programs beating the hell out of overmatched mid-major teams no one cares about, the day that season starts isn’t going to matter.

Because no one is going to care.

Johnny Dawkins suing former employer Stanford for $7 million

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UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins is suing Stanford, his former employer, for more than $7 million, according to the Mercury News, who obtained the complaint.

At issue is Dawkins’ buyout from Stanford. It’s worth $2.3 million, but Stanford has yet to pay him a dime of the buyout.

Why? From the paper:

According to court documents, Dawkins agreed to release any claims (financial or otherwise) against Stanford upon his dismissal. In exchange, the university agreed to pay him $2.3 million and drop the mitigation provision in his contract — future earning would not be used to offset his lump-sum payment from Stanford.

Subsequently, the document states, Stanford reversed course and said it was entitled to withhold future earnings (i.e., Dawkins’ compensation from UCF) from the amount owed to him.

In other words, Dawkins is saying that Stanford agreed to pay him his money and then backtracked when he get the job with UCF.

Dawkins is suing for that $2.3 million, plus $5 million in damages.

Did Memphis actually lose a recruit to a Division II school?

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I cannot get enough of the drama going on in Memphis.

A quick recap: Six of last year’s top eight players have decided to transfer out of the program. That includes both of the Lawsons — Dedric and K.J., the stars of the program — who made the decision to move to Kansas. Their father, Keelon, was once an assistant with the program, but he was demoted and taken off the road when Tubby Smith was hired, and his decision to leave the Memphis program jeopardizes whether or not Memphis will have a chance to land the top three high school talents in the city, all of whom are either a son or a nephew to Keelon.

And then there is K.J. Lawson, who tweeted “Two middle fingers as I exit” and was caught on video yelling “F— Tubby” on his way out the door.

All of this is happening at a time where Smith is trying to rebuild the program and reinvigorate the fan base.

Which brings us to last night, when Matt Stanley committed to Ouchita Baptist, a Division II school in Arkadelphia, a town in Arkansas that is probably best described as the midway point for someone driving from Texarkana to Little Rock.

Why is this random, Division II commit relevant when talking about Memphis?

Because depending on who you ask, he chose Ouachita Baptist over Memphis. According to the Stanley family, Matt had a scholarship offer, one that they have in writing. The staff will tell you that, no, there was never a scholarship offer. Both sides have obvious reasons to stick to their guns here, and the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, with a healthy dose of miscommunication mixed in. Maybe Memphis offered a full-ride. Maybe they simply offered a walk-on spot with a shot to earn a full-ride and the family took that as an offer. Maybe Memphis really did pursue the kid until they were roundly clowned for trying to replace a potential all-american in Dedric Lawson with a Division II player.

But the truth doesn’t really matter at this point.

The story is out now, and no amount of backtracking or clarifying is going to change the fact that the public at-large believes that a team that recruited Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans and came within a couple of missed free throws of winning a national title just nine years ago is losing recruiting battles to Ouachita Baptist.

You can’t control the damage once it’s already done.

Iowa State adds Virginia transfer Marial Shayok

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Iowa State picked up a key transfer on Wednesday night, as former Virginia guard Marial Shayok committed to the Cyclones.

Shayok is a 6-foot-5 shooting guard that averaged 8.9 points last season for the Cavaliers. He’ll have to sit out the 2017-18 season and he’ll be eligible to play one year for Iowa State after that.

Shayok’s decision to transfer out of Virginia was somewhat surprising. He was the star of Virginia’s run to the second round of the NCAA tournament, scoring 23 points in a first round win over UNC Wilmington.

Shaquille O’Neal’s son Shareef commits to Arizona

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Arizona landed their second commitment in the Class of 2018 this week as Shareef O’Neal, the 6-foot-8 son of Shaquille O’Neal, committed to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.

Shareef, who is ranked 16th in the class by Rivals is the second commitment for Arizona in the Class of 2018, joining fellow five-star prospect Emmanuel Akot.

O’Neal is not quite as big as his dad is, but he is an athletic 6-foot-8 four-man with ball skills and the versatility to play different positions. He’s a prototype, new-breed combo-forward.

He picked Arizona over LSU, Kentucky, UCLA and others.