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Report: Claim against Josh Pastner alleges sexual assault

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An Arizona woman and her boyfriend Ron Bell, who were sued for defamation by Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner after Bell went public with accusations that Pastner knew of NCAA violations, have filed a counterclaim against Pastner alleging “sexual assault, sexual battery and infliction of emotional distress, according to court records obtained by Dan Marries of KOLD-TV Tucson.

The court documents claim that Bell and the woman were in Memphis to attend a Tigers vs. Houston game when Pastner was still the Memphis coach in February, 2016. Pastner visited the couple’s hotel room, and when Bell went to the restroom to shower, Pastner approached the woman, exposed himself and began masturbating in front of her before attempting to force her to perform oral sex on him, the documents allege. The woman refused his advances, and Pastner threatened he knew “powerful people who would  make (her) ‘life a living hell’ if she ever mentioned” the incident, according to the claim.

The woman did not tell Bell about the event “afraid he would take Pastner’s side over hers due to the threats Pastner made,” according to the court documents. The claim also alleges 11 incidents in which Pastner sexually harassed the woman.

Pastner filed lawsuit against the couple last month claiming “alleging defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, civil conspiracy, aiding and abetting and injurious falsehoods” after Bell went public with allegations that Pastner was aware of impermissible benefits Bell provided for Pastner’s players.

“Ronald Bell and (his girlfriend) have threatened Josh and his family on numerous occasions, falsely alleging that Josh was aware of NCAA violations and in violation of NCAA rules and, when the threat of exposing these false NCAA violations did not result in a monetary payout for Mr. Bell and (his girlfriend), they moved on, more incredulously, to falsely claim that Josh had assaulted (her) on multiple occasions,” a statement from attorneys Scott Palumbo and Scott Tompsett said, CBS Sports reported in January. “Their release of information that they knew was materially false, inaccurate and misleading, has done great harm. Their allegations are fabricated and false.”

NBC Sports is not naming the woman who is allegeding she was sexually assaulted.

Pastner also issued a denial last month.

“I am disgusted and devastated by the actions of two individuals to whom I showed compassion,” Pastner said. “My family and I are victims of fraud and extortion and the extent to which these individuals have gone to harm us is truly unfathomable. I absolutely and unequivocally never assaulted or harassed (the woman), and I am truly sickened by these false claims.”

Georgia Tech’s Josh Okogie and Tadric Jackson were initially suspended due to Bell’s allegations of impermissible benefits. Both have since been reinstated.

Update: Pastner addressed the issue in his postgame press conference after Georgia Tech’s loss to Louisville

Late Night Snacks: No turkey hangover for Villanova, Arizona

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GAME OF THE DAY: Villanova 63, No. 2 Kansas 59

In a day full of great games, Villanova knocking off No. 2 and previously undefeated Kansas takes the cake. The game was hardly pretty, but that doesn’t much matter to Jay Wright. In fact, it seemed like Wright’s game plan against Kansas was to play in the mud — a physical, grind-it-out kind of battle. Ryan Arcidiacono hit only one shot all night, but it was a critical one as his three-pointer from the corner put Villanova on top 61-59 with ten seconds remaining.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) All five of Arizona’s starters scored in double figures as the Wildcats handed Duke their second loss of the season in the championship game of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden. Aaron Gordon filled up the box score with ten points, seven rebounds, and four assists, and showed why he is in the same class as the other top freshmen across the country.

2) San Diego State acquitted themselves well when they played Arizona earlier this month — a 69-60 loss at home — but they confirmed they are a true contender in the Mountain West with an 86-80 victory over Creighton. There’s no doubting just how good Doug McDermott and the Creighton offense are, but their defense leaves much to be desired. Spotting the Aztecs a 19 point lead in the second half was too deep a hole to climb out of in the end.

3) It took three overtimes and delayed the start of the marquee game of the day between Arizona and Duke, but Drexel outlasted Alabama 85-83. The Dragons are now 4-2 with a good win over Alabama, and strong showings against UCLA and Arizona, despite both being losses. Chris Fouch was an absolute warrior today playing 54 minutes and willing Drexel’s way to the win. Bruiser Flint has a good group who will challenge for the CAA title.

STARRED

1) Mercer’s Jakob Gollon had a day. The senior forward entered Friday’s game against Valparaiso averaging 6.4 points, but exploded for 37 points in the Bears’ triple overtime win over Valpo. Dropping 37 points on 17 shots is remarkably efficient. To go along with the scoring effort, Gollon also dished out seven assists and pulled down seven rebounds.

2) There may not be another player in the country whose team missed him as much last season as Penn State did with Tim Frazier. Frazier demonstrated just how important he is to the Nittany Lions as he propelled his team to an overtime victory over St. John’s going off for 29 points. He didn’t shoot particularly well — just 5-14 from the field — but he got to the free throw line 20 times, making 17 of his attempts.

3) Langston Galloway filled up the stat sheet in a big way for St. Joseph’s in a 78-66 win over Siena. The senior guard poured in 27 points (6-10 3PT), had seven rebounds, three assists, and five steals.

STRUGGLED

1) It was a bad time for Southern Mississippi to play Louisville as this was the Cardinals first game following their loss to North Carolina. The Golden Eagles, who entered the game 6-0 and are one of the top teams in Conference USA, scored just 13 first half points and shot 29% as a team for the game en route to a 69-38 loss.

2) The transition to Division 1 hasn’t been a pleasant one thus far for Abilene Christian. Entering tonight they were 2-6 with their only wins coming against sub-D1 teams, and five of the losses being blowouts. Tonight, they suffered their seventh loss of the season to West Alabama, a sub-D1 team.

3) Chris Bolden has had a rough start to the season. He was suspended for the first three games of the season for a violation of team rules, and since he has rejoined the team he has been less than stellar shooting a combined 7-34 in four games. Against Mississippi, a 77-67 loss, Bolden was 1-8 from the field. Bolden will need to be better if Georgia Tech has any chance at have a good season.

NOTABLES

  • Missouri moved to 7-0 with an 83-70 win over Nevada. Jabari Brown, Earnest Ross, and Jordan Clarkson did nearly all the scoring as they combined for 73 points.
  • Tennessee bounced back with a 64-49 win over Xavier a day after losing to UTEP.
  • No. 5 Oklahoma State had a 44-30 halftime lead over Butler, but nearly gave it away in the second half. They ended up winning 69-67 and will meet No. 21 Memphis in the championship game of the Old Spice Classic.
  • Behind 19 points off the bench from Anthony Gill, Virginia defeated SMU, 76-73.
  • Cincinnati moved to 6-0 with a win over Kennesaw State, but the Bearcats’ schedule has been hardly challenging to date.
  • Denver lost to Pepperdine in the Great Alaska Shootout to move to 0-4. A tough start for a team looking to challenge for the Summit title.
  • Penn State earned a good win over St. John’s in overtime 89-82 at the Barclays Classic.
  • No. 15 Florida slipped by in-state rival Florida State, 67-66.
  • It wasn’t easy, but Texas squeaked past Texas-Arlington, who was 2-5 entering the game, 72-69.
  • In their first game playing without point guard Cody Doolin, San Francisco beat Vermont, 72-61.
  • Harvard beat Green Bay to advance to the championship game of the Great Alaska Shootout where they will meet TCU.

2014 center Ben Lammers verbally commits to Georgia Tech

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Less than a week after narrowing his list of possible schools to three, 2014 center Ben Lammers has verbally committed to attend Georgia Tech according to Scout.com (subscription required). Lammers, who attends Alamo Heights HS in San Antonio, chose Brian Gregory’s program over fellow ACC school Miami and Marquette.

The 6-foot-10 Lammers, considered to be a top 20 prospect at his position by multiple recruiting services, joins 6-foot-2 four-star guard Tadric Jackson in Georgia Tech’s 2014 class. With the Yellow Jackets losing both Kammeon Holsey and Daniel Miller after the 2013-14 campaign, adding depth to the front court is a priority from a recruiting standpoint.

In 2014 Georgia Tech will have, in addition to Lammers, East Carolina transfer Robert Sampson and current sophomore Robert Carter to call on. But with Sampson’s decision to transfer to Georgia Tech partially influenced by a desire to improve his game facing the basket, there will still be a need for interior muscle. Even with there still being a need for big men, Georgia Tech should be strong on the perimeter for the foreseeable future.

In addition to underclassmen Chris Bolden, Marcus Georges-Hunt and Solomon Poole, the Yellow Jackets are also awaiting word on the status of Tennessee transfer Trae Golden. If Golden doesn’t receive a waiver that would allow him to play immediately, he’d also be on board for the 2014-15 campaign. Georgia Tech also adds freshmen Travis Jorgensen and 6-foot-8 wing Quinton Stephens to the program this season.

If Georgia Tech can add another interior body to the group it’s expecting to have in 2014, the program has a good shot at improving its long-term standing within the ACC.

Violation of team rules costs Georgia Tech’s Chris Bolden three games

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With four starters back from a team that finished the 2012-13 season with a 16-15 record (6-12 ACC), the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are expected to be an improved team this year. One of the key players for head coach Brian Gregory is sophomore guard Chris Bolden, who averaged 7.3 points per game as a freshman.

Unfortunately for Bolden his season (game-wise, at least) will begin a little later than his teammates, as the school announced on Friday that he’s been suspended for the Yellow Jackets’ first three games due to a violation of team rules.

“When a violation of our team rules occurs, our intention is always to deal with it firmly and appropriately,” Gregory said in the release announcing the suspension. “We expect the young men in our program to meet certain standards, and there has to be accountability when those standards are not met.”

Bolden will miss the team’s November 1 exhibition game and then regular season contests against Presbyterian (November 8), Delaware State (November 11) and in-state rival Georgia (November 15). Of those three contests only the game against Georgia is on the road, with the Bulldogs looking to avenge their 62-54 loss to the Yellow Jackets in last season’s meeting. Bolden will see his first action of the season on November 20 when Georgia Tech hosts Dayton, Gregory’s former employer.

Youth was a major factor in the Yellow Jackets’ struggles in ACC play last season, and with players such as Bolden, fellow guard Marcus Georges-Hunt and big man Robert Carter having a season under their belts the hope is that the program will be able to improve its standing within the conference. But that will be easier said than done, thanks to the combination of other programs in a similar position getting better (Boston College and Maryland come to mind) and three former Big East schools joining the conference (Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse).

Julian Royal will transfer from Georgia Tech

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Georgia Tech sophomore Julian Royal will transfer from the program and continue his education elsewhere at the conclusion of the spring semester, the program announced in a release Tuesday.

“I appreciate everything that Julian has done for our program the last two years and the work he has put in,” said Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory in a statement. “He’s a fine young man, and he has done well in school. He’s done a great job representing our program on and off the court, and we wish him all the best.”

Royal averaged 1.7 points and 1.3 rebounds for the Yellow Jackets this past season in just under seven minutes per game. His best game of the year came Dec. 22 when he had eight points and three rebounds in a win over The Citadel. He also had five points and three rebounds in a conference win over Wake Forest on Feb. 16.

Coming out of high school, Royal was a Top 100 recruit and chose Georgia Tech over schools that included Alabama, Georgia, Northwestern, and Wake Forest.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Solomon Poole cleared to play for Georgia Tech on Monday

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Georgia Tech made it through the fall semester with a 6-2 record and now get an added boost heading into the winter break, as the Yellow Jackets add freshman guard Solomon Poole to the roster.

Poole, who signed with Georgia Tech back in November and graduated from North Florida Educational Institute also this fall. Last week, he was admitted to Georgia Tech.

“Our program is really excited to have Solomon join us at this time,” Georiga Tech head coach Brian Gregory said in a press release on Friday. “I’m really proud of all the hard work he has put in to get himself into this position. I know Solomon is ready to help this team in any way he can, and in any role possible. While this is great for our program currently, it will also accelerate Solomon’s progress in the future.”

According to the release, Saturday – which marks the first day after the fall semester has ended – will be the first day the 6-foot Poole can practice with the team. Ken Sugiura of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, also reported on Friday that Poole will be eligible to play on Monday against Alabama State.

Georgia Tech adds Solomon’s older brother, Stacey, next week. The elder Poole is expected to be eligible for the Dec. 22 game against the Citadel. Stacey Poole played his freshman season at Kentucky in 2010-2011.

“Solomon has the explosiveness and athletic ability that fits in extremely well with our style of play,” Gregory had previously stated. “I really like his ability to create scoring opportunities for others and for himself in both the open-court and half-court situations. His tremendous work ethic and toughness will allow him to immediately compete on the ACC level.”

Poole will add a fourth-guard to Georgia Tech’s offensive alongside Marcus Georges-Hunt, Mfon Udofia, and Brandon Reed. Georges-Hunt and Udofia are the two leading scorers for the Yellow Jackets, while Reed has started every game.

Poole committed Georgia Tech back in June, picking the Yellow Jackets over other offers from Louisville, Georgia, Memphis, UCLA, and Oklahoma State.

(Photo credit: Adidas)

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne