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Five-star big man names final two schools

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There are only two schools in contention for the services of five-star big man Nazreon Reid.

On Friday night, the 6-foot-10 New Jersey native named Arizona and LSU as the two finalists. Before the start of the July live evaluation period, Reid had trimmed his list to seven programs. Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Seton Hall, and UCLA did not make the latest cut.

The Roselle Catholic High School center has ties to commits from both programs. Jahvon Quinerly, who picked Arizona over Villanova earlier this month, played with Reid, winning championships in 2015 and 2016 with Sports U in the Under Armour Association. According to Andrew Lopez of NOLA.com, Reid has developed a friendship with LSU pledge Javonte Smart through USA basketball and the grassroots circuit.

Reid’s commitment will bolster an already star-studded recruiting class for Sean Miller, as Quinerly is accompanied by five-star recruit Shareef O’Neal and four-star guard Brandon Williams. With Dusan Ristic exhausting his eligibility and DeAndre Ayton destined to be a top-10 pick in next summer’s NBA Draft, Reid would play a key role down low for the Wildcats during the 2018-19 season.

For LSU, this would add additional momentum for new head coach Will Wade. Since taking over the program in March, Wade has landed commitments from Smart and Tremont Waters.

Reid is listed as No. 13 overall player in the Class of 2018, according to Rivals.

Report: LSU no longer recruiting Mitchell Robinson

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LSU is reportedly out of the running for a top-10 talent.

Jeff Goodman of ESPN reported on Thursday night that Will Wade and staff are no longer pursuing Western Kentucky transfer Mitchell Robinson, a Louisiana native. Robinson was a consensus five-star recruit, rated No. 8 overall in the Class of 2017, according to Rivals.

He had signed to play at Western Kentucky and was on campus earlier this summer before leaving the program and school in late July. Several weeks prior, Western Kentucky assistant coach — and Robinson’s godfather — Shammond Williams resigned from his position.

The 7-foot McDonald’s All-American is set to visit Kansas this weekend, according to multiple reports. Because he enrolled in a session of summer courses at Western Kentucky he will likely need a waiver in order to compete this season. Skipping college altogether and playing professionally overseas is also a course of action for Robinson, who is projected to be a first round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Report: Oregon’s Bigby-Williams played last season while under investigation for alleged sexual assault

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An Oregon junior played all of the 2017-18 season while under investigation for alleged sexual assault, according to a report from The Daily Emerald.

Kavell Bigby-Williams was accused of sexually assaulting a female in mid-September and has been under investigation since Sept. 19, according to the report. The report states that Oregon coach Dana Altman “athletic director Rob Mullens, and other athletic department staffers were aware UOPD requested Bigby-Williams’ contact information, but nobody asked why UOPD wanted to speak to him or the nature of the case,” citing an athletic department spokesperson.

Bigby-Williams announced via social media Tuesday that he would transfer to LSU.

The news of the investigation is particularly noteworthy because Altman and Oregon came under intense scrutiny in 2014 when it became known that three players – Dominic Artis, Damyean Dotson and Brandon Austin – played in the NCAA tournament while under investigation for sexual assault. Charges against the three were ultimately dismissed.

NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster revisited the incident this past March in a column while the Ducks made their first Final Four in over 70 years, pronouncing that Altman should have lost his job over it.

The 6-foot-11, 230-pound Bigby-Williams played in all but two of Oregon’s games last season, including each of their NCAA tournament games, averaging 3 points and 2.8 rebounds in 9.8 minutes per game.

Update:

Oregon released the following statement Thursday:

Recent media coverage of an allegation of sexual assault by a former member of the UO’s basketball program has created some questions about the university’s response. The University of Oregon takes very seriously any allegation of sexual assault or misconduct regardless of whether it involves a student athlete.

In most cases involving an accusation of sexual assault, it is impossible and inappropriate to publicly disclose details to protect the rights of victims and those who report violations under Title IX, to comply with federal student privacy laws, and to provide those accused with appropriate due process.

This was a scenario that stemmed from a law enforcement inquiry by the Northern Wyoming Community College police. UO police have no jurisdiction in Wyoming, and it would be inappropriate for the UO to provide details on an inquiry led by another law enforcement agency.

The UO Police Department was contacted in the fall of 2016 to assist the NWCCD police in an interview with Kavell Bigby-Williams. UO athletics assisted UOPD in contacting Bigby-Williams, who declined to be interviewed through his attorney. That information was provided to the NWCCD Police Department.

Information detailing allegations was not shared with the coaching staff to protect integrity of the inquiry. The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics’ only role was to provide contact information for the player and to coordinate with the university’s Title IX coordinator.

University processes, then as now, involve communication between campus police, the Title IX office and athletics administration to determine whether there is a risk to the campus community that requires immediate action. In September 2016, there was insufficient information to warrant interim action. Since September, UOPD has received no further information or requests for assistance from the NWCCD police suggesting the inquiry had advanced in any way.

Tremont Waters commits to LSU

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Tremont Waters ended his recruitment again on Monday afternoon.

The four-star point guard committed to LSU, according to Scout’s Evan Daniels. Waters had originally pledged to Georgetown and had signed his letter of intent. But he asked to be released from his commitment in mid-March, several weeks before head coach John Thompson III was relieved of his duties.

Waters had originally picked Georgetown over Indiana. The Hoyas and Hoosiers were still in contention when he reopened his recruitment while UConn was also reportedly in the mix.

With Brian Bowen committing to Louisville over the weekend and Waters picking LSU, every player in the Rivals 150 are off the board.

Waters’ decision also ensures that even more talent will join the SEC next season. Aside from Kentucky’s annual reload, Missouri brings in consensus top freshman Michael Porter Jr. along with Jeremiah Tillmon. Alabama has a five-man class headlined by two five-star guards Collin Sexton and John Petty. Arkansas, Mississippi State, Auburn, Texas A&M and Georgia all have at least one top-50 prospect joining their respective programs.

Waters is the third commit secured by new head coach Will Wade, who took over the program in March. He joins fellow four-star prospect Brandon Rachal, Galen Alexander, Mayan Kiir, and JUCO shooting guard Daryl Edwards in LSU’s incoming class.

A native of Connecticut, Waters wrapped up his prep career at Notre Dame High School. The 5-foot-11 floor general was rated No. 37 overall by Rivals in the Class of 2017.

LSU lands graduate transfer Jeremy Combs

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Will Wade will add a double-digit scorer to his team in his first year at the helm of LSU.

Jeremy Combs, who averaged double figures in three years at North Texas, has committed to the Tigers as a graduate transfer, meaning he is eligible for the 2017-18 season.

“We are excited that Jeremy Combs will be joining us following his graduation from North Texas,” Wade said in a statement. “His ability to score inside and to 15 feet along with his aggressiveness on the boards will be an asset for us next season.”

He missed the final 16 games of this past season. As a sophomore for the Mean Green, the 6-foot-7 Combs averaged 14.9 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.

LSU has lost Antonio Blakeney, who averaged 17.2 points per game, to the NBA Draft.

Combs joins guards Daryl Edwards and Brandon Rachal, and forwards Mayan Kiir and Galen Alexander in the incoming class for LSU.

Report: Simmons slams NCAA in documentary

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Ben Simmons played just one season of college basketball, but it was enough for him to develop a strong opinion about the sport’s governing body.

“The NCAA is really (expletive) up,” Simmons, in documentary set to air this week, said, according to ESPN. “Everybody’s making money except the players. We’re the ones waking up early as hell to be the best teams and do everything they want us to do and then the players get nothing. They say education, but if I’m there for a year, I can’t get much education.”

The documentary, ‘One and Done,’ is set to air Friday evening on Showtime. In it, Simmons also claims to have been offered cars, jewelry, a house and “anything.” Simmons, who was drafted No. 1 overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in June after his one season at LSU, said that he had no plans on attending second-semester class after earning eligibility with his first-semester grades.

“The NCAA is messed up,” Simmons said. “I don’t have a voice. … I don’t get paid to do it. Don’t say I’m an amateur and make me take pictures and sign stuff and go make hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars off one person. … I’m going off on the NCAA. Just wait, just wait. I can be a voice for everybody in college. I’m here because I have to be here [at LSU]. … I can’t get a degree in two semesters, so it’s kind of pointless. I feel like I’m wasting time.”

Simmons’ sentiments are hardly new. The NCAA’s stance on amateurism has never been more tenuous with assaults on all sides regarding student-athlete compensation. There’s also been concerns about one-and-dones bailing on classes after winter break since the NBA instituted the age limit in 2006. And just about only James Naismith predates impermissible benefits.

Simmons, though, does provide candid thoughts on the matter from someone who lived in that world as a super-prospect. His case may be extreme, but it certainly shines a light on the value of college players beyond their scholarship.

The issue with Simmons being the messenger of such a position is that he went out of his way to play NCAA basketball. As an Australian, Simmons could have declared for the 2015 NBA draft, but instead came to the United States for his senior year of high school and then chose to remain stateside to play for the Tigers, rather than go to the D-league or foreign leagues.

Simmons chose to play college hoops, even though the ability to bypass the NCAA was more readily available to him than most players. That doesn’t mean his message about the NCAA and its restrictions on student-athletes doesn’t have merit or truth to it, but it’s probably going to make it more difficult for him to make that point.

When presented with multiple options of making money playing basketball or doing it for a scholarship at LSU, Simmons chose the scholarship and the marketing that comes with it. And that’s why his words sound a lot more like buyer’s remorse than anything, even if their substance rings true.