What they said about the weekend in hoops


An occasional feature where we compile quotes from the weekend’s meaningful games. Read on and enjoy.

“He bailed us out. He saved us.”
Kansas coach Bill Self, who watched freshman guard Josh Selby score a game-high 21 points and hit the game-winning 3-pointer vs. USC – all in Selby’s KU debut.

“It looks like Georgetown studied a little harder than we did — at basketball.”
Loyoyla (Maryland) coach Jimmy Patsos, whose team lost 99-75.

“They weren’t this good [a month ago]. They weren’t gelling and weren’t getting the dribble-drive. They were young and trying to figure it out.”
— Mississippi Valley State coach Sean Woods, after watching No. 17 Kentucky roll to an 85-60 win.

“Let’s just say we learned a couple things from the Florida State game. We did a couple different things to move him around and . . . free him up.”
Ohio State coach Thad Matta on freshmen center Jared Sullinger. The 6-9 center turned in a 30-point, 19-rebound day vs. South Carolina and had averaged 24.5 points and 10 rebounds since playing FSU.

“We are a very ticked off team right now. We had some chances.”
North Carolina coach Roy Williams. His Tar Heels squandered a late lead and lost 78-76 to No. 22 Texas.

“I still don’t think we’re as good our ranking, I really don’t, but I think we could get there.”
— Villanova coach Jay Wright. The No. 11 Wildcats (9-1) beat Delaware, 78-59.

“This is a team that everybody has a lot of respect for, but at the end of the day it is one win.”
Florida coach Billy Donovan after beating No. 6 Kansas State.

“Tonight  in the first half we could have shot it into a thimble and it would have gone in, without hitting the side.”
San Diego State coach Steve Fisher, whose team made 56 percent of its shots in a 90-64 win against UC-Santa Barbara.

“I thought we’d play together from the start. But that’s coach’s call. I’m just glad he finally decided we can be on the court together and you see the results.”
Washington’s 6-9 forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning, who started with 7-foot center Aziz N’Diaye for the first time this season and combined for 19 points and 14 rebounds in an 80-52 win against San Francisco.

“It feels good to just beat a really good team and show that when we’re at our best we can beat anybody.”
— UCLA sophomore forward Reeves Nelson, after handing BYU its first loss of the season, 86-79.

“I still ain’t figured it out. But I’ve felt good all week shooting the ball. My mindset has been no hesitation — just go out and play basketball and be aggressive. … Sometimes I feel like we’re holding back and don’t play to our talents.”
Pitt’s Gilbert Brown, who had a career-high 28 in a 97-64 win against Maryland-Eastern Shore.

“The thing I like about it is when you talk about 33 assists on 45 field goals. That’s being pretty efficient.”
Missouri coach Mike Anderson. His Tigers scored 116 points, the most during his tenure.

“Through this murder’s row we’ve been through, it’s been hard to get any momentum.”
— Gonzaga coach Mark Few, whose team improved to 6-5 after a 68-64 win at No. 9 Baylor. Only eight teams have played a tougher schedule than the Zags.

“Midway through the second half I finally took a look at the crowd. I saw the second tier was orange and the third tier was orange.”
Illinois-Chicago guard Robo Kreps, whose team pulled out a 57-54 win against No. 12 Illinois in Chicago.

“More than anything else, we wanted to rebound and act like junkyard dogs.”
Louisville coach Rick Pitino. His Cardinals crushed Gardner-Webb, 78-49. They grabbed 45 rebounds and limited GW to corralling just 15 percent of its misses.

“I know he was dying. Coach isn’t the type of person to miss a practice or film session, let alone a game. Knowing the type of person he is, it was eating him up inside.”
Michigan State forward Draymond Green, on Tom Izzo’s one-game suspension.

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Kentucky moves scrimmage to Eastern Kentucky for flood relief

Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal/USA TODAY NETWORK

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky will play its annual Blue-White men’s basketball scrimmage in Eastern Kentucky to benefit victims of the devastating summer floods.

The school announced that the Oct. 22 event at Appalachian Wireless Arena in Pikeville will feature a pregame Fan Fest. Ticket proceeds will go through Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief.

Wildcat players will also participate in a community service activity with local organizations in the relief effort.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said the team was excited to play for Eastern Kentucky fans and added, “We hope we can provide a temporary escape with basketball and community engagement.”

The scrimmage traditionally is held at Rupp Arena. It will occur eight days after its Big Blue Madness public workout at Rupp.

Kentucky’s Tionna Herron recovering from open-heart surgery

Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times/USA TODAY NETWORK

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky coach Kyra Elzy says freshman Tionna Herron is recovering from open-heart surgery to correct a structural abnormality.

The 6-foot-4 post player learned of her condition after arriving at school in June and received other opinions before surgery was recommended. Senior trainer Courtney Jones said in a release that Herron underwent surgery Aug. 24 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and is recovering at home in DeSoto, Texas.

Elzy said Herron “is the definition of a warrior” and all are grateful to be on the other side of the player’s surgery. Herron is expected back on campus early next month and will continue rehabilitation until she’s cleared to return to normal activity.

“Her will and determination to eventually return to the court is inspiring, and it’s that `game-on’ attitude that is what makes her such a perfect fit in our program,” Elzy said in a release. “We are so thrilled for Tionna’s return to our locker room; it’s not the same without our full team together.”

Herron committed to Kentucky during last fall’s early signing period, rated as a four-star prospect and a top-70 player in last year’s class. Kentucky won last year’s Southeastern Conference Tournament and reached the NCAA Tournament’s first round.

Emoni Bates charged with 2 felonies

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SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Mich — Emoni Bates, a former basketball prodigy who transferred to Eastern Michigan from Memphis, was charged with two felonies after police found a gun in a car during a traffic stop.

The 18-year-old Bates failed to stop at an intersection Sunday night and a search turned up the weapon, said Derrick Jackson, a spokesman for the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office.

Defense attorney Steve Haney told The Associated Press that the vehicle and the gun didn’t belong to Bates.

“I hope people can reserve judgment and understand there’s a presumption of innocence,” Haney said. “This was not his vehicle. This was not his gun. … We’re still gathering facts, too.”

Bates was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and altering identification marks on a firearm. He was released after his lawyer entered a not guilty plea. Bates’ next court hearing is Oct. 6.

“This is his first brush with the law,” Haney said in court. “He poses no threat or risk to society.”

Less than a month ago, the 6-foot-9 Bates transferred to Eastern Michigan to play for his hometown Eagles. Bates averaged nearly 10 points a game last season as a freshman at Memphis, where he enrolled after reclassifying to skip a year of high school and join the class of 2021.

“We are aware of a situation involving one of our student athletes,” EMU spokesman Greg Steiner said. “We are working to gather more details and will have further comment when more information is available.”

Bates was the first sophomore to win the Gatorade national player of the year award in high school basketball in 2020, beating out Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley. Detroit drafted Cunningham No. 1 overall last year, two spots before Cleveland took Mobley in the 2021 NBA draft.

Bates committed to playing for Tom Izzo at Michigan State two years ago, later de-committed and signed with Memphis. Bates played in 18 games for the Tigers, who finished 22-11 under Penny Hardaway. Bates missed much of the season with a back injury before appearing in Memphis’ two NCAA Tournament games.

In 2019, as a high school freshman, the slender and skilled guard led Ypsilanti Lincoln to a state title and was named Michigan’s Division 1 Player of the Year by The Associated Press. His sophomore season was cut short by the pandemic and he attended Ypsi Prep Academy as a junior, his final year of high school.

UConn to pay Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million over firing

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn announced Thursday it has agreed to pay former men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million to settle discrimination claims surrounding his 2018 firing.

The money is in addition to the more than $11.1 million in back salary Ollie has already been paid after an arbitrator ruled in January that he was improperly fired under the school’s agreement with its professor’s union.

“I am grateful that we were able to reach agreement,” Ollie said in a statement Thursday. “My time at UConn as a student-athlete and coach is something I will always cherish. I am pleased that this matter is now fully and finally resolved.”

Ollie, a former UConn point guard who guided the Huskies to a 127-79 record and the 2014 national championship in six seasons as head coach, was let go after two losing seasons. UConn also stopped paying him under his contract, citing numerous NCAA violations in terminating the deal.

In 2019, the NCAA placed UConn on probation for two years and Ollie was sanctioned individually for violations, which the NCAA found occurred between 2013 and 2018. Ollie’s attorneys, Jacques Parenteau and William Madsen, accused UConn of making false claims to the NCAA for the purpose of firing Ollie “with cause.”

The school had argued that Ollie’s transgressions were serious and that his individual contract superseded those union protections.

Ollie’s lawyers had argued that white coaches, including Hall-of-Famers Jim Calhoun and women’s coach Geno Auriemma, had also committed NCAA violations, without being fired, and indicated they were planning to file a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The school and Ollie said in a joint statement Thursday they were settling “to avoid further costly and protracted litigation.”

Both sides declined to comment further.

Ollie, who faced three years of restrictions from the NCAA on becoming a college basketball coach again, is currently coaching for Overtime Elite, a league that prepares top prospects who are not attending college for the pros.

Dream’s McDonald returning to Arizona to coach under Barnes

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TUCSON, Ariz. — Atlanta Dream guard Aari McDonald is returning to Arizona to work under coach Adia Barnes.

The school announced that McDonald will serve as director of recruiting operations while continuing to fulfill her WNBA commitments. She will oversee all recruiting logistics, assist with on-campus visits, manage recruit information and social media content at Arizona.

McDonald was one of the best players in Arizona history after transferring from Washington as a sophomore. She was an All-American and the Pac-12 player of the year in 2020-21, leading the Wildcats to the national championship game, which they lost to Stanford.

McDonald broke Barnes’ single-season scoring record and had the highest career scoring average in school history before being selected by the Dream with the third overall pick of the 2021 WNBA draft.