The NCAA denied Iowa’s request to wear Chris Street jersey on Saturday

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Saturday was the 20th anniversary of the death of Chris Street, a star basketball player for the Iowa Hawkeyes that tragically passed away when the car he was driving was hit by a snowplow.

The Hawkeyes did plenty to honor Street on Saturday: they wore a patch on their jerseys that said CMS40; they invited Street’s family to the game and honored them at halftime; they wore shirts during lay-up lines that said “If you give 100 percent all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end”; they left an empty seat on the bench with his jersey on it; and, perhaps most importantly, they honored his memory by knocking off Wisconsin on Saturday.

All in all, Iowa did a great job of remembering the tragedy.

But unfortunately, the NCAA wouldn’t let them do more.

Iowa applied for a waiver that would have allowed them to have the name ‘Street’ written on the back of every team member’s uniform. It was denied by the NCAA. Fran McCaffery explains their reasoning:

“If you read the rule itself it’s pretty self explanatory,” McCaffery said. “In that case it would have to be an exception granted. And I think the issue was there have been so many exception requests, I think they decided, “The rule stands as it is.’ And that’s pretty much what it was. If you start granting exceptions, then every game somebody wants to do something for some other reason, some other legitimate cause. They just didn’t want to do that.”

I appreciate the sentiment, but I’m going to go ahead and disagree with it. Strongly.

How often do we see teams wearing new, special jerseys these days, whether it’s the fluorescent uniforms worn by Baylor, Cincinnati and Louisville, the state flag uniforms donned by Maryland, the black-on-black jerseys with the illegible names and numbers Notre Dame wore earlier this season, or any other speciality jersey used to raise awareness for apparel companies like Nike, Adidas and Under Armour.

In recent weeks, schools like Xavier and Providence have used names and color schemes of Sandy Hook Elementary School, the site of the tragic shootings in Newtown, CT, to honor those victims. Kentucky wore these jerseys in 2008.

But putting the name of a deceased player on the back of your jerseys to honor the 20th anniversary of his death is not OK?

I don’t understand it.

At the end of the day, however, the name on the back of the jersey didn’t matter. Iowa did about as well as you can in such a difficult situation. That moment shouldn’t be tarnished by the NCAA’s stupidity.

Anyway, here’s a video of Chris’ parents receiving the game-ball from the team in the locker room after the game:

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Memphis, Penny land commitment from second five-star prospect, Precious Achiuwa

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The transformation is complete.

On Friday afternoon, Precious Achiuwa, a top 15 prospect in the Class of 2019, announced that he has committed to play his college basketball at Memphis, joining one of the best recruiting classes in the country and affirming that Penny Hardaway will enter the 2019-20 season with a preseason top 10 team.

Achiuwa, one of the top combo-forwards in the class and the kind of athlete that will make him an attractive player to NBA GMs, joins No. 1 player James Wiseman and fellow four-star prospects D.J. Jeffries, Lester Quinones, Boogie Ellis, Damion Baugh and Malcolm Dandridge in Penny’s first real recruiting class as Memphis head coach.

The Tigers also add Rayjon Tucker, arguably the nation’s top grad transfer and a potential NBA player in his own right.

As we wrote earlier this week, Penny is building an absolute monster in Memphis.

Grant Williams will remain in 2019 NBA Draft

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Grant Williams announced on Friday morning that he will be staying in the NBA draft after an All-American junior season with Tennessee.

Williams averaged 18.8 points, 7.5 boards, 3.2 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.1 steals this past season, helping lead Tennessee to a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament and on a run to the Sweet 16, where they lost in overtime to Purdue.

This is probably the right decision for him to make. While he is somewhat undersized and limited athletically, Williams is such a smart and savvy players. He really understands how to pass, he can defend multiple positions and, most importantly, he has a skill-set that should allow him to be able to contribute as a role player at the next level, particularly if his three-point stroke is as good as it has looked in postseason workouts.

Williams is slotted in at No. 19 to San Antonio in the most recent NBC Sports mock draft.

Tennessee will now have to play the waiting game with Jordan Bone, who is still undecided on his status. The Vols currently sit 22nd in the NBC Sports preseason top 25.

Clemson lands Texas Tech transfer Khavon Moore

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Clemson is adding a former top-50 recruit to its roster.

Texas Tech transfer Khavon Moore has pledged to coach Brad Brownell and the Tigers, he announced Thursday.

The 6-foot-7 Moore, a former four-star recruit, played just 2 minutes last season for the Red Raiders and saw his season shutdown amid medical concerns due to lingering issues from a broken leg he suffered in high school. The plan was for him to seek a medical hardship redshirt for last season, which could allow him to still have four years of eligibility remaining at Clemson after sitting out the upcoming season as a transfer.

The Tigers went 20-14 last season and missed the NCAA tournament for the seventh time in nine seasons under Brownell.

Texas Tech, meanwhile, continues to build a monster even with departures like former high-profile recruit.

 

 

Four-star forward Jalen Wilson asks out of Michigan letter of intent

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John Beilein isn’t the only loss Michigan sustained this week.

Jalen Wilson, a top-50 guard in 2019, has requested out of his National Letter of Intent with the Wolverines, he announced Thursday.

“Due to the sudden head coaching change, I have requested my release from The University of Michigan, and will re-open my recruitment,” he wrote on social media.

Beilein’s decision to leave Michigan for the NBA and the Cleveland Cavaliers shocked the college basketball world earlier this week, and there’s little surprise to see it shake the Wolverines’ recruiting class as the head coaching position remains vacant and Michigan conducting a search of its next coach.

Wilson, a 6-foot-8 forward, is now considering Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma State and Florida along with the Wolverines, according to 247Sports. The Texas native suddenly becomes one of the most desirable players left available ahead of the upcoming season.

Cole Bajema, a top-150 wing from Washington, is the lone remaining signee in Michigan’s 2019 class.

Nebraska adds former Tennessee forward Walker

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LINCOLN, Neb. — Former Tennessee forward Derrick Walker is transferring to Nebraska.

Nebraska announced Wednesday it has added Walker to its roster. Nebraska officials said Walker will sit out the 2019-20 season before playing for the Cornhuskers. He has two seasons of eligibility remaining.

Walker entered the NCAA transfer portal after averaging 0.8 points, 1.1 rebounds and 5.3 minutes for Tennessee this past season. The 6-foot-8 Walker averaged 1.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 8.8 minutes as a freshman in the 2017-18 season.

Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg said in a statement, “Derrick is a physical player who gives us skill and versatility in the post.”