Wichita State player collapses at practice, brings back awful memories for Gregg Marshall

1 Comment

In a situation that’s become all too common in sports these days, Wichita State freshman guard D.J. Bowles collapsed during practice on Tuesday.

“He blacked out, he lost consciousness and we’re at the hospital right now trying to determine what his situation is,” Gregg Marshall told NBCSports.com on Thursday morning. He was admitted on Tuesday night and had tests all day Wednesday, but Marshall said they still don’t know what caused Bowles to collapse.

“I want to commend athletic trainer Todd Fagan, our athletic training staff, and emergency medical personnel, for quick and professional response exhibited in dealing with D.J.’s situation,” Director of Athletics Eric Sexton said in a statement.

Bowles was upgraded to fair condition on Wednesday night, which, obviously, is good news.

For Marshall, however, the incident brought back some terrifying memories.

In April of 2007, just days after being introduced as Wichita State’s new head coach, Marshall was in the stands at New Hampton Prep watching Guy Alang-Ntang, who was committed to the Shockers.

“My first week on the job, I was recruiting a kid that had been recruited by the previous staff,” Marshall said, his voice audibly shaking. “I was confirming his commitment to honor his National Letter of Intent, and he had told me he was going to do that, and 30 minutes later, during a workout, he perished.”

“I witnessed it. It was kind of a déjà vu with D.J., and it scared me.”

The idea that a young athlete, a kid who has dedicated their entire life to being in the best possible shape in order to earn a scholarship and, potentially, make a living playing a sport, can die because of a ticking time-bomb in their chest is terrifying. It’s devastating for those that have experienced it. When I was in college, a kid I had played AAU ball with passed away while jogging on the Morgan State campus due to a bad heart.

Last season, Creighton’s Josh Jones saw his career come to an end after passing out 35 minutes before a game against Nebraska; he has an atrial flutter. That came just days after Utah State’s Danny Berger was revived by a trainer using a defibrillator on his heart after he collapsed during a practice. Allan Chaney of High Point sat out for three years due to a heart condition before playing last season. Four years ago, Emmanuel Negedu needed a defibrillator to revive him after collapsing at a practice at Tennessee. He had a pacemaker installed and was cleared by New Mexico, but his career ended when the pacemaker gave off a bad reading during a game.

The good news, according to Marshall, is that the doctors have ruled out hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an enlargement of muscles in the heart that causes many incidents of sudden cardiac death, but despite a litany of tests, the cause of Bowles’ blackout is still unknown. There’s no timetable for a return.

“I don’t know what other tests they’ve got to do,” he said, “but at some point, they’re going to figure out what’s going on with this kid.”

The incident with Bowles shook Marshall, but he’s thankful this story was different.

“This one had a much, much better ending thus far. A happier ending,” he said.

Four-star 2019 forward flips commitment from Big Ten to SEC program

Jon Lopez/Nike
Leave a comment

Four-star 2019 forward Tray Jackson flipped his verbal commitment from Minnesota to Missouri on Friday night.

The 6-foot-8 forward announced his decommitment from the Golden Gophers on Twitter and then announced a commitment to Missouri a little more than two hours later. Regarded as the No. 96 overall prospect in the Class of 2019, Jackson reclassified from the Class of 2018 and saw his recruitment blossom in the summer.

While decommitting happens in basketball recruiting semi-frequently, flipping a commitment to a new school within a matter of hours is a very uncommon practice. Typically associated with football recruiting, Jackson’s switch is a big deal for Missouri.

His pledge gives head coach Cuonzo Martin an athletic and versatile frontcourt player with upside as Jackson could play multiple positions. The Tigers missed on E.J. Liddell, but Jackson is a nice prize to land instead. Missouri now has two four-star prospects in the Class of 2019 as Jackson joins four-star guard Mario McKinney.

Minnesota needs to replenish its recruiting efforts as they are now without a commitment in the Class of 2019. With head coach Richard Pitino facing pressure to win this season, this isn’t good for the future of Golden Gopher basketball either.

West Virginia lands five-star 2019 center Oscar Tshiebwe

Getty Images
Leave a comment

West Virginia pulled in a major commitment on Saturday as five-star 2019 center Oscar Tshiebwe pledged to the Mountaineers.

A late-developing, high-motor big man who ascended into a national recruit this summer, the 6-foot-8, 230-pound Tshiebwe represents an important grab for West Virginia. Tshiebwe represents a potential replacement for Sagaba Konate in the middle as the Mountaineers beat some pretty impressive programs to land him. That includes Baylor and Kentucky.

Tshiebwe is quick off the floor and a good athlete, as he could be a very dangerous player in Bob Huggins’ system because of his brand of basketball. Regarded as the No. 21 overall prospect in the Rivals Class of 2019 national rankings, Tshiebwe also took official visits to Baylor, Illinois and Kentucky during the recruiting process.

Tshiebwe joins three-star guard Miles McBride in West Virginia’s 2019 recruiting haul.

VIDEO: Marshall’s Taevion Kinsey easily clears three teammates on ridiculous dunk

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Marshall freshman Taevion Kinsey put down one of the preseason’s best dunks on Friday night. With the Thundering Herd hosting Herd Madness, the 6-foot-5 Kinsey put down a ridiculous dunk that easily cleared three teammates.

Most dunkers use an arm on the shoulder during the dunk. Kinsey didn’t need any sort of help as he glided over his teammates.

Kinsey is going to be a dunker to keep an eye on in the future. His teammates certainly think highly of his dunking ability, as most of them projected Kinsey to win the dunk contest before the event even started.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson impresses Duke fans in Cameron Indoor debut, downplays link to trial

Duke Men's Basketball
1 Comment

Duke freshman Zion Williamson made some ridiculous dunks look effortless in his Cameron Indoor Stadium debut on Friday night. As part of Duke’s annual “Countdown to Craziness” event, Williamson took part in a scrimmage against his Blue Devil teammates.

That included Williamson going head-to-head with fellow freshman R.J. Barrett in a scrimmage. And more absurd dunks in the warm up line.

But besides for the on-court action, Williamson was also asked about his family’s link to the college basketball corruption trial. On Tuesday, a transcript of calls was read to the New York courtroom that allegedly included Williamson’s stepfather on FBI tapes asking for money and a job from Kansas men’s basketball coaches. The tapes were not admitted as evidence.

“Honestly, I’ve paid no attention to it,” Williamson said to reporters, including ESPN’s David M. Hale, about the trial. “I’m just a college kid, out here having fun with my classmates, looking forward to stuff like Countdown and our first game. You only get one chance at the college experience, and I want to enjoy it.”

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski also downplayed Williamson’s link to the trial, pointing to the NCAA eligibility center’s “exhaustive” process to vette incoming recruits.

“They have an eligibility center now that these kids and their parents go through — and they go through everything,” Krzyzewski said. “We feel very comfortable with him and all our freshmen.”

We’ll likely hear more about Williamson, Kansas and this trial, as time goes on. Williamson also might legitimately not know much about this if it was his stepfather on the call. For now, Williamson is making a huge impression with Duke fans every time he steps foot on the floor.

(H/t: Lawrence Davis III and Duke men’s basketball)

Louisville lands commitment from Irish basketball star

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
2 Comments

For the sixth time since Chris Mack took over the Louisville program, the new Cardinal head coach has landed a commitment from a member of the Class of 2019.

On Friday, it was Aidon Igiehon, a top 50 recruit, that announced he will be playing his college basketball for the Cardinals.

He followed in the footsteps of fellow four-stars Samuell Williamson, David Johnson, Jaelyn Withers and Josh nickelberry, not to mention three-star forward Quinn Slazinski.

And all this has happened over the course of the last five months.

Mack got the job in April, after he finished his final run with a Xavier program that he had been in charge of for the last nine years. That came just six months after Hall of Fame head coach Rick Pitino was fired for a series of scandals that had enveloped the university in the last few years, not the least of which was their involvement with the FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball.

That may be the most impressive part of all of this.

No one really knows what is going to happen with Louisville and the NCAA as a result of the way that they were able to entice Brian Bowen on campus. What we do know is that while Louisville was on probation due to the fact that a member of their coaching staff was paying for strippers and sex workers for players and recruits, an agreement was made for Adidas to pay the family of Brian Bowen $100,000 to get him to enroll at Louisville. Bowen’s father said under oath that, in addition to that money, he also accepted at least one $1,300 payment from former Louisville assistant Kenny Johnson.

Those are NCAA violations committed while the program was on probation.

And those are the kind of things that the NCAA does not take lightly.

Everyone involved with the reason that Louisville was on probation and that actually committed those violations has moved on, but that hasn’t stopped speculation that the Cardinals could be facing even more punishment from the NCAA, which is what has made this recruiting job by Mack so impressive.

He’s filled up an entire class of prospects before he’s even coached a game for the program all while this nonsense is swirling around his program.

Was there ever any doubt that the Cardinals hired the right guy?