37th Annual McDonald’s All American Game rosters announced

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On Wednesday the rosters for the 37th annual McDonald’s All American Game were announced, with the game scheduled to be played on April 2 at the United Center in Chicago. Two of the players showcased call the Windy City home, with Cliff Alexander (East) and Jahlil Okafor (West) both being named McDonald’s All Americans. Of the 24 players selected 22 have picked the college they’ll attend next year, with East center Myles Turner and West shooting guard Rashad Vaughn being the exceptions.

Duke and Kentucky lead the way from a college representation standpoint, with each school claiming for players in this year’s game. Duke will have two commitments on each team, with point guard Tyus Jones and small forward Justise Winslow playing for the East and Okafor being joined by shooting guard Grayson Allen on the West roster. As for Kentucky three of their commits are on the West roster (Devin Booker, Trey Lyles and Tyler Ulis) with center Karl Towns Jr. playing for the East.

North Carolina is next in line with three McDonald’s All Americans, with Kansas and UCLA having two apiece. In total 11 colleges are represented including SMU, which has a McDonald’s All American for the second consecutive year with Emmanuel Mudiay following in the footsteps of Keith Frazier. Given where the program was prior to Larry Brown’s arrival, that’s a notable achievement.

Below are the rosters for the two teams, listing schools, the player’s hometown and the college they’ll be attending.

EAST ROSTER

PF Cliff Alexander (Curie HS, Chicago, Ill.) Kansas
SG James Blackmon Jr. (Marion HS, Marion, Ind.) Indiana
SF Justin Jackson (Homeschool Christian, Tomball, Texas) North Carolina
PG Tyus Jones (Apple Valley HS, Apple Valley, Minn.) Duke
PF Kevon Looney (Hamilton HS, Milwaukee, Wis.) UCLA
SF Theo Pinson (Wesleyan Christian, Greensboro, N.C.) North Carolina
SG D’Angelo Russell (Montverde Academy, Louisville, Ky.) Ohio State
C Karl Towns Jr. (St. Joseph HS, Metuchen, N.J.) Kentucky
PG Romelo Trimble (Bishop O’Connell HS, Upper Marlboro, Md.) Maryland
C Myles Turner (Trinity HS, Bedford, Texas) Undecided
SG Isaiah Whitehead (Abraham Lincoln HS, Brooklyn, N.Y.) Seton Hall
SF Justise Winslow (Saint John’s HS, Houston, Texas) Duke

WEST ROSTER 

SG Grayson Allen (Providence HS, Jacksonville, Fla.) Duke
PG Joel Berry (Lake Highland Prep, Apopka, Fla.) North Carolina
SG Devin Booker (Moss Point HS, Moss Point, Miss.) Kentucky
SF Stanley Johnson (Mater Dei HS, Fullerton, Calif.) Arizona
PF Trey Lyles (Arsenal Tech, Indianapolis, Ind.) Kentucky
PG Emmanuel Mudiay (Prime Prep Academy, Dallas, Texas) SMU
C Jahlil Okafor (Whitney Young HS, Chicago, Ill.) Duke
SF Kelly Oubre (Findlay Prep, Richmond, Texas) Kansas
PF Reid Travis (De La Salle HS, Minneapolis, Minn.) Stanford
PG Tyler Ulis (Marian Catholic, Matteson, Ill.) Kentucky
SG Rashad Vaughn (Findlay Prep, Golden Valley, Minn.) Undecided
C Thomas Welsh (Loyola HS, Los Angeles, Calif.) UCLA

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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INDIANAPOLIS — With the coronavirus pandemic already forcing changes for college basketball, a bubble may be brewing in Indianapolis.

Indiana Sports Corp. released a 16-page proposal Friday that calls for turning the city convention center’s exhibition halls and meeting rooms into basketball courts and locker rooms. There would be expansive safety measures and daily COVID-19 testing.

The all-inclusive price starts at $90,000 per team and would cover 20 hotel rooms per traveling party, testing, daily food vouchers ranging from $30-$50 and the cost of game officials. Sports Corp. President Ryan Vaughn said the price depends on what offerings teams or leagues choose.

“The interest has been high,” Vaughn said. “I think as conferences figure out what conference and non-conference schedules are going to look like, we’re we’re a very good option for folks. I would tell you we’ve had conversations with the power six conferences, mid-majors, it’s really kind of all over the Division I spectrum.”

Small wonder: The NCAA this week announced teams could start ramping up workouts Monday, with preseason practices set to begin Oct. 14. Season openers, however, were pushed back to Nov. 25 amid wide-ranging uncertainty about campus safety and team travel in the pandemic.

There is already scrambling going on and some of the marquee early-season tournaments have already been impacted.

The Maui Invitational will be moved from Hawaii to Asheville, North Carolina, with dates still to be determined and organizers clear that everyone involved “will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.” The Batttle 4 Atlantis has been canceled. The Cancun Challenge will be held in Melbourne, Florida, not Mexico.

More changes almost certainly will be coming, including what to do with the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

“I think we’re past the guesswork on whether we play 20 conference games or more than that,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said Friday. “We’re trying to get everybody set like in terms of MTEs (multi-team events), figuring out when to play the ACC-Big Ten challenge.”

Painter, who was part of the NCAA committee that recommended how to start the season, noted part of the uncertainty stems from differing protocols imposed by campus, city and state officials.

In Indianapolis, Vaughn believes the convention center, nearby hotels, restaurants and downtown businesses, many within walking distance of the venue, could safely accommodate up to 24 teams. The 745,000-square foot facility would feature six basketball courts and two competition courts.

Anyone entering the convention center would undergo saliva-based rapid response testing, which would be sent to a third-party lab for results. Others venues could be added, too, potentially with more fans, if the case numbers decline.

If there is a taker, the event also could serve as a dry run for the 2021 Final Four, also slated for Indy.

“It’s not going to hurt,” Vaughn said. “I can tell you all the planning we’re doing right now is the same for a Final Four that’s been scheduled here for any other year. But it would be nice to have this experience under our belt to see if it can be done.”

Maui Invitational moving to North Carolina during pandemic

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Maui Invitational is moving to the mainland during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the premier preseason tournaments on the college basketball schedule, the Maui Invitational will be played at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

Dates for the tournament announced Friday have yet to be finalized. The NCAA announced Wednesday that the college basketball season will begin Nov. 25.

This year’s Maui Invitational field includes Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV.

All teams, staff, officials, and personnel will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.

Burton eligible at Texas Tech after 2 seasons at Wichita State

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LUBBOCK, Texas — Junior guard Jamarius Burton has been granted a waiver from the NCAA that makes him eligible to play this season for Texas Tech after starting 52 games the past two seasons for Wichita State.

Texas Tech coach Chris Beard announced the waiver Thursday, which came five months after Burton signed with the Big 12 team.

Burton has two seasons of eligibility remaining, as well as a redshirt season he could utilize. He averaged 10.3 points and 3.4 assists per game as a sophomore at Wichita State, where he played 67 games overall.

Burton is from Charlotte. He helped lead Independence High School to a 31-1 record and the North Carolina Class 4A state championship as a senior there.

NCAA season set to open day before Thanksgiving

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The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball season will begin on Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

The Division I Council voted Wednesday to push the start date back from the originally scheduled Nov. 10 as one of several precautions against the spread of coronavirus.

The later start date coincides with the decision most schools made to send students home from Thanksgiving until January out of concern about a potential late-fall and early-winter flareup of COVID-19. Closed campuses could serve as a quasi bubble for players and provide a window for non-conference games.

The maximum number of regular-season games has been reduced from 31 to 27. The minimum number of games for consideration for the NCAA Tournament was cut from 25 to 13.

Teams can start preseason practices Oct. 14 but will be allowed to work out 12 hours per week beginning Monday.

No scrimmages against other teams or exhibitions are allowed.

In other action, the council voted to extend the recruiting dead period for all sports through Dec. 31. In-person recruiting is not allowed during a dead period, though phone calls and other correspondence are allowed.

The men’s and women’s basketball oversight committees had jointly recommended a start date of Nov. 21, which would have allowed for games to be played on the weekend before Thanksgiving. The council opted not to do that to avoid a conflict with regular-season football games.

The council is scheduled to meet again Oct. 13-14 and could delay the start date and change other pieces of the basketball framework if circumstances surrounding the virus warrant.

UConn’s Tyrese Martin granted waiver to play this season

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn swingman Tyrese Martin, who transferred from Rhode Island in April, has been granted a waiver that will allow him to play for the Huskies this season.

The 6-foot-6 junior averaged 12.8 points and 7.1 rebounds and started every game last season for URI, where he was recruited by current UConn coach Dan Hurley.

NCAA rules require undergraduate transfers to sit out a season, but the organization has been more lenient in granting waivers during the pandemic.

Martin, 21, is expected to compete for playing time at UConn on the wing as both a guard and small forward.