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Former players, rival coaches react to Pat Summitt’s passing

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UConn head coach Geno Aueriemma: “You can see how difficult it was back then for a woman to try and do something that no one had ever done before or thought could do. Trying to juggle being a mom and being a coach and being a representative for the game. From all the different aspects of looking at what her career was, there was a lot of things that she was the first. There were other people that did it, but nobody did it better or did it longer.”

“In the mid-70s when I was a high school girls and boys basketball coach in the Philadelphia are, and for me, it was a story that I didn’t know. It wasn’t until I got to Virginia in the early-80s that I became aware of what was going on. Then it was all-encompassing. It was all about Tennessee and the Lady Vols and all about Pat. That was what women’s basketball had become. There were others that were pretty good and they took their turns, but the game of women’s basketball was pretty much defined. Other people have defined it for short periods of time, but from the time I got to Virginia in 1981 to when Pat stopped coaching, she was the defining figure of the game of women’s basketball.”

“Lots of people coach the game, but very few get to define the game.”

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski: “There’s no question, [she] was really one of the greatest coaches of any sport. I can remember early in my career when C.M. Newton, one of the great guys in men’s college basketball, wanted to hire her to be a men’s coach. He said ‘Look, you should go to one of her practices because she knows how to coach.’ She really put women’s basketball out there, in other words, what she did with recruiting, accomplishments and championships really set the foundation for where women’s basketball is in our country right now. [She’s] really the gold standard of women’s college basketball. She produced so many pros and set the bar at a really high level for basketball.”

“[Knoxville] was the center for women’s basketball. If you wanted to really look at the start, you would go to Pat Summitt and you would go from there. Obviously, Geno [Auriemma] is doing an unbelievable job at Connecticut, but that would not have been without Pat. [She was] a tremendous person, teacher and competitor. We shared a great honor in 2011 where we were both picked as Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated. We shared a cover, and we joked over the years as we signed so many. Whenever I got one that someone wanted signed, I said ‘If it’s signed by you, then I’ll sign it. What a terrific person and coach.”

Tennessee coach Holly Warlick: “Pat was my coach, my mentor, my colleague and a very dear friend. It is impossible to put into words how much she has meant to me and so many other individuals here at Tennessee and beyond.”

“She played a very significant role in molding me into the person I am, and I will forever be grateful for the genuine care, guidance and wisdom she unselfishly shared with me and so many others through the years. I’ll always treasure the laughter we shared, the stories we loved to tell and certainly those stories we embellished.”

“Pat gave me strength and courage to face anything. She was driven to perfection and always remained true to her standards. That meant doing things the right way, no matter what. In my eyes, there’s never been anyone better than Pat Summitt. She entrusted me with her legacy, and I will continue embracing her passion and doing everything in my power to uphold that.”

Former Tennessee star Tamika Catchings:

ESPN analyst and former Lady Vola Kara Lawson: “I swore my last name was a four letter word there for about two years. She was constantly on me, every day, to get better, and every day, push myself to her standard. You always thought you were working hard, but her level of working hard was so much higher than your’s.”

“One of Pat’s greatest gifts was her ability to read ability and hone in on want made them tick. She did that with me in the recruiting process, understanding what type of person I was, how competitive I was, how I liked to be challenged. That’s what she went after and that’s what she touched in me. There wasn’t really another option in my mind for where I wanted to play.”

South Carolina women’s coach Dawn Staley:

Former Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning: “I’ve always been honored to call Pat Summitt my friend. She was always very supportive of my career and I enjoyed seeing her back at a Tennessee football game or when she would come to Indianapolis to see Tamika Catchings play. We would always get together and I made it a point when I came to Knoxville to see her. She was one of the people I consulted with following my junior year when I was deciding whether to turn pro early or stay in college. She gave me some very valuable advice during that time. My teammates and I went to a lot of Lady Vols games when we were in school, and I really enjoyed watching her teams play.”

Kentucky men’s coach John Calipari:

WNBA President Lisa Borders:

Former Tennessee football coach Phil Fullmer: “Pat Summitt was many things to many people. Pat was a great person, loving mother, passionate coach, and loyal friend. We shared a lot of years working together and spreading the word about Tennessee Athletics. We had wonderful personal times talking about life, our respective teams, or helping each other recruit. Her legacy as a basketball coach is iconic, but her greatest legacy may well be through The Pat Summitt Foundation and her role in leading the battle against Alzheimer’s!”

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey: “Pat Summitt transformed the lives of people she touched: her colleagues, her competitors, and especially her players. Through her character, passion and vision, she also transformed the game of women’s basketball, impacting the lives of countless young people and forever changing intercollegiate athletics. The championships she won resulted from the larger influence she had on the people who played for her, worked for her and were fortunate enough to associate with one of the most accomplished persons in the history of college sports. Pat will always have a place of honor in the Southeastern Conference and our prayers are with her family at this difficult time.”

And the kicker, this terrific story from current Princeton head coach Courtney Banghart:

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

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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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

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
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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.