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NCAA would be wrong to force N.C. State’s Braxton Beverly to redshirt

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Last November, Lavar Batts, a top 100 point guard from North Carolina, signed his Letter of Intent with VCU and head coach Will Wade. That same some, Thomas Allen, a top 100 shooting guard, signed his Letter of Intent with N.C. State and Mark Gottfried.

Batts is now on campus at N.C. State prepping for his freshman season after asking for, and receiving, a release from VCU in the spring, just days after Will Wade accepted the head coaching position at LSU. He took Allen’s spot on the roster after he asked for, and received, a release from the Wolfpack. Allen is now a freshman at Nebraska.

Both players are eligible to play this season.

Braxton Beverly, however, may not be.

Beverly is not a top 100 prospect, but he is a three-star point guard that signed his LOI with Ohio State the same month that Batts and Allen signed their LOIs. After Thad Matta was fired, he asked for, and received, a release from the Buckeyes and, a month later, signed with the Wolfpack; his head coach at Hargrave Military Academy, A.W. Hamilton, was hired as an assistant coach by new N.C. State head coach Kevin Keatts, who was himself the head coach at Hargrave until 2011.

But Beverly is going to have to receive a waiver from the NCAA if he wants to play this season.

Unlike Gottfried and Wade, the coaching change at Ohio State happened in early June, nearly a month after Ohio State’s summer sessions began on May 10th. Beverly, who received his release on June 30th, attended summer classes in Columbus on the assumption that the coaching staff that had recruited him to Ohio State would be coaching him at Ohio State. Since he attended those classes, he is no longer a prospect asking out of an LOI. In the NCAA’s eyes, he’s a freshman looking to transfer.

The rule, by the book, is that Beverly will have to do a year in residence before he is eligible to play for the Wolfpack, meaning he redshirts the 2017-18 season.

And that’s wrong.

The NCAA still has plenty of time to get this right. It is August 1st, after all, and as a transfer, Beverly is allowed to do everything that the rest of his teammates do — go to workouts, travel with the team to Italy, etc. — until actual games start being played. That’s three months away, which is plenty of time to apply for a waiver from the NCAA.

And if the NCAA is smart, they give Beverly one.

Look, this situation is unique. Coaches are not often fired in June, not when they are the greatest head coach in the history of a program like Ohio State and certainly not when they are just three months removed from getting a vote of confidence from their Athletic Director. No one expected this, and it would be unfair to punish Beverly for doing what many recruits do when the coach that recruited them moves on.

(And while we’re here, yes, recruits commit to coaches, not schools. The NCAA failing to recognize this is dumb and stubborn and, frankly, an embarrassment.)

What’s more, however, is that keeping Beverly from being eligible in 2017-18 decentivizes attending summer school for incoming freshmen. Where is the motivation to get a jump-start on your education if you know that it puts you at risk of being locked into the school if the coach you committed to is fired or takes a new job?

Ohio State has already granted Beverly a release. They’re fine with him playing.

Hopefully, the NCAA will cut him some slack as well.

Elite Class of 2020 point guard to reclassify

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Nico Mannion, a five-star point guard from Arizona, announced on Friday that he will be reclassifying into the Class of 2019.

Mannion was a top 20 player in 2020 but, according to 247 Sports, he will be ranked No. 11 in 2019. The athletic, 6-foot-3 Mannion was long-rumored to be considering a move up a class because of his age. He’ll turn 18 in March of next year, meaning that he’ll arrive on campus the same age as a typical college freshman.

Mannion cut his list to ten schools in June — Duke, Arizona, Villanova, Kansas, USC, UCLA, Oregon, Vanderbilt, Marquette and Utah — but Duke and Arizona appear to be the favorites at this point.

Mannion plays his high school ball for Pinnacle High School in Phoenix and with West Coast Elite on the Under Armour Association circuit. He played for Team USA’s youth ranks, but his mother is Italian and, in June, he was called up to the Italian men’s senior national team, scoring nine points in 29 minutes of a FIBA World Cup Qualifier.

Nebraska to lose junior big man to transfer

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Nebraska’s frontcourt depth took a blow on Thursday as junior big man Jordy Tshimanga informed the program that he will be transferring.

“Jordy called me tonight and asked for his release,” head coach Tim Miles said in a statement that was given to the Lincoln Journal-Star. “The University of Nebraska and our program wish Jordy and his family the best.”

Tshimanga averaged 4.0 points and 4.6 boards in 13 minutes this past season, and a source close to the program told NBC Sports he wasn’t expected to play much more than that this season.

Miles’ has spent the better part of the last two seasons on the hot seat, and this certainly doesn’t make his job easier, but with the talent the Cornhuskers have on their roster, they look like an NCAA tournament team already. They bring back their top four scorers, including former five-star prospect Isaac Copeland and potential first-team all-Big Ten wing James Palmer. With or without Tshimanga, Nebraska has a shot to finish top four in the Big Ten.

North Carolina, UCLA, Michigan State part of Las Vegas event

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — North Carolina, UCLA, Michigan State and Texas will play in an early season basketball tournament in Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas Invitational will include games at campus sites, then the final two rounds on Nov. 22-23 in Las Vegas. North Carolina takes on Texas in one semifinal, and Michigan State faces UCLA in the other.

UNC, UCLA and Michigan State are all top 20 teams in the NBC Sports preseason top 25.

The championship is Nov. 23, and the semifinal losers also play each other that day.

NCAA to study possible effects of widespread legal wagering

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NCAA plans to study how the expansion of legalized betting could affect college athletics and member schools.

The NCAA announced Thursday it will create a working group of “subject matter experts” to assess areas such as officiating, NCAA rules, federal and state laws, and the use of integrity services. NCAA leadership has already called for federal regulation on sports betting. NCAA rules prohibit sports wagering by athletes and athletic department employees.

The Supreme Court opened the door for states to have legal wagering on sporting events when it struck down a federal ban in May. Schools in some states such as West Virginia, Mississippi and New Jersey are already exploring the possibility of collecting integrity fees in anticipation of legal sports books opening in their states.

“While we certainly respect the Supreme Court’s decision, our position on sports wagering remains,” said Donald Remy, NCAA chief legal officer. “With this new landscape, we must evolve and expand our long-standing efforts to protect both the integrity of competitions and the well-being of student-athletes.”

The NCAA Board of Governors has already suspended the association’s ban on holding championships in states with legalized sports betting, a policy that only affected Nevada.

“Legalized sports gambling across the country is rather new, but the NCAA and its members have committed significant resources over the years to policy, research and education around sports wagering,” said Joni Comstock, senior vice president of championships and alliances. “With student-athlete well-being as the centerpiece, we will continue to build upon these efforts to assist members as they adapt to legalized sports wagering in their states and regions.”

Arizona releases non-conference schedule

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A trip to Maui, a home date against Baylor and trips to UConn and Alabama highlight Arizona’s non-conference schedule, which the school released Thursday, this season.

Despite losing nearly the entirety of last year’s talented-but-troubled group, Sean Miller still scheduled aggressively. The first test will come the week of Thanksgiving in Hawaii at the Maui Invitational. It’s an extremely competitive field with Duke, Auburn, Gonzaga, Iowa State, Illinois, San Diego State and Xavier. The bracket for the event has yet to be released.

The Wildcats travel to Storrs to face UConn in Dan Hurley’s first season on Dec. 2, and then a week later visit Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

The marquee home game will be Saturday, Dec. 16, when Scott Drew and Baylor come to Tucson.

Here’s the full schedule:

Day Date Opponent Location

Sunday Nov. 11 Cal Poly Tucson, Ariz.

Wednesday Nov. 14 UTEP Tucson, Ariz.

Monday Nov. 19 vs. TBA Lahaina, Hawai’i

Tuesday Nov. 20 vs. TBA Lahaina, Hawai’i

Wednesday Nov. 21 vs. TBA Lahaina, Hawai’i

Wednesday Nov. 28 Texas Southern Tucson, Ariz.

Sunday Dec. 2 at UConn Hartford, Conn.

Thursday Dec. 6 Utah Valley Tucson, Ariz.

Sunday Dec. 9 at Alabama Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Saturday Dec. 15 Baylor Tucson, Ariz.

Wednesday Dec. 19 Montana Tucson, Ariz.

Saturday Dec. 22 UC Davis Tucson, Ariz.