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Auriemma wins 1000th game as UConn beats Oklahoma 88-64

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UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Geno Auriemma won his 1000th game as top-ranked UConn beat Oklahoma 88-64 on Tuesday night in the Hall of Fame women’s Holiday Showcase.

Auriemma became the fourth women’s coach to reach the 1,000-win mark, joining Pat Summitt, Tara VanDerveer and Sylvia Hatchell, who earned her milestone victory earlier Tuesday. Mike Krzyzewski is the only men’s coach to have won 1,000 games.

He is the fastest to achieve the mark, doing so in his 1,135th game. The Hall of Fame coach has gone 500-36 since winning his 500th game in 2003. That includes winning 100 of his last 101 contests.

Sitting by Auriemma’s side for the 1,000 wins has been associate head coach Chris Dailey. She’s been with Auriemma since he took over at UConn in 1985. Dailey led the Huskies to seven of those victories while filling in as head coach. Auriemma was suspended for four games in 1989 for playing an extra game that season. That year, the Huskies won their first Big East tournament title with Dailey at the helm.

She also coached three games when Auriemma’s father died in 1997. All seven of those wins are credited to Auriemma.

As the final buzzer sounded, the Huskies dumped Gatorade buckets full of confetti on Auriemma and Dailey.

Players from Auriemma’s first team in 1985 that beat Iona for win No. 1 were in attendance and introduced to the sellout crowd. Fans held up signs they were given that said “GEN1000 career wins.”

Auriemma was presented with his Hall of Fame jacket and a cake from the Mohegan Sun where the game was played. A video was played that included tributes from former players like Breanna Stewart, who won 151 games at UConn — second most of all time.

“Wow coach, 1000 wins!!!! You have created and are continuing to create an untouchable legacy in the world of sports, let alone basketball,” Stewart told The Associated Press in a text. “We set the bar high at UConn and you have continued to do that. I’m so happy to say that I am a part of your 1,000 wins!”

UConn (9-0) led 48-33 at the break before Oklahoma cut its deficit to seven midway through the third quarter, shocking the crowd. The Huskies responded with a 13-3 run to close the period that was capped by a steal off an inbounds play for a layup by Katie Lou Samuelson to give UConn a 64-47 advantage headed into the fourth quarter. Napheesa Collier, who scored 21 points to lead the Huskies, had seven of them during the spurt.

The Huskies got a scare when Gabby Williams went down in the first quarter after picking up her second foul. The senior forward went to the locker room for a bit before coming back to the bench later in the period. She came back in before picking up a third foul early in the second quarter.

Maddie Manning scored 15 points to lead Oklahoma (5-6).

TIP-INS

Oklahoma: This was the second time that the Sooners were facing a coach going for a 1,000th victory. Oklahoma beat Tennessee in Pat Summitt’s first attempt at 1,000.

UConn: The Huskies have never lost to Oklahoma in 11 meetings. The two teams hadn’t played since 2012 until Tuesday night. … Auriemma has gone 246-62 (.798) against ranked teams in his career. … UConn freshman Megan Walker missed the game with the flu.

UP NEXT

Oklahoma: The Sooners host No. 8 Texas on Dec. 28 to open Big 12 play.

UConn: Heads to Toronto to play Duquesne in a homecoming game for Canadian Kia Nurse on Friday.

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.”