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Perry Ellis All-Stars: These guys are still in school

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It’s one of the true joys and unique aspects of college basketball. It’s also endlessly frustrating if you’re on the other side.

That guy who has tormented your team for years, that dude that just has destroyed your alma mater and that you’re sure had graduated and moved on, well, he’s still on the team. Still ready to get buckets and ruin your evening.

He’s one of college sports’ great archetypes, and he’s a member of the Perry Ellis All-Stars.

Luke Maye (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

FIRST-TEAM

LUKE MAYE, North Carolina: Back when he committed to the Tar Heels in 2014, Maye wasn’t even sure if he’d be on scholarship. After a star turn in UNC’s national title run in 2017 and an All-American campaign in 2018, the Tar Heels weren’t sure he’d be back for a senior season. The Cornelius, N.C. native did rebuff professional aspirations for a year to return for one final go-round in Chapel Hill as maybe the most high-profile returning player in the entire country.

NICK EMERY, BYU: Because they take two years off to go on a Mormon mission, BYU players are inherently more likely to end up on a list like this. But Emery is a special case. Initially a member of the Class of 2013, Emery — the more talented younger brother of former Cougar Jackson Emery — Nick averaged 16.1 points as a freshman in 2015-16 and 13.1 points as a sophomore, but he withdrew from school just days prior to the start of the 2017-18 season. He’s back this season, having to sit out the first nine games due to NCAA rules. Part of Emery’s decision to withdraw from school last year was due to his relationship with a booster and impermissible benefits he received. He’ll be playing as a junior this season after committing to BYU … in 2011. He turned 24 years old on September 1st.

MIKE DAUM, South Dakota State: There’s a certain sweet spot for “That dude is still in school?” guys that they’re well-known enough to be noticed and remembered, but enough on the periphery that they’re not always top of mind. The high-scoring Jackrabbit inhabits that space perfectly in Brookings, S.D. Daum has put up big numbers in back-to-back seasons for a team that has twice flirted with first-round NCAA upsets. The Jacks have maybe their best team of Daum’s tenure, which undoubtedly leave plenty muttering, ‘He’s still around?’ into March.

AKOY AGAU, Louisville: One of the best parts of putting together lists like this is charting the paths of guys like Agau. Born in the Sudan and raised in Nebraska, Agau signed with Louisville out of high school in 2012 when ‘Gangnam Style’ was hot, Barack Obama was in his first presidential term and Rick Pitino was months away from claiming a national championship. He played a year-and-a-half for the Cardinals before transferring to Georgetown. He sat out a year before playing a half-season for the Hoyas, but once again decided to transfer after John Thompson III was fired and Agau earned his bachelor’s degree, allowing him to grad transfer. SMU was the destination. That only lasted a year too, and it’s now back to where it began with his old program with a new coach, Chris Mack, as Agau is making the rare second graduate transfer for a sixth year

ETHAN HAPP, Wisconsin: The Illinois native followed the Brian Butch path at Wisconsin, redshirting his initial season in Madison before becoming a Badger fixture. He’s started all 105 games of his career, and he’s now is approaching actually being as old as his game looks. He fell below the national radar last year as the Badgers missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since ‘Titanic’ won Best Picture, which makes him an even stronger candidate for this list. Happ led Wisconsin in scoring, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals – the first Big Ten player to do so in 22 years – and will have one more season to torture Big Ten opponents with his below-the-rim offense and high-level defense.

Josh Perkins (William Mancebo/Getty Images)

SECOND TEAM

JOSH PERKINS, Gonzaga: The former top-100 recruit played five games to start the 2014 season before a broken jaw delayed his freshman season a year. Since then, he’s started 108 games, including a national championship contest in 2017. He’ll have a chance to do that very same thing again this year as the Bulldogs open the season as a Final Four favorite.

CLAYTON CUSTER, Loyola (Chicago): The Kansas City-area product may be the poster child for the down-transfer. After starting his career at Iowa State, where he was stuck on the bench behind Monte Morris, Custer made his move to Loyola. He had a productive first season with the Ramblers, but, along with his team, burst onto the scene last year as the Missouri Valley Conference player of the year and helmed Loyola all the way to a shocking Final Four run. The clock hasn’t struck midnight for this Cinderella, though, as Custer, unlike so many mid-major March heroes, still has a final year of eligibility left.

MAKAI MASON, Baylor: Mason has one of the stranger transfer stories. The Yale guard missed the 2016-17 season due to foot surgery. Under Ivy League rules, Mason wouldn’t be able to to extend his career past four years, despite that missing season, so it was known ahead of last year that Mason would be headed to Baylor. Mason also missed most of last year with a stress fracture in his foot. He’ll finally be back on the floor this year in Waco after two years on the sideline that makes the 16 points per game he averaged as a sophomore seem like so very long ago.

REID TRAVIS, Kentucky: An absolute rarity here: A John Calipari player making this list. Travis began his career at Stanford in 2014, redshirted 2015-16 due to a leg injury and earned a Stanford degree (no small feat) this spring before flirting with a pro career and ultimately deciding to finish his career as a part of Big Blue Nation. When the Minneapolis native first stepped on Stanford’s campus, a number of his current teammates were just 14 years old.

JAQUAN LYLE, New Mexico: Let’s chart Lyle’s path to his senior season at New Mexico. Lyle played three years of high school at a high school in his Evansville, Ind. hometown and committed to Louisville the summer before his senior year. He then transferred to the powerhouse Huntington Prep in West Virginia. He then decommitted from the Cardinals and pledged to Oregon, even signing a National Letter of Intent. He then, though, was deemed inelieigble by the NCAA, which led to a post-grad year at IMG Academy in Florida. After that, he went to Ohio State, where he spent two seasons before deciding to transfer after he was charted with three misdemeanors for an incident outside of a bar in his hometown. Follow all that? It’s why Lyle is the lone junior member of the Perry Ellis All-Stars.

HONORABLE MENTION

TACKO FALL, UCF: The Senegal native has been part of the college basketball conversation for years given his enormous size at 7-foot-6. His height, though, obscures the fact that he’s also been a productive player of his three-year career. Fall has converted on more than 70 percent of his attempts through the field and has been among the country’s leaders in shot blocking percentage, topping out at 12.8 percent as a freshman. A shoulder injury cost him the second half of last season. He’s expected to be healthy for his senior season.

ISAAC COPELAND, Nebraska: A top-20 recruit in the Class of 2014, Copeland spent two years at Georgetown before transferring to Lincoln. Back surgery led to a medical redshirt season, and Copeland averaged 12.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game for the Huskers last season.

DWAYNE MORGAN, Southern Utah: A top-15 recruit in the 2014 class, Morgan had two uneventful seasons (plus one ended by hip and shoulder injuries) at UNLV save for an arrest that stemmed from an argument with a cab driver and culminated with Morgan exiting the taxi and trying to drive a police car home at 6:40 in the morning. That was the end of his Runnin’ Rebel career. The Baltimore native then made a move to Southern Utah as a graduate transfer where he played the second semester and averaged 12.2 points. This is his final season of eligibility.

Louisville challenges NCAA over recruiting allegations

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville has refuted NCAA allegations against its men’s basketball program in the wake of a federal corruption scandal, requesting that the highest-level violation be reclassified.

The university also is challenging that former coach Rick Pitino failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance in his program.

Louisville filed a 104-page response last week to the Notice Of Allegations sent to the school in May. The document stated that college sports’ governing body seeks to ignore wire fraud convictions against several people involved in the scheme – including a former Adidas executive – by suggesting they were representing its athletic interests. Louisville’s contract with the apparel maker was a standard sponsorship agreement rather than a promotional deal, the response added.

“This argument is as novel as it is wrong,” the school wrote in its response. “Even if an institution has some responsibility for the conduct of its suppliers, that responsibility plainly does not extend to acts of fraud perpetrated against the institution itself.”

Louisville also seeks to have several second-tier violations reclassified even lower. The NCAA has until Nov. 15 to respond with the school responding 15 days after before a decision is made whether the case will proceed through the traditional Committee on Infractions or Independent Accountability Review Process (IARP).

The NCAA’s Notice of Allegations states that Louisville committed a Level I violation, considered the most severe, with an improper recruiting offer and extra benefits along with several lesser violations. Those lesser violations also include Pitino failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance.

The NCAA notice completed a two-year investigation following a federal corruption probe of college basketball announced in September 2017. Louisville acknowledged its involvement in the federal investigation related to the recruitment of former player Brian Bowen II. Pitino, who’s now coaching Iona, was not named in the federal complaint and has consistently denied authorizing or having knowledge of a payment to a recruit’s family.

Louisville has previously indicated it would accept responsibility for violations it committed but would contest allegations it believed were not supported by facts. The school also noted corrective measures taken in the scandal’s immediate aftermath, such as suspending and then firing Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich.

Louisville also dismissed the NCAA’s contention that former Adidas executive James Gatto and amateur league director Merl Code represented the school while funneling illegal payments to recruits at several schools.

“The enforcement staff’s remaining allegations lack factual support and overread the relevant Bylaws,” the response stated, “and rest on the erroneous contention that the conspirators were representatives of the University’s athletics interests.

“For these reasons and others set forth, the panel should reject the enforcement staff’s dramatically overbroad theory, and classify this case as involving a Level II-Mitigated violation.”

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

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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.