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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.

No. 23 Furman tops Charleston Southern 77-69, stays unbeaten

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — No. 23 Furman took another step in its remarkable early-season journey, one coach Bob Richey expects will benefit his team the rest of the way.

The perfect Paladins (11-0) used a late run to pull away from Charleston Southern for a 77-69 victory Tuesday night in their first-ever home game as a Top 25 team.

Richey felt the jitters of his young team before the game, the desire to show the home crowd their rise was legitimate.

“The fear of if we lose, does all this go away,” Richey said. “And I think that’s normal for a young player — ‘Man, we want to keep this going.'”

Noah Gurley scored 17 points, and Alex Hunter and Andrew Brown had 16 points apiece to lead Furman in a game where leading scorer Jordan Lyons had zero points.

“We’ve got to continue to keep our pulse on these players,” Richey said. “We’ve got to continue to help them out.”

So far, so good.

The Paladins have been one of college basketball’s biggest surprises with their school-record run to start the season — a stretch that included defeating defending national champs Villanova and a second Final Four team from last year in Loyola-Chicago.

It took a late charge to break away from the Buccaneers (4-5).

Charleston Southern trailed 54-52 on Dontrell Shuler’s layup with less than 10 minutes left. After that, the Paladins went on a 14-4 run. Tre Clark had four points during the surge and when Gurley nailed a 3-pointer with 5:51 to go, Furman was up 68-56.

Charleston Southern could not respond and college basketball’s feel-good story of the season remained on track.

Lyons, averaging 20.2 points a game, missed all seven of his shots.

Matt Rafferty had 14 points and 14 rebounds for Furman.

“We’ve got to stay even-keeled,” Hunter said. “That’s something we’ve been practicing every day.”

Deontaye Buskey and Duncan LeXander had 13 points each for Charleston Southern.

Buccaneers coach Barclay Radebaugh said his team made too many mistakes to hang in at the end.

“You can’t do that against a team like Furman,” he said.

Furman, which joined the AP Top 25 last week for the first time in school history, had to wait another week — and make it through road wins at Elon and South Carolina Upstate — before it could celebrate its achievement on its home court. And it looked like the Paladins would have plenty to cheer about after they used a 17-8 run midway through the opening period to build a 26-18 lead.

But Furman went cold after that, missing seven straight shots as the Buccaneers of the Big South Conference tightened things up.

BIG PICTURE

Charleston Southern: The Buccaneers are nearing the end of a brutal opening stretch with seven of their first 11 games on the road. Those have included losses at Florida, Middle Tennessee and Marquette. Charleston Southern’s run ends with games at North Florida and Clemson in the next week. Radebaugh hopes the time away from home toughens the Bucs for Big South play.

Furman: The Paladins looked edgy in their first home appearance as a ranked team. They looked ready to take charge with a 51-42 lead before helping Charleston Southern’s comeback with four straight turnovers. Furman probably won’t win many games where Lyons struggles as he did against the Bucs.

STREAKING PALADINS

Furman is off to its most consecutive wins since winning 11 in a row in 1979. That’s back when the Paladins were one of the Palmetto State’s most successful teams, going to six NCAA Tournaments between 1971 and 1980. Furman has not played in the tournament since then.

RICHEY’S START

Richey was grateful to Radebaugh, who hired Richey as a 23-year-old and gradually gave him control of the Bucs’ offense. “Without Barclay, I wouldn’t be here today,” Richey said.

UP NEXT

Charleston Southern is at North Florida on Saturday.

Furman finishes a two-game homestand by hosting UNC Wilmington on Saturday.

Penn ends No. 17 Villanova’s 25-game Big 5 winning streak with 78-75 victory

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Villanova’s 25-game Big 5 winning streak is over.

The 17th-ranked Wildcats fell to Penn, 78-75, at the Palestra on Tuesday to see its undefeated run among its Philadelphia counterparts come to an end after six years.

It’s also an end to the six-game winning streak coach Jay Wright’s team has enjoyed since losing back-to-back games to Michigan and Furman last month.

Issues persisted on the defensive end for the Wildcats as they fell on a night they shot 50 percent from the floor and 34.6 percent from 3-point range. The Quakers bested that by converting 51.1 percent of their shots overall and 43.8 percent of their 16 attempts from distance.

Villanova had put some distance between itself and the shellacking it took courtesy of Michigan and the OT lost to Furman, but it continues to be clear that while still a top-25 caliber team, Wright’s squad this year looks to be well short of the teams that celebrated national championships in 2016 and 2018. Eric Paschall was expected to step into the void from losing so many players to the NBA off last year’s title-winner, but he took just five shots against Penn and has been generally inconsistent all season. Five-star point guard Jahvon Quinerly can’t even got on the floor. That leaves Collin Gillespie and Phil Booth, who combined for 39 points Tuesday, carrying a bigger burden than would be ideal.

The Wildcats are likely ultimately going to be fine – they lost to a good team Tuesday – but unless they can get more from especially Paschall it’s hard to see them elevating themselves to a Final Four contender.

That’s the weight of expectation after two titles in three years.

We knew the Big East championship wasn’t going to be Villanova’s to simply waltz to, but the top-half of the league continues to look incredibly tightly grouped together without mich separation.

Penn, meanwhile, looks a real threat in the Ivy, as was evident in the Quakers’ win over Miami last week. The win over Villanova only solidifies their status.

AJ Brodeur and Antonio Woods both scored 16 points against the ‘Cats as Penn led by as many as 12 points on the night, but still had to survive a Booth attempt from 3 at the buzzer to finally end Villanova’s supremacy over Big 5 hoops.

Iowa State could get Lindell Wigginton and Solomon Young back this weekend

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It’s been sort of a bizarre start to the season for Iowa State. For starters, the Cyclones enter the season not coming off an NCAA tournament appearance for the first time since 2011 after a 14-18 campaign last season snapped a program-record six-straight tourney streak. Coach Steve Prohm then suspended two players, including preseason all-Big 12 honorable mention center Cameron Lard, for the month of November for rules violations. The Cyclones also lost starting big man Solomon Young to a groin injury and then star guard Lindell Wigginton to a sprained foot.

Despite all that, Iowa State started the season 7-1 (including two wins at the Maui Invitational) before a loss at rival Iowa last week.

Now with an 8-2 record and having not only survived November but largely thrived with a reduced roster, the Cyclones are nearing full strength.

Wigginton, who averaged 17 points and shot 40 percent from 3 as a freshman, and Young, a two-year starter, could return as soon as Saturday and almost assuredly before the Cyclones’ Big 12 opener against Oklahoma State on Jan. 2.

“It’s where we thought it would be the whole time,” Prohm said of the duo’s timeline Monday, according to the Ames Tribune. “When we do halfcourt live segments Wednesday, if everything stays status quo the way it is right now, they’ll be able to go in the halfcourt.

“Not up and down, but they’ll go live contact in the halfcourt, and then evaluate them from there. Whether they suit up or not on Saturday, I couldn’t give you an answer on that right now.”

Prohm said both players could be in uniform against Drake on Saturday, but would not necessarily be available for big minutes, if at all. Wigginton, who went through the NBA pre-draft process last spring before announcing his return the day of the NCAA deadline, is expected to nearly immediately return to a major role.

Young, though, will be an interesting case. The Cyclones’ frontcourt is a crowded one with Prohm seemingly committed to playing four guards extensively and current starter Michael Jacobson, a Nebraska transfer, averaging a surprising 14.8 points and 6.8 rebounds while shooting 62.4 percent from the floor. With Jacobson, Lard and Young all soon available, Prohm will have a juggling act for minutes or reconfigure his lineup to play big, with the former seeming more likely than the latter.

Mark Few: NCAA prez Mark Emmert ‘needs to step up and be a leader and make some quicker decisions’

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Count Mark Few as one looking for the NCAA to shorten its timeline when it comes to potential discipline for schools ensnared by the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball.

The Gonzaga coach is also calling out NCAA president Mark Emmert by name in his plea to speed things along and make teams who may have violated NCAA rules accountable.

“I’m disappointed. I don’t think this is something the NCAA needs to take their time on,” Few said, according to Yahoo Sports. “There’s teams out here who are competing for Final Fours and national championships and they don’t need to stall this thing out.

“They need to make decisions and roll with it. I think that’s on Emmert. Emmert needs to step up and be a leader and make some quicker decisions.”

Emmert said last week that schools who were implicated by the FBI’s investigation, including by information that was made public in October’s court proceedings that involved three guilty verdicts, would not face potential punishment until after this season with the NCAA investigation extending beyond the Final Four.

New NCAA rules allow it to use testimony and evidence presented in those trials, but how the NCAA will apply those rules – will it simply accept anything mentioned under oath? – remains unclear. The NCAA, though, has committed to handle things methodically, as it so often does to the frustration of many a coach. It’s not exactly surprising, though, that the NCAA is in no hurry to drop sanctions on prominent schools – programs like Kansas, Auburn, Creighton, LSU, Louisville and Miami – in the middle of a season. Such a move would dominate discussion of the sport and upend seasons in an unprecedented manner. Intraseason discipline, especially something like a postseason ban, against some of the country’s top programs would be almost guaranteed to invite ugly legal challenges.

It’s not exactly a courageous rationale, but it is pragmatic. It also is the least likely to affect the bottom line, which is usually the best spot to place your bet when trying to determine the NCAA’s course of action.

Providence guard to miss at least a month with foot injury

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Rough news for Providence on Tuesday morning, as the school announced that freshman guard A.J. Reeves will miss the next four-to-six weeks with an unspecified foot injury.

Reeves, a native of Roxbury, Ma., has averaged 14.2 points this season while shooting 45 percent from three. He’s been the best freshman in the Big East and one of the best weapons for a talented Friar team that has yet to truly figure themselves out.

“It’s unfortunate that A.J. has to go through this as he has been having a very productive start to his college career,” head coach Ed Cooley said. “However, he is a great person and will use this time to get better and he will continue to support the team.”