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No. 3 Gonzaga beats No. 1 Duke, wins Maui in Hachimura’s coming-out party

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LAHAINA, Hawaii — For a player, and person, who rarely shares his emotions or his thinking, it was a rather remarkable moment.

After nearly 40 minutes of some of the best college basketball that will happen this or any year, Rui Hachimura’s eyes lit up when the man many expect to be the first name from Adam Silver’s lips next June squared up and took aim at him and the rim he was protecting.

Third-ranked Gonzaga led by two, and No. 1 Duke’s R.J. Barrett was ready to barrel into the lane to change that in the final seconds.

“He switched on me and then he tried to play one-on-one against me,” Hachimura said. “And then I was like, ‘okay, let’s do it.’ We’re the best team in the country, and I’m the best player, too, so I have to guard him.”

That confidence proved no hubris.

Barrett got into the lane and met a wall in Hachimura’s chest, forcing him to flail and finish around him, allowing for Gonzaga’s Brandon Clarke to swat the ball and Duke’s perfect start to the season away as the Bulldogs won the Maui Invitational with an 89-87 victory over the Blue Devils in a masterpiece in paradise.

For a Gonzaga team that looked vulnerable against both Illinois and Arizona, it was almost a stunning result against a Duke team that previously had looked potentially invincible.

“If you can win this tournament, the premier tournament, every year and with this kind of field and everybody was saying was the greatest ever,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said, “I think that it’s more a culmination of the three wins and how we did it. We certainly didn’t play perfect in games one or two, but figured out ways to get through them.”

At the center of it all is the 6-foot-8 Hachimura, a likely lottery pick and a burgeoning star.

He had 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three blocks against the Blue Devils, putting his immense talent and versatility on display for the dozens of NBA scouts and general managers in attendance and anyone with can distinguish between a basketball and a spatula.

He was awesome. He is awesome. He’s apparently starting to fully realize it.

“I’ve been working on him to truly believe that,” Few saiid. “He doesn’t show his emotions great. He doesn’t share much, but much more comfortable talking like that and for him to voice that means he’s getting it and I think on this stage he showed it too.

“He was wanting the ball and when we got him the ball for the most part he was delivering against some high, high level athletes and some damn good defenders around the rim. So that’s a really, really good sign for us.”

It’s far from the only positive totem for the Bulldogs, who led Duke, which crushed Kentucky and easily handled Auburn already this season, by as many as 16 points and then held off the late rally from coach Mike Krzyzewski’s talented freshmen foursome.

“They’re strong, they’re old, and they’re unselfish and they play their butts off,” Krzyzewski said. “And Hachimura gives them a guy that you can go to to get a bucket or get fouled. But he’s better because the other guys are good too. In other words, you can’t just double team him or whatever — well, you can try, but he’ll, another good player is going to be open. They have good weapons.”

It was hardly a disappointing result for Duke, which nearly shrugged off a massive punch from one of the country’s best teams. If Barrett makes different decisions with the ball late, maybe Duke leaves Maui with a trophy. Not bad for a team of freshmen in November.

Duke undoubtedly will find another gear or six with its roster before the NCAA tournament and perhaps a rematch with these ‘Zags in Minneapolis.

Gonzaga will, too.

The Bulldogs are without Killian Tillie, the 6-foot-10 French national who is every bit an NBA prospect. When he returns from an ankle injury, Gonzaga will become even more fearsome.

“When we get Killian back that will continue to get better and better,” Few said. “But it was good, not great here. But we got a lot of stuff on film we can go home and really spend some time with.”

That time and their talent should make for a powerful combination. Just like Hachimura’s emerging belief in what a ferocious presence he can be. Like when he’s faced with an aggressive challenge bearing down on him and meets it with fearlessness.

“My thinking was like I had to do it,” he said. “I got to do it.”

Report: NCAA will give more notices of allegations soon

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Now that the FBI’s college basketball corruption cases are complete, the NCAA will likely move forward with more notices of allegations.

Speaking to ESPN’s Heather Dinich on Wednesday at the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, NCAA vice president of Division I Governance Kevin Lennon said that more investigations could come “in due time and I think  very quickly.”

The NCAA needed to wait for the FBI’s trials to finish up before launching its own investigations on schools mentioned over the past 18 months. We could see a high number of big-name programs get investigated during the NCAA’s process.

“You don’t get in the way of a federal investigation,” Lennon said Wednesday. “Activity was going on during that span that was within our purview, but now that the court cases are done, now we’re in a position where you’re likely to see notices of allegations going to institutions that have violated NCAA rules, etc. I think you can anticipate notices of allegations will be coming.”

Following the completion of the first FBI trial in October 2018, the NCAA already reportedly sent notice of allegations to Arizona, Kansas, NC State and Louisville. Other prominent programs, including but not limited to, Auburn, LSU, Oklahoma State and USC have also been mentioned during recent college basketball corruption trials.

While the NCAA will seek all documents that schools turned over to the federal government during legal procedures, the real difficulty in the NCAA’s investigations will be getting third-party participants to speak — or even cooperate in the first place. Those not tied to the NCAA through member schools have no legal obligation to help the NCAA during their investigation process.

Wednesday’s Knight Commission meeting also went over processes discussed or implemented because of the Rice Commission’s April 2018 report. Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey, president of the board of directors for the NABC, made waves by questioning where accountability comes from when it comes to coaching penalties.

Asking why “there’s been no hammer from the top of campus,” Brey asked why schools haven’t been accountable with coaches who break the rules.

“Why hasn’t an athletic director or a president acted in some of these current cases?” Brey said.

“I think a lot of our coaches want to know why hasn’t the hammer come down? I’m a little naïve to it. Is it legal stuff? A lot of lawyers? I think our profession would love to see the hammer be dropped on some of these situations. We need an explosion back.”

Brey has every right to question where penalties are coming from since only Louisville head coach Rick Pitino has lost his job among head coaches during this scandal. There seems to be a lot of confusion on where some things stand with the NCAA, and its rules, but maybe we’ll get more clarification now that the FBI trials are done.

Juwan Howard will be the next Michigan head coach

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Juwan Howard is heading back to school.

The former Fab Five member has accepted an offer to replace John Beilein as Michigan’s next head coach, according to multiple reports. He has spent the last six seasons as an assistant coach with the Miami Heat, where he played his final three seasons as a pro. The Wolverines ultimately picked Howard over Providence head coach Ed Cooley and Luke Yaklich, who was an assistant on Michigan’s staff the last two years.

Stadium is reporting that Howard has agreed to a five-year deal.

This will be the first time in 25 years that Howard has been back in the mix on a college campus, since he left Ann Arbor to become the No. 5 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, and that is what makes this decision a risk for the Wolverines.

Howard has never been an assistant coach at the college level. He hasn’t worked at the high school level. He hasn’t coached in the AAU ranks. There is not a strong track record for this kind of a hire. Of all the former NBA player that have ended up coaching a college team, Fred Hoiberg is really the only one that has had unquestionable and continued success. Kevin Ollie won a national title with UConn, but he not only was an assistant coach on Jim Calhoun’s staff for two years before getting the job, his title-winning team was a No. 7-seed that rode Shabazz Napier’s coattails to the title and he eventually got fired after driving UConn straight into the ground. Chris Mullin was a bust at St. John’s. The jury is still out on Patrick Ewing at Georgetown, but two years in he’s sitting with a 34-29 record and a 14-22 mark in the Big East.

Avery Johnson. Isiah Thomas. Clyde Drexler. Mike Dunleavy. Mark Price. Danny Manning. The list of NBA guys that have gone back to school and fizzled out is long.

Penny Hardaway — and, to a point, Jerry Stackhouse — are different. Penny worked his way up from the bottom. He started as a middle school coach and spent about a decade coaching in the high school and AAU ranks in Memphis before taking over the Tigers. Stackhouse coached an AAU program before taking over at Vanderbilt as well. They know the ins and outs of building relationships at that level. They had a keen understanding of what it means to be a head coach at the college level when they got hired, even if that understanding came from dealing with coaches recruiting their players.

Howard doesn’t have that.

And it doesn’t mean that he is going to be a flop.

When you have LeBron James and Dwyane Wade campaigning for you, the kids you will be recruiting will take notice. When your candidacy brings Jalen Rose and Chris Webber together, there are going to be people in Ann Arbor that want to make this work. He spent two decades playing in the NBA. He was an assistant on Erik Spoelstra’s staff, a staff that has turned the Heat into one of the better defensive teams in the NBA ever since LeBron left. That same staff has also proven themselves capable of establishing a culture of hard work, toughness and player development.

Howard may not have a ton of experience on a college bench — or doing the things required to run a college program — but the coaching chops are there.

But there is no question that this is a major risk.

And while Warde Manuel’s decision to hire Ollie when he had the same job in Storrs did result in UConn winning their fourth national title, he also ended up bringing in the guy that had to be fired just four years after cutting down those nets.

Clemson forward Baehre tears knee ligament

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CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Clemson forward Jonathan Baehre is out indefinitely after tearing a knee ligament.

The school says the injury occurred during practice Monday. There is no timetable for his return.

Baehre is a 6-foot-10 junior transfer from UNC Asheville who sat out last season. With four senior starters gone off this year’s team, Baehre was expected to play a major role for the Tigers.

Coach Brad Brownell says it’s an unfortunate injury for Baehre and the team. Brownell says Baehre had worked hard since joining the Tigers and he had no doubt Baehre would approach rehab strongly “and have a very productive career at Clemson.”

Baehre, from Germany, started 21 games for UNC Asheville in 2017-18 and averaged 7.4 points and 4.6 rebounds a game.

Sam Mitchell leaves Memphis coach Penny Hardaway’s staff

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Memphis coach Penny Hardaway says former NBA coach of the year Sam Mitchell is no longer part of his staff.

Mitchell worked as an assistant coach for Memphis in 2018-19 during Hardaway’s debut season. Hardaway said Tuesday at a news conference that Mitchell has “decided to go in another direction.”

Hardaway added that “we definitely appreciate Sam so much and support him.” Hardaway said Mitchell will always be like an “older brother” to him.

Mitchell was an NBA head coach with the Toronto Raptors from 2004-09 and with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2015-16. He was named the NBA Coach of the Year in 2007.

Ex-Louisville coach Denny Crum hospitalized with a stroke

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — An official with Denny Crum’s foundation says the former Louisville coach has been hospitalized after recently suffering a stroke.

Jonathan Israel, who is the principal fundraiser for the Denny Crum Scholarship Foundation, provided the information in a Twitter post attributed to the foundation on Tuesday. The post that Crum, 82, who lives in Louisville, suffered the stroke in the past week. The post did not mention his condition or what hospital he is in, but added that Crum and his family “appreciates the thoughts, prayers and also their privacy while he is recovering.” There will be no other statements, the post added.

Inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 1994, Crum was 675-295 with Louisville and led the Cardinals to NCAA men’s basketball championships in 1980 and 1986 before retiring in 2001 after 30 years. The coach suffered a stroke in August 2017 while fishing in Alaska but recovered and has attended Cardinals home games in recent years.