Davidson’s Kellan Grady launches social justice initiative

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Sophia Theresa Williams was only 18 years old when, in 1956, she led the Women’s March in Pretoria, South Africa, a protest 20,000 strong against the extension of the country’s pass laws, a passport system that helped enforce Apartheid’s segregation. That was just the beginning of a life-long role as a leader in South Africa’s liberation movement.

Three years after the Women’s March, Sophia married Henry Benny Nato De Bruyn, another activist in the movement and an uMkhonto we Sizwe soldier, making him a member of the African National Congress. The ANC is the political party that was co-founded by Nelson Mandela. In 1963, De Bruyn was forced into exile in Zambia. Six years later, Sophia Williams-De Bruyn joined him, where they lived for more than two decades with their three children, until the ban on the ANC in South Africa was lifted.

Kellan Grady has only visited the site of his Grandmother’s historic march once, back when he was eight years old. He’s a born-and-raised Bostonian. His mother, one of the family’s three children, moved to the United States when she was in her 20s. He didn’t really grasp what she had done until he was in high school. He didn’t truly appreciate what she put on the line until he got to Davidson.

And now, after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbary have propelled the Black Lives Matter movement and the push for racial justice in the United States to the forefront of the national consciousness, Grady found himself driven to create change of his own.

“Social justice has always been a part of my core with what my mom and her parents did to fight for black equality and against Apartheid,” Grady said.

The by-product of that drive?


College Athletes for Respect and Equality.

With the help of the Maimonides Institute for Medicine, Ethics and the Holocaust (MIMEH) and Dr. Stacy Gallin, Grady launched his social justice initiative this week. The big picture goal of CARE is “to raise awareness about racial injustice and to promote and create change in equality,” Grady says. Specifically, however, he will be focusing his efforts on reaching and educating the younger generation.

“Our first call to action is community outreach with elementary schools,” Grady said. “And the first step is to get with athletes and get them involved and on board.”

Grady fully understands the profile and the influence that star athletes have on the collegiate level. He’s a rising senior for Davidson — one of the better programs in the Atlantic 10 and Stephen Curry’s alma mater — where he has averaged at least 17 points in all three seasons in college. He has a real chance to play in the NBA one day. Until then, he will be a star on a local level, and he knows that right now, that is where he can have the biggest impact.

“I remember how much I looked up to college players at a younger age,” he said, and that’s what he wants to build on.

Sophia Williams De Bruyn in front of the State Union Building, Pretoria (Adrian Stern via Getty Images)

What he’s looking to do is get other athletes, no matter the sport, race or gender, to join him in visiting local elementary schools. He, with the help of Gallin, will develop age-appropriate mini-curriculums that these athletes will present at the schools, lessons on the history of inequality and racial injustice, themes as simple as teaching the Golden Rule — treat others the way you would like to be treated — in the context of race.

“College athletes have a platform,” Grady said. “People pay attention to us, and a lot of us are minorities.”

Of course, these events would also include some kind of athletic activity. As anyone with kids that age can attest, holding their attention with any kind of lesson plan for too long is never going to work all that well. Using those lessons as the price to play with a local star, however, is a trade that has some potential.

So what is Grady doing now?

He’s looking to get college athletes to sign up here and join his initiative. Those that do are asked to post CARE’s logo across their social media with a sign-up link and the hashtag #CareToChange. With school out for the summer, the most important part of this initiative is to let people know that it exists.

There are plenty of college athletes that are feeling what so many around our country are feeling right now: The desire to help enact change without really know how they can go about doing it. This, Grady believes, is the answer.

The motto at the bottom of the South African coat of arms reads Diverse People Unite.

That, at its core, is the goal of CARE.

What does Williams-De Bruyn think of Grady’s initiative?

“I haven’t spoken to her about it yet,” he said with a sheepish chuckle. “She reached out to the family group chat on Whats App. I should call her.”

Yes, Kellan.

You probably should.

There aren’t many people in the world with more knowledge on impactful social activism than your Grandmother.

NCAA tweaks rules on block/charge calls in men’s basketball

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INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA is tweaking how block/charge calls are made in men’s basketball.

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved rule changes on Thursday that require a defender to be in position to draw a charge at the time the offensive player plants a foot to go airborne for a shot. If the defender arrives after the player has planted a foot, officials have been instructed to call a block when there’s contact.

Defenders had to be in position to draw a charge before the offensive player went airborne under previous rules.

NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee members made the proposal after NCAA members complained that too many charges were being called on those types of plays.

The panel also approved reviews of basket interference calls during the next media timeout – if the official called it on the floor – a shot clock reset to 20 seconds on an offensive rebound that hits the rim, and players being allowed to wear any number between 0 and 99.

A timeout also will be granted to an airborne player with possession of the ball, and non-student bench personnel will be allowed to serve as peacekeepers on the floor if an altercation occurs.

Charlotte head coach Ron Sanchez resigns after winning CBI title

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Ron Sanchez resigned as head coach of the Charlotte 49ers.

Sanchez took over the 49ers on March 19, 2018, inheriting a team coming off a 6-23 campaign. In five years Charlotte went 72-78 under Sanchez, highlighted by winning the College Basketball Invitational championship this past season, the Niners’ first post-season tournament title in school history.

The 22 wins this past season are the most for Charlotte since 2001.

“Ron took over a proud but struggling program and carefully rebuilt it into a 22-game winner. He has led with class, dignity and devotion to our young men,” Charlotte director of athletics Mike Hill said. “His decision to step down from Charlotte was a difficult one for him and everyone associated with our program. We wish him and his family every happiness.”

Hill said the team has already begun a national search for a replacement.

“This is a bittersweet day for me and my family as I step down to pursue other opportunities,” said Sanchez, who came the 49ers after working as an assistant coach at Virginia under Tony Bennett. “It has been a tremendous privilege to lead the 49ers basketball program over the past five years and I want to thank Niner Nation for its support. I will be forever grateful to my staff, players and the university.”

Marquette extends Shaka Smart’s contract through 2029-30 season

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MILWAUKEE — Marquette coach Shaka Smart has received a contract extension after leading the Golden Eagles to their first outright regular-season championship and tournament title in the Big East.

Smart’s contract now runs through the 2029-30 season. This is the first extension Smart has received since signing a six-year deal when he took over as Marquette’s coach in 2021.

Marquette didn’t release financial terms of Smart’s deal.

“In a very short period of time, Shaka and his staff have done a tremendous job of establishing a winning culture, both on and off the court,” athletic director Bill Scholl said in a statement. “Shaka’s vision for the program is focused on extended, sustainable success. The individuals who interact with the team on a daily basis are able to observe frequent examples of growth and the excitement around the program is contagious.”

Marquette has gone 48-20 in Smart’s two seasons and reached the NCAA Tournament each of those years.

The Golden Eagles went 29-7 and won the Big East’s regular-season and tournament championships last season after the league’s coaches had picked them to finish ninth out of 11 teams. Marquette’s season ended with a 69-60 loss to Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament’s round of 32.

Purdue’s Edey returning to school at NBA draft deadline; Kentucky’s Tshiebwe stays in

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Purdue’s Zach Edey decided it was the right call to go back to school instead of staying in the NBA draft. His predecessor as national player of the year, Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe, is sticking with his pro pursuit.

And Connecticut’s reign as NCAA champion will begin with multiple starters having left for the NBA draft and one returning after flirting with doing the same.

The 7-foot-4 Edey and UConn guard Tristen Newton were among the notable names to announce that they were withdrawing from the draft, the NCAA’s deadline for players who declared as early entrants to pull out and retain their college eligibility.

Edey’s decision came in social media posts from both the center and the Boilermakers program that earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament behind Edey, The Associated Press men’s national player of the year.

But Tshiebwe announced late in the afternoon that he would remain in the draft after a college career that included being named the AP national player of the year in 2022.

For the current champions, Newton (10.1 points, 4.7 assists, 4.5 rebounds) is returning after being one of four Huskies to declare for the draft after a run to UConn’s fifth national championship in early April. He scored a game-high 19 points to go with 10 rebounds in the victory over San Diego State in the title game.

The others were Final Four Most Outstanding Player Adama Sanogo, wing Jordan Hawkins and versatile guard Andre Jackson Jr. Sanogo (17.8 points) and Hawkins (16.3) have made it clear they have closed the door on their college careers, while team spokesman Phil Chardis said that Jackson (6.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists) would remain in the draft.

The Huskies have 247sports’ No. 3-ranked recruiting class for next year to restock the roster, led by McDonald’s All-American point guard Stephon Castle.

The NBA’s withdrawal deadline is June 12, but is moot when it comes to college players returning to school due to the NCAA’s earlier timeline to retain playing eligibility.


TREY ALEXANDER: Creighton gets back a 6-4 guard who averaged 13.6 points and shot 41% from 3-point range in his first full season as a starter.

ADEM BONA: The 6-foot-10 forward and Pac-12 freshman of the year is returning to UCLA after starting 32 games as a rookie and averaging 7.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks – with coach Mick Cronin praising his toughness for “competing through multiple injuries for as long as he could” in a statement Wednesday.

EDEY: He averaged 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.5 assists while shooting 60.7% from the field. His presence alone helps Purdue be a factor in the Big Ten race.

JOSIAH-JORDAN JAMES: The 6-6 guard went through the NBA G League Combine and had workouts with multiple teams before opting to return to Tennessee for a fifth season alongside teammate Santiago Vescovi.

JUDAH MINTZ: The 6-3 freshman averaged 16.3 points and 4.6 assists for Syracuse, ranking third among Division I freshmen in scoring behind only Alabama’s Brandon Miller and Lamar’s Nate Calmese.

OWLS’ RETURNEES: Florida Atlantic got good news after its surprise Final Four run with the return leading scorers Johnell Davis (13.8) and Alijah Martin (13.4). ESPN first reported their decisions, while Martin later posted a social media statement.

TERRENCE SHANNON JR.: Illinois got a big boost with Shannon announcing his night in a social media post. The 6-6 guard is returning for a fifth college season after averaging 17.2 points.

SPARTANS’ RETURNEES: Michigan State announced that guards Jaden Akins and A.J. Hoggard have withdrawn from the NBA draft. Standout guard Tyson Walker had previously withdrawn in April, setting up Tom Izzo to have five of his top scorers back.


KOBE BROWN: Missouri’s 6-8 swingman opted against returning for a fifth college season after being an AP first-team all-Southeastern Conference pick averaging 15.8 points last season.

JAYLEN CLARK: The third-year UCLA guard averaged 13.0 points and 6.0 rebounds while leading the Pac-12 with 2.6 steals en route to being named Naismith national defensive player of the year. Cronin called him a winner with strong intangibles who made UCLA “a better program because he chose to be a Bruin.”

BRICE SENSABAUGH: The Ohio State freshman averaged 16.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in 31 games before missing his final two in the Big Ten Tournament due to a knee injury. He’s a potential first-round prospect.

TSHIEBWE: The 6-9, 260-pound forward is a tough interior presence who led the country in rebounds for two straight seasons (15.1 in 2022, 13.7 in 2023) while racking up 48 double-doubles. But he faces an uncertain next stop and is projected at best as a second-round prospect.

North Carolina transfer Caleb Love commits to Arizona

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Caleb Love is now headed to Arizona.

The North Carolina transfer tweeted, less than a month after decommitting from Michigan, that he will play next season with the Wildcats.

“Caleb is a tremendously talented guard who has significant experience playing college basketball at a high level,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said in a statement. “We look forward to helping Caleb grow his game at Arizona. And as we near the completion of the roster for the upcoming season, we feel great about how everything has come together. Now it’s time for the real work to start.”

A 6-foot-4 guard, Love averaged 14.6 points and 3.3 assists in three seasons at North Carolina. He averaged 17.6 points in seven NCAA Tournament games, helping lead the Tar Heels to the 2022 national championship game.

Love entered the transfer portal after leading North Carolina with 73 3-pointers as a junior and initially committed to Michigan. He decommitted from the Wolverines earlier this month, reportedly due to an admissions issue involving academic credits.

Love narrowed his transfer targets to three schools before choosing to play at Arizona over Gonzaga and Texas.

Love will likely start on a team that will have dynamic perimeter players, including Pelle Larsson, Kylan Boswell and Alabama transfer Jaden Bradley.