Marquette’s Prosper says he will stay in draft rather than returning to school

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MILWAUKEE — Olivier-Maxence Prosper announced he is keeping his name under NBA draft consideration rather than returning to Marquette.

The 6-foot-8 forward announced his decision.

“Thank you Marquette nation, my coaches, my teammates and support staff for embracing me from day one,” Prosper said in an Instagram post. “My time at Marquette has been incredible. With that being said, I will remain in the 2023 NBA Draft. I’m excited for what comes next. On to the next chapter…”

Prosper had announced last month he was entering the draft. He still could have returned to school and maintained his college eligibility by withdrawing from the draft by May 31. Prosper’s announcement indicates he instead is going ahead with his plans to turn pro.

Prosper averaged 12.5 points and 4.7 rebounds last season while helping Marquette go 29-7 and win the Big East’s regular-season and tournament titles. Marquette’s season ended with a 69-60 loss to Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament’s round of 32.

He played two seasons at Marquette after transferring from Clemson, where he spent one season.

Bidens to host UConn, LSU at White House

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, plan to welcome the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball champions to the White House later this month.

The University of Connecticut Huskies men’s team beat San Diego State 76-59 in April to secure its fifth national title. The Louisiana State University Tigers women’s team won its first championship by beating the University of Iowa 102-85.

The invite to LSU became a source of controversy this year after the first lady said in a speech that the defeated Iowa women’s team should also come to the White House “because they played such a good game.” In recent decades, the White House has usually hosted only champions.

LSU star Angel Reese tweeted a link to a story about Jill Biden’s remarks. “ A JOKE,” she wrote, along with three rolling-on-floor-laughing emojis. On a podcast shortly after, Reese said her team should instead celebrate their title with former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama.

Reese later said during an interview that she would go to the White House because she wants to do “what’s best for the team.”

The team visits are scheduled for May 26.

Jackson, Hurley celebrate UConn’s title at Citi Field

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NEW YORK — Four weeks after winning UConn’s fifth NCAA men’s basketball championship, coach Dan Hurley and Andre Jackson Jr. got to celebrate the experience at Citi Field.

Jackson, one of the starters on the Huskies and a native of upstate Amsterdam, threw out the ceremonial first pitch while his head coach, Hurley, and members of the UConn staff watched prior to the first game of the New York Mets’ doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves.

Before Jackson threw his pitch to Mets third baseman Eduardo Escobar, a montage of highlights – set to Aerosmith’s “Dream On” – from UConn’s 76-59 championship game win over San Diego State on April 3 aired on the scoreboard.

“It’s pretty cool, especially for a kid like Andrew who’s from New York,” said Hurley, a native of Jersey City. “And to see on the Jumbotron, the video, and kind of relive some of that – you don’t get a chance to enjoy it a whole lot because he’s been running around with the (NBA) draft process (and) finishing exams and we’re running around with recruiting. So it’s nice to be able to have some days like this.”

Hurley, who is a Kansas City Royals fan and said Hall of Famer George Brett is his favorite athlete of all time, said there’s a possibility a pair of Huskies, Donovan Clingan and Alex Karaban, could throw out the first pitch prior to a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park, located about 90 minutes from the UConn campus in Storrs, Connecticut.

Jackson, who declared for the NBA draft while maintaining his college eligibility, said he was “a little nervous” before tossing a slightly high pitch from the mound to Escobar, who was crouched at the edge of the dirt in front of home plate.

The 21-year-old, who grew up a Yankees fan, casually tossed the ball in his right hand as he stood inside the Clover home plate club following his pitch.

“I was thinking about throwing it to a kid,” Jackson said. “But maybe I will keep it.”

Creighton finds Nembhard’s replacement in Aggies’ Ashford

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

OMAHA, Neb. – Utah State’s Steven Ashworth has decided to transfer to Creighton less than two weeks after point guard Ryan Nembhard’s surprising decision to leave the Bluejays.

Ashworth, an All-Mountain West Conference first-team pick after averaging 16.3 points per game for the Aggies, fills a critical need for a team that reached the NCAA Elite Eight and could bring back as many as four starters.

Nembhard started all 64 of his games in two years at Creighton and caught coach Greg McDermott off guard when he announced he would enter the transfer portal 10 days after the Bluejays’ season ended.

Ashworth, who made his announcement on the Field of 68 Media Network, visited Creighton last week. He also considered BYU, Washington, VCU and Oklahoma State.

“There are players on that team that are going to be able to help me perform at my highest level,” Ashworth said Monday. “There are pieces in that program that are NBA-caliber guys. I’m a firm believer that whoever you surround yourself with is potentially who you’re going to become. I want to be an NBA guy. To have the opportunity to join them and be part of what they’ve already built is a huge honor for me.”

Ashworth averaged 4.5 assists and shot 43.4% on 3-pointers to rank sixth nationally.

“His ability to stretch the floor with the 3-point shot and make great decisions with the pass is exactly what we were looking in the point guard position,” McDermott said. “In addition, he possesses the necessary leadership skills that fit perfectly with our returning players.”

UConn guard Nahiem Alleyne transfers to St. John’s

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

STORRS, Conn. — UConn guard Nahiem Alleyne became the third player to leave the program this month after helping the Huskies win the NCAA Tournament.

The 6-foot-4 senior announced on social media that he is transferring to St. John’s, posting a rendering of himself in a Red Storm uniform along with images of the Statue of Liberty, a New York cab, a sign for the school and coach Rick Pitino.

The post on Instagram received a “like” from UConn coach Dan Hurley.

The 3-point shooter and defensive specialist spent just one season at UConn, playing an average of just under 18 minutes a game and averaging 5.2 points. He averaged 7.2 points in UConn’s six NCAA Tournament games.

He spent his first three seasons at Virginia Tech and has one more year of eligibility remaining.

Alleyne joins guard Jordan Hawkins and center Adama Sanogo in leaving UConn this spring before exhausting their college eligibility. Both Sanogo and Hawkins have announced plays to enter the NBA draft.

Alleyne becomes the fourth transfer to join Pitino’s rebuilding effort at St. John’s, along with guards Daniss Jenkins and Cruz Davis, who followed their coach from Iona and VMI wing Sean Conway.

Tasha Butts hired as Georgetown’s women’s basketball coach

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WASHINGTON — Longtime college assistant Tasha Butts was hired as the head coach of Georgetown’s women’s basketball team.

Butts replaces James Howard, whose contract was not renewed last month after four consecutive losing seasons at the school.

Butts joins Ed Cooley as new basketball coaches at Georgetown; Cooley took over the men’s team last month after Patrick Ewing was dismissed.

Butts has been at Georgia Tech since April 2019, serving as an associate head coach and an assistant coach. Before that, Butts spent eight seasons at LSU. She also coached worked at UCLA and Duquesne.

Butts played college basketball at Tennessee from 2000-04 and played professionally in the WNBA and overseas. Howard went 66-108, a .379 winning percentage, during six years at Georgetown. The team this season went 14-17 and lost by 30 points to UConn in the Big East Conference Tournament quarterfinals on March 4.