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Arizona lands Cornell forward Stone Gettings for 2019-20 season

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Arizona landed its first addition for the 2019-20 season on Monday, as an Ivy League power forward revealed his intention to join Sean Miller’s program as a graduate student.

6-foot-9 forward Stone Gettings, who averaged 16.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game at Cornell last season, picked Arizona over Stanford and Vanderbilt according to Evan Daniels of 247Sports.com. A second team All-Ivy selection, Gettings is on course to graduate from Cornell in December. Instead of using his final season of eligibility at Cornell, Gettings will sit out this season before playing at Arizona.

Gettings does have a connection to the Arizona program, as one of his high school teammates was former point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright. The addition of Gettings will give Arizona a front court player who can score around the basket and from the perimeter, as he shot nearly 37 percent from beyond the arc last season.

Gettings isn’t the first Ivy League player to make his decision regarding a new school well in advance of his being able to move as a grad transfer, as former Yale point guard Makai Mason took a similar approach. Mason, who missed the entire 2016-17 season with a torn ACL, announced prior to last season that he be joining the Baylor program as a grad transfer for the 2018-19 campaign.

Not counting Gettings, Arizona has four scholarship front court players on its current roster who will have eligibility remaining in 2019-20, in current junior Chase Jeter, sophomores Emmanuel Akot and Ira Lee and freshman Omar Thielemans.

Former UCLA player Billy Knight found dead in Phoenix

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For the second time in less than a week tragedy has struck the UCLA basketball family, as it was reported on Tuesday that the body of former player Billy Knight was found early Sunday morning in Phoenix.

According to the Los Angeles Daily News, Knight’s body was found by members of the Phoenix Fire Department and he was pronounced dead shortly thereafter by Phoenix Police. The cause of Knight’s death will be determined after the Maricopa County Medical Examiner runs a full autopsy.

Knight posted a video to his YouTube page that was published July 8, the same day his body was found, in which Knight discussed his struggles. (WARNING: The video is disturbing and could be triggering for people that have or are currently dealing with depression.)

Shortly after it was learned that Knight passed away members of the UCLA basketball family, including former teammates, friends and media members took to social media to send their condolences. Knight, who attended Westchester High School in Los Angeles, played at UCLA from 1997 to 2002.

On Friday it was reported that Tyler Honeycutt, who played two seasons at UCLA, was found dead in his Sherman Oaks, California home after a standoff with a Los Angeles Police Department SWAT team.

Honeycutt’s death, which occurred after he barricaded himself in his home, is being investigated as a suicide.

Former UCLA standout Tyler Honeycutt found dead after standoff with LAPD

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Former UCLA standout and NBA player Tyler Honeycutt was found dead after a standoff with Los Angeles Police Department SWAT members early on Saturday morning.

The 27-year-old Honeycutt was identified by family members. The LAPD tweeted that they had gone into a Sherman Oaks residence after Honeycutt allegedly fired a gun at police and barricaded himself into the residence. When police eventually entered the home at 3:30 a.m., they found Honeycutt unresponsive.

Police initially received a call from Honeycutt’s mother, who said her son was acting erratically. That began everything around 5 p.m. on Friday when police arrived at the home and Honeycutt allegedly shot at them. Officers returned fire, and it appears that nobody was hit.

An investigation is still ongoing.

Honeycutt played for UCLA for two seasons as he was Pac-12 all-freshman team his first season and all-conference his second season. Eventually drafted in the second round to the Sacramento Kings at pick No. 35 in the 2011 NBA Draft, Honeycutt played parts of two seasons with them.

Honeycutt was traded to the Houston Rockets and waived. After spending some time in the D League, Honeycutt eventually made his way overseas for the past few seasons.

USC adds to No. 1 recruiting class with four-star wing Max Agbonkpolo

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USC added to its No. 1 overall recruiting class in 2019 on Friday as four-star wing Max Agbonkpolo pledged to the Trojans on Twitter.

A bit of a late-blooming wing prospect, the 6-foot-7 Agbonkpolo is the fourth top-75 prospect to pledge to USC in the Class of 2019. The Rancho Santa Margarita native joins five-star big man Oneyka Okongwu, four-star big man Isaiah Mobley and four-star guard Drake London to form USC’s class right now.

The frontline of Okongwu and Mobley has a chance to be very good while London will add depth to the roster as he attempts to play both football and basketball for the Trojans. Adding another talented wing like Agbonkpolo is great for the Trojans because he’s an upside wing who is long and athletic enough to grow into an impact Pac-12 player.

Having four commitments already in the fold before the July live evaluation period also means that USC can focus its efforts on closing out the class with another star talent as it’ll be fascinating to see who the Trojans now trail during the month of July. USC could make a move on high-end four-star guard Cassius Stanley, who is from Southern California. Or they could also ramp up efforts on a five-star guard like Josh Green.

Either way, USC is in great position for the future right now as they are landing a lot of high-level talent. The hiring of assistant coach Eric Mobley will likely net them his sons Isaiah, and five-star Class of 2020 big man Evan Mobley. And head coach Andy Enfield and his staff are landing players to compliment the star recruits. There’s still a lot of time left, but this has the makings of a potentially special recruiting class at USC.

Arizona fan pretended to be restaurant employee to upgrade cable to Pac-12 Network

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An Illinois man is facing multiple charges after pretending to be a restaurant employee over the phone to enhance the place’s cable package. The goal: to secure the Pac-12 Network to watch an Arizona basketball game while the man was in the area for the weekend.

Arlington Heights, Illinois native Kevin M. Cayton has been charged by Sauk County prosecutors with felony identity theft for financial gain and unauthorized use of an entity’s identifying information, according to a report from KVOA Tucson. The 51-year-old Cayton said he was an employee of Buffalo Phil’s in Lake Delton in order to secure the Pac-12 Network. The business manager for the place eventually noticed a large increase in the restaurant’s cable rates.

Eventually, 11 phone calls were linked to Cayton and the cable provider, Charter Spectrum, in December. Cayton was linked to the trip to the area through social media.

He was booked and released on a $2,000 signature bond. Cayton is due in Sauk County Circuit Court on July 31 as each of his charges carries a maximum six-year prison sentence.

As an Illinois resident who has tried to watch Pac-12 Network games in public, I can relate to this being tough to deal with. Pac-12 Network isn’t available in very many places around the Midwest and it can be tough find a place that will air a west-coast game that you’re looking for. But pretending to work at a restaurant in order to watch a game there is taking things to a ridiculous new level.

(H/t: Sean Mooney with KVOA Tucson

Oregon lands key transfer in guard Ehab Amin

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Oregon pulled in a solid transfer on Friday as guard Ehab Amin pledged to the Ducks on Twitter.

The former Texas A&M CC guard led the nation at 3.4 steals per game during the 2015-16 season as he also put up 16.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. The 6-foot-4 Amin sat out last season with a hip injury as he’s immediately eligible as a graduate transfer.

Originally committed to Nevada earlier this offseason, Amin found himself the victim of a scholarship crunch when Jordan Caroline and the Martin twins all opted to pull out of the 2018 NBA Draft. Now with the Ducks, Amin should help offset the loss of freshman Troy Brown on the wing. Amin should provide immediate experience on both ends of the ball for Oregon as he gives head coach Dana Altman another talented perimeter threat to work with.

The big question for Amin at Oregon will be his perimeter shooting — which was questionable at times during his three-year career with the Islanders. Shooting 28 percent as a junior, Amin will have to knock down a higher clip in order to be at his best for Oregon next season. After shooting 36 percent in a smaller sample size as a sophomore, there is some hope that Amin can be an effective perimeter option for a more talented offensive team.