Kentucky moves scrimmage to Eastern Kentucky for flood relief

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky will play its annual Blue-White men’s basketball scrimmage in Eastern Kentucky to benefit victims of the devastating summer floods.

The school announced that the Oct. 22 event at Appalachian Wireless Arena in Pikeville will feature a pregame Fan Fest. Ticket proceeds will go through Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief.

Wildcat players will also participate in a community service activity with local organizations in the relief effort.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said the team was excited to play for Eastern Kentucky fans and added, “We hope we can provide a temporary escape with basketball and community engagement.”

The scrimmage traditionally is held at Rupp Arena. It will occur eight days after its Big Blue Madness public workout at Rupp.

Kentucky’s Tionna Herron recovering from open-heart surgery

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky coach Kyra Elzy says freshman Tionna Herron is recovering from open-heart surgery to correct a structural abnormality.

The 6-foot-4 post player learned of her condition after arriving at school in June and received other opinions before surgery was recommended. Senior trainer Courtney Jones said in a release that Herron underwent surgery Aug. 24 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and is recovering at home in DeSoto, Texas.

Elzy said Herron “is the definition of a warrior” and all are grateful to be on the other side of the player’s surgery. Herron is expected back on campus early next month and will continue rehabilitation until she’s cleared to return to normal activity.

“Her will and determination to eventually return to the court is inspiring, and it’s that `game-on’ attitude that is what makes her such a perfect fit in our program,” Elzy said in a release. “We are so thrilled for Tionna’s return to our locker room; it’s not the same without our full team together.”

Herron committed to Kentucky during last fall’s early signing period, rated as a four-star prospect and a top-70 player in last year’s class. Kentucky won last year’s Southeastern Conference Tournament and reached the NCAA Tournament’s first round.

South Carolina, Staley cancel BYU games over racial incident

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina and women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley have canceled a home-and-home series with BYU over a recent racial incident where a Cougars fan yelled slurs at a Duke volleyball player.

The Gamecocks were scheduled to start the season at home against BYU on Nov. 7, then play at the Utah campus during the 2023-24 season.

But Staley cited BYU’s home volleyball match last month as reason for calling off the series.

“As a head coach, my job is to do what’s best for my players and staff,” Staley said in a statement released by South Carolina on Friday. “The incident at BYU has led me to reevaluate our home-and-home, and I don’t feel that this is the right time for us to engage in this series.”

Duke sophomore Rachel Richardson, a Black member of the school’s volleyball team, said she heard racial slurs from the stands during the match.

BYU apologized for the incident and Richardson said the school’s volleyball players reached out to her in support.

South Carolina said it was searching for another home opponent to start the season.

Gamecocks athletic director Ray Tanner spoke with Staley about the series and supported the decision to call off the games.

John Calipari: Comparing Kentucky to others was ‘my bad’

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — John Calipari says he made a mistake comparing Kentucky’s athletic department to others and wants to make clear he will keep supporting the Wildcats’ football team.

Calipari wrote on social media Saturday that he heard what Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops said in response to his push for upgraded practice facilities for his basketball team. Calipari says he reached out to Stoops on Thursday and will keep trying.

“Comparing our athletic dept. to others was my bad. I have supported Mark & the football team through good and bad. I will continue to support them & cheer them on,” Calipari wrote.

The Kentucky coach then added: “Now I’ll do what I’ve done for 30 years: Coach my team and block out the clutter.”

The Hall of Fame coach referred to the university as a “basketball school” in an interview and noted recently approved upgrades for other Kentucky programs. Stoops responded to the remarks on Twitter and said, “Basketball school? I thought we competed in the SEC?” He ended with the hashtag “(hash)4straightpostseasonwins,” referencing the Wildcats’ recent success.

Calipari guided Kentucky to its eighth NCAA championship in 2012, but hasn’t reached the Final Four since 2015. The Wildcats were bounced by No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s in its NCAA Tournament opener last spring. Kentucky football is coming off its second 10-win season in four years under Stoops and has earned the four wins among six consecutive postseason appearances.

Arkansas to open against Louisville in Maui Invitational

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LAHAINA, Hawaii — Arkansas will face Louisville in the opening round of a loaded 2022 Maui Invitational bracket.

The eight-team bracket announced for the November event will include six teams that went to the 2022 NCAA Tournament, including three that reached the Sweet 16.

Arizona faces Cincinnati in the opening round after reaching the Sweet 16 in coach Tommy Lloyd’s first season. Texas Tech, another Sweet 16 team last season, plays Creighton and San Diego State faces Ohio State in the tournament’s return to the Lahaina Civic Center on Nov. 21-23.

The 2020 tournament was held in Asheville, North Carolina, and last year’s was played in Las Vegas.

Arkansas has reached the Elite Eight the past two seasons under coach Eric Musselman.

South Carolina, new coach Paris sign 5-star F Jackson

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — First-year South Carolina coach Lamont Paris has signed five-star recruit and one-time North Carolina commitment, Gregory “GG” Jackson.

The 6-foot-9, 210-pound Jackson was considered one of the top prospects for the 2023 recruiting class. But the school said he has reclassified to 2022 and will be eligible to play for the Gamecocks this season.

Jackson is from Columbia and played at Ridge View High. He has said he had a strong connection with former Gamecocks coach Frank Martin, who was dismissed from the program after 10 seasons this past March.

Soon after South Carolina hired Paris, the former Chattanooga coach, to take over, Jackson announced his commitment to the Tar Heels.

But Jackson decommitted from North Carolina this month before deciding on the Gamecocks.

Paris said in a statement that Jackson has a high basketball IQ.

“GG is a very high character individual and has an incredibly magnetic personality,” Paris said. “He will fit in perfectly with this group of young men.”

Jackson averaged 22.1 points, 10.9 points and 2.3 blocks a game his junior season last winter as Ridge View won a state championship.