Jeff Eisenberg

  • Special-edition Kingsford Charcoal bag trolls the NCAA

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 9 hrs ago

    Don't expect to see any Kingsford Charcoal signage during the NCAA tournament next month.

    The company likely killed all hope of that Thursday when it unveiled special-edition bags of charcoal trolling the NCAA.

    The image on the front of the bag is that of Ed O'Bannon, the former UCLA star who last August won a lawsuit challenging the NCAA’s unwillingness to pay athletes for the use of their names and likenesses. The bags also feature the hashtag #PayEd and the slogan "Lights 25% faster. Doesn't burn athletes."

    "Kingsford Charcoal has become one of the many companies to use the likeness of a famous amateur basketball player for marketing purposes during that mad, mad month of March," a press release revealing the limited edition bags read. Kingsford is just adding a surprising twist: the charcoal brand is actually going to pay that player— Ed O’Bannon— for placing him on the front of a limited bag of charcoal."

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  • Vanderbilt coach quickly apologizes for postgame incident

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 10 hrs ago

    Irate that guard Wade Baldwin had clapped in the face of opponent just after time expired Thursday night, Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings yanked the freshman out of the postgame handshake line and berated him for showing such poor sportsmanship.

    Stallings' message was spot-on. The way he worded it could have been better.

    TV microphones picked up Stallings profanely screaming at Baldwin "f***ing apologize," "don't do that" and "I'll f***ing kill you" after Vanderbilt's 73-65 victory at Tennessee. Stallings reiterated his disappointment in Baldwin in calmer fashion during his postgame news conference before quickly issuing a statement soon afterward apologizing profusely for what he said on the floor.

    While it's fair to wonder if Stallings would have been so quick to apologize had his words not made it onto the TV broadcast, it's also difficult to be too hard on him here.

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  • Michigan State pays for fouling on a three instead of fouling up three

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 12 hrs ago

    One of the few complaints many Michigan State fans have about Tom Izzo is his disdain for the strategy of intentionally fouling when ahead by three points in the final seconds of a game.

    The foul the Spartans committed at the end of regulation Thursday night was probably not what their fans had in mind. 

    Instead of fouling to prevent the Gophers from having a look at a potential game-tying 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation, Michigan State chose to defend straight up and then committed the ultimate sin. Gavin Schilling not only helped too far off Carlos Morris to recover, he also closed out too hard and fouled the Minnesota guard just after he released a left-wing 3-pointer to tie the game.

    Morris missed the go-ahead free throw with 2.2 seconds to go, but Minnesota emerged with a 96-90 victory in overtime. Fourteen of 20 free throw shooting during the extra session enabled the Gophers to finish off the upset and snap a 15-game losing streak in East Lansing that dates back to 1997.

    Izzo defended his decision not to foul that day and he did it again Thursday.

    Better to foul up three than to foul on a three.

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  • Oakland guard drops defender with a dazzling crossover

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 19 hrs ago

    One of the most memorable ankle-breaking crossover in college basketball history occurred in the 1995 ACC tournament when Wake Forest's Randolph Childress dropped Jeff McInnis and took the time to taunt the North Carolina guard before burying a deep 3-pointer.

    The move Oakland's Kahlil Felder pulled off Wednesday night isn't in that class, but it's one of the better crossovers we've seen in a while.

    When Youngstown State forward Bobby Hain switched onto Felder after a high ball screen, the Oakland guard recognized the mismatch and tried to take the 6-foot-10 junior off the dribble. Felder drove left and then crossed over through his legs back to the right, freeing himself for a wide-open layup when the off-balance Hain tripped trying to recover.

    Felder's crossover was the signature moment of a 20-point, 10-assist night for the sophomore guard in an 82-71 Oakland victory. The Golden Grizzlies are now only one game behind first-place Valparaiso in the Horizon League standings, and Felder's emergence as the team's leading scorer and best facilitator is a big part of that.

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  • Ex-Louisville guard Chris Jones faces charges of rape, sodomy

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 23 hrs ago

    It's now abundantly clear why Louisville dismissed starting point guard Chris Jones only two days after reinstating him from an indefinite suspension. 

    New disciplinary issues had arisen.

    Jones pleaded not guilty on charges of raping one woman and sodomizing another Thursday morning. A Jefferson County judge released Jones on home incarceration in lieu of a $25,000 bond.

    The alleged sexual assaults occurred Saturday night hours after Jones returned from suspension to lead Louisville to a victory against Miami. According to the arrest warrant obtained by the Louisville Courier-Journal on Thursday, one of the alleged victims was hospitalized Sunday. The women are 19 and 20.

    Louisville dismissed Jones Sunday evening with a terse 21-word statement that at the time did not offer an explanation for the decision. In Thursday's statement, the school said it discovered Sunday afternoon that Jones had violated curfew the previous night and that there were unspecified accusations against him.

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  • Xavier Rathan-Mayes erupts for 30 points in four-plus minutes

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    At a timeout with about five minutes left in Wednesday night's game between Florida State and Miami, one of Xavier Rathan-Mayes' teammates approached him with a challenge.

    "Montay Brandon looked at me and told me that he needed me," Rathan-Mayes said. "When one of your brothers says that he needs you, you're going to do anything you can to respond to that call."

    Florida State indeed desperately needed a spark from Rathan-Mayes after falling behind by 18 points on the road against a Miami team determined to play its way into the NCAA tournament. Whatever slim chance the defensive-oriented Seminoles had of mounting a comeback depended on their leading scorer emerging from a game-long slump and shooting them back into striking distance.

    Inspired by his teammate's words, Rathan-Mayes unleashed a late-game shooting display that will linger in the memory of those who witnessed it long after they've forgotten that Florida State still lost 81-77 in spite of his heroics. The 6-foot-4 guard scored 30 points in the final 4:38 of Wednesday's game, a stunningly swift barrage that included six 3-pointers, a pair of layups and eight free throws. 

  • VCU will need strong finish to secure Shaka Smart's first league title

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    The only hole in VCU coach Shaka Smart's otherwise sterling résumé is proving more difficult than expected for the Rams to fill.

    Their bid to secure Smart's first regular season league title is in jeopardy after city rival Richmond completed a season sweep Wednesday night with a thrilling 67-63 double-overtime victory.  

    Preseason Atlantic 10 favorite VCU (21-7, 11-4) now finds itself in a four-way tie for first place with Dayton, Rhode Island and Davidson. The Rams do not have an easy finishing schedule either as they host the Flyers on Saturday and visit the Wildcats a week from Thursday before closing at home against last-place George Mason. 

    VCU's inability to maintain control of the Atlantic 10 after a 7-0 start is a product of both ill-timed injuries and a rival who seems to play the Rams tougher than anyone else.

    The second loss to Richmond will be even more galling than the first for VCU because the Rams had to work hard to even force overtime. They trailed by eight with 90 seconds to go before launching a spirited rally aided by three missed free throws and two turnovers by the Spiders.

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  • Colleges are offering scholarships to LeBron's 10-year-old son

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    Whichever colleges are already recruiting 10-year-old LeBron James Jr. might be wise to back off for a few more years.

    It isn't making his father happy.

    The elder LeBron told reporters in Detroit at Cavaliers shoot-around Tuesday that colleges have already begun to send recruiting letters and offer scholarships even though his son won't finish fourth grade until this spring.

    "Yeah, he's already got some offers from colleges," James said. "It's pretty crazy. It should be a violation. You shouldn't be recruiting 10-year-old kids."

    The younger LeBron popping up on the radar of college coaches is a testament to his famous name, his prodigious talent and to the recruiting process starting younger and younger. College coaches occasionally offer scholarships to top prospects before they enter high school in hopes that those players will remember who showed interest first when they're ready to choose a college.  

    Video of LeBron James Jr. via TakeMyTalent.com:

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  • NC State player fulfilled promise to Chapel Hill shooting victim

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    On the day of NC State student Deah Barakat's wedding two months ago, freshman forward Abdul-Malik Abu told his friend that his gift would be the Wolfpack securing victories over in-state rivals Duke and North Carolina this season.

    The promise took on more meaning for Abu when Barakat, new bride Yusor Abu-Salha and sister-in-law Razan Abu-Salha were brutally murdered in a Feb. 10 shooting in Chapel Hill.

    NC State had already fulfilled half of Abu's guarantee with an 87-75 victory over the Blue Devils on Jan. 11. The Wolfpack finished off the second part on Tuesday night, snapping a 12-game losing streak in Chapel Hill with a 58-46 victory over the Tar Heels. 

    Abu honored his friend before leaving the Dean Smith Center on Tuesday night by reposting an Instagram picture of them together at Barakat's wedding and adding a heartfelt message. Wrote Abu, "Thanks Deah for being a special person to all of us. This one was for you your family and and the wonderful people of #WPN !!!!! Love you man #RIP #WeDidIt #iPromisedYouMan"

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  • Bubble breakdown: NC State nabs another marquee victory

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    With less than three weeks remaining until Selection Sunday, the NCAA tournament bubble is beginning to take shape. Bubble Breakdown is the Dagger's daily look at the results that impact who's in and who's out.

    NC State picked an ideal time to snap its 12-game losing streak in Chapel Hill.

    The Wolfpack moved closer to overcoming a rough patch in the middle of conference play and squeezing into the NCAA tournament for the fourth straight season under Mark Gottfried with a 58-46 road win over the Tar Heels on Tuesday night. 

    Whereas other bubble teams are in dire need of quality wins, NC State now has three outstanding ones over North Carolina, Duke and Louisville. What the Wolfpack really are missing is wins of any kind, which reveals why they still have work to do to feel safe entering Selection Sunday.

    NC State (17-11, 8-7) still has ACC games remaining against Boston College, Clemson and Syracuse before the ACC tournament. For the Wolfpack to ensure they're getting NCAA tournament bid without needing even a single ACC tournament win, they might have to win all three games. For the Wolfpack to still feel good about their position, two wins might suffice.