Not content to merely challenge himself against some of the nation’s top players his own age, Tyrek Coger sought a step up in competition.
The high school junior goaded budding NBA star John Wall into a game of 1-on-1 at the 2012 Reebok Breakout Challenge in Philadelphia.
In front of a few dozen onlookers, several of whom were filming with cell phone cameras, Coger showed no fear, promising to “show John how to play ball.” The 6-foot-8 forward actually knocked down a couple jumpers and even swatted away one of Wall’s shots before the Washington Wizards guard got serious, punctuating his victory by blowing by Coger off the dribble and drawing gasps with a ferocious left-handed dunk.
Video of the game hit YouTube within hours and spread quickly on social media, generating more than 12 million views. The title of the YouTube clips were “John Wall shuts up high school kid” and “John Wall teaches high school kid a lesson,” but Coger painted a slightly different picture when he described the 1-on-1 showdown to friends.
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The Oklahoma State basketball program has been rocked by tragedy.
Tyrek Coger, a 21-year-old junior college transfer from Raleigh, N.C., collapsed following a team workout Thursday afternoon. Coger was immediately transported to Stillwater Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 6:23 p.m.
Oklahoma State coach Brad Underwood was in Las Vegas recruiting on Thursday when he learned the news. He was expected to fly back to Stillwater as soon as possible to be with his team.
“Tyrek was excited to be at Oklahoma State and had such passion for the game and was looking forward to being an OSU Cowboy,” Underwood said in a statement. “Losing a member of the team is like losing a member of the family. But we know our loss pales in comparison to the pain his family is going through.”
Coger emerged as one of the nation’s better junior college prospects last season at Cape Fear, averaging 12.2 points and 7.0 rebounds and shooting 52.6 percent from the field. He had been expected to compete for playing time immediately at Oklahoma State after signing with the Cowboys in June.
When Mike Lonergan signed a contract extension two years ago after leading George Washington to the NCAA tournament, the relationship between the school and its basketball coach appeared strong.
Athletic director Patrick Nero said Lonergan “has done everything we have asked of him.” Lonergan called it his “truest hope” that George Washington would be where he retires.
A long-lasting marriage between Lonergan and George Washington seems less certain now, however, in the wake of an ugly Washington Post story published Thursday. Current and former players and staffers anonymously told the Post that Lonergan verbally and emotionally abused them, creating a toxic environment that caused many of them to leave the program.
Thirteen players have transferred from George Washington during Lonergan’s five-year tenure, an unusually high number even in an era in which the transfer rate has soared nationwide. Players who spoke to the Post cited Lonergan’s behavior as the primary reason.
When the ACC network launches in three years, the league will have some extra basketball inventory to offer.
Commissioner John Swofford announced Thursday that the ACC will increase from 18 to 20 conference games beginning during the 2019-20 season.
The timing of the switch makes it obvious it’s television-driven. Men’s basketball and football games are the ACC’s most-watched content, and the league can now draw extra eyeballs with two extra conference games per year.
How a 20-game league schedule will affect non-conference scheduling is unclear at this point, but it’s a safe bet that many ACC teams will compensate by reducing the strength of their non-league slates.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see some ACC teams annually schedule two fewer non-league games against major-conference opponents. Most will surely replace at least one marquee non-conference game with a buy game against an inferior foe in order to make up for the loss of a home game from the schedule.
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The younger brother of University of South Florida coach Orlando Antigua resigned on Wednesday in the wake of an ESPN.com report that the Bulls are under NCAA investigation for academic fraud.
Oliver Antigua has been an assistant coach under his older brother for the past two seasons. He has been forbidden from venturing off campus to recruit during the July evaluation period, the ESPN.com report said.
“The University of South Florida and the NCAA enforcement staff are working together to investigate and resolve an inquiry into potential violations of NCAA bylaws and university standards by one of our intercollegiate athletic programs,” the school said in a statement Wednesday. “Because the University of South Florida is committed to protecting the integrity of the investigation and ensuring those involved receive fair treatment, we cannot provide any details about the investigation at this time.”
North Carolina was the big winner on Tuesday after the unveiling of next season’s Maui Invitational bracket.
The Tar Heels received by far the most favorable draw of any of the the contenders in the eight-team field.
North Carolina will open play Nov. 21 against Division II Chaminade, which is 7-84 all-time at the Maui Invitational, and will face either Connecticut or Oklahoma State the following day. The Tar Heels also landed on the opposite side of the bracket from Wisconsin and Oregon, both of which may join North Carolina in the preseason top 10 next fall.
Of course there are no truly easy draws in a Maui Invitational field rife with name-brand programs. Seven of the eight teams in next season’s tournament hail from major conferences and Connecticut could easily give the Maui Invitational four preseason top 25 teams.
North Carolina could be close to as strong as it was last season despite the loss of senior leaders Brice Johnson and Marcus Paige. Three starters return from last year’s national runner-up squad including guard Joel Berry, forward Justin Jackson and center Kennedy Meeks.
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College basketball’s elite teams have a new incentive to vie for the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament.
Starting next March, the No. 1 overall seed will have the chance to select the regional site where it plays first- and second-round games.
Geography has previously been the determining factor for which site the No. 1 overall seed is assigned. Contenders now will be able to share their preferences with the NCAA tournament selection committee in advance.
The eight cities hosting first- and second-round NCAA tournament games next March are Buffalo, Greensboro, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Orlando, Sacramento, Salt Lake City and Tulsa. Michigan State could now request to play in a familiar arena in Indianapolis even if it’s 50 miles farther from campus than Milwaukee and Arizona could now ask to play in Wildcats-friendly California even if Sacramento is 100 miles farther from Tucson than Salt Lake City.
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One of the top prospects in the 2017 class is spurning higher-profile offers and following his father to Washington.
Michael Porter Jr., an athletic 6-foot-8 small forward, announced via Twitteron Friday evening that he has committed to the Huskies. Duke, Kentucky, Kansas and Missouri were among the other programs pursuing Rivals.com’s No. 2 prospect.
Washington emerged as the clear favorite to land Porter after Lorenzo Romar hired his father, Michael Porter Sr., as an assistant coach in May. Romar had already been heavily recruiting Michael Jr. for years and also previously secured a commitment from younger brother Jontay Porter last August.
While luring Michael Jr. was surely part of the impetus for hiring his dad, this isn’t quite as cynical a move as when Larry Brown hired Danny Manning’s father at Kansas or John Calipari invented a job for DaJuan Wagner’s father at Memphis.
But with Fultz on his way next season and Porter coming the following year, the future is bright at Washington.
Two of the top players in their respective classes are Seattle-bound. Now it’s up to Romar to build around them.
John Calipari found a thoughtful way to provide comfort to a Kentucky family rocked by tragedy this month.
The Kentucky coach sent a letter and autographed picture to the three young sons of a Wildcats fan who has been missing for nearly two weeks. A photo of the letter, via Nation of Blue, is below:
Calipari’s letter arrived just under two weeks after Robert Jones and girlfriend Crystal Warner went missing on July 3.
Jones and Warner were last seen checking on the tenant of a rental property he owned in Springfield, Ky. Craig Pennington, who rented the cabin from Jones, has been charged with murder in the wake of the couple’s disappearance. The couple’s bodies have yet to be found.
Jaclyn Roberts, the mother of Parker, Ryder and Gunner, wrote on Facebook thanking Calipari for the letter.
Roberts also posted Thursday that eldest son Parker played in a basketball game the previous night. Scrawled on his sneakers in black ink was the message “Playing for dad.”
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When New York governor Andrew Cuomo banned all state-funded non-essential travel to North Carolina earlier this year, his decision had an unforeseen impact on the University of Albany basketball program.
The Great Danes have been forced to cancel their previously scheduled Nov. 12 road game at Duke.
Cuomo’s travel ban came in response to the North Carolina General Assembly passing House Bill 2 in March. HB2 is best known for requiring transgender people to use public restrooms corresponding with their birth gender and for limiting the ability of employees to sue for discrimination or wrongful termination.
Albany, Buffalo, Binghamton and Stony Brook are the four Division I basketball programs affected by Cuomo’s travel ban. Other New York schools like St. John’s and Syracuse do not have to comply with Cuomo’s stance because they’re private schools. Syracuse is scheduled to visit North Carolina and North Carolina State during ACC play next season.
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