Jeff Eisenberg

  • Ex-Kentucky center changes name to Willie 'Trill' Cauley-Stein

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 10 hrs ago

    No longer will Willie Cauley-Stein merely be known as the most versatile defender in this year's NBA draft.

    Now the former Kentucky 7 footer also is receiving attention for an unusual name change.

    Cauley-Stein has filed an order to legally change his middle name to "Trill," his mother told the Lexington Herald-Leader on Monday. Marlene Stein told the newspaper that her son's full name now is Willie "Trill" Cauley-Stein because "Trill" is the "nickname his 'boys' call him."

    Cauley-Stein was actually born "Willie Durmond Cauley Jr." but his father fell out of his life when he was young. He has gone by Willie Cauley-Stein since enrolling at Kentucky in order to honor his mother, but he hadn't filled out the paperwork to legally change his name until now.

    The only downside to Cauley-Stein's new name is that he didn't go all the way with it. How great would it be to hear NBA commissioner Adam Silver introduce him as "Trill Cauley-Stein" when he gets drafted?

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  • Texas abandons its efforts to trademark 'Havoc' slogan

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 14 hrs ago

    They've printed the phrase "Havoc Lives Here" everywhere at VCU the last five years, from billboards, to T-shirts, to giant banners in the student section.

    The slogan still rings true even though the coach who coined it left for Texas a month ago.

    Texas has withdrawn its attempt to federally register variations of the “Havoc” trademark, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Monday. The same day Smart was hired as the next coach of the Longhorns last month, Texas officials applied to register the marks “HORNS HAVOC” and “HOUSE OF HAVOC” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

    Retaining the "Havoc" slogan is momentous for VCU because it is central to the program's marketing and branding efforts.

    VCU has already trademarked "Havoc" with the State Corporation Commission of Virginia, which would have given the Rams a good chance to win a legal battle had Texas opted to go that route. The strongest argument the Longhorns could have made was that their variations on "Havoc" were sufficiently different not to be confusing.   

  • UTEP gambles by offering Dominic Artis a second chance

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 17 hrs ago

    It's difficult for Tim Floyd to lure top-tier talent to UTEP, so the Miners coach took a risk others may not have to secure a former top 50 prospect.

    He has signed former Oregon standout Dominic Artis just over a year after the standout point guard and two teammates were at the center of a sexual assault investigation.

    Oregon dismissed Artis, fellow starter Damyean Dotson and Providence transfer Brandon Austin last year after a female student accused them of raping her the night of the Ducks' March 8 victory over third-ranked Arizona. Investigators concluded there was "no doubt the incidents occurred," but authorities declined to charge the three players, citing conflicting statements and actions by the alleged victim.

    "I understand where some may be concerned. I have a daughter of my own. This was not a quick decision. A lot of research and conversation occurred before we chose to move forward. Dominic made a poor decision, and as a result has learned a tough life lesson. But I believe he is a good person and is worthy of a second chance."

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  • Gonzaga adds elite transfer point guard Nigel Williams-Goss

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    The last time a point guard transferred from Washington to Gonzaga, Dan Dickau became the WCC player of the year and a first-team All-American. 

    The Zags can only hope history repeats itself. 

    Gonzaga landed another former Washington point guard Sunday when ex-Huskies star Nigel Williams-Goss committed to the Zags. Williams-Goss, one of the most coveted transfers on the market, will sit out next season and have two years of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2016-17 season.

    The addition of Williams-Goss should help keep Gonzaga nationally relevant after next season when it will lose Przemek Karnowski and Kyle Wiltjer to graduation and could see NBA prospect Domantas Sabonis declare for the draft. Williams-Goss averaged 15.6 points and 5.9 assists as a sophomore at Washington and is a pass-first point guard who makes his teammates better.

    Williams-Goss' decision to opt to go that route was a mature one. He didn't feel he was improving rapidly enough at Washington and he wasn't projected as a first-round pick in the NBA draft, so he opted to remain patient and transfer even if it meant sitting out a year.

  • Recruit's decision is a boost for North Carolina, a blow to Virginia

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 1 day ago

    When sweet-shooting wing Kenny Williams committed to North Carolina on Saturday, it was a potential coup for the Tar Heels for two reasons.

    It provides North Carolina a pure shooter who could crack the rotation as soon as next season if he spreads the floor with his 3-point prowess and proves to be a competent defender. It also prevents fellow ACC and national title contender Virginia from adding a recruit who could have addressed its biggest weakness.

    Outside shooting is a concern for both the Tar Heels and Cavaliers entering a season in which both should begin in the top 10 in the polls.

    North Carolina lacked any consistent shooters around Marcus Paige two years ago and still finished 256th in the nation in 3-pointers made last season despite the emergence of Justin Jackson and Nate Britt as threats from the perimeter. Virginia tailed off dramatically from behind the arc after Justin Anderson went down with a fractured pinkie in February and then the Cavaliers lost Anderson to the NBA draft last month. 

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  • Cal is poised for a huge year after landing elite recruit Jaylen Brown

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 2 days ago

    One of the schools on Jaylen Brown's list has been to the Final Four four of the past five seasons. Another played for the national championship two years ago. A third has captured the title twice in the past decade and could start next season atop the polls. 

    Brown didn't select any of them late Friday night. To the surprise of fans from Kentucky, Michigan and North Carolina, the nation's best small forward prospect chose California instead.

    The stunning commitment from Brown was a fitting way to end a high-drama recruitment that kept even the coaching staffs involved guessing until the very end. At different points over the past year, UCLA, Kentucky and Michigan were perceived as the favorites to land Rivals.com's No. 3 overall prospect. None of them got him in the end.    

    That quintet is among the most talented starting fives in the nation. With Arizona replacing four starters and Utah trying to overcome the loss of do-it-all star Delon Wright, Cal should be considered no worse than the co-favorites to win the Pac-12 next season. 

    Rivals.com video of Jaylen Brown:

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  • Which school on Jaylen Brown's list needs him the most?

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 3 days ago

    The top unsigned prospect in the class of 2015 has narrowed his list of prospective schools to four.

    Six-foot-7 forward Jaylen Brown, Rivals.com's No. 3 prospect, eliminated Kansas on Thursday, leaving only Cal, Kentucky, Michigan and North Carolina in contention.

    Wherever Brown chooses, his decision will have a profound impact both on that school's prospects next season and on the national landscape. Here's a look at how Brown fits in at each of his four remaining schools and which one needs the Georgia native most:

    CALIFORNIA

    If Cuonzo Martin were to add Jaylen Brown to a recruiting class that already includes elite big man Ivan Rabb, then next season might be Cal's most anticipated since the days of Jason Kidd and Lamond Murray. The Bears conservatively would crack the top 15 in preseason polls thanks to the return of perimeter standouts Tyrone Wallace, Jabari Bird and Jordan Mathews and the arrival of Rabb, Brown and slashing wing Tyson Jolly.

    KENTUCKY

    MICHIGAN

    NORTH CAROLINA

    Rivals.com video of Jaylen Brown:

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  • Florida's next hire may determine what it becomes without Billy Donovan

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 4 days ago

    As Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley begins his search to find a replacement for Billy Donovan, this is the challenge he faces.

    He must identify someone capable of proving that the school's recent emergence as a basketball juggernaut is a product of the caliber of its program and not merely the caliber of its former coach.

    Though Florida made a surprise Sweet 16 appearance in 1987 under Norm Sloan and an unexpected Final Four run in 1994 under Lon Kruger, the Gators were hardly a perennial national power before Donovan. They had only made the NCAA tournament five times in program history until Donovan arrived 19 years ago and willed Florida to two national titles, four Final Fours and seven Elite Eight appearances.

    What will aid Foley in his search is that he's pitching a top 20 college basketball job that should be attractive to plenty of potential candidates.

    Foley's history in coaching searches suggests he'll target an up-and-coming head coach from a program outside the power conferences. That's what he did when he plucked Donovan from Marshall in 1996, Urban Meyer from Utah in 2005 and current football coach Jim McElwain from Colorado State this year.

  • Oddsmakers say the 2015-16 national title favorites are ...

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 4 days ago

    The surest sign that the 2015-16 college basketball season will be wide open arrived this week when the gambling site Bovada released its championship odds.

    Not one team has better than 10/1 odds to capture the title. 

    Below is a look at Bovada's early favorites to win the national championship and some analysis from me on where there could be some value for gamblers:

    TIER 1: FAVORITES

    Duke (10/1), Kentucky (10/1), Michigan State (10/1), North Carolina (10/1)

    TIER 2: CONTENDERS

    Maryland (14/1), Kansas (16/1), Iowa State (18/1), Virginia (18/1)

    TIER 3: DARK HORSES

    Arizona (20/1), Gonzaga (20/1), Villanova (22/1), Indiana (25/1), Oklahoma (28/1), Louisville (33/1), Michigan (33/1), Wichita State 33/1

    TIER 4: LONG SHOTS

    Notre Dame (40/1), Texas (40/1), Texas A&M (40/1), Utah (40/1), Wisconsin (40/1), California (50/1), Florida (50/1), LSU (50/1), Miami FL (50/1), Ohio State (50/1), SMU (50/1), Syracuse (50/1), UConn (50/1), Baylor (66/1), NC State (66/1), Butler (75/1), Dayton (75/1)

    TIER 5: SHOTS IN THE DARK

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  • Ex-Duke guard Rasheed Sulaimon denies sexual assault allegations

    Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger 5 days ago

    Three months after he was dismissed from Duke and three weeks after he watched his former teammates celebrate winning a national championship without him, Rasheed Sulaimon finally broke his public silence.

    The ex-Duke guard conducted an interview with ESPN.com on Wednesday in which he denied that he had committed sexual assault and insisted those allegations were not the primary reason coach Mike Krzyzewski booted him off the team in late January.

    "I have never sexually assaulted, not only anyone on the Duke campus, but anyone period," Sulaimon told ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman. "It's not in my nature at all. I have great respect for the role of women in society. I would never demean or do anything to a woman in this manner. No, I've never done anything like this in my life."

    Sulaimon would not specify what specific incident led to his dismissal, but he intimated that most of the problems between he and Krzyzewski stemmed from his poor attitude over diminishing playing time during his sophomore and junior seasons.