- Jay Busbee at The Dagger3 days ago
Legendary former Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight endorsed Donald Trump for president in a characteristically fiery, pugnacious speech on Wednesday night.
• On Trump's qualifications: “They talk in a negative way when they want to about Donald, and say he isn’t presidential. I don’t know what the hell that means. To me I think of Harry Truman, they said Harry Truman wasn’t presidential. And damn he went on to be one of the three best presidents in U.S. history. [Trump] will at some point be one of those also.”
• On Trump's managerial touch: "He does a great job of finding good people and teaching good people. And even as important, he's really good at getting rid of people."
- Kyle Ringo at The Dagger3 days ago
A South Sudanese man who was arrested in Canada last week for allegedly posing as a teenager in order to gain entry to the country and play high school basketball admitted in a immigration and refugee board hearing he is not a teenager but claimed he does not know his true age. Canadian border officers arrested Jonathan Nicola on April 15 after receiving confirmation from the United States that Nicola’s fingerprints matched those of a man who had applied for a visa to the U.S. from Syria using a birth date in 1986. Nicola is believed to be 29.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger5 days ago
When the NCAA dragged its feet for months in sending North Carolina an amended Notice of Allegations, many wondered whether the lengthy delay suggested that investigators had found new evidence that might lead to additional charges.
That doesn't appear to be the case.
The amended Notice of Allegations that North Carolina received on Monday isn't strikingly different from the original one the university received last May. North Carolina still faces five top-level violations, but the gentler wording suggests there's less reason to believe the Tar Heels will be hammered with severe sanctions by the committee on infractions later this year.
The biggest change is to the first of the five major rules violations the NCAA discovered while investigating academic fraud in African Studies classes that benefited Tar Heels athletes in disproportionate numbers. Whereas that allegation in the first NOA was very broad and left the committee on infractions ample options for how it could choose to punish North Carolina, this one seems to be more narrowly focused on women's basketball.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger6 days ago
In a year in which virtually every other potential first-round pick at least declared for the draft to get a better idea of his NBA stock, Cal's Ivan Rabb is the rare exception.
The 6-foot-11 freshman announced he will return to the Bears next season soon after the deadline to enter the draft passed on Sunday night.
Rabb is probably the most decorated NBA prospect who will definitely return to college next season. Had he chosen to enter the draft, he likely would have been selected in the first round and perhaps would have gone in the top 15 or 20.
"Ivan is an tremendous person and student-athlete to have on our team," Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said in a statement. "He and his family have put a lot of thought into making a decision that was right for him. He is a talented basketball player with a very bright future, and we are excited to have Ivan continue as a member of our Cal basketball program."
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger9 days ago
One morning last spring, Gregory Dole received a call from a friend with whom he'd played high school basketball in Tanzania nearly two decades ago.
Deng D'Awol asked Dole for help finding a school in Canada that would be interested in a 16-year-old basketball phenom he'd discovered in war-weary South Sudan.
"Deng told me, 'There's this amazing kid I want to help get a scholarship,'" Dole told Yahoo Sports on Thursday. "He told me this kid is the best player he's seen in Eastern Africa. He told me this kid reminds him of a young Kevin Durant.' When someone says that, your ears tend to perk up."
Such sky-high praise typically would have inspired skepticism in basketball circles, but Dole trusted his friend's assessment. After all, Deng is a 7-foot-1 center who set shot-blocking records at NAIA Wayland Baptist University, played professionally in the American Basketball Association and overseas and now helps coach and train kids in his native South Sudan.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger10 days ago
Just eight days ago, Dedric Lawson announced he was returning to Memphis for his sophomore season. Then on Wednesday afternoon, ESPN.com reported the freshman forward is planning to test the waters again.
It's possible Lawson is merely experiencing some indecision. It seems more likely this sudden flip flop is more calculated than that.
Keelon Lawson, the father of Dedric and fellow Memphis freshman K.J. Lawson, was an assistant coach on Josh Pastner's staff for the past two seasons. Keelon was all but certain to retain that job for a third season until Pastner left for Georgia Tech on April 8 and Memphis hired Tubby Smith as his replacement nearly a week later.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger11 days ago
Dwayne "Pearl" Washington, one of the most beloved basketball players in Syracuse history, died Wednesday at age 52, the school announced.
The heralded point guard was diagnosed with a brain tumor last summer and underwent surgery and various other treatments since the tumor was detected.
Washington became a legend at Syracuse during a three-year college career in which he earned first-team all-Big East honors three times. He averaged 15.7 points and 2.3 steals and still ranks third all-time in school history in assists despite turning pro after his junior year in 1986.
While Washington's stats alone are impressive, it was the flair and pizazz with which he played that made him a fan favorite. He had a handle so tight he could practically dribble through a crowded subway and a crossover dribble so lethal it often sent hapless defenders sprawling.
Washington also had a knack for coming up big at the biggest moments. His most memorable shot was a half-court buzzer beater during his freshman season that toppled 16th-ranked Boston College and helped a previously unranked Syracuse team gain national relevance.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger11 days ago
Though Ben Simmons and Tim Quarterman have both already turned pro this spring, LSU will at least get one of its stars back next season.
Freshman Antonio Blakeney will return to the Tigers, the school announced Tuesday afternoon.
Blakeney originally declared for the NBA draft without hiring an agent earlier this month, leaving open the possibility of a return to school. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard decided to return without even waiting to see if he'd receive an invite to next month's NBA draft combine.
"After consulting with my coaches and with my family, I have decided to return to LSU for my sophomore season," Blakeney said in a statement. "I believe I can further improve my skill set in different areas to become even more effective for my team in the future.
"Although I finished the year strong and posted a solid season, I think it is in my best interest to return and continue to improve as I strive and prepare to be the best I can be. This will also allow me to continue with my schoolwork and continue to move forward on my college degree."
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger14 days ago
One day after new UNLV coach Chris Beard bolted for Texas Tech, Rebels athletic director Tina Kunzer-Murphy moved quickly to identify a replacement.
She hired the coach Beard initially beat out for the job less than three weeks ago.
New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies will be UNLV's next coach pending approval of the Nevada Board of Regents next week. Menzies worked as an assistant under Steve Fisher, former UNLV coach Lon Kruger and Rick Pitino before becoming head coach of the Aggies nine years ago.
In his past five years at New Mexico State, Menzies has presided over the Aggies' most successful era since their heyday in the early 90s. He has won 23 or more games each season, captured a pair of WAC regular season titles and made the NCAA tournament four times.
The one hole in Menzies' resume is a lack of signature victories. New Mexico State did not win an NCAA tournament game during his tenure, nor did the Aggies defeat a power-conference opponent. They did have a pair of near-misses in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, however, against both Michigan State and San Diego State.
- Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger16 days ago
At his introductory news conference at UNLV seven days ago, Chris Beard described coaching the Rebels as "the opportunity of a lifetime."
The 43-year-old coach surely sincerely believed that at the time after working his way from the junior college ranks, to Division II, to a low-major Division I job before finally breaking through.
Everything changed for Beard on Wednesday, however, when Memphis began its whirlwind pursuit of Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith. By Thursday morning, Smith accepted the Memphis job. By Thursday afternoon, Texas Tech officials were en route to Las Vegas to meet with Beard. And by nightfall, Beard had less than 24 hours to decide whether to stay at UNLV or take a job he coveted more than almost any other.
Beard accepted an offer to become Texas Tech's next coach on Friday, a decision that certainly has not endeared him to the school he is jilting. Many UNLV fans are furious that Beard is leaving less than three weeks after he accepted the job, especially since they hold him partially responsible for gutting the roster, running off last year's assistants and leaving the next coach with a total rebuild.