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  • Oklahoma State suspends basketball G Weathers
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 19, 2018

    Oklahoma State has suspended redshirt sophomore guard Michael Weathers from its basketball team after learning he was arrested earlier this month, according to CBS Sports.

    • Weathers was charged with felony grand larceny and concealing stolen property after the theft of a wallet and its contents, according to police and court documents. According to the incident report, it happened on Sept. 9 at a bar in Stillwater, Okla., and the estimated value of the wallet's contents was $85.

      "Michael was suspended from team activities as soon as we learned of the incident. He remains suspended indefinitely," Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton said in a statement provided to CBS Sports.

      Weathers was released on a recognizance bond on Sept. 10 and arraigned the following day, according to the report. He is due to appear Oct. 1 for a preliminary hearing.

      Weathers sat out last season per NCAA rules after transferring from Miami (Ohio). He was the Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year in 2016-17, when he was the only freshman in the nation to average at least 16.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.4 blocks per game.

      --Field Level Media

  • Top recruit James chooses Tennessee over Duke, Clemson
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 19, 2018

    Josiah James, a five-star guard in the Class of 2019, announced Wednesday he will play his college basketball at Tennessee.

    • A 6-6 combo guard, James attends Porter-Gaud School in Charleston, S.C. He is listed on the 247sports composite as the top player in South Carolina, the No. 3 combo guard in the nation and the No. 14 overall player.

      He wrote about his decision in an essay for the Moultrie (S.C) News, and explained how he chose the Volunteers over Clemson and Duke. He called the selection process "one of the hardest things I've done."

      "It really isn't anything against Duke or Clemson. They both were great. Really great. But people always said when you know, you'll know. And I knew. I already knew in my heart so I didn't think it was fair to waste anybody's time. That wouldn't be a cool move on my part," he wrote.

      Tennessee had been atop his list for some time. Coach Rick Barnes gave James his first offer from a Power Five School team. James was 13 at the time.

      "Loyalty is something that goes deep with me. Relationships are everything. When we got to Tennessee for my official visit, the whole coaching staff and all the players were waiting to meet me and my family," he wrote.

      The commitment is a big one for Barnes, whose team finished 26-9 (13-5 SEC) and won a share of the SEC regular-season title. He is entering his fourth season as coach of the Volunteers

      "I can build a legacy of my own there [with Tennessee]," James wrote. "Not that Tennessee hasn't had great players in the past because they have and they still do right now. But taking a little bit different route than what people probably expected was more for me."

      --Field Level Media

  • Prep PG Mannion verbals to Arizona
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 14, 2018

    Five-star point guard recruit Nico Mannion verbally committed to Arizona on Friday, 247Sports reported.

    • Mannion said he selected Arizona over Marquette. He also strongly considered Duke and Villanova.

      "They came on the in-home three or four days ago and they were there for like three or four hours," Mannion said. "We had dinner and then they set up a little presentation. After the presentation, I mean I've been around them for a while so I'm really comfortable with them so after the presentation it just felt right honestly."

      The high school senior plays for Pinnacle High in Phoenix. He said he was impressed by Arizona coach Sean Miller and his staff.

      "They're just great people," Mannion said. "You can just tell they're real. Everything they say they mean, and they're just easy to be around. Obviously, they are great coaches, but the big thing for me is being comfortable where I feel like I know the people well, so that's a big reason also why I chose them."

      --Field Level Media

  • Prep G Franklin commits to Indiana
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 7, 2018

    Guard Armaan Franklin has committed to Indiana, becoming the Hoosiers' first commitment in the Class of 2019.

    • Franklin attends Cathedral High School in Indianapolis. The 247Sports composite ranks him as the nation's No. 26 shooting guard and the No. 133 overall recruit. He is listed as a four-star prospect.

      The 6-foot-5 Franklin announced his selection Thursday night. He picked Indiana over a group of suitors that included Purdue, Xavier and Butler.

      He becomes the fourth in-state player to commit to Indiana since Archie Miller became the head coach in March 2017.

      "He's a great defender, and that's what is going to get him on the floor as a freshman at IU I think," said Jason Delaney, his high school coach. "I don't think players today realize how far willingness and desire to play both ends of the floor can take you."

      He is a good building block for the Hoosiers' class, one analyst said.

      "He just does everything solid on a basketball court, and he's a tremendous character kid," said Brian Snow, a national recruiting analyst for 247Sports. "He's going to bring so many intangibles to Indiana. Even if he doesn't score a lot, even if he doesn't rebound a lot, he's just going to be on the floor helping you win games."

      --Field Level Media

  • Tennessee's Barnes gets extension through 2023-24
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, September 6, 2018

    Tennessee basketball coach Rick Barnes received a three-year contract extension on Thursday that will allow him to make $21 million in base salary over the next six seasons.

    • The extension puts Barnes under contract through the 2023-24 season. He was named the SEC Coach of the Year last season when the Volunteers went 26-9.

      Barnes was signed through 2020-21 prior to the extension. He will make $3.25 million in base salary this season and will receive a $100,000 raise each season, topping out at $3.75 million.

      "Rick has done an exceptional job of re-establishing our men's basketball program into a championship-level program," Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer said in a news release. "He stepped into what was a difficult situation as our program was struggling to find stability, and he's very quickly instilled a winning culture during a time when Southeastern Conference basketball is becoming increasingly competitive.

      "He runs his program the right way, surrounds himself with an incredible staff and he loves his players and pours himself into their development both on and off the court."

      Barnes has a 57-44 record in three seasons at Tennessee. Expectations were low last season when the Volunteers were predicted to finish 13th out of 14 SEC programs, but Barnes steered a young team into a tie for the conference title with Auburn.

      Tennessee was ousted from the second round of the NCAA Tournament by Loyola-Chicago.

      Expectations will be a bit higher this season, and Barnes is just fine with that.

      "Tennessee is a very special place, and I believe this program is capable of accomplishing very special things," Barnes said in a statement.

      Barnes is 661-358 in 31 seasons as a college coach. He previously coached at George Mason, Providence, Clemson and Texas.

      --Field Level Media

  • Pitino: 'I'm finished coaching'
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 5, 2018

    Rick Pitino said his college coaching career is over.

    • Pitino, fired by Louisville in October 2017 in the midst of a federal probe into recruiting violations tied to Adidas, said Wednesday on ESPN's "Get Up" that his time on the sidelines is over.

      "I'm finished coaching," he told host Mike Greenberg.

      His book "Pitino: My Story," co-authored a book with Seth Kaufman, released Tuesday. In the book, Pitino wrote "my coaching career is possibly finished."

      ESPN interviewed Pitino on Tuesday and he said the NCAA already prevented him from getting one job he wanted since being dismissed at Louisville.

      "There was one job this past year, that I really did want. They called the NCAA and the NCAA said, 'We're handcuffed. The FBI will not allow us to investigate, we can't give you a yes or no on Rick Pitino because we're not allowed to investigate,'" Pitino, who turns 66 this month, said. "I'm not really thinking about coaching again in the future because I'm not in control of that. I feel it's over for me."

      In a probe of college basketball announced by the FBI last September, the Cardinals were linked to the investigation with allegations that Adidas paid $100,000 to a family member of five-star prospect Brian Bowen, with the goal being getting him to commit to Louisville. Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich were placed on unpaid administrative leave two days later and fired last October.

      Pitino blames state government and university sponsors, including Papa John's, for forcing him out without an investigation. He also said college basketball has bigger problems on its hands if shoe and apparel companies remain a key player in the sport.

      "I believe we are overdue when it comes to figuring out a way to remove sneaker companies' undue influence at the grassroots level," he wrote.

      --Field Level Media

  • Villanova lands five-star guard Antoine
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 4, 2018

    Five-star guard Bryan Antoine announced his commitment to Villanova in a tweet on Tuesday.

    • Antoine picked the defending champion Wildcats over Duke, Florida, Kentucky and Kansas. He had visited Villanova unofficially last week.

      "The reason why I chose Villanova was because it was family," Antoine told Prep Circuit. "Family goes a long way with me and their school. I also looked at how they played and how they play for each other. I've done the same thing with my coaches in AAU and school ball. I feel like I've already lived in that for so long and Villanova fits that system perfectly."

      Antoine is considered one of the top scoring shooting guards in the Class of 2019 out of Ranney School (N.J.). He averaged 16.6 points and shot 41.0 percent from 3-point range for Team Rio National in the Under Armour Association circuit.

      Antoine joins four-star guard Justin Moore and four-star big man Eric Dixon in Villanova's 2019 class.

      --Field Level Media

  • Florida lands four-star guard Mann
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, August 29, 2018

    Four-star recruit Tre Mann of Florida announced Tuesday he will stay home to play for the Gators in 2019.

    • Mann, a 6-foot-3 guard from The Villages Charter High School in The Villages, chose Florida over Kansas, North Carolina and Tennessee.

      Mann is the Gators' first commitment for the Class of 2019.

      "Every time I looked up, Coach Mike White was at one of my games. He recruited me real hard. He told me he would not let me fail. That impressed me," Mann told ESPN. "Their style of play fits me just perfect. They shoot a lot of threes, and that's what I do best. Plus it's close to home."

      --Field Level Media

  • Texas' Andrew Jones finishes chemotherapy
    By Field Level Media / Friday, August 24, 2018

    Texas guard Andrew Jones returned to the winner's circle this week, completing chemotherapy treatment for leukemia and preparing to rejoin the Longhorns' basketball team for workouts.

    • Jones, a McDonald's All-American at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas, was diagnosed with leukemia and left the team on Jan. 10. He missed a road trip due to fatigue and a lack of energy and underwent a battery of medical tests before the diagnosis was revealed.

      On Friday, Jones shared via Twitter his "bell ringing" ceremony, signaling the end of his medical treatment.

      Jones averaged 11.4 points as a freshman at Texas and decided to return for his sophomore season in 2017-18 instead of entering the NBA draft.

      Jones suffered a wrist injury in early December that forced him to miss multiple games. Before the injury, he was leading the Longhorns in scoring with 15.3 points per game.

      --Field Level Media

  • Transfer N'Guessan selects East Tennessee State
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, August 23, 2018

    Former Oklahoma State 7-footer Lucas N'Guessan has transferred to East Tennessee State, the latter school announced Thursday.

    • N'Guessan will have to sit out the 2018-19 season due to NCAA transfer regulations. He has two seasons of eligibility remaining.

      "We are very excited to have Lucas in our program," East Tennessee coach Steve Forbes said in a statement. "He brings great size and Big 12 experience to our roster. Having the opportunity this upcoming year to sit out and work on his game and in the weight room, will be invaluable to his future and ours."

      N'Guessan, who is from the Netherlands, averaged 1.5 points and 2.0 rebounds in 25 games (seven starts) for Oklahoma State last season. As a freshman, he averaged 2.4 points and 1.7 rebounds in 28 games (10 starts).

      "I'm very excited to start new beginnings and I'm determined to make the upcoming year a great one with my teammates and coaches," N'Guessan said in a statement. "ETSU has become one of the top mid-majors in the country and I really like what Coach Forbes and his staff have built."

      --Field Level Media

  • SDSU extends coach Dutcher through 2022-23
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, August 23, 2018

    San Diego State men's basketball coach Brian Dutcher signed a one-year contract extension through the 2022-23 season, the school announced Wednesday.

    • Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, though the San Diego Union-Tribune reports Dutcher is guaranteed roughly $4 million over the five-year pact.

      He made just over $755,000 last season and will receive a raise of $50,000 each year, raising the 2022-23 value to just over $1 million, according to the Union-Tribune.

      "I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be able to coach at San Diego State for the foreseeable future," Dutcher said in a statement.

      In his first season at the helm of the team, Dutcher led the Aztecs (22-11) to their 11th Mountain West title and an NCAA Tournament berth, ending a two-year drought that had taken place under longtime head coach Steve Fisher.

      Dutcher took over when Fisher retired in April 2017.

      "In his first season, Coach Dutcher continued what has been a staple of the San Diego State men's basketball program -- continued improvement and playing its best basketball heading into the postseason," athletic director John David Wicker stated. "I have been impressed with how he has put his own stamp on the program and I look forward to seeing Aztec basketball grow under his leadership."

      Jalen McDaniels, Devin Watson and Matt Mitchell return as starters for San Diego State.

      --Field Level Media

  • Clemson F Skara returns for senior season
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, August 22, 2018

    Clemson senior forward David Skara is back with the program after originally departing to pursue a professional career.

    • The Tigers announced the return of the 6-foot-8 Croatian on Wednesday. He averaged 3.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 19.3 minutes while playing in 26 games (seven starts) last season as Clemson reached the Sweet 16.

      Skara, who started seven games, is considered one of the club's top defensive players. He announced his departure in April before the recent change in course.

      Skara played his first two college seasons at Valparaiso before transferring to Clemson.

      His return is the latest dose of good news for a team that went 25-10 last season. Guards Marcquise Reed and Shelton Mitchell also return after entering the NBA draft and later withdrawing their names.

      --Field Level Media

  • NCAA adopts new evaluation tool to replace RPI
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, August 22, 2018

    Say goodbye to the RPI and hello to the NET.

    • The NCAA is doing away with the rating percentage index as a tool to rank basketball teams and seed the NCAA Tournament bracket, replacing it with the NCAA Evaluation Tool.

      The change, announce on Wednesday, goes into effect for the upcoming season.

      The new system was developed with help from the Div. I Men's Basketball Committee and the National Association of Basketball Coaches, along with analytics experts and Google Cloud Professional Services.

      "What has been developed is a contemporary method of looking at teams analytically, using results-based and predictive metrics that will assist the Men's Basketball Committee as it reviews games throughout the season," senior VP of basketball for the NCAA Dan Gavitt said in a statement.

      "While no perfect rankings exist, using the results of past tournaments will help ensure that the rankings are built on an objective source of truth."

      Among the differences, late-season games won't be given more weight in the rankings and margin of victory will be capped at 10 points to discourage teams from running up scores. It will take in to account game results, strength of schedule, location of games, scoring margins, quality of wins and losses and net offensive and defensive efficiency.

      --Field level Media

  • Arizona F Lee faces 'super extreme' DUI charge
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, August 21, 2018

    Arizona forward Ira Lee, expected to have a contributing role with the Wildcats basketball team this season, was charged with "super extreme" driving under the influence of alcohol, then released Sunday morning.

    • The 20-year-old also was charged with failing to yield at an intersection and DUI as a minor following a traffic stop, according to the university. "Super extreme" DUI involves a blood alcohol content of .20 or higher.

      Police said he tested for a blood-alcohol level of .215 after he was stopped at 1:22 a.m. Sunday. Among the four tiers of DUI severity -- standard, extreme, super extreme and aggravated -- super extreme ranks third.

      Pima County justice court records show that Lee's arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 10, and he could face disciplinary measures by the athletic department, considering he was stopped and cited for speeding 29 mph above the speed limit in May.

      As a freshman during the 2017-18 season, the 6-foot-8 Lee averaged 2.4 points and 2.3 rebounds a game for coach Sean Miller.

      --Field Level Media

  • Ex-Kansas St. G Wainright pleads guilty in road rage incident
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, August 21, 2018

    Former Kansas State basketball player Amaad Wainright pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony obstructing apprehension and aiding a felon, stemming from a Jan. 17 road-rage shooting incident in Overland Park, Kan.

    • Wainright, who was suspended by the team after he was charged, had a charge for fleeing from law enforcement dropped and will be sentenced Oct. 24.

      According to the Wichita Eagle, Wainright was driving his car while a passenger shot at another car with a handgun while the two vehicles were next to each other on an interstate. No injuries occurred.

      Police attempted to stop Wainright later that evening, according to court documents, but he fled while driving 100 mph.

      A junior guard, Wainright asked the Wildcats to release him from scholarship, and he joined Louisiana State-Shreveport in July.

      He averaged 2.8 points and 2.3 rebounds in 13.1 minutes per game in 36 games off the bench for Kansas State last season.

      --Field Level Media

  • G Harris immediately eligible for North Carolina State
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, August 21, 2018

    North Carolina State sophomore guard Blake Harris will be eligible at the start of the season after gaining an NCAA waiver to play immediately, the school announced Tuesday.

    • Harris departed Missouri in early January last season and faced the possibility of not being eligible until the second semester of the upcoming campaign.

      "I'm excited for Blake that he has an opportunity to join our team immediately," NC State coach Kevin Keatts said in a statement. "I'm very appreciative of our compliance staff for working diligently with Blake on the waiver and thankful to the NCAA for approving it."

      Harris started in nine of 14 games played for Missouri. He averaged 3.8 points and 3.1 assists for the Tigers, shooting 40.7 percent from the field, including 0-of-7 from 3-point range.

      Harris originally signed with Washington but later requested to be released from his letter of intent when the school fired coach Lorenzo Romar. He followed ballyhooed recruit Michael Porter Jr. to Missouri but began questioning his decision early last season.

      NC State was one of Harris' finalists when he selected Missouri. Harris is from nearby Chapel Hill, N.C.

      Also, the Wolfpack announced freshman forward Manny Bates underwent surgery earlier this month to repair a dislocated left shoulder and will redshirt for the 2018-19 season.

      "Obviously this is not how any of us wanted Manny's college career to begin," Keatts said. "But Manny has a positive outlook on the situation and I know he will work hard to rehabilitate his shoulder."

      --Field Level Media

  • Canes transfer Mack deemed eligible for 2018-19
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, August 21, 2018

    Miami Hurricanes transfer guard Anthony Mack will be eligible to play during the 2018-19 season after being granted a waiver by NCAA on Tuesday.

    • Mack sat out his entire freshman season at Wyoming because of an injury. He has four years of eligibility remaining.

      Mack was a three-star prospect at New Jersey's Blair Academy. He will join former high school teammate Deng Gak on the Hurricanes, where he is expected to help fill the void left by Lonnie Walker IV and Bruce Brown Jr. turning pro after last season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Highly regarded Bacot picks North Carolina over Duke
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, August 16, 2018

    Five-star center Armando Bacot revealed Thursday in a video announcement that he has selected North Carolina as the destination for his college career.

    • Bacot chose the Tar Heels over heated rival Duke. He is rated as the No. 21 recruit in the 2019 ESPN 100.

      The 6-foot-10 Bacot posted his video announcement on Twitter. Various highlights were displayed before he emerged out of the shadows wearing a Tar Heel blue shirt with the words "Chapel Hill."

      "Go Heels. Hey," Bacot said.

      Bacot, who is from Richmond, Va., attends IMG Academy in Florida. He had a strong summer that included winning MVP honors at the Nike Peach Jam in South Carolina in July.

      Other schools strongly considered by Bacot were Oklahoma State, Georgia and Virginia Commonwealth.

      Bacot joins four-star guard Jeremiah Francis as highly regarded prep seniors who have committed to North Carolina.

      --Field Level Media

  • Duke sophomore O'Connell out with orbital bone fracture
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, August 16, 2018

    Three minutes into Duke's exhibition game in Toronto on Wednesday, Alex O'Connell went to the hospital after absorbing an elbow to the face on a dunk by a Ryerson University opponent.

    • Duke updated O'Connell's status on Thursday morning in a press release.

      "Sophomore guard Alex O'Connell suffered an orbital floor fracture during last night's game. He will miss the remainder of the #DukeCanadaTour, but is expected to make a full and routine recovery."

      O'Connell started the game, which aired on digital platforms including ESPN Plus and was the anticipated debut of freshman power forward Zion Williamson.

      "It was a crazy experience, and I can't even describe it," Williamson said after the game. "Playing for someone like Coach K -- it's a dream come true."

      --Field Level Media

  • Wake assistant Jones on leave after assault charges filed
    By Field Level Media / Friday, August 10, 2018

    Wake Forest assistant basketball coach Jamill Jones has been placed on leave after being charged in New York with third-degree assault in connection with the death of a 35-year-old Florida man.

    • Athletic director Ron Wellman and Jones talked on Friday and agreed to this decision, according to the school.

      On Friday, the New York City medical examiner ruled that Sandor Szabo died as the result of a homicide, listing the official cause of death as "blunt impact injury of head with brain injury."

      "Wake Forest University expresses heartfelt condolences to Sandor Szabo's family and friends following his tragic death," the school said in a statement.

      Jones turned himself in to police Thursday afternoon and was released on his own recognizance after an arraignment. He could have the charges against him upgraded as police continue to investigate.

      Jones is due back in court on Oct. 2.

      Jones allegedly punched Szabo in the face early Sunday morning after Szabo knocked on Jones' car window thinking it was his Uber ride, according to police. As a result of the punch, Szabo's head hit the pavement, and he lost consciousness. Brought to a local hospital in critical condition, Szabo died Tuesday afternoon. He had traveled to New York City for a family wedding.

      "It's an unfortunate and tragic incident," Alain Massena, representing Jones, told ESPN. "Mr. Jones and his family, their deepest condolences go out to the Szabo family. We simply hope that the public gives Mr. Jones an opportunity to litigate this matter in the court and not in the press."

      Massena says Jones is cooperating with investigators.

      According to the New York Post, Szabo had punched in the face a local resident who had confronted him about the noise he was making banging on cars before Jones allegedly delivered the fatal blow.

      Police released surveillance video Sunday that showed Szabo's assaulter walking away from the scene.

      Jones, 35, was due to enter his second season on head coach Danny Manning's staff.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Wake Forest assistant charged in fatal assault
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, August 9, 2018

    Wake Forest assistant coach Jamill Jones has been arrested and charged with third-degree assault following a fatal punch he allegedly threw at a Florida man visiting New York, according to multiple reports.

    • Jones reportedly turned himself in to police Thursday afternoon and could have the charges against him upgraded as police continue to investigate.

      Jones allegedly punched 35-year-old Sandor Szabo in the face early Sunday morning after Szabo knocked on Jones' car window thinking it was his Uber ride, according to police. As a result of the punch, Szabo's head hit the pavement, and he lost consciousness. Brought to a local hospital in critical condition, Szabo, who was in town for his stepsister's wedding, died Tuesday afternoon.

      According to the New York Post, Szabo had punched in the face a local resident who had confronted him about the noise he was making banging on cars before Jones allegedly delivered the fatal blow.

      Police released surveillance video Sunday that showed Szabo's assaulter walking away from the scene.

      Medical examiners are working to determine if the punch led to Szabo's death.

      Jones, 35, is entering his second season on head coach Danny Manning's staff.

      "We have just been made aware of this matter and we are gathering information," a Wake Forest spokesman said. "We will make a further statement after we learn more about the matter."

      --Field Level Media

  • Top recruit Whitney commits to Kentucky
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, August 8, 2018

    Consensus five-start recruit Kahlil Whitney has verbally committed to Kentucky, the 6-foot-6 small forward announced Wednesday.

    • "My family and I have truly found the best option for me to continue my development, not only as a student and a basketball player, but also as a man," Whitney said in a video on his Twitter account. "With that said, I am thrilled to announce that I am committed to the University of Kentucky."

      Most recruiting ratings have Whitney, who plays for Roselle (N.J.) Catholic, as a top-20 player, with ESPN ranking him as the 14th-best player in the 2019 class. He picked Kentucky over Illinois, Oregon and Georgetown.

      "After they offered, Coach Cal or one of his assistants were always at one of my games," Whitney told ESPN. "Kentucky was my dream school. Growing up in Chicago, I remember watching John Wall, Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd Gilchrist and Tyler Ulis. Coach Cal is a great person and a great coach."

      Whitney visited the Wildcats recently, which he told ESPN cemented his choice.

      "I knew when I left Kentucky that it was the place for me," he said. "It felt like family. I had other visits planned, but this is where I wanted to be. When I watched the players work out, they were focused and intense.

      "I can see myself playing there -- playing with some of the best players in the country and against high-level competition. It will prepare me for my goal make it to the next level."

      Kentucky landed a commitment from local small forward Dontaie Allen last week -- its first in-state recruit in more than five years -- a week after small forward D.J. Jeffries decommitted. Whitney joins Allen and guard Tyrese Maxey as 2019 commits.

      --Field Level Media

  • NCAA changes policies on draft, agents, recruiting; NBA reportedly 'blindsided'
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, August 8, 2018

    Eligibility for players who aren't selected in the NBA draft could be restored based on a landmark decision from the NCAA on Wednesday.

    • Several changes related to amateur status and eligibility are being put in place by the NCAA, including allowing "elite" high school players and all college players to work with endorsed player agents.

      "We remain committed to promoting fairness in college sports and creating an environment that will champion the success of student-athletes," the NCAA said in a statement.

      However, the NBA and USA Basketball independently told ESPN that while they had consulted with the NCAA recently on proposed changes, neither organization believed a consensus was reached or near before the NCAA's announcement Wednesday.

      NBA spokesman Tim Frank told ESPN: "We will review the NCAA's planned reforms and continue to assess, along with our Players' Association, the potential for any related NBA rules changes."

      Sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski that a number of NBA official "were surprised over the presumptive and premature nature of the NCAA's rules changes" that are based on the assumption that the NBA's policy permitting preps to work with an agent will be dropped by the league. Such a decision to clear the way for high schoolers to enter the draft is currently pending.

      The earliest the NBA intends to change the policy on high schoolers entering the draft is 2021 based on the collective bargaining agreement. An amendment bargained by the league's players and owners is permissible, per the CBA.

      Adopting recommendations made by the commission on college basketball convened in response to a federal recruiting probe engulfing Louisville, Arizona and other top programs, the NCAA plan is to establish a pool of certified agents who can advise players on their futures starting with high school seniors.

      "We delivered on a promise made just months ago to make profound and meaningful changes to college basketball," the NCAA statement read. "Ultimately, these decisions will support the success of student-athletes both on and off the court."

      Only prospects invited to the NBA scouting combine are eligible to return to school.

      In January, the NCAA voted to allow men's hockey players to be represented by agents who had met certain criteria. College baseball players were granted agent representation in 2016.

      Kansas coach Bill Self, who was on the college basketball oversight committee, said it's too soon to know the impact of the changes introduced.

      "Did something need to be done? I think in the eyes of many, certainly something needed to be done," Self told the Kansas City Star. "I am actually one that felt there could be changes that could be positive. I also think that's the way it is with everything when you are dealing with the NCAA. Very rarely do you find anything 100 percent exactly the way you would personally see it and you could always tweak it. I did think some changes could be made that could be very positive for our game."

      The NCAA said it focused on set initiatives but plans to continue negotiating with the NBA and USA Basketball to fully define additional legislation, which could include eliminating the NBA's "one-and-done" rule requiring players to be at least one year out of high school before joining the pro league.

      Changes for incoming recruits are afoot, as well, including increasing the number of permissible campus visits for recruits to 15 from five.

      Per a joint statement Wednesday afternoon from NCAA president Mark Emmert, NCAA Board of Governors chair and Georgia Tech president G.P. Peterson, and Eric Kaler, Division I Board of Directors chair and University of Minnesota president:

      "The changes we approved will:

      --Provide college basketball players more freedom and flexibility to decide their future.

      --Minimize the leverage of outside influences on high school recruits and college athletes.

      --Add fresh perspective and independent judgment to NCAA decision-making at the highest level of policymaking and in investigations and case resolution.

      --Strengthen accountability and deter future rule-breaking with harsher penalties for those who break the rules."

      With regard to agents and accepting payments, including travel and expenses, the NCAA plans to make a major change to approve certain financial coverage by agents.

      If the Uniform Athlete Agents Act and state laws match up, meals and transportation for players and their families related to the agent selection process would be NCAA-approved.

      --Field Level Media

  • Rockets' Paul donates $2.5M to Wake Forest basketball
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, August 7, 2018

    Houston Rockies guard Chris Paul is donating a record $2.5 million to the basketball team at his alma mater, Wake Forest, the school announced Tuesday.

    • The donation is the largest ever by a former Wake Forest basketball player or any alumnus under the age of 35, according to the school.

      "Giving back has always been important to my family and me, and Wake Forest is part of my family," Paul said in the school's release. "The recent investments towards improving Wake Forest Athletics are amazing, and now is the time to give back in a meaningful way."

      According to the school, the donation will be used to expand and enhance the men's and women's basketball locker rooms. The men's locker room will be named in Paul's honor.

      "The locker room transformation project inspired me, because that's where players build relationships and create a unifying camaraderie that is the foundation of success on the court. Forming lifelong friendships with your teammates is one of the most rewarding aspects of sports," Paul said.

      The Rockets re-signed Paul to a four-year deal worth a reported $160 million earlier this offseason. The nine-time All-Star averaged 18.6 points, 7.9 assists and 5.4 rebounds in 58 games in his first season with Houston following a trade from the Los Angeles Clippers last summer.

      Paul played two years at Wake Forest before being selected fourth overall in the 2005 NBA Draft.

      --Field Level Media

  • Michigan coach Beilein undergoes heart procedure
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, August 7, 2018

    Michigan men's basketball coach John Beilein underwent a successful, scheduled double bypass heart procedure on Monday, the school announced Tuesday.

    • Beilein's procedure was performed at Michigan's Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center. According to the school, Beilein is scheduled to be released in a few days and expected to be fully active by the start of the 2018-19 season.

      Beilein will miss the Wolverines' exhibition trip to Spain from Aug. 17-26. Assistant coach Saddi Washington will serve as interim head coach for the trip.

      "I feel grateful and blessed that this surgery was performed at the University of Michigan," said Beilein in a statement. "Kathleen (his wife), and our family appreciate all of the world-class care that was provided for us. Dr. Kim Eagle, Dr. Francis Pagani, Dr. Stanley Chetcuti and all of their staffs at the Frankel Cardiovascular Center are so talented and performed like champions over this past week. I am going to work very hard in my rehabilitation to be stronger than ever by the time practice begins for this upcoming season."

      Beilein, 65, is entering his 12th season at Michigan. Last season he led the Wolverines to a program-record 33 wins and a runner-up finish in the NCAA Tournament, as they lost to Villanova in the title game.

      Beilein also led Michigan to the 2013 national title game, which it lost to Louisville.

      Michigan and Beilein reached agreement on a contract extension through the 2022-23 season last month. Beilein has a record 248 wins in his time at the school.

      "We are extremely grateful John's proactive procedure was a success and that he is resting comfortably with Kathleen and his family," stated athletic director Warde Manuel. "... All of us within the Athletic Department cannot wait for John's return."

      --Field Level Media