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  • Tennessee lands top PG in Class of 2021
    By Field Level Media / Friday, August 14, 2020

    The Tennessee Volunteers landed the top point guard in the Class of 2021 when Kennedy Chandler announced his commitment on Friday.

    • Chandler chose the Vols over Duke, Memphis, Kentucky and North Carolina.

      "I want to go where the school felt like it was home," Chandler told ESPN. "I was looking for a program that could help me develop and have a strong family atmosphere, and a coach I could relate to. Tennessee and Rick Barnes made me feel that way."

      The 6-foot-1 Chandler is a Memphis native but will play for Sunrise Christian in Wichita, Kan., for his senior season. He made his announcement on Instagram.

      Chandler is the top point guard and the 11th best recruit overall in the country, according to 247Sports' composite rankings.

      Chandler averaged 22.2 points, 4.3 assists and 2.6 steals for Briarcrest Christian (Tennessee) last season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Gavitt: March Madness will be played in 2021
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, August 13, 2020

    NCAA senior vice president of men's basketball Dan Gavitt insists there will be March Madness in 2021.

    • The popular NCAA Tournament was canceled last season due to the coronavirus pandemic, and COVID-19 remains a threat less than three months before the scheduled start of the 2020-21 college basketball season.

      "We'll be flexible. We'll be nimble and we'll deliver what the country is desperately looking for again and that's just an incredible March Madness tournament in 2021," Gavitt said during a video call.

      Gavitt is aware the virus has to be accounted for in any tournament plans. He sees the NBA and WNBA playing successfully in bubbles in Florida and is confident something can be figured out.

      "While we may not be able to replicate what the NBA and WNBA are doing exactly, we can take and learn from that experience and, if necessary, implement that in a tournament setting. That's what gives me confidence for March Madness," Gavitt told The Athletic.

      "All that being said, that's not our planning right now. Our planning is for a traditional format of the tournament, with the dates and sites as normal. We are going to have a Plan B, C and D, and we are far along in developing all of them. We are hopeful we're not going to get there, but we are prepared."

      The Pac-12 has already decided its clubs won't play basketball this season before the arrival of 2021. Other conferences also could make decisions to push their schedules back.

      NCAA Tournament selection committee chairman Mitch Barnhart said there is a strong hunger right now for college basketball and other sports.

      "The absence of March Madness was absolutely difficult for our country," said Barnhart, the athletic director at Kentucky. "We can laugh -- we can talk about how it really shouldn't be that way, but the reality was that it is something we all rally around.

      "We will absolutely do all we can do -- whatever assets, whatever resources, whatever it takes -- to try and give our young people the chance to play the game they love."

      --Field Level Media

  • Pac-12 cancels non-conference basketball games
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, August 11, 2020

    Pac-12 basketball will not include nonconference games this season, the conference said Tuesday.

    • "We know that this is a difficult day for our student-athletes, and our hearts go out to them and their families," Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. "We have made clear that all of their scholarships will be guaranteed, and that as a conference we are strongly encouraging the NCAA to grant them an additional year of eligibility."

      On the same day the league announced college football season would be postponed until spring, CBS reported athletic directors also opted to push back the start of the college basketball season by eliminating non-conference travel and games.

      No games will be played in 2020, according to Oregon president Michael Schill.

      "All of the Pac-12 presidents and chancellors understand the importance of this decision, and the disappointment it will create for our student-athletes, the coaches, support staff and all of our fans. Ultimately, our decision was guided by science and a deep commitment to the health and welfare of student-athletes. We certainly hope that the Pac-12 will be able to return to competition in the New Year."

      CBS Sports college basketball reporter Jon Rothstein said Tuesday no other Power 5 teams are expediting a decision regarding nonconference basketball games.

      --Field Level Media

  • Top Louisville prospect Hopkins decommits
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, August 9, 2020

    Bryce Hopkins, the top recruit in Louisville's 2021 class, decommitted from the Cardinals on Sunday.

    • The 6-foot-7 forward from suburban Chicago posted "RESPECT MY DECISION" on his Twitter feed after ESPN and other outlets reported the development.

      Hopkins, from Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Ill., is ranked No. 32 in the ESPN 100 and ranked No. 41 nationally by 247 Sports. Both have him as the No. 2 prospect in the state of Illinois in the Class of 2021.

      Hopkins committed to Louisville and coach Chris Mack in November 2019. He also visited Wisconsin, Kansas and Northwestern.

      --Field Level Media

  • Former Florida State C Ojo dies at 27
    By Field Level Media / Friday, August 7, 2020

    Former Florida State center Michael Ojo collapsed and died on Friday. He was 27.

    • Florida State confirmed the passing of Ojo, who was overseas in Belgrade, Serbia. Multiple reports said Ojo collapsed during a individual practice session and could not be resuscitated at a local hospital.

      Eurohoops.net reported that Ojo died of a heart attack.

      The 7-foot-1 Ojo had played three professional seasons in Serbia.

      The news of Ojo's death deeply saddened Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton.

      "In all of my years of coaching, I've never been around a person who captivated the emotions of everybody he came into contact with like Michael," Hamilton said in a statement to the Tallahassee Democrat. "He had to be the most popular person in Tallahassee, and, certainly at Florida State University.

      "Michael Ojo was a wonderful, wonderful human being. He was a great teammate and really represented what the Seminole spirit is all about. He was one of the purest Seminoles that I have ever been around; he will be missed tremendously by the whole Seminole nation."

      Ojo, who was originally from Nigeria, played in 131 games (78 starts) for the Seminoles from 2012-17. He had career averages of 2.7 points and 2.5 rebounds.

      As a senior, he averaged 4.9 points and 3.2 rebounds in 35 games (34 starts).

      --Field Level Media

  • Former Purdue G Eastern transferring to Howard
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, August 6, 2020

    Former Purdue starter Nojel Eastern announced Thursday he is transferring to Howard.

    • "For the culture," he posted on Twitter, along with the hashtags WhyNot, HBCU and COMMITTED and an image of himself in a No. 20 Howard jersey.

      The 6-foot-7 wing played 104 games with the Boilermakers over the last three seasons, including 62 starts. He averaged 7.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in 2018-19 and 4.9 points and 4.0 rebounds in 2019-20.

      Eastern would likely need an NCAA waiver to be eligible to play this season at Howard, a historically Black college located in Washington, D.C., that competes in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

      The Bison, who went 4-29 in their first season under coach Kenneth Blakeney in 2019-20, made headlines earlier this summer when five-star recruit Makur Maker committed to the program.

      --Field Level Media

  • UCLA's Smith withdraws from NBA draft
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, August 4, 2020

    UCLA forward Chris Smith said Monday that he withdrew his name from the NBA draft and will return for his senior season.

    • The 6-foot-9 Smith averaged a team-best 13.1 points while being named the Pacific-12's Most Improved Player of the Year for the 2019-20 season. He also averaged 5.4 rebounds and had 31 steals while earning first-team all-conference honors.

      "I'm returning for my senior year, because I'd really like to finish what I've started at UCLA," Smith said in his announcement on Twitter. "We have some unfinished business and I want one last run with my teammates and coaches.

      "These guys mean the world to me. It's also very important to me to finish up strong in the classroom and earn my degree."

      The uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic played a part in the decision, Smith's father, Sean, told the Los Angeles Times. The outbreak led to the cancellation of workouts and the draft being pushed back until Oct. 16.

      --Field Level Media

  • Kispert withdraws from NBA Draft, returning to Gonzaga
    By Field Level Media / Monday, August 3, 2020

    Gonzaga standout Corey Kispert has decided to forego the 2020 NBA Draft and return to Gonzaga.

    • Kispert made the announcement on Twitter via a 36-second video with an overlay that read, "I'm back."

      Kispert made himself eligible for the draft in April but didn't hire an agent, leaving open his return to the Zags.

      The 6-foot-7 averaged 13.9 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists as a junior, scoring at least 20 points in five games and earning first-team all-West Coast Conference honors. The Edmonds, Wash., product scored 12 points as Gonzaga beat Saint Mary's 84-66 in the WCC final on March 10, but the NCAA Tournament was canceled later that week due to the coronavirus pandemic.

      Gonzaga finished the season 31-2, ranked second in the nation behind Kansas in the season-ending Associated Press poll.

      --Field Level Media

  • Iowa standout Garza returning for senior season
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, August 2, 2020

    All-American Luka Garza of Iowa is withdrawing from the 2020 NBA Draft and returning to school for his senior season.

    • He made the announcement on Sunday, the day before the deadline to withdraw, in a statement posted on the Hawkeyes basketball Twitter account.

      "My heart is in Iowa City. I love this place too much to leave it," he said. "I love my teammates, coaches, community, fans, and university. I don't care how many games we are able to play. I want to be here and wear IOWA across my chest one more time. It would have been too hard to close the book without the last chapter. I have decided to return to the University of Iowa for my senior season."

      He added a video to his own Twitter account, a parody of the scene from the 2013 film "The Wolf of Wall Street," where the character played by Leonardo DiCaprio tells his office, loudly and profanely, "I'm not leaving!"

      A 6-foot-11 center, Garza was the Big Ten Player of the Year and a unanimous first-team All-American as a junior in 2019-20. He was a runner-up to Obi Toppin of Dayton for both the Naismith Award and the Associated Press National Player of the Year and will enter the 2020-21 season as a favorite for both.

      When announcing his intentions to explore the draft in April, Garza said he was keeping open the option of returning to the Hawkeyes.

      Garza was the only player in the nation last season to register at least 700 points, 300 rebounds, 50 blocked shots and 30 3-pointers. He averaged 23.9 points, 9.8 boards and 1.8 blocks in 31 starts.

      --Field Level Media

  • New Mexico recruit White killed in shooting
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, August 1, 2020

    J.B. White, an ESPN Top 100 recruit who had committed to New Mexico, was shot and killed Saturday morning in Santa Fe, N.M., according to police.

    • The 6-foot-8 forward from Santa Fe High School was 18 years old.

      "We are deeply saddened by the tragic news of the passing of JB White," the New Mexico Lobos basketball program posted on Twitter. "He was an extremely talented student-athlete and we were looking forward to him joining the Lobo Family. He was an amazing young man with a bright future, our thoughts and hearts go out to his family & friends."

      The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office said officers responded to a 911 call about a shooting at a residence at about 3:30 a.m. local time.

      "(White) was the victim of the shooting," sheriff's office spokesman Juan Rios told ESPN. "He passed away as a result of his injuries at the residence."

      Rios it was a "very active investigation" and police are seeking information from the public.

      White was ranked No. 100 in the ESPN Top 100 for the Class of 2021. He reportedly planned to graduate a year early and enroll at New Mexico during the upcoming season.

      White was ranked as a four-star recruit by the 247Sports Composite, ranked No. 1 overall in the state of New Mexico and the No. 15 small forward nationally.

      --Field Level Media

  • Virginia F Huff to withdraw from NBA draft
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, August 1, 2020

    Virginia big man Jay Huff announced Saturday he will return to the Cavaliers for his senior season and withdraw from the 2020 NBA Draft.

    • In a lengthy Instagram post, the 7-foot-1 forward toyed with his followers at first, his words leading them to think he would sacrifice his final year of eligibility to turn pro.

      "As many of you know I've been testing the NBA waters, and the process has been interesting. While there have been no in-person workouts, the many interviews that I've done have been very positive. I truly think I have a future at the next level."

      He continued.

      "Between lots of prayer with my family and those close to me, I've made a decision I'm at peace with," Huff said. "So in the words of Michael Jordan, ‘I'M BACK.' Can't with for one more year in Charlottesville."

      With the NCAA Tournament canceled in March in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, no national champion was declared. So Huff will be returning to help the Cavaliers defend the title they won following the 2018-19 season, in which they finished 35-3.

      Monday is the deadline to withdraw from the draft and still retain NCAA eligibility.

      Last season, Huff started 18 of 30 games and averaged his career highs in points (8.5), rebounds (6.2) and blocks (2.0). He shot 57.1 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from 3-point range.

      In a 52-50 victory over Duke on Feb. 29, he blocked a career-high 10 shots.

      --Field Level Media

  • South Carolina G Lawson withdraws from NBA draft
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, July 29, 2020

    South Carolina guard AJ Lawson pulled out of the NBA draft on Wednesday and will return for his junior season.

    • Lawson led the Gamecocks with a 13.4-point scoring average last season. He also averaged 3.7 rebounds and made a team-high 57 3-pointers while starting all 31 games.

      "I'm happy to announce that I am withdrawing my name from the NBA Draft and returning to school for my junior season as a Gamecock!" Lawson said in a statement. "I want to thank all of the (NBA) teams that gave me the opportunity to speak with them over the last couple of months, and I'm excited to be back in Columbia and ready to get to work for the season ahead."

      South Carolina coach Frank Martin was pleased to hear the news regarding Lawson, who recorded six 20-point outings last season.

      "I'm so excited to get the opportunity to coach AJ Lawson for another year," Martin said in a statement. "His growth over the last two years has been tremendous and who he is as a teammate along with his talent will continue to help our team achieve great things."

      Lawson, a Toronto native, averaged 13.4 points as a freshman in 2018-19.

      --Field Level Media

  • Former Illinois, NMSU coach Henson dies at 88
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, July 29, 2020

    Former Illinois and New Mexico State coach Lou Henson has died at age 88.

    • The Illinois athletic department announced Henson's death on Wednesday, citing the Henson family saying he died Saturday at his home in Champaign, Ill.

      "Our Orange and Blue hearts are heavy," Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman said in a statement. "We have lost an Illini icon. We have lost a role model, a friend, and a leader. We have lost our coach. Coach Henson may be gone, but the memories he provided us, and the legacy he created, will last forever. He was responsible for almost 800 wins in the record book and countless Fighting Illini moments frozen in time, but Coach Henson's true measure will be felt in the lives he touched -- the lives of his former players, people on this campus, and friends in our broader community.

      "We are all better for whatever time we were privileged to spend with Coach Lou, whether it was five minutes or 50 years."

      Henson is the all-time leader in victories at both Illinois (423) and New Mexico State (289) and led both schools to the Final Four -- the Fighting Illini in 1989 and the Aggies in 1970.

      Henson, who was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015, had a 779-412 overall record, according to the NCAA. His coaching stops included a four-season stint at Hardin-Simmons (1962-66), two stops at New Mexico State -- from 1966 to 1975 and 1997 to 2005 -- and at Illinois from 1975 to 1996.

      His official victory total doesn't include 18 wins at New Mexico State for the 1997-98 season after he filled in when coach Neil McCarthy was reassigned in the wake of NCAA allegations.

      Illinois and New Mexico State both named their courts after Henson. The only other coach with that distinction is legendary John Wooden (UCLA and Indiana State).

      Henson guided Illinois to 12 NCAA Tournament appearances and led New Mexico State to seven NCAA berths.

      "Aggie Nation's hearts are heavy today," New Mexico State athletic director Mario Moccia said in a statement. "We have lost an Aggie icon. Coach Henson may be gone, but the memories he provided us with and the legacy he created will last forever. He was responsible for almost 800 wins in the record book and the most memorable event in our university's history of athletics: the trip to the 1970 Final Four.

      "Coach Henson's legacy was equally felt off the court in the lives he touched -- those of his former players, people on this campus, and friends in Las Cruces and around the state of New Mexico. We are all better for whatever time we were privileged to spend with Lou."

      --Field Level Media

  • Positive tests shut down Iowa basketball
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, July 28, 2020

    Iowa paused men's basketball workouts for 14 days after two student-athletes tested positive for COVID-19.

    • The Hawkeyes announced the decision Tuesday. As of Tuesday morning, the state of Iowa had 42,738 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

      The university had reported on Monday that there was only one positive and 19 negative COVID-19 tests in the athletic department.

      The Big Ten is permitting basketball workouts on a voluntary basis.

      Last week, Michigan State halted football workouts. The Spartans became the fourth program to shut down voluntary practices in the conference, joining Indiana, Ohio State and Maryland.

      Michigan State players were told to quarantine for two weeks. The quarantine is expected to last until Aug. 4, with fall camp tentatively set to begin Aug. 7.

      --Field Level Media

  • Five-star center Boakye commits to Michigan State
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, July 28, 2020

    Michigan State landed another five-star recruit in 6-foot-10 Canadian center Enoch Boakye.

    • Head coach Tom Izzo's recent recruiting haul for the Spartans is one of the best in the program's history.

      Boakye is the top-ranked recruit in Canada and was 22nd on 247Sports' list of 2022 college basketball recruits.

      A self-described "old school center," Boakye became a big name on the recruiting trail with his performance at the FIBA U16 Americas. Canada finished runner-up.

      Texas Tech was the runner-up to Michigan State in Boakye's recruitment, according to Rivals. He also considered Arizona, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and UCLA.

      Boakye could reclassify to 2021, and his AAU coach said the junior plans to do just that.

      Boakye said Izzo's first recruiting trip to Canada in 20 years was a significant gesture that made him believe he was essential to the program.

      Emoni Bates, the top-ranked American basketball player in the country, committed to the Spartans last month. Izzo also got a commitment from the No. 1-ranked shooting guard in the 2021 class, Max Christie.

      Another four-star guard, Pierre Brooks, committed to the Spartans in April. He's planning to enroll in 2021.

      Boakye, like Bates, is part of the high school class of 2022. Both players are hoping to be in East Lansing for the 2021 season.

      --Field Level Media

  • UCLA lands Watson, California's top basketball recruit
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, July 28, 2020

    Peyton Watson, a 6-foot-7 wing from Long Beach Polytechnic High School who is rated the top basketball recruit in California, committed to UCLA on Monday.

    • He made the announcement on his Twitter account, writing "On A Mission Tryna Shift The Culture" above a photo with the embedded caption "UCLA Committed"

      ESPN and 247Sports both listed him atop their California player rankings for the 2021 class. ESPN has him at No. 25 overall, and 247Sports has him at No. 8.

      Among the other schools that reportedly were on Watson's short list were Gonzaga, Washington, Arizona, Michigan, Oregon and Southern California.

      "I'm the No. 1 player in California, and I feel like UCLA is the original blue blood," Watson told ESPN. "It's hard to pass up an amazing school where my parents can see me play and have the support of my community behind me. ...

      "I think I can make a huge impact immediately with my versatility and skill set. My goal is to lead UCLA to a national championship."

      Watson is the second top recruit for coach Mick Cronin in the upcoming class, joining four-star shooting guard Will McClendon from Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas.

      According to ESPN, Watson produced 23.5 points, 10 rebounds and four assists per game last season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Xavier lands Belmont transfer Kunkel
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, July 25, 2020

    Belmont guard Adam Kunkel announced Saturday he will be joining Xavier, just four days after entering the transfer portal.

    • Kunkel, who played two seasons at Belmont, made the announcement on Twitter in a 35-second video set to music. Kunkel chose Xavier over a group that included Arkansas, Oklahoma and Creighton.

      The 6-foot-3 Kentucky native enjoyed a breakout season as a sophomore with the Bruins of the Ohio Valley Conference, averaging 16.5 points in 33 games (all starts) last season. Kunkel averaged 2.3 points per game in 25 games as a freshman at Belmont.

      The decision was a quick one for Kunkel, who took to Twitter on Tuesday to say that he had entered the transfer protocol, posting, "Belmont will always have a special place in my heart, but I've been faced with a difficult decision to make."

      Kunkel will have to sit out the 2020-21 season but has two years of eligibility remaining.

      --Field Level Media

  • Ex-Wake Forest assistant coach gets probation for deadly punch
    By Field Level Media / Friday, July 24, 2020

    Former Wake Forest assistant basketball coach Jamill Jones received a sentence of probation and community service on Thursday, two years after his punch to the head killed a man in New York.

    • Jones, 37, was ordered to complete three years of probation and 1,500 hours of community service. He also was fined $1,000.

      The punishment was levied after Jones was found guilty in February of third-degree assault in the Aug. 5, 2018, incident that killed Sandor Szabo of Boca Raton, Fla.

      According to prosecutors, Szabo knocked on Jones' car window late at night, possibly as he was looking for his ride-share vehicle.

      Jones reportedly exited his car and punched Szabo in the face. Szabo fell back, struck his head on the concrete and fell unconscious. He was hospitalized and died two days later.

      Queens (N.Y.) district attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement, "This was a tragic incident that ended the life of a man and devastated his family, a violent run-in that should never have happened. Violence is never the answer to settling a dispute."

      Szabo's mother, Donna Kent, said in a statement regarding Queens Criminal Court Judge Joanne Watters' sentencing, according to the Post, "Judge Watters had an opportunity to send a powerful message to society -- but instead delivered a weak-willed message that repentance alone is enough to prevent justice."

      She said the family might pursue civil action against Jones, adding, "(We) believe it will do what the criminal court was too afraid to do: punish Jamill C. Jones for taking the life of our beloved Sandor."

      Eric Renfroe, one of Jones' attorneys, told the New York Post, "We're very sorry to the Szabo family and happy with the judge's sentence. (Jones is) a good person and we're sure he's going to continue to do good in his life."

      --Field Level Media

  • Kentucky faculty group asks for Rupp Arena to be renamed
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, July 23, 2020

    The name of one of the most iconic venues in college basketball is facing a challenge.

    • The faculty of the University of Kentucky's African-American and Africana Studies Department issued a call for change at the Lexington, Ky., school on Thursday, and among the 10 items requested is renaming Rupp Arena.

      The group wrote in its letter to university president Eli Capilouto, "The Adolph Rupp name has come to stand for racism and exclusion in UK athletics and alienates Black students, fans, and attendees. The rebuilding of the arena and the convention center offer an opportunity to change the name to a far more inclusive one, such as Wildcat Arena.

      "In addition, the University should survey all campus buildings and remove all names of enslavers, Confederate sympathizers (such as William C.P. Breckinridge), and other white supremacists."

      Other requests in the letter included increasing the amount of Black faculty members, appointing more Black faculty members to leadership positions, and requiring undergraduates to take a course on race and inequality.

      The university replied in a statement, "The faculty and students who have expressed these concerns are deeply valued members of our community. We thank them for their continued passion and commitment to advancing equity at UK. Senior officials have been meeting and corresponding with them to address their specific concerns, which speak forcefully to the systemic and institutional racism that we must thoughtfully and urgently address as a campus."

      The call to change the name of Rupp Arena comes as the building and its adjoining convention center are undergoing a $275 million renovation. Earlier this year, the basketball venue was officially renamed Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center, with the bank paying $1.5 million annually for 14 years to put its name on the building.

      Rupp Arena has housed Kentucky basketball since it was completed in November 1976. One year later, Adolph Rupp died at age 76.

      Rupp coached the Wildcats from 1930-31 to 1971-72, leading the team to four national championships. He finished with an 876--190 career record in a career that led to his induction in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1969 and the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

      However, he didn't recruit his first Black player until Tom Payne signed with the Wildcats in June 1969. Back in 1966, Kentucky's all-white lineup lost the NCAA championship game 72-65 to the all-Black lineup of Texas Western (now known as Texas El Paso).

      --Field Level Media

  • Petrusev leaves Gonzaga, signs with Serbian pro team
    By Field Level Media / Monday, July 20, 2020

    Filip Petrusev confirmed he won't return to Gonzaga this fall, instead signing a contract with Mega Bemax in his native Serbia.

    • "New Beginnings," he tweeted Monday. "Can't wait."

      Mega Bemax is based in Petrusev's hometown of Belgrade.

      In the 2019-20 season, Petrusev was a key contributor for the Bulldogs, who were 31-2 on the season and 15-1 in West Coast Conference play. Gonzaga likely would have been a No. 1 seed had the NCAA Tournament been played.

      Petrusev, 20, also remains entered in the NBA draft and has until Oct. 6 to withdraw.

      The 6-foot-11 Petrusev played two seasons at Gonzaga. As a sophomore, he was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year after leading the Bulldogs in scoring (17.5 points) and rebounds (7.9).

      As a member of Serbia's U18 team, he won two gold medals at EuroBasket.

      Drew Timme and Oumar Ballo, both talented 6-foot-10 players, are expected to replace Petrusev.

      --Field Level Media

  • Michigan F Livers withdraws from NBA draft
    By Field Level Media / Friday, July 17, 2020

    Michigan forward Isaiah Livers announced Friday that he is pulling out of the NBA draft and returning for his senior season.

    • Livers had until Aug. 3 to make a decision, but as team workouts remain on hold with the NBA season about to restart, he saw no reason to wait any longer.

      "What a crazy couple of months," Livers said in a news release. "However, I have learned a great deal from this process, and I'm extremely excited to return to Ann Arbor. My family and I are so appreciative of Coach (Juwan) Howard and all the staff for letting us really explore my dream of playing in the NBA.

      "While it was a limited process due to COVID-19, I want to thank all the NBA teams who took the time to talk to me. The information I gathered is going to be invaluable moving forward. But now, we have unfinished business in Ann Arbor. I cannot wait to do everything I can and help lead this team to great things."

      Howard, who played 19 NBA seasons, was excited to learn of Livers' decision.

      "It was a great afternoon when Isaiah stopped into my office and told us he would be returning," Howard said in a statement. "The opportunity for Isaiah, and his family, to take a deep dive and learn as much as they could about professional basketball is a blessing. Now, he has even more information to know what he needs to do to reach that next level and fulfill his dreams. For us, we not only get a skilled and experienced veteran back, we get a true leader and one of the best young men I have met."

      The 6-foot-7 Livers averaged 12.9 points and 4.0 rebounds last season but was limited to just 21 games due to a groin injury. He shot 44.7 percent from the field -- including 40.2 percent from 3-point range -- and a sparkling 95.7 percent from the free-throw line.

      Livers, who turns 22 on July 28, has career averages of 7.1 points and 3.3 rebounds in 96 games (46 starts) for Michigan.

      --Field Level Media

  • Coaches: Remove SAT/ACT scores from eligibility process
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, July 16, 2020

    College basketball coaches on Thursday called for the permanent removal of SAT and ACT scores from the NCAA's initial eligibility standards, labeling the tests as "longstanding forces of institutional racism."

    • The proposal came from the National Association of Basketball Coaches' Committee on Racial Reconciliation, co-chaired by Harvard's Tommy Amaker and South Carolina's Frank Martin. The committee was formed earlier this summer to address racism and social justice issues.

      "The NABC Committee on Racial Reconciliation believes that the SAT and ACT are longstanding forces of institutional racism and no longer have a place in intercollegiate athletics or higher education at large," Amaker and Martin said in a prepared statement. "This is an important step towards combating educational inequality in our country."

      In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA Eligibility Center in April waived the standardized test score requirement for incoming freshmen in Division I and Division II for the 2020-21 academic year.

      Under normal operations, the NCAA uses a sliding scale for Division I athletes seeking eligibility. A lower score on the SAT or ACT must be balanced by a higher grade-point average in core courses, and vice versa.

      "We feel it is prudent for college athletics to address a standardized test structure that has long had disproportionately-negative impacts on low-income and minority students," NABC executive director Craig Robinson said in a statement.

      --Field Level Media

  • Top recruit Cisse picks Memphis over five others
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, July 15, 2020

    Top high-school basketball recruit Moussa Cisse announced Wednesday that he will play for the Memphis Tigers.

    • The 6-foot-10 power forward, who attended Lausanne Collegiate School in Memphis during the past academic year, was the No. 9 overall prospect in the 247Sports composite rankings and the No. 24-rated prospect by ESPN. He reclassified from the 2021 class in order to be eligible for the upcoming season.

      "Coach Penny Hardaway is a legend and can help me develop my game and take it to the next level," Cisse told ESPN. "He has a lot of influence in the league. I've been in Memphis for a year now and everyone is telling me to stay.

      "With all this stuff we're facing with the pandemic, I didn't get to go visit any other schools except Florida State. I'm getting a lot of love from the fans."

      Cisse had also considered Kentucky, LSU, Florida State, Georgia and Georgetown, before selecting head coach Hardaway's Memphis team. He put off a decision in June out of respect for the Black Lives Matter movement.

      A native of Guinea in West Africa, Cisse moved to the United States in late 2016 and attended schools in New Jersey and New York before moving to Memphis last summer.

      He told ESPN he is aiming to spend one year in college before jumping to the NBA.

      --Field Level Media

  • Standout SG Love commits to Baylor
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, July 15, 2020

    Langston Love, a top shooting guard in the Class of 2021, committed to Baylor on Wednesday.

    • He made the announcement on Twitter, posting the words "God is great! #Committed" along with a video. The short clip showed him working out in the gym, and as he walks outside, he is wearing a dark green shirt with Baylor written across the chest.

      The 6-foot-4 Love, a four-star prospect, had offers from a number of Power Five conference schools, including Texas Tech, UCLA and Stanford, as well as powerhouse Villanova.

      "The reason I chose Baylor is because it is a Christian school, with high-caliber academics," Love told ESPN. "I also have developed a great relationship with the coaching staff and I'm impressed with the way they develop their guards."

      A native of Texas, Love plays at Montverde Academy in Florida. The 247Sports composite lists him as the nation's No. 4 shooting guard and the No. 26 prospect in his class. The ESPN 100 ranks him at No. 22 overall and the No. 5 player at his position.

      "Baylor was the first school that gave me a chance to pursue my goal of playing at the next level," Love said. "They offered me a scholarship even though I was under the radar. They were the first to have faith and believe in me."

      Love likely was under the radar because his high school teammates overshadowed him. Last season, he played behind Cade Cunningham, who is heading to Oklahoma State, and Scottie Barnes (Florida State) -- both ranked in the top six players by the ESPN 100 and 247Sports.

      Coach Scott Drew's Bears finished last season at 26-4. Baylor spent five weeks ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll and finished No. 5.

      --Field Level Media

  • All-American Garza to make draft decision Aug. 2
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, July 14, 2020

    All-American Luka Garza of Iowa will make his decision about the 2020 NBA Draft on Aug. 2, 247Sports.com reported Tuesday.

    • The deadline for players to withdraw from the draft is Aug. 3.

      A 6-foot-11 center, Garza was the Big Ten Player of the Year and a unanimous first-team All-American as a junior in 2019-20.

      When announcing his intentions to explore the draft back in April, Garza said he was keeping open the option of returning to the Hawkeyes.

      Garza was the only player in the nation last season to register at least 700 points, 300 rebounds, 50 blocked shots and 30 3-pointers. He averaged 23.9 points, 9.8 boards and 1.8 blocks in 31 starts.

      --Field Level Media