Reports: UConn on verge of rejoining Big East
The University of Connecticut's basketball programs could rejoin the Big East Conference as early as the 2020-21 season, multiple outlets reported Saturday.The Huskies joined the American Athletic Conference in 2013 after more than three decades in the Big East (1979-2013).Boston-based Digital Sports Desk first reported the news, which was confirmed by the Hartford Courant.The fate of the Huskies' struggling football program remains unclear, as the Big East has not sponsored the sport since 2012.
Arizona signee Armstrong to skip college, turn pro
Arizona signee Terry Armstrong will skip college and instead pursue professional options, according to multiple reports Wednesday.Armstrong, from Scottsdale (Ariz.) Bella Vista Prep, was a four-star recruit and the No. 7 shooting guard in the nation, as ranked by the 247Sports composite.He is the fourth player in the Class of 2019 to bypass college and turn pro.
Vitale to stay with ESPN through at least 2021-22
Dick Vitale has agreed to a contract extension with ESPN that will keep the octogenarian on college basketball broadcasts through the 2021-22 season.Front Office Sports was the first to report the deal but did not reveal contract terms.Vitale, 80, was on the microphone during ESPN's first college basketball telecast in December 1979. Last month, he was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sports Emmy Awards.Vitale, known for his enthusiastic calls and his signature phrases -- "He's a diaper dandy!" -- told Front Office Sports that he can see himself calling games until he's 100."I'll be able to tell when the time comes. If I feel like it's not there, I will just tell them," Vitale said of retirement. "I would not try to embarrass them, I would not try to embarrass my family and most of all I would not embarrass myself. But I feel as young as ever. I feel like 20, I act about 12. Then reality sets in when I look at the mirror. At my age, it can happen overnight. Bottom line? I feel really great. I don't feel any different than when I was 45 or 50. I really don't."
Idaho fires Verlin after investigation
The University of Idaho fired men's basketball coach Don Verlin for cause Friday.The school had placed Verlin on administrative leave May 28, the same day the university self-reported three possible violations to the NCAA. A consulting firm found the potential violations after an investigation into the program."As with all personnel matters, we weigh many factors before we make a decision," interim athletic director Pete Isakson said in a release. "These are not easy conversations or decisions, but we have a direct responsibility to do what is best for the university."Our fundamental goal in U of I athletics is that each sports program be a source of pride for the Vandal community -- pride in our competition performance, in how we educate our student-athletes and in how we run our department. Foundational to meeting that goal is an absolute commitment to compliance and excellence."Assistant coach Zac Claus will serve as the interim head coach through the 2019-20 season. Kirk Earlywine and Tim Murphy will continue as assistant coaches.
Calipari's new contract at Kentucky: 10 years, $86M
While coach John Calipari isn't ruling out ever talking to other schools about making a career move, the University of Kentucky made clear that it wants him to stick around -- perhaps for the next decade.The school on Thursday announced the terms of its new contract -- 10 years, $86 million -- with Calipari, who has led the school to one NCAA championship amid four Final Four appearances in his 10 seasons on the job.The contract was hammered out earlier this year amid talk that UCLA was wooing Calipari. The Athletic reported that the extent of UCLA's offer spurred Kentucky to offer a long-term, if not a lifetime, contract.According to the Louisville Courier Journal, Calipari will make $8 million each of the next two seasons, $8.5 million annually from July 2021 to June 2025, then $9 million annually from July 2025 to June 2029.Calipari, who has a 708-209 record in 27 seasons, including eight years at Massachusetts and nine at Memphis before leaving for Kentucky, said his current employer made it quite clear that it wanted to make a commitment."The university talked to me, most of the year. 'We want you to be here the rest of your career. How do we do this? What do we do? Let's sit down and talk.' And that was ongoing," Calipari told reporters at a news conference on Thursday.When asked about the offer from UCLA, Calipari said he gets "calls every year from different people, and you know why I'll talk? At the end of the day, I may be able to help somebody else. If I know that I can help somebody else who's helping assistants, I'll do that. But I'll listen to people talk to me. I owe that to the profession, to myself. To say, 'I'll never talk to somebody,' ... some of these people that I talk to I've been on committees with. I know the guy really well or I know who this person is."The new contract does not require Calipari to buy his way out should he decide to leave, but he is required to tell the school about other employment opportunities before he begins talks elsewhere.
Wichita State F Allen accused of domestic violence
Wichita State forward Teddy Allen was arrested and booked on suspicion of domestic violence, theft and criminal damage to property.He was taken into custody early Thursday after a woman - identified only as a woman in her 20s - accused Allen of battering her. He was booked into Sedgwick County Jail in Wichita and later released on bond."We are aware of the situation regarding men's basketball student-athlete Teddy Allen and are gathering additional details in order to gain a broader understanding of the situation," school athletic director Darron Boatright said in a statement. "We will have no further comment at this time."Allen, 21, transferred from West Virginia a year ago and sat out the 2018-19 season after the NCAA declined his request to play immediately.
Michigan State named 2020 title favorite
Now that draft chips have been played, Michigan State is viewed as the favorite to win the 2020 national championship according to Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.Michigan State stands as the 8-1 betting favorite to be the last team standing in college basketball next season, only a step ahead of Kentucky (10-1) and Duke (10-1).The Blue Devils are projected to lose three starters -- Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish -- in the 2019 NBA Draft lottery.All-American point guard Cassius Winston, the Big Ten Player of the Year, pulled out of the draft and is back as the leader of the Spartans for head coach Tom Izzo.Down a peg are defending champions Virginia -- losing guards Ty Jerome, Kyle Guy and forward De'Andre Hunter -- and Gonzaga, teams that lost key players to the draft since the initial season-ending championship odds were released.Gonzaga subtracted Brandon Clarke and Rui Hachimura, and was bumped down from 12-1 to 20-1 odds.
Kansas adds 3-point threat in ex-Iowa G Moss
The Kansas Jayhawks added Iowa transfer guard Isaiah Moss on Monday.Moss started 96 of his 102 games at Iowa, averaging 8.9 points and shooting 39.1 percent from 3-point range (126 of 322) in his three seasons with the Hawkeyes.The 6-foot-5 Moss will be immediately eligible at Kansas."We've obviously been looking for shooting throughout this recruiting period and we feel like we have addressed some of those needs with Isaiah's addition," Jayhawks coach Bill Self said in a release."When Isaiah is on the court, he's going to be a guy that could be a 40-45 percent 3-point shooter and with the line moving back, I think it's going to be even more important to have somebody who's consistently good from beyond the arc."
D-II player Bledsoe has eligibility restored after draft confusion
Division II player Phil Bledsoe of Glenville State had his college eligibility restored after erroneously using a rule that applies only to Division I players by declaring for the NBA draft and signing with an agent.Bledsoe withdrew from the draft in favor of playing his senior season at Glenville State. The West Virginia school then had to deem him ineligible and file a reinstatement request, which the NCAA accepted, according to a published report.Bledsoe used agent Jerry Dianis during the process. Dianis publicly urged the NCAA not to penalize Bledsoe due to the rule being perceived to be applicable to all college players, not just Division I athletes.
Utah F Tillman skipping 2019-20 to care for mother
Pac-12 Sixth Man of the Year Donnie Tillman will not play for Utah in 2019-20 in order to spend time with his ailing mother.As a sophomore last season, the 6-foot-7 forward averaged 10.5 points and 5.3 rebounds in 31 games (15 starts) for the Utes. He shot 36.1 percent from 3-point range."It is with a heavy heart that I share with Utah fans than I will not be returning to the Utes this fall," he said Friday in a prepared statement. "I have always respected and admired Utah's commitment to academics, athletics and family. The Ute fans have always shown me unwavering support as well."I respect both the university and the fans more now for understanding my wanting to be with my mother at this time as her ongoing health issues continue. Coach (Larry) Krystkowiak believes in putting family first and cannot thank him enough for allowing me to follow in his lead."Tillman's mother, Donna Holmes, has epilepsy.
College basketball notebook: Ex-Ok. St. assistant Evans sentenced
Former Oklahoma State assistant coach Lamont Evans was sentenced Friday to three months in prison for accepting bribes in exchange for convincing college players to pick specific advisers when they turned pro.U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos also said Evans must perform 100 hours of community service and forfeit the $22,000 he took in bribes.Leaving the courtroom, the 41-year-old Evans told reporters, "It's one of the saddest days of my life."Evans previously entered a guilty plea under a deal with prosecutors. He is a Barbados citizen who has lived in the United States since he was 2 and could be deported. Evans was one of four assistant coaches arrested last September in the college basketball corruption scandal.--Guard Seventh Woods announced on social media that he will use his final season of eligibility at South Carolina after playing his first three at North Carolina.It's a homecoming for him. He was the 2016 South Carolina Mr. Basketball selection as a high school senior.
Ex-Oklahoma State assistant Evans sentenced to three months
Former Oklahoma State assistant coach Lamont Evans was sentenced Friday to three months in prison for accepting bribes in exchange for convincing college players to pick specific advisers when they turned pro.U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos also said Evans must perform 100 hours of community service and forfeit the $22,000 he took in bribes.Leaving the courtroom, the 41-year-old Evans told reporters, "It's one of the saddest days of my life."Evans previously entered a guilty plea under a deal with prosecutors. He is a Barbados citizen who has lived in the United States since he was 2 and could be deported.Evans was one of four assistant coaches arrested last September in the college basketball corruption scandal.
Woods transfers to South Carolina
Guard Seventh Woods announced Friday that he will use his final season of eligibility at South Carolina after playing his first three at North Carolina.Woods declared that he was joining the Gamecocks on his Instagram account.It's a homecoming for him. He was the 2016 South Carolina Mr. Basketball selection as a high school senior.At North Carolina, he averaged just 1.8 points in 94 games with the Tar Heels. He averaged 2.5 points and 2.1 assists in 34 games last season.
Brown transfers from Nevada to Arizona
Nevada big man Jordan Brown announced Friday that he has selected Arizona as his next destination.The 6-foot-11 Brown will have to sit out next season to meet transfer regulations before having three seasons of eligibility remaining."I want to begin by thanking the city of Reno for filling Lawlor (Events Center) every night and making it a great atmosphere for my first year of college," Brown wrote in a note posted on Twitter. "The love and support you showed us was something I'll never forget... but with that being said, I would like to announce that I will be continuing my college career at the University of Arizona."Brown was a McDonald's All-American in high school and chose Nevada over Arizona and California.
Ex-Arizona assistant Richardson sentenced to prison
Former Arizona assistant Emanuel "Book" Richardson was sentenced to three months in prison and two years of probation on Thursday for his role in the college basketball corruption scandal.He had already entered a plea agreement, pleading guilty to a federal bribery charge.Prosecutors said Richardson had accepted $20,000 to influence Wildcats players to sign with aspiring agent Christian Dawkins, who has been convicted on bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery charges.U.S. District Court judge Edgardo Ramos talked about the impact Richardson's action had on the Arizona program."I do believe that the University of Arizona was victimized by the crime," Ramos said. "It caused several athletes to decommit from the university [which led to] an additional [NCAA] investigation that may have some implications for the university."Richardson was arrested in September 2017, placed on leave and eventually fired.
Report: Martin Jr. to skip college, pursue pro career
Kenyon Martin Jr. has decided to pursue professional basketball instead of playing at Vanderbilt.Martin, whose father, Kenyon Martin Sr., played 15 seasons in the NBA, was expected to arrive on campus at Vanderbilt this week.The younger Martin played his high school basketball at Sierra Canyon School in Chatsworth, Calif, alongside the son of another NBA player, Scottie Pippen Jr. The younger Pippen also committed to Vanderbilt and arrived on campus this week.In his senior season at Sierra Canyon, Martin averaged 16.7 points and 9.8 rebounds.The 6-foot-6 Martin is ranked as a three-star prospect and the 47th-best power forward in the nation on the 247Sports composite.
NCAA moves 3-point arc back to international distance
The NCAA men's basketball 3-point arc will be moved back to the international regulation of 22 feet, 1 3/4 inches in the 2019-20 season, after a proposal was passed by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel on Wednesday.The previous distance had been in place since 2008-2009. Before that time, the 3-point arc was at 19 feet, 9 inches.Colorado coach Tad Boyle, chair of the Basketball Rules Committee, said in a statement when submitting the proposal in May that the move was necessary to open up spacing on the floor."After gathering information over the last two seasons, we feel it's time to make the change," Boyle said. "Freedom of movement in the game remains important, and we feel this will open up the game. We believe this will remove some of the congestion on the way to the basket."While teams averaged slightly more shots per game from behind the 3-point arc in the 2019 NIT Tournament, the field-goal percentage of 33 percent was down slightly from the 35.2 percent from the regular season. The 35.2 percent figure from the regular season matched the highest average in the country since 2007-08, which led to the 2008-09 change.The panel also approved four other proposals:
Ex-USC assistant Bland avoids jail in corruption case
Former Southern California assistant coach Tony Bland was sentenced to two years' probation and 100 hours of community service Wednesday for his role in the college basketball corruption scandal.Bland had entered a guilty plea to a felony count of conspiracy to commit bribery, admitting to accepting $4,100.Prosecutors had sought a prison sentence of up to one year, but U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos instead agreed to the request for probation made by Bland's attorneys.Bland admitted to taking the bribe in exchange for steering USC players to hire a specific management company as professionals.He was arrested in September 2017, placed on leave and eventually fired.
Ex-Syracuse basketball, NBA star Gabor dies at 97
Former Syracuse University and NBA standout Billy Gabor, known as "The Bullet" during his playing days, died Tuesday at age 97.Gabor's son Bill confirmed the news, saying that his father had a brief battle with pneumonia before his death. Believed to be the oldest living former NBA player, Gabor had lived in Jupiter, Fla., for the past several years, and he turned 97 on May 13.He played college basketball at Syracuse from 1942-48, his career there interrupted by World War II when he served in the U.S. Air Force.Called "The Bullet" because of his remarkable speed, the 5-foot-11 guard-forward played six years in the NBA with the Syracuse Nationals, and averaged 9.8 points game. He was a member of the NBA's All-Rookie team following the 1949-50 season, the All-Star team in 1953 and the Nationals' NBA championship team in 1955.His No. 17 at Syracuse University was retired in 2009. He was the school's all-time leading scorer with 1,344 points until Dave Bing surpassed the mark in 1966.
Ex-St. Joe's coach Martelli joins Howard at Michigan
Phil Martelli, who was fired in March after 24 years as the head coach at Saint Joseph's, has a new gig as an assistant to Juwan Howard at Michigan.Martelli, in part, tweeted "THE NEXT CHAPTER !!! @umichbball" after multiple reports Monday indicated he had agreed to a contract.Howard, a first-time head coach who was hired to replace John Beilein, is adding a lot of experience to his coaching staff.Martelli was 444-328 as head coach of the Hawks, including seven NCAA Tournament appearances, the highlight coming in 2004, when point guard Jameer Nelson helped St. Joe's reach the Elite Eight as part of a 30-2 season.Martelli, 64, went 41-55 over the past three seasons, including 14-19 in 2018-19. He served as an assistant with the Hawks for 10 years before hired as head coach in 1995.