Court document alleges Zion's stepdad got $400K loan
A sworn affidavit filed in federal court Thursday alleges Zion Williamson's stepfather solicited and received a $400,000 payment in October 2018, while the basketball star was a student at Duke, multiple outlets reported.The affidavit was filed in Greensboro, N.C. by attorneys for Gina Ford, who is locked in a $100 million lawsuit with Williamson over whether the 20-year-old New Orleans Pelicans violated his contract with Ford when he signed with another agency in April 2019.According to the reports, the affidavit comes from a California man named Donald Kreiss, who says he helped in the financial dealings between Lee Anderson -- Williamson's stepfather -- and Canadian marketing agent Slavko Duric.Among the exhibits attached to motion containing the affidavit is a copy of an agreement dated Dec. 8, 2019, that appears to show both Anderson's and Williamson's signatures, and stating that the pair agreed to pay Duric's Maximum Management Group $500,000 "on or before Jan. 7, 2020" as repayment for a loan given by Duric to the family on Oct. 10, 2018.Williamson's attorney, Jeffrey Klein, denied the allegations in an email to the Charlotte News & Observer."The alleged 'agreements' and driver's license attached to these papers are fraudulent," Klein said in the email, per the News & Observer, "and neither Mr. Williamson nor his family know these individuals nor had any dealings with them. We had previously alerted Ms. Ford's lawyers to both this fact and that we had previously reported the documents to law enforcement as forgeries, but they chose to go ahead with another frivolous filing anyway. This is a desperate and irresponsible attempt to smear Mr. Williamson at the very time he has the opportunity to live his dream of playing professional basketball."Williamson signed with Ford's Miami-based Prime Sports Marketing agency in April 2019. A month later he signed with Creative Artists Agency to represent him in marketing deals and his NBA contract negotiations.
Report: SMU F Mike to remain in NBA draft
SMU forward Isiaha Mike will remain eligible for the NBA draft and bypass what could have been one more season with the Mustangs, according to a report Tuesday from the Dallas Morning News.The 6-foot-8, 215-pound player averaged 14.0 points and 6.3 rebounds last season while shooting 48.1 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from 3-point range. Mike spent the past two seasons at SMU after playing for Duquesne as a freshman in 2016-17.Mike told the Morning News that he has met with the Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets in addition to receiving interest in playing overseas.
Gators G Mann withdraws from NBA draft
Gators guard Tre Mann took to Twitter on Tuesday to announce that has withdrawn from the NBA draft and will return to Florida for his sophomore season."Let's work!" posted Mann, who averaged 5.3 points in 29 games (4 starts) as a freshman for the Gators.The Gators finished 19-12 last season. In addition to Mann, starters Scottie Lewis and Keyontae Johnson both are returning.
Michigan State lands another five-star recruit in Christie
Michigan State landed five-star shooting guard Max Christie one week after the top high school player in the nation, Emoni Bates, said he'd play for Tom Izzo in East Lansing next season.Bates is a five-star point guard projected as a future top pick in the NBA draft.Christie, from Rolling Meadows (Ill.) is the top ranked shooting guard in his class and the No. 12 player in the 2021 class overall, per 247Sports.He made his announcement in an interview with Big Ten Network on Tuesday."My relationship with coach Izzo, I felt like it was great. I felt like it was a place where I was needed and a place that I wanted to go to," Christie said.
Iowa State G Bolton says he left Penn State over racism
Iowa State guard Rasir Bolton said Monday on social media that he left the Penn State program because of racially tinged comments, including one regarding "a noose around my neck," from coach Pat Chambers."A noose; symbolic of lynching, defined as one of the most powerful symbols directed at African Americans invoking the history of lynching, slavery and racial terrorism," Bolton wrote in the statement. "Due to other interactions with Coach, I knew this was no slip of the tongue."He transferred after his freshman season with the Nittany Lions, in which he averaged 11.6 points in 26.9 minutes per game. The NCAA granted a waiver to allow Bolton to play immediately for the Cyclones and he became a key contributor, averaging 14.7 points in 30 games, all starts.In a statement issued later Monday morning, Chambers acknowledged he made inappropriate remarks to Bolton."I've realized the pain my words and ignorance caused Rasir Bolton and his family and I apologize to Rasir and the Bolton family for what I said," Chambers wrote. "I failed to comprehend the experiences of others, and the reference I made was hurtful, insensitive and unacceptable. I cannot apologize enough for what I said, and I will carry that forever."In his lengthy statement, Bolton outlined the steps he and his family took in the aftermath of Chambers' comments. He said he told his academic adviser, confronted Chambers and spoke with officials in the athletic department. His parents drove from their home in Virginia to meet with Chambers and others."During this time, coach Chambers admitted to what he said," Bolton wrote. He said the coach didn't apologize while Bolton was on the team and invoked "subtle repercussions" toward the guard.Bolton's message comes amid rising social activism from student-athletes nationwide in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a Black man, after he was restrained by a white police officer in Minneapolis in May.
Duke hoops to begin practice Aug. 2
Duke basketball workouts will begin Aug. 2 barring changes in the current state and regional health and safety protocol related to the coronavirus.The program announced the date on Tuesday.Duke's regular-season schedule has not been finalized, but tentative dates are set for NCAA men's basketball teams to begin official practices in mid-October.
Report: Coaches push for January start to season, conference schedule
Iona basketball coach Rick Pitino is among the college basketball coaches pushing for the NCAA to delay the start of the 2020-21 season to January.Pitino said Wednesday he would prefer a season that consisted strictly of conference games with the season delayed from its scheduled start in early November until January."Suggestion to the NCAA, push the start of the season back to January and only play league games," Pitino said via Twitter. "Buy some more time for a vaccine and to get things under control. Although I can't wait to be back on the sidelines, the health of my players and staff is what's really important."
Top recruit Bates picks Michigan State
Emoni Bates, considered one of the best high school basketball recruits since LeBron James, announced his commitment to Michigan State on Monday."I don't know what the future may hold, but as I do know right now, I will be committed to Michigan State University," Bates said live on ESPN's SportsCenter."They've been showing love to me since I was in seventh grade. They've been recruiting me hard since then. ... I'm big on loyalty, and they showed me all loyalty, so I've gotta show them love back."He also announced Monday that he will attend a new prep school in Ypsilanti that his father, Elgin, plans to open in the fall.Bates, who turned 16 in late January, is currently a member of the 2022 class. The 6-foot-9, 205-pound forward became the first sophomore ever to be names Gatorade National Player of the Year last year, when he averaged 33.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.3 steals for Lincoln High in Ypsilanti, Mich.It's unclear if Bates will reclassify to join the 2021 class early, or if he will turn professional before ever playing in college. He is on track to graduate after his junior year, but unless rules change, he cannot enter the NBA draft until after he turns 19.
Ole Miss' Hinson to transfer to Iowa State
Junior forward Blake Hinson said he is leaving Ole Miss and transferring to Iowa State.In an interview with The Daytona Beach News-Journal in his home state of Florida, Hinson said the current conflict over the Mississippi state flag, which includes the symbol of the Confederate flag, played a role in his decision."To make a general statement, it was time to go and leave Ole Miss," Hinson told the newspaper. "I'm proud not to represent that flag anymore and to not be associated with anything representing the Confederacy."The NCAA last week banned any championship events, such as baseball and basketball regional tournaments, from being played in any state that has a flag bearing the Confederate symbol. Mississippi is the only such state.
Duke coach Krzyzewski calls for end of systemic racism
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski spoke out Friday in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, saying Americans must address the issue and solve the problem."It is time to end systemic racism and social injustice," Krzyzewski said to conclude a video that lasts 2 minutes, 46 seconds. "It's time. Black Lives Matter."The 73-year-old coach said the country has chosen the easier route for 400 years and closed its eyes to racism.He began his video with a plea for people to say the phrase "Black Lives Matter.""Black Lives Matter. Say it. Can you say it? Black Lives Matter," Krzyzewski said. "We should be saying it every day. It's not political. This is not a political statement. It's a human rights statement. It's a fairness statement."This marks the second time that Krzyzewski has spoken up this month. On June 1, he said he was emotional, angry, frustrated, disgusted and scared after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis one week earlier.He punctuated his feelings in the latest video and said Americans continue to deny the impact of racism."We see that," Krzyzewski said in the video. "And what do we do when we see it? We turn the other way. We don't solve the problem. The problem will not be solved and no problem is solved unless you acknowledge the problem. Acknowledge it. If you acknowledge it, you have the duty to solve it. We as a country have the duty to solve this problem."
Grand Canyon quarantines basketball team
Grand Canyon put its men's basketball team in quarantine after four players and two staff members tested positive for the coronavirus, the university announced.Tests were negative for the other 10 players and two student managers on the team. Still, all 16 will be housed at a campus residence hall for two weeks.The two staff members with positive tests will quarantine at their homes.The players were tested before they could take part in voluntary workouts. All four were asymptomatic, the school said."The University has been working diligently over the last few months to ensure that proper protocols and procedures are in place and, as a result, we were able to quickly address the positive COVID-19 cases," Jamie Boggs, the school's interim vice president of athletics, told the Arizona Republic.
Gonzaga lands Florida transfer Nembhard
Point guard Andrew Nembhard plans to transfer from Florida to Gonzaga, where he will have two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2020-21 season.Nembhard, a former five-star recruit, averaged 11.2 points and 5.6 assists as a sophomore in the 2019-20 season.Gonzaga landed top recruit Jalen Suggs, also a point guard, in the 2020 recruiting class. Suggs is viewed as a potential one-and-done candidate, but Gonzaga coach Mark Few is known for stockpiling guards and playing as many as four in his perimeter-based offense.
Star recruit Cunningham sticks with OK State despite postseason ban
No. 1 recruit Cade Cunningham explored other options but ultimately decided to stand by his commitment to Oklahoma State even after the program was banned from the 2020-21 postseason.Cunningham investigated joining the NBA G League, considered other college options and vetted opportunities to play professionally overseas following the NCAA's announcement this month that the Cowboys would be banned from the NCAA Tournament and all postseason play as a result of the national bribery scandal involving several top programs.After a Twitter post including a short video and voiceover, Cunningham shared a video to his Instagram page with the caption "Unswerving in Allegiance.""Loyalty -- it's more than a word. It's action," he said. "It's standing by the people you started with. It's showing up even when times are hard. It's believing in the people who always believed in you. It's a commitment. Now more than ever, I'm loyal and true. I'm committed. Stillwater. Let's work."North Carolina and Kentucky were among the other finalists Cunningham considered before announcing he'd play at Oklahoma State.
St. John's Figueroa transferring to Oregon
St. John's forward LJ Figueroa is transferring to Oregon, he announced on social media."Unfortunately, circumstances which are out of my control forced me to transfer and look for a new opportunity," he tweeted Saturday. "I'm looking forward to joining the University of Oregon and competing for a national championship."Figueroa led the Red Storm in scoring with 14.5 points and added 4.5 rebounds in 32 games in the 2019-20 season.
Washington State lands international prospect Jakimovski
Macedonian Andrej Jakimovski, one of the most sought-after 2020 international prospects, signed his national letter of intent to play at Washington State.The 6-foot-7 Jakimovski primarily is a shooting guard but plays multiple positions."Andrej is someone we have been recruiting for over a year," Cougars coach Kyle Smith said in a news release. "He has been weighing his options of playing professionally in Europe versus the Pac-12. The allure of competing in the Conference of Champions and getting a college degree were too appealing for him. He is a highly skillful playmaker that can play four positions on the offensive end of the floor."He has been a dominant player in his age group and has international experience starting for the North Macedonia national team. He is a good student with high character who fits our program well."Jakimovski agreed.
G King backs out of transfer to Nebraska
Former Wisconsin guard Kobe King will not transfer to Nebraska as planned, coach Fred Hoiberg said in a statement on Friday.King has not been on campus for voluntary workouts. Hoiberg cited personal reasons for King's decision not to join the Cornhuskers."We respect his decision and wish him the best in his future endeavors," Hoiberg said.King committed to Nebraska on Feb. 26.In the 2019-20 season, King started 19 games and averaged 10.0 points and 2.8 rebounds before announcing he was departing the Badgers in late January.
Former Utah G Gach transfers to Minnesota
Both Gach is coming home.The 6-foot-6 guard, an Austin, Minn., native, is transferring from Utah to Minnesota, the Golden Gophers announced officially on Wednesday. Gach had tweeted his planned move on Monday."We are very excited to welcome Both back to his home state and into our program," Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said in a statement. "He has great length and versatility on the perimeter."Gach has two years of eligibility remaining, but he would have to sit out a year unless he can get an NCAA waiver.As a sophomore for Utah in 2019-20, Gach finished second on the team with an average of 10.7 points per game, and he also contributed 3.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists per contest.Gach made Utes history on Nov. 8 against Mississippi Valley State, becoming the third Utah player to record a triple-double. He wound up with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
Williamson gets court stay in ex-agent's lawsuit
New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson won another round in court Wednesday in the lawsuit filed by his former agent.Florida's Third District Court of Appeal granted a full stay that prevents the former Duke star from having to answer questions regarding alleged improper benefits -- at least for the moment.Williamson's lawyers had won a temporary stay earlier this month.According to multiple media reports, plaintiff Gina Ford's case now moves to a federal court in North Carolina.Ford filed a $100 million lawsuit against Williamson and his new representatives, Creative Artists Agency, on the same day he was drafted first overall into the NBA in June 2019. She cited breach of contract with her agency, Prime Sports Marketing.Last month, Ford's attorneys asked in court that Williamson admit that his mother, Sharonda Sampson, and stepfather, Lee Anderson, demanded and were given money, gifts and other illegal benefits from Adidas, Nike and Duke during the recruitment that wound up with him signing to play for the Blue Devils.Williamson severed ties with Prime Sports in May 2019, about a month after signing with the agency, maintaining his contract was invalid under North Carolina's Uniform Athlete Agent Act as Ford was not a registered agent in the state. Williamson subsequently signed with CAA several weeks before he was drafted.
Temple tabs former coach Dunphy as interim AD
Former Temple basketball coach Fran Dunphy was named the school's interim athletic director on Wednesday.Dunphy, 71, will fill the vacancy caused by Patrick Kraft's decision to take the Boston College AD job earlier this month.Kraft is working at Temple through the remainder of the month. Dunphy is slated to take over on July 1."Although this is a new role for Fran Dunphy, the truth is that he's been a leader at Temple, in Philadelphia and in the nation for decades," Temple president Richard Englert said in a statement. "From the court to the classroom, to his advocacy and philanthropic efforts, Fran has time and again proven his dedication to our university and our city, and we look forward to seeing the positive impact he will undoubtedly make as acting director of athletics."Dunphy went 270-162 in 13 seasons at Temple before retiring after the 2018-19 season. He guided the Owls to eight NCAA Tournament appearances and two NIT berths, and the team got to the 2015 NIT semifinals.Dunphy led Temple to nine 20-win campaigns, including a 29-6 mark in 2009-10.
Idaho transgender law could lead to removal of NCAA tourney games
An Idaho state law banning transgender women from competing in women's sports has some notable athletic figures calling for the NCAA to move 2021 men's basketball tournament games from the state capital of Boise.Tennis icon Billie Jean King, soccer star Megan Rapinoe, women's basketball standout Sue Bird and former NBA player Jason Collins were among the 400 athletes to sign a letter sent Wednesday that criticizes the state's Fairness in Women's Sports Act, also known as HB 500.HB 500 was signed into law by Idaho Gov. Brad Little on March 30. It goes into effect July 1 and states in part, "athletic teams or sports designated for females, women, or girls shall not be open to students of the male sex." The law allows for girls and women to have their genitals checked if their biological sex is challenged.Advocacy groups have sharply criticized the law, and now the NCAA games scheduled to be played March 18-20, 2021 at ExtraMile Arena on the Boise State campus could be in danger.Sports Illustrated obtained the letter to the NCAA and noted that it states, "Given Idaho's adoption of a discriminatory law that directly impacts college athletics, violates NCAA values, and undermines the dignity and well-being of NCAA athletes, Idaho schools no longer qualify to host NCAA events."More than 60 organizations signed the letter, according to SI. Advocacy groups indicated that the NCAA is unhappy with the Idaho law."Transgender athletes deserve the same dignity and respect entitled to all NCAA athletes," Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, deputy executive director for Policy and Action with the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in the letter. "Because of HB 500, that simply isn't possible in Idaho. We applaud the NCAA for speaking out against HB 500 and now encourage them to back up their words with action."The NCAA moved events out of North Carolina during the 2016-17 season after that state passed controversial HB2 -- often referred to as the "Bathroom Bill." That legislation required transgender people to only use bathrooms and changing rooms that corresponded to the gender listed on their birth certificates.