Former Florida State C Ojo dies at 27
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.
Former Purdue G Eastern transferring to Howard
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.
UCLA's Smith withdraws from NBA draft
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.
Kispert withdraws from NBA Draft, returning to Gonzaga
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.
Iowa standout Garza returning for senior season
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.
Virginia F Huff to withdraw from NBA draft
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.
New Mexico recruit White killed in shooting
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."
South Carolina G Lawson withdraws from NBA draft
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.
Former Illinois, NMSU coach Henson dies at 88
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.
Positive tests shut down Iowa basketball
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.
Five-star center Boakye commits to Michigan State
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.
UCLA lands Watson, California's top basketball recruit
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. ...
Xavier lands Belmont transfer Kunkel
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.
Ex-Wake Forest assistant coach gets probation for deadly punch
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."
Kentucky faculty group asks for Rupp Arena to be renamed
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."
Petrusev leaves Gonzaga, signs with Serbian pro team
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.
Michigan F Livers withdraws from NBA draft
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.
Coaches: Remove SAT/ACT scores from eligibility process
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.
Top recruit Cisse picks Memphis over five others
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.
Standout SG Love commits to Baylor
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.