NCAA Mens Basketball - All Access Sporting News

Updated April 1,  4:15 PM  CT

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  • Wed, 01 Apr 2020 16:15:52 +0000

    Documentary features wiretap audio of LSU's Wade talking about paying players

    Warning: Video contains coarse language

    HBO's "The Scheme," an account of college basketball's 2017-18 corruption scandal, debuted Tuesday. The documentary uses recordings of phone conversations wiretapped by the FBI between former player manager Christian Dawkins and LSU head coach Will Wade, with Wade openly discussing offers of money to players.

    Wade mentions current Tigers guard Javonte Smart, who joined the program in 2018 as a top-50 recruit.

    "I was thinking last night on this Smart thing. I'll be honest with you, I'm f------ tired of dealing with this thing," Wade said in the recording. "Like, I'm tired of dealing with this f------ shit. What do you think? Because I went to him with a f------ strong-ass offer about a month ago. ... Now, the problem was, I know why he didn’t take it now, it was tilted toward the family a little bit. But, I mean, it was a f------ hell of a f------ offer. ... Especially for a kid that's going to be a two- or three-year kid. I've made deals for as good a players as him that were f------ a lot simpler than this."

    Wade was briefly suspended by LSU in 2019 after details of his involvement in the scandal were made public. LSU athletic director Scott Woodward said Wednesday that the newly publicized recordings would not immediately affect Wade's employment at the school.

    "We are aware of the documentary," Woodward said, via the Times-Picayune's Amie Just. The athletic director added, "There is no change to coach Will Wade's employment status at LSU and we will continue to cooperate with all reviews into this matter."

    Recordings of Dawkins' conversations with Arizona head coach Sean Miller are also played in the documentary. Miller alludes to something of a bidding contest for ex-LSU forward Naz Reid, who now plays in the NBA.

    Miller served a similar suspension to Wade's in 2018, but denied allegations of wrongdoing. Dawkins was convicted on two counts of bribery in the scandal and sentenced to one year in prison in October.

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  • Wed, 01 Apr 2020 17:00:02 +0000

    Kansas' Garrett named Naismith Defensive Player of the Year

    Kansas junior guard Marcus Garrett was named the 2020 Naismith Men's Defensive Player of the Year on Wednesday.

    Garrett, who was also named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, ranked second on the Jayhawks in both steals (1.8) and rebounds (4.5) while posting 2.4 defensive win shares.

    It's just the third time that the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award has been handed out. Former Washington standout and current Philadelphia 76ers guard Matisse Thybulle took home the honor last year, while West Virginia's Jevon Carter won the inaugural award in 2018.

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  • Tue, 31 Mar 2020 22:56:25 +0000

    Commish for a day: What the NCAA could actually fix during the hiatus

    While professional and collegiate sports are on hiatus, theScore's writers are exploring what they'd do if this pause allowed for changes to the rules and structures of various leagues. After tackling Major League Baseball in Part 1 and National Hockey League in Part 2, college sports are up next.

    Institute one-time transfer rule

    Momentum toward freedom of movement in college football and men's and women's basketball has picked up in the last couple of years. This summer is the perfect time for the NCAA to give its most high-profile student-athletes the same right to transfer that it has long given to its athletes in Olympic sports.

    Under the current system, a football, men's basketball, or women's basketball student-athlete must sit out one academic year after transferring unless he or she has graduated or has received a waiver for immediate eligibility. But as the number of transfers has increased, the waiver process has become increasingly cloudy. And the argument for immediate eligibility has become stronger. Why should a football player have to sit out a year if his baseball or softball peer does not?

    The NCAA's Division I Transfer Waiver Working Group has been pursuing a solution. Their idea, published in February, would grant immediate eligibility to first-time transfers in all sports so long as they receive a release from their previous school, maintain their academic progress, and leave the school both academically eligible and under no disciplinary suspension.

    "The current system is unsustainable. Working group members believe it’s time to bring our transfer rules more in line with today's college landscape," Jon Steinbrecher, the Mid-American Conference commissioner and chair of the working group, said in a February news release. "This concept provides a uniform approach that is understandable, predictable and objective. Most important, it benefits students."

    The working group initially planned to make its proposal to the Division I Council in April. That proposal will now be made in June, The Athletic's Nicole Auerbach reported. Because of concerns about the coronavirus and the cancellation of the spring sports schedule, other issues have taken precedence - such as the debate about restoring a year of eligibility for students who missed out on their seasons this spring, and the focus on student-athlete health and safety in the midst of a pandemic.

    But whether it's April or June, this is the time to get it done. More than 525 men's basketball players have already announced decisions to transfer, according to Jeff Goodman of Stadium.

    Finalize name, image, and likeness plan

    Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby. Jamie Squire / Getty Images

    Speaking of NCAA working groups …

    The progress toward creating a method for college athletes to cash in on the usage of their name, image, and likeness should not stop. Thirty-four states have either passed a bill or are looking into legislation regarding name, image, and likeness, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said on a conference call last week. The governors of California and Colorado have already signed bills allowing athletes to profit off of their name, image, and likeness, while Florida legislators have passed a bill through to their governor. Florida's bill would go into effect on July 1, 2021; California and Colorado's are targeted toward 2023.

    It's another common-sense move for the NCAA to use this time period to figure out a solution that works nationally. Bowlsby is a member of the NCAA Board of Governors Federal and State Legislation Working Group, a unit examining this topic.

    That group is still meeting - albeit remotely - right now.

    "We've made some really good progress over the last three or so meetings on name, image, and likeness," Bowlsby said last week. "The processes in state legislatures are going forward. The processes in federal legislature are going forward. I think the NCAA working group is continuing to make progress. In the case of the last among those, we certainly expect to make our report by the end of April."

    Abolish the kickoff

    When it comes to an on-field change that could benefit player safety without affecting much of the game, doing away with the kickoff makes some sense.

    Already, a player can wave for a fair catch anywhere inside his 25-yard line. His team will start with the football at the 25. Why not just skip the pretense of kicking the ball?

    More than 70% of FBS teams (93 of 130) did not return a kickoff for a touchdown last season. For 52 teams, at least half of their kickoffs resulted in touchbacks. Ten years earlier, in 2009, no team recorded a touchback on half of its kickoffs. The kick return is already fading away.

    For trailing teams that would normally want to try an onside kick, college football could adopt an NFL proposal that allows a team to attempt a fourth-and-15 play to keep possession. It would add a level of late-game entertainment, suspense, and strategy that an onside kick does not offer.

    Mark Cooper is theScore's NCAA writer.

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  • Wed, 01 Apr 2020 17:27:41 +0000

    Washington freshman Stewart declares for draft

    Washington freshman Isaiah Stewart plans to sign with Roc Nation and declare for the 2020 NBA Draft, he told ESPN's Jonathan Givony.

    Stewart entered college after winning the Naismith Prep Player of the Year Award as the nation's top high school player. The 6-foot-9 forward lived up to his reputation, averaging 17 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game as a freshman.

    His team's results were more mixed, however. Washington featured in the AP Top 25 as late as December 23 and peaked at No. 20 earlier in the season, but the program ultimately stumbled to a 15-17 record on the year. It was the first losing campaign in head coach Mike Hopkins' three years manning the sideline.

    "To be honest, this wasn't the season I expected," Stewart said. "I expected us to be better as a team. We went through a lot of things ... but we had a good run at the end."

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  • Wed, 01 Apr 2020 17:13:22 +0000

    Ohio State's Wesson to test NBA draft, keep eligibility

    Ohio State big man Kaleb Wesson will test the NBA draft process but maintain his NCAA eligibility, his father told the Columbus Dispatch's Adam Jardy.

    "There may not be any opportunities to increase your value from the standpoint of workouts and combines and really solidify your position," Keith Wesson said.

    Kaleb Wesson has been one of the Big Ten's most dominant post players over the past two seasons but improved his perimeter game in 2019-20 after dropping close to 50 pounds.

    He also tested the draft process last year.

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  • Tue, 31 Mar 2020 18:31:11 +0000

    Kansas State's Diarra transferring to Virginia Tech

    Kansas State guard Cartier Diarra announced Tuesday he will transfer to Virginia Tech.

    As a grad transfer, he is immediately eligible for the 2020-21 season.

    View this post on Instagram

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    Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber confirmed Thursday that Diarra, the Wildcats' second-leading scorer this past season, was leaving the program.

    Diarra averaged 13.3 points, 4.2 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.8 steals in 32 games for the Wildcats in 2019-20.

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  • Tue, 31 Mar 2020 17:26:20 +0000

    NCAA president, top execs taking 20% pay cuts due to revenue losses

    NCAA president Mark Emmert will temporarily cut his pay by 20% in response to financial pressures during the COVID-19 crisis, according to a memo obtained by USA TODAY's Steve Berkowitz.

    Nine other senior executives with the NCAA will also take a 20% pay cut. Vice presidents will slash their pay by 10%.

    "As you know, last week the NCAA Board of Governors announced a significant reduction in the amount of money distributed to member schools and conferences," Emmert wrote in his memo to the association's membership. "Many of you are facing significant financial challenges and difficult choices. Likewise, the national office is looking at every function to garner savings that could be used to support student-athletes in this uncertain economic time.

    "To that end, as a first step, I have decided to reduce my salary and that of our nine other highest-compensated leaders by 20% and the rest of my President's Cabinet by 10%. This temporary reduction will free up needed resources and highlights our commitment to weather the current economic challenges we face while continuing to provide opportunities to college athletes."

    The cancellation of the NCAA's national basketball tournament is the biggest factor behind the organization's sizable financial losses. On Thursday, the NCAA announced it had slashed its distribution payment to Division I schools this year from $600 million to $225 million.

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  • Tue, 31 Mar 2020 20:56:30 +0000

    Top 10 moments from the 2019-20 men's college basketball season

    While we won't get to witness a thrilling conclusion to the 2019-20 men's college basketball season, it was still filled with indelible memories.

    In no particular order, here are 10 unforgettable moments from the campaign.

    Stephen F. Austin stuns Duke on last-second layup

    Basketball buzzer-beaters almost always come on long-range heaves. That's one reason the sight of Stephen F. Austin's Nathan Bain running the length of the court to convert a layup that sunk Duke in overtime - in its own building - was one of the lasting images of the season.

    That stunning November defeat opened up a world of agonizing firsts for the Blue Devils. They hadn't lost at home to a nonconference opponent in more than 19 years, as the upset shattered a streak of 150 wins. It was also the first time Duke had fallen to an unranked non-power-conference side in 36 years.

    Away from the court, the Lumberjacks' victory shed some light on a fantastic cause. A fundraiser to help Bain's family in the Bahamas rebuild from the destruction of Hurricane Dorian saw an incredible spike in donations after his game-winner, ultimately raising more than $150,000.

    NCAA rules Wiseman ineligible

    Joe Murphy / Getty Images Sport / Getty

    The NCAA sent shockwaves through college basketball in November when it suddenly ruled that Memphis star freshman James Wiseman was no longer eligible to play due to an $11,500 payment his family had received from Penny Hardaway. Hardaway, who's now the Tigers' head coach, made the payment before he took the job, but the NCAA had officially deemed him a booster for his alma mater, making the transaction impermissible.

    A legal battle temporarily retained Wiseman's eligibility, but the NCAA won out and suspended the center until Jan. 12. Instead of returning, Wiseman opted to leave Memphis entirely to prepare for the 2020 NBA Draft. Despite not playing in a game since Nov. 12, he's considered a potential No. 1 pick.

    Evansville's historic upset of No. 1 Kentucky

    Andy Lyons / Getty Images Sport / Getty

    Just a few weeks before Stephen F. Austin's surprise win, Evansville produced one of its own. The Purple Aces came out of Rupp Arena with one of the most shocking results in recent college basketball history, taking down top-ranked Kentucky 67-64. It was Evansville's first-ever win against a top-five side and the Wildcats' first home loss in 40 games as the No. 1 team against an unranked nonconference opponent.

    Additionally, the Purple Aces entered the matchup as 25-point underdogs, with their victory trailing just two schools for the biggest Division I upset in the last 15 seasons, according to ESPN. They'd go on to finish the campaign with a 9-23 record - including an 0-18 mark in conference play - becoming the first squad in NCAA history to beat the No. 1 team and lose all of its conference games in the same season, according to Stats by STATS.

    Kentucky, meanwhile, would claim the SEC regular-season title and go 16-2 at home. The Wildcats were in line for a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, according to the final Bracketology by ESPN's Joe Lunardi.

    Kansas tops Dayton in thrilling Maui Invitational final

    Darryl Oumi / Getty Images Sport / Getty

    Kansas and Dayton squared off in a thrilling Maui Invitational final in what became the closest NCAA fans got to a national championship game this season. The Jayhawks and Flyers finished the 2019-20 campaign as the first- and third-ranked teams, respectively, in the AP Poll, while three players in this matchup were later named to the AP All-American team.

    In Hawaii, Kansas was pushed to the limit as the lead switched hands 20 times. Dayton star Obi Toppin was having his way in the post, opening up plenty of clean perimeter looks for his teammates as the Flyers shot 16-of-33 from distance. In the end, though, Kansas got career efforts from the dynamic duo of Udoka Azubuike and Devon Dotson to prevail in OT.

    Winston posts double-double less than 24 hours after brother's death

    Michigan State star Cassius Winston decided to suit up against Binghamton less than 24 hours after the death of his younger brother. It was an emotional performance for the AP All-American, who was in tears as the Spartans held a moment of silence pregame. Winston drilled his first shot of the contest and finished with 17 points and 11 assists for his 13th career double-double in a lopsided win.

    He received a standing ovation upon exiting the game late in the second half and shared hugs with his teammates and members of the coaching staff. After Michigan State's next home game a week later, Winston expressed his gratitude to fans.

    "I lost a piece of my heart, but you guys are keeping me going," Winston told the Breslin Center crowd.

    Autistic player Bennett scores in season opener

    Kent State freshman Kalin Bennett was one of the many feel-good stories this season. While the 6-foot-11 center played sparingly in 2019-20, his mere presence was inspirational - Bennett had become the first autistic student-athlete to sign a national letter of intent to play a team sport at the Division I level.

    On Nov. 6, Bennett checked into his first collegiate game during the late stages of the Golden Flashes' season opener, recording two points, two boards, and a block in six minutes.

    Afterward, Bennett dedicated his performance to other young kids with autism.

    "It's good to know that people look up to me, but the real thing is everybody is capable of doing whatever they want to do in life," he said, according to The Associated Press. "I hope I created a thing that's going to transcend to more kids so they believe in themselves first and foremost."

    Williams calls squad the 'least gifted' he's coached at UNC

    Michael Hickey / Getty Images Sport / Getty

    The 2019-20 season wasn't kind to North Carolina or its iconic bench boss, Roy Williams. Following a loss in January that dropped the Tar Heels to 8-6, Williams took to his live radio show and labeled his UNC squad "the least gifted team I've ever coached in the time that I've been back here." It was an entirely unexpected and brutally honest assessment of a struggling team by its frustrated head coach.

    Williams, though frank, likely had a point. The Tar Heels finished the regular season with a 14-19 record - their lowest win total in a campaign since Williams took charge in 2003.

    Speidel scores 1st career points 5 years after car crash

    Josh Speidel - at the time a highly touted Indiana high school senior - had already committed to Vermont when a 2015 car crash put him in a coma for several weeks. The crash also caused a traumatic brain injury that doctors believed would take away his ability to play basketball, at the very least. Still, Vermont head coach John Becker told Speidel's parents in person that the school would honor his scholarship.

    Five years later, on senior night, Speidel scored the first bucket of his collegiate career in a preordained moment between Vermont and Albany.

    Speidel, who went on to graduate with a 3.4 GPA, also made light of the emotional basket after the game.

    "I was thinking of maybe missing it, grabbing it, getting an offensive rebound in there," he joked. "But I figured I might as well go 1-for-1, shoot 100% in my college career."

    Bob Knight returns to Indiana

    The soles of Bob Knight's shoes hadn't touched the hardwood at Assembly Hall in 20 years. The controversial head coach led Indiana to three national championships between 1976 and 1987, but he was fired in September 2000 following a string of aggressive incidents, including grabbing his own player by the neck during practice.

    Students had actively revolted against his dismissal and Knight had said he would never return to the arena. He stayed true to his word - until Feb. 8, 2020.

    On the 40th anniversary of the Hoosiers' 1980 Big Ten title, Knight was back inside Assembly Hall. During a ceremony at halftime against Purdue, the 79-year-old stepped onto the court alongside his former players and was showered in what felt like never-ending applause. Fans chanted Knight's name and he reciprocated the gesture with back-and-forth chants of "defense."

    Duke delivers UNC soul-crushing defeat

    It had certainly been a trying campaign for North Carolina leading into its first matchup with Duke. But the Tar Heels and their fans would have taken solace in getting a victory over their archrivals at the Dean Dome.

    North Carolina appeared set to deliver a satisfying win for its supporters, leading by 13 points with 4:31 remaining in regulation. But the Tar Heels missed a series of free throws down the stretch, setting the stage for a pair of daggers from the Blue Devils.

    First, Duke star Tre Jones corralled a loose ball after intentionally missing a free throw and forced overtime with a buzzer-beating jumper. Then, with the game tied at 96 in the extra frame, Blue Devils freshman Wendell Moore scored as time expired on a putback of Jones' air ball, giving his team the stunning victory.

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