NCAA Basketball News
It’ll be a while until there’s any college basketball action on the court, but there’s been plenty of it off the court and even in court over the last week. Some of it good, some of it bad, and some of it very messy. Let’s check out all of the headlines from the past week.
We’ll start with the good news of the week, especially if you’re Texas Tech coach Chris Beard. After taking the Red Raiders to the national championship game, Texas Tech rewarded Beard with a six-year contract extension. More importantly for Beard, he’s getting a big raise that will pay him an annual salary of $4.575 million, putting him behind only John Calipari, Mike Krzyzewski, and Rick Barnes. Beard has been at Texas Tech for only three seasons, but he’s taken the Red Raiders to the Elite Eight in 2018 and within one game of a national championship this past season.
Gonna Skip It
Speaking of the national championship game, the Virginia Cavaliers, the team that beat Texas Tech, have decided to decline the traditional visit to the White House. It’s unclear if a formal invitation was made by the President, but Virginia coach Tony Bennett said it would be too difficult to get his team together for a trip to the White House with four Cavaliers having declared for the NBA Draft. Of course, the Virginia campus in Charlottesville is just over 100 miles away from Washington D.C.
What’s on the Wire
Most of the attention in college basketball this week is on the trial surrounding the sport’s corruption. On Monday, those in court heard a wiretap of a phone call between defendant Christian Dawkins and Munish Sood, his business partner who is a cooperating witness in the trial. On that recording, Dawkins says that Arizona head coach Sean Miller “fronted” a deal to send former center Deandre Ayton to the Wildcats. It was previously reported that the FBI intercepted a phone call between Dawkins and Miller in which Miller mentions payment of $100,000 to get Ayton to commit to Arizona. Of course, Ayton ultimately spent a year at Arizona before becoming the 1st overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
And … You Get a Lawsuit
In a separate courthouse this week, former UConn coach Kevin Ollie was filing a lawsuit against Glen Miller, one of his former assistant coaches. Ollie is accusing Miller of slander as it relates to comments made to the NCAA about Ollie regarding payments to the mother of former player Shonn Miller, who is unrelated to Glen Miller.
The lawsuit claims Glen Miller made falsified statements about the payment that damaged Ollie’s reputation, doing so as revenge for Ollie firing him in 2017. Miller is currently working as director of men’s basketball at Saint Joseph, a Division III school where former UConn coach Jim Calhoun is coaching. His lawyer says the lawsuit is an “attempt to intimidate a witness.” Meanwhile, Ollie continues his fight with UConn over money the former coach says is owed to him after his firing, which the university claims they don’t have to pay because Ollie was fired because he committed NCAA violations.
In a story about an active college basketball player, North Carolina’s Seventh Woods announced last week that he will be transferring. Woods has played in 94 games for the Tar Heels over the last three seasons but has struggled to carve out a prominent role, averaging just 2.5 points per game this past season. Alas, the 6-2 guard was once a top-100 recruit, so he should garner plenty of attention on the transfer market.
In a Different Class
The college basketball recruiting world got a major shakeup this past week with two players from the 2020 class reclassifying to be part of the 2019 class. The first was five-star forward Johnny Juzang, who was ESPN’s No. 19 player in 2020 but is now set to graduate high school and enroll in college in 2019. The California native has taken an official visit to Virginia, who are considered co-favorites with Kentucky. Juzang is expected to visit Kentucky this week before making his final decision.
R.J. Hampton, the No. 4 prospect in the 2020 class, according to ESPN, has also reclassified to the high school class of 2019. The 6-5 point guard has a 3.75 GPA and 1280 SAT score, enabling him to reclassify and start college a year earlier than expected. However, his recruiting isn’t as far along. His choices appear to be down to Kansas, Memphis, Kentucky, and Texas Tech, but Hampton is planning on scheduling official visits at those schools before making his final decision.
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