There was some tragic news this week in the world of NCAA Basketball.
We may be months away from being able to watch a college basketball game, but the news keeps rolling in. More player movement and a couple off-court controversies highlight the top stories of the past week. Let’s take a look at what you may have missed.
Unfortunately, we’ll close this week on a mournful note. Former UCLA star Tyler Honeycutt died over the weekend following a violent exchange with Los Angeles police officers. Officers responded Friday afternoon to reports of a man with a gun in a residential home. When the man fired at the officers, they returned fire. A SWAT team was called in and later discovered the man dead of a self-inflicted gunshot. Police didn’t release his name but family members have confirmed it was Honeycutt.
Born Escoto, Honeycutt’s high school coach, says he was struggling to adjust to his life playing professionally in Russia and that he had “been going through some things.” Honeycutt played in 24 games with the Sacramento Kings over two seasons before playing in Europe. He was 27 years old.
The Gonzaga backcourt got a nice boost this past week in the form of North Dakota graduate transfer Geno Crandall. The 6’4’’ guard has averaged double-digit points in each of his three seasons at North Dakota, including 16.6 points per game this past season. Crandall also averaged a healthy 4.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game while shooting 41% from three-point range. The Gonzaga front court is in great shape heading into next season, but the Bulldogs were lacking backcourt depth outside of redshirt senior Josh Perkins. Crandall should immediately help Gonzaga solve that problem, as the Bulldogs look to build off of last year’s Sweet 16 appearance.
The St. Joseph’s Hawks also added a grad transfer this week in Troy Holston Jr., a recent graduate of South Florida. The 6’4’’ guard sat out last season with a knee injury. He also sat out the entire 2015-16 season after tearing the ACL in that same knee. During the 2016-17 campaign, he averaged 9.7 points per game for the Bulls, shooting 32% from the three-point line. Holston will be eligible right away and may be able to play two years at St. Joseph’s if he can get a waiver for a sixth year of eligibility after missing two full seasons with injury. Phil Martelli’s Hawks were 16-16 last year, missing the postseason for the second straight year, so they’ll take any help they can get.
One underclassman who is transferring the old-fashioned way is Towson’s Zane Martin, who announced this week he’ll be heading to New Mexico. Martin will sit out next season but will have two seasons with the Lobos starting with the 2019-20 campaign. He was second-team All-CAA last season after scoring 19.8 points per game and shooting 38% from the perimeter. New Mexico has a rather young roster and could have a rebuilding season in 2018-19 after losing in the Mountain West championship game this past season, falling one game short of an NCAA Tournament birth after a 19-15 season. However, by the time Martin becomes eligible in 2019, New Mexico could be ready to do some damage.
According to a report, the University of Maryland is the latest school to receive subpoenas related to a federal investigation into the corruption in college basketball. One of the subpoenas relates to former agent Christian Dawkins, Maryland assistant Orlando Ranson, and a player believed to be Diamond Stone, a one-and-done center. The second subpoena call for Maryland officials to appear in front of a grand jury on July 3. Maryland released a statement confirming they had received subpoenas on both March 15 and June 29 of this year. The University says it is cooperating with the investigation and has not violated any federal of NCAA laws.
Allegations of sexual assault made against Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner may have been false. Couple Jennifer Pendley and Ron Bell filed a suit against Pastner last February accusing him of sexually assaulting Pendley in February 2016. That was actually a countersuit to one filed by Pastner in January that the couple was trying to blackmail him. Bell and Pastner are former friends.
Last week, Pastner’s attorneys filed a motion that included transcripts of a conversation between Bell and Pendley while Bell was in jail for a probation violation. Over the course of the conversation, Bell threatens to come clean about Pendley making false accusations against Pastner.
Last November, there was a report that Bell had provided improper benefits to Georgia Tech players Tadric Jackson and Josh Okogie. Georgia Tech had previously self-reported the violations, with Jackson serving a three-game suspension this past season and Okogie sitting out six games. Clearly, there is some bad blood between Bell and Pastner, although the legal spat between them appears to be close to coming to a conclusion.