The Dagger

  • For years, Memphis fans have complained that Josh Pastner's teams took quick, ill-advised shots, played disorganized defense and typically didn't win at the level their talent level suggested they should. 

    That should no longer be a problem given who the school tabbed as Pastner's replacement on Thursday morning.

    Memphis has hired Texas Tech's Tubby Smith, an accomplished coach who's basically the complete opposite of his youthful predecessor. He's 64 years old, he hasn't always recruited at an elite level but he is well respected among his peers for being excellent tactically and strong in player development.

    Smith won't be universally embraced right away by Memphis fans who convinced themselves they had a chance to nab a flashier candidate. School officials decided quickly that they could not afford Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall or Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams, that they could not pry Archie Miller away from Dayton and that they sought someone with more coaching experience

    Read More »from For better or worse, Tubby Smith is the exact opposite of Josh Pastner
  • When standout wing Allonzo Trier announced his decision to return to Arizona this month, the lone downside appeared to be the potential for his presence to dissuade other shooting guards the Wildcats were pursuing from coming.

    Turns out that didn't happen.  

    Arizona landed one of the Class of 2016's top wings on Wednesday night when 6-foot-6 Terrance Ferguson announced on Twitter that he had committed. Ferguson, Rivals.com's No. 12 prospect, is an elite shooter who is also an outstanding perimeter defender and one of the best dunkers in his class.

    The relationship between Ferguson and Arizona stems from his stint last summer playing for Sean Miller on USA Basketball's U-19 team. When Ferguson backed out of his initial commitment to Alabama on March 1, Arizona instantly became one of the leading contenders to land him along with fellow suitors Baylor, Kansas, Maryland, North Carolina and NC State.

    Ferguson's commitment leaves Miller with a problem other coaches would kill to have.

    Read More »from Arizona is loaded on the perimeter after landing Terrance Ferguson
  • The NCAA tournament will remain on CBS and Turner for at least the next 16 years.

    The broadcast partners on Tuesday announced an eight-year, $8.8 billion extension that will allow them to provide live coverage of NCAA tournament games on any platform they choose through 2032. That includes those platforms "to be created over the life of the agreement."

    The rights fee is a significant increase over the original 14-year contract CBS, Turner and the NCAA agreed to back in 2010. Whereas CBS and Turner will pay an average of approximately $771 million every year to air the NCAA tournament from 2011-2024, that fee will rise to $1.1 billion per year from 2025-2032.

    That increase is crucial to the NCAA, which secures more than 90 percent of its total revenue from the men's basketball tournament. NCAA president Mark Emmert said that money flows back to the association's 1,100 members schools to help them support other sports that do not produce revenue.

    The stability this TV rights deal

    Read More »from CBS and Turner will retain NCAA tournament through at least 2032
  • If Michigan State is going to contend for a national title again next season, the Spartans will have to rely heavily on their highly touted freshman class.

    That much is clear after forward Deyonta Davis announced Tuesday that he's declaring for the NBA draft and hiring an agent.

    Davis would have been an interior focal point for Michigan State next season had he returned to school, but his stock was too high among NBA scouts for that to be a realistic possibility. The raw but talented 6-foot-10 freshman is a projected mid-first-round pick even though he averaged a modest 7.5 points and 6.5 rebounds and had just begun to scratch the surface of his capabilities while starting 16 of the Spartans' final 17 games.

    "Over the last year, Deyonta has improved as a player, as he is just starting to tap his true potential," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said in a statement. "Off the court, there is no question that he has grown by leaps and bounds as he matures as a young man. I’ve been fortunate

    Read More »from Deyonta Davis' departure makes Michigan State more freshman-reliant
  • When it was time for him to accept the trophy for Big 5 Coach of the Year on Monday night, St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli couldn't resist poking fun at himself.

    The coach whom Martelli had beaten out to win the award went on to win the national title a couple weeks after voters had turned in their ballots.

    "Seriously, there’s not one person in here that would say ‘Big 5 Coach of the Year? It must be Phil Martelli! It’s not Jay Wright!'" Martelli told guests at the Big 5 awards banquet.

    "Jay, this is yours. I’m going to borrow it for an hour and if I can get into your gated community in Newtown Square, I’ll drop it off."

    As recently as three weeks ago, Martelli was not a ridiculous choice. After all, St. Joseph's won 28 games, captured the Atlantic 10 tournament title and led No. 1 seed Oregon deep into the second half before falling in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

    Of course, everything changed when Villanova validated its Big East title with the type of NCAA tournament

    Read More »from Phil Martelli sheepishly tries to give back Big 5 coach of the year trophy
  • At a time when most of the rest of the Big 12's top teams appear poised to take a step backward, Kansas is just reloading.

    The Jayhawks bolstered an already strong roster on Monday night when they landed a prospect Rivals.com considers to be the best in the 2016 class.

    Shooting guard Josh Jackson committed to Kansas, choosing the Jayhawks over fellow finalists Michigan State and Arizona. The 6-foot-7 senior at Prolific Prep in Napa, Calif., is a consensus top-three prospect nationally along with Duke-bound forwards Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum.

    What makes Jackson one of the elite wing prospects to enter college basketball in recent years is his ability to impact a game at both ends of the floor. The tough, ultra-competitive Jackson has a nonstop motor, an explosive first step to the basket, a knack for making plays in transition and the ability to lock down an opposing team's best perimeter player.

    Some of Jackson's attributes were on display at the McDonald's All-American game earlier

    Read More »from Kansas reloads with the addition of elite prospect Josh Jackson
  • The fate of the next Maryland basketball season could hinge on the feedback star point guard Melo Trimble receives from NBA scouts this spring.

    Trimble announced Monday night he will declare for the NBA draft without hiring an agent, leaving open the possibility he could return for his junior season.

    If Trimble leaves, Maryland will have to replace every member of a supremely talented starting five that led the Terps to a 27-win 2015-16 season and a Sweet 16 appearance. If Trimble comes back, Maryland will still have questions in the frontcourt but the Terps can build around a perimeter corps highlighted by one of the nation's most dynamic point guards.

    Trimble returned to Maryland after an outstanding freshman season in hopes of solidifying himself as a future first-round pick, but his sophomore season was too erratic to achieve that goal.

    Among the positives: His assist-to-turnover ratio improved and he enjoyed some strong stretches, especially during the first half of the season.

    Read More »from Maryland's upcoming season may hinge on Melo Trimble's draft decision
  • Having watched another transfer point guard thrive at Creighton this past season, Kaleb Joseph decided to follow in his footsteps.

    The Syracuse transfer committed to the Bluejays on Sunday evening, his former AAU coach Vin Pastore told Yahoo Sports on Monday.

    One of the biggest factors in Joseph's decision was his strong relationship with Creighton assistant Preston Murphy. The other was the success the Bluejays had with point guard Maurice Watson, a Boston University transfer who averaged 14.2 points and 6.6 assists in his debut season in the Big East this year.   

    It appealed to Joseph to go to a school with a track record of helping transfers improve during their redshirt seasons. Creighton also had a need for a point guard with Watson set to graduate after the 2016-17 season and no heir apparent waiting in the wings.

    What Creighton is getting in Joseph is a former Rivals top 50 prospect in need of a fresh start.

    Thrust into the role of top point guard right away at Syracuse as a

    Read More »from Why Syracuse transfer Kaleb Joseph is heading to Creighton
  • In his freshman season at Sacred Heart, he started from the outset and averaged an impressive 14.5 points per game. In his sophomore season with the Pioneers, he scored 23.1 points per game and won conference player of the year honors.

    Now Cane Broome is ready for a bigger challenge.

    Cane Broome (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)Cane Broome (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)The 6-foot combo guard announced Monday he will transfer to Cincinnati, where he'll sit next season before having two years eligibility remaining thereafter. Broome also visited Creighton and received interest from the likes of Seton Hall and NC State, among others.

    Having such prestigious programs pursue him was a new experience for Broome, a Hartford native who was lightly recruited out of high school. Sacred Heart coach Anthony Latina was the first to offer a scholarship to Broome and made him the program's biggest priority the following summer, leading to a commitment early in the 2013-14 school year.

    Broome played as though he had something to prove during his two years at Sacred Heart, and now he's

    Read More »from Nation's eighth-leading scorer Cane Broome transfers to Cincinnati
  • Before Duke's Sweet 16 loss to Oregon last month, point guard Derryck Thornton reflected on the challenge of graduating high school in three years, enrolling at one of the nation's most tradition-rich programs and trying to fill the void left by Tyus Jones' early departure.

    "It's definitely tough, but you can do it if you're mentally focused," Thornton told Yahoo Sports. "This season has been so great for me and for my team and I've learned so much. It was a great opportunity for me to come here and I'm really happy with my decision. I've learned so much from Coach [Mike Krzyzewski]. There's a lot I wouldn't have learned if I were still in high school."

    At that time, Thornton certainly didn't sound like someone who intended to leave when the season ended, but that's not the case any longer. Duke announced Sunday that the sophomore-to-be is transferring.

    “We wish Derryck the best and appreciate his contributions to our team this season,” Krzyzewski said in the statement. “We support his

    Read More »from Duke point guard Derryck Thornton intends to transfer
  • In response to what it described as a "breathtaking and audacious" series of rules violations, the NCAA has hammered former Southern Mississippi coach Donnie Tyndall with a punishment that will make it difficult for him to work in major college athletics again.

    Tyndall received a 10-year show cause penalty Friday for allegedly directing his staff to engage in academic fraud, facilitating impermissible financial aid for two players and obstructing the NCAA's investigation into the potential violations.

    If an NCAA school were to hire Tyndall during his 10-year show cause order, he would be prohibited from participating in all coaching duties. Even after the 10-year show cause expires on April 7, 2026, any NCAA school that hires him would have to suspend him for the first half of his debut season.

    "It's heartbreaking," Tyndall, 45, told Yahoo Sports. "I don't know what to do, man. There's nothing I want to do with my life besides coach basketball, and now that has been taken away from me.

    Read More »from NCAA hammers Donnie Tyndall with penalty that may end his career
  • Memphis gets rid of a coach it no longer wanted but could not afford to fire. Josh Pastner gets a fresh start at a power-conference program starved for stability and sustained success.

    There's no doubt both are winners now that Georgia Tech has given Pastner an unlikely life line, but the more intriguing question is can the Yellow Jackets claim victory here too?

    In the 12 years since Georgia Tech reached the national title game, the Yellow Jackets endured seven years of decline under Paul Hewitt and five years of mediocrity under Brian Gregory. Athletic director Mike Bobinski fired Gregory last month after he failed to make the NCAA tournament for a fifth consecutive season despite an experienced roster with four senior starters.

    Georgia Tech's state-of-the-art new arena, rich tradition and fertile recruiting base make it more attractive than many ACC jobs, but the specter of competing in the same league as Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, Syracuse and Virginia scared potential

    Read More »from Can Josh Pastner salvage his career with fresh start at Georgia Tech?
  • At the start of his press conference announcing 23-year-old Tyler Summitt as Louisiana Tech's next women's basketball coach two years ago, athletic director Tommy McClelland addressed his new hire's age by cracking a joke.

    "Did you hear the joke about what the young guy said to the younger guy?" McClelland deadpanned. "Need a job?"

    You can bet other athletic directors will be more reticent giving so much responsibility to someone so young now that a hire made to generate headlines has become a high-profile fiasco. Summitt, the 25-year-old son of legendary former Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt, resigned from his job at Louisiana Tech on Thursday, citing an unspecified inappropriate relationship.

    "I am profoundly disappointed in myself for engaging in a relationship that has negatively affected the people I love, respect and care about the most," Summitt said in a statement. "My hope, plans and prayers are to repair those relationships. I am appreciative of the

    Read More »from Tyler Summitt's indiscretion damages more than just his own reputation
  • An Indiana team best known for its array of perimeter standouts the past two years may be more frontcourt-driven next season.

    That about face became more likely on Thursday when the Hoosiers announced that starting center Thomas Bryant has decided not to declare for the NBA draft this year.

    Bryant's return gives Indiana a centerpiece for a frontcourt that could be the Big Ten's best next season regardless of whether forward Troy Williams opts to return for his senior year or not.

    If Williams is back, he'd likely start at small forward with Bryant at center and promising sophomore-to-be O.G. Anunoby at power forward. If Williams leaves, Collin Hartman is a capable starting small forward and the Hoosiers would still have 6-foot-7 sophomore-to-be Juwan Morgan and 6-foot-10 incoming freshman De'Ron Davis to provide depth off the bench.

    It could not have been an easy decision for Bryant to return to Indiana because the former McDonald's All-American had a chance to be selected in the first

    Read More »from Thomas Bryant will be back to anchor a loaded Indiana frontcourt
  • Already a strong candidate to be next year's preseason No. 1 even if Grayson Allen entered the NBA draft, Duke became a near lock on Wednesday when its leading scorer decided to pass. 

    The high-scoring guard announced he will return for his junior season and remain part of a Blue Devils team that now returns six of its top eight players and welcomes a decorated recruiting class. 

    "I've made a lot of friendships with the guys here and relationships with my teammates that I'll have forever," Allen said in a video released Wednesday by Duke. "Coming back for another season to play with them is important for me. Also, I'll be continuing to work academically toward my degree and I feel like next year's team has a chance to be special with the guys we do have coming back, the experience we have and also the outstanding freshman class we have coming in."

    Allen's decision comes on the heels of a season in which he unequivocally proved that his title game heroics the previous spring were no

    Read More »from Grayson Allen's return makes Duke a near lock for preseason No. 1
  • The Connecticut bench celebrates during the second half on the Huskies' title win over Syracuse. (AP)The Connecticut bench celebrates during the second half on the Huskies' title win over Syracuse. (AP)The greatest program in history now has the greatest class in history.

    Connecticut's three senior stars – Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck – became the first players to win national championships in all four of their collegiate seasons when the Huskies crushed Syracuse 82-51 on Tuesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

    No women's team ever had won more than three straight national titles, and the only men's team to do so, UCLA from 1967 to 1973, did so before freshmen were eligible.

    Coach Geno Auriemma passed UCLA men's coach John Wooden with his 11th national title, and the Huskies finished 151-5 in the seniors' time at UConn. Throw out the freshman year and it's 116-1, with a current 75-game win streak.

    "To do something that no one else has ever done with them, I mean, I keep saying, 'Unbelievable' as a word to describe it. But I don't know what other word you could use," Stewart said. "The fact that we made history together, that's going to create a

    Read More »from And another one: UConn makes history with fourth straight title, 11th overall
  • HOUSTON — Thirty minutes after Kris Jenkins’ thunderbolt of a 3-pointer delivered Villanova its first championship in 31 years, Wildcats coach Jay Wright opened his press conference by calling Monday’s title game “one of the great college basketball games we've ever been a part of.”

    To be honest, he may not have needed those qualifiers.

    Villanova’s epic 77-74 victory over North Carolina had everything synonymous with March Madness — wild momentum swings, thunderous roars, heroic performances and a dramatic finish that left one team stunned and heartbroken and the other spilling onto the floor in celebration. In this case there were two shining moments, Marcus Paige’s leaning, twisting 3-pointer with 4.7 seconds left that seemed destined to force overtime and Jenkins’ rebuttal at the buzzer to end the game in regulation.

    The lingering question the day after the gripping drama of Monday night is whether Villanova-North Carolina is the best title game that college basketball has ever

    Read More »from Where does Villanova-North Carolina rank among the greatest title games?
  • Villanova's title win over North Carolina takes Crying Jordans to a new level

    The ultimate night for Crying Jordans — North Carolina losing in the national title game to Villanova — did not disappoint.

    Read More »from Villanova's title win over North Carolina takes Crying Jordans to a new level
  • The emotions of Villanova fans went from gut-wrenching to pure ecstasy. 

    On one end, North Carolina’s Marcus Paige tied the national championship game at 74 with a double-clutched 3-pointer with four seconds to go.

    But Kris Jenkins brought the national championship trophy back to Villanova with a miraculous 3-pointer of his own as time expired.

    Villanova fans in the Philadelphia area and across the country reacted accordingly:

    Read More »from Watch Villanova fans go crazy as Kris Jenkins hits title-winning shot (Videos)

  • Jim Valvano became an iconic symbol of college basketball and the NCAA tournament when he lost his mind running around the court at The Pit in Albuquerque in 1983 in the seconds after his North Carolina State team won the national title on a buzzer-beater over heavily favored Houston.

    Villanova coach Jay Wright experienced the thrill of winning a national title Monday in the same fashion when guard Ryan Arcidiacono passed to forward Kris Jenkins, who then buried the game-winner to beat North Carolina 77-74 at the horn in Houston. But Wright might go down in history for his utter lack of emotion aside from a slight smile as he simply turned to walk down the sideline and shake hands with UNC coach Roy Williams before he was caught up in a hug with his assistant coaches.

    At the moment Jenkins was taking the shot, Wright appeared to say, "Bang."

     Wright admitted in a postgame interview with TBS during the trophy presentation that what appeared to be smooth and self-confident was actually

    Read More »from Villanova coach Jay Wright had a priceless reaction to his team's title-winning shot