The Dagger

  • Sean Miller and Allonzo Trier (AP)
    Sean Miller and Allonzo Trier (AP)

    At one point last spring, Sean Miller’s biggest headache appeared to be trying to find playing time for the glut of talented wings on his 2016-17 roster.

    Now the Arizona coach must wonder if he’ll have enough scholarship players to field a team by the time the Wildcats open the season in Honolulu on Nov. 11 against Michigan State.

    The roster attrition started in June when heralded incoming freshman Terrance Ferguson opted to pursue professional opportunities amid concerns over whether he would have been eligible to play for the Wildcats. Then on Tuesday night, four other players didn’t suit up for Arizona’s exhibition victory over College of Idaho and heralded redshirt freshman Ray Smith suffered a potentially serious injury.

    Smith, who has already suffered ACL tears in both knees, went up awkwardly for a second-half layup, crumpled to the floor next to the basket and had to be helped off the court. The extent of his injury won’t be known until he

    Read More »from Injuries, eligibility issues cast a pall over Arizona's exhibition win
  • Ben Simmons (AP)
    Ben Simmons (AP)

    The more Ben Simmons speaks about his lone season at LSU, the clearer his legacy in college basketball becomes.

    This year’s No. 1 draft pick is a living, breathing monument to the hypocrisy of the flawed one-and-done system.

    He arrived at LSU with little desire to achieve anything more than showcasing his talents to NBA scouts. He stopped attending classes as soon as he had guaranteed his eligibility for the entirety of his freshman season. And he escaped punishment for it because LSU was more interested in profiting from his presence on its basketball team than making sure he received an education during his brief time on campus.

     

    In “One and Done,” a documentary about his path to the NBA that will air Friday on Showtime, Simmons grouses that for him college was “pointless” and “wasting time.” ESPN.com received the documentary ahead of time and provided the following excerpts.

     

    “Everybody’s making money except the players. We’re the ones waking up early as hell to be

    Read More »from Ben Simmons' year at LSU shows the worst of the one-and-done system
  • With Adidas flagship schools Kansas and Indiana meeting in the Armed Forces Classic on Nov. 11 in Honolulu, the shoe-apparel giant decided to take advantage of their red, white and blue color schemes.

    Adidas designed their jerseys to mirror the stars and stripes of the American flag in the spirit of an event that will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

    The Jayhawks will don an all-blue uniform featuring white stars along the side. Instead of the last names of the players, the backs of the jerseys will feature the word “Honor.”

    (via Adidas)
    (via Adidas)

     

    Red and white stripes adorn the sides of Indiana’s uniforms from the shoulders to the knees. The word “Courage” will replace the last names of the Hoosiers players on the backs of their jerseys.

    (via Adidas)
    (via Adidas)

    – – – – – – –

    Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

    Read More »from Kansas, Indiana unveil patriotic jerseys for Armed Forces Classic
  • Kris Jenkins and Villanova hope to repeat as both Big East and national champs. (AP)
    Kris Jenkins and Villanova hope to repeat as both Big East and national champs. (AP)

    Yahoo Sports will break down the top 10 leagues for the upcoming college basketball season working backward from No. 10 to No. 1. Here’s a look at our No. 5 league, the Big East.

    Kris Jenkins’ dramatic buzzer-beating 3-pointer didn’t just deliver Villanova its second national championship.

    It also cemented the revamped Big East as one of college basketball’s premier conferences.

    In the three years since many pundits denounced the Big East as dead after the departure of a handful of longtime stalwarts, the league has cracked the top four in conference RPI each season, earned an average of five NCAA bids per year and had its regular season champion land no less than a than a No. 2 seed. Then last year the Big East reversed its trend of falling flat in March as Villanova upset top-seeded Kansas in the South Regional final, blasted Oklahoma by 44 points in the Final Four and edged favored North Carolina in

    Read More »from Five-minute season preview: Big East
  • Duke freshman Jayson Tatum suffered a foot injury on Tuesday. (AP)
    Duke freshman Jayson Tatum suffered a foot injury on Tuesday. (AP)

    Turns out that Jayson Tatum’s left foot injury is not as serious as first feared.

    Tests revealed Wednesday that the prized Duke freshman suffered only a sprain during the program’s pro day the previous day. The injury will sideline Tatum for just two weeks, meaning the 6-foot-8 freshman will sit out both Duke’s exhibition games but could be healthy enough to play in the Blue Devils’ season opener against Marist on Nov. 11.

    “This is the best possible news,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement released by the school. “It is a manageable injury that will not impact Jayson long-term. We look forward to having him back very soon.”

    Only losing Tatum for a couple weeks is welcome news for Duke because he appeared to be the team’s most polished, college-ready freshman. The high-scoring swingman has drawn frequent praise for his performance in practice so far including an 18-point shooting clinic at last Saturday

    Read More »from Duke gets 'best possible news' on Jayson Tatum's foot injury
  • Newly hired Saint Louis coach Travis Ford (AP)
    Newly hired Saint Louis coach Travis Ford (AP)

    In the 13-year history of the Rivals rankings, Saint Louis had only landed one top 150 prospect prior to this year.

    New coach Travis Ford and his staff have now pulled in three in barely three months.

    In August, they outdueled Illinois for wing Jordan Goodwin, an Illinois native rated the No. 56 prospect in the 2017 class. Last week, they held off UMass to secure a commitment from power forward Hasahn French, a Massachusetts native ranked 139th in the 2017 class. Then Ford struck again on Wednesday, nabbing a player Rivals considers one of the 20 best prospects in the 2018 class.

    Carte’Are Gordon, a powerfully built, physically tough power forward from Saint Louis, announced via Twitter on Wednesday morning that he has committed to play for his hometown school. The 6-foot-8, 240-pound Gordon had just recently narrowed his list of suitors to Kansas, Missouri and the Billikens.

    Read More »from Travis Ford has Saint Louis recruiting at an unprecedented level
  • Duke freshman Jayson Tatum suffered a foot injury on Tuesday. (AP)
    Duke freshman Jayson Tatum suffered a foot injury on Tuesday. (AP)

    The NBA scouts who attended Duke’s pro day on Tuesday afternoon didn’t get to see as much of Jayson Tatum as they hoped.

    The prized freshman reportedly suffered an unspecified foot injury midway through the event and had to be helped off the floor.

    Duke officials did not immediately return messages left by Yahoo Sports seeking further information about the severity of Tatum’s injury or a timetable for his return. As a result, specific information is scarce aside from a handful of reports relying on information gleaned from NBA personnel in the building.

    Read More »from Duke awaits word on the severity of Jayson Tatum's foot injury
  • Ex-Indiana wing Troy Williams went from undrafted to making an NBA roster. (AP)
    Ex-Indiana wing Troy Williams went from undrafted to making an NBA roster. (AP)

    The best time to assess early-entry decisions made by underclassmen isn’t once we see which players were selected and which weren’t on NBA draft night.

    In reality, it’s not fair to pass judgment until the opening day of the NBA season after teams have made their final roster cuts.

    Of the 51 Division I players who entered the NBA draft with college eligibility remaining last spring, 29 made an NBA roster on Monday. Among the most high-profile early-entry players who will begin their pro careers overseas or in the D-League are former Kansas guard Wayne Selden, former Texas guard Isaiah Taylor and ex-USC standouts Julian Jacobs and Nikola Jovanovic.

    Three undrafted early-entry players showed enough promise in training camp to survive final cuts and make NBA rosters. Ex-LSU guard Tim Quarterman latched on with the Portland Trail Blazers, former Indiana swingman Troy Williams stuck with the Memphis Grizzlies and

    Read More »from Which early-entry players made NBA opening day rosters?
  • Most of Kentucky's 22 NBA players came through Lexington during John Calipari's tenure. (AP)
    Most of Kentucky’s 23 NBA players came through Lexington during John Calipari’s tenure. (AP)

    For the second straight year, Kentucky coach John Calipari has a recruiting spiel at his disposal that no other coach can match.

    He can tell prospects that his program has produced more players on opening day NBA rosters than any other school.

    Rookies Jamal Murray, Tyler Ulis and Skal Labissiere each survived final cuts on Monday, increasing the number of ex-Wildcats in the NBA to 23. Duke is second and charging hard with 20, followed by Kansas (15), North Carolina (15), UCLA (13), Arizona (12) and Syracuse (11).

    While the presence of so many of college basketball’s juggernauts on that list is hardly shocking, there were some surprises from my analysis of this year’s NBA opening day rosters. Here are a few notable stats:

    Colleges that produced the most NBA players on opening day rosters: Kentucky (23), Duke (20), Kansas (15), North Carolina (15), UCLA (13), Arizona (12), Syracuse (11), Florida

    Read More »from Which schools put the most players on NBA opening day rosters?
  • Providence likely lost too much talent to match its success of the past couple years. (AP)
    Providence likely lost too much talent to match its success of the past couple years. (AP)

    Our 2016-17 season preview continues with a look at five programs poised for a fall. Check back every day for more college hoops preview content.

    NEBRASKA: When Nebraska returned the core of a team that reached the 2014 NCAA tournament two years ago, it seemed as though the Huskers were a program on the rise. They’ve instead fallen backward in the Big Ten pecking order, a decline that appears likely to continue this season. Having graduated leading scorer Shavon Shields and lost co-star Andrew White III via transfer, Nebraska will rely heavily on senior guard Tai Webster and an unproven collection of freshmen and sophomores. Webster has been inconsistent in college, but he might be poised to bust out after averaging 16.3 points and 9.7 rebounds for New Zealand last summer at the Olympic qualifying tournament. He’ll be joined in the backcourt by promising sophomore point guard Glynn Watson, former

    Read More »from Five programs poised for a fall entering the new season
  • Theo Pinson (AP)
    Theo Pinson (AP)

    On the verge of breaking into North Carolina’s starting lineup for the first time in his career, Theo Pinson suffered an ill-timed injury.

    The junior swingman fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot during practice earlier this week. It’s unclear how long Pinson will be unable to play because North Carolina has not yet determined a treatment plan for the injury.

    “I’m so disappointed for Theo,” North Carolina coach Roy Williams said in a statement. “Number one, he’s been playing well and he does so many positive things for our team. Theo’s our energy guy, he defends, he’s our best passer, a threat on the offensive boards, he can play four different positions, and he gives our team personality, and I mean that in a good way. Hopefully we can get him back before the end of the season.”

    An extended absence for Pinson is a massive blow for a North Carolina team that already must replace stars Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson from last year’s national runner-up squad.

    Read More »from Fractured foot sidelines North Carolina's Theo Pinson indefinitely
  • Bam Adebayo's toughness and physicality should solve one of Kentucky's biggest weaknesses from last season. (AP)
    Bam Adebayo’s toughness should fix one of Kentucky’s biggest weaknesses from last season. (AP)

    Yahoo Sports will break down the top 10 leagues for the upcoming college basketball season working backward from No. 10 to No. 1. Here’s a look at our No. 6 league, the SEC.

    Optimism abounded in SEC basketball circles last fall after an influx of talent, money and established coaches appeared to bolster the long-struggling league.

    Then the season began and the quality of hoops in the SEC was no better than before.

    Only three SEC teams made the NCAA tournament for the third time in four years, and none would have advanced to the second weekend were it not for Northern Iowa’s historic final-minute collapse against Texas A&M. Worse yet, 13 of the 16 members of the SEC’s all-league teams either graduated or turned pro, suggesting that this season may not be any better.

    What that proves is that an SEC basketball resurgence will take time to achieve. Michael White hasn’t yet restocked Florida with

    Read More »from Five-minute season preview: The SEC
  • Louisville coach Rick Pitino could face a suspension. (AP)
    Louisville coach Rick Pitino could face a suspension. (AP)

    The most noteworthy aspect of the Notice of Allegations released Thursday by Louisville is what it doesn’t contain.

    There was not one word from the man who could have done the most damage to Rick Pitino and the Cardinals basketball program.

    Had former Louisville staffer Andre McGee chose to cooperate with NCAA investigators, he could have revealed who knew about the sex parties he arranged for Cardinals recruits or where he got the money to hire the strippers that performed at them. By choosing to remain silent instead, McGee made his best legal play but also allowed himself to become the scapegoat Louisville desperately needed.

    The NCAA portrayed McGee as acting covertly and alone in arranging for strippers to dance for and have sex with Louisville recruits at an on-campus dormitory. The Notice of Allegations did not suggest that Pitino or anyone else at the university had any knowledge of the parties McGee organized from

    Read More »from Favorable Notice of Allegations will benefit both Rick Pitino, Louisville
  • Gavin Schilling (AP)
    Gavin Schilling (AP)

    It’s mid-October, and Michigan State is already running out of healthy big men.

    The Spartans announced Wednesday that projected starter Gavin Schilling suffered a non-contact injury to his right knee during Friday’s practice. The injury will require surgery, and there is no timetable yet for the 6-foot-9 senior’s return.

    “This is certainly an unfortunate setback for Gavin, as he had been practicing very well,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said in a statement. “He had an incredible summer and was in excellent shape as he was ready to make his senior season the best one yet.”

    Schilling’s injury comes about two weeks after his primary backup Ben Carter suffered a knee injury of his own. Carter, a graduate transfer from UNLV, underwent surgery last week, and there is no timetable for his return either.

    With sophomore forward Kenny Goins just now returning to practice after offseason knee surgery, the lack of depth in the Michigan State frontcourt is a major

    Read More »from Gavin Schilling's injury further depletes Michigan State's frontcourt
  • Rodney Purvis will try to help lead UConn to its first ever league title in the AAC. (AP)
    Rodney Purvis will try to help lead UConn to its first ever league title in the AAC. (AP)

    Yahoo Sports will break down the top 10 leagues for the upcoming college basketball season working backward from No. 10 to No. 1. Here’s a look at our No. 7 league, the American Athletic Conference.

    For a program whose rich history suggests it belongs in a stronger league, UConn hasn’t exactly dominated the American Athletic Conference.

    The Huskies have yet to come close to winning a league title, finishing tied for third in their national championship 2013-14 season, tied for fifth a year later and alone in sixth last March.

    This could be the year UConn ascends to the top of the American Athletic Conference if the Huskies can come close to reaching their ceiling. Not only do they return a high-scoring wing, an elite shot blocker and a promising young point guard, they also add maybe the best group of newcomers coach Kevin Ollie has landed in his four-year tenure.

    In an era in which two point guard

    Read More »from 5-minute season preview: American Athletic Conference
  • Buzz Williams could be poised for a breakthrough season at Virginia Tech (AP)
    Buzz Williams could be poised for a breakthrough season at Virginia Tech (AP)

    Our 2016-17 season preview continues with a look at five teams on the rise. Check back every day for more college hoops preview content.

    NEVADA: After winning 24 games and a CBI title last March, the Wolf Pack could be poised for an even bigger breakthrough this season. Second-year coach Eric Musselman has made Nevada a destination for high-major-caliber recruits and prized transfers. Sophomore Cameron Oliver blossomed into a 20-point, 10-rebound threat late last season and could be the Mountain West’s top big man this year. He’ll have plenty of promising newcomers around him, from high-scoring ex-Missouri State guard Marcus Marshall, to freshman point guard Devearl Ramsey, to transfer forwards Jordan Caroline (Southern Illinois) and Leland King (Brown). With several more coveted transfers set to be eligible next year and proven recruiters Dave Rice and Yanni Hufnagel joining the staff, Nevada is poised to

    Read More »from Five programs on the rise entering the new season
  • Rodney Purvis will try to help lead UConn to its first ever league title in the AAC. (AP)
    Rodney Purvis will try to help lead UConn to its first ever league title in the AAC. (AP)

    Yahoo Sports will break down the top 10 leagues for the upcoming college basketball season working backward from No. 10 to No. 1. Here’s a look at our No. 7 league, the American Athletic Conference.

    For a program whose rich history suggests it belongs in a stronger league, UConn hasn’t exactly dominated the American Athletic Conference.

    The Huskies have yet to come close to winning a league title, finishing tied for third in their national championship 2013-14 season, tied for fifth a year later and alone in sixth last March.

    This could be the year UConn ascends to the top of the American Athletic Conference if the Huskies can come close to reaching their ceiling. Not only do they return a high-scoring wing, an elite shot blocker and a promising young point guard, they also add maybe the best group of newcomers coach Kevin Ollie has landed in his four-year tenure.

    In an era in which two point guard

    Read More »from Five-minute season preview: American Athletic Conference
  • Jim Boeheim (AP)
    Jim Boeheim (AP)

    Nineteen months after the NCAA ordered Syracuse to vacate 101 victories, we finally have a better sense of the extent of that punishment.

    Wiped from the record books are wins from from five different seasons including one in which the Orange won the Big East regular season title and another in which they captured the Big East tournament championship. The Syracuse Post-Standard reported which seasons were impacted Monday.

    The punishment stems from the NCAA’s 2015 findings regarding infractions Syracuse committed from 2004-2012. The NCAA ruled that members of Syracuse’s academic support staff did impermissible work for players, that a player broke the rules by accepting money for delivering a speech and that the university failed to follow its own drug policy with athletes who tested positive for use of marijuana.

    Whereas Syracuse amassed a 34-3 record and captured the Big East title during the 2011-12 season, the Orange’s official record will be 0-3 that year. That

    Read More »from Report reveals which victories NCAA made Syracuse vacate
  • Minnesota's Richard Pitino is among the coaches in the most need of a bounce-back season. (AP)
    Minnesota’s Richard Pitino is among the coaches in the most need of a bounce-back season. (AP)

    Our 2016-17 season preview continues with a look at eight coaches under the most pressure to win. Check back each day for more college hoops preview content.

    Steve Alford, UCLA

    Why the pressure is on: Whereas Alford’s first two UCLA teams peaked in March and reached the Sweet 16, his third season in Westwood ended in disaster. The Bruins dropped eight of their last 10 games and plummeted to 15-17 overall, a performance so bad that empty seats abounded at Pauley Pavilion and fans flew planes over campus towing banners calling for Alford’s firing. Alford subsequently wrote a letter apologizing for the poor season and pledging to return a previous one-year contract extension, but that gesture alone won’t assuage a fan base that continues to view the fourth-year coach with a skeptical eye. The only way he can win over UCLA fans is to restore the program to its former status as a perennial

    Read More »from Eight coaches under the most pressure to win this season
  • The NCAA has reversed course and declared Oakland's Isaiah Brock eligible to play this season. (AP)
    The NCAA has reversed course and declared Oakland’s Isaiah Brock eligible to play this season. (AP)

    Isaiah Brock’s eligibility saga has reached its inevitable conclusion.

    Amid heavy public pressure to remove the restrictions placed on Brock, the NCAA initial eligibility committee made a sensible decision, approving the decorated U.S. Army veteran’s appeal seeking the right to play for Oakland University this season.

    Brock’s eligibility was in question because his high school grades were insufficient to qualify to play Division I college basketball. He instead enlisted in the Army in 2012, serving four years including stints in Kuwait and Afghanistan.

    Oakland coach Greg Kampe told the Detroit Free Press and CBSSports.com earlier this month that he first met Brock at a charitable event in Kuwait connecting soldiers with basketball coaches. While Kampe wasn’t sure that Brock would ever develop into an impact player at Oakland, he offered the 6-foot-8 forward a spot on his team anyway in

    Read More »from Army veteran wins appeal to play for Oakland this season