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[SPORTS] 2016 “THE YEAR IN SPORTS”

The Year in Sports…

 

As 2016 comes to a close I could not help but take a look at all the amazing stories of this year…

 

The greatest story line to me has to be the World Series win for the Chicago Cubs. While they were one of the favorites going in to the season, having not won a title 108 years it is just a moment when you have to be happy for them even if you are not a sports fan. That said while a perennial bad team the majority of the past 108 years somehow they have managed to maintain an incredibly loyal fan base and have been selling out for years. Not only did they win the World Series but it also took one of the most exciting game sevens to make it happen with an 8-7 10-inning victory over the Cleveland Indians who were trying to exercise there own demons having not a Championship since 1948.

 

Another monumental moment in sports this year was Peyton Manning taking the Broncos back to the Super Bowl and earning his 2nd ring as we all knew retirement was in the wings. Coming back from a mid-season injury and really a shell of his MVP form, he along with Von Miller and the vaunted defense willed another title for Denver.

 

What truly kept me on the edge of my seats during a usually boring long NBA season was watching the Golden St Warriors go for the best record in NBA history. The Chicago Bulls in 1996 when an absurd 72-10 and established a mark I thought would never be broken. Low and behold Steph Curry your defending MVP came back with another MVP season and players like Clay Thompson and Draymond Green played at All Star levels and the once laughing stock for many years went on to go 73-9. They reached the NBA finals and after a 3-1 lead bowed out to Lebron and the Cavs 4-3. Many will say because they did not close the deal they are not in conversation with greatest teams ever. If anybody’s asking I am taking the 96 Bulls in 5 games if they would have played.

 

This was also the year of the Summer Olympics and we had some great moments. Carmelo led the US Basketball team to another Gold and we loved that but swimmer Michael Phelps winning his record 23rd medal and retiring from the Olympics was the top story. The most bizarre and controversial moment was when Ryan Lotche, Phelps’ teammate alleged that he was robbed by gunpoint at a gas station with fellow swimmers Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and James Feigen. Brazilian officials found no evidence that the incident occurred and announced in a press conference that the men had vandalized the property.

 

There were so many great stories in 2016 these are just a few what are your favorites?

 

#allaboooooard

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Kentucky coach John Calipari ejected early vs. South Carolina

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Kentucky Wildcats coach John Calipari was hit with two technical fouls and ejected with 17:34 remaining in the first half of Saturday’s road victory against the South Carolina Gamecocks.With Kentucky leading 5-2 in a battle for first place in the SEC, Calipari exchanged words with official Doug Sirmons after South Carolina’s Mindaugas Kacinas was called for an offensive foul for bowling over the Wildcats’ Jamal Murray while contesting for a rebound.

In a previous scrum, officials did not call a foul on the Gamecocks’ Michael Carrera when he jumped over a pair of Kentucky players and scored.

No. 22 Kentucky won the game, 89-62.

After receiving a first technical, Calipari walked toward Sirmons along the sideline at midcourt and continued arguing vehemently, receiving a second technical.
Assistant coach Tony Barbee, Murray, Isaiah Briscoe and Marcus Lee had to hold Calipari back as he tried to return to the floor and continue the exchange. Calipari eventually left the arena and returned to the locker room.

Carrera missed three of the four free throws from Calipari’s ejection.

Calipari took to Twitter after the game to praise his team.

Calipari also was ejected on March 1, 2014, in Kentucky’s 72-67 loss at South Carolina.

Sirmons was not done with the technical after Calipari left, calling two more in the second half.

He called South Carolina’s Jamall Gregory for a technical foul in the second half after the freshman slapped at the ball in a Kentucky player’s hands following a Wildcat turnover. Tyler Ulis made both free throws for Kentucky.

Briscoe was also called for a technical by Sirmons for slamming the ball after Murray’s basket. Duane Notice hit both of those free throws for the Gamecocks.

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Baylor faces accusations of ignoring sex assault victims

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During the first rape, Tanya was shoved into the muddy ground before her pants were pulled down. After it was over, the Baylor football player allowed her to get up and walk away, but then he pushed her, face forward, into a metal fence and raped her again.

He disappeared after handing Tanya her shirt back. Dazed, Tanya made her way back into the party, found her friends, and told one of them, “I think I was just raped.”

Once at the hospital, in Waco, Texas, Tanya recounted for Waco police and a nurse what had happened: A Baylor University football player named Tevin Elliott had raped her. The defensive end would end up arrested by Waco police, charged with sexually assaulting Tanya, kicked off the football team and expelled.

Days later, Tanya said she went to Baylor’s campus police department, asking officers if there was anything they could do for her, because she’d been assaulted by a fellow student. She didn’t ask for anything specific, but she thought maybe a campus escort or security could be provided, because Elliott remained in Waco.
There is nothing we can do, because the assault happened off campus.

A few days later, she said she contacted Baylor’s student health center, seeking counseling.

There is no one who can see you now. You could, though, put your name on a waiting list. Maybe you should see someone off campus.

With final exams coming up and Tanya’s schoolwork already beginning to suffer, her mother called Baylor’s academic services group for assistance.

Sorry. No resources are available. Even “if a plane falls on your daughter, there’s nothing we can do to help you.”

Tanya, a Baylor freshman at the time, was one of five women who reported to police that they were either raped or assaulted — in incidents from October 2009 to April 2012 — by Elliott, who was convicted on two counts of sexual assault in January 2014 for the incident involving Tanya.
Despite being a private school, Baylor is required by federal law — Title IX — to thoroughly investigate allegations of sexual violence, and provide security, counseling services and academic help to those who report assaults. Part of the law’s goal is to help keep victims in school.

Yet an investigation by Outside the Lines found several examples in Tanya’s case, and others at Baylor, in which school officials either failed to investigate, or adequately investigate, allegations of sexual violence. In many cases, officials did not provide support to those who reported assaults. Moreover, it took Baylor more than three years to comply with a federal directive: In April 2011, the U.S. Department of Education sent a letter to all colleges and universities outlining their responsibilities under Title IX, including the need for each school to have a Title IX coordinator. Baylor didn’t hire a full-time coordinator until fall 2014.

“They didn’t just not respond; they responded by turning me away and telling me that it was not possible for me to receive help from them,” said Tanya, whose identity is being kept private by Outside the Lines because she was the victim of a sexual assault.

Tanya’s story is similar to others at Baylor and an array of universities nationwide; the U.S. Department of Education is investigating complaints against 161 institutions for their handling of sexual violenceinvestigations. In a more recent Baylor case, university officials agreed to a monetary settlement with another victim of a football player’s assault. Defensive end Sam Ukwuachu was convicted of sexual assault in August after a Baylor soccer player reported to Waco police that he’d assaulted her in October 2013. During Ukwuachu’s trial, it was disclosed that Baylor officials had conducted an internal investigation into the assault complaint and cleared him of any wrongdoing.

“I wouldn’t call it an investigation,” said McLennan County Assistant District Attorney Hilary LaBorde, who prosecuted the Elliott and Ukwuachu cases in court. “They didn’t have someone that seemed to know anything about how college rape occurs.”

Baylor, which is not among the schools being federally investigated, declined to make any coaches — including head football coach Art Briles — or administrators available for interviews with Outside the Lines. One of those administrators was university president Ken Starr, the former judge and independent counsel who led the investigation into President Bill Clinton’s intern-sex scandal.

Baylor police also refused to release any records pertaining to the incidents, even though the Texas legislature passed a law last summer making private campus police departments subject to state open records laws. A spokeswoman for the school said she could not provide information about any of the assaults due to student privacy, even though the two women featured in this story signed release forms allowing Baylor officials to discuss their cases with Outside the Lines.

Patty Crawford, the university’s new Title IX coordinator, spoke to Outside the Lines but said she could not specifically address past incidents. She said the school has hired an outside consultant to review its handling of previous cases, although she said she didn’t know whether the school would make that report public.

“We do want to be our best, and we’re always wanting to be an improvement from yesterday,” she said.
On April 1, 2012, two weeks before Tanya filed her police report against Elliott, another woman reported to Waco police that Elliott had forced her to have sex with him.

A few weeks later, the woman — Kim — and her mother said they also reported the assault to Baylor’s ombudsman office and were sent to meet with the school’s chief judicial officer, Bethany McCraw.

Both women said McCraw’s response noted that Kim, also a Baylor athlete, was the sixth woman to report such an incident involving Elliott.

“I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, six?’ ” Kim said. “We essentially asked, ‘Well, why are there six?’ and, ‘Well, does the football team know about this? Does Art Briles know about this?’ And she said, ‘Yes, they know about it, but it turns into a he said-she said, so there’s got to be, actually a court decision in order to act on it in any sort of way.’ ”

But that contradicts the directive issued in the 2011 letter from the U.S. Department of Education — one that McCraw would testify in court that she received — that states a criminal investigation “does not relieve the school of its duty under Title IX to resolve complaints promptly and equitably.”

Kim said she asked about a restraining order. She said McCraw told her it would essentially simply consist of a letter sent to Elliott telling him to not come near her, “and then you kind of hope for the best.”

Kim said she believed McCraw was trying to talk her out of pursuing anything against Elliott.

McCraw was helpful in one area, though, Kim said: She said she told McCraw she was having trouble preparing for her final exams, and McCraw offered to contact her professors to give her dispensation. Kim said she suspected that occurred only because she was so close to getting her degree.

“And she was like, ‘OK, well, we’ll make that happen.’ Like ‘Shoo, shoo, run along. OK, got it. Let’s just get her graduated,’ you know?” she said.

When contacted by Outside the Lines, McCraw said Kim’s account was inaccurate, but she declined to comment further.

Although Kim testified during Elliott’s trial, the football player was not charged in connection with her assault, in part because prosecutors decided her case wasn’t as strong as others; Elliott would end up accused of one assault and four rapes, facing formal charges on two of them, including one against a former member of Baylor’s equestrian team. Two of the students who accused him did not attend Baylor.
Michele Davis, a former member of a Baylor advisory board that reviewed sexual assault-response issues with community leaders, told Outside the Lines university officials have known for at least a few years of a much larger problem with sexual assaults and athletes.

Davis is also the sexual assault nurse examiner for McLennan County, which means she is often the first person who interviews women who come to local hospitals reporting they’ve been raped.

“Baylor has more sexual assault cases — that we do exams on — compared to the other schools with the same approximate population,” she said, in reference to two other colleges in Waco. She said she sees about eight Baylor students a year, and of those, she said Baylor athletes make up between 25 percent to 50 percent of the alleged perpetrators. (Male athletes are 4 percent of the undergraduate male population at Baylor.) Most women refuse to report such incidents to authorities, she said.

She said Baylor’s advisory board was aware of the problem with athletes and recommended that someone from the athletic department join the board, but she said that did not happen during her term, which ended in 2014. Crawford put the board on hiatus as she rebuilt the university’s Title IX office but said she plans to restart it.

Within weeks of Tanya’s and Kim’s reports being filed with Waco police, Briles suspended Elliott. His arrest for assaulting Tanya marked the first time media picked up on any of the accusations against him.

Baylor was coming off its most successful football season in decades. In 2011, it had finished in the top-25 polls for the first time since the mid-1980s. Quarterback Robert Griffin III had won the Heisman Trophy, a first for any Baylor football player.

Baylor officials declined to answer questions about when they knew of Elliott’s alleged assaults, but a source told Outside the Lines that records show Baylor judicial affairs officials were aware of a misdemeanor, sexually-related assault citation against Elliott in November 2011. In that incident, a local community college student told police that Elliott trapped her in her room, held her against her will and touched her inappropriately, at one point poking a broom toward her vagina.

Elliott played nine of 13 games that season. Outside the Lines spoke to Elliott, who is serving a 20-year sentence at a prison in West Texas, and he said that none of his coaches mentioned the incident to him, and he received no punishment.

“I don’t even know if they knew,” he said. “I just kept playing ball, kept going to school.”

Elliott denied all of the assaults, saying that any sex he had with the women was consensual.

“You know college athletes go through this all the time. … At the end of the day, the finger is going to be pointed at us because we are the big athletes,” he said. “We’re sitting on a pedestal, they trying to make us look bad, but at the end of the day, we could be innocent. It’s like we are guilty until proven innocent.”

Elliott and his family are trying to mount an appeal, alleging that apartment security video that could clear him of Tanya’s rape is mysteriously missing and that jurors ignored evidence.
In October 2013 — while Elliott’s case was progressing toward trial — a Baylor soccer player accused football player Sam Ukwuachu of rape. Ukwuachu, also a defensive end, wasn’t indicted until June 2014.

His case remained under wraps, and out of the media, for more than year until it went to trial last August. During that time, Ukwuachu did not play, but he remained on the team and enrolled in school.

Kim said she heard about the trial on the news.

“And I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ It’s like they didn’t take the Tevin thing seriously. What, did we not cry out enough for something to be done? I mean, was that not enough for you to listen to us?”

In the Ukwuachu case, the university had actually conducted a Title IX investigation. It cleared him. Two months before Ukwuachu’s trial, the football team’s defensive coordinator, Phil Bennett, told a crowd at a luncheon that he expected Ukwuachu to play in the 2015 season.

Ukwuachu, through his attorney, declined a request for an interview with Outside the Lines. He issued a lengthy statement in which he said he was falsely accused and that he did not receive a fair trial. He said his accuser lied repeatedly about what had happened, and prosecutors presented false evidence during his trial.

“Do not criticize Baylor University or my former coaches,” he wrote. “A Baylor University investigation cleared me and allowed me to graduate because they caught my accuser in multiple lies pertaining to the events that happened the night of the alleged incident as well as our previous encounter during their investigation.”

LaBorde, the McLennan County assistant district attorney, said Baylor’s investigation — which was not provided to Outside the Lines — faulted the soccer player for having been friends with Ukwuachu and having twice gone over to his apartment before the night on which she reported the rape.

“I have no explanation for [Baylor’s lack of action] other than it’s just some 1940s mentality of how women should behave,” she said. “If they’re sitting around and waiting for a victim who has been pulled off the jogging path and raped by a stranger wearing a trench coat, they’re going to be waiting for a long time.”

She said Baylor officials didn’t request certain records or interview sources who might have provided better evidence.

Crawford, the school’s Title IX coordinator, said she couldn’t talk about the Ukwuachu investigation.

“I can’t speculate from the past. I wasn’t in the room. I wasn’t there. I do know that, in the world of Title IX … we don’t have certain powers that criminal process and a justice process has,” she said.

Ukwuachu’s accuser was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following the encounter. She had been struggling to recover from a knee injury suffered while playing soccer when Baylor reduced her athletic scholarship. She ultimately transferred to another university.

“She’s the one that has to leave, and he remains,” LaBorde said. “Somehow they have the money to keep him, even though he’s under indictment. They don’t have the money to keep her.”

Crawford said the school has since taken steps to make sure students get the help they need — regardless of the outcome of any judicial hearing.

“Any time a man or woman comes forward and says, ‘Hey, this has happened to me,’ we create a plan together. And I say, ‘I’m going to navigate the resources. What do you need?’ ” she said. “We don’t want them to have to tell 10 people that maybe they were sexually assaulted. That just can retrigger a trauma and can cause a lot of problems, especially during exams or any time during an academic career.”

She said more than 6,000 faculty, staff, residence hall leaders and athletes have been trained, and Baylor has Title IX “case managers” who work comprehensively with each student.

“The real essence of Title IX is student success. And it’s hard to be successful when you don’t feel safe,” Crawford said.

Crawford described having overhauled the Title IX system to get all departments, including athletics, involved in preventing and addressing sexual assault allegations so everyone will know what to do if they’re made aware of an incident of sexual violence.
Tanya said she and her mother had never heard of Title IX until they were contacted by Outside the Lines for this story. They declined to say whether they were considering legal action against Baylor.

“Everybody knew what was going on, but nobody helped us,” Tanya’s mother said. “No one reached out to us, not a phone call, not a letter, nothing.”

She said she has heard the university’s pledge to do better, but she doesn’t buy it.

“Their football team is their priority.The money that comes to them is their priority,” she said. “You cannot serve two masters.Theirs is money.They don’t care about their students.They don’t care about the victims.”

Her daughter has a similar, cynical view.

“Do I think the administration is sincere? No. Because then they would have acted differently in Sam’s [Ukwuachu’s] case,” she said. “I don’t think that they are sincere.”

Tanya stayed at Baylor one year after her rape, but she said she wasn’t able to focus on her work, and her grades plummeted. She lost her academic scholarship and was put on academic probation.

In spring 2013, Tanya’s mother said she called academic services one last time. She told them what happened to her daughter and asked for help. She said she was given exit forms for Tanya to sign.

Tanya dropped out of Baylor, moved home, gave up her dream of becoming a nurse, and enrolled in a local community college.

“Baylor has deceived people like me and like other victims of assault. Because they told us that they would represent something good and something righteous,” Tanya said. “And in every way, they have failed to do so.”

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Duquesne basketball team bus stranded overnight on PA Turnpike

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The Duquesne Dukes men’s basketball team is still looking to get home after being stranded in traffic on the Pennsylvania Turnpike overnight because of the blizzard impacting the Eastern United States.

The Dukes were traveling home to Pittsburgh from Fairfax, Virginia, after their 86-75 victory against George Mason on Friday. The team, which departed Fairfax at 4:30 p.m., is stuck on a stretch between Bedford and Somerset, Pennsylvania.

Duquesne coach Jim Ferry, who won his 300th career game Friday, told SportsCenter on Saturday morning that the bus is approximately 80 miles from Pittsburgh and that “everybody is safe” and “we’re going to be OK.”

Ferry told SportsCenter on Saturday morning that the bus came to a stop at about 9:15 p.m. ET “and we haven’t moved since.”

“It’s been a heck of an experience,” he said. “… We were making good time, kept track of the storm and we’re doing well. Then about 9:15 last night, it was a dead stop and we haven’t moved since.”

The AccuWeather forecast for Somerset calls for heavy snow Saturday morning — with a total accumulation from Friday evening into Saturday evening totaling 1-2 feet. Blizzard warnings remain in effect Saturday for eastern and coastal portions of the mid-Atlantic, from mountain areas in Virginia to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City and Long Island, New York.

Ferry said the team had tracked the storm and was prepared but is becoming a little concerned with the “rations of leftover pizza and water” starting to “run out a little bit.”

“We’re just bunkered down,” Ferry said. “We’ve got a good group of guys and we’ve all just kind of hung out and had a good time with each other, watched a movie, guys were goofin’ and laughing and on their phones. Hours turned into hours and hours and hours.”

The team’s Twitter account has been posting periodic updates and says the team is “safe on warm bus” and are “hoping others out here [on the PA Turnpike] are as fortunate.”
A similar incident happened in 2014 when the Niagara women’s basketball team was stranded on the New York State Thruway for nearly 30 hours after a huge storm dumped 4 feet of snow around Buffalo.

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Chris Mullin to coach St. John’s

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Chris Mullin has agreed to a deal to become the next head coach at St. John’s, multiple sources told ESPN.

Mullin, 51, is one of the greatest players in St. John’s history, winning the Big East Player of the Year award three times in the 1980s. He was drafted seventh overall in the 1985 NBA draft by the Golden State Warriors, playing in five straight All-Star Games from 1989 to 1993. Mullin is also a two-time Olympic gold medalist and was induced into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Since retiring, Mullin has spent time in the front offices of the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings.

Lou Carnesecca, Mullin’s former coach at St. John’s, told ESPN.com’s Ian O’Connor that he offered the new coach of the Red Storm some advice.

“We talked, and you have to understand this is a big thing for Chris, a major, major step,” Carnesecca said. “He had a good thing going [in Sacramento], where he could come and go as he wants. Now it’s a vocation. This is no longer a job, it’s a vocation.”

Carnesecca also believes Mullin has the makings of a good coach.

“People worry about the lack of experience, but Chris has been around so many great players and coaches,” Carnesecca said. “I told him, ‘If you ever stopped and wrote down everything you know about basketball, you would fill volumes.’ ”

Mullin replaces Steve Lavin, who parted ways with the Red Storm on Friday after five seasons. St. John’s made two NCAA tournament appearances and two NIT appearances during Lavin’s tenure.

The Red Storm were 21-12 this past season, getting knocked out in the round of 64 by San Diego State. St. John’s loses four seniors, while Rysheed Jordan and Chris Obekpa are considering the NBA draft. Top-50 recruit Brandon Sampson also reopened his recruitment after Lavin and the program parted ways.

“I’m just delighted [by Mullin’s hiring], and I think a lot of people feel the same way,” Carnesecca said. “I think this is the most popular choice ever at St. John’s.

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Mike Krzyzewski becomes 1st Div. I men’s coach to reach 1,000 wins

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NEW YORK — Mike Krzyzewski earned his 1,000th career win Sunday, making him the first NCAA Division I men’s coach to reach the milestone, when No. 5 Duke surged past St. John’s in the second half for a 77-68 victory at Madison Square Garden.

Tyus Jones scored 22 points and the Blue Devils (17-2) went on an 18-2 run down the stretch to put Krzyzewski in four figures on his first try. Jahlil Okafor had 17 points and 10 rebounds, combining with Jones and Quinn Cook (17 points) to fuel the decisive spurt after Duke trailed by 10 with 8½ minutes remaining.

When the final horn sounded, Blue Devils players engulfed Krzyzewski in front of their bench, and he received a bear hug from assistant Jeff Capel. Players were given T-shirts that read “1,000 and Kounting.”

“We were so gritty in the last 10 minutes,” Krzyzewski said. “It was tough to get involved with 1,000. I was just trying to survive this game, which is how you get to 1,000.”

A public address announcement offered congratulations to Krzyzewski from St. John’s, and Duke fans at a packed Garden chanted his name and held aloft “K” signs.

“I’m in it right now. I wasn’t in it until now,” he said. “You know, to see the happiness of my players makes it good. We have to keep it in perspective. It makes us 17-2 and we’ve got to go to Notre Dame on Wednesday, but for this moment, for basketball, for the game and for this program, we’ll enjoy this one right now.”

Sir’Dominic Pointer had 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Red Storm (13-6), who were looking for a huge win to put on their NCAA tournament resume down the road. They were in position to get it, but got worn down by Duke late and let this one slip away.

Rysheed Jordan scored 18 points, and Phil Greene IV added 13. Leading scorer D’Angelo Harrison was held to 12 points on 5-of-14 shooting, his third straight subpar performance as he plays through a strained calf. No. 1,000 came about 500 miles from the cramped and cozy confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium, but Coach K was hardly on unfamiliar soil.

After all, Madison Square Garden was where he notched win No. 903 against Michigan State in November 2011, breaking the Division I record previously held by his college coach and mentor, Bob Knight.

“It’s a remarkable accomplishment to win as many games as Mike has as a coach,” Knight said in a statement. “However, being able to coach as well as he has for as many years as he has is even more remarkable.”

Krzyzewski improved to 1,000-308 in a 40-year coaching career that began in 1975 at his alma mater, Army. He is 927-249 in 35 seasons at Duke, guiding the Blue Devils to four NCAA titles and 11 trips to the Final Four.

By midway through an entertaining first half, the 67-year-old Krzyzewski was on his feet in front of the Duke bench as St. John’s erased an 11-point deficit.

Wearing a blue suit and white sneakers to support Coaches vs. Cancer, Krzyzewski stalked after the officials at the end of the first half to argue that Harrison’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer came after the shot clock expired.

Coach K didn’t get the call, and the Red Storm went into the locker room leading 43-39.

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Andrew Wiggins news conference set

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Andrew Wiggins will announce he’s leaving Kansas after one season for the NBA at a news conference on Monday afternoon, sources told ESPN.com.The school released a statement that the 6-foot-8 freshman from Canada will make an announcement Monday at 3 p.m. ET.

Wiggins averaged 17.1 points and 5.9 rebounds this past season and is expected to be taken somewhere in the top three in June’s NBA draft. Wiggins was the Big 12 freshman of the year and a first-team all-conference selection.

In a November interview for ESPN The Magazine’s college basketball preview issue, Wiggins, when asked what he’s enjoyed most since he arrived at Kansas, indicated he would spend only one season in college.

“I would say just being able to enjoy my last year of school,” Wiggins said.

Fellow Kansas freshman Wayne Selden Jr. has already announced he will return to school. Freshman center Joel Embiid, who also has a chance to be the top overall pick, has yet to announce his plans.

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No. 1 Andrew Wiggins picks Kansas

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Andrew Wiggins, a 6-foot-7 small forward and the top player in the senior class, has signed a national letter of intent with the Kansas Jayhawks after also considering Florida State, Kentucky and North Carolina.

Wiggins, the best Canadian prospect since Steve Nash, averaged 23.6 points, 11.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists for Huntington Prep in West Virginia last season after growing up in Toronto. He was named the Naismith High School player of the year.

“I’m looking forward to getting there and just doing my thing,” Wiggins said.
Kansas coach Bill Self said he was pleasantly surprised by Wiggins’ announcement because “we never had an idea which way he was leading.

“Andrew did this the exact way he said he was going to,” Self said in a news release. “He played his cards very close to his vest as did his mother and father. I knew we were one of four. The competition was very stiff and we were fortunate that we were able to ink him today. He’s a tremendous talent and a terrific kid.”

Wiggins signed the letter of intent at a private ceremony Tuesday afternoon in Huntington, W.Va.

“I just followed my heart,” he said.

Rob Fulford, the head coach at Huntington Prep, envisions a smooth transition out of his star to the college game.

“I don’t know that he’s got to change anything,” Fulford said Monday. “He’s wired to score and I think that’s what he’ll do. He’s going to continue to be who he is.

“I think he’s going to be a great college player but I think he’ll be a better pro because of the way the defenses are. You can’t guard him in space.”

Wiggins hit the genetic lottery. His mother, Marita Payne-Wiggins, competed for Canada in track and field and won two silver medals at the 1984 Olympics. His father, Mitchell Wiggins, played six years in the NBA after a standout career at Florida State. Payne-Wiggins was also a star athlete at Florida State. Older brother Nick plays guard at Wichita State and another brother, Mitchell Jr., plays at NAIA school Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla.

The Seminoles were a major player in his recruitment but in the end, Kansas was the choice.

“Florida State was great for mom, it was great for dad,” Mitchell Wiggins said. But he recalled telling his son, “it’s your time. It’s not 20-30 years ago. And Florida State (would have been) a great choice.”

But the father said Kansas will “be a great fit. Hopefully Andrew stays humble, stays hungry. We’ll see how it plays out.”
During Wiggins’ recruitment, it was reported he had the best relationship with Self among the coaches at the schools in consideration. Before Tuesday’s decision, Wiggins had shut down his recruitment and communication with his suitors.

“There hasn’t been a ton of communication between the college coaches and Andrew,” Fulford said. “I think they’d all probably tell you they don’t really know where they stand.”

Initially rated as a 2014 prospect, Wiggins shot to the top of recruiting charts when he decided last October to reclassify into his original high school class of 2013. He had until Wednesday to sign with a Division I school.

“He’s the best high school player who has come around in a long time,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg told ESPN.com’s Andy Katz on Tuesday. “He’s freakishly athletic and has great size and great length. He’s a special player and a special talent in our conference.”

Numerous times during his recruiting process, Wiggins hinted that he did not enjoy the media attention and wasn’t thrilled with the process. At Kansas, he’ll be under the glare of the national media.

His coach isn’t worried.

“I think it’s something he’s going to have to adjust to,” Fulford said. “From this point on, it’ll be more about his game. Everything that’s been talked about or written about up to now have been 15 percent game and 85 percent ‘where you going?’ He hated the recruiting conversations and he shied away from most media attention because of that.”

Kansas, which had the nation’s No. 2 recruiting class, strengthened its hold on the spot, trailing only Kentucky. Headed to Lawrence next year are guards Wayne Selden, Conner Frankamp, Brannen Greene and Frank Mason. The nation’s No. 1 center Joel Embiid is also on board.

Rather than turn his announcement into a spectacle, Wiggins wanted a private signing ceremony where he attends classes at St. Joseph’s Central Catholic High School in Huntington.

“I didn’t really want to open it up to the public,” he said. “I knew it would be jam packed in here. I wanted people who appreciated me and people I appreciate to be here watching me. I wanted a lot of people I knew.”

Wiggins had kept quiet on his intentions. He had yet to even make a verbal commitment and delayed his signing until almost the very end — Wednesday is the deadline for recruits to sign with NCAA Division I schools.

“This is the way I like it to be done — on my own time,” he said. “I’ve got a weight lifted off my shoulders. I can relax now.”

Interest grew in recent weeks. As one fan put told Wiggins in a Twitter post, “You’re driving 4 schools and 4 fan bases absolutely insane.”

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Rutgers: Eddie Jordan has no degree

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Rutgers’ official bio of new men’s basketball coach Eddie Jordan says he graduated from the university in 1977. But the university registrar’s office says the former NBA player and coach never received a degree from Rutgers, though he earned 103 credit hours from 1973 to 1985.

A Rutgers source told ESPN that it’s unknown if the school did not vet Jordan’s résumé, or if Jordan was not truthful about earning his degree.

Rutgers acknowledged Friday it “was in error when it reported that Eddie Jordan had earned a degree” but said his position does not require him to have one.

“Rutgers sought Eddie for the head coach position as a target-of-opportunity hire based on his remarkable public career,” Rutgers said in a release. “Eddie Jordan was inducted into the Rutgers Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 2004, and he has been a part of the Rutgers family since before 1977.”

Rutgers’ mistake of saying Jordan had a degree was made by members of the university communications department while doing research for Jordan’s bio, and they never verified the information with the coach, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.

The degree discrepancy was first reported Friday by the sports website Deadspin.

Jordan told ESPN that he did not receive a diploma because of a registration issue, but he did complete his school hours in 1985. Jordan finished playing at Rutgers in 1977, then returned to school to complete his degree after his NBA career ended in 1984.

“Some of the professors are still around and some are gone, but they all know I was in class and did my work,” Jordan said. “There was arrogance on my part when I was told I didn’t register right, and then I left to (coach at) Old Dominion. I was told my classes were never recorded. I saw a transcript. I will have to find it. I was there and I completed the work. My professors that are still there know that. That’s it.”

Jordan said he learned after his final semester that he never was officially registered.

“I went back to Rutgers in 1984-85 as a voluntary assistant to complete my studies,” Jordan said. “I didn’t walk. I didn’t get a diploma because I wasn’t registered right. That’s it. I was 28 and didn’t take care of my business. It was never an issue.”

Jordan said he was a physical education major and took health and physical education classes that last semester.

After the semester, Jordan said he then left for Old Dominion to become an assistant, and he put on résumés that he graduated from Rutgers in 1985, not 1977, when he finished playing.

After his one-year stints at Rutgers and ODU as a coach, Jordan went on to coach at Boston College and then again at Rutgers before going to the NBA as a coach in 1997. He said there was no need to put it on NBA résumés since the league doesn’t need résumés.

Rutgers scheduled Jordan to interview for its job in 2010, but Jordan changed his mind and canceled the interview, a source told ESPN. Because Jordan never interviewed then, the school never fully looked into his academic credentials at that time, a source said.

Rutgers hired Jordan last month to replace Mike Rice, who was fired after video was made public showing Rice kicking and shoving players and yelling obscenities and anti-gay slurs at them. Two university administrators resigned over the scandal.

Rutgers used former Vanderbilt and South Carolina coach Eddie Fogler as a consultant to help identify candidates to replace Rice, the Newark Star-Ledger reported. However, it would have been up to the university to be responsible for checking the background of each candidate.

In a statement, Rutgers spokesman E.J. Miranda called Jordan a “part of the Rutgers family.” Miranda referred questions about Jordan’s bio to the athletics department. A spokesman did not return a call or emails to The Associated Press.

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Door open for Webber & Co.

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The University of Michigan’s 10-year dissociation from Chris Webber, Maurice Taylor and Louis Bullock has ended.

Technically.

The former Wolverines have to want to reconnect with the school. And the institution has to welcome them back after they were part of one of the biggest scandals in NCAA history.

Michigan I’ve never met any of those guys, and I am looking forward to meeting them. If any of those guys are interested in meeting with me, that would be great.
” — Michigan AD Dave Brandon

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon insisted the door is open.

“I’ve never met any of those guys, and I am looking forward to meeting them,” Brandon said late Tuesday night in an interview with The Associated Press. “If any of those guys are interested in meeting with me, that would be great.”

No one, though, is sure when or if those face-to-face or telephone conversations will happen.

“I don’t see much movement and I don’t see the sense of urgency at all,” fellow Fab Five member Jalen Rose told the Detroit News. “I see a line in the sand that was drawn basically saying if Chris doesn’t apologize, they’re going to punish everybody else.”

Rose, now a TV analyst for ESPN, told the newspaper the ball is in Michigan’s court with the expiration of the sanctions.

“It’s not on Chris; it’s on Michigan,” Rose said. “They can choose to acknowledge what we accomplished regardless of what he does.

“If it’s not something that affects their bottom line, they’re not going to be in a rush to act.”

The NCAA forced Michigan to dissociate from Webber, Taylor, Bullock and the late Robert Traylor for a decade — until Wednesday — because a federal investigation revealed that now-deceased booster Ed Martin gave them more than $600,000 when they were student-athletes.

Webber, Taylor and Bullock now have the option of renewing their relationship with the school if they choose.

Brandon declined to say whether each of them would have to apologize for what they were accused of doing.
“I wasn’t around when all of this happened,” he said. “I’ve never had an opportunity to interact with them to talk about anything and I am hopeful that opportunity will present itself.”

Taylor hopes so, too.

“This morning, I felt really good about the dissociation being over and having the opportunity to reunite with the University of Michigan,” Taylor told The AP on Wednesday. “I’m excited to talk to Mr. Brandon and coach (John) Beilein. While I had some success in the NBA, there was a void in my life because of the circumstances. I had three of the best years of my life there and I love that school and all that it stands for.”

Martin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money, saying he took gambling money and combined it with other funds in loans to Webber, other players and their families.

Martin died in February 2003 on the same day Michigan officials met with the NCAA infractions committee.

“Ed was made out to be something he wasn’t, he wasn’t a booster who steered you to a school or guy who preyed on kids,” said Taylor, a retired NBA player, who lives in Houston and works for a private equity business. “He was just a great guy in Detroit, who helped out anybody playing ball of any kind in the city. When each one of us took money or gifts from Ed, long before we were in college, we were looking through innocent eyes. We weren’t trying to hurt Michigan.

“I think it was a little harsh that we were punished for such a long period of time for what we did as kids.”

Messages seeking comment were left by The Associated Press for Webber and Bullock. Traylor died in 2011, when police in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he was playing professionally, found him dead in his oceanfront apartment.

A decade ago, the NCAA barred the Wolverines from postseason play for one year, took scholarships away and put the school on probation for what the governing body said was “one of the most egregious violations of NCAA laws in the history of the organization.”

“I didn’t do anything, so I don’t feel sorry for them,” Webber once said.

Martin’s name surfaced after Taylor lost control of his car on Feb. 17, 1996. He was returning from a party in Detroit with four teammates who were entertaining Mateen Cleaves on his official recruiting visit. Cleaves later signed with Michigan State and led that team to the 2000 NCAA title.

The well-publicized crash led to the first of three investigations, the firing of coach Steve Fisher and the cloud that has hovered over Michigan’s basketball program until current coach John Beilein turned the team around in recent years.

Rose, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson — three-fifths of the Fab Five — were honored by the school in a bittersweet ceremony Nov. 21, 2010, during halftime of a game at Crisler Arena.

Above their heads in the rafters, the 1992 and 1993 Final Four banners they helped the Wolverines earn were missing. The school took them down, rolled them up, wrapped them in plastic and tucked them behind a locked door on the bottom shelf of a narrow cage near other artifacts such as Civil War diaries.

Juwan Howard, who plays for the Miami Heat, reunited with Rose, King and Jackson last month in Atlanta to watch the Wolverines play Louisville in the NCAA final.

Webber was there, too, but he was in a suite.

“You can’t think of Michigan without thinking of us,” Webber said in a 2007 interview with the AP.

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