Assault charge footballer in custody - West Ham footballer Ravel Morrison is remanded in custody after two women were assaulted in Manchester and Salford. England win to level India series - Champions League warning for Man Utd - Manchester United's £750m kit deal will be cut if they fail to qualify for the Champions League in consecutive seasons. Pooley denied time trial gold medal - England's Emma Pooley wins silver in the women's cycling time trial at Glasgow 2014 as New Zealand's Linda Villumsen takes gold. VIDEO: Australian diver lands flat on back - World Cup failures 'inspire England' - England will use previous World Cup final heartache to spur them to victory this time, says hooker Emma Croker. Queen's Estimate to run in Goodwood Cup - The Queen's horse Estimate will run at Glorious Goodwood despite recently testing positive for morphine. Footballer on women assault charge - West Ham star in women attack charge - Liverpool beat Man City in New York - Liverpool win a penalty shootout against Premier League champions Manchester City in New York after the two teams draw 2-2.

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UCLA assured Pauley Pavilion will be ready for next season [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 30, 2014, 9:38 pm]
One day after a ruptured water main just north of UCLA's campus flooded several of its athletic facilities including Pauley Pavilion, athletic director Dan Guerrero offered an encouraging update on the condition of the venerable basketball arena. He told reporters in Westwood on Wednesday that UCLA will have to practice elsewhere for the foreseeable future but that repairs to Pauley Pavilion will be complete in time for the Bruins' exhibition opener on Oct. 31. "While assessments are ongoing in regard to the damage and how to proceed, the building itself has not been structurally compromised," Guerrero said in a message posted on UCLA's athletics site. "The largest issue we currently face within Pauley is in regard to the playing surface. We have numerous options, and based on the information our experts and consultants have provided thus far, I am confident that the facility will be ready for our men’s and women’s basketball teams this upcoming season." Guerrero's confidence is excellent news for a UCLA program that surely did not want to either barnstorm throughout Southern California or play all its home games at the decaying Los Angeles Sports Arena again. The Bruins did that with disastrous results while Pauley Pavilion underwent a $136 million renovation during the 2011-12 season, failing to even contend for an NCAA tournament bid and seeing attendance dip to record low levels. There had been concern Tuesday night that Pauley Pavilion might not be ready in time for UCLA's season opener after floodwater submerged the court and damaged the locker rooms and other facilities. Photos like this one from KTTV's Liz Habib suggest the floor itself will almost certainly have to be replaced but Guerrero appeared optimistic that damage elsewhere was minor. Silt remains on the surface of the track at Drake Stadium, but Guerrero is hopeful it will not need major repairs once clean-up efforts are complete. Damage to the school's football complex and weight training cent

Oregon loses another key player as Ray Kasongo is denied admission [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 30, 2014, 3:23 pm]
The way things are going at Oregon this offseason, the Ducks may not have enough players to field a team next season. Oregon lost another potential key player Wednesday when it learned three-star power forward Ray Kasongo has been denied admission and will now look to play elsewhere, DuckTerritory.com reported. The site also noted that four-star wing JaQuan Lyle also has yet to be admitted. The loss of Kasongo and uncertainty surrounding Lyle is especially damaging for Oregon because of the flurry of transfers and dismissals the Ducks have endured already this offseason. Starting point guard Dominic Artis and wings Damyean Dotson and Brandon Austin each were dismissed from the program after being accused of rape this spring. Prior to that, forward Ben Carter and guard A.J. Lapray had transferred and five other players from last season's team exhausted their eligibility. Those losses left Oregon with only four returning players from last season: All-conference guard Joseph Young, forward Elgin Cook and seldom-used guards Jalil Abdul-Bassit and Theo Friedman. To even remain competitive in the Pac-12, the Ducks were going to have to rely heavily on their newcomers, which is why the loss of Kasongo and the uncertainty surrounding Lyle is such a huge blow. Kasongo, a 6-foot-9 power forward from Canada, chose Oregon last October over a handful of other top programs including LSU, DePaul, USC and UConn. He has an excellent all-around game and would have helped immediately as a physical rebounder and defender. Lyle, a talented wing, had been considering Oklahoma State and Memphis before choosing Oregon. If he is able to play for the Ducks, he'll be a perfect complement to the sweet-shooting Young with his ability to overpower opposing guards, given his size and strength. - - - - - - - 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! Follow @JeffEisenberg

Pauley Pavilion flooded after massive water main break at UCLA [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 30, 2014, 1:17 am]
Not even two years after UCLA unveiled $136 million renovations to Pauley Pavilion, the school is probably going to have to put more money aside to restore the hallowed basketball arena. Flood water from a major water main break just north of the UCLA campus Tuesday evening left Pauley better suited to host a water polo match than a basketball game. Ankle-high rivers of water outside the arena were deep enough that some people took off their shoes to wade across and a handful of students showed up with boogie boards. A UCLA spokesman had no immediate update regarding the extent of the damage inside Pauley Pavilion, but photos have already surfaced on social media showing both the floor and the locker rooms under water. Pauley Pavilion was not the only UCLA athletic facility damaged as a result of the thousands of gallons of water that emanated from the water main before the fire department managed to shut it off. Water was seen inside the J.D. Morgan Center, which houses UCLA's athletic department offices, as well as Drake Stadium, which is home to the Bruins' soccer and track and field teams. The water main ruptured at roughly 3:30 p.m., flooding Sunset Boulevard and several campus parking facilities. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told reporters the pipe involved was from 1921 and could not be shut off immediately to prevent further damage to the system. The timing of the water main break is not ideal for a state already in the midst of a drought. California had already implemented emergency water-conservation measures earlier Tuesday that included fines of up to $500 per day for using a hose to clean a sidewalk or other wasteful behaviors. - - - - - - - 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! Follow @JeffEisenberg

Chad Frazier will leave UAB following domestic violence charge [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 29, 2014, 5:54 pm]
Conference USA's reigning newcomer of the year will not have the chance to follow up his brilliant debut campaign with an encore. Chad Frazier, UAB's leading scorer this past season, has been granted his release by the school and will not return, his brother told TheRecruitScoop.com. The point guard's departure comes less than two months after Birmingham police arrested him and charged him with third-degree domestic violence stemming from an incident in April. Police spokesman Sean Edwards told the Birmingham News last month that the altercation between Frazier and the victim escalated when Frazier lost his temper and threw a laptop into the room where the victim was standing. When the victim tried to calm him down, Frazier allegedly pushed her into a bookshelf in the bedroom and later tried to pin her to the ground, leading her to kick and bite him in self defense. At the time of Frazier's arrest, UAB coach Jerod Haase released a statement saying, "Once the process is complete and all the details are available, we will handle the outcome appropriately." Perhaps some of the ugly allegations that led to Frazier's arrest persuaded Haase he could not justify keeping Frazier on the team.  Not having Frazier will be a big blow to UAB's chances of competing with potential Conference USA contenders Louisiana Tech and UTEP next season. Frazier and 6-foot-8 senior forward C.J. Washington led the Blazers to an 18-win season last year, but now Washington will be the lone double-digit scorer returning for a program that also lost productive forward Rod Rucker to graduation.  Frazier, a former junior college standout, chose UAB over scholarship offers from a handful of high-major programs. He averaged 17.7 points and 4.3 assists per game last season, but his four turnovers per game were a drawback. - - - - - - - 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! Follow @JeffEisenberg

Key Louisville reserve undergoes sports hernia surgery [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 29, 2014, 3:50 pm]
When forward Akoy Agau posted a photo of himself clad in a hospital gown and about to undergo surgery on Tuesday morning, Louisville fans surely got a bit nervous.  Agau played only a bit role this past season, but the 6-foot-8 rising sophomore is expected to enjoy more minutes next season behind All-American candidate Montrezl Harrell. Thankfully Louisville, the news on Agau wasn't too dire. The school announced later Tuesday morning that Agau underwent successful sports hernia surgery in Philadelphia and should be healthy enough to begin participating in workouts again in about six weeks. Getting Agau back on the court quickly is crucial for Louisville because this offseason has already been huge for his development. He has added strength and improved almost every facet of his game this offseason as he seeks to give the Cardinals a solid big man option off the bench to spell Harrell. "Akoy is a different person physically, emotionally, mentally," Louisville coach Rick Pitino told reporters earlier this month. "That's a great thing for us because we need that position desperately." "You won't recognize him. He's taken the quantum leap with [center] Mangok [Mathiang]. He couldn't get through a practice last year. He came in in really bad shape. He was also very immature." - - - - - - - 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! Follow @JeffEisenberg

Montrezl Harrell shatters his second backboard of the summer [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 28, 2014, 11:47 pm]
Warning to schools throughout the ACC: Better have a spare basket ready next season when Louisville comes to town. Junior forward Montrezl Harrell has shown a propensity for tearing down rims and shattering backboards this offseason Harrell, a preseason All-American candidate and potential NBA lottery pick, broke his second backboard in the past four months Sunday during a summer league game at Woodward High School in Cincinnati. Freelance photographer Anthony Tribble captured the moment with a well-timed photo that shows the glass just as it's beginning to shatter. Louisville's Montrezl Harrell breaks a backboard during a summer league game at woodward high school. pic.twitter.com/kVjjwEIljQ— Anthony Tribble (@tonyphotos) July 27, 2014 Only four months earlier Harrell apparently inflicted some damage to another backboard. Former North Carolina forward John Henson posted this photo on Twitter showing the aftermath of another basket-breaking dunk from the Louisville forward. Montrez Harrell y’all !!! Dunked it and won the game for us ! … #HCCPickup #GAMEBREAKER LOL!! pic.twitter.com/OeZEf58d5v— John Henson (@_John_Henson_) April 29, 2014 It's no surprise to those who have watched Harrell play recently that he is inflicting so much damage on rims and backboards. The muscular Louisville forward broke the school's single-season dunks record this past season and was chided by Rick Pitino for dunking too hard after injuring his wrist on a particularly vicious slam. It's possible Harrell may have broken a third frame this offseason, though no photographic proof has emerged.  Wrote Louisville guard Chris Jones on Instagram, Sunday's shattered backboard is "like the third one this summer." - - - - - - - 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! Follow @JeffEisenberg

Toughest jobs in sports: NCAA enforcement staff member [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 27, 2014, 4:38 pm]
This is the seventh of eight entries in a Yahoo Sports series on the toughest jobs in sports. Click here to check out previous stories and a schedule for what's to come. In his three previous jobs, Derrick Crawford ferreted out government corruption as a special agent with the FBI, targeted white-collar criminals as a state prosecutor in Alabama and protected the NFL from lawsuits as general counsel for the league. He insists those positions were easy compared to his current one. Crawford rejoined the NCAA's enforcement division about 18 months ago as a managing director responsible for overseeing investigations. He is one of the highest-ranking members of an almost 60-person department under immense pressure to crack down on cheating in college athletics yet handicapped by low morale, charges of impropriety and insufficient investigative authority. NCAA investigators must apprehend wrongdoers without having the power to subpoena uncooperative witnesses, request search warrants or penalize false testimony with perjury charges the way law enforcement agencies would. Student-athletes, coaches and university administrators risk severe sanctions if they don't provide enforcement staffers with truthful answers or pertinent documents, but investigators have no means of compelling family, friends, high school coaches and others outside of NCAA jurisdiction to cooperate. "This is the most challenging position I've ever had in my 25-year professional career," Crawford said. "The college landscape has changed over the years. The competitive pressure on our membership to win is even greater than it was 10 or 15 years ago. That makes it very difficult. Plus, we are an investigative body but we aren't law enforcement. When I started working here the first time, I was really surprised how many powers I had in federal law enforcement that we don't have here. We have a number of tools in our tool kit, but what we don't have makes our job tougher." At a time when cheaters in college

SMU's tough July continues as sweet-shooting Matt McQuaid decommits [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 21, 2014, 3:52 pm]
Not even one week after elite point guard Emmanuel Mudiay opted to turn pro instead of enrolling at SMU, another promising recruit has parted ways with the Mustangs without ever playing in a game. Matt McQuaid, one of the class of 2015's best shooters, has backed out of his May commitment to SMU and reopened his recruitment, Evan Daniels of Scout.com first reported. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Duncanville, Texas is rated Rivals.com's No. 87 recruit and holds offers from Creighton, Oklahoma, Alabama, Texas and Baylor, among others. If the departure of Mudiay was a blow to SMU's chances of ascending to college basketball's upper echelon this season, the loss of McQuaid could hurt the Mustangs just as much in the longterm. Recruiting analysts have raved about McQuaid's catch-and-shoot prowess this spring and summer and have noted that he is making progress adding a dribble-drive dimension to his repertoire. It's too soon to know which schools will emerge as the new favorites to land McQuaid but rest assured there will be a long list of suitors for his services. As for SMU, the Mustangs still project to have a fair amount of perimeter talent for the 2015-16 season, though they will miss McQuaid's shooting. Starting point guard Nic Moore would be a senior that season and former elite recruit Keith Frazier would be a junior if he sticks around that long. Sedrick Barefield, a Class of 2015 point guard from Corona, Calif., is the heir apparent to Moore, while Virginia Tech transfer Ben Emelogu will also be a key addition to the perimeter rotation. Still, that doesn't mean the losses of Mudiay and McQuaid don't sting. A week ago, SMU figured to have the nation's top point guard prospect next season and one of the elite shooters starting the year after that. Now the Mustangs are scrambling because neither will ever play a game in an SMU jersey. - - - - - - - Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follo

Syracuse fan gets Jim Boeheim's face tattooed on his leg [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 17, 2014, 2:42 pm]
It apparently wasn't enough for one Syracuse fan to merely buy tickets or merchandise to show his support for the Orange. He wanted something a bit more permanent. A Syracuse fan tweeted a picture of the Jim Boeheim tattoo his friend Rich Miner had just gotten on his left calf to local radio host Brent Axe on Wednesday night. The detailed portrait of Boeheim is the work of Kyle Proia, a tattoo artist based in Baldwinsville, N.Y. Why did Miner get the tattoo? That's not clear since an attempt by Yahoo Sports to reach him Thursday morning was not immediately successful. It's apparently something Miner has wanted to do for a long time, however. Syracuse basketball is also something that is clearly important to Miner since Boeheim towers above what seems to be a tattoo of Uncle Sam lower on his leg. Of course, Miner isn't the first fan to get a college hoops-inspired tattoo this offseason. When Willie Cauley-Stein chose to return to school for his junior season instead of entering the NBA draft, a Kentucky fan fulfilled his end of a bet by tattooing the 7-footer's face on his right calf. The tattoo Miner chose is both more iconic and more artfully done than the Cauley-Stein one, but, as SBNation's Sean Keeley noted, there are ways it could have been better. If you're going to get a picture of Jim Boeheim tattooed on your body, doesn't it have to be a vintage shot of him wearing plaid?  For more Syracuse news, visit CuseConfidential.com. - - - - - - - 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! Follow @JeffEisenberg

Josh Pastner's new assistant is the father of four top prospects [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 16, 2014, 8:51 pm]
When Memphis coach Josh Pastner announced the hiring of a new assistant on Wednesday afternoon, he explained his choice by praising Keelon Lawson as a "great fit" for the job.  Of course, absent from the press release was why Lawson is such a "great fit." Yes, Lawson is a former player at UAB and LeMoyne-Owen. Yes, he coached Hamilton High to a trio of Tennessee state playoff appearances in the past decade and to the 2006 state title. But the biggest reason Lawson is an appealing candidate for Memphis is because he is the father of four promising basketball prospects.  K.J. Lawson, a 6-foot-6 wing who has already committed to Memphis, is RIvals.com's No. 57 prospect in the class of 2015. Dedric Lawson, an uncommitted 6-foot-8 forward, is Rivals.com's No. 8 prospect in the class of 2016. And Chandler Lawson (Class of 2019) and Jonathan Lawson (2021) are both considered exceptional prospects for their age groups. In an interview with CBSSports.com in May, Keelon Lawson acknowledged that his plan was to have his sons play for whichever high-major program offered him an assistant coaching position. "If [a college] hires a second or third assistant, what can they bring to the table?" Lawson told the site. "If you hire me, I'm automatically bringing you top-20 players in the country. Automatically. There are coaches sitting on benches right now who can't do that." What Memphis is doing is perfectly legal under NCAA rules that allow a program to hire a coach or relative of an incoming recruit as an assistant coach. The NCAA cracked down on package deals by prohibiting the hire of a recruit's coach or relative as a support staffer or director of basketball operations, but rules makers did not include assistant coaching positions. Pastner is willing to use one of his three assistant coaching positions on Lawson — and maybe rightfully so. First of all, keeping elite Memphis-area talent at home is crucial to the Tigers' chances of contending nationally. Secondly, if Pastne

Iowa's Peter Jok suspended after second moped-related arrest [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 16, 2014, 1:47 pm]
Here's a little tip for Iowa forward Peter Jok: Give your moped to a friend. Sell it. Leave it on the curb with the key in the ignition until a thief comes along and swipes it. As long as that moped remains in Jok's possession, he remains in jeopardy of becoming the first college basketball player ever to jeopardize his career because of his love for a low-powered motorbike.  Iowa suspended Jok indefinitely on Tuesday evening after his second moped-related arrest this offseason. Less than three months after getting pulled over on his moped with a blood-alcohol level of .087 and charged with an OWI, Jok was arrested again Monday for driving his moped with a suspended license. Worse yet, Jok also reportedly hadn't bothered to replace the missing safety flag or improper lights on his moped that police dinged him for in April either. Said Iowa athletic director Gary Barta in a statement, "I’m very disappointed to learn about this, especially in light of the fact that Peter had a previous incident earlier this summer." Added Iowa coach Fran McCaffery in the same statement, "We support Peter, but we’re not happy with his recent pattern of behavior." It's a fairly safe bet that Jok's indefinite suspension will be lifted before the season or at the very most after a game or two, but the promising 6-foot-6 sophomore now needs to tread lightly. A third strike — moped-related or not — could force McCaffery to take more severe disciplinary action. Iowa can't afford that because having Jok on the court next season will be key to its bid to return to the NCAA tournament. Though Jok averaged a modest 4.4 points in 9.4 minutes per game as a freshman, he is expected to play a bigger role next season when he will be asked to help fill the shoes of graduated standout wing Roy Devyn Marble. Jok's 10 points on 4 of 5 shooting in Iowa's NCAA tournament loss to Tennessee last March suggest he may be capable of thriving in that increased role. He just needs to be wise enough to st

Skipping college likely won't make Emmanuel Mudiay a trend setter [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 15, 2014, 10:36 pm]
Since the nation's top point guard prospect revealed Monday that he was backing out of his letter of intent to go to SMU and heading overseas to play professionally, there has been a fair amount of discussion over whether Emmanuel Mudiay could become a trend setter. The only way that has any chance of happening is if the McDonald's All-American fares far better than those who have previously attempted such a move. The first player to bypass college to play professionally in Europe was Brandon Jennings, the top-rated point guard in the class of 2008. Rather than continue to struggle to achieve a qualifying SAT score to enroll at Arizona and risk having to sit out the entire the 2008-09 season, the Southern California native opted to sign  a multimillion-dollar contract with Virtus Roma of the Italian League. Jennings has since gone on to become a quality NBA point guard but made a modest impact in Italy as an overmatched 19-year-old, averaging 5.5 points, 1.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 17 minutes per game. He also admitted to reporters that he seldom got paid on time, struggled with the transition to comporting himself like a professional and might not have lasted the entire season were it not for his family supporting him by cooking him meals and doing his laundry.  "If I didn’t have my mom and my brother there, I would have been back in (December)," Jennings told ESPN.com last year. “Without them I wouldn’t have been able to make it.” The only other player to follow in Jennings' footsteps endured even more obstacles than he did. Six-foot-11 center Jeremy Tyler bypassed his senior year at San Diego High School and a scholarship offer from Louisville to play overseas in 2009, a highly controversial decision made because his family believed the lack of competition in high school wasn't properly preparing him for the NBA. Tyler averaged only 2.1 points and 1.9 rebounds for his Israeli team before quitting and returning home after just five weeks because of t

Bill Self also was among the college coaches pursued by the Cavs [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 15, 2014, 2:33 pm]
Turns out John Calipari, Tom Izzo and Billy Donovan weren't the only high-profile college coaches to have conversations with the Cleveland Cavaliers this past spring. Kansas coach Bill Self also had a chance to coach the franchise that eventually landed LeBron James last week. Self revealed to the Kansas City Star on Monday that the Cavaliers contacted him about their vacancy, but he would not go into specifics about how serious the discussions were or whether he was ever offered the job. On June 20, Cleveland ultimately hired David Blatt, a highly successful European coach in Israel and Russia. “I talked to the Cavs’ people a lot throughout their evaluation process and the draft, but I’ll just leave it at that,” Self told the Star. “That wasn’t anything I wanted to become public certainly, and they didn’t either.” It's easy to see why the Cavs job had some appeal for Self even before talks with James heated up. The franchise had the No. 1 pick in the draft, which meant he had the chance to reunite with either eventual pick Andrew Wiggins or Joel Embiid at the pro level. At the same time, it's also hard to blame Self for passing on the chance to make the jump to the NBA. Like Calipari, Izzo and Donovan, he has stability in college that he could never have at the pro level. He also has a son currently playing for Kansas, so the timing wasn't ideal. And while James leaving Miami for Cleveland was considered a slim possibility back in April or May, Self had no way of knowing the Heat would look so old and rickety in the NBA Finals or James would be so dead-set on returning to his home state. Self's public stance on the NBA has always been pragmatic. He insists that Kansas is a better opportunity for him than most NBA gig but also acknowledges that he won't rule out ever making the jump if an ideal job offer came along. "It hasn't really tempted me because I haven't had that many people talk to me about it," Self told the Oklahoman last year. "But at som

Emmanuel Mudiay's decision to turn pro is a huge blow to SMU [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 14, 2014, 7:00 pm]
When the selection committee left SMU out of the field of 68 last March, the Mustangs dulled the pain of settling for NIT bid by dreaming of the possibility of a deep NCAA tournament run next season. Suddenly that goal no longer seems as realistic. Emmanuel Mudiay, the top-rated point guard prospect in the class of 2014, will play professionally overseas next season rather than enroll at SMU, the school announced Monday. Yahoo Sports was the first to report earlier Monday that Mudiay was considering bypassing college altogether due to eligibility concerns. In a statement to SI.com, Mudiay insisted his decision had nothing to do with academic or amateurism issues despite little evidence supporting that claim. "I was excited about going to SMU and playing college basketball for coach [Larry] Brown and his staff and preparing for the NBA, but I was tired of seeing my mom struggle," Mudiay said. "And after sitting down with coach Brown and my family, we decided that the best way for me to provide for my mom was to forgo college and pursue professional basketball opportunities." A 6-foot-5 point guard in the mold of a Tyreke Evans or Andrew Harrison, Mudiay had a chance to be one of the better perimeter players in the nation next season because of his ability to get to the basket and finish at the rim. His decision to turn down Kentucky, Texas and Baylor in favor of SMU last year sent shockwaves through college basketbal and signaled SMU's emergence as a potential preseason top 15 team next year.  The ceiling for SMU now seems considerably lower despite the return of every key player besides guard Nick Russell and forward Shawn Williams from a 27-win team that finished as the NIT runner-up. Returning starter Nic Moore is a capable point guard, sophomore wing Keith Frazier has the potential to develop into a standout and Marcus Kennedy and Yanick Moreira form a formidable frontcourt duo, but now it's harder to see SMU eclipsing UConn in the American conference or making

Arizona's recruiting dominance continues with addition of elite wing [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 14, 2014, 3:52 pm]
Arizona's impressive run of recruiting success out West continued Sunday night with a commitment from yet another five-star prospect. Small forward Ray Smith, Rivals.com's No. 10 prospect in the class of 2015, announced via Twitter that he will attend Arizona. The 6-foot-7 Las Vegas native had scholarship offers from Georgetown, Louisville and almost all the top programs in the West. The addition of Smith means Arizona has now landed 10 Rivals.com five-star prospects since the 2011 recruiting class. That recruiting dominance is the biggest reason why Arizona has been to three Sweet 16s and two Elite Eights under Miller and why it feels like only a matter of time before the Wildcats break through with a Final Four bid. Arizona was thought to be the favorite to land Smith for a while, but he committed sooner than expected, perhaps because the torn ACL he suffered during the first week of the July evaluation period will sideline him for the next 6 to 9 months. Assuming he regains his explosiveness after he recovers from the injury, he should be a potential replacement for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson if the rising sophomore opts to turn pro next spring. Long and athletic, Smith finishes well in transition and has the tools to be an excellent defender. He rose from off the radar into the top 20 in most recruiting rankings with an excellent spring, though his outside shooting remains a work in progress.  Smith joins a recruiting class that already includes Temecula, Calif. product Justin Simon, an elite combo guard with the length and athleticism to also be an excellent defender. Arizona is also considered one of the favorites to land coveted power forward Ivan Raab and a contender for several other elite prospects in the class of 2015. Arizona's 2015 recruiting haul might already have been more impressive were it not for the decommitment of point guard Tyler Dorsey a few months after Simon also came aboard.  No matter, however. As talented as Dorsey is, Arizona should have

Would John Calipari have turned down the Cavs if he knew LeBron was coming? [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 11, 2014, 7:23 pm]
When the Cleveland Cavaliers reached out to John Calipari, Tom Izzo and Billy Donovan about their head coaching vacancy this past spring, all three eventually decided the opportunity wasn't enticing enough for them to leave the stability of their college gigs behind. It's fair to wonder if that trio would each still make the same decision today. LeBron James' announcement that he is returning to Cleveland instantly makes the Cavs one of the favorites to win the NBA title next year and for the duration of his contract. That makes the role of Cleveland head coach a heck of a lot more appealing now than it was two months ago even if the position now comes with a lot more pressure to win a championship in the first year or two.  It's unclear how serious Cleveland's pursuit of Izzo or Donovan was this spring, but Calipari certainly seems to have been a top candidate, perhaps in part because his longtime friendship with James might have been a potential selling point for the Cavs. My Yahoo Sports colleagues, Adrian Wojnarowski and Brett Dawson reported last month that Calipari had been "deep in discussions" with Cleveland on a longterm deal before agreeing to a seven-year, $52 million contract extension with Kentucky. Calipari, Izzo and Donovan shouldn't be judged too harshly for their decisions for several reasons. They had no way of knowing how seriously James would consider leaving Miami at that point because their discussions with the Cavs came before the Spurs made the Heat supporting cast look old and rickety in the NBA Finals. They each also have much better job security at Kentucky, Michigan State and Florida, schools at which they are revered for winning championships and competing for titles year after year. Still, on some level it has to sting knowing that the chance to coach the best basketball player in the world has slipped through their fingers. Before he signed his extension with Kentucky, Calipari was asked by the Cleveland Plain Dealer if he would like

Miami-Ohio's clever recruiting pitch to LeBron [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 11, 2014, 2:41 pm]
As LeBron James decides between remaining with the Heat and rejoining the Cavs, another basketball team would like him to consider a third option that would allow him to have the best of both worlds. Hey @KingJames, why not come to Oxford? You can make Miami AND Ohio happy at the same time! #NoDecision— Miami Athletics (@MiamiRedHawks) July 9, 2014 Asked @Raptors adviser Wayne Embry about un-retiring #23 to get @KingJames. Can you top that? @cavs @MiamiHEAT pic.twitter.com/5NLSCmw6CV— Miami Athletics (@MiamiRedHawks) July 10, 2014 Pretty clever, Redhawks, though you should know you're probably not even LeBron's first choice among college teams in the state of Ohio. First of all, LeBron's former high school coach is entering his 11th year as head coach at Akron. And secondly, LeBron has said he likely would have attended Ohio State had he gone to college for a year before turning pro. Heck, the Buckeyes famously even have a locker ready for LeBron. - - - - - - - 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! Follow @JeffEisenberg

A trimmer, slimmer Kennedy Meeks is terrific news for North Carolina [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 10, 2014, 3:01 pm]
Plagued by inconsistency during his freshman season at North Carolina, Kennedy Meeks believes he has found a way to become less erratic as a sophomore. The 6-foot-9 forward has shed nearly 50 pounds this offseason, dropping from his playing weight of 317 pounds last season to a more svelte 270 as he goes through summer workouts before his sophomore season. Meeks is hoping to still get down to 265 pounds by the end of the summer. “People tell me all the time I look great, but I want to feel like I’m great,” Meeks told the Fayetteville Observer on Wednesday. “That’s why I’m still working. “I don’t have a six-pack yet," he quipped. "That’s my goal.” If Meeks' trimmed down new look translates into improved stamina, athleticism and consistency, that would be huge for a North Carolina team hoping to find scorers to complement All-American candidate Marcus Paige on the perimeter. Meeks showed flashes of immense promise as a back-to-the-basket scorer as a freshman but seldom could he string together strong performances in a row. Some nights he'd look like a future star, especially in a 15-point, 13-rebound outing against Iowa State in the NCAA tournament or a 23-point masterpiece against Florida State in February. Other nights he'd play limited minutes and mostly be invisible, not easy for a guy as big as him. In addition to being able to stay on the floor for longer periods without being winded, shedding weight should also help Meeks compete for rebounds and get more lift as he's trying to finish around the rim. That should make him less reliant on pump fakes and and more capable of going up strong against taller defenders. Meeks isn't guaranteed a starting job next season, but his back-to-the-basket prowess is a good fit alongside a big man like Brice Johnson who blocks shots and runs the floor well but doesn't have much of a low-post repertoire. If Meeks remains committed to staying in shape, that could be his position to lose. For more North Car

Ex-Kansas point guard Naadir Tharpe to turn pro instead of transfer [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 9, 2014, 6:27 pm]
The final image of Naadir Tharpe's up-and-down college career apparently will be him dejectedly walking off the floor following a nightmarish performance in Kansas' stunning NCAA tournament loss to Stanford this past March. Tharpe told CBSSports.com on Wednesday he will forgo his final year of college eligibility and begin his professional career either in the D-League or overseas. The 5-foot-11 Massachusetts native previously announced in May he would transfer to a school closer to his daughter, who he said has medical issues that require weekly visits to the doctor. By transferring closer to his daughter, Tharpe had hoped to make himself a candidate for a hardship waiver that would enable him to play right away rather than sitting out a year first. That plan appears to have fallen apart because there wasn't a suitable option since Providence reportedly wasn't interested and UMass reportedly didn't have a vacant scholarship for Tharpe. “I didn’t want to sit out,” Tharpe told CBSSports.com. “At this point, I’d rather just try the D-League instead of sitting out a year to play a year (in college).” A fresh start at another college might have been a better option for Tharpe because his stock cannot be all that high after an inconsistent junior season. The 5-foot-11 point guard briefly lost his job to backup Frank Mason in early December, regained it with sporadic good performances in Big 12 play and finished with a whimper, going 6 of 24 from the field in Kansas' final five games and finishing with as many turnovers as assists in the Stanford loss. Tharpe also did not endear himself to the Kansas coaching staff with an Instagram photo featuring a shirtless Tharpe and a partially nude woman that went viral in late March. Self told the Kansas City Star he was "extremely disappointed" in Tharpe's judgement afterward. There's a good chance Self probably won't be impressed with Tharpe's judgment again this time either. To maximize his chances of latching on e

Six storylines to watch entering the July evaluation period [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 9, 2014, 3:13 pm]
The July evaluation period began Wednesday, which means coaches from every program in the nation will spend the next three weekends crisscrossing the country to scout top prospects at the summer's most prestigious grassroots events. Here's a look at some of the most intriguing storylines as coaches hit the road to begin assembling their 2015 recruiting classes and to get an early look at future targets: 1. Will the Malik Newman-Diamond Stone package deal come to fruition? One year after Duke-bound Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones stuck to their word and both chose the same school, another potential package deal featuring two top 10 recruits has emerged. Six-foot-3 shooting guard Malik Newman and 6-foot-10 center Diamond Stone have been adamant about wanting to play together in college in recent weeks even though one is from Mississippi and the other is from Wisconsin. Most potential package deals like this one eventually fall apart when the players decide different schools appeal to them, but the fact that the Okafor-Jones one did not may force schools to take the possibility seriously. UConn, Kentucky and Kansas are among the programs recruiting both Newman and Stone, while other schools have wooed the coveted class of 2015 prospects separately.   2. Can Bruce Pearl recruit without being on the road? Since Bruce Pearl's three-year show-cause penalty runs through late August, Auburn's new coach is prohibited from being on the recruiting trail during the most crucial month of the offseason. That means he'll have to rely on his assistants to make in-person evaluations and put in face time with the Tigers' top targets for the next three weeks. Pearl has already landed coveted transfer guards Kareem Canty (Marshall), Antoine Mason (Niagara) and K.C. Ross-Miller (New Mexico State), but he needs a strong 2015 class to fuel a speedy rebuilding process. Achieving that despite having to remain home in July will be a big challenge. 3. Which other new coaches will make an early





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