Jerry Jones: Garrett not coaching for job (Yahoo Sports) - Jerry Jones doesn't like to repeat his good sound bites, so he found a new way to say Jason Garrett isn't coaching for his job. The Dallas Cowboys owner said Wednesday it wasn't a ''make or break'' season for Garrett, a year after opening training camp by declaring that last season wouldn't be ''Armageddon'' for his coach if the once-proud franchise missed the playoffs again. The Cowboys have identical endings to all three full seasons under Garrett, losing to NFC East rivals to finish 8-8 and miss the playoffs. Colon overpowers Seattle in New York's 3-2 win (Yahoo Sports) - Bartolo Colon watched the line drive fall into the outfield grass and applauded. It was all Colon could do after his attempt to toss the first perfect game in New York Mets history was thwarted. Colon came within seven outs of a perfect game on Wednesday afternoon, before giving up a two-out single to Robinson Cano in the seventh inning of the Mets' 3-2 win over the Mariners. ''They're trying to get a hit and break up the no-hitter.'' New York manager Terry Collins went one step further than disappointment. Testimony ends in trial over $2B Clippers sale (Yahoo Sports) - Testimony ended Wednesday in the trial to determine whether Donald Sterling's estranged wife can sell the Los Angeles Clippers in a proposed $2 billion deal with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Shelly Sterling, who had testified early in the trial, was expected to be the final witness, but her husband's lawyers decided not to call her back to the stand. Instead, they called Dr. Jeffrey Cummings to discuss the protocol of examinations such as the ones given to Donald Sterling to determine his mental competency and ability to act as owner. Most of his testimony drew objections from Shelly Sterling's attorneys, and the judge said he didn't see how it would help him reach a decision. Murray set to keep Mauresmo as coach - Andy Murray is set to continue working with Amelie Mauresmo after his early Wimbledon exit as she joins his training camp in Miami. VIDEO: Queen laughs off Glasgow baton hitch - Jamieson and Wiggins eye early golds - Scotland's Michael Jamieson and England's Sir Bradley Wiggins chase gold medals on day one of the Commonwealth Games. Commonwealth Games begin in Glasgow - The 2014 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony takes place at Celtic Park in Glasgow. Mets' Colon loses perfect-game bid in 7th (Yahoo Sports) - SEATTLE (AP) -- Bartolo Colon of the New York Mets has lost his bid for a perfect game when he allowed a single to Seattle's Robinson Cano with two outs in the seventh inning. AP source: Chiefs, Charles reach 2-year deal (Yahoo Sports) - Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles has reached a two-year contract extension with the Kansas City Chiefs. A person familiar with the contract said the deal will keep Charles in Kansas City through the 2017 season. The six-year NFL veteran ran for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns last year as the Chiefs reached the playoffs. He also had 70 catches for 693 yards and seven more TDs as Kansas City went 11-5 before losing to Indianapolis in an AFC wild-card game. Rodriguez shows La Liga is best - Bale - Gareth Bale says Real Madrid's capture of Columbia star James Rodriguez proves La Liga is the best league in the world.

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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 first reported. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Duncanville, Texas is rated'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 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 - - - - - - - Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at 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's No. 57 prospect in the class of 2015. Dedric Lawson, an uncommitted 6-foot-8 forward, is'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 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 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, 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,'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 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— 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 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 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 “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

In defense of Pittsburgh's latest uninspiring non-league schedule [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 8, 2014, 10:44 pm]
As soon as Pittsburgh released its non-league schedule for next season on Tuesday afternoon, the torrent of familiar complaints began. Critics of Jamie Dixon's scheduling philosophy lambasted him for once again failing to assemble a difficult enough slate to properly prepare his team prior to conference play. There's certainly some validity to the idea Dixon has historically scheduled meekly in non-league play, but the criticism of this slate seems over-the-top.  Considering the caliber of a beefed-up ACC that now includes potential preseason top 25 teams Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse, Louisville and Virginia, Pittsburgh doesn't need a loaded non-league schedule to ensure chances for marquee wins or to finish with respectable RPI. What's more, this year's schedule is an improvement on the anemic slate the Panthers played last season when they still went 25-9, reached the NCAA tournament as a No. 9 seed and finished with a top 40 RPI. Unlike last season when its holiday tournament was a Legends Classic that featured Stanford, Houston and Texas Tech as the other high-profile teams, Pittsburgh will play in the always formidable Maui Invitational this November. Among the other teams in the field are Final Four threat Arizona, preseason top 20 San Diego State, Big 12 contender Kansas State and respectable BYU, Missouri and Purdue. The rest of the schedule isn't menacing, but it's still an improvement over last season when a neutral court game against Cincinnati was the only notable matchup. A Big Ten-ACC challenge road game at Indiana will be challenging, and home games against Manhattan and Florida Gulf Coast represent a modest attempt to bolster the mid-major portion of the schedule. The only way Pittsburgh's schedule could hurt the way last year's did is if the Panthers fall in their opening Maui Invitational game and don't face enough marquee opponents in the loser's bracket. A Missouri-Chaminade-Purdue trio of games in Maui would mean the Panthers could be in dang

Georgia Southern indefinitely suspends all-league forward after arrest [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 8, 2014, 3:30 pm]
Thanks to the presence of three former all-Southern Conference players on its roster, Georgia Southern had high hopes of challenging for the league title in its debut season in the Sun Belt Conference. The chances of that happening took a major hit Monday when the school announced that one member of that trio may never don an Eagles jersey again. Georgia Southern athletic director Tom Kleinlein told the Savannah Morning News that star forward Eric Ferguson has been suspended indefinitely as a result of drug-related arrest. Ferguson and former teammate Brian Holmes were arrested June 26 for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of Schedule II and Schedule III drugs (prescription pills), possession of a firearm and possession/use of a drug-related object.  Kleinlein waited until Monday to reveal Ferguson's suspension because he had been on vacation and wanted to meet with the 6-foot-8 senior in person. Ferguson will be allowed to keep taking classes at Georgia Southern, but Kleinlein will wait until the legal process plays out before discussing Ferguson's chances of being reinstated to the basketball team before or during the season. "For now, I can’t have him part of our program," Kleinlein told the Savannah Morning News. "That’s what happens when you make poor decisions.” The loss of Ferguson would deprive Georgia Southern of a three-year starter who sat out all of last season with a back injury but has averaged at least 12 points per game each year he has played for the Eagles. Ferguson's best season came as a sophomore when he averaged 15.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.  If Ferguson is unavailable all season, Georgia Southern will have to rely on College of Charleston transfer forward Trent Wiedeman and point guard Jelani Hewitt to carry the offense. Wiedeman, a 6-foot-8 senior, averaged 12.1 points a game and 8.7 rebounds in his final season at Charleston, while Hewitt averaged 19.4 points a game for Georgia Southern this past

Indiana hopes newest transfer makes bigger impact than stats suggest [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 7, 2014, 8:40 pm]
Considering he grew up in Big Ten country and his father attended Indiana, it's easy to see why Illinois State transfer Nick Zeisloft would have interest in Indiana after being offered a scholarship. What takes some closer analysis is figuring out why the Hoosiers would be interested in him. Indiana announced Monday it has added Zeisloft to its roster even though the 6-foot-4 redshirt junior didn't exactly light up the Missouri Valley Conference in two seasons at Illinois State. Zeisloft started for the Redbirds this past season and averaged a modest 6.9 points per game while shooting 35.5 percent from behind the arc. Why would Indiana take a player who reportedly would have chosen Atlantic 10 also-ran Duquesne had the Hoosiers not come along? The best explanation is coach Tom Crean likes that Zeisloft has graduated from Illinois State, will be eligible for Indiana immediately and can help address two of the Hoosiers' biggest weaknesses. The redshirt junior graduated from Illinois State in just three years with a 3.71 GPA, so his leadership on and off the floor should be valuable for an Indiana team that, aside from junior point guard Yogi Ferrell, will rely heavily on freshmen and sophomores next season. Zeisloft's prowess from behind the arc also should help an Indiana team that shot a mediocre 34 percent from 3-point range last season and lost its most prolific shooters besides Ferrell in seniors Will Sheehey and Evan Gordon and freshman Noah Vonleh. “The addition of Nick allows us to spread and space the floor even more and play with more pace,” Crean said in a school-released statement. “More importantly, we are adding a young man that has been raised well and has been well coached throughout his career. He brings a physical and mental toughness that has allowed him to play at a strong level and brings leadership and maturity to our program.” With the return of Ferrell and the addition of a recruiting class renowned for its shooting, Indiana should be b

Kameron Rooks' torn ACL leaves Cal with few frontcourt options [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 7, 2014, 2:47 pm]
If Cal is going to flourish in Cuonzo Martin's debut season, the Bears may have to do so playing a form of small ball. Sophomore Kameron Rooks, the son of former 12-year NBA journeyman Sean Rooks, may miss the entire 2014-15 season after sustaining a torn ACL in his left knee, Cal announced over the July 4 weekend. The 7-foot center played in 26 of Cal's first 28 games last season before suffering a season-ending foot injury and was being groomed as a potential heir apparent to graduated senior Richard Solomon. "Kameron has worked hard this off season to return from a previous foot injury and it is very unfortunate to have a setback like this," Martin said in a school-released statement. "Kameron's surgery went well and now he can continue to work diligently through his rehabilitation program to gain strength back in his leg. It is difficult to predict when we can expect him back, but we know he will put in the effort and his coaches and teammates are here to support him every step of the way." ACL tears typically sideline players a minimum of 6 to 9 months, so there's a good chance Rooks would opt to redshirt even if his rehab progresses quickly. As a result, the Bears will be thin in the frontcourt with only three players standing 6-foot-8 or taller.  The only remaining true center on the roster is 7-foot-1 incoming freshman Kingsley Okoro, a former Tennessee commit who opted to follow Martin to Cal this spring. A native of England, Okoro is an imposing shot blocker and rebounder but needs time to get stronger and develop a more polished offensive game. Okoro is sure to see playing time right away, but the better option for Cal may be sliding senior standout David Kravish from forward to center and playing four guards around him to capitalize on the program's wealth of wing talent. The Bears are inexperienced at point guard and thin inside but they have three wings capable of putting up big numbers in Jabari Bird, Jordan Matthews and Tyrone Wallace. Rooks was nev

Miami, Florida begin home-and-home series next season [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 1, 2014, 9:07 pm]
At a time when the football series between Florida and Miami is on an indefinite hiatus, the two in-state rivals will soon be renewing acquaintances on the basketball floor.  Florida and Miami announced Tuesday that they will begin a home-and-home series next season with the first meeting in Gainesville in 2014 and the return date in Coral Gables the following year. The two teams last played a home-and-home series in 2004 and 2005, though they have since met in the postseason NIT in 2009. Florida won that NIT game 74-60 and holds a 45-22 edge in the all-time series against the Hurricanes. The timing of the renewal of the series is ideal for Florida for several reasons. First, Miami is poised to bounce back from a rebuilding year last season thanks to the addition of transfers Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan and the arrival of a top 25 recruiting class. Secondly, the Gators will be barnstorming across the state anyway during the early portion of the 2015-16 season due to the renovation of their arena, so the timing of a road game at Miami makes perfect sense. The Miami game will add to an already challenging 2014-15 schedule for a Florida team with the potential to return to a second straight Final Four. The Gators also compete at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament (Nov. 26-28), visit Kansas (Dec. 5) and meet Wake Forest at the Orange Bowl Classic in Sunrise (Dec. 20). - - - - - - - Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @JeffEisenberg

Elite prospect reopens recruitment weeks after picking Georgetown [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 1, 2014, 3:44 pm]
Had Georgetown managed to sign all three big men it received commitments from earlier this spring, the Hoyas might have boasted the best collection of frontcourt talent in the class of 2015. Alas, those dreams were dashed when one member of the trio began experiencing second thoughts about his decision. Noah Dickerson,'s No. 56 recruit, tweeted Monday night, "I have decided to reopen my recruitment." The highly touted 6-foot-8 forward initially committed to Georgetown in May, citing the school's academic reputation and history of developing NBA big men.  The loss of Dickerson is a blow to Georgetown because he's one of the best low-post scorers in his class. The forward from Montverde Academy (Fla.) has showcased soft hands, deft footwork and an array of back-to-the-basket moves, all of which could be critical for Georgetown with Joshua Smith and Mikael Hopkins set to graduate after next season. Why would Dickerson change his mind on his decision so soon after his initial commitment? Perhaps strong performances this spring in both Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League and the NBPA Top 100 Camp have opened up doors for him. Or maybe the subsequent commitments of 6-foot-10 center Jessie Govan and 6-foot-8 combo forward Marcus Derrickson had him wary about playing time at Georgetown, especially since the Hoyas also have a frontcourt-heavy 2014 class set to arrive. Regardless, Georgetown's loss will soon be someone else's gain. Georgia, Georgia Tech, Auburn and Virginia were among the many schools who initially recruited the Atlanta native. Expect many of those schools to reach out to Dickerson again if they haven't already. For more Georgetown news, visit - - - - - - - Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @JeffEisenberg

NCAA reopens investigation into academic fraud at North Carolina [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: June 30, 2014, 8:34 pm]
When the NCAA finished its initial investigation into academic impropriety at North Carolina two years ago, it appeared the Tar Heels' nationally renowed basketball program would emerge from the scandal penalty-free. Perhaps that may have been premature. The NCAA announced Monday it is reopening its investigation into academic irregularities at North Carolina because some people of interest who previously wouldn't speak with investigators have since agreed to cooperate. Enforcement staffers cannot force anyone to speak with them since they do not have subpoena power.  The decision to reopen the investigation comes only a few weeks after explosive allegations made by Rashad McCants, a member of North Carolina's 2005 national championship team. McCants alleged that his academic advisers at North Carolina steered him to take sham classes in the school's African-American Studies department in order to ensure that he remained eligible. He also accused tutors of writing some of his term papers and said he passed classes in which he only seldom showed up. Both North Carolina coach Roy Williams and many former Tar Heels players have since refuted McCants' allegations. In a statement released earlier this month, the other members of the 2005 national title team insisted they "attended class and did our own academic work." "We want to thank our advisers and counselors who supported us, while also maintaining the integrity of the institution," the statement read. "We also want to make it clear that Coach (Roy) Williams and his staff operated with the highest level of ethics and integrity within their respective roles. "We want to state that our personal academic experiences are not consistent with Rashad's claims. We know that Coach Williams did not have any knowledge of any academic impropriety." The allegations made by McCants are some of the most damning for North Carolina in the three years since the Raleigh News & Observer and other media outlets began to report about ac

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