Volquez looks to continue revival against Giants (Yahoo Sports) - PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Edinson Volquez's renaissance began with a simple game of catch. Hughes overtakes Moore in title race - Richard Hughes passes Ryan Moore in the jockeys' title race after completing a double at Salisbury. Coleman 'doesn't care' about critics - Wales manager Chris Coleman says he will never win over some supporters and is "not bothered" by the criticism. Paceman Mills set to leave Essex - England Lions paceman Tymal Mills is to leave Essex, while spinner Tim Phillips retires after 16 seasons at Chelmsford. 'Pardew can handle Magpies pressure' - Alan Pardew can handle the pressure at Newcastle despite calls for him to leave the club, say two former team-mates. Dettori to ride Ruler in Arc - Frankie Dettori will ride 2013 Epsom Derby winner Ruler Of The World in Sunday's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Dettori to ride Ruler at Arc - Frankie Dettori will ride 2013 Epsom Derby winner Ruler Of The World at Sunday's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. McIlroy named PGA Player of Year - World number one Rory McIlroy is voted PGA Tour Player of the Year for a second time after winning two majors in 2014. Charging documents show Phelps DUI tied to alcohol (Yahoo Sports) - Michael Phelps can't seem to break a disturbing pattern. McIlroy wins PGA Tour player of the year (Yahoo Sports) - ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) -- One incredible month of golf was enough for Rory McIlroy to be voted PGA Tour player of the year.

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Losing talented transfer Cameron Biedscheid is a blow to Missouri [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: October 1, 2014, 5:31 pm]
Cameron Biedscheid is leaving Missouri without ever actually playing a game for the Tigers. Nine months after the former top 50 recruit transferred from Notre Dame, new Missouri coach Kim Anderson announced in a statement that Biedscheid has decided to leave the school "to attend to personal matters.” Biedscheid, a 6-foot-7 sophomore wing, would have been eligible after the first semester. “Cameron will no longer be a member of our basketball program," Anderson said. “We wish him and his family all the best and hope everyone will respect their privacy during this period of time.” The loss of Biedscheid is a blow to a Missouri team bereft of talent at guard after Jordan Clarkson and Jabari Brown both turned pro and Shane Rector transferred. Biedscheid averaged a modest 6.2 points in 17.4 minutes as a freshman at Notre Dame, but the Saint Louis product had been expected to assume a far greater role last season before opting to first redshirt and later transfer. Without Biedscheid, Missouri has limited options to play at wing alongside point guard Wes Clark. Athletic Baylor transfer Deuce Bello is a strong candidate to start at one wing spot, though his production never matched his potential in two full seasons with the Bears and he has dealt with leg injuries since coming to Columbia. The other starting spot will probably go to a freshman, with top 100 recruit Namon Wright being the most likely option. As for Biedscheid, this news raises questions regarding whether his career will ever get back on track. He'll have to sit another full year if he transfers to another Division I program, meaning he wouldn't be able to play until the start of the 2015-16 season. His high school pedigree certainly will merit him another chance somewhere, but given the chaos of Biedscheid's past 12 months, it wouldn't be a surprise to see high-profile schools shy away too. - - - - - - - Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@

NCAA takes clever Twitter jab at Major League Baseball [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: October 1, 2014, 6:08 am]
Typically accustomed to being the punchline in jokes, the NCAA landed a clever jab of its own Tuesday night.  When Major League Baseball's official Twitter account proclaimed October the best month of the sporting calendar, the operator of the NCAA's March Madness account didn't need long to come up with the ideal response. Questionable. RT @MLB: Tomorrow is October - the greatest month of the year. #postseason pic.twitter.com/Gs5k5i186d — NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) October 1, 2014 Of course, the NCAA will get no argument from this blog that March Madness trumps anything the baseball playoffs can deliver, but Tuesday night was certainly not the night to make such an argument. Not after the Kansas City Royals rallied from a pair of deficits to edge Oakland 9-8 and extend their first postseason appearance in 29 years at least another week. The theater provided by A's-Royals was so heart-pounding that it even converted a basketball player who starred in one of the great NCAA tournament games in recent memory.   October the best month out the year — Jordan Crawford (@jcraw55) October 1, 2014 October will be fun, no doubt. But the baseball playoffs will have to be awfully good to produce a list of great moments more fun than these. - - - - - - - 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

Staff makeover helps Washington assemble a strong 2015 class [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 30, 2014, 2:35 pm]
Having missed the NCAA tournament for the second straight year, lost Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten to the NBA draft and missed out on a handful of potential replacements on the recruiting trail, Lorenzo Romar entered the summer of 2013 eager to replenish his roster. To help him do it, he shook up his staff, opting not to renew the contracts of longtime assistants Jim Shaw and Paul Fortier and hiring T.J. Otzelberger and Raphael Chillious in their place. Oztelberger had established himself as a top recruiter while helping Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg revive that program. Chillious had played a key role in recruiting Isaiah Thomas to Washington before leaving for a year to join Jay Wright's staff at Villanova. The impact of that staff makeover is apparent in the loaded Class of 2015 Washington has assembled this summer. The Huskies added their fourth Rivals 150 commit on Monday night as small forward Matisse Thybulle tweeted he would be staying in-state and playing for Romar at Washington. Thybulle, a late-blooming 6-foot-6 wing rated the No. 120 prospect in Rivals.com's Class of 2015, chose Washington over Gonzaga, Oregon and Cal. He joins a class that includes 6-foot-8 Northern California product Marquese Chriss (No. 46) and Seattle natives Dejounte Murray (No. 51) and David Crisp (148). Landing a class of that caliber is critical for Romar in his quest to get his program back to contending for Pac-12 titles and quiet the growing number of Huskies fans pushing for a change in leadership. Washington won the Pac-12 title in 2012 behind Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten but missed the NCAA tournament in a historically weak year for the conference. When Ross and Wroten both left early for the NBA the following spring and Washington missed on potential top recruits Aaron Gordon, Jabari Bird and others, the program lacked sufficient talent to compete in the Pac-12 and went a combined 35-31 the past two years.  Expectations for next season again are modest despite the return

Louisville's latest jerseys are another big Adidas miss [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 25, 2014, 8:31 pm]
When Under Armour outfitted South Florida in outlandish board-shorts style jerseys during the 2013 Big East tournament, the look didn't generate much buzz since the low-profile Bulls only wore them one day before getting eliminated.  Little did anyone realize the cheap board shorts look would return 18 months later on a vastly more high-profile team. Photos of Louisville's new Adidas jerseys popped up on social media Thursday, and the look features a similar thick stripe across the shorts as the uniforms South Florida wore. The shorts are bad enough that one clever Cardinals fan astutely compared them to "swimming trunks you buy at an out-of-town Target when you forget the hotel has a pool." Bad as the shorts are — and they're awful — they're not the worst jersey Adidas has dumped on Louisville in recent years.  By far the biggest eyesore was the sleeved Zubaz-print look the Cardinals wore during the 2013 NCAA tournament on the way to the national championship. Then there was the iridescent infrared look Louisville sported the previous year as it advanced to the Final Four, a jersey I actually grew to like but most people seemed to despise.  The "Red Stripe" jersey doesn't seem likely to grow more tolerable after multiple viewings. It's a good look if you're trying to recruit Will Smith out of Bel Air Academy in the early 90s. It's a bad look if you're trying to land prospects who weren't even born when the Fresh Prince of Bel Air premiered.  - - - - - - - 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

Dez Wells discovers a picture of himself in an anatomy textbook [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 23, 2014, 9:23 pm]
Many college athletes feel exploited when they see their image on a billboard advertising season ticket packages or their jersey being sold at the campus bookstore. Maryland wing Dez Wells experienced the same sensation at a completely unexpected juncture. Wells received a message from a friend who was flipping through the pages of his human anatomy textbook and found a picture of the 6-foot-6 senior playing basketball for Xavier a few years ago on the first page of a chapter entitled "Qualitative biomechanical analysis to improve training." That predictably floored Wells enough that he tweeted a photo of the page and his thoughts on discovering himself in it. I'm in a human anatomy book & has no idea! College books cost a lot too #ShowMeTheMoney #NCAA… http://t.co/MwnOXwIRv5 — Dez Wells (@Dez32Wells) September 23, 2014 The Sporting News did some quick digging and found that the book is entitled "Biomechanics of Sport and Exercise" and costs $74.44 on Amazon, not a penny of which will go to Wells. That seems reasonable since he's not essential to the book the way he is to ticket or jersey sales, but it's a testament to the charged climate in college athletics today that even something this small would inspire that reaction from Wells. (Thanks, Sporting News) - - - - - - - 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

At long last, Josh Pastner finally ditches his flip phone [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 23, 2014, 6:20 am]
Forget blood moons, plagues of locusts or the Cubs hoisting a World Series trophy. The surest sign the end of the world may be near is Memphis coach Josh Pastner finally upgrading his cell phone. Seven years after Apple unveiled the iPhone and rendered all previous phone models obsolete, Pastner has finally come to his senses and ditched the Samsung flip phone he had infamously clung to with white-knuckle fists. Pastner caved and purchased an iPhone on Monday, 92.9 FM in Memphis reported, because his flip phone no longer allowed him to add anymore contacts. It might seem silly for the model of a coach's phone to be newsworthy, but Pastner's bizarre allegiance to his flip phone has become legendary in college basketball circles. He told USA Today last year that he had no intention of switching to a smartphone at that time even though the responsibilities of a college hoops coach demand that Pastner be on the phone as much as a few hours a day during key recruiting periods.  "This is a dinosaur phone, there's no doubt," Pastner told USA Today. "Everyone's surprised when they see it. They can't believe it. I tell them, 'Hey, we've signed a lot of good players with this phone.' It's dependable and reliable. It can fall on the floor, break apart and you can put it right back together."  What kind of phone did Pastner purchase to replace his trusty flip phone? Per the 92.9FM report, it was an iPhone 5s. Yes, Apple just released the iPhone 6 this month, but baby steps. Better that Pastner is a model behind than a decade behind, right? - - - - - - - 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

Louisville newspaper apologizes to John Calipari [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 22, 2014, 10:47 pm]
The uproar over the ill-conceived illustration in the Louisville Courier-Journal last Friday ended in the most amiable way possible. The newspaper printed a letter from executive editor Neil Budde on Monday apologizing for the illustration that featured Kentucky coach John Calipari's head on the body of a diaper-clad baby. The illustration ran with an otherwise reasonable column by Tim Sullivan that focused on the perceived advantages of coaching USA Basketball and the tendency of coaches to complain when a competitor gains even the slightest edge. Budde's letter acknowledged the illustration didn't match the tone of the column and was needlessly disrespectful to Calipari. Dear Coach Calipari, Please accept our apology for the inappropriate illustration used with a column in last Friday’s Courier-Journal. The illustration reflected neither the tone of the column it accompanied nor our editorial standards. This was a failure in our procedures. We have reiterated to those involved and our entire staff that any illustration of this nature must be approved by senior editors, which did not happen in this case. We regret that this episode cast a bad light on you and the University of Kentucky basketball team. Sincerely, Neil Budde Executive Editor The sole connection between Calipari and the USA Basketball debate came via an accusation from Jim Boeheim, who said the Kentucky coach has complained about the access to recruits that USA Basketball coaches have. Calipari has never publicly made such a complaint — and nor should he considering his stint as coach of the Dominican national team surely contributed to Kentucky landing elite big man Karl Towns. The Kentucky coach did not deny Boeheim's accusation when he addressed it via Twitter, but he was complimentary of the job Boeheim and Mike Krzyzewski have done with USA Basketball.  "The job that Coach K and Coach Boeheim have done to turn around USA Basketball, to make it what it is today is truly amazing," Calipari wr

Nebraska's recruiting ensures recent success won't be a flash in the pan [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 22, 2014, 8:07 pm]
Here's the most exciting aspect of Nebraska basketball's recent resurgence under coach Tim Miles: The best may be yet to come. Not only are the Huskers poised to contend in the Big Ten next season, they also are assembling a formidable recruiting class set to arrive the following year as well.  Nebraska bolstered that class Monday when it secured a commitment from Edward Morrow, a 6-foot-7 forward from famed Chicago power Simeon High School. Morrow, Rivals.com's No. 103 prospect in the class of 2015, is the second top 150 recruit the Huskers have landed, joining 5-foot-11 point guard Glynn Watson. Consensus three-star forward Michael Jacobson and Kansas transfer Andrew White round out a class that should collectively upgrade Nebraska's talent level. Putting together a class of that caliber is virtually unprecedented at Nebraska, a school located in a state with a scarce supply of basketball talent. The Huskers hadn't made the NCAA tournament since 1998 prior to last season in part because they lacked sufficient in-state talent to compete nationally and couldn't lure enough top prospects from neighboring states. One reason Miles is enjoying more success is the investment Nebraska has made in its facilities, from a $20 million practice facility that opened in 2011 to a state-of-the-art $179 million arena the school unveiled last fall. Miles has also been allowed to pay top dollar for his assistant coaches, enabling him to lure Kenya Hunter from Georgetown and Chris Harriman from Saint Louis. The commitment from Morrow was no surprise considering his parents both went to Nebraska and he has favored the Huskers throughout his recruitment, but it's still impressive considering how many other schools make a concerted effort to recruit Chicago. Miles prioritized Morrow during the July evaluation period and wowed him on his official visit this past weekend, out-dueling Big Ten rival Iowa in the end to get the commitment. With the core of a surprising NCAA tournament team b

Nebraska recruiting ensures recent success won't be a flash in the pan [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 22, 2014, 8:07 pm]
Here's the most exciting aspect of Nebraska basketball's recent resurgence under coach Tim Miles: The best may be yet to come. Not only are the Huskers poised to contend in the Big Ten next season, they also are assembling a formidable recruiting class set to arrive the following year as well.  Nebraska bolstered that class Monday when it secured a commitment from Edward Morrow, a 6-foot-7 forward from famed Chicago power Simeon High School. Morrow, Rivals.com's No. 103 prospect in the class of 2015, is the second top 150 recruit the Huskers have landed, joining 5-foot-11 point guard Glynn Watson. Consensus three-star forward Michael Jacobson and Kansas transfer Andrew White round out a class that should collectively upgrade Nebraska's talent level. Putting together a class of that caliber is virtually unprecedented at Nebraska, a school located in a state with a scarce supply of basketball talent. The Huskers hadn't made the NCAA tournament since 1998 prior to last season in part because they lacked sufficient in-state talent to compete nationally and couldn't lure enough top prospects from neighboring states. One reason Miles is enjoying more success is the investment Nebraska has made in its facilities, from a $20 million practice facility that opened in 2011 to a state-of-the-art $179 million arena the school unveiled last fall. Miles has also been allowed to pay top dollar for his assistant coaches, enabling him to lure Kenya Hunter from Georgetown and Chris Harriman from Saint Louis. The commitment from Morrow was no surprise considering his parents both went to Nebraska and he has favored the Huskers throughout his recruitment, but it's still impressive considering how many other schools make a concerted effort to recruit Chicago. Miles prioritized Morrow during the July evaluation period and wowed him on his official visit this past weekend, out-dueling Big Ten rival Iowa in the end to get the commitment. With the core of a surprising NCAA tournament team b

Louisville newspaper depicts John Calipari as a crying baby [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 19, 2014, 3:59 pm]
Any Kentucky fans who turned to the front of the Louisville Courier-Journal sports page Friday morning likely weren't pleased with what they saw. The photo illustration that ran alongside a column by Tim Sullivan looked like something a Louisville fan would have posted to a Cardinals messageboard. Since Sullivan's piece focused on the perceived advantages of coaching USA Basketball and the tendency of coaches to complain when a competitor gains even the slightest edge, someone at the newspaper chose accompany it with a photoshopped picture of John Calipari's face atop a baby's body. Amusing as the photo illustration might be, that's not a fair decision from a journalistic or business standpoint.  Most importantly, it's not fair to Calipari. Though Jim Boeheim accused Calipari on Wednesday of complaining to both him and USA Basketball about the extra access to prospects that Duke and Syracuse coaches receive, the Kentucky coach has never publicly made any such statement. In fact, he handled Boeheim's comments with class on Thursday in a string of tweets. "Jim's comments were brought to my attention & I called him," Calipari wrote. "We are friends. I have unbelievable respect for him & how he runs his program. Any concerns that college coaches have had in the past have always been addressed by USA basketball. ..."The job that Coach K and Coach Boeheim have done to turn around USA Basketball, to make it what it is today is truly amazing. ... If – and I emphasize if – they gained any advantage, because of that work, I don't begrudge them in the least." The Calipari-baby illustration also simply isn't good business. Louisville is a city with split allegiances, one with nearly as many Cats fans as Cardinals supporters. Reporters and editors are taught to prioritize good journalism over everything, but given the struggling financial state of most newspapers, you probably want to have a good reason to anger half your subscriber base, and this certainly wasn't it. Lastl

Suspended Texas guard Martez Walker arrested again [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 17, 2014, 5:04 pm]
Not even a week after he was arrested for misdemeanor assault and barred from campus aside from class time, Texas guard Martez Walker did the one thing he could not afford to do if he has any hope of playing for the Longhorns this season. He got into more trouble. Walker was arrested for trespassing Monday after returning to the same dorm where he allegedly punched his girlfriend four times last week during a heated argument, the Austin American Statesman reported on Wednesday. Walker's girlfriend told police the initial argument last week began because he was upset that she went to a happy hour with a male colleague. Texas coach Rick Barnes responded to Walker's initial arrest by suspending him indefinitely Friday, adding in a statement that the coaching staff has "consistently stressed to all of our student-athletes for a long time that any behavior in which women are not treated with respect will not be tolerated." The Longhorns have yet to comment since Walker's second arrest became public knowledge Wednesday morning.   Though Walker averaged 4.7 points and 2.3 rebounds per game last season and closed the season by scoring in double figures in four of Texas' last five games, he certainly isn't irreplaceable for the Longhorns should they decide to dismiss him. Texas returns all five starters and adds elite recruit Myles Turner, meaning there's a good chance Walker's role actually will diminish slightly this season even if he plays. One option for the Longhorns is inserting Turner into the lineup at power forward and sliding Jonathan Holmes to small forward, which would mean Walker, Demarcus Holland, Kendal Yancy, Demarcus Croaker and freshman Jordan Barnett all would be competing for playing time at wing off the bench.  So Walker already was in for a fight to keep his spot in the Texas rotation as a sophomore. Now that he has been arrested twice in one week, his place on the team is all the more tenuous.  - - - - - - - Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dag

Top freshman JaQuan Lyle no longer on Oregon's roster [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 17, 2014, 2:35 pm]
After Oregon updated its men's basketball roster on Tuesday evening, it didn't take long for savvy fans to point out a key difference. JaQuan Lyle, Oregon's top freshman, is no longer on it. Lyle was not admitted to the university despite being cleared by the NCAA, Rivals.com reported Wednesday morning. An Oregon spokesman did not immediately respond Wednesday to an email from Yahoo Sports seeking confirmation. Adding to the confusion over Lyle's status at Oregon is a tweet he sent Tuesday night that read "I'm good, y'all! I promise, just wait!!" The Rivals.com report indicated Lyle needed to finish a summer course to complete his admission requirements to Oregon and a final determination on that course has yet to occur. Whether Lyle ever dons an Oregon jersey is unclear at this point, but what's abundantly clear is how big a loss it would be for the already shorthanded Ducks if he can't play this season.  Lyle, Rivals.com's No. 24 recruit in the Class of 2014, is an outstanding outside shooter who can also both score and distribute off the dribble. He is projected to start right away at wing if he is able to play for the Ducks this season. Not having Lyle would leave Oregon with only 10 scholarship players and further diminish the Ducks' depth. Between five seniors graduating, several key transfers and the dismissal of Damyean Dotson, Dominic Artis and Brandon Austin, Oregon returns only two key players from last season: Pac-12 player of the year candidate Joseph Young and forward Elgin Cook. If Lyle indeed is denied admission to Oregon, he would be the second member of the Ducks' freshman class to have that happen despite meeting NCAA standards. That suggests Oregon perhaps is being especially vigilant with its admissions process in response to the rape allegations that led to the dismissals of Dotson, Artis and Austin in June. Austin, a Providence transfer, was suspended for his freshman year at Providence after being accused of sexual assault but Oregon took

Longwood player arrested for punching his dance-off opponent [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 16, 2014, 3:20 pm]
The arrest of a basketball player from Division I newcomer Longwood University wouldn't normally make headlines nationally. What makes Shaquille Johnson's legal trouble more noteworthy is what led up to it. Johnson, an Auburn transfer, was charged with felony malicious wounding after an August 31 altercation that started because of a dance-off, of all things. Farmville Police Chief Doug Mooney told the Longwood Rotunda that Johnson was unhappy with the outcome of his dance-off against Hampton Sydney College student Aaron Doman and allegedly struck Doman in the mouth hard enough to knock out several of his teeth and send him to the hospital. While it's hard not to chuckle at the idea of felony charges stemming from a one-on-one dance competition at a party, the incident is likely no laughing matter for Johnson. The onetime highly regarded prospect is still trying to resurrect his basketball career after off-the-court troubles derailed it.  Former Auburn coach Tony Barbee dismissed Johnson in July 2013 after Auburn police charged him with second degree possession of marijuana following a traffic stop. Barbee's comments afterward suggested this was not Johnson's first offense during his year-long stint with the Tigers. "We hold our student-athletes to a high standard at Auburn University in the way that they conduct themselves off the court,” Barbee said in a news release. “I am very disappointed in Shaq’s choices and actions, and they won’t be tolerated. This decision is not one that I take lightly, but it is in the best interest of both the program and the student-athlete." Johnson spent a year at Northwest Florida State College following his dismissal at Auburn before enrolling at Longwood this year. Judging from the statement Longwood Athletics gave the Rotunda, it appears Johnson will still be playing for the Lancers this season despite his latest arrest. “Shaquille is in school now and going about his business as a Longwood student and student-athle

Antonio Blakeney's commitment to Louisville proves short-lived [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 16, 2014, 12:44 pm]
Antonio Blakeney's commitment to Louisville lasted only 11 days. The five-star guard quickly got a case of cold feet, announcing Monday night that he is backing out of his commitment to Louisville and reopening his recruitment. It's unusual for a top prospect to renege on his initial commitment to a school and still end up signing there, but Blakeney insists the Cardinals remain a strong contender to land him. "I am still really considering Louisville heavily," Blakeney tweeted. "I like everything about [the] program, coaches and fans!!" Blakeney's explanation for his decommitment was that he made an impulse decision selecting Louisville before visiting other programs and he wants to be sure it's the right school for him. Jerry Meyer of 247Sports reported that Blakeney was under pressure from folks at Nike to at least look into other schools since the 6-foot-4 shooting guard plays for Nike-affiliated Each One Teach One and Louisville is one of Adidas' flagship schools. "I don't play up shoe company angle in basketball recruiting but decommitment of Antonio Blakeney from Louisville is shoe company related," Meyer tweeted. "Nike infrastructure [and] those part of [and] affiliated helped Antonio Blakeney get where he is. Considered rash to commit after visiting one school." It's unclear which schools Blakeney will now visit, but it's a safe bet many of the programs originally involved in his recruitment will resurface as contenders. LSU, Missouri, Kentucky and Oregon — all Nike programs — are expected to be among the schools Blakeney considers. Whichever school lands Blakeney is getting an explosive scorer ranked 13th in the Rivals.com Class of 2015 ratings. He needs to add strength, but he is quick off the dribble, adept at sinking mid-range jumpers and nearly impossible to guard when his streaky 3-point shot is falling. If Louisville can't successfully entice Blakeney to commit a second time, it's a blow for a Cardinals class that was shaping up to be perhaps Ric

Report: UCLA's potential starting point guard denied admission [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 15, 2014, 7:41 pm]
Only days after one of its top recruits failed to qualify, UCLA learned it has lost a second key newcomer due to academic issues. Jon Octeus, a Colorado State transfer considered the likely heir apparent to Kyle Anderson at point guard, has been denied admission to UCLA, the Fort Collins Coloradoan reported Monday. A UCLA spokesman declined comment when asked if he could confirm the report. Assuming Octeus indeed never plays for the Bruins, that could be an even bigger loss than top 75 recruit Jonah Bolden being ruled a partial qualifier Friday. With junior Tony Parker and McDonald's All-Americans Kevon Looney and Thomas Welsh, UCLA has sufficient frontcourt depth to make up for not having Bolden, but Octeus might have been the best option for the Bruins at point guard.  UCLA now only has nine scholarship players on its roster next season and three scholarship guards: senior Norman Powell, sophomore Bryce Alford and newcomer Isaac Hamilton.  The only scholarship point guard on UCLA's roster now is  Alford, who showed flashes of competence as a shooter and distributor last season but is probably better suited to a backup role because of his defensive shortcomings. UCLA could also attempt to convert 2013 McDonald's All-American Isaac Hamilton to point guard, but he is far from an ideal fit for the position considering his reputation as more of a volume scorer than a distributor in high school.    If point guard becomes a season-long issue for UCLA, the Bruins will surely rue some swings and misses on the recruiting trail last year. UCLA landed a bevy of elite big men but the Bruins failed to land point guard targets Jordan McLaughlin (USC), Quentin Snider (Louisville) and Josh Perkins (Gonzaga), creating a void at that position. Octeus, a 6-foot-4 senior, started for Colorado State last season and averaged 13.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists. He might not have been able to duplicate those numbers for UCLA, but he at the very least provided a potential opt

Nebraska forward makes touching gesture for assistant coach's son [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 15, 2014, 5:07 pm]
Shavon Shields took it to a whole notha' level tonight! #Committed #Avery'sBiggestFan #BaldNation #AveryStrong pic.twitter.com/rF7rlA1PxX— Chris Harriman (@chrisharriman24) September 15, 2014 When Nebraska forward Shavon Shields shaved his head Sunday night, it wasn't just because he was ready for a new look. He made the change to show support for the cancer-stricken son of one of his coaches. Avery Harriman, the seven-year-old son of Nebraska assistant Chris Harriman, is battling leukemia for the third time in his short life. Chemotherapy has robbed Avery of his hair, but Shields is making sure he doesn't have to endure it alone. The gesture by Shields impressed both his current head coach Tim Miles and former Nebraska head coach Doc Sadler. Said Miles: "This is so cool!!!" Said Sadler: "Always knew Shavon was a special person. You the man Avery!!" Avery was initially diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age 2 and relapsed in Oct. 2012. Since doctors were unsure chemotherapy would be enough to eliminate all the cancer cells in his body, Avery underwent a bone marrow transplant in Feb. 2013, a high-risk, high-reward procedure that provided him a new immune system to fight the residual leukemia. The procedure proved effective for more than a year, but in July a biopsy revealed that Avery's cancer had returned and was no longer in remission. Having already underwent chemotherapy in hopes of getting the cancer back into remission, Avery is now preparing for a second bone marrow transplant. Last month, video of a fist-pumping Avery learning he'd get to come home from the hospital for a few days was picked up by numerous TV news shows and went viral on social media. Cancer may have taken Avery's hair but it hasn't taken his enthusiasm. - - - - - - - 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.J. Guyton to Bob Knight: Return to Indiana, help heal old wounds [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 13, 2014, 5:43 am]
In the 14 years since Indiana controversially fired Bob Knight, the iconic former Hoosiers coach has never returned to the school he led to five Final Fours and three national championships.  One of Knight's most famous former players hopes that separation ends soon.  Former Big Ten player of the year A.J. Guyton, one of five new members of Indiana's athletic hall of fame, wrote an open letter on his Facebook page appealing to Knight to come back to Bloomington for the Nov. 7 induction dinner. Guyton believes a reconciliation between Knight and Indiana is the only way the program will ever reconnect with former players torn between showing loyalty to their coach and their school. "Without you, Coach Knight, the relationships are strange at IU," Guyton wrote. "We are accepted and appreciated but there's a mission to "move on" from us. You're the only person who can make everything right & bridge this gap. It's not about the former administration, it's about the players you created [who] are in limbo, stuck in between. We are all experiencing various successes but not knowing how to include IU basketball. "I'm certainly not asking anyone to apologize for anything. I'm simply extending a public invitation for you to do ME a favor, attend the induction ceremony on November 7th, it would mean the world to me as a former player and supporter. For you to come see the young professional you've helped create. I believe it's time, i believe the time is now. "Indiana University, whatever charity you have to donate to on Coach Knight's behalf, lets get it done. Time's ticking & we all deserve a homecoming. I'm asking you, Coach Bob Knight, you said you'd do anything for me once I graduated, can you please attend my induction ceremony, which is coming back home to Indiana University?" While the 1,129-word letter from Guyton may be the most heartfelt plea to Knight, it certainly isn't the first. In 2009, Indiana inducted Knight into its athletic hall of fame but he declined to

Eligibility issues will sideline one of UCLA's freshmen for the season [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 12, 2014, 7:51 pm]
The highly touted freshman class UCLA expects to mitigate the loss of three first-round draft picks this season will be one member smaller than expected. The NCAA has declared Australian forward Jonah Bolden a partial qualifier and ruled him ineligible to play during the 2014-15 season, ESPN.com first reported Friday. Bolden, a consensus four-star recruit can remain on athletic scholarship this school year and would be able to compete for the Bruins beginning the following season.  Eligibility issues for Bolden aren't a huge surprise because some schools were cautious recruiting him out of fear he might not qualify. UCLA took that chance and could still benefit from it, assuming Bolden remains long enough to play for the Bruins in future years. In the short term, however, not having Bolden is a blow for a UCLA team that must replace the perimeter scoring of Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams and Zach LaVine from last year's Pac-12 tournament champion and Sweet 16 team. The 6-foot-8 Bolden could have helped in that regard because he is versatile enough to score from the post and the perimeter. Nonetheless, UCLA has plenty of depth and talent in the frontcourt next season even without Bolden coming off the bench. Six-foot-10 junior Tony Parker is a former top 50 recruit who has bided his time for two seasons and now could be ready to emerge as an interior focal point. Incoming freshmen Kevon Looney and Thomas Welsh also should be ready to contribute right away. Looney is talented power forward who spurned Duke and Florida to join the Bruins, while the 7-foot Welsh is a late-blooming Los Angeles product who eventually blossomed into a McDonald's All-American center as a high school senior.    So between those three and sophomore reserve Wanaah Bail, UCLA still has sufficient depth in the frontcourt. It just will have to wait a year to benefit from Bolden's versatility and inside-outside prowess.  - - - - - - - Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Ha

Non-conference scheduling studs and duds: The SEC [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 12, 2014, 3:31 pm]
Since most of next season's non-conference schedules have finally been released, it's a good time to assess whose slates are the most daunting and who didn't challenge themselves enough. The Dagger will go league-by-league the next two weeks. Up next: The SEC. Toughest non-league schedule: Florida To understand how challenging Florida's non-league schedule is once again this season, consider this for a moment: Kentucky will play five potential preseason top 25 teams in non-league play, and the Gators' slate still is a smidge tougher than that of the Wildcats. Of the eight games against power-conference foes Fiorida could play before the start of the SEC season, the toughest are probably a road game at potential top-five Kansas and a home game against the UConn team that eliminated the Gators in last year's Final Four. Florida will also play in next season's toughest holiday tournament, the Battle 4 Atlantis, where it will face Georgetown on day one, Wisconsin or UAB on day two and North Carolina, UCLA, Oklahoma or Butler on day three.   Those are Florida's five marquee games but other challenges await. The Gators visit rival Florida State and host Wake Forest and in-state foe Miami. Credit Billy Donovan for not being afraid to test a team that lost four starter's from last year's Final Four run but still should begin the new season in the top 10 in the polls. If former backups Kasey Hill, Chris Walker and Dorian Finney-Smith can adjust to bigger roles and make a big impact, the Gators should be fine.  Easiest non-league schedule: Mississippi State Some teams with weak schedules go out of their way to avoid challenging themselves. Others are victims of scheduling a couple solid programs in the midst of transition years. In Mississippi State's case, it could be both. It starts with the exempt tournament the Bulldogs will participate in — the Corpus Christi Challenge — where they will open against a rebuilding Saint Louis team that lost the five seniors who spea

Illinois loses starting point guard Tracy Abrams to an ACL tear [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 11, 2014, 11:39 pm]
It's a good thing Illinois is so deep in the backcourt entering the season because the Illini learned Thursday that they won't have one of their key perimeter players from last year. Tracy Abrams, a senior who started all 35 games at point guard last season, tore the ACL in his right knee during a workout earlier this week and will miss the entire 2014-15 season, the school announced Thursday. "Tracy worked hard in the offseason to put himself in great position heading into his senior year, so he's obviously disappointed, and we are for him as well," Illinois coach John Groce said in a statement. "But Tracy personifies toughness; he has the heart of a champion, and I know that he will only come back stronger from this experience when he returns to the court next year. In the meantime, he will continue to play a vital role for our program with his leadership." Having Abrams back for the 2015-16 season is small consolation for an Illinois team eager to return to the NCAA tournament after settling for an NIT bid last season. The 6-foot-2 senior averaged 10.7 points and a team-high 3.2 assists last season, showcasing an ability to set up his teammates for easy baskets, take care of the ball and play fierce on-ball defense. The player likely to inherit a starting job in Abrams' place is Oregon State transfer Ahmad Starks, a speedy 5-foot-9 senior who averaged 10.4 points two seasons ago for the Beavers but also fell out of the starting lineup by the end of that season. Starks shot below 40 percent from the field all three seasons at Oregon State, struggled defensively at times because of his size and tended to look for his own shot a bit too often, a trait that led him to produce three or less assists in all but six games as a junior. In addition to Starks, sophomore point guard Jaylon Tate and Seton Hall transfer Aaron Cosby will probably play increased roles because of Abrams' absence. Tate is a natural point guard who made good decisions in limited playing time last s





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