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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Stories by Darryn Albert:

Mark Fox goes off over college basketball corruption scandal

Mark Fox

Mark Fox does not like what is going on in his sport, to say the absolute least.

Speaking with reporters on Saturday after a win over LSU, the Georgia head coach went off over the corruption scandal that has rocked college basketball.

“I’m disgusted,” said Fox, per David M. Hale of ESPN. “I’m disgusted with how people have treated our game. It’s absolutely disgusting.

“It starts with our coaches, and then you ask how the NCAA has handled it,” he continued. “The NCAA is made up of member institutions. How are the institutions handling it? That’d be my first question. How are they handling it? Putting their head in the sand and looking the other way? I’m past anger, sadness. It’s just disgusting, and we’re really hurting the game, and the game has been so good to everybody.”

Fox’s comments come in the wake of an FBI investigation that has already implicated some of his notable counterparts. Seeing as Georgia is not really known as a top destination for recruits and has only made two total NCAA Tournament appearances during Fox’s nine-year tenure, this helps illustrate how smaller programs suffer when their bigger rivals do not play by the rules.

Latvian national team shows support to Kristaps Porzingis with unicorn T-shirts

Kristaps Porzingis

Latvia’s national basketball team is rallying around their injured countryman.

In a post to Twitter on Saturday, the team shared images of unicorn T-shirts that they recently wore in support of New York Knicks big man and famous Latvian Kristaps Porzingis, who is nicknamed “The Unicorn.”

The 22-year-old Porzingis tore his left ACL during a game against Milwaukee on Feb. 6 and is now facing a lengthy recovery period. He has featured prominently for the Latvian team in NBA offseasons past (most recently during 2017 EuroBasket), so the shirts are definitely a thoughtful gesture.

H/T NBA Reddit

Team exec dyes hair pink after US skier wins medal

Jessie Diggins Kikkan Randall

Tom Kelly is proving to be a man of his word at the PyeongChang Games.

Kelly, who is vice president of communications for the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team, fulfilled a 12-year promise to skier Kikkan Randall. After Randall won gold in cross-country this week during the women’s team sprint freestyle event, Kelly dyed his hair pink, per Steve Reed of the Associated Press.

The 35-year-old Randall took home the gold along with teammate Jessie Diggins in their event on Thursday. It was the first-ever gold medal for the United States in cross-country. Considering how dramatic their victory was as well, Kelly was probably more than happy to make good on his pilary promise.

Chandler Parsons, Marc Gasol got stuck in Miami elevator at 4 AM

Chandler Parsons Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies are stuck near the bottom of the Western Conference standings, and now they are getting stuck in other places too.

In a post to his Instagram Story early on Saturday morning, Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons revealed that he was trapped in a hotel elevator in Miami with teammate Marc Gasol and assistant coach Nick Van Exel as the clock neared 4 AM. The team is in town for a weekend game with the Miami Heat.

Here is footage of the entire ordeal from Parsons, per Jordan Heck of Sporting News (but beware of some foul language in the clip):

The 18-39 Grizzlies just came off a blowout loss to Cleveland at home on Friday night, and now they will play the Heat in Miami less than 24 hours later. Thus, these elevator troubles could not have been timed any worse. At least one of Parsons and Gasol’s other teammates can empathize though.

Shaq’s son hints in deleted tweet he no longer wants to attend Arizona

The bombshell revelations involving Arizona Wildcats head coach Sean Miller may have already cost them one of their biggest recruits for the 2018 class.

In a tweet on Friday, Shareef O’Neal, the son of basketball great Shaquille O’Neal, hinted that he no longer wants to attend Arizona. The 18-year-old has since deleted the post but not before it was captured by multiple Twitter users.

It had been revealed earlier in the day that Miller was caught on FBI wiretap discussing a $100,000 payment to ensure that star freshman DeAndre Ayton signed with the Wildcats. It was just the latest in a slew of allegations pointing to rampant corruption in multiple high-profile college basketball programs.

As for O’Neal, a five-star forward who currently attends Crossroads School in Santa Monica, Calif., he has been committed to Arizona since last April. One can hardly blame him though if he wants to skip town and re-open his recruitment, as the fallout for the program is sure to be devastating.

Donovan Mitchell defies NCAA with message on shoes

Donovan Mitchell

Louisville’s 2013 national title may no longer exist in the record books, but Donovan Mitchell is still doing his best to keep the memory alive.

Before his Utah Jazz played Portland on Friday, Mitchell, who is a former Cardinal, showed love to his alma mater with custom cleats that listed the name of each player on that year’s roster along with the message “2013 Champs.” Here’s what they looked like, via Blazers beat writer Casey Holdahl:

The NCAA came down hard on Louisville earlier this week, forcing them to vacate 123 victories from 2012 to 2015 (including that national title) due to the infamous sex scandal that rocked their university.

As for Mitchell, who spent two seasons in Louisville from 2015 to 2017, this display definitely seems like part-solidarity and part-defiance, similiar to what we recently saw from another prominent Cardinals alum.

Mr. T gives pep talk to US curling team ahead of gold-medal match

Mr T WWE

Before their gold-medal match against Sweden on Saturday, the United States men’s curling team got hyped up by Mr. B.A. Baracus himself.

In the hours before the competition, the team posted a video on Twitter of famed actor and media personality Mr. T calling them on the phone to wish good luck and offer them a pep talk.

Curler Tyler George seemed especially thrilled in a tweet of his own as well.

Of course, most of the guys on the team were probably just kids when the now-65-year-old Mr. T was at the height of his fame in the 1980s. But it’s still a cool gesture nevertheless from the veteran actor and pop culture giant, who may now have a new favorite sport beyond just wrestling.

DeAndre Jordan putting Los Angeles home up for sale

DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Watch 2018 may quietly be heating up.

According to a report by Neal J. Leitereg of the Los Angeles Times this week, LA Clippers center DeAndre Jordan has put a Los Angeles-area home of his up for sale. The All-Star center is said to be seeking $6.5 million for the two-story remodeled contemporary, which is located in a guard-gated community in Malibu and spans 4,600 square feet of interior space.

The 29-year-old Jordan, who is averaging 11.9 points and 15.0 rebounds a game this season, has been with the Clippers for his entire ten-year career. He can opt out of his contract and become a free agent after the season though.

Of course, putting properties up for sale is something of a normal occurrence for multi-millionaire professional athletes. But this particular development seems fairly noteworthy when you consider Jordan’s impending free agency as well as if he was put off by how close the Clippers just came to trading him.

H/T NBA Reddit

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