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Adreian Payne’s friend Lacey Holsworth dies of cancer

Adreian Payne Lacey Holsworth

If you’re a college basketball fan, you probably are familiar with the story of Adreian Payne and Lacey Holsworth.

The 8-year-old girl and Michigan State senior met over a year ago when the Spartans basketball team visited Sparrow Hospital. Holsworth was being treated for neuroblastoma, a form of child cancer that had been threatening her life since she was diagnosed in 2011.

Holsworth and Payne connected during the visit, and they formed a friendship. They traded inspirational text messages and tweets.

Adreian Payne Lacey Holsworth senior night

Holsworth was Payne’s escort on Senior Night, she cut down the net with the team after they won the Big Ten title, she traveled with the team to the East Regional in New York, and she was there when Payne won the dunk contest in Dallas last week.

Adreian Payne Lacey Holsworth

A week later, the young girl has passed away.

“Princess Lacey has achieved the ultimate victory,” Lacey’s family posted on her Instagram account. “She now dances among angels.”

Payne released this statement after learning about the death of his young friend.

“Words can’t express how much I already miss Lacey. She is my sister, and will always be a part of my life. She taught me how to fight through everything with a smile on my face even when things were going wrong. I’m a better man because of her. She said she first liked me because of my smile, but it’s her smile that made America fall in love with her. I know she’s smiling and dancing in heaven right now. My princess is now an angel.”

Payne called her his “special friend” and says she’s like a sister. This video produced by Big Ten Network last month shows more on the relationship between the two:

Photos: Twitter/adorablelacey, Instagram 1, 2

UMass guard Derrick Gordon comes out as gay

Derrick-Gordon

Derrick Gordon became the first openly gay athlete in men’s Division 1 college basketball on Wednesday.

Gordon, a sophomore guard who averaged 9.4 points and 3.5 rebounds per game for UMass this season, made his revelation in interviews with OutSports.com’s Cyd Zeigler and ESPN W’s Kate Fagan.

“For this to be happening right now, me coming out, it’s an indescribable feeling, honestly,” Gordon said. “I couldn’t be any happier. I feel like I can fly.”

Gordon told Fagan that Jason Collins, who is the NBA’s first openly gay player, inspired him when he signed with the Brooklyn Nets earlier this season.

“When Jason came back to the league, that’s when I started to build a little more confidence about myself,” he explained. “If the NBA can accept him, then everything is going to be fine in my book.”

UMass head coach Derek Kellogg offered support for Gordon on his Twitter account after the stories were published.

“I have the most profound respect for Derrick and the decision he has made to come out publicly,” Kellogg wrote. “He is a model student, a terrific competitor, but most importantly, he is a wonderful human being. We know his decision weighed heavily on him for some time, but as a coaching staff, a team and a family, we stressed to him that we support him in every way possible. Derrick is a first-class representative of this University and this program since he joined us and we are all very proud of him.”

Gordon is the latest in a series of athletes that have become the first in their respective sports to come out as gay over the past year.

Photo: Instagram/Derrick Gordon

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had to wear UConn shirt after lost bet with Kemba Walker

Michael-Kidd-Gilchrist-UConn-shirt

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Kemba Walker are teammates with the Charlotte Bobcats, but they were heated rivals on Monday night. Kidd-Gilchrist attended the University of Kentucky, where he won a championship in 2012. Kemba Walker went to UConn, and he also won a title back in 2011. Naturally, a friendly wager was in order.

Walker won, and Kidd-Gilchrist had to pay up by wearing one of Kemba’s UConn T-shirts and posting a photo of it on Instagram. Here’s a clip from when Kidd-Gilchrist still had hope.

Don’t feel bad, Mike — even Tom Brady has had go down that road after losing a bet. It happens to the best of them.

Louisville students rip on Kentucky fan classmate in hilarious fashion

Kentucky-flag-LOL-Louisville-dorm

A Kentucky fan living on the Louisville campus is like a screen door on a submarine. The two things just don’t make any sense when you put them together. According to a Reddit user who goes to Louisville, a fellow student has had a UK flag hanging in his dorm room window all semester.

The Wildcats lost on Monday night. The only college students in the country who may have had more fun with the outcome of the game than the 17,000 living on the UConn campus were the neighbors of the dude with the Kentucky flag in his window.

“So I go to University of Louisville and someone has had a University of Kentucky flag in their window all semester,” Reddit user ct81195 wrote. “This is satisfying.”

At least they kept it clean. The Kentucky fan will probably argue that his team made it further than the Cardinals (or are they both his teams?), but it won’t really matter. He just got LOL’ed right off campus.

Chest bump to The Dagger

Rex Chapman clarifies John Calipari to Lakers comment

John CalipariFormer Kentucky star Rex Chapman set the internet on fire Monday night when he tweeted prior to the national championship game that John Calipari will be leaving the Wildcats after the season to coach the Los Angeles Lakers. Calipari is linked to NBA coaching rumors every year, but this is by far the most high-profile job he has been associated with.

Chapman went on “The Dan Patrick Show” on Tuesday to elaborate on his tweet. He did a lot of chuckling.

“I treat Twitter like I’m talking to my friends,” Chapman said. “I’m not a journalist and never pretend to be. I interact with people. I’m not going to refrain from giving information I hear just because it might upset some people.”

Chapman said he did not say Calipari to the Lakers was a “done deal” but instead that he was told it’s a done deal. If there’s a difference between those two things, I don’t understand it. He also went on to say that he heard from one source that Calipari is leaving Kentucky for LA win or lose and from another that the Lakers reached out and “of course Calipari has to listen.”

When Patrick asked Chapman if he believes Calipari is going to leave the Wildcats, he seemed to start backpedaling a bit.

“I believe that John is very savvy when it comes to these things,” Chapman said. “I would hope he’s not going to leave. He deals with this every year. Whether it’s to (get his next deal at Kentucky), I don’t know. There obviously is something to it. Come on.”

The interview had backpedal city written all over it. In one breath Chapman was saying he thinks Calipari will ultimately remain at Kentucky. But after Patrick reminded him several times that his tweet said “done deal,” Chapman confirmed that he heard from two “reliable sources” that Calipari to the Lakers is a done deal. Does that make any sense?

If Chapman’s sources are so reliable, why does he still think Calipari is going to stay at Kentucky? Something doesn’t add up, and my gut tells me that something is Chapman feeling stupid because he sent a tweet he shouldn’t have. The full interview is below:

Geno Auriemma and Muffet McGraw seem to genuinely hate each other

geno-auriemmaThe Notre Dame and UConn women’s basketball teams have quickly developed a fierce rivalry over the past several years. The two teams have played a ton, mainly because they used to be in the Big East together. Now that they play in different conferences, it is only fitting that the Irish and Huskies are meeting in the national championship game on Tuesday night.

Some are comparing the current UConn-Notre Dame rivalry to the one the Huskies had with Tennessee several years ago. One thing that is fueling that rivalry is the blatant dislike UConn coach Geno Auriemma and Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw have for one another.

“We’ve got two really, really good teams,” Auriemma said earlier this week, via Lori Riley of the Hartford Courant. “Forget the other stuff. The other stuff is such nonsense. Really, that’s nonsense. I could sit here and list 10,000 coaches that don’t interact with each other whose rivalries are intense.

“This is a function of women’s basketball. Sometimes we act like girls, like we’re supposed to go to dinner every night. We’re supposed to play each other, try to beat each other’s brains out, try to win a national championship and compete like hell, Muffet and Geno, and then we’re supposed to get together afterward and go have a bottle of wine. That’s just not going to happen. So stop asking why it doesn’t happen.”

On Saturday, Notre Dame and UConn watched the unveiling of The Associated Press player and coach of the year awards from a small room together at Bridgestone Arena. McGraw admitted it was a tense atmosphere.

“Yeah, I think there was definitely tension in the room,” she said. “I think, for us, we wanted Kayla McBride to win the player of the year award [instead of UConn's Breanna Stewart]. So I think it was a little bit of that. And certainly the rivalry has gone a little away from the civility it was when we were in the league together.”

Stewart took home player of the year and McGraw won coach of the year. The Irish and Huskies have a combined record of 76-0 and are the two best teams in women’s college basketball. The fact that the coaches hate each other makes our jobs easier. This won’t be the last time these two teams meet for a title.

UConn riots after win over Kentucky (Pictures, Videos)

UConn-basketball-riot

The University of Connecticut has an undergraduate enrollment of around 17,000 people. After the men’s basketball team defeated Kentucky to win a national championship on Monday night, all 17,000 and then some flooded the streets of Storrs and wreaked havoc.

All of the standard riot behavior was covered. There were flipped cars, fires, dudes climbing light posts, and plenty of broken glass. Here are some photos and videos from the night of madness.

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