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Sunday, November 19, 2017

College Basketball

Donald Trump rips LaVar Ball, says he should have left LiAngelo in Chinese jail

Donald Trump

Donald Trump is said to have played a big role in helping the three UCLA players who were arrested for shoplifting in China avoid serious legal trouble, but LaVar Ball didn’t exactly thank the U.S. president for his help. You can probably guess how Trump reacted to the lack of gratitude.

Over the weekend, Ball — whose son LiAngelo was one of the three UCLA freshmen who were arrested — downplayed Trump’s role in helping to sort out the situation.

“Who?” Ball told ESPN’s Arash Markazi. “What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”

Ball went on to say people were trying to “make a big deal out of nothing” and that he has “seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses.” On Sunday, Trump unloaded on Ball for being so ungrateful and said he should have let the Big Baller Brand founder’s son go to prison.

We just knew this would somehow result in a war of words between Ball and Trump. LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill thanked Trump for his role in helping to get the charges dropped, but LaVar obviously feels the president did very little.

Shoplifting is a serious offense in China. Whether you like Trump or not, all indications are that he helped the three UCLA players avoid some serious punishment.

Baker Mayfield tells Kansas fans to ‘cheer on basketball’ (Video)

Baker Mayfield handshakes

Baker Mayfield let Kansas fans have it during Oklahoma’s relatively easy victory over the Jayhawks.

Saturday’s game between Oklahoma and Kansas got off to an interesting start when members of the Jayhawks team refused to shake the hand of Mayfield. Then he got in the face of a Kansas player after the coin toss.

Not surprisingly, once the game got underway, the Sooners faced little resistance on their way to a 41-3 victory. During the contest, Mayfield not only gave it to the Jayhawks in the form of three touchdown passes, he also let fans have it as well. On the sideline, he could be heard telling fans to go “cheer on basketball.”

Kansas has, of course, been a perennial powerhouse in men’s college basketball over the years. On the football field, they haven’t had the same track record and Mayfield took full advantage of the opportunity to remind everyone.

Mayfield came into the game as perhaps the frontrunner for this year’s Heisman Trophy. His performance against Kansas didn’t do anything to hurt those chances. However, Mayfield was roundly criticized for extracurricular activities like this (and a crotch grab) that will likely result in a apology at a later date.

Top prospect Anfernee Simons may enter NBA Draft

Anfernee Simons

A top recruit from the class of 2018 may enter the NBA Draft without ever going to college.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reports that Anfernee Simons is considering entering the 2018 NBA Draft. Simons is listed as the No. 14 recruit in the 2018 class by 247 Sports, and the No. 14 player by Scout.

The 6-foot-3 shooting guard is a five-star recruit and reclassified in high school for the 2018 class. He is doing a post-graduate season at IMG Academy and will turn 19 in June, which would make him draft-eligible.

“I can see myself going to the NBA Combine,” Simons told Givony in an interview. “If I have enough teams to actually invite me or recommend me for the Combine and enough teams want to bring me for workouts. I really need to hit the weight room hard and get a little stronger.”

Simons was originally committed to Louisville going back to last year, but he dropped his commitment in September because of the FBI investigation the school was facing.

He re-opened his recruitment and has been in touch with multiple schools in recent weeks.

LaVar Ball downplays President Trump’s role in helping son

LaVar Ball

Despite the potentially serious nature of the crime, LaVar Ball downplayed the arrest of his son, LiAngelo Ball, and two other UCLA players, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, after they were detained on suspicion of shoplifting in China — a crime that could have carried a rather extensive prison sentence.

On Friday, Ball continued his dismissive nature, implying that President Donald Trump had little to do with the three returning home to the United States after their charges were ultimately dropped.

“Who?” Ball told ESPN. “What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”

While on a diplomatic trip to Asia, Trump claims to have raised their case with President Xi Jinping of China, ultimately leading to their expedited release and return to the U.S. on Tuesday.

Upon their return home, the three UCLA players did, in fact, thank President Trump for his involvement.

“I would like to thank President Trump and the United States government for the help that they’ve provided as well,” LiAngelo Ball said in a press conference on Wednesday.

Riley and Hill offered similar thanks, but no appreciation had been extended to Xi, which prompted another Trump tweet.

Given what we know of both Trump and LaVar Ball, it’s unlikely this public exchange has reached its conclusion.

Report: Adam Silver meets with college commission over one-and-done rule

Adam Silver

Changes appear to be coming to the NBA’s one-and-done rule.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Thursday night that some high-powered officials met on Thursday to discuss making changes to the rule. Those in attendance included NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA director Michele Roberts, who met with the Commission on College Basketball.

Silver has made his desire to change the one-and-done rule well known over the past year. He said in February that he wanted to spend time with Roberts discussing the matter. Silver wanted the league to raise the minimum age from 19 to 20, while Roberts wants to reduce it to 18.

Silver said in June that the current system is “not working for anyone.” As it stands, athletes can go to college and then declare for the NBA draft without even completing a full academic year. That doesn’t serve a ton of purpose, and it worsens the college basketball product. Meanwhile, the NBPA wants to give athletes a chance to begin their careers after high school rather than deny them the opportunity.

Michigan makes awesome John Beilein water gun bobblehead

The Michigan Wolverines are trying to recapture the magic of last season’s Sweet Sixteen run in the best way possible.

On Thursday, the team announced that all fans who buy a ticket to an upcoming December game against the Indiana Hoosiers can also purchase a bobblehead of Wolverines head coach John Beilein brandishing a water gun.

The bobblehead doll is, of course, a hilarious reference to Beilein famously spraying his players with a water gun in the locker room to celebrate their upset victory over the Louisville Cardinals in the Round of 32 of the 2017 NCAA Tournament.

Though not quite as iconic as this fellow tournament-inspired bobblehead, it’s still a cool homage to an unforgettable moment in Michigan program history.

Report: Grayson Allen expected to be first-round draft pick

Grayson Allen

Grayson Allen has seemingly been at Duke for years, but he’s actually a senior this season. And after turning down the chance to enter the draft after last season, he’ll be going pro next year.

So where might Allen land in the draft? Is he looking like a first or second-round pick? ESPN’s Jeff Goodman tweeted Wednesday that the expectation among some NBA folks is that Allen will be a first-round pick.

After a shaky junior season that saw Allen suspended for his tripping, stripped of his captaincy, and demoted to the bench, Allen is off to a great start this season. He’s averaging 25.7 points on 56.5 percent shooting, including an insane 65.4 percent on threes. He poured in 37 points against Michigan State on Tuesday night. With the way he’s playing, Allen seems like a lock for the first round.

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