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Friday, July 20, 2018

College Basketball

Oregon State athletics suspend partnership with Papa John’s

Papa John

The hits keep on coming for Papa John’s Pizza.

Oregon State Athletics announced on Monday that they have suspended their relationship with sponsor Papa John’s. Their decision is due to what they called “derogatory and insensitive comments” made by the pizza chain’s founder, John Schnatter.

News emerged last week that Schnatter used the N-word during a conference call earlier in the year. The fallout from the report included Schnatter resigning as board chairman and having his name removed from Louisville’s football stadium.

In the past year, the NFL and Papa John’s ended a sponsorship deal, while MLB suspended a promotion with the company. The pizza company can still have deals with individual teams and schools, but some are choosing to make changes to that.

Report: Billy Knight was facing child sex abuse charges

Billy Knight

Former UCLA basketball player Billy Knight died on Sunday after filming a suicide video he released earlier in the day, and some details surrounding the matter are emerging.

According to TMZ Sports, Knight was arrested on June 14 in Phoenix, Ariz. for alleged child sex abuse. He was being charged with “multiple counts of sexual conduct with a minor, sexual abuse and molestation of a child.” The alleged victim was only nine years old.

Knight, who was facing six felonies, apparently decided to end his life instead.

In his video posted to YouTube, Knight said “I just want to say that I’ve lived a life of sin. I lied, I cheated, and I stole. From many people. I was a taker. That’s why my life ended up where it is now.”

Ex-UCLA player Billy Knight found dead, recorded suicide video

Billy Knight

Former UCLA Bruins basketball player Billy Knight was found dead in Phoenix on Sunday after apparently committing suicide.

Knight posted a video on YouTube Sunday morning in which he stated it would probably be his “last message on Earth.”

“I just want to say that I’ve lived a life of sin. I lied, I cheated, and I stole. From many people. I was a taker. That’s why my life ended up where it is now. Life is not a game; you can’t play around with life. It’s serious. And I wasn’t honest with a lot of people,” Knight said.

“I hear voices in my head constantly. I just ask God for forgiveness for all the wrong I’ve done.”

Knight said he was posting the video to encourage others who are struggling to seek help.

You can view it here:

Knight’s body was found in a roadway in downtown Phoenix, according to TMZ Sports.

The former guard is remembered fondly by Bruins fans. He played at UCLA from 1997-2002, averaging 14.1 points per game as a senior. He was a strong outside shooter and hit a buzzer-beater in 2002 to beat rival USC. He was 39 years old.

Former UCLA basketball player reportedly dead after police standoff

UCLA Bruins logo

Former UCLA and NBA player Tyler Honeycutt was reportedly killed in a shootout with police early Saturday morning.

On Friday evening, the Los Angeles Police Department reported on a man with a gun barricaded in a home.

On Saturday morning, officers gained access to the resident and found the suspect dead.

Various reports, including from the Los Angeles police scanner, indicated that the suspect was Honeycutt, a former UCLA standout who played in the NBA with the Sacramento Kings.

Honeycutt was a standout at UCLA, averaging 12.8 points and two blocks per game during his sophomore season of 2010-11, a year in which he was named co-MVP.

ESPN announcer takes funny shot at Bill Walton

Bill Walton

With their truly one-of-a-kind dynamic, Bill Walton and Dave Pasch are one of the greatest (and wackiest) broadcasting duos in sports today, and we got another reminder of that this week.

On Thursday, Pasch responded to a tweet asking for advice from any sports media figures and got in a funny shot at his longtime booth partner Walton.

Walton and Pasch have been calling Pac-12 college basketball games on ESPN together for six years now. The latter handles play-by-play duties and the former provides the (very colorful) color.

Yes, each of their broadcasts promises a delightful space-age fever dream, and whether Walton is dropping knowledge about the Wasatch mountain range in Utah or trying to light grass on the air, it’s safe to say that we will never tire of him driving Pasch to the brink of insanity.

John Calipari fires back after Louisville fan’s unique insult

John Calipari

The college basketball rivalry between Kentucky and Louisville is one of the most heated in sports, and John Calipari has grown accustomed to being berated by Cardinals fans over the years. However, an insult that was hurled his way this week appears to have crossed the line.

On Tuesday morning, Calipari spotted a Louisville fan on the set of NBC’s “Today” show holding up a sign that read “JOHN CALIPARI HATES PUPPIES GO CARDS!!” As a proud dog owner and lover, the Wildcats coach just had to respond.

Calipari typically doesn’t have to defend himself on social media because his daughters take care of it for him, but the man is clearly serious about his fur babies.

Jalen Rose reacts to Chris Webber accepting Jim Harbaugh’s invitation

Jalen Rose

Jalen Rose is thrilled that his former Fab Five teammate Chris Webber has decided to return to Michigan this fall for the first time in years, but he has one question — why football?

Last week, Webber accepted Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh’s invitation to serve as an honorary captain at a game this season. Rose was asked for his thoughts on the topic on ESPN’s “Get Up!” Monday morning, and he said numerous times that he is “elated” Webber has finally decided to reincorporate himself into the Michigan family.

“I’m elated. I’m excited because this really unlocks the legacy of the Fab Five,” Rose said. “Him not going back to Ann Arbor and not acknowledging the university actually put a ceiling on the acknowledgment of the Fab Five and on (former coach) Steve Fisher, who all did a terrific job of trying to establish a level of success and appreciation for what we were able to accomplish.”

Webber, of course, was at the center of an NCAA scandal when it was discovered that he and other Michigan players accepted money from booster Ed Martin, who died in 2003. Webber took over $200,000 from Martin and was the highest-profile player called to testify before a grand jury. He initially lied to the grand jury and was later convicted of perjury, and Michigan was forced to vacate its Final Four appearances and wins from the 1992 and 1993 seasons. Webber was not elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this year for the seventh straight year, and some believe the Michigan scandal is the main reason voters are snubbing him. Rose believes that is why Webber is now trying to reconcile with Michigan.

“I’m elated by this news. I’m not surprised by this news and, respectfully, it’s calculated,” he said. “He understands that he is a Hall of Fame-level player. He has to turn around the thoughts of a lot of media members who didn’t select him. To me, I see this as the first step of him (reigniting) his Hall of Fame candidacy for public consumption.”

Finally, Rose also wondered why Webber has accepted an invitation from Michigan’s football program and not the basketball team.

“The one person that I’m pretty sure is probably like, ‘What’s going on?’ is (Wolverines coach) John Beilein. The last time I checked, (Webber) didn’t play football. He played basketball.”

Rose has made some very harsh comments about Webber in the past, so it’s clear where he stands in regard to how things have gone over the past two decades. For Webber, serving as an honorary captain for a football game would be a start, but it might not be the capacity many fans and alumni were hoping to see him in.

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