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Monday, November 19, 2018

College Basketball

Watch: Dan Hurley has awesome chest-bump celebration after big win

Dan Hurley

Dan Hurley had one heck of a celebration after the biggest win of his brief UConn head coaching career.

Hurley’s UConn Huskies beat Syracuse 83-76 at the 2K Empire Classic on Thursday night. Immediately after the win, Hurley celebrated by chest-bumping senior guard Jalen Adams twice and slapping him in the face. He then proceeding to shake the hands of the Orange’s coaches.

Hurley is off to a 3-0 start in his first season at UConn following six seasons at Rhode Island. Adams had 16 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and a block in the win.

Whoops! Name on Buddy Boeheim’s jersey somehow misspelled

Jim Boeheim Syracuse

Someone who handles Syracuse’s jerseys made an embarrassing mistake.

The last name on Buddy Boeheim’s jersey for Syracuse’s game against UConn on Thursday night contained a misspelling. Boeheim’s last name was spelled “Boheim.”

What makes this particularly bad? Buddy, a freshman, is the son of Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, so whoever made the mistake also does not know how to spell the iconic coach’s last name.

Fortunately Buddy now has plenty of company when it comes to this.

Memphis basketball player Karim Sameh Azab dies after losing battle with leukemia

Memphis Tigers

Karim Sameh Azab, a Memphis basketball player, has died at 22 after losing his battle with leukemia, the school said on Thursday.

Azab announced in April that he had been diagnosed with leukemia. Former Memphis head coach Tubby Smith said that Azab began complaining about shoulder pain entering the team’s conference tournament. The 6-foot-11 forward later was diagnosed with the disease.

“It is with great sadness and personal heartache that we mourn the passing of Karim Azab,” Memphis athletic director Tom Bowen said in a news release. “Karim was a wonderful young man who was excited to be a part of the University of Memphis and Tiger basketball. My prayers and thoughts go out to Karim’s parents and family.”

Azab did not play as a freshman due to eligibility issues after coming to the US from Egypt. He appeared in 15 games last season for Memphis.

Ex-LSU coach thought Zion Williamson could be ‘best tight end to ever live’

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson is already taking the college basketball world by storm with his freakish athleticism, and at least one college football coach feels the Duke star could accomplish similar feats on the gridiron.

Eric Mateos, a Texas State offensive line coach, told ESPN’s Jeff Borzello that he offered Williamson a scholarship to play football at LSU when he was working as an assistant under then-interim head coach Ed Orgeron back in 2016. Williamson grabbed Mateos’ attention the same way he grabbed everyone else’s — with his incredible dunking videos on YouTube.

“I thought, hell, why not, he’s probably the best damn tight end to ever live,” Mateos said.

Mateos said he never heard back from Williamson and that Orgeron likely never even knew about the offer. At the very least, he thought offering one of the most exciting young basketball players in the country a football scholarship would be “good exposure” for LSU.

“Coach O said go recruit the best athletes in the country, and that’s what I tried to do,” Mateos added. “Any time you have an athlete that can generate that much explosive power in a controlled manner, that’s a level of elite that translates to a bunch of different football positions.”

Williamson is 6-foot-7, 285 pounds, which would make him the same size as some of the premier defensive linemen in football. We’ve heard countless debates about whether LeBron James would thrive as a tight end in the NFL, and lifelong football players will tell you it is not as simple as having size and athletic ability.

We can’t say whether Williamson would excel playing football, but you need look no further than some of the monstrous dunks he has already thrown down this season to know his potential on the basketball court.

Kentucky has surprisingly small crowd for home game

Kentucky Wildcats logo

Kentucky had a surprisingly small crowd for their home game against North Dakota on Wednesday night.

By the time the game was getting set for tip-off, there were several empty seats and even full sections that were empty.

Jeff Drummond, who has been covering Kentucky since 1999, said he’d never seen a smaller crowd at tip-off for a regular season game.

The Lexington Herald-Leader’s John Clay also made note of the turnout:

There were a handful of factors attributed to the light crowd. One, the weather was terrible with ice on the roads, making it difficult for people to get to the game. Two, the tip-off was late at 9:00 pm. Three, the opponent was North Dakota. And to a lesser extent, some attributed the crowd to declining fan interest in the program. Getting smacked so badly by Duke probably didn’t help matters.

Watch: Zion Williamson brings down house with alley-oop

Zion Williamson dunk

Duke has only played three games this season, but that’s all Zion Williamson has needed to take over the college basketball world.

Williamson put up 28 against Kentucky, 27 against Army, and Eastern Michigan had no answer for him in the first half of their game against the Blue Devils on Wednesday night.

Take a look at this alley-oop Williamson threw down to much fanfare:

Williamson had 12 points at the half on 6-for-7 shooting. He’s as big as JJ Watt on the court and still doing athletic things like that. The guy is a freak and darn near unstoppable.

D-III basketball player suspended for ruthlessly elbowing opponent

A Division-III college basketball player has been suspended indefinitely after he committed one of the most aggressive fouls you will ever see during a game on Tuesday night.

Nichols College freshman guard Nate Tenaglia knocked down a 3-pointer late in his team’s win over Fitchburg State, and Fitchburg State’s Kewan Platt closed out on him well after the shot left Tenaglia’s hand and clubbed him in the head. Tenaglia immediately fell to the floor and grabbed his face.

Initial rumblings on social media indicated that Platt was not called for a foul, but ESPN’s Myron Medcalf reports that several people in attendance say Platt was ejected after picking up a technical foul earlier in the game.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Fitchburg State athletic director Matthew Burke condemned the dirty play and said Platt has been suspended indefinitely and barred from campus.

“The Fitchburg State community is appalled by the conduct displayed during Tuesday night’s home basketball game,” Burke said. “The player involved has been indefinitely suspended from the team and barred from campus, effective immediately.”

Nichols spokesman Pete Divito said Platt was frustrated after Tenaglia covered him throughout the game and smothered him on defense. Tenaglia was evaluated for a concussion and ended up finishing the game after passing the tests.

We’ve seen plenty of nasty flagrant fouls on the basketball court over the years, but that was by far one of the most egregious. Platt should not be surprised if he’s permanently kicked off the team at Fitchburg.