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Thursday, April 18, 2019

College Basketball

Report: UCF’s Aubrey Dawkins to enter NBA Draft

UCF Knights

After his breakout game in the NCAA Tournament, Aubrey Dawkins is going pro.

According to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, the UCF guard will forego his senior year of eligibility by entering the NBA Draft and hiring an agent.

Dawkins was a little-known name until he dropped 32 points on the Duke Blue Devils in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. While it was certainly a standout performance, Dawkins had been good all season long, averaging 15.6 points per game in 33 starts for the Knights. He clearly thinks his performance could propel him up draft boards, and at 24, he probably doesn’t want to wait much longer to embark on his NBA dream.

Texas Tech clearing scooters from streets ahead of championship game

Texas Tech

The Texas Tech Red Raiders are taking every precaution available ahead of Monday night’s National Championship game, and that includes pulling the scooters off the streets.

The school offers a fleet of Lime Scooters available for use, but in the wild celebrations following the Red Raiders’ Final Four win, several of them were set on fire.

The school is making sure that doesn’t happen again. Line announced Monday that, in consultation with Texas Tech, they’ll be pulling their fleet of scooters off the street Monday night.

It’s not quite greased poles, but you have to be prepared for these sorts of things. This is Texas Tech’s first Final Four, so Saturday night was a tough lesson that they don’t intend to repeat.

Jerry Stackhouse says he turned down NBA interviews to take Vanderbilt job

Jerry Stackhouse

Jerry Stackhouse wanted to coach Vanderbilt so badly, he says, he turned down NBA interviews to take the job.

Stackhouse was introduced as Vanderbilt’s new head basketball coach on Monday, and said that he canceled NBA interviews he had lined up when the school approached him.

“I can’t say there are too many college situations that I was looking to go to with my trajectory being what it was in the NBA,” Stackhouse said, via Adam Sparks of the Tennesseean. “I was on pace to sit down and talk about a head coaching job in the NBA this offseason already with a couple of teams. I had those interviews lined up.

“But when (athletic director Malcolm Turner) approached me about the possibility of this job and being here with this university, it was hard for me to say no to him. I am super excited that they feel like I’m the guy to bring the magic back into Memorial.”

Stackhouse did have some pretty high-profile NBA interviews last offseason, so he’s very much telling the truth about his career trajectory. It is interesting that he’d jump at the Vanderbilt job, but it is a large program in a power conference, so it’s not completely absurd.

Bruce Pearl: Officiating mistakes are ‘part of the game’

Bruce Pearl crying

Auburn coach Bruce Pearl continues to refuse to make any excuses about what happened late on in Auburn’s crushing 63-62 loss to Virginia in the Final Four.

Despite the fact that Virginia’s Ty Jerome got away with a double dribble in the seconds leading up to Samir Doughty’s foul, Pearl said Auburn needs to “get over it” as officiating errors are “part of the game.”

“The biggest point I want to make, and I’m sincere in this, I’m not just saying this because it’s politically the right thing to say. There is human error involved in the game. Kids make mistakes, coaches make mistakes. Yes, officials will make mistakes. That’s part of the game. Get over it,” Pearl said on ESPN’s Get Up!.

“Sometimes they’re going to go your way, sometimes they’re not going to go your way. Are we going to give God less glory because we lost and … only because we win? Stop. Grow up, this is part of the game. These kids taught us, I think, in many, many ways how to handle defeat. And that’s a difficult thing to do for these young kids. And I’m proud of them.”

Pearl is correct, and the reality is that you can nitpick any number of calls. Would Jerome have committed the double dribble if Bryce Brown wasn’t trying to foul him, which also went uncalled? Probably not.

Report: Rick Barnes would accept UCLA job if offered

Rick Barnes

Maybe the report about Rick Barnes being a serious candidate for the UCLA job is more than lip service.

247 Sports’ Evan Daniels reported on Sunday that Barnes was a serious candidate for the Bruins job. We dismissed the report, thinking it was just an effort by Barnes to get a raise out of Tennessee. But that might not be the case.

The LA Times’ Ben Bolch says Barnes would “definitely accept” the UCLA job if it were offered to him.

Barnes leaving Tennessee for UCLA at this point in his career still seems like a stretch. He’s 64 and just went through a the process of building up the Vols, getting them to 31-6 this season while winning Naismith Coach of the Year. Why leave now only to have to repeat the process at UCLA, especially since he’s towards the end of his career? This seems like an effort to get Tennessee to pay up and give him one of those John Calipari deals.

Lon Kruger denies report linking him to UCLA job

Talks surrounding the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball job continuing to heat up, though one coach is distancing himself from the position.

On Sunday night, 247 Sports’ Evan Daniels reported that Tennessee’s Rick Barnes was a serious candidate for the position. Later in the evening, the Los Angeles Times’ Ben Bolch reported that Barnes and Oklahoma’s Lon Kruger are coaches of interest to UCLA. He says both interviewed for the job.

“I have not interviewed for the job at UCLA, nor have I had any contact with anyone from UCLA,” Kruger said in a statement.

Kruger is 66 and has been at Oklahoma since 2011. He has previously coached at UNLV, Illinois, Florida and Kansas State. Kruger makes about $3.2 million per year and has a nearly $4 million buyout.

Baylor coach Kim Mulkey celebrates title with baby grandson Kannon

Kim Mulkey

Baylor Bears coach Kim Mulkey was emotional upon celebrating her third national championship win as a head coach.

Mulkey’s Bears overcame an injury to star player Lauren Cox and beat Notre Dame 82-81 on Sunday in Tampa.

Mulkey was teary-eyed upon winning and also was carrying around a baby. She said in an interview with ESPN’s Holly Rowe that she was emotional because of the injuries the Bears overcame, and also because she was sensitive to young people being hurt.

So what’s the story with the baby she was holding and carrying? That’s her five-month-old grandson, Kannon.

Kannon’s presence is a significant matter for the family. Mulkey’s daughter, Makenzie Fuller, had a daughter who was stillborn in Nov. 2017. Going through a matter like that was tragic for the family, heightening their gratitude and appreciate of baby Kannon.

Mulkey, 56, has won national championships as a player, assistant coach, and three now as a head coach.