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Friday, February 22, 2019

College Basketball

Shaq’s son Shareef reportedly in good standing at UCLA despite allegation

Shareef O'Neal

Shareef O’Neal, the son of Shaquille O’Neal, reportedly is in good standing at UCLA despite an allegation of academic transcript tampering by a coach at another school.

The Arizona Wildcats announced on Wednesday that they had suspended assistant coach Mark Phelps indefinitely for an alleged NCAA rule violation. ESPN reported that Phelps is accused of a violation involving the academic transcripts of O’Neal. O’Neal was an Arizona commit before backing away amid the Sean Miller scandal and later choosing UCLA.

Ben Bolch, who covers UCLA athletics for the Los Angeles Times, reported on Twitter Sunday that O’Neal is in good standing at UCLA despite the allegation.

O’Neal has not played this season after undergoing heart surgery in December. The Bruins have been a huge disappointment and are only 12-12 this season.

Tom Crean blasts Georgia’s roster after blowout loss

Tom Crean

Tom Crean is having a rough first season as the head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs — so rough, in fact, that he essentially threw his entire roster under the bus on Saturday.

Crean blamed himself for Georgia’s predicament after an 80-64 home loss to Ole Miss, essentially saying his players weren’t good enough and he had no one to blame but himself for keeping them in the program.

It’s rare that you see a coach so brazenly slam his players in public like this, but Crean has clearly had it in year one at Georgia. The Bulldogs are 1-9 in SEC play, ahead of only winless Vanderbilt, and it doesn’t look like things are going to improve anytime soon. Crean clearly doesn’t think they will this year.

The coach got a big commitment and a hefty payday from the school, so Crean isn’t going anywhere. It sounds like he’ll be doing a whole lot of recruiting, though.

Coaches explain testy Colorado-USC postgame handshakes

There is clearly no love lost between USC head coach Andy Enfield and Colorado head coach Tad Boyle, and the latest installment of the drama series featuring the two programs took place in the postgame handshake line on Saturday night.

After Colorado’s 69-65 victory over the Trojans, Boyle pumped his fist and did not attempt to contain his excitement. He then showed some extra fire while working his way through the handshake line, and one USC assistant coach took exception to how he was acting.

Enfield said he was told a member of his staff was angered by Boyle cursing.

Boyle was outspoken last year when USC and Arizona, another Pac-12 program, were implicated in the FBI investigation into illegal activity in college basketball. He said he “absolutely” would take added pleasure in beating either team given the cheating allegations. When USC later beat Colorado, Enfield called a timeout with 20 seconds remaining and his team leading by 12. It was obvious he was rubbing it in.

It appeared that Boyle apologized to the USC assistant, but the beef probably won’t end there. While postgame handshake drama in college basketball is nothing new, it seems like there is exceptional bad blood between Boyle and the Trojans.

Watch: Bill Walton bites into lit cupcake on dare

Bill Walton cupcake

Bill Walton is not one to ever walk away from a challenge, regardless of how ridiculous the dare may be.

During Saturday’s Washington-Arizona State game on ESPN, Walton and broadcasting partner Dave Pasch had birthday cupcakes in front of them with lit candles in the middle. Pasch jokingly dared Walton to take a bite of the cupcake with the candle in the middle, and you better believe the wacky giant did it.

He looked like a child diving into cake on his first birthday.

Whether you like them or not, these two will definitely make you feel one way or another about them. In such a poor season for the Pac-12, having Walton bring his oddities to the table help make things more entertaining.

FSU fan revived after apparent in-arena heart attack, does tomahawk chop

Florida State logo

One Florida State basketball fan produced quite the dramatic scene after Saturday’s victory over Louisville.

After the No. 22-ranked Seminoles upset the No. 16-ranked Cardinals by the overtime final of 80-75, an FSU fan collapsed to the court after suffering an apparent heart attack. He was soon revived by first responders and proceeded to do the team’s famous tomahawk chop celebration to the cheers of the FSU faithful. The fan was then loaded onto a stretcher and into an ambulance. Ira Schoffel of Warchant.com provided an account of the surreal episode:

Florida State improved 18-5 on the year with the win, but the bigger concern is obviously the well-being of the fan who was stricken. Fortunately, it appears from the looks of it that he was ultimately OK.

As for the chop, it is definitely a huge part of Seminoles lore and has led to some great viral moments over the years. It’s safe to say though that Saturday’s incident certainly brought things to another level.

Watch: This block by Zion Williamson was off the charts

Zion Williamson

Calling Zion Williamson just a dunker is not only inaccurate, but it’s also downright disrespectful to the other incredible parts of his game. Just take a look at what he did against Virginia on Saturday.

Williamson put together a highlight-reel block late in the second half. He came halfway across the court for a close-out and leaped to reject De’Andre Hunter’s 3-point attempt:

Not only was Williamson’s physical leaping ability on display, but this is a great example of his hustle and effort. How many players would have given up on that play? How many would have closed with an all-out effort to go for the block? He truly is a special athlete with a great motor.

Williamson had 18 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks and 3 steals in the game. It doesn’t get much more complete than that.

LeBron James, Rajon Rondo attend Duke-Virginia game

LeBron James

First it was Jay Z, now it’s LeBron James. Everyone wants to watch Zion Williamson up-close.

LeBron and his Los Angeles Lakers teammate Rajon Rondo traveled to Virginia to watch the Cavaliers and Duke Blue Devils play at John Paul Jones Arena on Saturday. The game featured the Nos. 2 and 3 teams in the country squaring off.

Virginia’s only loss on the season entering the game came on the road at Duke in January, so credit the Blue Devils for accounting for both of Virginia’s defeats.

The game featured Duke star Zion Williamson and teammate RJ Barrett. On Virginia’s side, De’Andre Hunter is another good NBA prospect.

James is a big sports fan in general, so it’s not too surprising to see him catch a huge college basketball game, especially with his Lakers having the day off prior to their Sunday game in Philly. There are other more intriguing speculative reasons for LeBron being there. He also has a relationship with Coach K and may want his sons to potentially go to Duke. On top of that, James is Klutch Sports’ most prominent athlete and an ambassador for the agency, so there could be speculation about him trying to make an impression on Zion for agent Rich Paul. He’d have some major competition in that realm, though.