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NCAA Basketball

Washington lands 2017 power forward Mamoudou Diarra



Lorenzo Romar and the Washington Huskies are not joking around with their class of 2017.

Romar and company landed yet another recruit as 6’8″ power forward Mamoudou Diarra committed to the Pac-12 school on Friday.

Diarra is a native of St. Louis, MO who has great athleticism, excellent length and a very raw skill set. He had offers from Cincinnati, Marquette and New Mexico, in addition to Washington, but he never really picked up steam nationally.

The forward is not going to have an instant impact in year one like other Washington commits Markelle Fultz (2016) and Michael Porter Jr. (2017). However, with some solid coaching and experience, he can develop into a rim protector, a scorer around the rim, and a possible four-year stud for the Huskies.

As ESPN’s Jeff Borzello pointed out in the tweet above, Washington is in the mix for the number one class in 2017. Right now, the Auburn Tigers hold the reins on the number one ranking due to their haul that includes Austin Wiley, Davion Mitchell and Chuma Okeke.

The Huskies are right behind as Porter Jr., who is ranked 4th in ESPN’s top 100, is the most polished player in the class, three-star guard Blake Harris can take reins at the one-position, and four-star shooting guard Jaylen Nowell is a ranked 45th in ESPN’s top 100.

Porter Jr. will likely be the lone one-and-done player of the class due to his athleticism, length, size and ability in transition, however, Nowell has long arms, a unique athletic ability, terrific burst off the dribble and an capability to stop-and-start on a dime.

Diarra is certainly not the gem of this class, but he adds to the impressive talent that Romar has reeled in to play in Seattle.

Now, the next step (as has been mentioned by me 100 times before) is for the Huskies to break through in the Pac-12 and nationally. They must capitalize on this recent run of talent or Romar could be out of a job without even seeing his 2017 class flourish for years to come.

So buckle up Seattle, you will see numerous pros take their talents through Washington.

I am a college basketball fanatic and a current St. John's University student. I also write for Rumble in the Garden and I am the editor of Busting Brackets FanSided.

NCAA Basketball

Video Surfaces Showing Agent Christian Dawkins Promoting Connections to Top Coaches



Another layer has unraveled in the college basketball corruption trial on Wednesday when a video recording of a conversation about paying college coaches and athletes was played on Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Paula Lavigne.

In the video dated June 6th 2017, aspiring sports agent Christian Dawkins brags about his connections to top NCAA basketball coaches, including Arizona head coach Seam Miller.

When referring to incoming (at the time) Arizona player Deandre Ayton (who currently plays for the Phoenix Suns) Dawkins says Miller told him, “I’m taking care of everything myself. I wanna bring you in. I’ll turn everything over to you.”

Dawkins is currently on trial for allegedly bribing college coaches.

Marty Blazer, a former financial advisor who was being questioned by prosecutors and who was present for the conversation, said the reference was about Miller “taking care” of payments for Ayton.

“Sean Miller has to know everything that’s going on. I can call Sean and have a conversation … like this is what is needing to be done,” Dawkins said on the video. He said that Miller is, “talking on the phone about stuff he shouldn’t be talking on the phone about.”

Unites States District Court Judge Edgardo Ramos ruled back on Friday that defense attorneys could not subpoena Miller and LSU’s Will Wade to testify during the federal bribery trial.

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NCAA Basketball

Rick Barnes Says He Would Have Left Tennessee if UCLA Paid Buyout



Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes could have been the next head coach for UCLA, instead of Mick Cronin, if only the Bruins were willing to open up their wallets.

Barnes says that if UCLA would have promised to pay Barnes’ $5 million buyout, he would have left Tennessee to take the job at UCLA.

“I think I would’ve been the coach at UCLA,” Barnes said (h/t ESPN). “I’ve said that to people before. I really felt at that time that’s what would happen.”

Barnes was honest and open with his decision process during the news conference, saying that he struggled with making a final decision due to financial matters.

Barnes has since agreed to a new deal with Tennessee that will pay him $4 million per year before increasing to a $6 million annual sum by the end of the contract and provide more cash for his assistants.

“I’m supposed to be at Tennessee,” Barnes said. “And it’s really above and beyond the basketball program. I’m in love with this community. I’m in love with this state. I just think we got a lot of great things going on in this town.”

“A lot of praying went into it, I can tell you that,” Barnes said. “There was a lot going on. When you get down to a situation like that, it has to make sense from a financial standpoint. Bottom line is we couldn’t work it out with the buyout.”

Barnes also informed UCLA that he would not depart Knoxville without talking to athletic director Phillip Fulmer and others in the community.

I told them point blank, ‘I’m not going to walk out of here and not meet with my team,'” Barnes said. “‘I’m not going to walk out of here and not meet with people here that have been really good to me.’ … I said, ‘You just can’t say send a plane tomorrow and we’re leaving. I’m going to make sure this is done the right way.'”

“There was one time in my mind I truly felt that’s what would happen,” Barnes said about potentially taking the UCLA offer. “It got to that point where I felt like my prayers had been answered.”

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NCAA Basketball

The Madness is Underway




As we inch closer to selection Sunday, many conference tournaments are underway finding teams who will automatically make the NCAA Men’s basketball. Here are the teams that currently in the tournament:

Atlantic Sun: Liberty

Big South: Gardner–Webb

Colonial: Northwestern

Horizon: Northern Kentucky

MAAC: Iona

Missouri Valley: Bradley

MEC: Fairleigh Dickinson

Ohio Valley: Murray State

Patriot: Colgate

Southern: Wofford

Summit League: North Dakota State

Summit League: Saint Marry’s

Out of the 32 conferences with automatic bids in the tournament, 12 of them have been clinched. All the until selection Sunday the remaining 20 conferences will have their tickets punched. Who will that be? Stay tuned!

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