Early look at 2013 NBA Draft prospects

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Early look at 2013 NBA Draft prospects

Its still another year away, but its never too early to take a look ahead at some of the top prospects in next years NBA Draft. While the upcoming college basketball season will inevitably yield more names projected to be called by league commissioner David Stern, here are 20 players considered to be top-tier draft prospects:

Isaiah Austin, 7-foot-1 freshman center, Baylor: More of a face-up big man than a traditional post-up player, Austins blend of extended shooting range, ballhandling skills and shot-blocking acumen make him an intriguing long-term prospect, though his slender frame will desperately need to add some bulk in order to compete with the big boys.
Trey Burke, 6-foot-1 sophomore point guard, Michigan: After a surprisingly stellar freshman season, Burke flirted with declaring for this years draft, which was low on standout point guards, but another steady campaign running the show and shooting the ball from the outside could guarantee him a spot in the first round.

Rudy Gobert, 7-foot-1 center, France: Compared to a tougher version of former draft bust and countryman Alexis Ajinca, the athletic big mans performance at the adidas Euro Camp put him firmly on the map as a potential lottery pick next year.
Archie Goodwin, 6-foot-5 freshman shooting guard, Kentucky: While Goodwin isnt even the most heralded incoming freshman for John Caliparis defending-champion Wildcats, his combination of size at the wing, scoring instincts and athleticism will give him a shot at making a big impact in Lexington.

Myck Kabongo, 6-foot-1 sophomore point guard, Texas: A mildly disappointing freshman season may have tempered expectations for the jet-quick Canadian, but an improved jumper and another year of experience should help his stock.

C.J. Leslie, 6-foot-9 junior power forward, North Carolina State: One of college basketballs best athletes, Leslie showed some fortitude in returning to school after the Wolfpacks surprise season, and as he continues to find his niche as an inside-outside force, he should reap the benefits.
James McAdoo, 6-foot-9 sophomore power forward, North Carolina: The nephew of NBA Hall of Famer and current Miami Heat assistant coach Bob McAdoo, the fundamentally-sound power forward took a back seat on a veteran team in his debut college season, but is expected to be the squads focal point moving forward.

C.J. McCollum, 6-foot-3 senior shooting guard, Lehigh: Following a historic upset of Duke in the NCAA Tournament, McCollum considered entering the draft and while hell certainly face increased attention, the combo guards clever scoring ability and overlooked all-around game already has plenty of fans among NBA scouts.

Tony Mitchell, 6-foot-8 sophomore power forward, North Texas: A monster athlete, Mitchell is still very raw, but despite playing at the mid-major level, his explosiveness is no secret among pro personnel types.

Mike Moser, 6-foot-8 junior small forward, UNLV: One of the more underrated players in the college game, the versatile Mosers profile should be raised by the Running Rebels influx of talent, which has many observers predicting theyll be one of the nations best teams.

Shabazz Muhammad, 6-foot-6 freshman shooting guard, UCLA: An explosive scoring wing with a tremendous motor, Muhammad is saddled with the label of being UCLAs savior, but regardless of whether he delivers in that aspect, he should be productive enough to maintain his lofty professional potential.

LeBryan Nash, 6-foot-7 sophomore small forward, Oklahoma State: A relative underachiever as a freshman, the powerful and skilled Nash, now with a year of college experience under his belt, is expected to be a breakout performer, and with his array of scoring tools, has the ability to live up to expectations.

Nerlens Noel, 6-foot-11 freshman center, Kentucky: Anthony Davis he isnt, at least offensively, but Noels prodigious shot-blocking ability alone has some believing he could be the top overall pick in 2013, particularly if the long athlete can add any semblance of offense to his repertoire.

Otto Porter, 6-foot-8 sophomore small forward, Georgetown: Porter isnt the flashy type, but his blue-collar, fundamentally-sound game, coupled with excellent athleticism, versatility on both ends and a high basketball I.Q., have won him plenty of admirers, particularly with the Hoyas recent track record of producing solid pros.

Dario Saric, 6-foot-10 small forward, Croatia: Although Saric needs to add strength, the perimeter-based big mans supposed point-forward ability and shooting range are attributes that will consistently intrigue NBA scouts, who are constantly in search of players with size that can stretch the defense.

Adonis Thomas, 6-foot-6 sophomore small forward, Memphis: Yet another ballyhooed prep prospect that endured an inconsistent freshman campaign, the powerfully athletic and defensive-oriented Thomas was smart to return to school and if he can shore up his offensive deficiencies, the decision will look even wiser.

Deshaun Thomas, 6-foot-7 junior small forward, Ohio State: Overshadowed by the departed Jared Sullinger, Thomas is one of the better pure scorers in college basketball and as the Buckeyes new first option, he should be able to showcase his full, versatile offensive game.

Jeff Withey, 7-foot-1 senior center, Kansas: A shot-blocking menace, Witheys strong NCAA Tournament propelled him into the realm of top draft prospect and with All-American Thomas Robinson now in the NBA, hell also have more of an opportunity to display his post-up scoring ability.

B.J. Young, 6-foot-2 sophomore point guard, Arkansas: Youngs freshman exploits mostly went under the radar on a young Razorbacks team that struggled all season, but the scoring point guards speed, fearlessness and finishing ability are all well-suited to the next level.

Cody Zeller, 6-foot-10 sophomore power forward, Indiana: Saving the best for last, with apologies to incoming freshman Muhammad and Noel, Zeller is the top returning college prospect, following a season in which he was a dominant low-post scorer, rebounding machine and made the Hoosiers relevant again.

Pat Summitt used the sport to empower women at Tennessee and beyond

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Pat Summitt used the sport to empower women at Tennessee and beyond

Needing yet another men's basketball coach, Tennessee officials turned to the one person they thought would be perfect to take over the Volunteers program.

Pat Summitt said no.

She wasn't interested in the job in 1994 after Wade Houston was forced out, and she turned it down again when Jerry Green quit in March 2001. A Tennessee governor once joked he wouldn't have his job if Summitt ever wanted to run her home state.

Breaking the glass ceiling in the men's game, political office, that wasn't Summitt's motivation. She had the only job she ever really wanted.

"I want to keep doing the right things for women all the time," Summitt said in June 2011 after being inducted into her fifth Hall of Fame.

Summitt died Tuesday morning at age 64.

The woman who grew up playing basketball in a Tennessee barn loft against her brothers, and started coaching only a couple years after Title IX was invoked, spent her life working to make women's basketball the equal of the men's game. In the process, Patricia Sue Head

Summitt stood amongst the best coaches in any sport when she retired in April 2012 with more victories (1,098) than any other NCAA coach and second only to John Wooden with eight national championships.

Summitt used the sport and her demand for excellence to empower women and help them believe they can achieve anything, taking no backseat to anyone.

When I moved to Tennessee in 1976, girls played six-on-six, half-court basketball designed to protect them from getting hurt. Summitt, who took her Lady Vols to four AIAW Final Fours, refused to recruit Tennessee players. Tennessee high schools switched to five-on-five rules starting with the 1979-80 season.

The NCAA finally started running a national postseason tournament for the women in 1982. At the time, Summitt was known for having "corn-fed chicks" on her roster, big and strong but not talented enough to win national titles. After she won her first national title in 1987 in her eighth Final Four either in the AIAW or NCAA, she said, "Well, the monkey's off my back."

Back then only a student ID was needed to attend a women's game. And there was no demand for the results of those games. After graduating from Tennessee, I helped the sports writers by bringing notes from an NCAA Tournament game back to the office for someone else to write up. There was no urgency since there was no reader demand.

So Summitt worked to make it impossible to ignore her team or the women's game.

By January 1993, so many people wanted to watch then-No. 2 Tennessee visit top-ranked Vanderbilt that the contest became the first Southeastern Conference women's game to sell out in advance. With children under 6 allowed in free, having a ticket didn't guarantee getting through the door; at least 1,000 were turned away at the door - including Vanderbilt's chancellor.

The Lady Vols won 73-68, a game I covered in my first year as a sports writer for The Associated Press in Nashville.

"This was the biggest game in women's basketball, and that's what I've been waiting 19 years to see," Summitt said. "I'm glad I stayed around to see it."

Summitt scheduled opponents anywhere and everywhere, barnstorming the country to introduce people to women's basketball. Tennessee played Arizona State in 2000 in the first women's outdoor game played at then-Bank One Ballpark, drew the largest crowd ever to a regional championship in March 1998 when 14,848 packed Memorial Gym in Nashville with Tennessee trying to finish off the NCAA's first three-peat and helped Louisville set a Big East record christening the KFC Yum! Center in 2010.

The Lady Vols became must-see TV in the sport as Summitt put the women's game on the national stage with six national titles in the span of 12 years.

I remember when I got real up-close look at what drove Summitt.

Assigned to cover Summitt as part of AP's annual college basketball preview package in the fall of 1998, I spent nearly 30 minutes with the coach in her office.

Door closed, Summitt gave a glimpse of that famous stay-away stare. With undivided attention now on me, she wanted to know if I had talked with her mother, Hazel, for the story. She then showed me the engaging side, laughing when asked about a stretch of play during the 1998 title game that resembled the Showtime Lakers, beaming while reflecting on how well her Lady Vols showed women could play the game.

The Lady Vols lost 69-63 to Duke that season in the East Regional. The next day I left a message at Summitt's house and late that afternoon, she called back to talk about more life lessons and basketball.

"It's a game, and winning and losing both can be great ways to teach kids how to get ready for the real world," said Summitt, who had to stop the interview because her mother had given son, Tyler, a gift. She explained he would have to save some of that cash before buying something for himself. Then she resumed the conversation about the game.

That was Pat Summitt: Hoops and family.

She held everyone to the exacting standards she learned from her father cutting tobacco and helping bale hay on the family farm. Tennessee and Connecticut was the biggest draw in women's basketball with Geno Auriemma and his Huskies handing Summitt her lone title game loss in 1995. But Summitt canceled the series in 2007 and refused to say why other than, "Geno knows."

Summitt ended a nine-year championship drought with her seventh national title in 2007 followed by the eighth in 2008. She became the first NCAA coach to win 1,000 games Feb. 5, 2009, and received a new contract that boosted her annual salary to $1.4 million - far removed from the $8,900 of her first season.

She never got to the 40th season in that contract, her career cruelly and prematurely ended by early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type. She finished 1,098-208 with 18 Final Fours, at the time tying the men of UCLA and North Carolina for the most by any college basketball program.

Not that numbers define Summitt, who once said, "Records are made to be broken."

Yes, all marks fade, but no one will eclipse Summitt's contributions to women's basketball.

Illini starting pitcher Cody Sedlock named Big Ten Pitcher of the Year

Illini starting pitcher Cody Sedlock named Big Ten Pitcher of the Year

University of Illinois starting pitcher Cody Sedlock was named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year on Tuesday.

The junior from Sherrard, Ill., led the conference in strikeouts (116) and innings pitched (101.1).

He is the fifth Illini pitcher to take home the award, following Tyler Jay who was given the honor last year — and later went on to be picked No. 6 overall by the Minnesota Twins in the 2015 MLB draft. It's the second time in program history that an Illini pitcher has won the award in back-to-back seasons.

The right-hander Sedlock is projected by many to be a first-round selection in the upcoming MLB draft on June 9.

Sheryl Swoopes under investigation for coaching practices at Loyola

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Sheryl Swoopes under investigation for coaching practices at Loyola

Loyola women's basketball coach Sheryl Swoopes is under investigation for coaching practices at the university.

The investigation was sparked after 10 of the team's 12 players have transferred or have requested releases — nine having been recruited by Swoopes. Loyola began an "independent and comprehensive university investigation" on April 15.

According to Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune, five former players have stated that Swoopes' "unusual coaching style" was the reason behind their exits.

Swoopes has declined to comment on any allegations, according to Ryan. Loyola released the following statement on Thursday:

"Until the investigation is completed, the athletics department and women's basketball coaching staff are conducting business as usual as we prepare for the 2016-2017 season."

Swoopes is listed as one of the greatest WNBA players of all-time. She was hired to coach Loyola's women's basketball team in 2013.

Click here to read the full story from the Chicago Tribune.