NCAA Talk

Kelly spurns Eagles, will remain at Notre Dame

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Kelly spurns Eagles, will remain at Notre Dame

Brian Kelly isn't going anywhere.

Notre Dame announced Saturday afternoon Kelly, who reportedly flirted with the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles for the last few days, will remain in South Bend. His decision comes after an agonizing few days for Notre Dame fans, after the first report of Kelly interviewing with the Eagles surfaced Wednesday.

Earlier Saturday, it was reported Philadelphia was prepared to put all its efforts behind landing Kelly. But with Notre Dame starting classes on Tuesday and reportedly holding a team meeting Monday, Kelly's decision had to come quick. While he considered the NFL, Kelly ultimately wasn't ready to leave for football's highest level.

Like every kid who has ever put on a pair of football cleats, I have had thoughts about being a part of the NFL," Kelly said in a statement released by the school. "However, after much reflection and conversation with those closest to me, I have decided to remain at Notre Dame."

Likely part of Kelly's decision to stay was a desire to not uproot his family again. In his introductory press conference at Notre Dame in December of 2009, he spoke of how difficult that process was:

"You come home as a parent and you're going to tell your kids that they're moving and they love the friends and they love the community, and as we started to tell them, tears began to well up in their eyes," Kelly explained. "And (his daughter) Gracie came up to me, grabbed me, hugged me and said, 'Dad, I'm so happy for you. I know this has been your dream. And I'm sad for me just for a little bit. Is that okay?' And I kissed her, and I said, 'You know what, that's what is so magical about this is that my kids know that this was a dream for me.'"

Whether Kelly's dream actually was to remain at Notre Dame was called into question over the last few days. But when Kelly made that dream job remark, perhaps coaching in the NFL wasn't even on the table.

A shot at the NFL came into focus this week for Kelly. He would've done himself a disservice had he not listened to the Eagles, regardless of his intentions.

The Eagles' interest in Kelly was real and significant, just as it was for Penn State's Bill O'Brien and Oregon's Chip Kelly. But at the same time, the Eagles' goal of landing a college coach was a shot in the dark.

"We did so knowing that there was a remote chance that these coaches would leave their current posts," the Eagles released in a statement.

CSNPhilly: Eagles candidate Brian Kelly to stay at Notre Dame

While four-star linebacker Alex Anzalone decommitted from Notre Dame following the reports of Kelly's interview with Philadelphia, it's unlikely there will be any more negative impact on Notre Dame's 2013 recruiting class. Most members of the class voiced their commitment to Notre Dame regardless of its coach while Kelly's status was in limbo during the week.

Kelly also seemed to intimate in his statement his interest in the NFL wasn't a ploy to gain leverage in contract negotiations -- leverage which he probably didn't need. Chances are, Notre Dame will announce a contract extension for Kelly and his coaching staff in the coming days or weeks.

Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick also released a statement, detailing how he -- unlike legions of Notre Dame fans -- was never worried Kelly would leave his post as head coach at Notre Dame. And, too, it's worth noting Swarbrick was kept in the loop at all times regarding Kelly's contact with the Eagles -- so this wasn't a process done behind the athletic department's back.

I was always confident that Brian would continue to lead our football program, I am very happy to have that confirmed and share Brian's excitement about what lies ahead for our program, Swarbrick said. I appreciate the Eagles reaching out to request permission to speak with Brian, and I also appreciate Brian keeping me fully informed throughout this process. We all look forward to whats ahead for Notre Dame football.

Say it ain't so: DePaul commit Tyger Campbell reopens recruitment

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AP

Say it ain't so: DePaul commit Tyger Campbell reopens recruitment

It looks like it was too good to be true.

Tyger Campbell shocked the recruiting world when he committed to DePaul on May 8.

Less than four months later, Campbell has reopened his recruitment.

The Rivals.com four-star point guard out of La Lumiere High School in Indiana, who is the No. 66 prospect in the 2018 Class, took to Twitter Friday night to explain his decision.

One of Campbell's original draws to the Blue Demons was DePaul hiring Shane Heirman as an assistant coach. Heirman coached Campbell for two seasons at La Lumiere.

"I like DePaul and honestly my coach (Shane Heirman) just went there and we have a great connection and he's always had my back," Campbell told Scout.com when he committed to the Blue Demons. "I like [DePaul] coach Dave Leitao, too. I like his program and he's an intelligent guy."

Campbell currently has offers from a handful of D1 schools, including Illinois, Michigan State, Ole Miss, Purdue, SMU, Memphis and Tennessee.

Upset alert? Why a confident UIC is challenging juggernaut Kentucky

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USA TODAY

Upset alert? Why a confident UIC is challenging juggernaut Kentucky

On the heels of a 12-win improvement, UIC basketball is riding confidently into the new season. 

And why shouldn't they be? Head coach Steve McClain returns a young, talented nucleus that's expected to challenge for a Horizon League championship and NCAA Tournament berth. 

In fact, the program is in such good shape that they thought: Let's play Kentucky. 

Yup, that's right. The UIC Flames will match up with the Kentucky Wildcats at Rupp Arena on Nov. 26, a necessary stage in development, according to McClain. 

“Every year you build your program, there’s steps you have to take," McClain said. "When we got the opportunity to go to Kentucky, I think that’s the next level of exposure for our program.

"When you're chasing trying to be great, you gotta show your kids and show people what greatness looks like. I don't think anyone can argue what Kentucky has done, so I want to put our kids in that environment so they see what it is." 

The contrast between programs is severe. UIC hasn't made an NCAA Tournament since 2004. The Wildcats have made 11 since then. UIC has never advanced out of the first round at the Big Dance. Kentucky has eight National Championships. 

Even this upcoming season, as the Flames boast one of their most skilled teams in school history, none of them were ever touted like Kentucky's freshman class, which ranks No. 2 in the nation per ESPN. 

But the disparities in past successes don't seem to bother UIC. Instead, players, who were likely snubbed by bigger schools in recruitment, are excited about the opportunity to compete on a national stage that the Flames rarely see. 

“First I was like, ‘It’s about time we got someone like (Kentucky) on our schedule,’" said center Tai Odiase, one of the few seniors on the roster. "We’ve been trying to play bigger teams to showcase what we’re made of."

“I don’t see why you go into a place like that without a chip on your shoulder. You don’t go in there just to play basketball, we’re trying to win."

UIC will be heavy, heavy underdogs. There's no way around that. But there are certain spots where they may not be at such a disadvantage. 

On the defensive end, Odiase continued to terrorize guards and big men alike, finishing fifth in the NCAA with 2.9 blocks per game. The dynamic guard duo from "The Six," Godwin Boahen and Marcus Ottey, are quick enough to hang and both took a huge step down the stretch last season. Then there's the return of 2015-2016 Horizon League Newcomer of the Year Dikembe Dixson, who is recovering from a torn ACL.

"The doctors at times thought he was a freak of nature because he was back as quick as he was," McClain said.  

Still, it's a tune-up game for Kentucky, who also scheduled Kansas, UCLA and Louisville on their non-conference slate. But one team's expected walk through is another team's vital experience. 

"Our guys can walk in and see that on a given night, you can compete with anyone," McClain said. 

Given new athletic director Garrett Klassy's comments at his introductory press conference, it doesn't seem as if games like this are a one-hit wonder for UIC. 

“I am an aggressive scheduler," Klassy said. "I helped with the scheduling at George Washington. We’ll play anyone, anytime, anywhere.

"You want to measure yourself against the best. We have a lot of returning starters. It’ll be nice to go on the road, play a tough game and maybe sneak out an upset."