NCAA Talk

Te'o admits to lying about Kekua after Dec. 6 call

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Te'o admits to lying about Kekua after Dec. 6 call

In an interview with ABC's Katie Couric that will air Thursday, ex-Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o elaborated on his thought process after Dec. 6 -- when he received a call from a person who said she was Lennay Kekua, and had to fake her own death to evade drug dealers.
Multiple times after receiving that call, Te'o spoke to the press about Kekua as being dead. He told Couric: "I get a phone call on Dec. 6, saying that she's alive, and then I'm going be put on national TV two days later. And to ask me about the same question. You know, what would you do?"
Te'o admitted to lying to the press about her death, and -- as he did when interviewed by ESPN's Jeremy Schapp -- vehemently denied being a part of the hoax.
A few more important details from the Te'o case came to light Wednesday beyond the Couric interview, specifically involving a few paper trails in the case. First, ESPN reported Te'o showed Schapp his phone records from the time of Kekua's purported car accident (April 28) through her death on Sept. 12. Those records have been a key to Te'o's side of the story -- the investigation commissioned by Notre Dame did not ask for them, oddly enough -- although ESPN was unable to independently verify the records, per its report.
Secondly, the New York Daily News obtained Te'o's 1-800-FLOWERS receipt for the white roses he ordered for Kekua's funeral. A message from Te'o on the receipt read: "My dearest Lennay, although our time together was brief, I feel like Ive known you all of my life. Till we meet again. I love you, Manti.
Perhaps more details about this story can be gleaned from Te'o's interview with Couric, which also included his parents.
"People can speculate about what they think he is. I've known him 21 years of his life. And he's not a liar. He's a kid," Te'o's father, Brian, said in the interview.
Earlier this week, it was reported the Tuiasosopo family may be convening to discuss a public statement, although that has yet to happen.
UPDATE: Phone records were released this afternoon that showed between May 11 and Sept. 12 -- the supposed time Kekua was in the hospital -- Te'o made more than 1,000 phone calls to a 611 area code number, where Kekua lived. 110 of those calls lasted for more than 60 minutes, which would help the verification of Te'o's story that he would stay on the phone with Kekua through the night while she was supposedly in the hospital.
Te'o's interview with Couric airs at 3 p.m. Thursday on ABC.

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."