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September 2020
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‘College Basketball’ Articles

NCAA Division I Council announces 20-21 College Basketball games will start November 25

SEPTEMBER 17, 2020


The Division I Council approved moving the first contest date in Division I men’s and women’s basketball to Nov. 25 for the 2020-21 season.

No exhibition games or closed scrimmages will be allowed before that date. Moving the start date back from Nov. 10 is intended to have contests begin when at least three-quarters of Division I schools will have concluded their fall terms or moved remaining instruction and exams online, creating a more controlled and less populated campus environment that may reduce the risk of COVID-19 that can occur between student-athletes and the broader student body population, the Division I Men’s and Women’s Oversight Committees said.

The maximum number of contests was reduced by four, given that the season will start 15 days later than originally scheduled. In men’s basketball, teams can schedule 24 regular-season games and participate in one multiple-team event that includes up to three games; 25 regular-season games and participate in one multiple-team event that includes up to two games; or 25 regular-season games if a team does not participate in a multiple-team event.

In women’s basketball, teams can schedule 23 regular-season games and participate in one multiple-team event that includes up to four games or schedule 25 regular-season games if a team does not compete in a multiple-team event.

Teams will meet sport sponsorship requirements and be considered for NCAA championship selection if they play 13 games, which represents a 50 percent reduction of the current minimum. For NCAA championship consideration, all 13 games must be against another Division I opponent.  The Division I Men’s Basketball and Division I Women’s Basketball committees also recommended teams play a minimum of four nonconference games.

“The new season start date near the Thanksgiving holiday provides the optimal opportunity to successfully launch the basketball season,” said NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt. “It is a grand compromise of sorts and a unified approach that focuses on the health and safety of student-athletes competing towards the 2021 Division I basketball championships.”

Programs can begin preseason practice on Oct. 14 and will have 42 days to conduct a maximum of 30 practices. During this time, players can work out up to 20 hours per week, four hours per day, and must have one day off per week. This model is generally consistent with the normal preseason practice period but permits additional flexibility for all teams to begin full practice on Oct. 14, regardless of when their first scheduled game occurs.

Council members also approved a transition practice period between current out-of-season activities and preseason practice. This transition period is designed to provide additional time for players to prepare for the upcoming season based on the mental and physical challenges basketball players are facing as a result of the pandemic. The transition period will occur Sept. 21-Oct. 13, and teams may participate in strength and conditioning activities, sport-related meetings and skill instruction for up to 12 hours a week, with an eight-hour limit on skill instruction. Players must have two days off per week during the transition period.

While the waiver process exists for schools to request to play games prior to the Nov. 25 start date, the Division I Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee and Division I Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee have indicated they are unlikely to support such waivers.



Hall of Fame Basketball coach Lute Olson dies at 85

TUCSON, Ariz. – The University of Arizona family is mourning the passing of Hall of Fame men’s basketball head coach Lute Olson, who died Thursday. Olson led Arizona to a national championship and was an iconic figure in college basketball and the Southern Arizona community.

Lute Olson at Celebrity Fight Night XXIII in Phoenix, Arizona 2017 photo By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, https

A five-time national Coach of the Year and seven-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year, Olson guided the Wildcats to the 1997 NCAA championship and amassed a record of 589-187 during his 24 seasons at Arizona. He also led Arizona to four NCAA Final Four appearances and 15 Pac-10 regular season and tournament titles.

Including stops as head coach at Long Beach State and the University of Iowa prior to arriving at Tucson, Olson amassed a career record as a head coach of 781-279. His 781 career wins rank 14th in NCAA Division I history and 23rd in NCAA history, regardless of division. His .737 winning percentage also ranks among the top 30 in NCAA history.

Olson came to Tucson prior to the 1983-84 season and inherited a team that had won just four games the prior year. He turned things around in a hurry, leading the Wildcats to 11 wins in his first season and taking them to the NCAA Tournament in his second year, starting a streak of advancing to the NCAA Tournament 23 straight years under his leadership. Olson also steered Arizona to 20 consecutive seasons with at least 20 wins – the fifth-longest streak in NCAA history.

He also established himself as one of the best coaches in Pac-10 history, securing 327 conference wins, which is still the most of any coach in conference history. Olson’s Pac-10 conference winning percentage of .764 is second only to former UCLA great John Wooden, among coaches who coached in the Pac-10 for more than three seasons.

Under Olson, Arizona appeared in the Associated Press Top 25 poll 341 times out of a possible 431 polls, or 81.2% of the time. That is the fourth-best percentage in the country in that span. The Wildcats were ranked No. 1 in the country for 29 weeks and in the top 5 nationally for 111 weeks.

Player development was a key part of Olson’s programs at Arizona, and that led to an array of student-athletes that would go on to star in the NBA. He coached 31 players who went on to play in the NBA, with 12 of those selected in the first round of the NBA Draft.


Olson’s coaching success extended to the international stage. As head coach of Team USA, the Wildcats head coach led the United States to the gold medal in the 1986 FIBA World Championships.

Olson was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002 and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006 and was re-inducted in 2019. He also received the Naismith Award for Outstanding Contribution to Men’s College Basketball in 2013.

Olson’s success on the hardwood led to a response from the Tucson community that is still felt to this day. Every year since the 1984-85 season – Olson’s second at Arizona – the Wildcats have led the Pac-12 in attendance, an active streak of 37 consecutive years. The court inside McKale Memorial Center was named in Olson’s honor in 2000 and officially became “Lute and Bobbi Olson Court” in 2001 to honor his wife of 47 years after she passed away.

“Lute Olson was so much more than a basketball coach. He was an educator, a motivator, a husband, a father, a grandfather and a friend to so many. He was a true leader in every sense of the word and displayed such integrity and compassion in every endeavor. While Coach will no longer be with us, his presence will be felt for generations to come. On behalf of the University of Arizona, our community and generations of Wildcat fans, we extend our thoughts and prayers to the Olson family.” — University of Arizona President Dr. Robert C. Robbins

“Since I arrived in Tucson almost 12 years ago, I have been asked hundreds of times ‘What made Coach Olson so successful?’ Having asked his former players, coaches and people in our community the same question, I came to a final conclusion:

“He had no weaknesses as a Coach.

“He was a tremendous teacher of the game – he loved the practice environment. “He was a relentless recruiter, often being the last coach to leave a high school gym on a hot summer night in Las Vegas.

“He was an astute evaluator of talent. So many of his most accomplished players were not heavily recruited prospects – Steve Kerr, Luke Walton and Gilbert Arenas come to mind.

“He was a fierce and confident leader. He utilized his iconic presence to make everyone around him BELIEVE in themselves and the team they were a part of.

“He was more than a coach to all of his players. The family atmosphere he created for each of them might be the most impressive accomplishment of his time. To this day, there is a connection and closeness between generations of Arizona players that will last forever.

“He was a leader in our community and gave his time and resources for more than three decades. The love affair that he created between Tucson and our basketball program has resulted in the unmatched fanbase and the home court atmosphere that we feel inside the McKale Center today.

“Finally, he was always helpful and supportive of me. I will miss seeing him at our home games and hearing our crowd yell “LUTE”. I will miss visiting with him when he would attend our practices. I will miss his support of everything Arizona basketball.

“My family joins all of the current members of the Arizona Basketball program in sending our condolences and prayers to his wife, Kelly, and the entire Olson Family. I am forever grateful to be a part of the basketball program and community that he impacted so immensely.

“Coach O will certainly be missed, but always remembered by us. Bear Down.” — Arizona Head Basketball Coach Sean Miller

“I am deeply saddened with the passing of the great Lute Olson. Coach was an iconic figure in college basketball who put the University of Arizona’s basketball program on the map. Yet his legacy extends well beyond the court. He impacted thousands of lives, inspiring young men to reach beyond their potential and instilling service to others as a cornerstone of a person’s character. He was more than a coach. He was an educator, motivator, husband, father, grandfather and friend to so many. His life was one of leadership, integrity, compassion and service, and he personified excellence in everything he did. He was the ultimate example of what it means to be an Arizona Wildcat. While Coach is no longer with us, his presence will be felt for generations to come. On behalf of the Arizona Athletics department, the University, our community and generations of Wildcat fans, we extend our thoughts and prayers to the Olson Family.” — Arizona Vice President and Director of Athletics Dave Heeke

“It’s hard to put into words how much Lute Olson meant to me. He was an amazing coach & a wonderful man. Being part of the U of A basketball family changed my life forever. I will never forget Coach O, those awesome nights at McKale and all my teammates. Thank you Coach- I love you!” — Former Arizona Guard and Current Golden State Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr

“Thank you coach for taking a chance on some skinny kid from Chandler (Arizona). I owe my whole basketball career to you and what you taught me. I’m gonna miss you.” — Former Arizona Forward Channing Frye

“It’s rare that a man is a Hall of Famer and still under appreciated. I’ll always feel like you never got the credit you deserved as a leader, family man, grandfather, coach and as a mentor. I love you Coach O.” — Former Arizona Forward Richard Jefferson

“I told Denny Crum I was coming to Louisville. Midnight Lute called. We talked for 3 hrs! He changed my mind, then changed my life! Never truly, in my eyes, got the credit he deserved. It’s okay though! Love you Papa Lute!!” — Former Arizona guard and Current head coach at Pacific Damon Stoudamire

“I’m saddened to (hear) of the passing of my former Arizona Wildcats coach and friend Lute Olson….He was a great and honorable man..He built an incredible program and helped mold some pretty incredible men…. RIP Lute…I love you” — Former Arizona Forward Tom Tolbert

“So blessed to be able to play for Lute Olson. An amazing teacher on and off the court. His legacy is many things but I am so grateful for his friendship and the UofA basketball family he built that will always live on Toasting a glass of Pinot to you Coach O #LuteOlson #BearDown.” — Former Arizona guard and Current Pac-12 Network Analyst Matt Muehlebach

“Coach Olson was a Hall of Famer that created an absolute 1st class program. It was clear he had everyone’s back from Gumby (me) to future NBA Star (many). He’s also the definition of family man (goals). I value every second he shared with me. RIP Coach O!” — Former Arizona Forward Peter Hansen

“Coach O, you were more than just a coach to me you were really a father figure. You didn’t not see color and you never held us back from trying to leave school early to make a batter way for us and our families. It was far more than just basketball with you. Arizona was always my dream school and from watching Damon Stoudamire and Khalid Reeves to you being in the movie ‘He Got Game’ I always wanted to play for you. When I first saw you show up to one of my AAU games, I thought I had seen a Ghost then you offered me a scholarship after only seeing me play 6 times. Because of you, I don’t know what a school loan even looks like. I thank you from the bottom of my heart coach for everything that you have done for and many more, may you Rest In Peace. Love you coach.” — Former Arizona guard Jawann McClellan

“Everything I am as man, father, friend, and mentor, is owed to the man I idolize like no other! My heart, like so many others I’m sure, aches so badly…I Love You Coach O!” — Former Arizona player Pete Williams

“Thanks for challenging me to become a better ball player, teaching me the game the way it’s supposed to be played. By far the best coach I ever had. You will never be forgotten. Rest in Peace. Bear Down.” — Former Arizona forward Fendi Onobun

“Rest In Peace to Coach O, he gave me a compliment that I’ll never forget while watching our practice. ” You remind me of Richard Jefferson.” I’ll forever remember it and may his legacy live on!” — Former Arizona forward Ray Smith

“In my 40 years in Tucson, no person has done more for this city than Lute Olson. It went beyond victories and championships. He galvanized this community with his dignity and genuine love for his players and all who knew him. His influence will be with us forever.” — Current Play-by-Play voice of Arizona Basketball Brian Jeffries

“R.I.P coach O! Won the championship the year before I was born and made sure everyone in Arizona knew who the real basketball school was in the state.” — Current Arizona forward Ira Lee

“When you were alone with Coach O, he was a man of few words. His presence did all of the talking.

“In practice, he was precise and disciplined. You couldn’t take his system and make it work anywhere else, he was the system. When he walked out of the tunnel, you knew we were winning. The confidence he brought to our state, not just our teams, our university, our city, but our State, cannot be denied.

“He was never an assistant coach, on any level. He was always in charge and the wins and losses were on him. Coach O wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

“As we celebrate his life and remember all of those victories, I am most thankful for the friendships and memories that wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for Coach. He brought players, coaches and managers together to form a family and we are all blessed to be part of it.

” Every story being told tonight, whether ending in tears or laughter, is his legacy and that will last long after today. A great man, whose light will always shine in the Arizona sun. Love you Coach.” — Former Arizona manager, director of operations and current Associate Head Coach Jack Murphy

“Coach Olson is the absolute best, one of the greatest coaches ever and one of the greatest human beings ever. My feelings of gratitude and appreciation cannot be put in words. I love him dearly. My heart hurts, but I know he is now in heaven. May god bless his family. #RIP” — Former Arizona Guard and Current Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball Coach Josh Pastner

“Lute was Tucson. He was the man that put the University of Arizona on the map and I am proud to call him a mentor and a friend. He taught me how to brand our sport and run it with business principles. He was a great recruiter that was always willing to spend time and share his passion for coaching and the process he used to build a culture of excellence. He could work a room as well as anyone I have ever known. He will be missed dearly but never forgotten. He was Arizona’s John Wooden.” — Arizona Softball Hall of Fame Coach Mike Candrea







Former UConn and NBA star Cliff Robinson dies of lymphoma at age 53



(courtesy UConn Athletics)

Former UConn basketball great and longtime NBA player Cliff Robinson passed away early Saturday morning, August 29 at his home in Portland, Oregon. He was 53 years old.

Robinson, a 6-10 power forward originally from Buffalo, New York, starred at UConn in the late 1980s and was an important part of the program’s rise in national prominence, highlighted by winning the 1988 National Invitation Tournament championship, the Huskies’ first-ever national title.

“I’m very saddened by Cliff’s passing,” said Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun, who coached Robinson’s last three years at UConn, from 1986-89. “He had a lot to do with the great success we’ve had. I hope everybody realizes the contributions that he and the others from that era made to our program.”

Calhoun had remained in touch with Robinson through the years and Robinson returned many times to appear at the coach’s semi-annual Jim Calhoun Charity Classic All-Star Game, which reunited UConn basketball alumni every other summer. Robinson suffered a stroke some 2½ years ago, but was recovering. The cause of death was undisclosed, but Calhoun said Robinson had slipped into a coma last week.

“Cliff had a very tough early life, but overcame it and became a man at UConn,” Calhoun said. “People ask me why I’ve coached for so long and the reason is stories like Cliff’s. My heart goes out to his family.”

Robinson, out of Riverside High School in Buffalo, was recruited to UConn primarily by former assistant coach Howie Dickenman, under then-head coach Dom Perno. He chose the Huskies over Oklahoma, Syracuse, and Marquette, a major recruiting coup for the Huskies.

A stretch forward who could power inside to the basket or shoot the outside jumper as well as guard four positions, Robinson was a versatile player who proved to be extremely durable.

“I don’t remember Cliff ever missing a game or even a practice because of an injury,” Dickenman said. “He was strong and powerful, the kind of player who could take over a game.”

Robinson scored 1,664 points at UConn, fourth on the all-time UConn scoring list when he left in 1989, behind only Tony Hanson (1,990), Corny Thompson (1,810) and Wes Bialosuknia (1,673). His point total still ranks No. 13 on the current all-time list. He is one of just five players in UConn history (Chris Smith, Ray Allen, Rip Hamilton, Ben Gordon) to have two 600-point seasons and he is one of just 15 UConn players to average 20.0 points for a season. He also grabbed 668 rebounds, blocked 116 shots, and handed out 136 assists.

Robinson was a two-time Big East All-Conference pick and was named to the 1988 NIT All-Tournament Team. His “00″ jersey number hangs on the wall of Gampel Pavilion as a member of the initial class of the Huskies of Honor.

Drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in the second round of the 1989 NBA Draft, the 36th pick overall, Robinson flourished as a versatile and durable player, enjoying an 18-year NBA career with five franchises – Portland, Phoenix, Detroit, Golden State, and New Jersey – before he retired in 2007.

He was named NBA Sixth Man of the Year for 1992-93 and was selected as an NBA All-Star in 1994. He was twice (2000, 2002) named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team.

Robinson’s 19,951 points scored ranks 54th on the NBA’s all-time list and his 1,380 games played ranks 14th, not including his 141 playoff games. In addition, he had 6,306 career rebounds, 3,094 career assists, and made 1,253 three-pointers.

An inductee into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, Robinson became an entrepreneur and businessman in his post-NBA career, and appeared on the television show “Survivor Cagayan” in 2014.







NCAA to make announcement on 2020-21 College Basketball Season by mid-September

Dan Gavitt (file photo)


NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt released the following statement in August:

“As we prepare for the 2020-21 college basketball season, we have exercised patience and discipline in monitoring the effects of COVID-19 and making decisions regarding the season. We have learned a great deal over the course of the summer, and with health and safety being our priority, we have developed and studied contingency plans for alternatives to the scheduled Nov. 10 start date.

In the coming weeks, the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Oversight Committees will take the lead with me in a collaborative process of finalizing any recommendations for consideration by the NCAA Division I Council for the start of the college basketball season. By mid-September, we will provide direction about whether the season and practice start on time or a short-term delay is necessitated by the ongoing pandemic.

We recognize that we are living and operating in an uncertain time, and it is likely that mid-September will be just the first milestone for many important decisions pertaining to the regular season and the NCAA basketball championships. While circumstances may warrant flexibility resulting in a different and perhaps imperfect season, the ultimate goal is to safely provide student-athletes and teams with a great college basketball experience.”




Former Wright State basketball star Bill Wampler signs professional contract with Ehingen Urspring

Bill Wampler (1) goes around a pick set by Loudon Love against Northern KY (courtesy

Monday, August 31, 2020

For Immediate Release


Wampler joins former Raiders Grant Benzinger & Matt Vest in the German league


DAYTON, OH – Former Wright State standout and two-time All-Horizon League player Bill Wampler has signed with Ehingen Urspring to begin his professional career. Ehingen Urspring is based in Ehingen, Germany and plays in the ProA, the second German division.

“I’m excited to continue my career professionally. It wouldn’t have happened without the opportunity I was given to play at Wright State,” Bill Wampler said. “Coach Nagy and the staff have prepared me to prepare like a professional. I’m ready to continue playing games, and representing Wright State in a positive way.”

“We are excited for the opportunity for Bill to continue playing,” head coach Scott Nagy said. “We are very appreciative of what he was able to accomplish at Wright State and look forward to watching him throughout his professional career.”

Wampler was named an NABC All-District performer and earned his second consecutive second team All-Horizon honor this spring after averaging 15.6 points per game and shooting 43 percent from the floor overall as a senior. He tallied 23 double-digit scoring games in 2019-20, including a season-high 27 points against Weber State last November as he passed the 1,000-career point milestone. Wampler ended his collegiate career with 1,006 points scored at Wright State and 1,414 total collegiate points between the Raiders and Drake.

ProA is the second-tier level league of professional club basketball in Germany. The league comprises 16 teams. Officially, ProA is part of the 2. Basketball Bundesliga, which consists of the two hierarchical leagues: ProA and ProB. Ehingen previously won ProB, Germany’s third tier league, twice, in 2011 and 2016.

Benzinger has played two professional seasons, both with Uni Baskets Paderborn of the ProA league, while Vest has played six professional seasons, all in the ProA league, and was with Science City Jena during the 2019-20 campaign.





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