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Northern Arizona’s Burcar building toward a bigger future UConn to pay Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million over firing Dream’s McDonald returning to Arizona to coach under Barnes South Carolina, Staley cancel BYU games over racial incident Star guard Paige Bueckers plans to play for UConn in 2023-24 Steph Curry joins Davidson HOF, has jersey retired, graduates

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FLAGSTAFF, Arizona. Shane Burkar sits in the front row of a large auditorium as a thunderstorm rolls over the peaks of Flagstaff in San Francisco onto the Northern Arizona campus.

The wall of windows on the north side of the room offers a great view of the lightning strikes and the approaching rain moving through the pine trees.

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The building that houses the auditorium, the new $47 million Center for Student-Athlete Excellence, gives Burcar something he never had in his four years as Northern Arizona coach: a first-class facility to showcase future basketball recruits.

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“It really is a game-changer,” Burkar said. “When we compete against a (similar) school, no one has better equipment than us. I’m not saying this to brag or say something bad about another school, but no one has that now.”

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The performance center, which opened in April, could be the missing piece Burcar needs to get NAU back on track. The Lumberjacks have not competed in the NCAA Tournament since 2000 and have won single-digit wins in five of their last seven seasons.

Burkar was named interim coach in 2019 when Jack Murphy left to coach at his alma mater in Arizona. The Woodcutter won 16 games in Burkar’s first season, earning him a steady job, but were unable to keep up that pace.

Northern Arizona survived the pandemic-altered 2020-21 season like many other programs to win six games and went 9-16 last year with one of the youngest Division I teams.

Lumberjacks may be ready to turn the corner towards a better future.

This year, the team is bringing back all five members, bringing with it a year of experience.

Junior quarterback Jalen Cone averaged 18.8 points last season after moving from Virginia Tech and is expected to take on a larger role. Nick Maines, the 6-foot-8 striker, opted to return rather than enter the transfer portal after averaging 11.5 points last year. Junior forward Keith Haymon is also back for his fourth season at Flagstaff, averaging 9.8 points a year ago.

Burkar dived into the transfer portal to land South Dakota defenseman Xavier Fuller, Grand Canyon defenseman Liam Lloyd – son of Arizona national team coach Tommy Lloyd – and Central Connecticut State defenseman Trenton McLaughlin.

Northern Arizona also added rookies CJ Ford, Oakland Fort, Preston Kilbert and Jack Wistrcill, all of whom should make an impact on the program this season and beyond.

“Our goal is to move up in the standings,” Burkar said. “I would say that if we don’t win everything, then we will definitely say goodbye in the first round of the Big Sky tournament. I don’t think it’s an impossible dream at all.”

The new performance center may continue to add to the talent pipeline.

Northern Arizona coaches could always sell the school’s picturesque campus, but the conditions weren’t up to par. The Lumberjacks play most of their home games early in the season at the Rolle Center, which is shared with several sports and physical education classes, and at the huge Walkup Skydome after the football season is over.

The three-story, 72,000-square-foot sports center features two full-fledged basketball courts with a video screen between them, massive gyms, training and food centers, and multiple conference rooms.

It also has a room with a view.

“The building kind of sells itself,” Burkar said. “We saw it in our camps this year when the high school coaches came up and said, ‘OK, they’re serious about winning.’ You can see pictures of it, but when you come here and touch it and walk on it, it’s a completely different thing.”

Burkar has a great view of the program, and not just through the back window of the auditorium.

STORRS, Connecticut. On Thursday, UConn announced that it had agreed to pay former men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million to settle discrimination lawsuits related to his 2018 firing.

The money is in addition to more than $11.1 million in back wages that Ollie has already paid off after an arbitrator ruled in January that he was wrongfully fired under the school’s agreement with the professors’ union.

“I’m grateful that we were able to come to an agreement,” Ollie said in a statement Thursday. “My time at UConn as a student athlete and coach is something I will always cherish. I am glad that this issue has now been completely and finally resolved.

Ollie, the former UConn point guard who led the Huskies to a 127-79 record and the 2014 national championship in six seasons as head coach, was fired after two losing seasons. UConn also stopped paying him on his contract, citing multiple NCAA violations in terminating the deal.

In 2019, the NCAA placed UConn on two-year probation, and Ollie was subject to individual sanctioning for violations that the NCAA determined occurred between 2013 and 2018. the purpose of firing Ollie “for a good reason”.

The school argued that Ollie’s misdeeds were serious and that his individual contract superseded these union protections.

Ollie’s lawyers argued that white coaches, including Hall of Famer Jim Calhoun and women’s coach Jeno Oriemma, also committed NCAA violations but were not fired, and indicated that they planned to file a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The school and Ollie said in a joint statement on Thursday that they have settled the matter “to avoid further costly and protracted litigation.”

Both sides declined to comment further.

Ollie, who has faced three years of NCAA restrictions on becoming a college basketball coach again, currently coaches the Overtime Elite, a league that prepares top non-college prospects for the pros.

TUCSON, Arizona. – Atlanta Dream guard Ari McDonald returns to Arizona to work under coach Adiya Barnes.

The school announced that McDonald would be recruiting director, continuing his commitment to the WNBA. She will oversee all recruitment logistics, assist with campus visits, and manage recruitment information and social media content in Arizona.

McDonald was one of the best players in Arizona history after he moved from Washington in his sophomore year. She was the 2020-21 Pac-12 Player of the Year and All-American Player of the Year, leading the Wildcats to a national championship game, which they lost to Stanford.

McDonald broke Barnes’ single-season scoring record and had the highest career average in school history before being selected by the Dream with the third overall pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft.

COLOMBIA, South Carolina. South Carolina and women’s basketball coach Don Staley canceled a series of home games with BYU due to a recent racially motivated incident in which a Cougars fan shouted insults at a Duke volleyball player.

The Gamecocks were scheduled to start the season at home against BYU on November 7 and then play on the Utah campus for the 2023–24 season.

But Staley cited last month’s BYU home volleyball game as the reason for the series’ cancellation.

“As head coach, my job is to do the best for my players and staff,” Staley said in a statement released by South Carolina on Friday. “The BYU incident made me re-evaluate our house and home and I don’t feel like now is the right time for us to be in this series.”

Duke sophomore Rachel Richardson, a black member of the school’s volleyball team, said she heard racist slurs from the stands during the match.

BYU apologized for the incident, and Richardson said high school volleyball players reached out to her for support.

South Carolina said it was looking for another home rival to start the season.

Gamecocks athletic director Ray Tanner spoke with Staley about the series and supported the decision to cancel the games.

STORRS, Connecticut. Paige Buekers is set to play basketball in the 2023-24 season for Connecticut after recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury that kept her out of the season.

Playing on campus for the first time since her injury, Bukers adamantly stated that she would not enter the 2023 WNBA draft and would return to play college ball.

“I’m not leaving. It’s not a question,” Bookers, 21, said Thursday during a media appearance. “People have been asking me, ‘What are you thinking, year five, year of COVID, red shirt this year?’ I don’t think too far about it at all, but I will play college basketball again.”

The 2021-22 season for Beckers was marred by injuries. She missed most of the season with a tibial plateau fracture and a torn lateral meniscus in her left knee. The Minnesota native returned to the NCAA Tournament last spring and helped the University of California Connecticut win a title game in which he lost to the South Carolina No. 1. In 17 games last season, the Bookers averaged 14.6 points.

Buekers is expected to miss the upcoming season after she injured the same knee in a pickup game in early August. Four days later, the freshman national player of the year underwent surgery.

“I was going full speed and kind of trying to stop and there was some contact, not a lot, but he just gave up,” Bukers said. “I knew it was bad. I felt a pop. And then I went to the training room and was very upset. I didn’t know how serious it was, but I knew something was wrong.”

DAVIDSON, NC — Stephen Curry shot down another huge trio — one that took 13 years to complete.

The Golden State Warriors point guard was inducted into the Davidson College Hall of Fame, retired his number 30 jersey, and earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology after an elaborate solo graduation ceremony on the school’s campus.

“This is an absolutely amazing day and an amazing moment for me and my family,” Curry said during the 90-minute ceremony. “The best decision I ever made was to come…



Source: collegebasketball.nbcsports.com

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