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College Basketball

     From UGA Sports Communications ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia’s J.J. Frazier earned a spot on the all-tournament team at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament over the weekend. Frazier averaged 17.3 points over his three games in the event, which featured 64 of college basketball’s top seniors competing in an eight-team, 12-game tournament. Frazier scored 21 points, dished out eight assists and grabbed six rebounds in his Norfolk Sports Club’s 112-106 win over the Portsmouth Sports Club last Wednesday. He put up 10 points, collected three boards and had an assist, block in steal in a semifinal loss to Portsmouth Partnership. Frazier wrapped up the weekend with a 21-point, four-assist outing in an 87-86 setback in the third-place matchup. For the tournament, Frazier ranked sixth among scoring leaders and among top-10 statistical leaders also was No. 1 in free throw percentage (100.0 percent), No. 4 in 3-point percentage (.692), No. 5 in 3-pointers per game (3.0) and No. 8 in assists (4.3 apg). Joining Frazier on the all-tournament team were Tyler Cavanaugh (George Washington), Sebastian Saiz (Ole Miss), JaCorey Williams (MTSU), Justin Robinson (Monmouth), Matt Jones (Duke), Zach LeDay (Virginia Tech), Jacob Wiley (Eastern Washington), Emmanuel Omogbo (Colorado State), Naz Mitrou-Long (Iowa State) and Dallas Moore (North Florida).
  • ATHENS — Georgia will have to wait a bit longer, possibly more than a month, whether its best player will return next season. Forward Yante Maten will enter his name in the NBA draft but not sign with an agent, retaining his eligibility until he makes a final decision. The NCAA’s deadline for that decision is May 24, which is 10 days after the NBA combine. “I have always had the dream of playing in the NBA,” Maten said in a statement released by team. “This is a chance for me to safely see where they project me.” Maten, a junior from Pontiac, Mich., led Georgia in scoring and rebounding prior to spraining his knee late in the season. He missed the final four games of the regular season, returned for two games in the SEC tournament, then missed the team’s lone NIT game. He still finished averaging 18.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. The SEC coaches selected Maten to the All-SEC first team, while he made All-SEC second team in the AP writers vote. “Like all players, Yante now has the opportunity to get information from the NBA and get an accurate read on their assessment of him at this time,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said in a statement. “Once he receives that information, Yante will be able to decide which avenue is in his best interest.” Maten’s draft stock is uncertain. The web site Draftexpress did not list him in its two-round mock draft, updated Tuesday. ESPN draft insider Chad Ford did mention Maten as a prospect to watch late in the regular season. At 6-foot-8, Maten has played mostly power forward and center at Georgia, while he would have to play at least some small forward if he were to make it in the NBA. He has shown some ability to hit outside shots, especially from the top of the key. But he would also have to show ability to put the ball on the floor and drive. The decision will obviously be pivotal to Georgia’s hopes next season. If Maten returns, the Bulldogs will return nine of their top 10 players, though the exception is All-SEC guard J.J. Frazier. If Maten leaves, then even more will be depended on from incoming recruit Rayshaun Hammonds, a combo forward from Norcross who is rated a top 50 national recruit. In Mark Fox’s eight seasons, he has now had four players declare early for the NBA draft. All three previous ones (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie) ended up staying in the draft. Caldwell-Pope was a sophomore who ended up being a lottery pick and is in his fourth season with the Detroit Pistons, for whom he starts. Thompkins and Leslie, who left in 2011, were both second round picks and lasted one year in the NBA before moving on to international careers.ac
  • North Carolina dedicated the past year to redeeming itself for 4.7 agonizing seconds. Now these Tar Heels will hang another banner from the Smith Center rafters. Or the ceiling. But probably not the roof. No longer haunted by the memory of a buzzer-beating loss in last year's title game, but galvanized by a misstatement from their most decorated former player, the Tar Heels returned home Tuesday with their sixth NCAA Tournament trophy, which they earned a night earlier by beating Gonzaga in the championship game. 'This year,' senior Isaiah Hicks said, 'we did it.' >> Read more trending news Thousands of fans poured into the arena and onto the court before the team's flight had even landed at nearby Raleigh-Durham International Airport, and they cheered fanatically every time live footage of the team's motorcade was shown on the video scoreboards. When the individual players were introduced, they showered Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year Justin Jackson with chants of 'one more year.' 'It just didn't seem like we were going to get back to where we wanted to be, and you all did a great job,' said guard Joel Berry II, still wearing the net from the title game around his neck. 'We just basically did our thing, and we came back home with it.' This was the first time the team and its fans were together inside the Smith Center since a victory over Duke in the regular-season finale exactly one month earlier — a night made memorable by Michael Jordan's surprise appearance at halftime to announce a partnership between the athletic department and his Nike line. Read more here
  • FROM UGA SPORTS COMMUNICATIONS  Athens, Ga. — For the second straight year, Georgia’s J.J. Frazier has been named the state of Georgia’s Men’s College Basketball Player of the Year by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. The club announced its annual award winners on Thursday. Frazier, 5-10, 155-pound senior from Glennville, Ga., led the Bulldogs and ranked among the SEC’s top-10 performers in scoring (third at 18.8 ppg), assists (fifth at 4.1 apg), steals (third at 1.9 spg) and playing time (first at 34.6 mpg). He finished the 2016-17 season with 640 points, the fourth-best mark in school history. Frazier set the Georgia career record for free throw percentage (.841). He had a school-record streak of 45 consecutive made free throws during his senior season, which is also the second-longest streak in SEC history. Frazier has collected a long list of accolades this season. He was named SEC and National Player of the Week on Week on Feb. 27 after averaging 28.5 points in wins over Alabama and LSU in a 49-hour span. Frazier was also voted first-team All-SEC by both league coaches and the Associated Press. He was named to All-District teams by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). UGA players have won Tipoff Club’s statewide honor 10 times since its inception in 1984. Frazier is just the second Bulldog to earn Georgia Player of the Year honors twice. Jarvis Hayes was honored following both the 2002 and 2003 seasons.  Vern Fleming was the award’s initial recipient in 1984, followed by Litterial Green in 1992, Jumaine Jones in 1999, Hayes in 2002 and 2003, Rashad Wright in 2004, Trey Thompkins in 2011, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in 2013 and Frazier in 2016 and 2017. 
  • Tom Archdeacon is usually writing news, not making it, but he caught some airtime and the attention of one writer covering the NCAA tournament in Indianapolis on Friday. >> Read more trending news The longtime Dayton Daily News columnist drew attention from USA Today’s The Big Lead for his “glorious mustache.” While sitting behind CBS’ Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery and Grant Hill, Archdeacon was on television and caught the notice of Kyle Koster from TBL. “There was much to discuss at the top of the broadcast before tip-off and the trio did a nice job setting things up. Or so I guess. It was quite difficult to pay attention with Tom Archdeacon’s impressive mustache lurking in the background,” Koster said. It’s a tough look to pull off, but the Dayton Daily News “old-school storyteller” is doing just that. The Big Lede posted a link to Archdeacon’s archive of award-winning columns. Archdeacon has made headlines before — he won the Society of Professional Journalists Sports Columnist of the Year in 2012 and 2013, beating out competition from national outlets like ESPN and Sports Illustrated. 
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus is an actress and producer, but Thursday night she was a mom and a basketball fan. >> Read more trending news Louis-Dreyfus’ son, Charlie Hall, plays for Northwestern University. Toward the end of the Wildcats’ 81-63 victory against Rutgers in the Big Ten tournament, ESPN2 focused a camera on Louis-Dreyfus as Hall entered the game. Hall didn’t score any points, but he did grab two rebounds, and viewers were treated to a split-cam version of the rebound and Louis-Dreyfus cheering the play. Hall did not get into Friday night’s game, but Northwestern continued to advance in the tournament with a 72-64 quarterfinal victory against Maryland. The Wildcats (23-10), reaching the conference tournament semifinals for the first time, will play Wisconsin at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. ESPN2 caught Julia Louis-Dreyfus (@OfficialJLD) celebrating a rebound by her son, @NUMensBball sophomore @charlie_hall23. pic.twitter.com/xgbBwrWGQm— Jeff Eisenband (@JeffEisenband) March 10, 2017
  • From UGA Sports Communications NASHVILLE, Tenn. ---The eighth-seeded Georgia Bulldogs succumbed to the top-seed Kentucky Wildcats, 71-60, Friday in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament at Bridgestone Arena.  “It was a hard fought game which is what we anticipated it would be,” Georgia head coach Mark Fox said. “We felt like we made a couple defensive errors in the beginning of the game which put us in the position that we had to play from behind the entire night. It is hard to play uphill in that situation. But then our defense stabilized, we rebounded okay but you have to credit Kentucky’s defense. They have a terrific team and their defense was outstanding on us.”  Leading the Bulldogs (19-14, 9-9 SEC) in offense was senior J.J. Frazier and junior forward Yante Maten with 15 and 12 points, respectively. The double-digit performance was Frazier’s 30th this season while Maten tallied 26 such games. Sophomore forward Derek Ogbeide matched his career-high rebounding mark with 15 boards.  The No. 13-ranked Wildcats (27-5, 16-2 SEC) started the game making three of its first four shots, two of which from long distance, to build an early 10-2 advantage. Kentucky led by as many as 13 points in the first half but Georgia reeled in the deficit on an 8-1 run featuring two jumpers and a highly contested layup by Frazier. Freshman guard Tyree Crump drained a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left to bring the game within five points but UK’s Isaiah Briscoe hit a jumper in the closing seconds to send the Wildcats into the half up 32-25.  The Wildcats opened the second half much like they did the first, this time with six scoreless points to extend their lead to 13. Frazier muscled to the line and made two free throws to stop the UK run. Wildcats’ freshman guard De’Aaron Fox followed with a jumper and Maten answered back with a layup. From that point on, Kentucky went on a 10-3 run to gain an 18-point cushion with 10 minutes remaining in the contest. A Mike Edwards made free throw and back-to-back three-pointers by E’Torrion Wilridge and Pape Diatta gave the Bulldogs a jolt of scoring to cut it to 11 points at 50-39. Georgia got as close as 10 points with two minutes remaining but Kentucky continued to match Georgia’s scoring down the stretch to advance to the next round.  The Kentucky guard duo of Briscoe and Fox finished with 20 points apiece, while forward Edrice Adebayo added 13 points.  The rebounding battle between the two teams was even and Kentucky narrowly had the edge in shooting at 38-percent to Georgia’s 33-percent. The difference in the game was 18 Kentucky points off of 13 Georgia turnovers whereas the Bulldogs managed two points on 10 turnovers by the Wildcats.  Georgia now awaits its postseason fate, which will be determined Sunday evening. The NCAA Tournament selection show airs on CBS at 5:30 p.m., while the NIT Selection Special is at 8:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
  • USA Basketball has called a news conference for Friday and is expected to name South Carolina women’s coach Dawn Staley to direct the women’s national team, the Post and Courier reported.  >> Read more trending news Staley won three gold medals as a player and two more as an assistant. Staley would succeed Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma, who has led the U.S. women’s teams for the past two Olympics. Staley was an assistant to Auriemma in Rio de Janeiro and also assisted Anne Donovan on the gold-winning team at Beijing in 2008. According to USA Basketball, the news conference will be to announce the head coach who will lead the U.S. women’s national team in the 2018 FIBA World Cup of Basketball, if necessary the 2019 Olympic qualifying tournament, and the 2020 Olympics. “I think it is the perfect person for our game and for generations to come,' basketball television analyst Debbie Antonelli told the Post and Courier. 'There’s no better competitor. There’s no greater ambassador for our game. Dawn has embodied the full patriotic experience. She gets it.”  The United States has won the gold medal in women’s basketball in six consecutive Olympics. The American women have won 49 straight games and are 66-3 since beginning play in 1976. Staley played on U.S. Olympic teams that won gold medals in 1996, 2000 and 2004, and was the U.S. flag bearer at the opening ceremonies before her final games in Sydney. As a head coach, Staley has led U.S. women's teams to gold medals three times: at the 2007 Pan-American Games, the 2014 under-18 FIBA Americas Championship, and most recently the 2015 under-19 FIBA World Championships in Russia, where Gamecocks star A'ja Wilson was named MVP. At South Carolina, Staley has led the Gamecocks to four straight Southeastern Conference titles and three straight SEC Tournament crowns. She guided South Carolina to its first Final Four in 2015. This season the Gamecocks went 27-4 and are ranked No. 4 in the latest Associated Press poll.
  • Sometimes a sideline interview just doesn’t go well. And it’s best when both sides agree to end it. >> Read more trending news Thursday night in the Southeastern Conference basketball tournament, Mississippi went to the halftime intermission leading 46-36 against Michigan. As Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy was leaving the court, he was stopped by SEC Network sideline reporter Laura Rutledge for an interview. Stationed near where Rutledge was conducting the interview, the Missouri band loudly broke out into song just as Rutledge was beginning her questions, SEC Country reported. Kennedy strained to hear the first question, finally asking Rutledge “is this Candid Camera? I’ve got no shot. “I like the song, but I’ve got no idea. I’ll just stare at you,” he said before walking to the locker room. Ole Miss got the last laugh on the band, winning 86-74 to advance in the tournament. Some halftime interviews do not go as planned.Just ask @LauraMRutledge. pic.twitter.com/eETaNr908G— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) March 10, 2017
  • From UGA Sports Communications NASHVILLE, Tenn. — J.J. Frazier scored 17 points and grabbed a season-high 10 rebounds to lead the Georgia Bulldogs past Tennessee, 59-57, on Thursday afternoon in the second round of the SEC Tournament.  Two free throws from Frazier made it 59-56 with 1:36 to play in the game. After over a minute of scoreless play from the two teams, the Volunteers went 1-of-2 from the line to cut the lead to two with 22 seconds left. The Bulldogs missed a pair of free throws on the other end, giving Tennessee a shot to win the game, but the three-point attempt off of a disjointed possession came up empty and Georgia sealed the win. “If you’re not in rhythm,” Georgia head coach Mark Fox said, “it's not going to be nearly as good enough a look, and we felt like they weren’t in rhythm. We were able to count on our defense late in the game to come up with a stop.' For Frazier, this was his first double-double of the season. Georgia (19-13, 9-9 SEC) also got 12 points from Yante Maten, who played for the first time since injuring his knee against Kentucky on Feb. 18.   'I was a little unsure how we would go from playing how we did the last few weeks to how we did three weeks ago [before Maten got hurt],” Fox said. 'We turned the ball over way too much, and hopefully tomorrow we will do a little better in that area.”  The Bulldogs were able to hold Tennessee (16-16, 8-10) scoreless for the game’s first four minutes and 14 seconds and got out to a 5-0 lead. The Volunteers went eight trips to start the game without a point and missed their first six shots. Maten checked into the game for the first time just over two minutes in, and a few possessions later, William Jackson II found him for a three-pointer at the top of the key. Tennessee grabbed the lead for the first time at 10-9, and the slow offensive output continued for both teams as that score stayed intact through the 10-minute mark.   The scoring picked up a bit in the next few minutes, as Georgia was sparked by a Pape Diatta three-pointer in transition. Frazier was driving into a crowded area, looked back and found Diatta for an open look. The shot gave Georgia the lead and was part of a 7-0 run that put the Bulldogs ahead by four. Tennessee took back the lead, and another jumper from Diatta later in the half cut it to a 27-26 deficit going into the break. The first period featured four ties and seven lead changes. Just as they did to start the game, the Bulldogs opened the second half with a strong defensive effort. This time, the Volunteers went more than three minutes without a point and Georgia went on a 6-0 run. Derek Ogbeide scored four points in the half’s first two minutes after being held scoreless in the opening period.  With under six minutes to go, after a fast-paced pair of empty trips from each team, Frazier found E’Torrion Wilridge slashing through lane for a layup to put Georgia ahead, 53-52, with 5:09 remaining. Maten went to the line for a pair of free throws following the final media timeout but missed both and the Bulldogs' lead remained at one. About a minute later, Frazier grabbed his 10th rebound following a missed Tennessee three-pointer and drove the length of the floor for a layup. Despite the game’s tight, back-and-forth nature, Frazier was able to keep his team under control.   “He has meant so much to our program,” said Fox of Frazier. 'He’s so valuable. We left the game with timeouts in our pocket because he manages the game so well.”   Georgia led by three points until another pair of free throws from the Volunteers cut it to a score of 57-56 with 1:48 left. The next possession is when Frazier hit his seventh and eighth free throws to make it 59-56. Georgia was able to hold on despite not scoring again from that point forward thanks to the strong defensive stand on the final possession. Georgia will be back in action on Friday, taking on the top-seeded Kentucky Wildcats in the quarterfinals. The teams have met twice this season, with Kentucky taking both by single-digit margins. Friday’s game is set for a 1 p.m. ET tip and will be televised by the SEC Network.