Good Knight: HoopsHD interviews Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics panelist Noah Knight

The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics is an independent organization that promotes reforms to support/strengthen the educational mission of college sports. Formed in 1989, the Commission has a diverse composition that includes university presidents, former college athletes, and leaders in the field of higher education. At its May 7th meeting in Washington, DC, which HoopsHD was invited to attend, the Commission discussed recommendations made by the Commission on College Basketball that is chaired by Condoleezza Rice. 1 of the many panelists that day was former UMKC basketball player Noah Knight, who currently represents the NCAA D-1 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee to the Transfer Working Group and represents the Western Athletic Conference to the SAAC. HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Noah about a wide array of topics including concussions, transfers, and the 1-and-done rule.

What made you choose UMKC? I chose UMKC due to the university being close to my home (Olathe, KS) and the relationship I had with the coaching staff.

Your playing career ended a few years ago when a 6’8″ teammate accidentally cracked you in the head, which resulted in series of ongoing concussions: how is your health doing at the moment, and what else can be done to prevent players from getting concussions? My health is excellent at the moment. I am not sure what can be done to prevent concussions; unfortunately, injuries are a product of this physical sport. However, following the appropriate protocol before returning to play and listening to your body are extremely important to reducing the chances of another concussion.

You are the incoming chairman of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC): why did you take the job, and what do you hope to accomplish? In my first D-1 SAAC meeting the committee heard about the vision of the NCAA, particularly over the next few years. In unwavering support of that plan, when the opportunity arose to be elected Chair, I ran in the hope of having a more significant role in achieving that vision. In this role I plan to push the agenda of the D-1 SAAC while advocating the importance of the student-athlete’s voice.

You are also a member of the Transfer Working Group: if 40% of incoming D-1 freshmen end up transferring by the end of their sophomore season and 60% of players who transfer do not go to another D-1 school, what can we do to address this epidemic? Due to student-athletes transferring for many reasons it is hard to address this issue adequately. However, I believe it starts with transparency between coaches and players. There is a disconnect between the players’ expectations and the real experience after they join a team. Full transparency and open communication could contribute to resolving this epidemic.

The NCAA Committee on Academics has recommended an academic benchmark (minimum 3.0 GPA) for athletes to be able to transfer without any restrictions: do you agree or disagree with this proposal? As previously discussed with the SAAC, we came to a consensus of a 3.0 GPA (if it were to be implemented). The 3.0 GPA is the least restrictive of the provided benchmarks that achieves uniformity and prioritizes academic success. Personally, I agree with what the SAAC has supported.

The graduation rates of African-American athletes in the Power 5 conferences still trail those of the general student population: any thoughts on how to fix this situation? Each institution differs in their method of helping their student-athletes graduate. Besides making all student-athletes aware of academic resources on campus and investing more in their academic support departments, I am not sure how the trailing graduation rate of African-American student-athletes can be addressed.

In the wake of the FBI scandal, do you think that student-athletes should have more or less contact with agents, and why? With NCAA certification I think more contact with agents would be helpful for those student-athletes wanting to explore professional options.

You are a business major: what do you hope to do with your degree? I am not entirely sure at the moment, although I hope to stay around college athletics in my future profession.

What do you think of the 1-and-done rule, and if the NBA does not get rid of it can you imagine going back to a world of freshman ineligibility? I am in favor of ending the 1-and-done rule and allowing those who are ready to play professionally to bypass college basketball. I believe this will eliminate corrupt actors trying to monetize prospective student-athletes. Personally, I cannot imagine going back to freshman ineligibility; however, I am sure that will be addressed if such circumstances take place.

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The Hoops HD Report: May Session

We are back for our May Session Podcast, and there is much to talk about.  We look at the recommendations of the Rice Commission, particularly how they focused on the “one and done” rule, and discuss whether or not we feel their recommendations are good for the game, or will really result in any changes.  We also talk about the upcoming NBA Draft a little bit, and the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize sports gambling.


And for all you radio lovers, below is an audio only version of the show…

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Quickley Learner: HoopsHD interviews McDonald’s All-American Immanuel Quickley

If you want to win an NCAA title you need a good coach, a great resume…and a McDonald’s All-American. Only 1 championship team since 1979 has not had such a player (Maryland in 2002). The 41st annual McDonald’s All-American Game will take place on March 28th in Atlanta, GA, and the rosters were announced on January 16th after selecting the 24 best players in the nation from a whopping 2500 nominees. After Zion Williamson committed to Duke on January 20th, the Blue Devils lead the way with 4 All-Americans, just ahead of Kansas (who has 3). 1 of the 4 teams with 2 All-Americans signed so far is Kentucky, who has a pair of guards in Immanuel Quickley/Keldon Johnson. Earlier today HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Immanuel about being a McDonald’s All-American and winning a state title.

You received scholarship offers from Arizona/Cincinnati/Kansas/Miami but signed with Kentucky last September: what was your impression of Big Blue Madness last fall, and did you get to talk to any former Wildcats like DeMarcus Cousins/John Wall? Big Blue Madness was great: I had a lot of fun. I did not get to talk to any of the former players but it was nice to see them all come back to campus: it is like a family.

You spent a lot of time with Kentucky coach John Calipari on team USA at the FIBA U-19 Basketball World Cup last summer in Egypt: what makes him such a great coach, and what was the most important thing that you learned from him? The way that he pushes his players. My family spoils me a lot but keeps it real and tells me what I need to hear rather than what I want to hear, and Coach Calipari acts the same way.

In the semifinal of that tourney the #1 overall recruit in your class (RJ Barrett) scored 38 PTS in 33 minutes in a 12-PT win by Canada: where does RJ rank among the best players that you have ever faced? He is right up there: many people have him ranked as the top player in our class. He just has the mentality that nobody will stop him, which makes him a really good player.

You are a 6’3” PG with a 6’8” wingspan: what position do you expect to play in college, and how big of an advantage is your huge wingspan on the court? Whether I am playing PG or C does not matter to me: I just want to help my team win. My wingspan helps on both ends of the court, especially on defense where I can deflect passes.

Kentucky’s current PGs are Quade Green/Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: are you concerned that it might get a bit crowded in the backcourt if they are not “1-and-done” players who declare for the draft? No: I am not concerned. What Coach Calipari has done with PGs like Wall/Eric Bledsoe is amazing: he just puts all of the best players on the floor.

A couple of months ago you hurt your knee during a 7-PT loss to Mount St. Joseph: how is your health doing at the moment? I am doing really good and feel 100%.

Take me through the magical MIAA “A” playoffs for your John Carroll team:
In the semifinals you scored 22 PTS including a bank shot at the buzzer in a 1-PT OT win over that same Mount Saint Joseph team: where does that rank among the biggest shots of your career, and how your fellow McDonald’s All-American Jalen Smith is feeling (he left the game in the 3rd quarter with an apparent head injury)? I beat them 2 years ago on a 3-PT shot, so along with the bank shot those are 2 of the top plays of my career. Jalen is getting better: we were teammates on the East team at the McDonald’s Game.

In the title game you almost blew a 17-PT 2nd half lead before pulling out an 8-PT OT win over Boys’ Latin: what did it mean to you to win a state title? It meant a lot. I put in a lot of hard work over the past 4 years (as well as many years before that), but for our team to come together and overcome all of the adversity that we had faced was huge.

It is believed to be the 1st time in nearly a quarter-century that two players from Baltimore were named McDonald’s All-Americans (Steve Wojciechowski/Norman Nolan in 1994): how competitive is the basketball scene in Charm City these days? It is right up there with any other city. We are really tough/scrappy, especially the guards.

Last week in the 2018 McDonald’s All-American Game you had 8 AST for the East in a 3-PT loss to the West: which of your fellow honorees impressed you the most, and what was it like to face the only other Wildcat signee so far (Keldon Johnson from Oak Hill Academy who played for the West)? I guess Nassir Little: he was really good, won MVP, and did not back down from the challenge of guarding Zion Williamson. I already knew that Keldon was a great player and he played really hard that night as well.

Your mother Nitrease played basketball at Morgan State: who is the best athlete in the family? The best athlete in the family is Immanuel Quickley!

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Photo essay: HoopsHD at the A-10 tourney

Yeah, it’s a month late, but I’ve been busy and you ain’t paying to read it, so here we go:

There were not a lot of people in attendance for the opening round games on Wednesday night:

…but HoopsHD was LIVE!:

The 14 teams were not just playing for pride and an automatic bid to the NCAA tourney, but also trying to get their hands on a pretty sweet trophy:

The A-10 placed me in a corner above a tunnel, but my friends who are UMass alumni had a MUCH nicer view of the action from the 5th row:

I always feel safer with the Minuteman standing watch:

A-10 associate commissioner for men’s college basketball/1982 NCAA tourney champ Matt Doherty was also in the house:

This shot at the end of the La Salle-UMass game had the potential to be a beautiful buzzer-beater but La Salle’s Pookie Powell could not get it to drop:

Pookie Powell shot at buzzer

I have seen are a lot of slimy creatures in DC but this is ridiculous; at least the Gecko found some space in the stands to stretch out:

I am still unsure what a Billiken is but I do know that the camera loves him!:

Matt Mobley put on the performance of the weekend with a conference tourney-record 9 threes in the Bonnies’ 6-PT win over Richmond in the quarterfinals on Friday night:

The Spiders’ Jacob Gilyard is my pick for future MVP of this tourney: 18 PTS/4 STL against St. Bonaventure as a 5’9″ FR PG means the future is bright:

As we get closer and closer to Selection Sunday, the intensity increases:

The Hawk is in the House…but shouldn’t his arms be flapping!?:

How many cheerleaders does it take to lift a Ram? All of them:

My up-close-and-personal video of the postgame celebration after Davidson hung on to beat Rhode Island 58-57 in the title game and clinch a spot in the NCAA tourney:

Coach Dan Hurley was left to wonder if his title game loss meant that Davidson would steal a bid from his brother at ASU a few hours later (spoiler: it did not):

There was not enough room for all of the Wildcat heroes at the podium but all SR SG Rusty Reigel needed was a folding chair and a necklace made of net:

I even got a glimpse into the winning locker room:

Last but not least, what picture is in the dictionary under “satisfaction”? Coach Bob McKillop after making his 9th NCAA tourney in the past 2 decades…while trying to not get run over by cars streaming out of the parking garage:

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Reaching the Summit: HoopsHD interviews 2018 McDonald’s All-American Darius Garland

If you want to win an NCAA title you need a good coach, a great resume…and a McDonald’s All-American. Only 1 championship team since 1979 has not had such a player (Maryland in 2002) and Villanova’s Jalen Brunson (2015 McDonald’s All-American) continued the trend earlier this week. The 41st annual McDonald’s All-American Game took place last week in Atlanta, GA, involving 24 of the best players in the nation who were selected from a whopping 2500 nominees. After Zion Williamson committed to Duke on January 20th, the Blue Devils lead the way with 4 All-Americans, just ahead of Kansas (who has 3). 1 of the 4 teams with 2 All-Americans signed so far is Vanderbilt, who has a big-time big man in Simi Shittu and a point guard extraordinaire in Darius Garland. HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Darius about playing in next week’s Nike Hoop Summit and winning 4 straight high school state titles.

Your nickname is “Boog”: who gave it to you, and how do you like it? My parents gave it to me when I was really young. Most people now call me DG: not a lot lot of people call me “Boog” besides my close family but I like it.

You attend Brentwood Academy in Tennessee where you recently won your 4th straight state title and were named state tourney MVP for the 2nd straight year: what is the key to winning championships? Just listen to the game plan every time out. We focused on defense every day in practice and were really detailed in what we did.

In February you announced that you would be attending college less than 1 hour away at Vanderbilt: why did you choose the Commodores over traditional basketball powers like Indiana/UCLA? I want to change the culture there. They are known for academics and winning baseball titles.  It just felt like home to me: I have known Coach Bryce Drew since the 2nd grade and once he was named coach in 2016 I felt that I would go there.

Coach Drew’s squad went 12-20 last season and will have 3 key seniors graduating (Jeff Roberson/Riley LaChance/Matthew Fisher-Davis) in a conference that had 8 teams in the NCAA tourney (Tennessee/Auburn/Florida/Kentucky/Missouri/Arkansas/Texas A&M/Alabama): while I am sure there will be plenty of playing time available, how do you hope to get things moving in the right direction in year #1? We have a really great recruiting class with Simi Shittu/Aaron Nesmith and hopefully we can add EJ Montgomery/Romeo Langford. Saben Lee will be a sophomore, we have Joe Toye coming back, and have some good big men transferring in: hopefully we will have enough talent to make the NCAA tourney.

You are 1 of the top-ranked PGs in the Class of 2018: what is the key to being a great PG? Just being yourself. You have to be a leader and stay locked in/humble. I am blessed to be 1 of the best players in the country and will keep working hard.

Last week you had a team-high 11 AST for the East but missed a 3-PT shot at the buzzer in a 3-PT loss to the West in the McDonald’s All-American Game: which of your fellow high school stars impressed you the most? On my team: RJ Barrett of course, as well as EJ/Romeo. Everyone played great and deserved to be there: we were just out there to have fun.

Your fellow McDonald’s honoree/Vandy recruit Simi Shittu was unable to play due to a torn ACL in his right knee: what makes him such a good player, and do you think he will be healthy enough to play this fall? I think he will be healthy by September. He is a point forward who can do it all. I think he can help us a lot by getting rebounds/running the floor and he is also a really good shooter who stretches the court out a lot.

How are the recruiting efforts going as you try to get unsigned McDonald’s honorees Romeo Langford/EJ Montgomery to join you in Nashville?! I think it is going well. I am always in their ears but will leave it up to them: as my parents told me when I chose Vanderbilt, it is their 1st big-boy decision. I would love to play with 2 of the top-25 players in the country.

On Friday April 13th you will play for team USA at the Nike Hoop Summit: what does it mean to you to represent your country, and who are you most excited about playing with/against? It is a true honor to have your country on your chest and it is 1 of the biggest events in high school basketball. I was speechless when I got the call about it. I am excited to play with everyone: there will be a lot of great players there.

Your father Winston was the 1987 MCC POY at Missouri State and played several years in the NBA: who is the best athlete in the family? I think it is me! My dad has a really good resume but I will try my hardest to get where he was: my dream is to make the NBA.

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The Hoops HD Report: Season Finale

In our last regular show of the season we look back at the Final Four and National Championship games and discuss how impressive Villanova was in winning their second title in three years.  We also look at the top eight conferences and grade them for their performance this year.  All that, and much more…


And for all you radio lovers, below is an audio file of the show…

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