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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King of the Court(room): HoopsHD interviews class-action attorney Steve Berman

The NCAA Tournament always bring us news on the court (this year’s biggest storyline: upsets!) as well as off the court (Sister Jean!), but we also saw some news IN court last week.  Specifically, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, site of a nationwide class-action lawsuit regarding NCAA-imposed caps on scholarship money available to student-athletes, where Judge Claudia Wilken granted plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment and cleared the way for the case to go to trial in December. The plaintiffs, represented by Steve Berman of Hagens Berman and Jeff Kessler of Winston & Strawn, are attempting to remove the current limits on available compensation by arguing that the NCAA’s actions constitute anti-competitive behavior that has caused injury to all D-1 athletes who played men’s or women’s basketball from March 2010 through March 2017.  HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Mr. Berman about the lawsuit and who is going to win tonight’s NCAA title game.

You have worked on some the largest settlements ever including Big Tobacco, Enron, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and many others: can you give me a brief overview of last week’s ruling by US District Judge Claudia Wilken granting your motion for summary judgment in your lawsuit against the NCAA about caps that they impose on scholarships? The judge ruled that we had properly defined the market in terms of antitrust law, and that the restrictions on what athletes could be paid had anti-competitive effects. Now we are going to trial on the issue of whether the NCAA can show that their rules are pro-competitive based on the least restrictive alternatives, whether they can prohibit education-related expenses, and whether individual conferences can be allowed to set the rules on compensating their own student-athletes themselves.

Do you fear that we might see some competitive imbalance if the Big East decides to pay Jalen Brunson twice as much as the Big 10 pays Moe Wagner (rather than just letting the NCAA pick a dollar amount that everyone must abide by)? Economists would say that if everyone believes in amateurism, which is central to the NCAA’s product, then conferences will not be motivated to pay amounts that are too high. If there is backlash by the public and people stop going to games or tuning in, then they can always decide to lower their amount of compensation.

What is a Grant-In-Aid (GIA) and how does it relate to the cost of attendance? A GIA is a formula that the NCAA imposed supposedly to measure the value of a scholarship, while the cost of attendance goes beyond the GIA definition by about $6000 due to items like books and incidental expenses.

Why did former Western Michigan football player Darrin Duncan object to last year’s $208 million settlement on behalf of tens of thousands of current/former D-1 student-athletes, and what do you think that he will eventually be able to recover? I do not think that he will recover anything. I think that his objection was about attorney fees ($41 million!) so I am not very worried about it.

What are the next steps as you prepare for trial this December? We will just do what lawyers do: review the evidence that was submitted and streamline it into the 5 days that we will probably be allotted to present our side of the case.

How do you respond to people who believe that athletes are already receive sufficient compensation in terms of tuition/room and board/books/etc.? In our country we have a well-established law called the Sherman Act, which says that companies cannot get together and set prices. The NCAA and its members have done that, and in a free world without illegal price-fixing the market will set the price that athletes should get paid.

If you were elected NCAA president tomorrow, what is the most crucial issue that would be your top priority? To eliminate cheating. The current rules are frustrating to players/coaches alike. Maybe by having a fair compensation system we can have fair play by coaches/schools rather than seeing players get paid money under the table.

The NFL’s $1 billion class action settlement with retired players provided money to compensate injured athletes: what relief is available to former players who wish to pursue personal injury claims against the NCAA? That is not part of our settlement and there is nothing right now that offers compensation for past injuries. A couple of law firms have filed lawsuits relating to football injuries and they are ongoing.

You went to college at Michigan: will we see you in the crowd tonight in San Antonio cheering for the Wolverines? No…but I will be cheering in my house for them! I hope all the ESPN analysts are wrong because I think this is the 1st time ever that all of them are picking a single team to win the title (Villanova).

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Call to the Hall: HoopsHD interviews brand-new Hall of Fame coach Lefty Driesell

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced its Class of 2018 on Saturday including NBA champions like Jason Kidd/Ray Allen, multiple-time WNBA champs like Katie Smith/Tina Thompson, and a crafty college coach in Lefty Driesell. On the court he won almost 800 games, appeared in 13 NCAA tournaments, and won the 1972 NIT title with Maryland. All he did off the court was create Midnight Madness and save at least 10 children from a burning building: now THAT is a Hall of Fame guy! HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Coach Driesell about being part of 1 of the greatest games in college basketball history and how close he came to signing Moses Malone.

You were an All-State basketball player at Granby High School and played for coach Harold Bradley at Duke: how good a player were you back in the day, and what made Bradley such a good coach? We won the state title in my 1st year there and I was MVP of the state tourney, so I was a pretty good high school player. Coach Bradley taught us the fundamentals and I kind of copied his double-post offense.

In 1957 you became head coach at Newport News High School, where you compiled a 57-game winning streak and won a state title before turning 30: how were you able to come in and have so much success at such a young age? Those kids listened to me because they knew that I had been a good player myself. I started coaching at Granby before coming to Newport News: 1 reason that I got the job was due to a recommendation from Coach Bill Chambers (who won back-to-back titles at Newport News before becoming head coach at William & Mary). Newport News has won more championships than anyone else in the state of Virginia (9 state titles and 6 runner-up finishes from 1931-1964) so they have a great tradition.

What are your memories of the 1969 NCAA tourney as head coach at Davidson (your fellow Hall of Fame inductee Charlie Scott, who had originally committed to Davidson before becoming a Tar Heel, scored 32 PTS/14-21 FG and made a 20-foot shot at the buzzer in a 2-PT win by UNC in College Park)? Charlie and I still talk via phone and are good friends. He said that nobody would ever have known who he was until I made him famous! Charlie helped me sign Mike Maloy and his son Shannon played PG at Ohio State before turning pro.

In October 1971 as head coach at Maryland you began the tradition that is now known as “Midnight Madness”: how did you come up with the idea, and could you have ever envisioned that it would become such a national spectacle more than 4 decades later? My philosophy has always been that the harder you work, the luckier you get. We had a great team coming into that season and I knew that we could have just started the following afternoon by running a mile in 6 minutes, but I decided to have them run it at midnight so that we would not have to mess around with it at practice. We had about 700-800 kids come out to watch it, which was exciting. Some of the players later suggested we have a scrimmage…and we had 10,000 people show up! I should have got a patent on it: a lot of stores now have “Midnight Madness” sales! The NCAA did not like it due to the fact that some players might have to go to class the next day if it was on a school night.

What are your memories of the magical 1972 NIT (Len Elmore had a triple-double [16 PTS/15 REB/11 BLK] in a 31-PT win over Niagara to win the title)? Back then there were only 26 teams in the NCAA tourney and you had to win your conference tourney to get in. We played great: it was fun to play at Madison Square Garden.

In July 1973 you broke down the door of a burning building at a seashore resort in Bethany Beach, DE, and saved the lives of at least 10 children: how terrifying was that night, and what did it mean to you to receive the 1974 NCAA Award of Valor? I did not do anything that anyone else would not have done. My friend and I were out fishing at around 2AM: after turning around to see a row of townhouses on fire we ran up and told people to get out. 1 lady did not enjoy us waking her up and she told us to get out before she called the police: we just told her to get out because the building was on fire!

You had a 3-PT OT loss to eventual NCAA champion NC State in the 1974 ACC tourney final, which is widely considered 1 of the greatest games in college basketball history: how devastating was it to miss out on the tourney (since only the conference champ advanced to the NCAA tourney back then)? It was tough because we had also missed out on the NCAA tourney the year before. The teams that win it now have a piece of cake as they might only have to play a couple of teams outside the top-25: at Davidson/Maryland we had to beat the best teams in the East. NC State got a 1st-round bye and only had to win 2 games to win the conference tourney so they were a little fresher than us. The very next year is when the NCAA tourney decided to expand to 32 teams and allow up to 2 teams/conference.

In 1974 you signed Moses Malone but ended up losing him to the ABA’s Utah Stars on the 1st day that classes were scheduled to start: what made him change his mind, and could you tell even when he was in HS that he would become a star? He is the best high school big man I have ever seen play, and I have seen a lot of them. I knew that he was going to be a big-time player: if we had kept him around we might have won a few NCAA titles. Utah offered him $10,000 cash to sign with them. He was living in a small house with his mother at the time and he called me up and asked for my advice: I told him to chase the guy out of there and have him come see me. The guy came to see me and said he would give Moses $1 million…but I read the contract and saw that only about $400,000 of it was guaranteed. I told Moses to talk to Donald Dell (1 of the 1st pro sports agents who represented some of my other Maryland players) and that if he waited a year I could get him $2 million! Spencer Haywood (who also turned pro early to join the ABA) was his idol and he wanted to be the 1st player to go hardship right out of high school to the pros.

What are your memories of the 1983 NCAA tourney (you tried playing a slow-down game in a 10-PT loss to eventual national runner-up Houston on their home court)? I thought that we should foul Hakeem Olajuwon because he was a poor FT shooter but they were just a better team than us.

In the 1985 NCAA tourney, eventual tourney MOP Ed Pinckney had 16 PTS/13 REB in a 3-PT win by eventual champion Villanova: did you get a sense that the Wildcats were a team of destiny? We had beaten them earlier that season but were not over-confident. As you can see, we lost a lot of close tourney games to a lot of great teams that ended up making the Final 4.

Take me through the 2001 NCAA tourney as head coach at Georgia State:
Shernard Long scored all 13 of his PTS in the 2nd half and banked in the go-ahead jumper with 11 seconds left in a 1-PT win over Wisconsin: what is the key to a mid-major upsetting a high-major team in March? I do not believe in “mid-majors”: that term always bothered me. Some reporter asked me a similar question after that game and I asked him what the difference was between us and the Badgers: we both had Nike uniforms, shoes, scholarships, etc. Even today, look at all of the non-state schools who have made the Final 4 like VCU/Butler/etc. I think that a lot of “mid-majors” play harder schedules than some of the big-name teams.

Lonny Baxter had 19 PTS/14 REB in a win by Maryland: how could you “not have any emotions at all” after spending 17 years with the Terps? That was a tough loss: I wanted to beat them badly. That was probably poor coaching on my part but we were only down 4 PTS at the half. We played a triangle-and-2 defense in the 2nd half to come back against Wisconsin so I tried a diamond-and-1 against Maryland but they just overpowered us.

You were the 1st coach to win 100+ games at 4 different schools, and you were named conference COY at each 1: how were you able to have so much success at so many different programs? I know how to motivate people and teach them the fundamentals. Basketball has been my life since the 2nd grade when I was a manager for the local high school basketball team. I would just outwork other people, which is why I do not like the rules today about how many days you can be on the road. Back then you could recruit 12 months/year and go see kids all the time: I probably went to see Moses 50 times in Petersburg, VA…even though sometimes he would run away from me! 1 coach from New Mexico actually rented an apartment in the area and stayed there for the entire season! I think it makes recruiting harder because in the summertime you can only recruit a couple of weeks here and there, so when you go to a summer league game there are 300 other coaches there and none of them can talk to any of the players.

Your son Chuck was an assistant at Maryland before spending several years as head coach at The Citadel: how much of an influence were you on his own decision to go into coaching, and how proud are you of his success? Chuck was a pretty good high school player who was actually recruited to play at The Citadel but I wanted him around me for 4 years at Maryland. I enjoyed coaching him and he is a great guy and a good coach who knows basketball: he was my assistant at James Madison for almost a decade. The Citadel is a tough place to recruit at but the advantage is that you do not have to go into the service unless you want to and you learn a lot about discipline. I think Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is the best coach in the country because he was trained at Army: he is a great leader who can motivate his players to go into battle. When I was at Davidson the players needed to have a good GPA/SAT score, so I would recruit guys who were interested in the Ivy League but also needed some scholarship money. You have to use what you got to your advantage and a lot of kids today need some discipline.

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