Local college hoops 2016-17 preview: Chicago State


Local college hoops 2016-17 preview: Chicago State

2015-16 Results: Last season was a tough one for Chicago State as it finished 4-28 and 0-14 in the WAC. The Cougars only mustered one win against a Division I opponent when they beat Western Illinois. With eight different players making double-digit starts, the team never found a rhythm as they lost 19 straight games to end the season.

Players to Watch: The good news for Chicago State is that some talent is returning. Leading scorer Fred Sims Jr., a former North Lawndale star, is back for his sophomore season after a promising freshman season. Sims averaged 10.9 points in only 20.7 minutes per game. Sims has to improve his shooting efficiency, but he's capable of scoring in bunches. Senior wing Trayvon Palmer is also back after putting up 9.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Palmer is Chicago State's most productive player and a proven rebounder.

Key Storylines: Chicago State doesn't play a home game against a Division I opponent until Jan. 5 -- which is nearly two full months into the college basketball season. The Cougars start with 14 Division I games at road or neutral sites and finally begin the home slate with WAC conference opponent UT Rio Grand Valley. Chicago State still has two games against non-Division I opponents before 2017 but that schedule could prove to be very difficult. 

Newcomers to Track: Help is on the way this season in the form of junior college transfers as point guard Glen Burns and forward Deionte Simmons. The two juniors were teammates at Danville Area Community College last season and helped that team to a 24-8 record. Burns is a defensive-minded point guard who provides athleticism while Simmons shot 69 percent from the floor and was second-team all-conference, averaging 11.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Both figure to be rotation guys at Chicago State right away.

Season Outlook: Between the difficult schedule and last season's losing streak, just putting together wins and being competitive is the main goal for this team. Sims and Palmer were both productive last season and have a chance to be a decent duo to build around and the hope is that some of the newcomers step up. This is a rebuilding year for Chicago State but it at least has some players that will be in the program to play together the next few years.

NCAA is taking steps to allow student-athletes to make money off their likeness


NCAA is taking steps to allow student-athletes to make money off their likeness

Bulls rookie guard Coby White has talent, an infectious smile and an afro that makes him stand out on the court. It’s a fair bet he could have made some money off his likeness while he played at North Carolina if the rules allowed it.

The NCAA is taking steps towards allowing its athletes to do so, but there’s still a long way to go in the process. The organization’s Board of Governors unanimously voted to start the process. That vote moves things to the NCAA’s three divisions “to consider updates to relevant bylaws and policies,” as it was worded in the NCAA's press release.

“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” said Michael V. Drake, the chair of the board and president of Ohio State. “Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as a part of higher education. This modernization for the future is a natural extension of the numerous steps NCAA members have taken in recent years to improve support for student-athletes, including full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships.”

The board asked each division (Division I, Division II, Division III) to make any new rules immediately and no later than January 2021.

It’s important to note that none of the changes are final, or even imminent. It’s still relevant that the NCAA is going through the process at all, after being so strongly in favor of amateurism across the board for its student-athletes.

The potential changes would not allow for compensation based on performance or participation in a sport. Of course, the natural grey area is that higher performing athletes will be more marketable so they would be compensated on performance indirectly.

This comes after California passed legislation to allow college athletes to receive endorsement/sponsorship money and other states are pursuing similar.

This is still far from being official or finalized, but it will continue to be a major story in college sports over the next couple years.

Dave Leitao suspended 3 games, DePaul put on 3-year probation


Dave Leitao suspended 3 games, DePaul put on 3-year probation

The DePaul men's basketball team has been placed on three-year probation and head coach Dave Leitao has been suspended three games for the 2019-20 season, the NCAA announced on Tuesday.

The program was found guilty of "failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance while Leitao did not "prevent violations from occurring in his program."

A Division I Committee on Infractions panel concluded that a "former DePaul associate head coach violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when he knowingly directed the former assistant director of basketball operations to provide impermissible recruiting benefits to a recruit."

The NCAA found that three coaches knew about the situation but failed to report the infractions. DePaul will vacate all wins earned while the ineligible player competed and suffer recruiting restrictions. They were also fined $5,000 plus 1% of the men's basketball program budget.

In 2019, DePaul had their first winning season since 2007 by going 19-17.