Local college hoops 2016-17 preview: Northern Illinois


Local college hoops 2016-17 preview: Northern Illinois

2015-16 Results: Last season things started coming together for the Huskies as they finished 21-13 and 9-9 in the MAC. Head coach Mark Montgomery appears to have found some consistency with the roster and returns a lot of pieces this season.

Players to Watch: Junior center Marin Maric led the Huskies in scoring and rebounding as a sophomore as he put up 11.9 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. Senior Aaric Armstead, a former Hales star, is also back after averaging 10.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Sophomore shooter Marshawn Wilson is also back after averaging 11.0 points per game and shooting 41 percent from three-point range.

Key Storylines: Northern Illinois has never won the MAC since joining in 1997 and they haven't been above .500 in league play since 2006. With expectations now being placed on this team, how will they respond to the expectations of having to win? 

Newcomers to Track: Most of the rotation returns for NIU, who does get freshman guard Eugene German in the mix. German could push for backcourt minutes if he shows that he's a playmaker and sophomore Laytwan Porter doesn't perform. 

Season Outlook: Expectations are high for NIU as they push for a NCAA tournament bid out of a very tough MAC. The conference is putting a lot of teams in the postseason and the Huskies played in the Vegas 16 last season, so they're looking to build by playing in a bigger tournament. With a lot of production returning, the time for NIU to win is now.

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.