Local college hoops 2016-17 preview: Notre Dame

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Local college hoops 2016-17 preview: Notre Dame

2015-16 results: The Fighting Irish continued its recent success by advancing to the Elite Eight for the second consecutive season as they finished 24-12 with an 11-7 mark in the ACC. With five double-figure scorers, Notre Dame had one of the best and most balanced offenses in the country last season.

Players to watch: Many are expecting a big senior from senior wing V.J. Beachem as he put up 12.0 points and 3.9 rebounds per game while shooting 44 percent from three-point range. Senior Steve Vasturia is also back at guard after putting up 11.4 points and 3.2 assists per game. Junior Bonzie Colson is also returning after a breakout sophomore campaign in which he put up 11.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.

[RELATED: Local college hoops 2016-17 preview - DePaul]

Key storylines: Finding a way to replace guard Demetrius Jackson and center Zach Auguste is going to be key but head coach Mike Brey can lean on a likely starting lineup that includes two seniors and three juniors. Moving the ball and getting steady guard play seems manageable but Auguste was a key on both ends of the floor for Notre Dame. The team also has to manage a brutal ACC conference that could have double-digit NCAA tournament teams this year. 

Newcomers to track: The Irish get three true freshmen and one redshirt freshman on the roster this season. Guard Temple Gibbs, the younger brother of former Seton Hall and UConn star Sterling Gibbs, joins the backcourt while Canadian Nikola Djogo could surprise. Redshirt freshman Elijah Burns and forward John Mooney could help the frontcourt depth.

Season outlook: It would be a lot to ask Notre Dame to make the Elite Eight for the third consecutive season but the new expectations for this program is to fight for the Final Four. As long as Notre Dame can navigate the ACC and get a decent seed in the NCAA tournament, they'll be as battle-tested as any team in the country and their offense could be tough to stop in the tournament.

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.