DePaul women's basketball point guard Jessica January didn't really have a choice. But it helped nonetheless that when the calendar flipped to 2016 she played her best basketball in the year's first month.
January has added significance for the Blue Demons' consummate leader for more than just her last name. It's the month in which she was born, and the No. 14 on the back of her uniform is also the day she was born.
In 10 January games, the DePaul floor general averaged 12.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.6 for the Blue Demons, who went 8-2 and, after three straight wins to begin February, sit atop the Big East standings at 12-2.
"We started the first half of the conference really well," she said. "We've just been playing some really good ball this first half of the Big East.
The junior from Richfield, Minn., leads the Big East in assists per game, is fourth in steals per game and ranks in the top 20 in scoring, field goal percentage and rebounding. She's a top 10 finalist for the Nancy Lieberman award, given to the nation's top point guard.
The Blue Demons are in good position to make their 14th consecutive NCAA Tournament. And as head coach Doug Bruno points out, January's competitiveness is a big reason why.
"Jessica is an ultimate and consummate competitor, and she brings competitiveness with everything she does," he said. "Whether it's in school or whether it's in practice or whether it's in the games."
See more about what makes January such a special player for the Blue Demons in the video above.
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.
The Michigan Wolverines are hiring former Fab Five star Juwan Howard as the head coach of their basketball team. Aside from being a part of that prolific college basketball team, Howard is a two-time NBA champion with the LeBron James-led Miami Heat.
And he is a former local basketball hoops star at Chicago Vocational Career Academy, where we was named an All-American in 1991.
But the Fab Five have not been on the best of terms over the years, particularly current ESPN analyst Jalen Rose and Chris Webber. With Howard back in Ann Arbor, all beefs are officially over.
“It squashes any drama or any beef because we’re not going to bring that to Ann Arbor’s campus with Juwan Howard as our head coach," Rose told Mike Greenberg when asked about the beef Thursday morning on ESPN's Get Up. "The one thing that we both know is his success turning around the University of Michigan is first and foremost about him and about the players that he’s going to influence. Then it’s about us being there to support him, not being drama, not being splintered, not giving any indication of dysfunction.
"We’re going to move as a family and we’re going to do what we can to build on what John Beilein has established in Ann Arbor.”
Rose reiterated this point later in the day during a segment with fellow Michigan alum Adam Schefter.
Let's wait and see if Howard brings winning ways to Michigan to make this honeymoon period last, otherwise it could be back to business as usual.
Also, does Chris Webber feel the same way? Has Rose already talked to Webber to clear the air? Or is Rose just saying it's over on his side in the hopes Webber follows suit?
Both Webber and Rose made it clear that Howard was their preferred candidate, so they seem to be on the same page.
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