UB, Niagara to play in 2015 Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament

By Nick Veronica

UB and Niagara have been selected to play in the 2015 Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament in November, along with Florida, North Carolina A&T, Old Dominion, Purdue, Saint Joseph’s and Vermont.

halloffametipoffEach team has two games prior to entering bracket play, though the first two games don’t have any effect on the bracket.

Niagara is at Old Dominion on Friday, Nov. 13 and goes to Saint Joseph’s on Sunday, Nov. 15.

UB travels to Old Dominion on Monday, Nov. 16 and continues the road trip at Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday, Nov. 18.

Bracket play is the following weekend, Nov. 21 and 22, at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

Niagara plays Vermont on Saturday, Nov. 21 and UB plays North Carolina A&T. The winners and losers meet the following day.

A full tournament schedule can be found here.

UB reverses course, allows Shannon Evans to transfer anywhere

By Nick Veronica

After announcing his intention to transfer on Monday, UB point guard Shannon Evans said the school was “basically going to block all the schools I want to talk to.” But Evans and athletic director Danny White met Monday night, and in light of public backlash, White announced Tuesday that he decided to remove restrictions on Evans’ transfer.

nybuffalologo“After learning about the request for a release [Monday], and meeting with the student-athlete, I have decided that granting Shannon Evans a full release to transfer to any school in the country is in his best interest,” White said in a statement. “We wish Shannon nothing but the best in his future academic and athletic pursuits.”

Evans seemed most upset Monday about restrictions to Arizona State, where Bobby Hurley is now coaching, and VCU and Old Dominion, which are near where Evans is from in Virginia.

Evans is very close with Hurley, which makes me think Arizona State is the leading contender, but Evans will have plenty of options. He’ll have to sit out next season but has two years of eligibility remaining.

Shannon Evans transferring from UB; blocked from Arizona State

By Nick Veronica

UB guard Shannon Evans is leaving the school, according to a report from Big 4 Talk’s Johnathan Snyder.

Evans

Evans

Further, Snyder reports that UB is blocking Evans from transferring to a number of schools, including Arizona State, where former UB coach Bobby Hurley just took over.

[UPDATE: UB reverses course, allows Evans to transfer anywhere]

Evans scored 15.4 points per game as a sophomore and dished out 4.6 assists per game. He was one of the most important players on the team’s MAC championship run.

Losing a stud like Evans reflects poorly on UB athletic director Danny White, who recently promoted assistant coach Nate Oats to head coach without conducting any other interviews. A main benefit of giving Oats the job was the perception that it would help keep the talented players on the team.

Evans also tweeted (and later deleted) that he couldn’t even get an audience with White to discuss his future:

For what it’s worth, teams usually block players from transferring to conference opponents or local rivals. Anything beyond that is seen as excessive.

If you’re tallying White’s recent blunders, mismanaging the Hurley situation was one, not conducting a national search for a new coach is two, and not accommodating one of the most important athletes on his campus would be three.

Evans’ comments to Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News are particularly damning:

“I wanted to talk to Danny White today,” Evans said. “I saw him. He said, ‘I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to do this. Talk to Nate Oats, I told him everything.’ . . . It’s like he was in a rush.”

Evans said Oats informed him that UB would allow him to transfer but would block a move by Evans to go to Arizona State, Virginia Commonwealth, Old Dominion or another MAC school. Evans is a native of Suffolk, Va.

“They’re basically going to block all the schools I want to talk to,” Evans said. “I just feel like they don’t want my best interests and what’s best for me personally, and I really don’t like that. I feel like if I want my release, OK, any MAC school, I understand. But they shouldn’t block me from any school in a higher conference than Buffalo.”

Other updates:

Ex-UB pitcher Geltz earns first major league win

By Nick Veronica

Geltz

Geltz

Former UB pitcher Steve Geltz earned his first major league win Tuesday for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Geltz entered a 2-2 game with two outs in the bottom of the sixth before retiring Toronto’s top four hitters — Jose Reyes, Dalton Pompey, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion — over the next 1 1/3 innings.

Tampa took the lead in the top of the eighth inning on Desmond Jennings’s sacrifice fly, which made Geltz the pitcher of record. Grant Balfour came in for the hold and Kevin Jepsen nailed down the save, giving Geltz his first win in 17 career games, dating back to 2012.

Geltz evened his career record at 1-1 after picking up a loss last September.

A graduate of Wilson High School, Geltz played three years at UB until 2008, when he signed with the Angels organization. He still holds a share of UB’s career record for saves (16).

Geltz made his big league debut with the Angels in 2012, was traded to Tampa in 2013, got suspended in 2014, and made the Rays’ Opening Day roster this year. Through 5.2 innings so far, Geltz has an ERA of 1.59 and a WHIP of 0.71.

Hurley says he wants to stay at Buffalo

By Nick Veronica | Updated at 9:17 p.m. Tuesday

UB basketball coach Bobby Hurley, who interviewed at DePaul last weekend and is rumored to be in the mix for several other openings, said Tuesday that he plans to continue coaching at the University at Buffalo.

Bobby Hurley

Bobby Hurley

“My heart is here in Buffalo with this group of kids that I’m coaching and that’s what I plan to do here going forward,” Hurley said Tuesday morning on ESPN’s “The Herd” radio show, in an interview with host Colin Cowherd.

“These guys really delivered and put Buffalo on the map, for the first time in school history playing in the NCAA Tournament, and that’s why this stuff is going on,” Hurley said of having his name thrown around for seemingly every vacancy in the NCAA.

[RELATED: Obama likes Hurley, picks UB]

Later Tuesday, Hurley told Sports Illustrated, “I feel I will be back coaching Buffalo next season.”

But his commitment wasn’t ironclad.

“There’s nothing of really anything substantial that has my interest at this point,” Hurley added.

The Buffalo News reported last week that the school had reached an agreement in principle with Hurley to become the highest-paid coach in the Mid-American Conference, with a base salary over $550,000. DePaul this week hired Dave Leitao after Hurley and Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew reportedly turned down the Big East school.

The rest of Hurley’s roughly five-minute ESPN interview focused on his thoughts about the Final Four and his experience playing at Duke under Coach K. Hurley was also a great salesman for UB, weaving in references leading Kentucky at halftime, playing Wisconsin, and having several players appear on SportsCenter every chance he could.