UB basketball heads to Duke on Dec. 5

By Nick Veronica

UB has landed a Dec. 5 matchup against defending national champion Duke, continuing its streak of scheduling nonconference games against Goliaths of college basketball.

ublogoThe game was announced Friday in Duke’s schedule release. It will be played at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C. at a time yet to be determined.

UB had meetings with No. 1 Kentucky and No. 6 Wisconsin last season in athletic director Danny White’s second year on the job. UB played Texas A&M in White’s first season.

The UB-Duke matchup obviously loses some sizzle with former Blue Devil Bobby Hurley now coaching at Arizona State, but still has the connection of athletic directors: Duke AD Kevin White is Danny White’s father.

UB and Duke have never met in men’s basketball. The Bulls are 1-17 all-time against the ACC, with the win coming against Miami (Fla.) in 2006.

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Javon McCrea named top 10 rookie in Europe

By Nick Veronica

Former UB Bull Javon McCrea was named one of European basketball’s top 10 rookies by the website Sportando, which covers overseas basketball.

McCrea, the former MAC Player of the Year, averaged 14.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game with Medi Bayreuth of the German league. His numbers were good for seventh in the league in scoring and 19th in rebounding.

Sportando writer Paolo Villa ranked McCrea ninth on his top 10 list. Here’s what he wrote about McCrea:

9) Javon McCrea, center, Bayreuth. He’ll have to improve his decision making and his mid-range shot, but his toughness in the paint is impressive for a player his size. He showed to be able to play bigger and to be willing to use his strong physique against taller players, fighting in the paint, rebounding, scoring on second chance opportunity and hustling on every possession. Foul trouble and shots selection sometimes limited his playing time, but his physical game and willingness to draw contacts in the paint were often crucial for his team.

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: