- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. Kansas freshman Ben McLemore said Thursday he knew nothing about any payments that AAU coach Darius Cobb told USA Today he received from Rodney Blackstock, he founder and CEO of Hooplife Academy in Greensboro, N.C., to direct McLemore to an agent. Cobb said in the report that he took $10,000 in two separate payments. "I think this was just to attack Rodney Blackstock," McLemore said while he was watching the draft combine in Chicago. McLemore said he did not personally take any money and that he did not commit an NCAA violation. McLemore said he was one of Andrew Wiggins' hosts at Kansas and said Wiggins will fit in perfectly with coach Bill Self. "I know if I was there we would have had one of the best backcourts in the country with me, Wiggins and Naadir Tharpe," McLemore said, adding that he would have loved to have played with Wiggins, but he knows he'll see him in the NBA in a year.
2. Count Marquette coach Buzz Williams in the camp that is frustrated about no commissioner being named of the new Big East yet. The coaches and athletic directors meet Monday in Florida and adviser and former Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe will be running the meeting unless someone is suddenly hired over the weekend. Williams said the same issues were discussed at the Final Four and he said he wondered if anything new could be talked about since there is still no leadership. The new 10-team Big East starts competition in August in fall sports. Marquette still needs one more game on its schedule with a slate that includes Ohio State, a road game at Arizona State, the three-game tournament in Anaheim, at Wisconsin and playing New Mexico in Las Vegas.
3. It's great to see when schools take a chance on long-time assistant coaches who deserve a shot to lead a program. That's exactly what UMass-Lowell did with Northeastern assistant Pat Duquette. Duquette had as much a role in developing Boston College into a consistent ACC power during Al Skinner's tenure as any other assistant. Duquette -- who, along with Skinner, was instrumental in finding Oklahoma City's Reggie Jackson when he was a high school player in Colorado -- will have a tall task ahead in leading Lowell into Division I. The program has a four-year probationary period in the America East (replacing Boston University, which is off to the Patriot League) before it can play in the postseason. Duquette sought out the best paths to do just that from his former assistant colleague at BC in Bryant's Tim O'Shea, Nebraska's Tim Miles and North Dakota State's Saul Phillips. The latter two had to take the Bison in a similar path to Division I like Bryant.