College Basketball Nation: Alec Brown

1. Commissioner Mike Aresco pulled off a shrewd but intelligent move when he made sure the new American Athletic Conference offices stayed in Providence, R.I. -- where the Big East staff has been based. The majority of the staffers are family people and didn't want to leave Providence. If the league office were to move, the staff might be more apt to look elsewhere or be plucked away by the new Big East. That hasn't happened, and the new Big East is still without a commissioner or staff. Meanwhile, the American has the same people running its operation. The American released its logo Thursday and it has a chance to catch on. The league is taking care of its business. Its basketball tournament sites should be announced in the next few weeks and the favorites are Memphis, Tenn., for the men and either Hartford, Conn., or Uncasville, Conn. (at the Mohegan Sun Arena), for the women.

2. Two Wisconsin-Green Bay players released statements through the school Thursday after spending the past month wondering if head coach Brian Wardle would be dismissed due to verbal-abuse allegations. Keifer Sykes and Alec Brown said: “We are really happy that the investigation is over, and we are excited about playing together next season for Coach Wardle and our other coaches. This has not been an easy couple of months for our team and coaches to go through and we are ready to move forward. The character and communication in our locker room is really good right now, and we are focused on getting better this offseason and contending for a championship next year.” Lost amid these investigations are the players who were held hostage by uncertainty. Wardle was cleared of mostly everything, though he must have an adviser with the team next season to watch what occurs. UWGB has a legit shot to win the Horizon League.

3. New Mexico State will be the last team standing from the traditional WAC in 2014. The Aggies aren't 100 percent certain where they will be in basketball in two years. New Mexico State can't get in the Mountain West, and needs to find a way to get into Conference USA. That's the perfect fit for the Aggies, who have a historical rivalry with UTEP. If they can't move, coach Marvin Menzies' squad should get an NCAA bid or compete for a berth every season. There really is no excuse in such a weakened WAC.

WNFL Radio in Green Bay has audio of an interview with forward Alec Brown, who defended Wisconsin-Green Bay coach Brian Wardle against allegations of player abuse leveled at him this month by the parents of former players. UWGB has launched an internal investigation into the matter, which received even more public attention Tuesday afternoon, after former player Ryan Bross outlined his complaints to the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Brown is one of two players who openly defended Wardle on the radio Tuesday, saying the team wouldn't hesitate to bring its dissatisfactions to the coaching staff. He likewise accused his fellow players of lying:
"Honestly, I don't agree with the things that are being said," Brown told WNFL. "I've been there the longest of any of the guys, and I feel like if I had personally seen any of this happening, I wouldn't still be here. A lot of this stuff is not happening the way it seems that it is."

When asked what has surprised him the most about the situation, Brown said:
"Just the way that some ... I don't ... the way that some players viewed certain situations. And like, the way they can lie about some things is just amazing because of some of these guys were really close to us, teammates, like brothers."

When asked if he ever saw anything that went "over the line," Brown said he didn't "believe so." When asked if he thought his former teammates were lying, he said "Yes, I believe so."

Team captain Keifer Sykes also joined the Maino and Nick Show Tuesday afternoon, and he was just as effusive in his frustration and confusion.
"It was just shocking that all this came about because everyone knows Coach has our best interests in mind, he never did anything to abuse anyone. This is crazy.

"I mean, clearly the guys making these allegations are not in the program anymore. I guess when you leave they wanted to tear it down. But the truth will come out. In every situation it was 20 people there. Some people who are writing letters were never even around when anything or any of those allegations happened. The truth should come out and it should all play itself out."

When asked whether the most graphic situation Bross describes -- when he allegedly vacated his bowels during a preseason "boot camp" running drill -- did in fact happen, Sykes responded:
"It happened, when he voided himself, but the context is definitely skewed. I was there the whole time trying to motivate him to keep going. He was given the option to stop or keep going. He decided to keep going. No one made anyone do anything. He's a grown man.

"He was given the option. He was being a team guy and he didn't want to quit, I was there the whole time trying to motivate him. … That was by far the hardest drill we did all year and the context was definitely skewed. It's just crazy that someone could say that.

3-point shot: More time for BC rebuild

October, 10, 2012
10/10/12
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1. UNLV coach Dave Rice is optimistic that USC transfer Bryce Dejean-Jones will be able to play when the Runnin’ Rebels open the season against Northern Arizona on Nov. 12. Jones is out with a broken left hand. “He’s one of the toughest guys around,’’ said Rice. If Jones can’t go, the Rebels do have depth at the guard position with Katin Reinhardt, Justin Hawkins and Savon Goodman adding to a deep perimeter. UNLV is the favorite in the Mountain West, but will be in for quite a tussle from San Diego State, Colorado State, New Mexico and Nevada.

2. The hiring of Brad Bates as athletic director at Boston College should give Steve Donahue some more time to continue rebuilding the Eagles. Bates has to deal with the football situation and the future of coach Frank Spaziani. Donahue, entering his third season at the Heights, should have an improved squad, with more experience and players who fit his system. The problem is that the ACC is a bit deeper this season than it was a year ago and next season adds Pitt and Syracuse (and possibly Notre Dame if the Irish can get out of the Big East early). Bates, who arrives from Miami (Ohio), is well-respected in the industry and will likely be thorough in his evaluations over the next year-plus.

3. The Horizon League will lose national recognition with the departure of Butler to the Atlantic 10. But if this is a one-bid league in March, then the top schools vying for the bid can’t complain. Valparaiso and Detroit would have had a legitimate shot to knock off Butler in the regular-season chase and in the conference tournament. Now, neither has to sweat it one bit. Valpo was picked to win the league, with Detroit on its tail. The Titans have the player of the year in Ray McCallum Jr. And the good news for the Horizon League is that the entire all-league first team returns from last season (which says a bit about Butler’s problems in 2011-12). McCallum is joined by Valpo’s Ryan Broekhoff and Kevin Van Wijk, Youngstown State’s Kendrick Perry and Green Bay’s Alec Brown.
Player of the Weekend – Deividas Dulkys
Dulkys poured in a career-high 32 points in Florida State’s 90-57 blowout of North Carolina on Saturday, the Tar Heels' worst loss of the Roy Williams era. Just how unexpected was Dulkys’s performance? His previous season-high was just 16 points, and he’d scored 32 points in his previous nine games combined. Dulkys went 12-14 from the field, including 8-10 from 3-point range.

Filling Up the Stat Sheet – Maalik Wayns
Cincinnati outlasted Villanova despite a memorable game from Wayns. The junior guard finished with a career-high 39 points to go with 13 rebounds and six assists. It’s the first 39-13 game by a Big East player since Marquette’s Steve Novak in 2006. The only other major conference player with a 39-13-5 game in the past 15 seasons was Luke Jackson in 2004.

Bench Hero – Pierre Jackson

Baylor walked all over Oklahoma State with a 106-65 win to improve to 17-0 entering tonight’s matchup with Kansas. Once again, Jackson provided a huge boost off the bench, finishing with 18 points and eight assists. Jackson is one of only eight major-conference players averaging 12 PPG, five APG and three RPG. And he hasn’t started a game all season. In fact, his 12.3 PPG ranks second among power six conference players who haven’t started a game. Only Syracuse’s Dion Waiters (12.9 PPG) ranks higher.

Block Party – Alec Brown
Brown blocked more shots on Saturday than 276 teams. The Green Bay sophomore blocked 11 shots in a 57-56 comeback win over Wright State. It’s the most blocks in a game this season. The Phoenix went on a 20-3 run in the second half during which Brown had four of his blocks. The 11 blocks set a school record, as well as a Horizon League record.

Ugly Stat Line of the Weekend – John Henson
Henson went 0-for-7 from the free throw line in North Carolina’s loss to Florida State. That’s the most free throw attempts without a make this season. He’s the only ACC player in at least the past 15 seasons to attempt that many free throws without connecting on one. The last major conference player with a worse game at the line? Tennessee’s Ramar Smith, who went 0-12 in a game in 2007.

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