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Irish lose Robby Carmody to injury, Chris Doherty to transfer

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — For the second straight season, it’s becoming a numbers game for Mike Brey and his Notre Dame basketball team.

An MRI on Thursday confirmed that sophomore reserve guard Robby Carmody suffered an ACL injury to his left knee during the final minute of Notre Dame’s 72-51 loss at No. 3 Maryland in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge that will keep him out the rest of the season.

With sophomore power forward Chris Doherty planning to transfer at the end of the semester, Brey will have eight scholarship players and one walk-on available when the Fighting Irish (6-2, 0-1 ACC) face Boston College (4-5, 1-0 ACC) on Saturday afternoon.

“I feel for the kid,” Brey said after the game.

It’s the second consecutive season the 6-foot-4 Carmody, who was averaging 5.4 points, 1.6 rebounds and 13.8 minutes in seven games, will miss the second half of the season with season-ending surgery. The 2018 Pennsylvania Player of the Year for his father’s team at Mars Area High School suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder last December after playing in just nine games and averaging 3.7 points and 1.7 rebounds.

The latest injury occurred Wednesday night in the closing minute when Carmody drove the baseline and attempted to dunk. He was fouled by Maryland’s Makhi Mitchell and landed awkwardly on his left leg. Carmody was taken to the bench and left the court after the game in a wheelchair.

Having played in 16 games in two seasons, Carmody still has three years of eligibility remaining and could petition the NCAA for a fourth season, which would be his sixth.

The 6-foot-8 Doherty, who averaged 19.7 points and 12.3 rebounds at Marlborough (Mass.) High School, was expected to redshirt last season. But injuries to Carmody and others forced Brey to use Doherty down the stretch in 11 games during which he averaged 0.8 points and 0.9 rebounds. This season, he was averaging 1.0 points and 0.7 rebounds in limited minutes. His career high of four points came in Notre Dame’s 91-66 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson on Nov. 26.

“I fully understand the way this climate in college basketball is as far as playing time,” Brey said Tuesday in announcing the decision by Doherty, who chose Notre Dame over Boston College, Central Connecticut State, Florida Gulf Coast and Manhattan. “We’ll help him find the next place.”

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Blazers To Fully Guarantee Carmelo Anthony’s Contract

Eight games into a solid stint with the Portland Trail Blazers, Carmelo Anthony has earned himself a guaranteed contract. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnraowski reports that the franchise will amend the veteran’s contract which was initially non-guaranteed.

The Trail Blazers have effectively auditioned the 35-year-old since they signed him last month and Anthony hasn’t disappointed. In his eight games with the Blazers, he’s averaged 16.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.

More importantly, the Blazers, who were 5-9 when they signed Anthony, have gone 4-4 since the addition and they’ve won four of their past five. The forward has played a significant part in the turnaround, too.

Anthony has averaged 21.8 points per game over the course of those four wins and is on pace for the second-best three-point shooting season of his 17-year career, knocking down .387 of his shots from beyond the arc.

The decision to guarantee Anthony’s contract is an obvious one for the team benefiting from his production but a difficult one nonetheless given how deep into the luxury tax they are. The Blazers already have over $145 million in guaranteed money on their books, even prior to Anthony’s additional veteran minimum cap hit.

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ESPN 100 recruit Terrance Williams decommits from Georgetown

ESPN 100 forward Terrance Williams announced Thursday that he was decommitting from Georgetown and reopening his recruitment.

Williams didn’t sign a letter of intent with the Hoyas during the early signing period, but he told ESPN last month that such a letter had always been his plan.

“After consultation with my family and coach, I have made the decision to reopen my college recruitment,” Williams wrote on Twitter. “I thank Coach Ewing, the Georgetown University coaching staff, and the great Hoya fans for their interest and support. I wish the team all the best for the remainder of the season and beyond.”

Williams’ announcement comes three days after Georgetown players James Akinjo and Josh LeBlanc entered their names into the transfer portal.

It was also revealed Monday that LeBlanc, Galen Alexander and Myron Gardner have been accused by two Georgetown students of burglary, assault and harassment. LeBlanc and Alexander were given restraining orders, and all three face another restraining order at a hearing later this month.

Alexander and Gardner played in the Hoyas’ win over Oklahoma State on Wednesday.

A 6-foot-6 forward from Gonzaga College High School (Washington, D.C.), Williams is ranked No. 78 in the 2020 class. He committed to Georgetown in July, choosing the Hoyas over Notre Dame and Michigan.

Williams averaged 15.6 points and 5.6 rebounds for Team Takeover on the Nike EYBL circuit this past spring and summer.

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LeBron James Defends Celebration in Socks During Win vs Jazz

LeBron James responded to salty Utah Jazz TV announcers’ criticism of his celebration—”that’s some disrespect right there,” they moaned—during the Los Angeles Lakers’ 121-96 blowout road victory Wednesday night.

James kicked off his Nikes and gifted them to two young fans, and could be seen sliding on the court near his team’s bench while cheering on teammates.

LeBron finished with 20 points and 12 assists in the win.

Per The AP:

“We knew we had to bring energy,” James said. “Even with a back-to-back, we still got to have energy and we got to push the pace. We’re very good when we get stops and we run. … It’s very important for us to push the pace, but it starts with our defense and we got defensive stops.”

Anthony Davis scored 26 points, LeBron James added 20 points and 12 assists for his 17th double-double in 22 games, and the Lakers dominated on both ends of the court in a 121-96 victory over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.

“We’ve got a good team,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “We have high aspirations. We’re trying to keep a game-to-game, stay-in-the-moment focus throughout the year.”

Related LeBron James: Uncalled Travel ‘One of the Worst Things I’ve Ever Done in My Career’

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Michigan-Kentucky to play next 3 years, including in London next year

Kentucky and Michigan will play three games against each other over the next three years, starting in London in December 2020, the schools announced Thursday.

In addition, Kentucky will travel to Michigan on Dec. 4, 2021, and Michigan will travel to Kentucky on Dec. 3, 2022.

“This series with Michigan checks off a lot of boxes when we’re looking at teams to schedule,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said in a statement. “The first thing is, to add an opponent like Michigan and to do so at a point in the schedule where we’re beginning to find out who we are as a team will be important in our development.

“And then to be able to do something different — to be first, which our fans know we love to do — and play this first game is London will be an unforgettable experience for our players and for our fans. I imagine the home-and-home games the following seasons will be as good as any nonconference games in the country.”

The neutral-site game in London will be played at O2 Arena and hosted by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to serve as a fundraiser for the Hall. It will be the first NCAA Division I college basketball game to be played in this particular venue. The date of the game will be announced in January.

The game in London marks Kentucky’s fourth regular-season trip outside the U.S. and the fifth for Michigan, but it’s the first game in Europe for both schools. Kentucky does have some history in London, though. Its 1948 national championship team represented the United States in the 1948 Olympics and won the gold medal. The on-campus visits are the first in the series since 1968 (Kentucky Invitational Tournament) and 1970 (in Ann Arbor).

“When the idea of playing Kentucky came up, we knew it would be an exciting opportunity, not only for ourselves, but for our fans as well,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said in a statement. “What a unique three-game series. First, we get to showcase collegiate basketball overseas in London before playing that traditional home-and-home series in front of two of the nation’s best basketball environments. We cannot wait.”

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Get to Know Rapper Yungeen Ace ♠️

“I’m the best hooper [who raps],” says Yungeen Ace, with no trace of doubt in his tone. “I’m into it with Lil Durk right now. He’s probably the second best. I don’t know too much about the other rappers. Polo G can play, too. We were on tour together and about to play. I was gonna beat him.” 

Ace is at the SLAM offices in NYC, eyeing a wall decorated with old covers. He points to an image of Allen Iverson, the player he idolized as a kid, and starts talking about his impact on the culture, noting his patented arm sleeve and headband look. 

Growing up in Jacksonville, FL, a city he describes as the “jungle,” Ace developed a love for basketball. Rap was his true calling, however, and he began making music at the age of 13. His career kicked off with the help of a few family members and after signing with Cinematic Music Group, he released his debut album, Life of Betrayal, in August of 2018. He’s built a big following, thanks in part to a YouTube channel he runs with his girlfriend, Chloe, and to his constant interactions with his fans. 

“My favorite part about [the YouTube channel] is that it makes [Chloe] smile,” he says. “It’s something she really wanted to do. Every time she uploads it, she be happy. That’s probably my favorite part about it.

“And it’s definitely a good way [to engage with fans]. To be honest, that’s made my fanbase even bigger because people who didn’t know who I was but used to watch my YouTube channel, that makes them like the music. So streams go up from that, too. It’s dope all around.”

On November 8, 2019, a day after our interview, Ace dropped another major project, Step Harder, featuring Lil Durk, Stunna 4 Vegas, NoCap, DeJ Loaf, Boosie Badazz and Blac Youngsta.

“I ain’t gonna lie, I put my soul into that,” Ace explains. “I really took my time with this one.” 

When he’s not in the studio, Ace is often at the movies—he and Chloe go at least once a week, and Ace can quickly rattle off his top five all-time (Shottas, Ghetto Stories, Paid in Full, Rush Hour, ATL)—or hooping at LA Fitness in some Jordan XIIIs. 

He’s got supporters in the League now, too. 

“I got relationships with a few of them,” he explains. “Dejounte Murray from the Spurs. I fuck with him. We be reaching out. We call each other all the time.

“There’s a couple of them, but he’s the one I mess with on the daily, though.”

Because of Murray, Ace now roots for San Antonio. He’s also a fan of LeBron (“The GOAT, for real”), Westbrook (“He’s like a smaller LeBron”) and Curry (“It’s simple but he’s smooth, like you ain’t gonna be able to stop that”). 

When Lil Durk linked with SLAM not too long ago, he challenged any rapper to play him one-on-one.

“All the hoopers who say they got skills, you got to show it,” he said. “I’m tired of challenging people. They scared.”

We know one person who isn’t.

“People from Chicago can’t really play ball like that,” Yungeen Ace says with a smile.

Alex Squadron is an Associate Editor at SLAM. Follow him on Twitter @asquad510.

Photos by Sean Edwards.

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What happened to Virginia, and is Ohio State the Big Ten’s best?

The Big Ten won the Big Ten/ACC Challenge by two games, with blowout wins on Wednesday by Ohio State, Purdue, Maryland and Penn State clinching it for the league. Outside of the Challenge, we had Georgetown handing Oklahoma State its first loss, as the Hoyas got 33 points from Mac McClung in their first game without James Akinjo and Josh LeBlanc. San Diego State and Duquesne remained unbeaten.

And Chicago State broke two streaks with its win over SIU-Edwardsville on Wednesday. It was the Cougars’ first Division I win since Dec. 1 of last season. And it was their first win away from home since Jan. 12, 2017.

As for the big takeaways …

Three things from Wednesday

Virginia can’t score, and it finally caught up to them

The whole “Virginia can’t score” thing has gotten pretty tiresome over the last few years. The Cavaliers ranked No. 2 nationally last season in offensive efficiency and haven’t ranked outside the top 50 in that category since 2013. Well, this season it might be real: The Cavaliers are anemic on the offensive end.

Purdue hammered Virginia in West Lafayette on Wednesday, 69-40. It was the Cavaliers’ biggest loss since Tennessee beat them by 35 back in December 2013 and their first loss by 20-plus since the infamous defeat to UMBC in the 2018 NCAA tournament. But here’s some eye-opening numbers from ESPN Stats & Info: Virginia is the first ranked team in the shot clock era to score fewer than 50 points in three straight games, and 40 points matches the fewest points scored by a top-five team in the shot clock era. In other words, Wednesday night was a historically bad offensive night for Tony Bennett’s Cavaliers.

Purdue took Kihei Clark out of rhythm early on, Virginia couldn’t make shots from the perimeter and the Cavaliers had twice as many turnovers as assists. Now, Virginia’s defense wasn’t very good either; Purdue shot 52% from 3-point range and the Cavaliers looked a step slow for most of the game. The defense should be allowed to have an off-night once in a while, but it can’t be when Virginia is as poor offensively as it’s been this season.

The Cavaliers don’t get to the free-throw line, they’re one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the country — but by volume and percentage — and they simply don’t have a lot of guys who can go and get their own shot. Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome and De’Andre Hunter could bail them out last season. All three are gone, and there isn’t anyone left who can create their own shot.

Virginia is still going to be a factor in the ACC because of its defense, and Purdue deserves plenty of credit for what happened on Wednesday. Sasha Stefanovic hit six 3s, Jahaad Proctor had 16 points, Matt Haarms and Trevion Williams had some timely buckets in the second half when Virginia looked like it might make a run.

But the story of the game will be Virginia’s offense and how it hit a historic low on Wednesday night.

Ohio State is for real — and North Carolina has issues

Michigan State entered the season as the preseason No. 1 team in the country; Michigan skyrocketed up the rankings after winning the Battle 4 Atlantis; and Maryland has plenty of hype after blowing out Marquette.

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Opposing Teams Trying to Be Physical

Giannis Antetokounmpo managed to keep his cool Wednesday night, this despite feeling that Blake Griffin and his Pistons teammates were playing “dirty.”

The NBA’s reigning MVP knows opponents will do everything they can to get under his skin, but vows to rise above it.

Antetokounmpo finished with 35 points to lift the Milwaukee Bucks to a 127-103 win—their 13th consecutive—over Detroit.

Per The AP:

“They’re just a great defensive team and just play really physical,” Antetokounmpo said. “They want to be physical, they want to be dirty. They want you to get out of your game, and whenever you come in Detroit, you expect that.”

There were six technical fouls in this game, and there were words exchanged during a couple mild altercations. The first involved Antetokounmpo and Griffin after those two collided around midcourt in the second quarter.

“There’s going to be a lot of teams that are going to come out and try to be physical with me — try to hit me, knock me down to the floor,” Antetokounmpo said. “I just got to keep my composure.”

In the third quarter, Antetokounmpo fell to the ground after being fouled, and then Griffin stepped over him. Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton came over to confront Griffin. Three technicals were assessed after that.

“That’s going to happen. In a competitive game, it’s going to happen,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “If anything, that should get you more focused, more riled up, more ready to play, more ready to compete and more ready to be physical and finish at the rim. All those things you have to do in a competitive game like that, a physical game like that.”

Related Giannis Antetokounmpo: ‘I Definitely Want to Be One of the Best Players to Ever Play’

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Patrick Ewing says Georgetown players ‘given no special treatment’

STILLWATER, Okla. — Shortly before the start of Georgetown’s first game since announcing two of its top five scorers are no longer members of the team, Hoyas coach Patrick Ewing issued a statement on the matter, saying players are “given no special treatment when it comes to their behavior and discipline.”

Written comments from Ewing and Georgetown athletic director Lee Reed were released about 20 minutes before the tipoff against Oklahoma State on Wednesday night.

Georgetown announced Monday that starting point guard James Akinjo and reserve forward Josh LeBlanc were both off the roster.

Reed said Tuesday both sophomores were seeking to transfer.

LeBlanc and two other players, Myron Gardner and Galen Alexander, have had restraining orders requested against them amid allegations they harassed a female student and stole several items from her home. Temporary restraining orders filed by a different student against LeBlanc and Alexander were granted.

No criminal charges have been filed.

Gardner and Alexander are still on the team and both appeared in Wednesday’s game.

Reed has said that Akinjo was not involved in the allegations involving the other players. Georgetown has not said why Akinjo is no longer on the team.

“While I can’t comment on individual students, please know that we take conduct issues very seriously,” Ewing’s statement said.

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Post Up: LeBron, Lakers Blow Out Jazz, Bucks Win 13th Straight

Kings 116 (8-12), Trail Blazers 127 (9-13)

Carmelo Anthony (20 points), Hassan Whiteside (22), Dame Lillard (24) and CJ McCollum (33) led the way as the Trail Blazers shot a blistering 56 percent from the field and 50 percent from deep.

Portland improved to 4-3 since signing Anthony.

Warriors 91 (4-19), Hornets 106 (9-14)

Terry Rozier got the Hornets rolling early with 12 points in the first quarter and Devonte Graham finished the visitors off with 10 made 3’s en route to a 33-point night. Graham’s 10 3’s tied a franchise-record.

D’Angelo Russell scored 18 points in 25 minutes of action — his first game since Nov. 15 — but it wasn’t enough for the struggling Warriors.

Bucks 127 (19-3), Pistons 103 (8-14)

Giannis Antetokounmpo only needed 28 minutes to put up 35 points (4-for-8 from 3), nine rebounds and two blocks as the Bucks won their 13th straight contest.

Andre Drummond had the highlight of the night, dunking over Antetokounmpo and Robin Lopez. He finished the night with 23 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, two steals and three blocks.

Suns 114 (9-11), Magic 128 (10-11)

Aaron Gordon shot 5-for-5 from deep and 13-for-15 overall as he clocked out with 32 points, five assists and five rebounds. Evan Fournier added another 21 to help lead the Magic.

Frank Kaminsky scored 21 points in the first half for Phoenix, but he cooled off after the intermission, finishing with just 23.

Lakers 121 (19-3), Jazz (12-10)

There were complaints about the Lakers’ strength of schedule (or lack thereof) to open this season, but back-to-back wins over Denver and Utah have put doubts of Los Angeles’ legitimacy to bed.

Anthony Davis scored 26 on only 11 shots and LeBron turned in 20 points and 12 dimes in just 29 minutes. Rajon Rondo moved up to 17th all-time on the NBA’s assists leaderboard.

Nets 130 (11-10), Hawks 118 (5-17)

Taurean Prince shined against his former team, scoring 23 points on 9-for-15 shooting.

The Nets trailed be four to the end first quarter, but a second quarter surge made the difference in what was an otherwise close game the rest of the way.

Trae Young scored a game-high 39 points and dished out 10 dimes.

Heat 93 (15-6), Celtics (15-5)

Jimmy Butler followed up his triple-double from the previous night with a game-high 37; however, a combined 59-point outing from Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown was too much for his team to overcome.

Grizzlies 99 (6-15), Bulls 106 (8-14)

Zach LaVine continued to shine, scoring a team-high 25 points. All four other Chicago starters (Satoransky: 13 points, Kris Dunn: 10, Wendell Carter Jr.: 16, Lauri Markkanen: 15) scored double-digit points.

The Grizzlies struggled to get its backcourt going as Ja Morant missed his third game due to injury.

Pacers 107 (14-7), Thunder 100 (8-12)

Seven Pacers scored double-digit points as TJ Warren’s 24 led the way.

Steven Adams had 20 on 8-for-8 shooting to lead OKC.

Timberwolves 114 (10-10), Mavericks 121 (15-6)

Dallas’ bench got hot in the fourth quarter — Jalen Brunson was a team-best + 21 with 16 points — as the Mavs closed out the final period with 41 points.

Luka Doncic turned in 22 points, six assists and seven boards to keep the Mavs hot. Dwight Powell added 24 on 9-for-9 shooting. Karl-Anthony Towns had 26 points, nine boards and seven assists for Minnesota.

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