WINSTON-SALEM Barring a change of heart, Shelton Mitchell won’t be playing basketball for Wake Forest next season.
And it appears that any change of heart would have to come soon.
New coach Danny Manning said Thursday morning that Mitchell called him this week to request a release from the letter of intent he signed in November when Jeff Bzdelik was head coach. Mitchell is a 6-foot-3 guard from Waxhaw whose senior season at Oak Hill Academy was marred by a knee injury that sidelined him for weeks.
When asked if Mitchell were still considering Wake Forest, among other schools, Manning said only that he’s actively recruiting players for the three scholarships he has available.
Manning said that until the phone call, he was counting on Mitchell for next season.
Mitchell is ranked No. 58 in the nation by Scout.com and No. 76 by Rivals.com, websites that specialize in college basketball and football recruiting.
NCAA rules preclude coaches from commenting on a prospective recruit who has yet to sign a letter of intent, but Mitchell Wilbekin, a 6-foot-1 guard from Gainesville, Fla., posted on his personal Twitter account that he will visit Wake Forest this weekend.
Wilbekin, whose brother Scottie was the SEC player of the year this past season and led Florida to the Final Four, signed with Tulsa when Manning was still the Golden Hurricane’s head coach. After Manning left Tulsa for Wake Forest last month, Tulsa granted Wilbekin’s request for a release.
Wilbekin also posted reports that he will visit Virginia, and that Frank Haith, the new coach at Tulsa, is recruiting him as well. Wilbekin had offers from Florida State, Central Florida, South Florida and Texas before signing with Tulsa.
Kansas guard Tharpe to transfer: Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe will transfer closer to home for his final season of eligibility, ending a tumultuous run with the Jayhawks that included three Big 12 championships and multiple off-court distractions.
Tharpe said in a statement issued by the school that he made the decision to transfer so he could be closer to his daughter, Amara. She was born during his freshman season, and Tharpe said she has been dealing with medical issues that require regular visits to doctors.
“It’s going to be tough leaving a situation like this because of the teammates I’m leaving behind,” Tharpe said. “At this juncture, I feel it is best to be closer to home where I can assist and support in any way necessary.”
Kansas coach Bill Self said Amara is “doing very well now,” but Tharpe thought it was best to transfer closer to her. It’s not clear what school he'll attend.
Southern Miss introduces Sadler as new coach: Doc Sadler doesn’t view his new job as a second chance to become a Division I head coach. Instead, he relished a first opportunity to lead a program like Southern Mississippi.
Sadler, 53, was introduced Thursday on campus in front of about 200 people that included fans, current players and former star Clarence Weatherspoon. The former Nebraska coach inherits a program that has won 56 games over the past two seasons and reached the NCAA tournament in 2012.
South Carolina’s McCray undergoes surgery: South Carolina coach Dawn Staley says assistant Nikki McCray is recuperating well after surgery this week as part of her treatment for breast cancer.
Staley said Thursday that McCray underwent the operation Wednesday and was talking to her head coach about recruits and scheduling soon after waking up. Staley said the operation was a previously planned part of her treatment.
McCray is the former Tennessee star who teamed with Staley on two U.S. Olympic squads that won gold medals at the Atlanta and Sydney Games. McCray has been part of Staley’s staff all six seasons at South Carolina.
McCray was diagnosed with breast cancer in November and announced it publicly in January. She remained with the team throughout the season and did not miss a game.
Langston (Okla.) hires Cheryl Miller: Langston hired Hall of Famer Cheryl Miller as its women’s basketball coach.
Miller brings quite a resume to the historically black college that competes in the NAIA. She was a four-time All-America player and won two national titles at Southern California and helped the United States win the gold medal at the 1984 Olympics. She coached at Southern California for two seasons, leading the school to the regional final in 1994, and was 70-52 with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury from 1997-2000. Miller also has had a long broadcasting career.
Langston athletics director Mike Garrett, who once was the AD at USC, made the hire.
Miller takes over a Lions program that finished 20-13 last season.
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