Woodward Replacing Alleva As LSU AD – Scott Woodward is leaving Texas A&M to become the new athletic director of the LSU Tigers, sources confirmed to ESPN, after Joe Alleva announced earlier Wednesday that he’s stepping down and will transition into a new role. Alleva, who has been LSU’s athletic director since July 2008, will become the special assistant to the president for donor relations, the school announced Wednesday. The university said Alleva would continue to serve as AD until a replacement is named. That might not take too long, however. Sources told ESPN that Woodward, who has been the AD for the Aggies since 2016, has agreed to replace Alleva. Woodward is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and graduated from LSU. He served as the university’s external affairs director from 2000 to 2004, before heading to the University of Washington, where he was promoted to AD in 2008 and served until 2015. At Texas A&M, Woodward made splashy hires with Jimbo Fisher as football coach in 2017 and then Buzz Williams as basketball coach just this month. TexAgs.com was the first to report Woodward has agreed to a deal with LSU.
Dukes’ Zion Williamson Declares Eligibility NBA Draft – Duke freshman Zion Williamson, the consensus player of the year, made it official Monday, declaring his eligibility for the NBA draft. Williamson, 18, averaged 22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game while ranking second nationally by shooting 68 percent. He made his announcement on Instagram, said it had been the “best year” of his life and thanking those who helped make his dream a reality. Williamson is rated the No. 1 prospect on ESPN’s ranking. He won the Wooden Award, the Naismith Award and was named player of the year by the Associated Press and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. He has also been recognized as the ACC Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year. Two of his Duke teammates, freshmen RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish, have already declared for the draft.
Virginia Guard Ty Jerome Opting For NBA Draft – Virginia star Ty Jerome, a key contributor to his team’s national championship run this season, will hire an agent and enter the NBA draft, per his Instagram page. “After talking to my family, coaching staff and thinking about it a lot, I’ve decided to forgo my senior year of college and declare for the 2019 NBA draft,” Jerome said in the video. “From Day 1, I always dreamed about playing at this level since I picked up a basketball, playing in the ACC, playing against Duke and [North] Carolina. This program was everything I could have possibly dreamed of.” During the NCAA tournament, Jerome averaged 16.5 points per game and connected on 40 percent of his 3-point attempts. He’s projected to be the 30th pick in ESPN.com’s latest NBA mock draft. The 6-foot-5 wing finished with 16 points, eight assists and six rebounds in Virginia’s 85-77 overtime win against Texas Tech in last week’s national title game.
LSU Reinstates Coach Wade After NCAA Meeting – LSU has reinstated Will Wade as its men’s basketball coach, Tigers athletic director Joe Alleva announced Sunday night. Wade was suspended more than a month ago for not meeting with the school and answering questions regarding his relationship with runner-agent Christian Dawkins. The two sides finally met Friday alongside NCAA compliance officials, and Alleva said he was satisfied with Wade’s responses. Last month, ESPN and Yahoo Sports reported that in one of the phone calls intercepted by FBI wiretaps, Wade expressed frustration about his inability to close what he described as a “strong-ass offer” for a recruit. ESPN’s Mark Schlabach reported that Wade was frustrated with a handler of Javonte Smart, who was then a top-50 recruit from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and ultimately signed with the Tigers. After transcripts of the calls were published, LSU suspended Wade on March 8 and named Tony Benford interim head coach. The Tigers clinched the SEC regular-season title the next day with a win over Vanderbilt. Benford guided LSU, a 3-seed in the NCAA tournament, to the Sweet 16 before losing to Michigan State.
Alabama Coach Nick Saban To Have Hip Evaluated After Spring – Nick Saban is the newest addition to Alabama’s injury report. The 67-year-old head coach said he will potentially be out for 6-8 weeks after a hip procedure. “I have one announcement to make,” Saban said. “I’ve been struggling a little bit with one of my hips, and even though they don’t make them like they used to and most players would not to be able to perform in spring practice like I did if they had a similar situation, but nobody could even tell, but I might not be able to play golf for a few weeks. We’re going to do an evaluation of this at the end of spring, but they say even if it’s the worst case scenario, it may be six or eight weeks. But I can still cut a rug and cut them off, I can do whatever I need to do. I can still play golf. But this has a little bothersome, and I don’t want to go into the fall with this being a problem. “I want to get it fixed because I don’t want to coach for one more year, I want to coach for a lot of more years. So, whenever things like this come up, I want to be aggressive and proactive to try and get it taken care of. We’ll certainly do that, and we’ve got really good people to do it. I don’t think it should be a big deal, but I’ve been keeping this a little bit of a secret because I have so much respect for this group (of reporters). I wanted you to be the first to know. Thank you.”
Saban is entering his 13th season as head coach of the Crimson Tide, and as he said in his closing remarks, he has no intentions of retiring — though his initial comments might have scared some Alabama fans. Saban’s current contract runs through the 2025 season (Feb. 28, 2026).
Zion Completes ’19 Awards Sweep With Wooden – Zion Williamson of Duke added to his 2019 awards haul Friday night, becoming just the third freshman to win the John R. Wooden Award as the nation’s men’s player of the year. Williamson, 18, joined Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis as the only freshmen to take home the award, which was handed out at the fifth annual College Basketball Awards at The Novo in downtown Los Angeles. He is the sixth Wooden Award winner in Duke history, the most of any school. Williamson, who earlier this month won AP Player of the Year and the Naismith Award, also took home the Karl Malone Award as the nation’s best power forward Friday during the nationally televised show. Widely considered the top prospect for this year’s draft, Williamson declined to say whether he would join Barrett and Reddish in declaring, drawing laughter from the crowd when he said, “Umm, who knows?” Williamson averaged 22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game last season, and his 26.0 points per game in the NCAA tournament were the most by a freshman to play at least three games, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
Other winners Friday night were:
– RJ Barrett of Duke, Jerry West shooting guard award
– Rui Hachimura of Gonzaga, Julius Erving small forward award
– Ethan Happ of Wisconsin, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar center award
– Ja Morant of Murray State, Bob Cousy point guard award
All of the award namesakes were on hand to present their trophies except Cousy, who is 90. Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger received the Wooden Legends of Coaching award from Steve Henson, his former player at Kansas State and current Texas-San Antonio coach.
Duke’s Reddish Declares For Draft After ‘Epic’ Year – Duke freshman Cam Reddish said on social media Thursday that he was declaring for the NBA draft. Reddish, the No. 7 prospect on ESPN’s Top 100, averaged 13.5 points in just under 30 minutes a game this season. Reddish’s teammate RJ Barrett announced Wednesday that he was entering the draft, which leaves only Zion Williamson among Duke’s Big Three to declare. Starting point guard Tre Jones announced on Monday that he would be back at Duke for his sophomore season.