Indiana Hoosiers guard Victor Oladipo takes a shot in practice the day before the second round of the 2013 NCAA tournament at University of Dayton Arena on March 21, 2013. Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Former Auburn defensive back Mike McNeil reached a plea agreement on armed robbery charges that will put him behind bars for at least three years, multiple media outlets reported.
His case was about to go to trial, and McNeil was facing a sentence of 21 years to life if he was found guilty.
“The totality of the circumstances make this the best deal,” McNeil’s attorney, Ben Hand, said according to al.com.
The charge stemmed from an armed robbery in March of 2011 involving four AU football players. All four, including McNeil, were subsequently dismissed by Gene Chizik, the Tigers’ head coach.
McNeil was a focal point of Selena Roberts’ controversial story on the Auburn football program. Roberts’ story painted McNeil as a possible victim of internal school politics. McNeil was quoted in the story that he felt he was being made a scapegoat..
GA. TECH HIRES QB COACH: Georgia Tech has hired its newest assistant coach, an FCS-level offensive coordinator with familiarity with coach Paul Johnson’s spread-option offense.
Cal Poly co-offensive coordinator Bryan Cook, who guided significant improvement over his four seasons, will be hired as quarterbacks coach, pending completion of paperwork, according to Johnson’s Twitter post Friday night. Cook will replace Brian Bohannon, the quarterbacks and B-backs coach who was named coach for Kennesaw State’s fledgling program in March.
Cook also has Tech experience — he was a graduate assistant from 2001-03, a span that crossed the tenures of coaches George O’Leary and Chan Gailey. Cook, who is 35, according to the Cal Poly website, runs an option similar to Tech’s.
In four seasons, Cook’s offense improved from 55th in scoring offense in FCS in 2009 to seventh last season. The Mustangs also finished first in passing efficiency, averaging 12.8 passes per game.
Buffed-up star Cummings changes position from DL to DT at Georgia Tech
ATLANTA — Georgia Tech defensive lineman Euclid Cummings is bringing some more power to spring practice.
In winter workouts with strength and conditioning coach John Sisk, Cummings increased his maximum bench press from about 360 pounds to 400. His reps at 225 pounds (a standard combine/pro-day test) went from 20 to 25. He made the gains while slimming down from 290 to 285 pounds.
“Shoutout to coach Sisk for that,” Cummings said.
Cummings will need the extra strength for a move to defensive tackle, the first time he’s ever played it. Cummings came to Tech to be a 4-3 end for former defensive coordinator Dave Wommack, then ended up playing end in Al Groh’s 3-4.
“Right now, I like it,” Cummings said. “It’s helping the d-line, so if it helps the d-line, then it’s great for me.”
Cummings is working at the “3 technique” tackle spot, lining up between the guard and offensive tackle. The change isn’t entirely foreign; in the 3-4, “I was essentially a tackle,” he said.
The other big change is adopting an attack mentality, shooting gaps at the snap rather than trying to hold the point to permit linebackers to make plays. Cummings described it as “just lining up in front of the guard or whoever you’re in front of and just attacking.”
Cummings’ evaluation of new line coach Mike Pelton: Attentive to detail and intense.
“And a personable guy, as well,” he added.
Cummings played all 14 games last season, starting the last two. He finished with 23 total tackles. His three sacks were second on the team behind Jeremiah Attaochu.
COLLEGE HOOPS STARS LEAVING SCHOOL:
Three players who had key roles in the NCAA Tournament announced Tuesday they were leaving college to enter the NBA Draft.
Kansas University guard Ben McLemore is leaving after setting a school scoring record with 15.9 points per game as a freshman.
The 20-year-old was a first-team all-Big 12 selection and second-team All-America selection by The Associated Press. His scoring average bested the freshman record of 14.6 points per game set by Danny Manning in 1985.
He scored at least 30 points three times, including a 36-point effort against West Virginia that set the school freshman single-game record.
McLemore is projected as a top-five pick by many NBA draft experts. He would become the 10th KU player coached by Self to go in the first round.
Meanwhile, the father of Louisville Cardinals junior guard Russ Smith Jr. said his son will leave for the NBA.
“I told him, ‘Man, this is how you go out,’” Smith Sr. said. “All the people who doubted you since high school, you proved them wrong. You have back-to-back (Big East) championships, then you come back and win the national championship. All that hard work comes from working you out since you was three years old, running the beach, running the stairs, running with medicine balls, a boxing bag, it paid off.”
Smith Jr. led Louisville in scoring this season.
“When you go out, you want to go out with a national championship,” Smith Sr. said. “He’s got five rings: back-to-back Big East, back-to-back Final Four, national championship. What other way to go out?”
Asked if Smith Jr. was “gone,” Smith Sr. replied: “He’s gone.”
And Indiana first-team All-American Victor Oladipo also will skip his senior season.
The Hoosier made his decision official at a news conference. An honors student who earned his degree in three years, Oladipo is projected as a lottery pick. He was the team’s second-leading scorer this season, averaging 13.6 points per game.
Sophomore center Cody Zeller is also weighing whether to leave for the NBA, and could decide as early as Wednesday. Zeller led the team in scoring and rebounding.