NCAA Hoops Star Bashes Ref with Accidental Elbow ... While Celebrating Shot

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THE ACCIDENTAL BLOW
NCAA/Big 10 Network

Illinois hoops star Kofi Cockburn was TRYING to celebrate after hitting a crucial shot Wednesday -- but accidentally clocked the ref in the face instead with a BRUTAL elbow.

In fact, the ref immediately dropped to his knees -- and was HOSPITALIZED for further treatment.

Cockburn -- 7'0", 290 lbs -- had just hit a put-back floater (and got the foul) in the 2nd half against Michigan ... and tried to celebrate with a big Tiger Woods-styled fist pump.

But, ref Lewis Garrison accidentally got in the way ... and took a BIG elbow right to the face.

Garrison dropped to his knees and had to be helped off the floor ... and after trainers checked him out at the stadium, he reportedly went to a local hospital for further evaluation.

Thankfully, doesn't seem Garrison's injuries are too serious ... it's reported the trip to the emergency room was for precautionary reasons -- but still, scary stuff!!

As for the game, Cockburn ended up leading Illinois to a huge 71-62 win over the Wolverines -- a massive upset.

Unclear how the team celebrated the victory ... but we're hoping the guys were a little more careful before they got rowdy!!!

NCAA Hoops Player Suspended for Violent Elbow ... Cheap Shot During Game

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NCAA Div. 2 basketball player Isaiah Hill has been suspended indefinitely after he LEVELED his opponent with a violent cheap shot elbow to the face ... and the video will piss you off.

The disgusting play went down when Hill's Saint Leo University team faced off with Nova Southeastern in Florida on Saturday ... when Hill cut to the perimeter and cracked Nick Smith with a nasty elbow.

Smith fell right to the floor ... and somehow, the ref standing RIGHT IN FRONT OF IT did not call Hill for a foul.

Video of the play -- captured by Post-Gazette reporter Mike White -- has gone viral ... and Saint Leo has since punished its player for at least the remainder of the 2019 calendar year.

"Isaiah's conduct on the court is not an accurate representation of Saint Leo's core values," the school's athletic director said in a statement.

"Saint Leo University holds its students to high standards of moral and ethical conduct as a reflection of Benedictine values."

"Upon review of Isaiah's actions this past Saturday, he will not represent Saint Leo University in competition for the remainder of 2019."

We're told cops were present at the game, but it's unclear if Smith plans to pursue criminal charges. We're told the Pasco Sheriff's Office has not received a formal complaint.

Story developing ...

Chris Webber Open to Reconcile with Mich. Hoops ... After 26-Year Beef

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PUMPED TO BE BACK
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Chris Webber says he hasn't been back to the Crisler Center at the Univ. of Michigan in 26 YEARS -- but he's finally down to bury the hatchet ... thanks to Juwan Howard.

Webber was a key member of the legendary Fab Five team in '92 and '93 ... but got caught up in a college booster scandal and in 2003, he was hit with a 10-year ban prohibiting him from associating with the school in any capacity.

The ban expired in 2013 ... but Webber has still had NO relationship with the basketball program ever since (though he did attend a football game in 2018).

"I haven't been back because they banned me from the place," Webber says ... "When they did a 10-year ban, said I couldn't come to the campus, well then, okay I'm not gonna come."

But, now that his good buddy and ex-Fab Five teammate Juwan Howard has taken over the hoops program for the Wolverines, Webber tells TMZ Sports he's seriously considering rekindling his relationship with Michigan Basketball.

"Howard is my friend ... and therefore, I put pride aside," Webber said.

"I told Juwon I'd love to come to a practice and he's definitely extended an opportunity. So, I'm pumped about it when it happens."

"I haven't been back to Crisler Arena since the day I left when I was 20 years old going to the NBA. And, so, he knows that's a special moment for me. So, yeah I would love that."

Webber says he wants his return to be private -- "No fanfare, without people around so I can just go around a reminisce and have a good time as well."

"Everything doesn't have to be for everyone to see and I'm sure we're gonna have that moment for everyone ... but for me, just going back there, watching him work, watching him fulfill a dream and seeing what we built there, that's important to me."

Chris Webber Defends Harbaugh After OSU Debacle ... Don't Fire Him!!!

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PATIENCE IS KEY
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Chris Webber is going to bat for Jim Harbaugh ... telling TMZ Sports Michigan should NOT fire the head coach -- this despite his FIFTH STRAIGHT loss to Ohio State on Saturday.

"To throw the baby out with the bathwater or to blow it up just because of that really doesn't make sense," Webber says.

Don't get it twisted ... the Fab Five legend is still pretty pissed over the Wolverines' L -- but he says Harbaugh should get more chances to try to turn the tide.

In fact, C-Webb even offered up a little pump-up speech for Jim ... saying, "Just keep going and figuring it out!"

The biggest reason Webber wants to see Harbaugh stick around? Chris tells us Jim's squads are actually pretty damn good -- and says it'll all come together for a championship, eventually.

As for if Webber will get his wish of Harbaugh staying ... it seems pretty likely -- 'cause despite the Ohio State losing skid, the dude is still 47-17 in five years in Ann Arbor.

And, hey ... Justin Fields and Chase Young could be off to the NFL after this season -- so maybe there's hope for Jim for next year after all?

Ole Miss QB Plays Piano & Slays 'Drops Of Jupiter' ... At Award Ceremony

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Forget the Heisman Trophy ... get Ole Miss QB John Rhys Plumlee a Grammy -- 'cause the dude can SAAAAAAAAAANNNGGG!!!

Here's video of the Rebels star at the 2019 C Spire Conerly Award ceremony Tuesday in Mississippi ... taking ALL of the shine away from the other award finalists.

It's unclear why JRP stepped up to the piano ... but we're all sure as hell glad he did -- 'cause the 18-year-old tickled the keys and belted out "Drops Of Jupiter."

And, yeah, we're all swooning!!!

As for what went down after Plumlee's impromptu concert ... the freshman didn't end up winning the coveted honor that goes to the best college football player in Mississippi (Miss. State's Kylin Hill did).

But , JRP sure gained a bunch of new fans anyway!!!

By the way, if you haven't heard of Plumlee ... you should get to know the guy -- he's got SUPERSTAR potential, rushing for 1,023 yards and throwing for 910 more in just 9 games this season.

Some dudes just have it all!!!

UW's Chris Petersen Resigns ... I Need To Recharge

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Shocking news in the college football world ... Chris Petersen just resigned as Washington Huskies head coach, saying he needs "recharge."

"I'll be a Husky for life," 55-year-old Petersen said Monday, "but now is the right time for me to step away from my head coaching duties, and recharge."

Petersen has been widely regarded as a top 10 coach in the NCAA since he took over at UDub in 2014 ... and NOBODY expected him to leave the program this soon.

But, Petersen -- who's piled up a 54-26 record the past 6 years at Washington -- says he's ready to transition into an advisory role with the school.

Washington officials announced Petersen's defensive coordinator, Jimmy Lake, will take over the head coaching duties after this season concludes.

"It has been a privilege and a professional dream fulfilled to be part of this world-class institution," Petersen said. "I will forever be grateful, honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to coach our fine young men on Montlake for these past six seasons."

Petersen will finish out the year as Washington's coach ... and is slated to step aside after the team's soon-to-be-announced bowl game.

Of course, Petersen gained fame for turning Boise State into a powerhouse ... going 92-12 from 2006-2013.

He had just recently inked a contract extension with the Huskies that was going to pay him roughly $5 MILLION per year through the 2023 season.

Jeremiah Trotter Training Son To Be Clemson Monster ... Kid's 'A Killer!!!'

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"HE'LL BE BETTER THAN ME"
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Dabo Swinney is going to LOVE this ...

Philadelphia Eagles legend Jeremiah Trotter tells TMZ Sports he's training his Clemson football commit son to be a BEAST ... saying the kid is going to better than him!!!

"He's more athletic than I was," Jeremiah says. "He's faster than I was ... he's better in space than I was."

FYI, Jeremiah ain't blowing smoke ... his son, Jeremiah Trotter Jr., is a nationally ranked linebacker in the 2021 class who's already 6 feet, 210 pounds.

And, Jeremiah Sr. tells us he thinks Swinney is going to LOVE the kid once he gets to Clemson's campus in a couple years ... saying the Tigers coach is "getting a killer, man!"

"Since he was young, I mean this kid, I just tell all my friends this guy will run through a brick wall," Trotter says ... "he covers like a DB but he hits like an old-school, physical linebacker."

Sounds like the apple doesn't fall too from the tree, right???

NFL's Jeremiah Trotter SFA Should Party Like Hell ... After Duke Win

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MONUMENTAL MOMENT
TMZSports.com

Stephen F. Austin should go freakin' crazy after upsetting Duke ... so says its most famous alum, Jeremiah Trotter -- who tells TMZ Sports he wants the players to party like hell!!!

"Yo, enjoy the moment," the ex-NFL linebacker says. "Enjoy the moment. Celebrate. You don't get opportunities like that all the time!"

We spoke with the former Philadelphia Eagles star who attended SFA back in the 1990s ... and he says as far he knows, the win over Duke on Tuesday was the school's biggest moment.

And, when we asked what his advice would be to the team ... he said the players should enjoy it!!!

But, Trotter added there's got to be a limit on the partying ... telling us, "Once you've finished celebrating, then it's time to get back to work!"

Pro tip ... take the advice, SFA players -- Trotter played a lot of games in his 11-year NFL career -- and won a TON of them!!!

James Wiseman Suspension Upheld 'Sometimes Bad Things Happen To Good People'

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It's officially official -- Memphis Tigers superstar James Wiseman will have to serve his full 12-game suspension after his appeal was rejected, the NCAA announced Wednesday.

Memphis and Wiseman had been fighting to allow the 18-year-old phenom to play for weeks ... but their attempts failed and the org. decided to uphold the ban.

"This morning, the NCAA's Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement upheld the conditions of reinstatement for men's basketball student-athlete James Wiseman, who will be eligible to return to competition Jan. 12," Memphis said in a statement.

"Although disappointing, we look forward to a promising season."

Wiseman -- the projected #1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft -- was declared ineligible after the NCAA found proof Tigers head coach Penny Hardaway gave his family $11,500 to cover moving expenses in 2017 (before he took the Memphis gig).

Wiseman addressed the news on Twitter ... saying, "Sometimes bad things happen to good people. God has never left me nor forsaken me throughout this process!

"God knows my destiny and I feel that even though hardships may be upon me! It too shall pass in the Grace of God. My journey isn’t finished, and this too shall pass."

The 7'1" center has been a monster on the court in the 3 games he was able to play in so far this season ... averaging 19.7 points and 10.7 rebounds.

SFA Hero Nate Bain Fans Donate $70k After Duke Win ... Home Was Wrecked In Hurricane

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AP

1:07 PM PT -- As of 1 PM PT, the GoFundMe for Bain's family has raised a whopping $70k!!! Unreal!!

7:45 AM PT -- As for the NCAA's involvement, one source tells us the NCAA allows schools to conduct fundraisers for student-athletes and their families, "for extreme circumstances that are extraordinary and outside the student-athlete’s control (like natural disasters)."

We're also told, "The proceeds may go directly to the student-athlete and his family, however, the school has to track it and keep record of expenses."

"Excess funds must be given to a charity."

Right after SFA hero Nate Bain hit the game-winner to beat Duke -- fans hit his GoFundMe with $30k in donations to help his family rebuild from the devastation of Hurricane Dorian.

AMAZING STORY!!!

Bain fought back tears during his postgame TV interview -- talking about how much the victory at Cameron Indoor meant to him ... especially after the disaster in the Bahamas.

"My family lost a whole lot this year," Bain said, holding back tears. "I'm not going to cry on TV."

Officials at Stephen F. Austin State University had set up an NCAA approved GoFundMe for Bain back in September ... saying Bain's family saw "nearly everything of value destroyed by Hurricane Dorian."

"Bain's father -- a minister -- watched as his church suffered extreme damage from the storm as well."

The good news ... EVERYONE learned about Bain's story after watching SFA take down Duke and fans flocked to the GoFundMe in droves to help out, donating roughly $30k!!!

And, it's not just SFA people opening up their wallets, fans from UCONN, Michigan State, UNC ... and yeah, even some Duke-haters are pitching in.

Incredible story ... but what's even cooler is how Bain was able to celebrate the moment with his teammates -- 'cause the guys went INSANE after his legendary layup!

NEXT-LEVEL CELEBRATION

You can see in locker room video shot by Bain's teammates ... there were water shower celebrations, Gatorade ice baths and a whole lot of flexing and screaming!!

Felt like March in November ... gotta love it!!!!

Originally published -- 7:37 AM PT

NFL's Ben Watson Defends UGA's Dog Mascot In PETA War ... 'Kick Rocks'

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New England Patriots stud Ben Watson just bodied PETA in the war over Georgia's dog mascot ... straight-up telling the org to "kick rocks" for criticizing the school's use of the sideline pup!

"He IS at home with a loving family," Watson said Tuesday, "Kick rocks @peta."

If you missed it ... PETA started an epic war with UGA this week after footage of the school's dog mascot looking sad during Saturday's rain-soaked game surfaced on social media.

The organization demanded the program retire the mascot ASAP ... saying the British bulldog looked "MISERABLE!" and needs to be moved to a new home.

PETA added, "No dog deserves to be packed up, carted from state to state, and paraded in front of a stadium full of screaming fans."

But, Watson -- who played at Georgia from '01 to '03 -- raced to his alma mater's defense Tuesday ... saying in a tweet Uga X is doing just fine at Georgia and DEFINITELY has a loving home.

Of course, this ain't the first time PETA has gone after Uga ... earlier this year it demanded his removal from the school after he and the University of Texas' Longhorn mascot got into it on the sideline.

For its part, Georgia doesn't seem to be in any hurry to bend the knee to the organization ... with no imminent plans to ditch the mascot anytime soon.

In fact, Uga X is expected to be on the sidelines when Georgia takes on Georgia Tech at GT on Saturday.

Jahlil Okafor Loves Having SIX Duke Guys On Pelicans ... 'It's a Brotherhood'

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READY FOR ZION
TMZSports.com

Did you know ... there are SIX former Duke Blue Devils with the New Orleans Pelicans -- 5 players and the General Manager -- and Jahlil Okafor LOVES it!

"It's a brotherhood," Okafor tells TMZ Sports ... "We're all connected no matter when he played at Duke."

Of course besides Okafor (who played with Duke for 1 season in '15) ... you've got Zion Williamson, JJ Redick, Brandon Ingram, Frank Jackson and GM Trajan Langdon, who played at Duke from '94 to '99.

Getty Composite

"We all have each other's back and it's amazing that we're all together on the Pelicans," Okafor told us Sunday outside Staples Center.

Okafor praised all of his Duke teammates -- and even gave us an update on Zion, who's missed every game this season with a knee injury.

"He looks good," Okafor said ... "He's in high spirits, he's doing all the right things to get himself back on the court."

Zion is expected to return to the Pels in December -- and Okafor says the team can't wait to finally get the #1 overall NBA Draft pick back.

The Pels are currently 6-11 and lost to the Clippers on Sunday -- but everyone's expecting big things from Zion who could shake things up as soon as he gets on the court.

NCAA Hoops Star Kamiyah Street Arrested for Murder ... Cops Have Video

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10:36 AM PT -- Kamiyah Street not only ADMITTED being involved in the murder, according to cops ... but officials say they have VIDEO of the basketball star "during the homicide."

"The Atlanta Police Department identified Kamiyah Street by reviewing surveillance video captured during the homicide," prosecutors tell TMZ Sports.

"Upon questioning, Street admitted her presence and participation in the death of Hubbard-Etienne," prosecutors say.

"Our independent investigation of the shooting and its circumstances clearly indicated Street’s involvement with the death. She was subsequently indicted for Felony Murder."

Officials also say when they found the victim's body, it appeared he had sustained a gunshot wound to the groin area.

Kamiyah Street -- the starting point guard for the Kennesaw State basketball team -- was arrested Thursday in Georgia for felony murder, records show.

Officials believe 20-year-old Street is involved in the July 16 shooting death of 21-year-old Nashiem Hubbard-Etienne, whose body was found in a parking lot of an Atlanta-area apartment complex.

Cops believe the victim was specifically targeted.

Street -- a big star for the KSU Owls -- was arrested Thursday and has been hit with 8 criminal charges including murder, 3 counts of felony murder, criminal attempt to commit armed robbery, 2 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Cops say 3 other suspects have been arrested and they're still on the hunt for 1 more.

The KSU basketball has suspended Street indefinitely -- which is a big deal considering she's averaged 21 points and 5 rebounds in the first 4 games of the 2019 season.

KSU issued a statement saying, "We were made aware Thursday evening that Kamiyah Street of the KSU women’s basketball team was arrested and is being held, pending charges."

"The individual has been suspended indefinitely from all women’s basketball team and athletic activities. Neither the university nor the athletic department have any additional information at this time."

KSU has already removed Steet from the team's official website.

Originally Published -- 7:08 AM PT

James Wiseman Cannot Accept GoFundMe Cash ... To Pay NCAA 'Fine'

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Jay Williams means well, BUT those GoFundMe donations to cover James Wiseman's NCAA "fine" won't do JACK for the Memphis superstar ... 'cause the org. won't allow it.

TMZ Sports has learned ... the NCAA is aware of Jay's fundraising efforts to help satisfy Wiseman's $11,500 mandatory donation -- but our sources say Wiseman is NOT allowed to accept the money.

Of course, Wiseman was suspended 12 games and forced to donate $11,500 to charity after his family accepted a loan from Penny Hardaway to help cover moving expenses in 2017.

Crowdfunding campaigns have popped on the internet to help Wiseman pay the monetary punishment ... with Williams and the Game Seven organization raising nearly $5k so far.

But, our sources tell us the GoFundMe cash won't fly with the NCAA.

As one well-placed source put it ... "Generally speaking, a GoFundMe would not satisfy a repayment requirement. The student-athlete and his or her family are responsible for making the donation, and that donation must also be in line with NCAA rules."

In other words, taking the GoFundMe money could lead to more problems for Wiseman.

The silver lining?? Those donations from Williams' GoFundMe won't be all for naught -- they'll still be going to charity ... and Wiseman will still be RICH when he gets drafted by an NBA team next year.

Candidate Andrew Yang Rips NCAA 'Let James Wiseman Freaking Play!!!'

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LET THE MAN PLAY!!!
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James Wiseman is getting support from a Presidential candidate -- with Andrew Yang saying it's "so bogus" for the NCAA to hit him with a $11,500 "fine" for accepting a loan.

"Oh my gosh, come on! Let James Wiseman freaking play," Yang tells TMZ Sports ... "We should be paying NCAA athletes on the regular instead of cutting them off!"

As we previously reported, the NCAA has suspended the Memphis basketball superstar for 12 games and told him he "must donate $11,500 to a charity of his choice."

Getty

The money part of the punishment is what's really pissing people off because Wiseman isn't allowed to accept cash gifts from people or he'll forfeit his amateur status ... and how the hell is a college kid with a full-time hoops obligation gonna make that kind of money??

"I feel for James Wiseman," Yang says ... "Happily, he's still gonna wind up a Top 5, Top 10 pick in the NBA Draft so it's gonna be okay for him but he should still be on the court right now playing."

Wiseman's family admitted to accepting an $11,500 loan from Penny Hardaway back in 2017 so they could pay for moving expenses to attend a prominent Tennessee high school.

The NCAA considered Hardaway to be a booster because he had previously donated $1 million to Memphis in 2008.

Hardaway was hired to be the head basketball coach at Memphis in 2018.

Other high-profile stars have rallied for Wiseman -- including ex-NBA player David West who told TMZ Sports the suspension is total B.S.

LET'EM PLAY
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David West James Wiseman Suspension's Bogus ... 'Let Him Play!!!'

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Sidin' WIth Wiseman
TMZSports.com

David West is pissed off at the NCAA over James Wiseman's punishment ... telling TMZ Sports the org. should be giving young players opportunities, not taking them away.

The Memphis superstar just got slapped with a 12-game suspension and $11,500 fine after the NCAA determined he accepted a loan of the same amount from Penny Hardaway in 2017 -- before he took over at UM.

We broke the news of the ruling to West outside Chin Chin in LA on Wednesday ... and he disagrees with the move.

"I'm not a fan of the NCAA, so I don't think he should've been suspended," West says. "The kid deserves opportunities. Period. I'm always gonna be in favor of the kid."

West agrees that the projected #1 overall pick in the 2020 Draft should appeal the decision because he shouldn't miss another minute of basketball ... adding he's an advocate for allowing players to be compensated.

But, the NBA champ ain't alone -- Reggie Miller went to Twitter to voice his confusion over the fine, saying, "How is the family going to pay this when they had problems moving in the first place?? Asking for a friend..."

Ex-NFL player DeAngelo Williams added, "now in order for wiseman to get the 11k+ is to now break the very rule u accused him of in the first place lmao this has to be a joke right?"

Wiseman is appealing the suspension ... so stay tuned.