Eddie Sutton, the first college basketball coach to take four different schools to the NCAA Tournament, died on Saturday. He was 84.

Sutton's family said he died of natural causes in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area, surrounded by his three sons and their families.

"Dad and Mom treated their players like family and always shared the belief that his teachings went beyond the basketball court," the family wrote. "He cherished the time he spent at every school and appreciated the support of their loyal fans. He believed they deserved so much credit in the success of his programs."

Sutton was elected to the National Basketball Hall of Fame last month after winning 804 games during his 37-year coaching career at the Division I level.

He will be posthumously inducted as part of the 2020 class in August, along with Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant.

Sutton coached at Southern Idaho, Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma State and San Francisco and reached the Final Four three times. He compiled a 260-75 record at Arkansas from 1974-85 and made nine NCAA Tournament appearances.

Sutton's career was tarnished when he resigned as Kentucky coach in 1989 after four seasons during an NCAA investigation into the program. The Wildcats would eventually receive a two-year postseason ban and were not allowed on live television for the 1989-90 season.

After beginning his coaching career as an assistant at Oklahoma State in 1958, Sutton returned to Stillwater as head coach of the Cowboys in 1990. During his 16 seasons as head coach, Oklahoma State made 13 NCAA Tournament appearances and reached Final Fours in 1995 and 2004.  

Sutton resigned following the 2005-06 season after a drunk-driving crash.

In 2005, the school announced the court at Gallagher-Iba Arena would be named Eddie Sutton Court.

The NBA is in preliminary discussions with the Walt Disney Company about resuming the 2019-20 season at an isolated site near Orlando, Florida in late July.  

Games would take place at the Wide World of Sports complex, a Disney-owned campus that spans 255 acres and features enough space to accommodate practices and lodging.  

NBA spokesperson Mike Bass announced the "exploratory" discussions on Saturday in a statement, noting that the players' union is also part of the conversations.  

"Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all involved," Bass said. "We are working with public health experts and government officials on a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that appropriate medical protocols and protections are in place."

Disney is the primary owner of ESPN, one of league's key broadcast partners.  

The NBA has been on indefinite hiatus since March 11, when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first major figure in American sports to test positive for COVID-19.

After several months off, many players – including all who went abroad during the hiatus – would need to quarantine for 14 days before rejoining their team-mates for a training camp leading up to the resumption of play.  

Players may be recalled to their teams' training facilities as early as June 1, but the NBA may prefer that they report directly to a central location to reduce travel.  

Players who returned to their home countries may also face challenges with local travel restrictions.  

The NBA still has not settled on a format for a return to play, such as the NHL's proposed 24-team playoff bracket.  

It has been reported the NBA would like teams to reach a total of 70 regular season games – about five more for most clubs – to fulfill its contracts with local broadcast affiliates.  

Others have claimed completing the regular season games and following it with a full 16-team postseason would cause too much congestion, potentially pushing the start of 2020-21 well into December.  

The league, like the NHL, has explored the idea of a play-in tournament that would reduce the playoff field to 16 teams without finishing the entire regular season slate.  

The NBA's board of governors is scheduled to have a conference call next Friday to further discuss a return to play.  

The Boston Celtics are working on the assumption that the NBA season will resume following the coronavirus pandemic, according to the team's executive director of performance Phil Coles.

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc globally, leading to the indefinite suspension of the 2019-20 NBA campaign in March, while the NHL and MLS seasons have also come to a halt – the start of the MLB term has been delayed, too.

It remains to be seen when, and if, the season will restart as NBA commissioner Adam Silver weighs up various options, including the league returning via two locations – Orlando and Las Vegas.

As the league tries to resume, Coles told Stats Perform: "There's lots of desire for the league to come back and there's lots of really intelligent people working their hardest to see if there's an opportunity for that to happen. Whether it does happen or not, it's not something I can comment on.

"We're working on the assumption that we will come back and if we don't, we will be better prepared when we go next time."

The coronavirus outbreak has proven challenging for teams, athletes and staff – NBA practice facilities have only started to re-open this month after the league had targeted no earlier than May 8 for franchises to return to their complexes.

Former San Antonio Spurs high-performance manager and Liverpool's ex-head of physical therapy Coles said: "We were in Milwaukee overnight waiting for a game when the news came through that the league was going to be suspended. We flew back that next day on our private plane and everyone has been completely isolated from each other ever since that point in time.

"There's been a lot of challenges as to how to communicate with each other, amongst the staff and players. We've overcome those as best we can and there's been some opportunities for us to spend time reviewing what we're doing – reviewing our processes and trying to improve for when we eventually get back and moving forward."

The Celtics (43-21) were playing well prior to the postponement – third in a crammed Eastern Conference, behind the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks (53-12) and defending champions the Toronto Raptors (46-18).

"It's obviously frustrating but it's the same situation for everybody," Coles said. "We were having a very good season and when we come back, we will have to start again and try to get back to where we were. But we're in exactly the same boat as everyone else, so we have the same opportunity as we had then, and we will have the same opportunity when we come back."

Jayson Tatum had been at the forefront of Boston's impressive season, the All-Star averaging 23.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists for the Celtics to establish himself as one of the best players in the league.

"It's always great to see young players continue to improve," Australian Coles, who was handpicked to join Gregg Popovich's staff in San Antonio, added. "Like all great players, they have that mix of talent, drive and work ethic. He is a good example of that but there's lots of examples. It's a young squad in general and there's lots of good young players who work really hard and are all progressing.

"I'm new here, so I can't say I've followed his progression as closely as some of the other staff. But everyone in the club and in the city who supports the club are excited to see the development is there and see him really blossom into a superstar."

Amid uncertainty around the league, how long would it take for players to be ready to return to action?

Oklahoma City Thunder star Chris Paul has previously said players would require at least four weeks of training to get into shape.

Coles added: "It will vary from individual to individual. Again, it's something the league and the players association will consider closely. It's something where everyone will be in the same boat. From our perspective, we will do the best we can with the timeframe we're given.

"What an ideal timeframe is, it's hard to say. It would be very individual. Some players would be in great shape and ready to go and others will need some more time to build up. And depending on what their role is in the team and the structure for if and when we come back, it will be different. Everyone is in the same boat, so I don't know that there needs to be an ideal timeframe, it just needs to be something that everyone is agreed upon."

Georgetown coach and NBA Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing revealed he has tested positive for coronavirus.  

Ewing, 57, said he elected to share his diagnosis publicly on Friday to emphasise that this virus can affect anyone.

The New York Knicks great and 11-time All-Star is under care and isolated at a local hospital.

Ewing is the only member of the Georgetown men's basketball program to have tested positive for COVID-19.

"I want to share that I have tested positive for COVID-19," Ewing said in the statement released by Georgetown. "This virus is serious and should not be taken lightly.  

"I want to encourage everyone to stay safe and take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Now more than ever, I want to thank the healthcare workers and everyone on the front lines. I'll be fine and we will all get through this."

Ewing won a national championship with Georgetown in 1984 and won gold medals with Team USA at the 1984 and 1992 Olympics.

The former Seattle SuperSonics and Orlando Magic center was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008. 

At 5-foot seven inches Kahlil Walker is tiny by basketball standards, but what he lacks in height he more than makes up for with his passion for the sport and an incredible brain.

Russell Westbrook said it was "extremely humbling" to donate meals to healthcare workers fighting coronavirus at his local hospital.

Nurses at the intensive care and COVID units at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital were treated to meals from Los Angeles restaurant The Nice Guy.

Westbrook was born in Long Beach, California and played college basketball at UCLA before entering the NBA in 2008.

The 31-year-old, who was traded to the Houston Rockets before the 2019-20 season, has gone on to be named to nine All-Star Games and was voted the 2017 NBA MVP while with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Alongside an Instagram photo with the meals and nurses, Westbrook wrote: "Last night I helped provide meals to the nurses in the ICU & COVID Units at my hometown hospital, MLK Community Hospital.

"Extremely humbling to be able to do this and we appreciate all your hard work during this time. Thank you for all that you do!"

There have been over 1.6million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, where more than 97,000 people have died.

 
 
 
 
 

Jerry Sloan, an All-Star player who went on to become the most successful coach in Utah Jazz history, died on Friday following a long battle with Parkinson's disease at the age of 78. 
 
The Jazz announced Sloan's death from complications from Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, which the Basketball Hall of Fame member revealed he was dealing with in 2016. 
 
Sloan coached the Jazz for 23 seasons before resigning during the 2010-11 season and ranks fourth in NBA history with 1,221 victories.

His 1,127 wins with Utah are the second-most of any coach with one franchise, trailing only San Antonio's Gregg Popovich.  
 
"Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz. He will forever be a part of the Utah Jazz organization and we join his family, friends and fans in mourning his loss," the team said in a statement. 

"We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity he brought to our franchise." 
 
Led by future Hall of Famers Karl Malone and John Stockton, Sloan's Utah teams were a model of consistency.

He guided the Jazz to playoff appearances for his first 15 seasons after being promoted to head coach following Frank Layden's resignation in December 1988. 

The Jazz won 50 or more games 13 times in his tenure, highlighted by back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 1997 and 1998. 
 
Utah lost to the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls, the team Sloan spent the majority of his playing career with, in both of those Finals trips, with each series ending 4-2.

He also coached the Bulls for three seasons from before joining the Jazz organization as a scout in 1983. 
 
Sloan compiled a 1,127-682 regular-season record with Utah and amassed 96 more wins while leading the Jazz to the playoffs 19 times in total, with seven division titles. 

He was honored by the franchise in 2014 with a No. 1,223 banner, representing his combined win total with the Jazz, that currently hangs in the rafters at the team's home venue, Vivint Smart Home Arena. 
 
"Like Stockton and Malone as players, Jerry Sloan epitomized the organization," the Jazz said. "He will be greatly missed.

"We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Tammy, the entire Sloan family and all who knew and loved him." 
 
Sloan also had his No. 4 jersey retired by the Bulls in 1978, the first player in franchise history to receive the honor.

Dubbed "The Original Bull" after being acquired from the Baltimore Bullets prior to Chicago's expansion-year 1966-67 season, the McLeansboro, Illinois native made two All-Star teams during a 10-year run with the Bulls that concluded with his retirement in 1976. 
 
Known for his tenacity and defensive skills, Sloan averaged 14 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.2 steals per game over 11 NBA seasons, and is the only player in league history to average more than seven rebounds and two steals a game. 
 
"Jerry Sloan was 'The Original Bull' whose tenacious defense and nightly hustle on the court represented the franchise and epitomized the city of Chicago," Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement. 

"Jerry was the face of the Bulls organization from its inception through the mid-1970s, and very appropriately, his uniform No. 4 was the first jersey retired by the team. 
 
"A great player and a Hall-of-Fame NBA coach, most importantly, Jerry was a great person. Our sympathies go out to the Sloan family and all his many fans." 
 
Sloan was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, two years before abruptly resigning 54 games into Utah's 2011-12 season. He rejoined the Jazz as a senior adviser in 2013. 

Nineteen-year-old Yashieka Fearon says she has been encouraged by the response to her appeal to raise funds that will help her cover her expenses while she attends college later this year.

Legendary Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan has died at the age of 78, the team announced on Friday.

The Jazz said in a statement Sloan passed away as a result of complications from Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, diagnoses he received in April 2016.

Sloan spent 26 years as a coach in the NBA, 23 of which were spent leading the Jazz between 1988 and 2011.

Utilising their famous pick-and-roll offense, and inspired by Hall of Famers Karl Malone and John Stockton, Sloan led the Jazz to the Western Conference title in 1997 and 1998 but they were beaten in the NBA Finals on both occasions by the Michael Jordan-inspired Chicago Bulls – a team he both played for and coached.

"Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz. He will forever be a part of the Utah Jazz organisation and we join his family, friends and fans in mourning his loss," the Jazz statement read. 

"We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity he brought to our franchise. 

"Like Stockton and Malone as players, Jerry Sloan epitomised the organisation. He will be greatly missed. 

"We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Tammy, the entire Sloan family and all who knew and loved him."

Sloan led the Jazz to 15 consecutive playoff appearances and 19 in total and finished his career with the third-most wins in NBA history.

As a player, Sloan was a two-time NBA All-Star and had his number 4 jersey retired by the Bulls, and twice lost in the Conference Finals.

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo wants to smoke a cigar like Michael Jordan and celebrate a potential NBA championship in Mykonos.

The Bucks were favourites to win the NBA title before the season was suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Milwaukee owned the best record in the league at 53-12, ahead of LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers, in pursuit of their first title since 1971.

While COVID-19 has halted Milwaukee's quest, reigning MVP Antetokounmpo is hoping to take the NBA trophy to his native Greece and the party island of Mykonos – channelling Chicago Bulls great Jordan.

"Before all this happened with COVID-19, I was talking about taking the team on a trip to Greece in Mykonos," Antetokounmpo said via the Athletes Doing Good Radiothon on ESPN.

"Mykonos is one of the best islands in Greece, it's a party island. You cannot go there with your significant other, you got to be by yourself. It's got to be a boys' trip.

"Obviously, we have Santorini, Santorini's really romantic. It has the best sunset and sunrise in the world. You can take your significant other there.

"I had the opportunity to go last year – I went with [Eric] Bledsoe and Brook [Lopez] to Mykonos – and I was kind of sad I wasn't able to bring the whole team to experience what we went through.

"So definitely, I think, after we win the championship and we're holding the trophy and we're all smoking a cigar like M.J., we can all do that in Mykonos."

It remains to be seen when, and if, the 2019-20 season will resume following the coronavirus outbreak.

NBA practice facilities have started to re-open this month after the league had targeted no earlier than May 8 for teams to return to their complexes.

Commissioner Adam Silver is reportedly considering the league returning via two locations – Orlando and Las Vegas.

Ja Morant believes he deserves to win the NBA Rookie of the Year award over Zion Williamson.

Morant was selected second overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2019 NBA Draft, with Williamson having gone first to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Williamson, who played just one season of college basketball at Duke before declaring for the draft, was the heavy favourite for Rookie of the Year honours going into the season.

However, Williamson suffered a torn meniscus in October, delaying his professional debut until January.

But he has been spectacular since returning from injury, averaging 23.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists per game. Williamson has shot 58.9 per cent from the field and 46.2 per cent from three-point range.

Morant, though, has the advantage of playing 59 games to Williamson's 19 during this season, which has seen him average 17.6 points, 6.9 assists and 3.5 rebounds.

He has shot 49.1 per cent from the field and 36.7 per cent from beyond the arc.

His performances had Memphis in the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference when the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking on Bleacher Report's 'Take it There with Taylor Rooks', Morant was asked if he felt like it should even be a close race for the award.

He replied: "Nah, I feel like I've done enough. I deserve it.

"I feel like my play this year proved all that. Had a great season so far. This corona stopped that short a little bit."

The prevailing sentiment among NBA players appears to be towards an eventual resumption of the 2019-20 season, rather than ending it prematurely.

Asked if he had spoken to anybody who feels the opposite, Morant said: "I haven't talked to anybody who hasn't wanted to play.

"I'm sure everybody wants to except for teams probably not in the playoffs."

Karl Malone's insistence he has the "utmost respect" for Michael Jordan did little to hide the tension that seemingly still exists between the ex-NBA stars.

Jordan and the great Chicago Bulls dynasty of the 1990s were the subject of the co-produced ESPN and Netflix docuseries 'The Last Dance'.

The Bulls' rivalry with Malone's Utah Jazz in the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals series were pivotal in the latter episodes.

Malone refused to be a part of the show but ESPN released previously unseen footage of him talking about Jordan and playing the Bulls at that time from an interview in February 2019.

Asked his reaction when he heard the name "Michael Jordan",  Malone – smoking a cigar – replied tersely: "Michael Jordan, Michael Jordan...what else do I need to say?"

Malone was then questioned more specifically on the famous moment of Game 6 of the '98 Finals when Jordan stole the ball from Malone before going on to hit the game-winning shot that secured a second three-peat in the space of eight years.

"Why? Why do I have to?" Malone answered. 

"But I tell you this, I'll all man and I accept the responsibility for not winning one [a championship]. 

"And we was there, we just happened to be playing the Chicago Bulls, which wasn't just Michael Jordan by the way and I have the utmost respect for Michael. 

"But I never thought I was playing Michael Jordan, I was playing the Chicago Bulls but let's not…you know, everybody say this person was a bad man and all of that. Well, yes, I give them respect but I've got a setup. I'm a man, and I was a bad son of a b****, too. 

"So that's how I look at that, and that's who I am. Maybe in my older years I can call it that bluntly but I'm just calling it like I see it."

In the show, Jordan says how he was fired up ahead of the '97 Finals after Malone received the NBA MVP award in the regular season.

While the series has received critical acclaim, some involved have been disapproving of the way events have been portrayed and questioned the involvement of Jordan's production company.

Ex-Bulls star Horace Grant branded Jordan a liar when he accused his former team-mate of being a source for Sam Smith's book 'The Jordan Rules', which paints the Hall of Famer in an unflattering light.

Scottie Pippen, who was beside Jordan for each of the Bulls' six championships in the eight-year span, was another ex-player to appear in the documentary who was supposedly unhappy with his portrayal.

In one episode, Jordan said Pippen was "selfish" over his decision to delay foot surgery that saw him miss the start of the 1997-98 season.

Former NBA star Paul Pierce believes LeBron James is not among the top five players in history.

The Los Angeles Lakers star is widely regarded as one of the best players ever, a debate which has raged again following the airing of 'The Last Dance', a documentary focusing on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.

However, Pierce refused to include James – a three-time NBA champion and four-time MVP – in his top five.

"Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar], Magic [Johnson], Jordan, Tim Duncan, Kobe [Bryant], [Larry] Bird, these guys are all top-10 players who have either helped build up their organisation or continued the tradition," the 10-time NBA All-Star told ESPN.

On James, Pierce said: "He went and put together a team in Miami, he came back to Cleveland and put that team together.

"Then he went to the Lakers, where a tradition has already been made, and that's still to be continued."

James' Lakers were 49-14 and top of the Western Conference when this season was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Los Angeles Lakers veteran Jared Dudley is "90 per cent confident" the NBA will return amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The NBA was suspended indefinitely in March due to the COVID-19 crisis, which has wreaked havoc across the globe.

It remains to be seen when, and if, the 2019-20 season will resume – the Western Conference-leading Lakers had played 63 of the 82-game regular season when the campaign was halted.

Despite uncertainty, Dudley expressed optimism that the NBA will return after the coronavirus outbreak.

"Right now, 90 per cent confident of returning," the 34-year-old forward said on a conference call on Wednesday.

"The only reason why I wouldn’t say 100 per cent is because you're dealing with the unknown virus that can happen at any moment. They keep talking about the second wave or something unexpected."

NBA practice facilities have started to re-open this month after the league had targeted no earlier than May 8 for teams to return to their complexes.

"I don't think you're going to go from zero to 100," Dudley said. "I think they'll give us seven to 10 days of individual workouts. Then that next seven days practice. And then you'll get your two- to three-week training camp before we head to Orlando and Vegas."

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is reportedly considering the league returning via two locations – Orlando and Las Vegas.

Discussing the possible bubble-like format, Dudley said: "You will be allowed to leave. Now just because you leave, if we're going to give you that leeway, if you come back with corona, you can't play."

Dudley added: "When you're dealing with 300 different players – if you've seen the [Michael] Jordan documentary, every team's got a [Dennis] Rodman. He just doesn't have green and blue hair.

"There's always someone who's outside the box, who does that, takes the risk and says, 'Hey, listen, man, I'm healthy, and I feel good.'"

Michael Jordan has been branded a liar by ex-Chicago Bulls team-mate Horace Grant over claims made in 'The Last Dance' series.

In the 10-part docuseries, co-produced by ESPN and Netflix, Jordan accused Grant – who won three NBA championships with the Bulls – of being a source for Sam Smith's book 'The Jordan Rules', which paints the Hall of Famer in an unflattering light.

But Grant, whose relationship with Jordan soured and who later left for the Orlando Magic, denied the accusations and said Jordan merely holds a "grudge".

"Lie, lie, lie. If MJ had a grudge with me, let's settle this like men," Grant said on ESPN 1000 radio. 

"Let's talk about it. Or we can settle it another way. But yet and still, he goes out and puts this lie out that I was the source behind [The Jordan Rules]. 

"Sam Smith and I have always been great friends. We're still great friends. But the sanctity of that locker room, I would never put anything personal out there. 

"The mere fact that Sam Smith was an investigative reporter. That he had to have two sources, two, to write a book, I guess. Why would MJ just point me out?

"It's only a grudge, man. I'm telling you, it was only a grudge. And I think he proved that during this so-called documentary. When if you say something about him, he's going to cut you off, he's going to try to destroy your character."

The legendary Scottie Pippen, who was beside Jordan for each of the Bulls' six championships in an eight-year span, was another ex-player to appear in the documentary who was supposedly unhappy with his portrayal.

In one episode, Jordan said Pippen was "selfish" over his decision to delay foot surgery that saw him miss the start of the 1997-98 season.

"I have never seen a quote-unquote number two guy, as decorated as Scottie Pippen, portrayed so badly," added Grant, who suggested that the documentary was not a true reflection of events given the role Jordan's production company had in the making of the show.

"When that so-called documentary is about one person, basically, and he has the last word on what's going to be put out there…it's not a documentary.

"It's his narrative of what happens in the last, quote-unquote, dance. That's not a documentary because a whole bunch of things was cut out, edited out. So that's why I call it a so-called documentary."

Grant said that Jordan has a history of holding grudges, adding: "My point is, he said that I was the snitch, but yet and still after 35 years he brings up his rookie year going into one of his team-mates' rooms and seeing [drugs] and women.

"Why the hell did he want to bring that up? What's that got to do with anything? I mean, if you want to call somebody a snitch, that's a damn snitch right there."

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