What we're reading while we get pumped for a trip to the Verizon Center tonight. Submit links via Twitter.
Yesterday, we discussed the ongoing travails of referee Karl Hess, who was accused by a Mit Shah, an Atlanta-area CEO and former member of the Wake Forest board of trustees, of using a racial remark in a sideline exchange during Sunday's Louisville-Wake Forest game. Today, the ACC fired Hess, the result of an "accumulation of events," a source told ESPN. Soon thereafter, Hess withdrew himself from his American Athletic Conference assignments, and is considering doing so in the Big 12, Big East, and SEC. The Big East says it is conducting its own independent investigation into Hess's work. Hess told ESPN that Friday was "a sad day and is devastating. But I'm responsible. I wasn't trying to deliberately hurt anyone. That's not my character. I goof around a lot, and there was no intent to hurt anyone." We have conflicting feelings here. Hess does seem remorseful, and the suddden sport-wide dogpile does feel a little unseemly. On the other hand, joke or not, Hess's remark was ridiculous and inexcusable and, yes, racist. (Shah is of Indian descent, not Egyptian, as Hess quipped. He was born in New Jersey and raised in Winston-Salem. None of those places are remotely close to Egypt.) So, yes, the punishment should be severe. If this was Hess's first run-in with the ACC league office, perhaps he would deserved a quiet reprimand, a brief suspension, and instructions to apologize. But it wasn't, and so here we are.
The time of the Three Wolf T-Shirt has long since passed. (Was it really five years ago already?) But that doesn't mean Georgetown's version -- featuring three howling likenesses of Jack the Bulldog -- isn't awesome. Let's be clear: That shirt is very, very awesome.
If you're looking for reasons to feel good about Kansas' ability to close out tight games late -- like, for example, Wednesday's "Bloodsport" match of a win Baylor -- having an inbound target who has yet to miss a free throw this season is a pretty good place to start.
Gonzaga has just begun its expected roll through the West Coast Conference, and the difficulties they face in earning a potential No. 1 seed -- even with one nonconference loss at Arizona -- are already becoming clear. Then again, given what happened in 2012-13, maybe it's better to eschew the top-seed bullseye.
Cleveland, Ohio, native Carlton Bragg is a five-star prospect in the class of 2015 with the college hoops world at his feet. Bragg's final five schools were Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, UCLA, and Arizona, with the Jayhawks, Wildcats, and Fighting Illini in the top three. On Thursday, the 6-foot-10 Villa Angela-St. Joseph product walked to a podium at his high school and dramatically announced his choice: Kentucky. Er, wait. Kansas! Yes, Bragg accidentally said Kentucky even as he was putting on a Kansas hat, in spite of his intentions to join Bill Self's program. Poor kid. Nerves are a fickle mistress.
Enjoy the weekend, everyone.