North Carolina's underclassmen decided they wouldn't put off their goal of playing in the NBA any longer. The school said Thursday that...

Share story

North Carolina’s underclassmen decided they wouldn’t put off their goal of playing in the NBA any longer.

The school said Thursday that Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Kendall Marshall will enter the draft, ending a two-year run in which the Tar Heels made deep NCAA tournament runs only to fall a game short of the Final Four each time.

The school didn’t state whether the three planned to hire agents, though it appears they’re in the draft to stay.

“It’s a great day for three youngsters who are taking another step toward their ultimate goal of playing professional basketball,” coach Roy Williams said in a statement. “On a very small stage, it’s a sad day for me because I won’t get to coach them again.”

This week, save 90% on digital access.

The Tar Heels (32-6) were the preseason No. 1 and won the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season championship for a second straight year, but they fell in the NCAA regional final amid a dizzying run of injuries — including wrist injuries to both Henson and Marshall.

Baylor’s Mulkey diagnosed with Bell’s palsy

WACO, Texas — Baylor women’s coach Kim Mulkey has been diagnosed with Bell’s palsy, a form of facial paralysis she says won’t change her approach going into the NCAA Final Four.

“When I smile it’s crooked and when I talk, and talk loud, the hollowness in my hearing is weird,” Mulkey said. “But it’s not going to keep me from hollering.”

Mulkey said Thursday that her tongue started feeling strange at the NCAA regional last weekend. Before practice Wednesday, she noticed only the left side of her mouth was working when she smiled, her right eye was drooping and she couldn’t hear properly out of her right ear.

The diagnosis of Bell’s palsy came after she saw two doctors and had an MRI that ruled out a tumor or a stroke.

Trainer Alex Olson said Mulkey is being treated with anti-viral medication and oral steroids to reduce the inflammation of the facial nerve that causes the problem. It can take months for symptoms to subside.


John Groce was introduced as Illinois’ new coach, just days removed from leading Ohio University to the Sweet 16. Asked about skepticism among some fans and others — after Virginia Commonwealth’s Shaka Smart and Butler’s Brad Stevens passed up chances to take over at Illinois — Groce said he wasn’t surprised.

“If you don’t have thick skin in this profession, you’re in trouble,” said Groce, who has a five-year contract with a base salary of $1.4 million — a significant upgrade from the $355,000 he was getting this year at Ohio.

Danny Manning agreed to become the men’s coach at Tulsa, but his focus remains on his current role as a Kansas assistant coach. “We’ve worked extremely hard to get to this point,” he said in a statement released by Tulsa, “and we want to keep it going for another few days.”

Tulsa officials are planning an introductory news conference next week.

• Former Wake Forest and Xavier assistant Pat Kelsey has been named men’s coach at Winthrop.

• Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said that he regrets sending a message on his Twitter account to Michigan point guard Trey Burke.

Burke tweeted Wednesday that everyone has something to say about his decision on whether to return for his sophomore season or to enter the NBA draft. Hollis then tweeted to Burke: “My advice, believe in YOUR heart & mind, everything else is interference. People u seek out is better than those that seek u.”

That drew a response — on Twitter — from Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon: “Mark Hollis had good intentions-but made a mistake. Not appropriate to tweet one of our student-athletes. Won’t happen again. End of story.”

Custom-curated news highlights, delivered weekday mornings.