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College basketball: Freshmen Trae Young, Mo Bamba headed to NBA

Oklahoma basketball star Trae Young announced Tuesday that he’s leaving the Sooners following his freshman season to start his NBA career.

“I’ve been preparing most of my life to join the NBA, and that time has come for me now: After an unforgettable year at the University of Oklahoma, I will enter the June NBA draft and fully immerse myself in the pursuit of a pro basketball career,” Young said in a first-person article, as told to Adrian Wojnarowski, on ESPN.com.

The 6-foot-2 point guard is the only person in Division I history to lead the nation in points (27.4) and assists (8.7). The Sooners finished the regular season 18-14, but their NCAA tournament run came to a quick end last week with a 83-78 overtime loss to Rhode Island in the first round. Young had 28 points and seven assists in that game.

“We won a lot of big games and made the NCAA tournament. I’ll never regret a moment I spent at the University of Oklahoma, or my decision to stay home and become a Sooner for life,” wrote Young, who is expected to be a lottery pick in this summer’s NBA draft.

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“However, I will regret that I didn’t help the Sooners win a national championship. I have always wanted to honor the legacies of Wayman Tisdale, Blake Griffin and Buddy Hield, OU legends who led the program to Elite Eights and Final Fours. I wanted to take the Sooners the distance — all the way to a national championship. When I chose OU, I imagined I’d have more than one chance at the NCAA tournament, but things changed and this season became my only opportunity.

“In the end, I have to make the decision that I believe is best for me, but it doesn’t mean I do so without a heavy heart, without some regret that we won’t get to run it back together next season.”

Bamba going pro

Freshman forward Mo Bamba said he is leaving Texas for the NBA, calling his one season with the Longhorns “incredibly rewarding.”

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Bamba, who is 6 feet 11 with a 7-9 wing span, averaged 12.9 points and 10.5 rebounds. He set a school record for blocks in a season with 111 in 30 games.

Cleared to return

Auburn forward Danjel Purifoy will be eligible to play most of next season.

The university said the NCAA ruled that Purifoy must sit out the first 30% of the season before returning. Purifoy and center Austin Wiley sat out all of the Tigers’ run to a share of the Southeastern Conference regular-season title and the NCAA tournament.

Former Auburn assistant Chuck Person has been charged with accepting bribes to steer players to a financial advisor once they turned pro and funneling some of that money to the families of Wiley and Purifoy. Wiley has been cleared to play next season.

Purifoy averaged 11.5 points and 4.7 rebounds as a redshirt freshman.

Boyle retires

Virginia women’s basketball coach Joanne Boyle said she is retiring because of an unspecified family matter.

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Boyle’s retirement comes only days after the Cavaliers were knocked out of the NCAA tournament in the second round. It was the program’s first NCAA appearance in nine seasons.

The 54-year-old Boyle had a 129-98 record in seven seasons at Virginia.

Attendance boon

Attendance for the first two rounds of the women’s NCAA tournament is the highest in a decade, with an average of 5,067 spectators taking in the first 48 games.

Defending champion South Carolina led the way with 11,085 spectators in its opening-round victory. Fellow Southeastern Conference member Mississippi State followed with 10,211 in the opener on its home court.

Last season’s regionals were at a 20-year low for attendance.

Cal Baptist loses

Jordan Heading scored 21 points, Ty Rowell had 20 and Kalidou Diouf had 19, but Cal Baptist fell 100-94 to Queens University of Charlotte (32-3) in the NCAA Division II men’s quarterfinals at Sioux Falls, S.D.

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It was the first Elite Eight appearance for the Lancers (28-6), who trailed 94-92 with 58 seconds to play.

Westmont falls

Four players scored in double figures for Westmont but the Lions lost 76-64 against Freed-Hardeman in the NAIA Division I women’s final at Billings, Mont.

charles.schilken@latimes.com

Twitter: @chewkiii


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