Houston Lands JUCO Forward Gjikondi

Egi Gjikondi, a 6-foot-9, 240-pound forward from San Jacinto Community College, pledged to Houston Tuesday.

Gjikondi, who averaged 5.7 points and 4.5 rebounds last season, also considered Loyola Chicago, Oral Roberts, Jacksonville and Tennessee State.

He will have three years of eligibility going forward.

“I picked University of Houston because I thought it was the best for me personally,” he told SNY.tv. “After meeting with the coaching staff and coach [Kelvin] Sampson I felt comfortable to where the program is headed. To read more of this story, click here

Torian Graham to Houston

TorianNew Houston coach Kelvin Sampson picked up one of the most talented players left on the board when he signed Chipola (FL) College guard Torian Graham.

“Just signed to the university of Houston truly blessed #R.I.P MOM,” Graham Tweeted.

Asked what skillset he will bring, Graham added by text, “A killer mentality every second for me and my teammates, family, coach, etc.”

A onetime N.C. State commit, the 6-foot-4 Graham averaged 12.9 points this season at Chipola. He was suspended for several games after he and two teammates were arrested for ingesting marijuana after police stopped them. To read more of this story, click here

Calhoun Gets Extension; Rice Offers Richardson

UConn will hold a press conference at 10:45 Friday morning to announce a contract extension for head coach Jim Calhoun.

His current contract pays him more than $1.6 million per season and expires in June.

The new five-year contract will be retroactive for one year at a new salary of about $1 million more annually, a source close to Calhoun said. He will have four more years running through the 2013-14 season.

“I feel very comfortable signing a new contract and I think the university feels very comfortable signing a new contract,” Calhoun recently told The Wall Street Journal.

To read more of this story, click here

Penders Out in Houston, Wade Up in the Air

Tom Penders will step down as head coach of the Houston men’s basketball team on Monday and sophomore guard Desmond Wade of Linden, N.J. will evaluate his options.

“Were going to sit back and evaluate the situation,” Jeff Wade, Desmond’s father and an AAU coach with the Select Stars, said Sunday night by phone. “We’re going to see who the new coach is and take it from there and see what the new coach has got to say.

“Des liked Tom Penders, they had a good run. We don’t know after that point.” To read more of this story, click here

Pankey Makes the Call

**Click the Video Player at right for the video interview with Ashton Pankey**

NEW YORK — Ashton Pankey is headed to the ACC.

After taking official visits to Maryland two weeks ago and Houston this past weekend, Pankey announced his college choice Monday in the SNY television studio.

“I’ll be attending the University of Maryland,” said the 6-foot-9, 225-pound Pankey, a Bronx native.

“I felt comfortable with the coaches. Coach [Gary] Williams is a great coach. The players, I got along with them really well. And my mom enjoyed it, too, and she thinks it would be a good place for me to attend.” To read more of this story, click here

Pankey to Announce Next Week

Ashton Pankey, a 6-foot-9, 225-pound power forward from St. Anthony, plans to make his college announcement on Monday and sign his Letter of Intent Tuesday during a ceremony at the Jersey City school.

Four St. Anthony players will sign that day: Pankey, Devon Collier (Oregon State), Derrick Williams (Richmond) and Elijah Carter (St. Bonaventure).

Two years ago, Bob Hurley’s team sent six players to the Division 1 ranks: Mike Rosario (Rutgers), Travon Woodall (Pitt), Jio Fontan (Fordham), Alberto Estwick (Fordham), AJ Rogers (St. Joe’s) and Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas).

Pankey visited Maryland last weekend and heads to Houston this coming weekend. He will then choose between the two.

“After that I’m going to decide between the two. I’ll probably sign by Tuesday,” said Pankey, a Bronx, N.Y. native. To read more of this story, click here