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Morning Rumble: Austin Nichols grabs a full release, James Blackmon Jr. has surgery

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Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Today in the Morning Rumble, Austin Nichols has been given a full release, an Indiana guard has knee surgery and Emmanuel Mudiay could have led the SMU Mustangs to a title last year.

Memphis gave forward Austin Nichols, who is set to transfer from the Tigers program, a full unconditional release after blocking around 40 schools. These blocked programs included teams in the AAC, Providence, Virginia, Iowa, Tennessee and other Memphis non-conference opponents that are scheduled within the next two years.

All Nichols needed to do was hire a family attorney and have the lawyer threaten to file a lawsuit against the school in federal court. It was that easy.

It now looks like Virginia (Nichols has strong connections at the school) is the front-runner for the forward's services. Duke, Notre Dame, Auburn, Baylor, Marquette and others are still lurking, but the Cavs also were a finalist when Nichols made his decision out of high school.

It's never good news when one of your top players gets injured and now Indiana will have to deal with the loss of James Blackmon Jr. for the next 6-8 weeks. The sharp shooting guard, who will play alongside Yogi Ferrell, Thomas Bryant and Troy Williams this season, had surgery to tend to a torn meniscus in his left knee.

Even though Blackmon is not likely to miss any major October practices or any games, it's still significant when a young athlete misses time to work on their craft and improve their strength and defense.

I give Larry Brown a ton of credit because he's been saying this from Day One: "We might have won the national title with Emmanuel Mudiay."

And it might honestly be true. Mudiay is tearing up the Summer League in Las Vegas with his size, athleticism, unselfishness, motor and crafty play. He needs to work on his jump shot, but if that comes watch out, he could be an All-Star for years to come and a steal for the Denver Nuggets.

This is pretty cool stuff from John Calipari's Twitter feed. Two fantastic coaches, in baseball and basketball, met on Tuesday and Coach Cal looks thrilled. This has got to be at the All-Star game, right?

Kentucky basketball stars, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo, are returning to Rupp Arena (no not with eligibility) for an NBA exhibition game. The Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans will battle it out before the regular season begins, giving Big Blue Nation an up-close view of some of their top NBA stars.

Chris Obekpa can't seem to find the right suitors as two schools have backed out of the "race" for his final year of eligibility. First, it was Richard Pitino and Minnesota and on Tuesday, Jon Rothstein reported that North Carolina State is no longer an option.

UNLV and Arizona State are the only mentioned suitors for the shot blocking big man, who was suspended during the NCAA Tournament last year for a reported failed drug test.