Daily Gossip, Sunday 5/4/15

Some good news for our Greek-based NBA fans as Kostas Papanikolaou is close to a return, so he says.

PAPANIKOLAOU CLOSES IN ON RETURN

Houston Rockets rookie Kostas Papanikolaou is close to returning to action and staff are hoping that the Greek international will be back as soon as next week.

Via Houston Chronicle:

Papanikolaou went through a couple of things in practice with the team on Saturday, but isn’t playing full contact yet.

“He was out here, but the ankle isn’t ready for 5-on-5 yet,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said.

Papanikolaou said he isn’t sure when he will return, but hopes it could be as early as next week.

SABONIS WON’T DECLARE FOR THE NBA DRAFT

Domantas Sabonis has decided to stay at Gonzaga for another year and will not declare himself available for NBA Draft contention.

It was reported that the youg Lithuanian never even considered throwing his name out there and prefered to stay with Gonzaga the whole time.

THE FINANCIAL BUST FROM KENTUCKY’S LOSS

Via ESPN:

Kentucky’s loss at the hands of Wisconsin on Saturday night not only shattered the undefeated dream of the school’s players and fans but also had financial ramifications for those who had prepared to merchandise the feat being accomplished for the first time in 39 years.

Industry insiders estimate that losing out on a title, and an undefeated season, will cost the University of Kentucky as much as $1.5 million in royalty fees and retailers as much as $15 million in Wildcats championship gear they now won’t sell.

Matt Hoetker, whose Lexington-based Wildcat Wearhouse has been in business since 1995, had so much on the line that he — as he is accustom to do — went on a walk to avoid having to sweat through every moment of the game. When he walked in his house through the garage, his wife Kirby met him inside the door. He knew right away.

“I was just stunned,” said Hoetker, who would have given Kentucky more than $1 million in royalties for sales this season had the Wildcats won. “Every time I get upset, I have to think about what this great season did for us.”

Hoetker said he sold more Wildcats product at his 18 stores in March and the first week of April than he sold for the entire 2011-12 season, when the team last won it all.

“We would have produced 115,000 T-shirts over the next month,” said Hoetker, who is now going on a vacation with his family, something he couldn’t have done if Kentucky won the title.