The Morning Mix

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– UCLA is in the news, but for all the wrong reasons. In case you haven’t read it, here is George Dohrmann’s expose on the recent culture of UCLA basketball. Leadership starts at the top, and this “scandal” is a huge indictment of the lack of leadership in the UCLA athletic department. A culture change is needed, but that apparently means that athletic director Dan Guerrero isn’t going anywhere

– Mike DeCourcy doesn’t think that Ben Howland deserves the blame for the program’s drop-off. But there is just too much evidence that indicate that Howland is to blame for many of the problems. A handful of former players responded to this article, including Lorenzo Matta-Real, who had a bevy of opinions on the matter

– Howland believes that “If mistakes were made, they will get fixed”. If? IF? It’s pretty clear that mistakes were made. There are probably better ways to handle the fallout than by questioning the merits of the accusation. Going forward, Ben Howland is going to have to answer a lot of questions. Here is a list of some of the potential inquiries. Amid all the controversy, highly regarded recruit Kevin Anderson reaffirmed his commitment to the university

– Oh, and Reeves Nelson, the villain of the report, is claiming that every single accusation made was “categorically false”

The NCAA has warned schools interested in top-recruit Shabazz Muhammad about potential eligibility issues that may arise in the future.  According to the report, there may be dealings between financial advisers and Muhammad’s family that could compromise the star-prospect’s amateur status. Jeff Borzello provides a list of all the visits taken by Muhammad, and it’s staggering to say the least. This must put UCLA out of the running for his services, right? Myron Medcalf examines how the UCLA controversy will effect future recruiting

OK, we’re all done with UCLA for today. Back to your regularly scheduled programming:

– You really just hate to see a player like John Shurna go out like that on Senior Night

– Nicole Auerbach provides a breakdown of bubble winners and bubble losers from Wednesday night

– Bob Knight took another jab at John Calipari today by not referencing the No.1 team in the country among his list of the best teams in the country on Mike & Mike in the Morning. Gregg Doyel believes that Bob Knight needs to be held accountable for his actions

– A great-read on the different scenarios that could continue “The Border War”

– There was a point in time where it was unsure if Yancy Gates would be part of the Cincinnati program when Senior Day rolled around. But the oft-troubled big man was part of the festivities, and a big part of the Bearcats win over Marquette

– The last thing St. John’s needed right now is an injury to their Mo Harkless. Unfortunately for the Johnnies, the dynamic freshman suffered a right ankle injury last night and his status for the future is unsure

– The Atlantic-10 has a plethora of capable teams, and due to the “down year” in the Big East, the conference is more visible than usual. Did you see the St. Bonaventure’s/St. Joseph’s double overtime game last night? Yeah, the A-10 is legit

– O.D. Anosike, the top rebounder in the country, has had a tremendous season for Siena, but was he good enough to edge out Iona’s Scott Machado for MAAC Player of the Year?

– Your weekly update on the North Dakota nickname controversy: Fighting Sioux not welcomed in NCAA postseason

A listing of possible newspaper headlines for the SoCon Tournament Champions

A solid Q&A with St. Francis head coach Glen Braica

– The Big South couldn’t wait for March to start the madness. No. 2-seed Coastal Carolina and No.3-seed Campbell both go down in the quarterfinals

– EBay is awash of random Kentucky paraphernalia

– This is probably the only “All Walk-On” team you will see all year. From the America East no less!

Gonzaga’s Mark Few named AP Coach of the Year

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Gonzaga head coach Mark Few has added to his program’s banner season with an individual award, being named AP Coach of the Year on Thursday afternoon.

Few led the Bulldogs to their first Final Four. The Zags enter the national semifinal with a 36-1 record. Up until Feb. 25, they were flirting with a perfect season. A loss to BYU is currently the only blemish on their season.

Few also won his 500th career game during the course of the 2016-17 season. Since 2014, two coaches from outside the major conferences have earned his honor. Gregg Marshall was named AP Coach of the Year in 2014 after leading the Shockers to a perfect regular season.

This was a very competitive race this season. Sean Miller lost two players expected to be key pieces this season — and had Allonzo Trier miss 19 games — but guided Arizona to the Pac-12 Tournament championship. Jay Wright led Villanova to another Big East title despite two cornerstone pieces — Ryan Arcidiancono and Daniel Ochefu — gone from last season’s national championship team. For a while, Baylor’s Scott Drew seemed to be the favorite. The Bears didn’t receive a single vote in the preseason top-25 poll but went on to earn a No. 1 ranking.

Few’s season continues on Saturday against South Carolina.

Frank Mason is named AP Player of the Year

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Kansas point guard Frank Mason III was named the AP Player of the Year on Thursday afternoon.

The senior floor general for the Jayhawks headlined the AP All-American team, which included UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball, Villanova Swingman Josh Hart, Purdue big man Caleb Swanigan and North Carolina small forward Justin Jackson.

Mason averaged 20.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and shot 49 percent from behind the 3-point line during the 2016-17 season. He helped guide Kansas to its 13th consecutive Big 12 regular season title.

He becomes the fourth senior in a row to win the award, preceded by Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine, Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminksy and Creighton’s Doug McDermott.

He had previously been named player of the year by NBC Sports.

TJ Leaf declares for the 2017 NBA Draft

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UCLA freshman forward TJ Leaf announced he is declaring for the 2017 NBA Draft on Thursday afternoon.

The 6-foot-10 Leaf averaged 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 blocks per game. His shooting numbers were also impressive, connecting on 62 percent of his field goals, including 27-of-58 from beyond the 3-point arc.

This news comes six days after Lonzo Ball officially announced he had played his last game at UCLA. Neither move is shocking, with Ball in the running for the No. 1 overall pick and Leaf also pegged as a first round selection.

The Bruins will have quite a bit of turnover next season with guards Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton exhausting their eligibility. UCLA head coach Steve Alford has a six-man recruiting class set to come in to help replenish the roster. It’s led by versatile forward Kris Wilkes, point guard Jaylen Hands, and big men Cody Riley and Jalen Hill.

CBT Fancast: Catching up with famous Final Four fans: Adam Morrison, Marcus Paige, Neil Everett

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For today’s episode, I spoke with the famous fans of the programs in the Final Four, from the greatest player in Gonzaga history to the almost-star of last year’s Final Four to the most famous dual Gonzaga and Oregon fan in the world.

Sindarius Thornwell misses practice on Thursday

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Sindarius Thornwell has been the best player in the NCAA tournament to date, yet he was not in the building on Thursday when the South Carolina Gamecocks practiced and he was nowhere to be found during South Carolina’s media availability.

A school spokeswoman told reporters that Thornwell was back at the hotel, that he was sick and resting.

Thornwell is averaging 25.7 points in four games in the NCAA tournament. He’s been sensational. If he’s not at his best this weekend, that’s a massive blow for South Carolina’s chances of getting to a national title game, but South Carolina head coach Frank Martin doesn’t seem too concerned.

“I’ve got a bug myself. Luckily I don’t have to play,” Martin said. “He had a little body temperature last night when we landed. And he was a little better this morning. But I kind of told our trainer, just feed him fluids, do what doctors do and let him rest rather than stress him right now. He’s our most intelligent player. And I don’t mean to say that demeaning the other guys. He understands basketball at a high, high level, he doesn’t need to be on the practice court to understand what we’re doing.”