The Morning Mix

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No more college basketball for another seven months. Has it sunk in yet? The game breakdowns and team story lines have been moved to the back-burner, but the off-season news cycle is always busy. The Early Entry deadline is 26 days away and the coaching carousel is always spinning. The Morning Mix will remain your daily destination for the pulse of the college basketball world during the off-season.

– Our very-own Nick Fasulo previews some of the more intriguing teams to keep an eye out for in 2012-2013

– Jeff Eisenberg ranks the eight best games of the 2011-2012 season. No complaints here, well maybe No.5, oh and the fact that we can’t run all these games back again

– Myron Medcalf provides an excellent list of his 2012 All-Tournament Team. Again, no complaints here

– This is the funniest “End-of-Season Awards” list you will read all week. It’s also surprisingly informative

– This summer’s NBA draft might be “one-and-done” because after Anthony Davis, there are a lot of good players, but no elite, great, transcendent players

– Will Kentucky repeat as National Champions? It might be tough if all five starter declare for the draft. Yes, its true, Calipari can reload in a heartbeat, but in 2012-2013 Kyle Wiltjer and Eloy Vargas figure to be the returning players with the most experience. That’s not exactly Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb and Darius Miller

Your daily “John Calipari to the Knicks” article. But this one, written by the great Adrian Wojnarowski, has an interesting twist

Lexington nearly went up in flames on Monday night, following the Wildcats National Championship victory. But Jayhawk fans weren”t too far behind, as 14 people were arrested in downtown Lawrence following the heartbreaking loss

– Reserve forward Griffin McKenzie has decided to transfer out of Xavier in hopes of garnering more playing time. The 6-8 sophomore played in just 11 games for the Musketeers this season

– Nebraska center Jorge Brian Diaz will not be returning to Nebraska for his senior season. the oft-injured big-man will instead return home to Puerto Rico

– Weber State’s Damian Lillard, the nation’s top scorer, is forgoing his final year of eligibility in order to enter the NBA Draft. Despite playing in the seldom-seen Big Sky Conference, Lillard is likely to be selected in the mid-to-late first round

– Washington freshman Tony Wroten Jr. has decided to leave school in order to enter the NBA draft. He is the second Husky to enter the draft this off-season, joining fellow underclassmen Terrence Ross

– Off-season arrests continue to pile up. This time, it’s Michigan State behemoth center Derrick Nix, who was arrested  on Monday night for marijuana possession and operating a vehicle in the pressence of drugs. He has been suspended from the team and his future with the program is up in the air

– Georgia State is often considered the odd man out in the CAA. GSU is located seven hours from its closest conference opponent (UNC-Wilmington) and a move to the Sun Belt Conference could be beneficial

– It was just last week that sources indicated that Georgetown would meet San Diego State in the Battle on the Midway aboard the USS Midway next season. Well it looks like the Hoya’s arch-rivals Syracuse have poached their spot on board the aircraft carrier

– With new coach Jim Baron on the way in, and a handful of transfers eligible to play next year, the Canisius Golden Griffins look to be significantly better in 2012-2013

– Word on the street is that a Lebanese basketball player dropped 113 points in a Lebanese Division-A game on Tuesday. The player, Mohammad El-Akkari — also known as Mustpha El-Akkari, played college hoops at BYU-Hawaii until 2007. BYU-Hawaii was the NCAA Division-II runners-up in 2011. They probably could have used a few of El-Akkari’s 113 points in that one

Troy Machir is the managing editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @TroyMachir.

Grand Canyon lands Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson

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Grand Canyon landed an important piece for its NCAA tournament push on Saturday night as Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson pledged to the Antelopes.

The 6-foot-3 Benson will be eligible right away as spent the past three seasons with the Ducks as a key reserve guard, helping Oregon to multiple deep NCAA tournament runs. Benson picked Grand Canyon over Wisconsin for his final season of college basketball as Benson’s brother, T.J., is an assistant coach with the Antelopes.

Benson shot 40 percent from three-point range last season while also being a steady ball handler over the course of his career at Oregon as he has only 81 career turnovers in over 2,600 career minutes with the Ducks. While Benson wasn’t asked to score a lot for a loaded Oregon team that featured multiple bucket-getters, he could be asked to do more at Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon is eligible for the NCAA tournament for the first time next season as the addition of Benson gives them an experienced guard who should be more of a factor in the WAC. The Antelopes are coming off of a 22-9 season in which they finished 11-3 in conference play.

With great facilities and a quickly-growing fan base, head coach Dan Majerle has the potential makings of a perennial mid-major conference contender if he continues to recruit well to Grand Canyon.

Colorado adds commitment from Class of 2017 point guard McKinley Wright

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Colorado landed one of the best available point guards for next season on Friday as Class of 2017 floor general McKinley Wright committed during an official visit.

A former Dayton commit who opted out of his recruitment after former head coach Archie Miller took the Indiana job, Wright was one of the best available point guards left as he played last weekend on the adidas Gauntlet in front of college coaches with D1 Minnesota.

The 6-foot-0 Wright gives the Buffaloes another ball handler and distributor as he was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball during this past season. As a senior, Wright averaged 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.

It’s always hard to say if spring recruits who elevate a level in recruiting after decommitting are making the correct decision, but Wright looked the part of a high-major lead guard last weekend, and Colorado wasn’t the only high-major program that was pushing hard to add Wright at this late stage.

Oral Roberts to hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills

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Oral Roberts has found its new head coach as they will hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills, as first reported by NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster.

Mills had been on staff with the Bears since 2003 as he’s been a big factor in why head coach Scott Drew has been able to turn around that program. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mills has been a full-time assistant at Baylor since the 2009 season.

“I am honored to accept this role of representing this historic institution, its students and its mission,” Mills said in a release. “Making this commitment today is a highlight of my career and I look forward with excitement to the basketball season directly ahead. Go Golden Eagles.”

Mills will replace former head coach Scott Sutton, who was relieved of his duties this offseason after 18 years at the helm.

 

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery to redshirt in basketball to pursue baseball

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Iowa commit Connor McCaffery is in a unique spot when he starts his freshman year in Iowa City next year.

Not only is the 6-foot-4 guard the son of basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, while being a four-star national basketball prospect, but Connor also has a bright future in baseball.

There was a lot of speculation as to what Connor might do for his future in athletics and he gave more clarification on what he might be looking to do on Friday.

McCaffery has decided to redshirt in basketball next season to focus on the beginnings of his baseball career at Iowa. A walk-on for both sports, the move enables Connor McCaffery to potentially play three years of basketball with his younger brother, Patrick, who is also a heralded basketball recruit for Iowa. This move also gives Connor the best chance to pursue both sports while he’ll also help out a young Iowa basketball team with its tough scholarship scenario.

Butler, Chris Holtmann agree to a contract extension

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Butler has agreed to a contract extension with head coach Chris Holtmann, the school announced on Friday, that will keep him under contract through 2025.

“Butler truly is a special place, and my family and I are thankful to be part of a great academic institution and an athletics department that is a source of pride for those who embrace Butler and The Butler Way,” said Holtmann. “Our student-athletes, our staff, and so many throughout our campus are remarkable at what they do, and I’m excited to continue to work alongside them.”

Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 25-9 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In three years with the program, Holtmann has a record of 70-31.

“Chris is a tremendous ambassador for Butler and the Butler Way, and his leadership has resulted in success both on and off the court for the talented young men in our program,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “This commitment – both by our university and by Chris – allows the momentum within our program to continue.”

Holtmann was in the mix for a couple of jobs this spring, including N.C. State and Missouri.