The Morning Mix

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– The big news of the day is that Baylor men’s and women’s basketball teams were found to have made several hundred impermissible texts and phone calls to recruits. This all took place on the same day that star forward Perry Jones III decided to enter the NBA draft. But Gary Parrish takes an astonishingly brilliant angle on the possible sanctions: If this is all they get busted for, they should be happy. Quincy Miller will make his NBA decision later today. Rush The Court ponders the age-old question: Do the ends justify the means?

– Members of Florida International’s basketball team walked out of their banquet last night in protest over the school’s firing of head coach Isaiah Thomas

– Eamonn Brennan provides your must-read of the day: A riveting list of all the “what-ifs” from the 2011-2012 season

Jeff Eisenberg provides an interesting take on why Trent Johnson would want to leave LSU for TCU

– Ryan Fagan lists the top-ten first round upsets in tournament history. This past season’s tournament is most certainly represented

– Hey look, another person doesn’t think the new NBA draft deadline is helping the players. Is anybody at the NBA offices reading this?

– Michigan guard Trey Burke will return to Ann Arbor for his sophomore season, despite reports last week that he was expected to declare for the draft. With Burke running the point, and a talented recruiting class on the way in, the Wolverines will be one of the favorites to win the Big-Ten

– Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum, one of the darlings of the NCAA tournament, is staying in school for his senior year. Let him tell you why he decided to come back

– Central Michigan transfer Trey Zeigler will attend Pittsburgh, but it is still unclear if he will be able to play in 2012-2013 or if he will have to sit out a year

– Vanderbilt star guard John Jenkins will forgo his senior season in order to enter the NBA draft

– Kansas junior Thomas Robinson is officially declaring for the draft, and the issue of his real height should be the topic of many a pre-draft debateMinnesota has granted Chip Armelin his release, meaning the sophomore guard is free to transfer. it also means that the Golden Gophers will have a scholarship available to use on Trevor Mbakwe, who has granted another year of eligibility

– Not all is lost in Arkansas. freshman guard B.J. Young has decided to return for his sophomore season in favor of entering the draft

– North Texas fresh Tony Mitchell, a likely first round draft pick, has decided to return to school for his sophomore year. Mitchell initially committed to Missouri in 2010 but did not qualify academically. With the dominant forward back, the Mean Green are being considered by some as a preseason top-25 team

– After becoming one of the first players to declare for the NBA draft early, South Florida’s Victor Rudd Jr. has made the smart decision and will return to school next year

– Oregon State guard Jared Cunningham will not return for his senior season in Corvalis, opting to head to the NBA instead

– Matt Fultz provides a nice little SEC recap on NBA draft decisions

– In case you missed it, College  Basketball Talk unveiled their “Dunk of the Year” Awards yesterday. The Top-10 Dunks of the Year will be released later today

– You won’t find a more in-depth, detailed season-in-review post on Clemson’s 2011-2012 campaign as the one you will find at Shakin’ in the Southland. You just won’t

– In case you missed it, Georgia State is leaving the CAA and will become a member of the Sun Belt Conference in 2013-2014

– I don’t know if you’ve seen this yet, but if you haven’t make sure you have. It’s post-game locker room video following Kentucky’s national championship victory

– Speaking of Kentucky videos, the Wildcat’s bench mob, dubbed the W.B.A (or White Boy Academy) released a legit music video honoring BBN’s eighth National Championship

– Delaware women’s basketball phenom Elena Della Donne threw out the first pitch at the Philadelphia Phillies home opener. If you watch until the 2:10 mark, you may notice The Philly Phanatic breaking the most sacred of all mascot rules: NO TALKING!

– Speaking of baseball, Kentucky’s Darius Miller is going to throw out the first pitch for a Lexington Legends Class-A game next week. We already know he can’t possibly do any worse than John Wall

Report: Texas’ Jones to test NBA possibility

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Both of Texas’ McDonald’s All-Americans from its 2016 class will test the NBA waters.

Andrew Jones will declare for the draft, but will not hire an agent, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.

The 6-foot-4 guard joins Jarrett Allen, the Longhorns’ star center, in utilizing the rule change that became available to players last year in which they can declare, workout for teams, attend the NBA combine and still return to school.

Jones averaged 11.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game as a freshman. He shot 42.5 percent from the field overall and 32.8 percent from 3-point range.

Allen seems the likelier candidate to remain in the draft as a potential lottery pick, but Jones came to Austin with similar one-and-done possibilities given his status as one of the class’ top recruits.

Texas, of course, is hoping both return, not just because they’re both big talents, but because incoming and highly-touted recruit Matt Coleman fills the major hole in last year’s lineup – point guard. If the three of them can share the floor together, Year 3 of the Shaka Smart era will be much more interesting.

Morrow announces transfer from Nebraska

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Nebraska was once again hit with a surprising and damaging transfer.

Ed Morrow, Jr., who led the Huskers in rebounding last year, announced his intention to transfer, the school announced Wednesday.

“I support Ed in his decision to transfer schools and wish him well,” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said in a statement. “We appreciate his hard work over the last two years. Although I am disappointed, we will continue to recruit young men who are committed to our mission of building Nebraska Basketball with a culture of success in all areas…life, school and winning basketball at its highest level.”

The 6-foot-7 sophomore’s departure is a major hit to the Huskers, who are coming off a 12-19 year in which Miles’ job security was called into question. It almost assuredly will be again this year as Nebraska hasn’t been able to build on its 2014 NCAA tournament appearance, instead putting together three-straight losing seasons.

Morrow’s decision is surprising not only given he’d been a productive member of the team – averaging 9.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game – but because he was born in Nebraska before attending high school in Chicago and both his parents were Nebraska student-athletes his father winning a national title on the football team in 1994 and his mother an all-Big Eight performer on the basketball team.

“I want to say thank you to my teammates, coaches, the fans and the University of Nebraska athletics department for giving me the opportunity to play Division I basketball,” Morrow said in a statement. “It is hard to leave home, and Nebraska is my home. I was born and raised here, it is my parents’ alma mater, and I have a lot of friends here. But sometimes you have to venture out to pursue dreams and aspirations in a career. This is a sacrifice I have to make to better myself.”

Morrow’s transfer comes a year after Andrew White surprised Nebraska with his decision to graduate and transfer to Syracuse, which no doubt impacted the Huskers’ poor 2016-17 record.

Miles was on the hot seat at the end of last season and will assuredly begin this season there as well. A roster hit like Morrow won’t do much to help him improve the situation. Nebraska does, however, have three starters returning while Georgetown transfer Isaac Copeland is eligible, as is Miami (Fla.) transfer James Palmer, Jr.

Lonzo Ball says “I’m better than” Markelle Fultz

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Usually, it’s LaVar Ball that makes news for what he says.

His eldest son is now getting in on the business of generating headlines with something other than his play.

The UCLA star, who said he’ll enter the draft after just one season with the Bruins, claimed he’s the better prospect than Washington freshman Markelle Fultz, who many have pegged as the No. 1 pick in June’s draft.

“Markelle’s a great player,” Ball said, according to ESPN, “but I feel I’m better than him,” “I think I can lead a team better than him. Obviously he’s a great scorer — he’s a great player, so I’m not taking that away from him.”

Not exactly inflammatory stuff – like saying you could have beaten Michael Jordan, that you want a $1 billion apparel deal or a number of things his father has said – bu Ball is certainly projecting confidence. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. There’s quite a bit of money – and pride – at stake with the draft, and Ball put up a season worthy of comparison to Fultz, who had great numbers but played for an abysmal Washington team. Ball, on the other had, had strong numbers while leading UCLA to the Sweet 16.

Both are going to go at the top of a draft that’s stocked full of promising point guards. Which player goes before the other remains to be seen, but it’s likely public pronouncements aren’t going to affect the draft order.

 

UMass hires McCall away from Chattanooga

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UMass has found, once more, the man to take over its basketball program.

The Minutemen have reached an agreement with Chattanooga coach Matt McCall, the school announce Wednesday

“The tradition and resources that are in place not only make this one of the best basketball jobs in the Atlantic 10 Conference,” McCall said in a statement released by the school, “but one of the best jobs in the country. We couldn’t be more excited about becoming part of the UMass family and look forward to building upon the rich tradition that has been established here in the past.”

In McCall’s two years at Chattanooga, the Mocs to the NCAA tournament in 2016 and a 19-12 record this year that featured five-straight losses to end the season.

The move will take McCall out of the southeast for the first time in his career as he previously served as at Florida and Florida Atlantic before getting his first head coaching job at Chattanooga.

McCall wasn’t the Minutemen’s first choice to replace Derek Kellogg after three-straight lackluster seasons. Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey had agreed to take the job before a last-minute about-face that saw him return to the Eagles program just before his introductory press conference was scheduled to begin.

“Matt is a rising star in college basketball coaching who has been a key piece of three successful programs in his career,” UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford said in a statement. “He has earned a reputation as a relentless worker, a great teammate and colleague and a confident leader of young men.

“Matt has worked with some of the most respected coaches and administrators in the country, who loudly sing his praises. Coach McCall’s appointment begins an exciting new chapter for our tradition-rich men’s basketball program at UMass.”

Despite being the second choice, McCall’s reputation in the coaching industry makes him a strong hire, having worked under Mike Jarvis and Billy Donovan. He took over at Chattanooga for Will Wade, and brought the Mocs to a 29-6 record and a  12-seed in the NCAA tournament in 2016.

UMass went to just one NCAA tournament under Kellogg (in 2014) during his nine seasons leading the Minutemen.

VIDEO: Frank Martin’s sideline demeanor as a high school coach

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South Carolina coach Frank Martin has the reputation of being rather, shall we say, intense on the sidelines during games.

The coach has a stare that seemingly could bore a hole through his players when they do something that doesn’t reach his level of expectation. Martin’s demeanor, though, didn’t just come into form once he hit the college ranks.

He was plenty intense on high school sidelines as well.

Martin won three titles while at Miami Senior in the mid-1990s, coaching the likes of future pros Steve Blake and Udonis Haslem. Now having reached his first career Final Four, that sideline persona has put him on the precipice of winning yet another championship, this time at the collegiate level.