The Morning Mix

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– The big news of the day is that legendary women’s coach Pat Summitt is stepping down at Tennessee. She won eight national championships in 38 seasons but was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease back in August. Summitt’s legacy goes well beyond just wins and titles. You can debate how popular women’s basketball truly is,  but it would not be where it is today if it was not for Pat Summitt. In short, for the last 25 years or so, she has been women’s college  basketball.

– Dan Wetzel and Jeff Goodman both weigh-in on the Jarrod Uthoff fiasco. Wisconsin has now blocked Uthoff from transferring from 25 different schools. Bo Ryan finally addressed the situation, but doesn’t really explain anything. Oh and the university almost lost Uthoff’s appeal letter, so there’s that too. Basically, nothing good ever comes of this. Just let the kid already

– Pat Forde cannot understand why SMU would want to hire 72-year old Larry Brown as their new head coach. But Brown still hasn’t officially signed on the dotted line yet. David Steele thinks that even at 72 years of age, Brown can transform this team

– Deron Snyder reminds us that if we had the chance to leave college after a national championship in order to make NBA money, we probably would (And he’s right)

– ESPN’s Ric Bucher wrote a solid article about Isaiah Thomas’ tenure at FIU. While “Zeke” didn’t have the best record, his players loved playing for him, and they excelled in the classroom under his watch

Basketball rivalry trophies? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes, and yes.

– Fran Frascilla put together a fantastic list of breakout players to watch for next season

– Rush The Court provided a great list of instant impact transfers to be on the look out for in 2012-2013

– C.J Leslie will return to North Carolina State for his junior season. His presence will make the Wolf Pack one of the preseason favorites to win the ACC next season

The U.S. Senate actually passed a bill congratulating Kentucky on their National Championship. Really fellas? Fix the BCS, fix expansionocalypse. Hell, fix transfer-blocking. But don’t waste tax-payer money on bills congratulating teams (Even though it probably doesn’t take more than 15 minutes to get done from start to finish)

– Speaking of the ACC, a lot of teams will see a lot of roster turnover in the off-season, which could make for an interesting 2012-2013 season

– Toledo will join UConn among the ranks of teams banned from postseason play in 2013 due to low APR scores. The university lobbied for an appeal, but it was denied

– Speaking of Toledo, they got some good news as well. Loyola’s Justin Drummond, the MAAC Sixth Man of the Year, is transferring in to their program

– USC-transfer Ari Stewart will not be charged with marijuana possession stemming from an arrest in February. Instead he will have to go through a drug diversion program

– This Zach Tomaselli character is a troubled human being. A week after claiming he lied about everything involving the Bernie Fine abuse allegations, he went back to his original statements

– VUHoops.com provides an update on the nonsensical MWC/C-USA merger fiasco

UCLA and Texas will play a game next season at Reliant Stadium, the home of the Houston Texans, and the site of the 2011 Final Four

– This is said a lot, but it’s very true for Minnesota: Next season is a very important year for the Golden Gophers program

– Kim English, a college hoops media favorite, used game film and personal evaluation to improve his game this past season

Illinois lands important commitment from four-star Class of 2017 guard Mark Smith

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Illinois landed a very important Class of 2017 commitment on Wednesday as guard Mark Smith pledged to the Illini.

The 6-foot-4 Smith was previously a Missouri commit for baseball, but some issues with his arm caused him to look back into basketball last summer. A native of Edwardsville, in the St. Louis metro area, Smith came out of nowhere to win the Illinois Mr. Basketball award as a senior this season as he averaged 21.9 points, 8.4 assists and 8.2 rebounds while becoming a consensus national top-100 prospect.

Rivals rates Smith as the No. 52 overall prospect in the Class of 2017 as he could come in and earn immediate minutes at Illinois next season at either guard spot.

This is a very important commitment for head coach Brad Underwood and the Illini as the new head coach was able to hold off some elite programs like Kentucky and Michigan State for Smith’s services.

Northwestern gets commitment from Boston College transfer A.J. Turner

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Northwestern landed a transfer on Wednesday as former Boston College wing A.J. Turner pledged to the Wildcats, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com.

The 6-foot-7 Turner just finished his sophomore season with the Golden Eagles as he averaged 8.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. A well-rounded wing who also shot 37 percent from three-point range, Turner will have to sit out one season due to NCAA transfer regulations before getting two more years of eligibility.

With Scottie Lindsay and Vic Law only having limited time left in Evanston, Turner provides a bit of insurance on the wing for the Wildcats for the future as he’s a proven rotation player coming from the ACC.

Oakland’s Greg Kampe hosting charity golf event with big-name coaches

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Oakland head coach Greg Kampe hosted a successful charity event for cancer research two years ago by allowing people to bid online to play a round of golf with some of college basketball’s best coaches.

Kampe is back again this year as he’s hoping to eventually raise $1 million for the American Cancer Society.

According to a report from Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press, Kampe has 11 high-profile names that fans can play with this year.

  • Tom Izzo, Michigan State
  • Frank Martin, South Carolina
  • Rick Barnes, Tennessee
  • Mick Cronin, Cincinnati
  • Chris Holtmann, Butler
  • Kevin Willard, Seton Hall
  • Greg Kampe, Oakland
  • Stan Van Gundy, Detroit Pistons
  • Steve Lavin
  • Fran Fraschilla
  • Bill Raftery

Fans can find more details about the auctions and all of the details here.

The minimum bid is $15,000 per coach. A “buy now” bid of $24,000 is also available.

Each round includes the following, according to the event’s website:

Up for auction will be 11 spectacular packages, featuring a private dinner with elite basketball coaches and VIPs, a one night stay at MotorCity Casino Hotel on Sunday, June 4, and an afternoon of golf on Monday, June 5 at Oakland Hills Country Club on the South Course. The winning bidders and their two guests will round out the foursomes with their selected VIP: Rick Barnes, Mick Cronin, Fran Fraschilla, Chris Holtmann, Tom Izzo, Greg Kampe, Steve Lavin, Frank Martin, Bill Raftery, Stan Van Gundy, or Kevin Willard.

There are a lot of great selections to choose from for this sort of thing, but I can’t imagine a better afternoon than playing golf with Bill Raftery and a few friends. There are some other tempting choices on this list, but that’s the one I would have to jump at.

If you think 137 players declaring for the draft is stupid, you’re probably stupid

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The NBA Draft’s full early entry list came out on Tuesday afternoon, and there were 137 underclassmen listed on it.

137.

For 60 spots in the NBA Draft, only 30 of which guarantee you a contract in the NBA.

And that’s before you factor in the 45 international players that also declared for the NBA Draft, as well as the crop of seniors — Josh Hart, Monte’ Morris, Jaron Blossomgame, Alec Peters — that are going to end up hearing their names called. All told, there are going to be roughly 200 players competing to be one of the 60 people that end up getting drafted on June 22nd, and you don’t have to be any good at math to realize that 200 is a much, much bigger number than 60.

This unleashed a torrent of bad takes on the decision of these players.

And bad may not be doing those takes justice.

Because the bottom-line is this: You cannot paint the decision on whether or not to go pro with a broad brush.

For some players, making money of any kind is something they need to do to support their family, whether it’s what they’ll get with a first round guarantee, the $75-100,000 they’ll get for making a training camp roster to subsidize their time in the D-League while teams develop them or the money they can make in the D-League or overseas. You don’t know what their financial situation is. Maximizing their ability to capitalize on every available dollar they can make off of their athletic gifts may be more important than working towards a degree.

And it’s worth noting here that a guaranteed contract isn’t the only way to make a living in professional basketball. To say nothing of the money that can be made overseas or the number of second round picks and undrafted players that make guaranteed money — which is more than you probably realize — it needs to be noted that D-League salaries are getting a bump this year with the new CBA.

The NBA has also instituted something new called a “two-way contract”. Without getting into the legalese, it’s essentially a retainer worth well into the six figures that they will be able to give to two players that will allow them to retain that player under contract while sending them between the D-League and the NBA roster. In a sense, it creates an extra 60 NBA roster spots for players that have 0-3 years worth of professional basketball on their résumé.

Some players are simply declaring without signing with an agent because they want to get feedback directly from NBA personnel on what their professional prospects. Some will hear that they need to return to school to work on their body, or work on their jumper, or mature as a person to be able to handle everything that comes with being a professional. Others will be told they’re going to make a lot of money by staying in the draft, or that they need to go back to school because, frankly, they are not professional basketball players. Not getting invited to the NBA combine is a pretty good indication of where you stand in the eyes of NBA teams.

Still other players are putting their name into the draft to leave their options open should they be recruited over by the program they are a part of. Take Frank Jackson, for example. If he can return to school and thrive as Duke’s point guard, maybe he turns into a top 20 pick. But what happens if Trevon Duval, the best point guard in the Class of 2017 and a top five pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, picks Duke? Would it be in Jackson’s best interest to come back to Duke when he won’t be playing the position that he needs to learn to play to turn himself into a lasting NBA player?

Jackson, like the roughly 100 underclassmen that have declared without an agent, has until May 24th to make his decision on whether or not he will keep his name in the draft. Until then, he can return to school without damaging his eligibility.

The entire reason that the NCAA changed their rules to allow players to test the waters is so that they can make the most important decision of their lives with as much information as humanly possible. This thing exists for the sole purpose of allowing the kids to have as much knowledge about their options as possible.

And that is exactly what these kids are doing.

So the idea that this rule, or players taking advantage of that rule, however high that number may be, is a bad thing is stupid.