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

N.C. State adds grad transfer Sam Hunt

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N.C. State added its fourth transfer this offseason. Like ex-Baylor guard Al Freeman, the latest one is eligible to play next season.

Sam Hunt, a double-digit scorer the past two seasons at North Carolina A&T, officially enrolled at North Carolina State on Monday morning.

“Sam is a great young man and will bring much needed depth to our backcourt,” N.C. State head coach Kevin Keatts said in a statement. “I want guys who are excited about being a part of our program and Sam really wants to be here.

“Sam is a combo guard that can space the floor with his ability to shoot the basketball. He is a good fit for the system and will bring a wealth of experience to our roster.”

Hunt, the 6-foot-2 guard, averaged 12.7 points per game last season, a dip from the 15.4 points per game he posted for the Aggies as a redshirt sophomore.

Hunt joins a roster that lost its three leading scorers from a season ago, one that ended 15-17 (4-14 ACC). Dennis Smith Jr. is a member of the Dallas Mavericks. Maverick Rowan also pursued a professional career and Terry Henderson was denied an additional year from the NCAA.

The Wolf Pack bring back forwards Abdul-Malik Abu and Omer Yurtseven as well as Torin Dorn.

Keatts, who took over the program after leading UNC Wilmington to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments, has already built for the future. UNC Wilmington transfer C.J. Bryce, 17.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game for the Seahawks, has followed him to Raleigh. Utah transfer Devon Daniels committed to the Wolf Pack the same day as Bryce. Both will have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer rules. Bryce will have two years of eligibility while Daniels will have three.

LaVar Ball stars in an uncomfortably entertaining segment on WWE’s Raw

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LaVar Ball’s statements and antics over this past year always seemed better suited a professional wrestling ring.

It was only natural that the patriarch of the Ball family — and the head of the Big Baller Brand — made an appearance on WWE’s Monday Night Raw at the Staples Center for an awkwardly entertaining segment with WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz.

With sons, Lonzo — in his first appearance in the Staples Center as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers — and LaMelo looking on, LaVar was the center of attention. When The Miz mentioned something about a partnership between the two, the scripted interview went south. It resulted in LaVar saying nonsensical things like, “There’s only two dudes better than me, and I’m both of ’em!” before later taking off his shirt. When Dean Ambrose, a WWE superstar feuding with The Miz came out on to the ramp, LaVar didn’t quite grasp the concept that that was his cue to stop talking.

This segment was somehow entertaining and cringeworthy at the same time.

Now that Lonzo is beginning his NBA career, maybe it’s time LaVar try something different. A manager in the WWE may just be his true calling. He’s certainly had plenty of practice.

Maryland lands commitment from five-star 2018 forward

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Maryland added to its 2018 recruiting class with its second commit, the newest addition being a five-star in-state product.

Jalen Smith, a 6-foot-9 forward from Baltimore powerhouse Mount St. Joseph, committed to the Terrapins, making the announcement on Twitter.

“I believe that I can academically and athletically achieve my goals at home through my commitment to the University of Maryland … Go Terps,” he tweeted as part of a long passage.

Smith is listed as the No. 13 overall recruit in the Class of 2013 by Rivals. He joins four-star swingman Aaron Wiggins in Mark Turgeon’s current recruiting class.

Playing for Team Takeover on the Nike EYBL circuit, Smith is averaging 10.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks per game.

Recent grad’s joyride reportedly did $100,000 of damages to Mizzou Arena

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A recent graduate and temporary employee of the University of Missouri took an early morning joy ride that reportedly could rack up around $100,000 to Mizzou Arena.

According to Dave Mater of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Nathaniel J. Contant, 23, who graduated from the school in December 2016, drove his Volkswagen Passat through a gate and eventually on to the floor of the 15,000-seat on-campus arena.

At 7:15 a.m. Sunday, MU police were dispatched to Mizzou Arena for a report of property damage. Officers determined that around 4 a.m., the suspect drove his vehicle through a closed gate on the south side of the arena. He ran through a garage door and drove into a dock area where he damaged several golf carts that were stored in the area. He also drove his car onto the basketball court. The man couldn’t leave through the area he used to enter the building, so he drove through the arena’s press gate.

Contant, unsurprisingly, is no longer an employee of the university. He’s being charged with second-degree burglary and first-degree property damage, both of which are felonies. He was released on a $4,500 bond.

The motive for this early-morning joyride remains unclear.

Despite the hype surrounding the upcoming Mizzou season — one that includes the debut of new head coach Cuonzo Martin and the projected No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft Michael Porter, Jr. — Twitter users couldn’t help but poke fun at the dismal recent history the Tigers have had.

(h/t Kansas City Star)

Vance Jackson transfers to New Mexico

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With more than a handful of departures this offseason, New Mexico is set to have a new-look roster for the 2017-18 season. On Monday, Paul Weir, now at the helm of the program, landed a player who should make an impact in the three remaining seasons of eligibility he has left.

Vance Jackson, who spent this past season at UConn, decided to make the move from Storrs to Albuquerque, picking the Lobos over Rutgers, San Diego State, TCU, and Washington.

The 6-foot-8 rising sophomore will have to sit out next year due to NCAA transfer rules before resuming his collegiate career in the fall of 2018.

“The coaches — they trust in me,” Jackson told Geoff Grammer of the Albuquerque Journal last month during his official campus visit. “We’re on the same page. They see a vision.”

Weir, who led New Mexico State this past season to a NCAA Tournament appearance in his one and only season as head coach, succeeded Craig Neal in April.

This offseason has been headlined by transfers, though, those mostly were about players leaving the program. Jackson is the second transfer to land at UNM with Akron’s Antino Jackson electing to use his final season of eligibility with the Lobos. Antino Jackson is a graduate transfer, allowing him to play immediately next season.

Vance Jackson, who was rated as the No. 80 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals, averaged 8.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game while shooting just under 40 percent from three for the Huskies as a freshman.