The Morning Mix

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– Yesterday marked the one-year “anniversary” of the devastating tornadoes that struck Joplin, Missouri. Rob Dauster and I had the privilege to stop in Joplin during our #BIAHroadtrip in January. Here is our story from the experience of a lifetime. If you read just one thing today, make sure it is this

– No disrespect to our very own Rob Dauster (Yes, the same Rob Dauster I just promoted in the above link), but this is the most unoriginal and regurgitated headline I’ve ever seen. It’s a good read, but the headline leaves much to be desired. Matt Norlander on the other hand, goes wildly out of control with his expansion-related headline

– Andy Katz tries to determine what’s next for the CAA. Apparently the conference is thinking about adding Davidson and College of Charleston, which would be solid additions for the strong mid-major basketball conference

– according to Spencer Hall, the Big East is dead, and here is it’s epitaph

– In case you didn’t already know, Jeff Eisenberg is unquestionably the best blogger in college basketball. Why you ask? because nobody else covers the in’s and out’s like him. Who else has a story on the childhood home of James Naismith going up for sale?

– Former-Marquette and UNLV forward Reggie Smith is on the move once again

Mike Huguenin takes a look at the SEC newcomers that we should all watch out for next season

– Bradley director of basketball operations Patrick Beilein, the son of Michigan head coach Jon Beilein, has been named the head coach at West Virginia Wesleyan (DII)

– Dick Vitale’s most recent Gala raised more than $2-million for pancreatic cancer research. Again, you can dislike Dickie-V for his schtick, or his love for the classic institutions, but there is no denying that he is the best ambassador in the college basketball game

– Eamonn Brennan is wondering if Michigan will ever embrace the Fab Five?

– 6-6 small forward Stephen Domingo, a top-30 recruit in the class of 2013, committed to Georgetown yesterday

– Before his heroic game-four performance against the Indiana Pacers, Dwayne Wade made a visit to Bloomington to meet up with Tom Crean

Notre Dame wants to stay in the Big East, says head coach Mike Brey. But if they don’t, the university has a contingency plan

– CBS has reached a multi-year agreement with ESPN to broadcast ACC, Big-12 and Pac-12 basketball games

– Long-time Pacific head coach Bob Thompson will retire at the end of next season

John Calipari leaked some pictures of Kentucky’s new state-of-the-art basketball complex

Hair gel and house music expert Jeff Borzello takes a look at what the ACC has to offer next season (NOTE: I’ve been informed that Jeff does not use hair gel. It’s  pomade. Whatever that means)

– Stony Brook is making a major step in improve their overall profile by renovating their outdated arena. The Seawolves home court is not even the largest arena on campus, which they were forced to use for the A-East championship game because their home gym did not meet conference regulations

– Thanks to Syracuse’s PR-nightmare of a season, Jim Boeheim’s large raise went unnoticed 

– Speaking of Syracuse, Laurie Fine has officially filed her libel lawsuit against ESPN

Draft Express has all the measurements from the NBA draft combine

– Former-Valpo guard Jay Harris is transfering to Wagner

Seton Hall reserve guard Sean Grennan will transfer to Fairfield

Maryland got a nice backcourt replacement for Terell Stoglin in the form of Albany-transfer Logan Aaronhalt

A nice top-10 list of the best centers in Michigan State basketball history

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

Indiana lands four-star Class of 2017 wing Justin Smith

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Indiana landed an athletic wing commitment on Monday night as four-star small forward Justin Smith pledged to the Hoosiers on Twitter.

The 6-foot-6 Smith is a native of Lincolnshire, Illinois and comes from Stevenson High School as he’s regarded as the No. 105 overall prospect in the Rivals national Class of 2017 rankings.

A high-flying wing who is great in the open floor, Smith should fit the Hoosiers’ uptempo system perfectly and if he’s able to get a more consistent perimeter jumper then he has a chance to be a really nice piece for Indiana.

Smith joins three-star guard Al Durham in Indiana’s recruiting Class of 2017.

Michigan State addingTom Izzo Hall of History wing in remodeled Breslin Center

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 22:  Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans reacts against the Virginia Cavaliers during the third round of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 22, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has already been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this fall and the longtime Spartans head coach is receiving another unique honor in the remodeled Breslin Center.

The school announced over the weekend that the Tom Izzo Hall of History will be added to the Breslin Center renovations as the building is supposed to be completed by the fall of 2017.

“The Tom Izzo Hall of History will become a great gathering place on our campus where together we can celebrate the excellence of Spartan Basketball and MSU Athletics,” athletic director Mark Hollis said in a release. “When this facility project is complete it will be the finest college basketball facility in the country, so it’s only fitting that Tom’s name will be a permanent part of it.”

Overall, this is a nice addition to the Breslin Center, especially since Izzo and Michigan State basketball will forever be associated with one another. It should be cool for fans to go through it and re-live great moments in Michigan State history and the wing is another nice recruiting tool that can help point out all of Izzo’s biggest accomplishments.

 

Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament moving to Orlando amid Zika concerns

Lon Kruger
(AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
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Amid concerns over the Zika virus, the annual Puerto Rico Tip-Off announced a change in venue on Monday. Rather than staying on the island, the tournament will move to Orlando and all games will be played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney.

The dates and teams will remain the same for the event as it will be played Thursday, Nov. 17, Friday, Nov. 18 and Sunday, Nov. 20. The field for the event includes Arizona State, Clemson, Davidson, Missouri, Northern Iowa, Oklahoma, Tulane and Xavier.

“We enjoy the beauty and accommodations that are afforded in Puerto Rico and wanted to make every effort in playing the event in San Juan, but the concern for student-athlete and spectator welfare became the primary driver in the decision,” Pete Derzis, senior vice president of ESPN Events said in the official release.  “We intend to return to Puerto Rico in the future.”

Puerto Rico is currently under a Level 2 alert for Zika according to the CDC. Since there have been cases of Zika on the island with native mosquitoes, it’s probably a smart move to eliminate all concerns over the virus if they can easily move the tournament elsewhere. It probably isn’t ideal for fans who purchased travel packages to Puerto Rico to watch the event, but it’s a small price to pay for the safety of everyone involved.

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company is also upset with the decision as Executive Director Ingrid Rivera Rocafort released a statement on Monday night.

“We are disappointed about this decision that we believe has been based on fear not the facts about Puerto Rico,” the statement read.

“There is no public health reason to cancel the Puerto Rico Tip Off or any sporting event in Puerto Rico. There is no doubt that our strong fan base and local spectators would have turned out to support their teams. Less than one percent of Puerto Rico’s 3.5 million population has contracted Zika, a far cry from projections. The hype and misinformation is fostering irrational decisions.”

PHOTO: Purdue unveils statue of John Wooden outside Mackey Arena

John Wooden (Purdue Athletics)
Purdue Athletics
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John Wooden will forever be associated with the UCLA program for what he did while coaching there.

10 national titles in 12 years, including seven in a row. Not bad, right?

What some people may forget is that before he got into coaching, Wooden was one of the best basketball players in the world. He played his collegiate ball at Purdue, where he was a three-time all-american and the 1932 National Player of the Year.

To honor Wooden’s legacy as one of the greatest Boilermakers ever, Purdue built a statue of Wooden and unveiled it in front of Mackey Arena this weekend:

“Not many people think of Johnny Wooden as a Boilermaker, but when I got here in 1957, some of the old-timers still remembered him as a player,” Jim Hicks, the alumnus that donated the statue, said. “I’m so delighted that people will see this statue and read his Pyramid of Success because I think the pyramid was his most important contribution.”

One of the neat touches of the statue: Wooden’s Pyramid of Success is right there for all to see.

North Carolina lands third commitment in 2017 class

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 23: Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels looks on during the third round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament against the Iowa State Cyclones at the AT&T Center on March 23, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
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North Carolina picked up their third commitment in the Class of 2017 on Monday in big man Brandon Huffman.

A four-star prospect who will play his final season of high school ball at Word of God Academy in North Carolina, Huffman’s strength at this point in his development is as a defensive presence around the basket. He stands 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-5 wingspan and should be able to help replace Kennedy Meeks, who graduates this spring.

Huffman’s development on the offensive end of the floor isn’t quite there yet. A native of Anchorage, Alaska, Huffman is still learning how to be more influential on that end.

Huffman joins Jalek Felton and Andrew Platek in UNC’s 2017 class.