The Morning Mix

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Before we begin, take a moment of silence for the passing of Louisiana Tech bulldog mascot “Tech XX”. After being labeled “missing” for two days, animal care workers came forward and  revealed that the dog had been mistakenly left outside for too long, and died of  heat stroke.

Bulldogs are way too damn cute to pass away.

– Your must-read of the day is from Eric Prisbell of The USA Today. It’s about recruiting and improper benefits. You’ll want to make sure you read this. Apparently a former Big-XII recruit who was drafted in the second round a recent NBA draft got paid six figures (I’d go with Tiny Gallon, but all the evidence points towards DeAndre Jordan)

– Ken Pomeroy thinks there are three specific players that could have breakout seasons due to an expanded role  (Insiders Only)

– Central Florida head coach Donnie Jones is optimistic about the Golden Knight’s future despite their one-year postseason ban

– Ken Caldwell, the runner at the focus of the UCF violations, took to a webcam to “speak the truth”. Gary Parrish reviewed the video. It’s hilarious

– Gary Parrish also ripped in to the sleazy side of recruiting. Reads like this never get old

– This is what our US Olympic basketball teams would have looked like if it was open to college players only

– Jeff Goodman takes a gander at what the 2016 Olympic Team might end up looking like

– The Hustle Belt is one of the best conference-specific blogs out there. They showed why with a great list of all the NCAA violations in MAC history. Quality stuff, gents

Fran Fraschilla details the list of schools that need to bolster their rosters with a strong 2013 recruiting class (Insiders Only)

– Both Laurence Bowers and Jio Fontan have been cleared to participate following extended time off due to ACL tears. Bowers should stake his claim again as one of the best dunkers in the country. Fontan is going to be doing a lot of the heavy lifting for USC this season

– Andy Glockner explains why some improved luck will help schools like Memphis St. Joseph’s, and USC

Here are the five keys to success for Ben Howland at UCLA this season

– A list of the top student sections in Philadelphia

A preview about Robert Morris with only one sentence about Velton Jones? Homeboy deserves more than one sentence. Dude is a wrecking machine

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

SMU won’t appeal tournament ban, Brown suspension

Associated Press
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Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.

Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.

“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.

“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”

Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.

This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.

Kevin Marfo commits to George Washington

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Kevin Marfo committed to George Washington on Friday evening, announcing his decision on Twitter.

“I am grateful and appreciative to all the schools that recruited me. But I will be spending the next four years at George Washington University,” he tweeted.

This caps a successful week for Mike Lonergan on the recruiting trail. On Tuesday, GW landed a commitment from Darnell Rogers, a 5-foot-3 point guard. He is the son of former GW guard Shawnta Rogers, the 1999 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. GW ends the week by adding a tenacious rebounder to a front court that graduates top rebounder Kevin Larsen after this season. Rogers and Marfo join power forward Collin Smith in the Class of 2016. Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina will also be eligible in 2016-17.

He cut his list to 10 in August with Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Boston College, UMass, Saint Joseph’s, DePaul, Rhode Island and Providence all making the cut along wit the Colonials. He later trimmed the list to five finalists: BC, Providence, DePaul, GW and Rhode Island.

The Worcester Academy (Mass.) forward played for BABC this summer in the Nike EYBL, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.  The 6-foot-8 Marfo is listed as the No. 148 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.