The Morning Mix

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– Steve Walentik of the Columbia Daily Tribune provides the #ReadoftheDay, in which warns us that no one in college basketball is safe from scandal

– Speaking of scandal, Harvard he entered the mix. But Gary Parrish believes that the Harvard cheating scandal isn’t necessarily a “basketball problem”. Evan Williams of Busting Brackets takes a similar stance on the issue

– Dennis Barry takes an interesting stance on the Duke/UNC scandals, thinks Tobacco Road is too big for the NCAA. Not sure I agree, but I love that he is taking this angle

– Speaking of UNC, did you know that Tyler Hansbrough’s mom is now involved in this mess? Yeah, it’s getting kinda out of control

– Maryland has had quite an interesting off-season from a personnel standpoint.  The Terps lost Terrell Stoglin and Mychael Parker due to university-related issues, but gained Albany-transfer Logan Aronhalt and Xavier’s Dez Wells recently. Now comes word that freshman Sam Cassell Jr., a 6-foot-4 Baltimore-native, is having his eligibility looked at by the NCAA. Throw in the 2011 eligibility issues of Alex Len and the frequent injuries issue to Pe’Shon Howard, and Mark Turgeon has had himself a tough go of thing off the court since taking over at the helm of the Terrapins program

– But Turgeon has not had it half as bad as Texas Tech head coach Billy Gillispie. I’ll spare you the details, but the latest news is that BCG is on his way to the Mayo Clinic for stress-related issues. I’m just going to leave it at that. But make sure you click all the links. You’ll get all the info you need, and Boy, there is a lot of info. Seriously, there is just so much news pouring out every hour, an entire Morning Mix could be devoted to just BCG.

– Roy Williams brought a case of jewelry with him on his in-home visit with Julius Randle. There is a Duke joke to be made somewhere in there

Mike DeCourcy gives us some great reasons why we should and shouldn’t worry about what lies ahead in 2012-2013

– If you even the slightest bit about the AAU circuit, then you know the name Sonny Vaccaro. The Godfather of grassroots basketball is out of the game and according to Dave Kindred, who provides a fantastic profile piece, is a good guy now

– USC-transfer Leonard Washington has been reinstated as a member of the Wyoming basketball team. The leading scorer from a year ago was suspended from the program after an arrest stemming from a brawl he got in back in April

– A look at some of the potential breakout candidates in the Big Sky Conference

– Highly touted recruit Anthony “Cat” Barber has trimmed his list down to three schools – Kansas, Alabama, and North Carolina State

– BeeJay Anya, a highly coveted center from DeMatha Catholic (MD) will attend Indiana’s Hoosier Hysteria

The field has been set for the N.I.T. Preseason Tip-Off. Run the Floor provides a detailed breakdown of the tournament favorites. Rob Dauster discusses which top seeds could get upset early

 

Remember, if you find an article that is worthy of being in The Morning Mix, be sure to use the #ReadoftheDay hashtag on Twitter. 

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

Brandone Francis-Ramirez transferring out of Florida

Florida State center Jean Marc Christ Koumadje (21) fouls Florida guard Brandone Francis-Ramirez (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015, in Gainesville, Fla. (Matt Stamey, The Gainesville Sun via AP)
(Matt Stamey, The Gainesville Sun via AP)
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Brandone Francis-Ramirez is transferring out of the Florida program, the school announced on Wednesday.

A former top 40 recruit, Francis-Ramirez had his two seasons in Gainesville ruined by an academic issues and a loss of confidence. He was academically ineligible in 2014-15, practicing with the team during the second semester. He was granted a redshirt for the year, but he struggled to find any kind of a rhythm this past season. There was a two-month stretch in the middle of the year where he shot 6-for-58 from the floor and 2-for-31 from three.

On the season, he shot 20.2 percent from the floor and 16.9 percent from three.

“I want it to work out for him,” Gators coach Mike White said in a release. “We really appreciate what Brandone did here and wish him the best.”

One of Villanova’s title game stars undergoes knee surgery

Phil Booth, Jack McVeigh
(AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)
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The forgotten star of the national title game underwent an arthroscopic on his left knee on Wednesday.

Phil Booth, who scored a season-high 20 points in the 2016 National Title game, will be a junior next season and one of the guys called upon to help replace Ryan Arcidiacono, who graduated. He should be ready to go by the middle of the summer; according to a statement put out by the program, Booth will need 6-to-8 weeks to heal.

“Phil is as mentally tough a young man as we have had at Villanova,” head coach Jay Wright said in the release. “He continually impresses our coaching staff with his outstanding attitude. Phil will attack this recovery challenge with great determination, as he does everything in life.”

Booth averaged 7.0 points and 2.2 assists this past season.

Jennings becomes seventh player to transfer from Kentucky

Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell watches his team during the team's regional semifinal in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament against Washington in Lexington, Ky., Friday, March 25, 2016. Washington won 85-72. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
(AP Photo/James Crisp)
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell has announced that sophomore forward Alexis Jennings will transfer, the seventh Wildcat to leave the program since last fall.

Jennings’ departure comes a week after Mitchell publicly addressed the mass exodus of players and assistant coaches and stressed the need for building stability. Jennings figured to be part of that process and the coach said in a release Wednesday night that “it saddens us that Alexis did not see a path for her at Kentucky. … She felt it was in her best interest to finish her career elsewhere and we owe her that opportunity.”

The 6-foot-2 Jennings started 18 of 33 games last season and averaged 10 points and 7.1 rebounds.

DePaul adds 2018 commit

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Wisconsin guard John Diener has committed to DePaul, his grassroots program announced Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-4 Class of 2018 guard ends his recruitment rather early with offers also from instate schools Green Bay and Milwaukee. He’s known as a shooter and becomes the first commit for Dave Leitao in the 2018 class.

Diener, who plays with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors in the spring and summer, commits to the Blue Demons with them coming off a disappointing campaign, Leitao’s first in Chicago. DePaul went 9-22 overall and 3-15 in the Big East, finishing only ahead of St. John’s.

DePaul has been recruiting the Midwest hard with incoming 2016 recruits from La Lumiere School in Indiana, Sagninow, Mich. and locally in Chicago.

Four-star guard Fisher commits to TCU

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Jamie Dixon’s presence is already being felt in the Big 12 and on the recruiting trail.

TCU received its first commitment of the Dixon era when four-star 2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher announced his decision to join the Horned Frogs on Wednesday.

“Due to how comfortable my family and I are with the coaching staff,” Fisher posted from his Twitter account, “and the emphasis the university has put on making basketball a priority, I’m committing to be a student-athlete at TCU.”

Getting a consensus top-75 prospect, who was once committed to UNLV, is a heck of a coup for being just a couple months on the job. It instantly shows the Frogs are going to be a player for some of the country’s top players, which is a necessity if you have designs on making a move up the ladder of arguably the country’s best league in the Big 12.

Maybe the most gratifying thing for TCU, though, is the reason Fisher publicly stated for making his decision, the school’s “making basketball a priority.” The hoops program has suffered immensely in the Big 12 (while the football program has flourished), winning a total of eight games in their four seasons (including a winless 2014), but the school sank $72 million into renovating its arena, made an aggressive move in firing Trent Johnson and then went out and got its dream candidate, Dixon, an alum. Fisher’s commitment is the first time those moves have shown that commitment to basketball paying off.