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.

Arizona lands Pitt transfer forward Ryan Luther

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Arizona landed a key addition for its frontcourt on Wednesday as Pitt transfer forward Ryan Luther pledged to the Wildcats.

The 6-foot-9 Luther is expected to receive a hardship waiver that would give him immediate eligibility, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com, as Arizona gets some much-needed help up front.

Playing in 10 games last season before a stress reaction in his right foot ended the season, Luther averaged 12.7 points and 10.1 rebounds per game for the Panthers. In his final game of the season, Luther went for 13 points and 12 rebounds in a Pitt loss to West Virginia. Luther shot 45 percent from the field and is a noted perimeter threat as he was 38 percent from behind the three-point line.

Luther hasn’t logged heavy minutes as a contributor through a full season. Mostly a role player at Pitt until last season, Luther was the team’s most productive player when he was on the floor. But that production also didn’t come during ACC play and through the course of a full season.

Thankfully at a program like Arizona, Luther should have a bit more help around him. He could be a nice addition to the Wildcats, particularly if he rebounds and spaces the floor in the frontcourt as he did at Pitt. Arizona needed someone like Luther to provide more stability after losing players like Deandre Ayton and Dusan Ristic.

In the last few weeks, Arizona has rebounded nicely to land three commitments for next season — including freshmen Devonaire Doutrive and Omar Thielemans. The group isn’t as heralded as some past Arizona recruiting efforts. Given where the Wildcats were in recruiting a few weeks ago, however, this isn’t a bad turnaround.

TCU extends Jamie Dixon’s contract by two more years

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TCU has given head coach Jamie Dixon a two-year contract extension through the 2023-24 season, according to a release from the school.

Dixon took the Horned Frogs to the NCAA tournament for the first time in 20 years this season as he’s done a great job of turning around his alma mater. The release also notes that TCU had the highest average attendance in program history this season. Fans are also taking notice of a revitalized team.

With back-to-back 20-win seasons and postseason appearances, Dixon and TCU have a lot of positive momentum going on right now. The two-year extension for Dixon should help a bit in recruiting when it comes to overall stability, as well, as he’s been able to attract some quality talent so far.

Report: Kevin Ollie claims UConn violated rights with firing

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Fired former UConn head coach Kevin Ollie is claiming that the school violated his constitutional rights during his departure.

Ollie sent a letter to UConn school president Susan Herbst which was obtained by ESPN’s Myron Medcalf in a report released on Wednesday. Ollie’s lawyers are claiming the school proceeded with his firing before giving Ollie a proper chance to contest his termination — which was guaranteed in his contract and also the collective bargaining agreement with the University of Connecticut’s branch of the American Association of University Professors. Ollie was fired, with cause, in late March as the school mentioned an NCAA inquiry as the reason why. According to Medcalf’s report, the NCAA has not sent a notice of allegations to the school.

Ollie’s union membership includes thousands of faculty members around the country as the collective bargaining agreement demands a hearing process before any employee can be terminated for allegations of serious misconduct. Ollie claims he didn’t receive a letter he was supposed to get to begin the termination process.

“From our review of the facts and circumstances relating to Coach Ollie’s employment status, it is apparent that the University of Connecticut has already violated [Coach Ollie’s] rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution by subverting Coach Ollie’s opportunity to respond to charges and evidence in a meaningful way in advance of the decision to terminate his employment,” said the letter dated April 3.

“The public record, action taken, and authorized communications by representatives of the University of Connecticut, demonstrate that the decision to terminate Coach Ollie has already been made and therefore the University of Connecticut has effectively negated Coach Ollie’s property right protected by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

This letter to UConn likely begins a long legal battle to try to get an eight-figure payout back as Ollie is going to do everything he can to clear his name.

South Carolina’s Brian Bowen, still ineligible, to declare for draft

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Former Louisville forward and current South Carolina Gamecock Brian Bowen will declare for the NBA draft without signing with an agent as a safety measure in case the NCAA does not clear him to play in the 2018-19 season.

Bowen is the former top 25 prospect that was forced to leave the Louisville program after the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college hoops turned up evidence that his family had accepted the first payment of what was supposed to be a $100,000 fee to get him to be a Cardinal.

That investigation was ultimately what got Rick Pitino fired.

“I just felt that it was the right decision,” Bowen told ESPN. “My goal is still to play college basketball, but I felt as though it makes sense to cover my bases.”

Bowen is in a tough spot right now.

On the one hand, he has already missed an entire season of college basketball and there is no guarantee that he will be cleared to play next season, if at all.

On the other hand, the fact that he has not played in a year and that he has not played against any collegiate level competition is one of the reasons that NBA front offices are going to be hesitant to draft him, and that’s not a good thing for a player that was considered a second round pick before he spent a year on the sidelines.

North Carolina’s Cam Johnson undergoes hip surgery

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For the second time in the last six months, North Carolina wing Cam Johnson has undergone the knife.

On Wednesday, North Carolina announced that Johnson underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his hip on Monday, and that he is expected to make a full recovery and return to school in time for the start of the 2018-19 season.

The 6-foot-9 Johnson was UNC’s third-leading scorer a season ago, averaging 12.4 points while shooting 34.1 percent from three. He only played 26 games, however, after missing time due to a surgery to fix a torn meniscus.