The Morning Mix

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Where do we even begin today?

National News Story #1:

– Jim Calhoun is going to announce his retirement later today after 26 years as head coach of the UConn Huskies. Former-Husky and current assistant coach Kevin Ollie is reportedly set to take over the reigns from the legendary ball coach. The program isn’t exactly on stable ground, but at least they know what lies ahead.  Aside from the three national championships and decades of dominance, Calhoun was the finest example of a blue-collar head coach the game may have ever seen

– Here are all the best-reads from the heavy-hitters on Calhoun’s retirement and legacy: Garry Parrish, Jeff Goodman, Mike DeCourcy, and Dana O’Neil

– Some other very good-reads regarding the retirement: Rob Dauster, Mike Miller, Jeff Eisenberg, and Quinn Rochford

– Can Kevin Ollie actually succeed as head coach of UConn? Replacing a legend is not an easy thing to do

– Calhoun built up a near library of entertaining soundbites and quotes during his time in Storrs. Here are all the best ones

The Top-10 moments from the Calhoun Era

– Jim Cahloun and the UConn Huskies had three “One Shining Moment” montages. Which one is your favorite?

– Here is how the Twittershphere reacted to the news of Calhoun’s retirement decision

National News Story #2:

Notre Dame is leaving the Big East in order to join the ACC for all sports except hockey and football. I’ll give $100 to anybody who can convince me that South Bend is on the Atlantic Coast. Leave your best attempt in the comments section below. I’ll be waiting.

– Here’s what a bunch of the heavy-hitters had to say (Most of them share the same opinions): Gary Parrish, Jeff GoodmanDan Wetzel, Mike DeCourcy, and Kevin McNamara

– Jason McIntyre thinks the league is dead in the water

– The addition of Notre Dame brings the ACC to a grand total of 15 teams. Could the conference be looking to add a 16th team to make things even across the board?

The rest of the College Hoops World:

– USC guard Maurice Jones, the team’s leading scorer from a year ago, has decided to transfer. This decision comes just a week after it was determined that the Trojan’s guard had been ruled academically ineligible

Andy Glockner chimes in on the Billy Clyde Gilispie fiasco down in Lubbock, TX. The school has a difficult decision to make believe it or not

– Chrishawn Hopkins has been dismissed from the Butler Bulldogs program for violating team rules

– Robbie Hummel just cannot catch a break. The former-Boilermaker and fan favorite partially tore his meniscus and will miss 3-4 weeks of the Euro hoops schedule

– The top non-conference games of 2012-2013 featuring NEC teams

Larry Drew II has been named the starting guard at UCLA. Coach Howland calls the former Tar Heel “our most indispensable player”. They’re doomed

– Who are the top centers in the Missouri Valley Conference? Mid-Major Madness has the answers

– Remember the ticket scalping scandal that engulfed the Kansas athletic department a few years back? Of course you did. Well, we have ourselves an update. I bet you didn’t see that coming today

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.

Bluiett back to Xavier for senior season

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Xavier lost one significant piece to the professional ranks this spring, but will return another.

Trevon Bluiett, the team’s leading scorer last year, announced via social media that he will be back to play his senior season with the Musketeers.

Chris Mack will return the bulk of a roster that struggled February only to make a run to the Elite Eight, but getting Bluiett for a final season makes the Musketeers especially dangerous. The 6-foot-6 Bluiett scored a team-high 18.5 points per game last year while also putting up 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists per night. He shot 37.1 percent from 3-point range, the second-best mark on the team. His return, even with point guard Edmond Sumner going pro amid his ACL tear recovery, makes Xavier one of the top teams in the Big East heading into the 2017-18 season.

Bluiett himself is enough to keep Xavier relevant in the league, but when he’s coupled with the likes of returners JP Macura, Sean O’Mara and Quentin Goodwin, plus a recruiting class featuring two four-star prospects, it’s not difficult to see a path for Mack’s group to a place where they can compete with the likes of Villanova and Seton Hall atop the league.

Welsh and Holiday returning to UCLA

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UCLA sustained some major, though expected, attrition from its roster this spring. On Tuesday, the Bruins announced a pair of significant contributors that will be back.

Thomas Welsh and Aaron Holiday will both return next season to the UCLA program, according to the school.

Welsh, a 7-foot center, averaged 10.8 points and 8.7 rebounds as a senior last year for the Bruins. He shot 58.5 percent from the floor and blocked 1.2 shots per game, and decided to declare for the NBA Draft without an agent before ultimately deciding to return to Westwood.

“Thomas has worked hard all spring,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said in a statement. “We supported him testing the NBA waters and are excited to have him returning for his senior year. He simply continues to develop each and every season.

“Thomas will be one of the top centers in college basketball next year and, undoubtedly, has a great chance to be a first-round pick in next season’s draft.”

The 6-foot-1 Holiday averaged 12.3 points and 4.4 assists last season while sharing a backcourt with Lonzo Ball, whose departure, along with those of TJ Leaf, Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton will leave UCLA with a very different look next season. The positive results, however, may not fluctuate too significantly with Welsh and Holiday coming back to play alongside two five-star recruits, Kris Wilkes and Jaylen Hands, as well as Lonzo’s younger brother LiAngelo.

West Virginia’s Macon forgoing final year

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West Virginia’s attempt to dethrone Kansas atop the Big 12 took a bit of a hit Tuesday.

Elijah Macon, a 6-foot-9 forward, announced his decision to forego a fifth year in Morgantown in order to pursue a professional career.

“First things first I would like to say thank you Bob Huggins and Erik Martin for believing in a young 15-year-old boy growing up from the Southside of Columbus, OH losing my mother and still having you guys push me to be the man I have become,” Macon said according to the school. “I can do nothing but thank you for all you and Mountaineer Nation (have) done for me. Unfortunately, I will not be returning for my senior season at WVU and instead sign with a(n) agent and play professional basketball. Thank you guys for all the love and support!”

Macon wasn’t a major contributor for the Mountaineers last season, averaging 6.3 points and 4.2 rebounds in 16 minutes per game, but he was an experienced and tough player who was well-versed in Huggins’ style and demands. Given the pace that the newly-fashioned Press Virginia plays at, depth is also paramount for them as a program.

Macon’s departure, though, may have been expected or at least partly anticipated by West Virginia. The Mountaineers signed five players in its most recent recruiting class, putting them one over their allotment of 13, so something had to give. West VIrginia will stay have interior depth, anchored by junior Esa Ahmad, so the loss of Macon is one they likely can weather, even if it may take some time to acclimate the newcomers.

“Elijah is in the process of completing classes during this summer school period that ends June 2 and will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in August,” Huggins said in a statement released by the school. “I respect his decision to become a professional basketball player and to go make money to support his family. He had a great four years with us, and we wish him nothing but the best.”

Key returning to Alabama for sophomore season

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Alabama’s top scorer is returning to school.

Braxton Key has withdrawn his name from the NBA draft and will be back with the Tide for his sophomore season, the school announced Tuesday.

“I spoke to coach Avery (Johnson) just over a week ago and informed him of my decision to withdraw my name from the NBA Draft and return to the University of Alabama for my sophomore season,” Key said in a statement. “I made that official when I sent my paperwork to the NBA league office Monday morning. I want to express my appreciation to my teammates, Coach Johnson and the entire coaching staff for giving me their full support while I went through this process.

“I am excited for the future of the Alabama basketball program and looking forward to getting to work as we prepare for next season. Roll Tide and Buckle Up!”

The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 12 points and 5.7 rebounds per game while shooting 43.3 percent from the field as a freshman. He gives Alabama four returning starts to pair with one of the country’s highest-regarded recruiting classes, headlined by five-star guard Collin Sexton. The Tide will also have an eligible Daniel Giddens, who previously transferred in from Ohio State.

Key didn’t seem likely to stay in the NBA draft, especially after he wasn’t invited to the combine, but his ultimate decision is a huge one for Avery Johnson as he looks to break through in his third season in Tuscaloosa with his first NCAA tournament appearance. 

Report: Justin Jackson to return to Maryland

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Maryland forward Justin Jackson is expected to return to school for his sophomore season, according to a report from FanRag Sports.

Jackson is an intriguing talent, a 6-foot-7 combo-forward with a 7-foot-3 wingspan that shoots 44 percent from three. But he’s also still developing his offensive game and consistency on the defensive end of the floor, which is why he was projected as a second round pick in this year’s draft.

With Jackson back in the fold, Maryland is a borderline top 25 team. They lost Melo Trimble to the professional ranks, but that’s something that Mark Turgeon has prepared for. With a sophomore class that also includes highly-regarded point guard Anthony Cowan and sharp-shooter Kevin Huerter, the Terps have a promising season ahead of them.