Utah’s David Foster to have surgery, college career over

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In more news from the Twitter world, Jay Drew of the Salt Lake Tribune tweeted out that Utah center David Foster will have surgery on his foot and as a result, his season and his college career are over.

The tweet went out as so.

More bad news for Utah basketball center David Foster. He re-injured his foot, will need more surgery. College career is over.

The 7-3 senior will try for a professional career after this season, Drew mentioned in a later tweet.

Foster missed last season with the same injury and was granted a fifth year as a result. I would guess that if he wanted it bad enough, Foster could get a sixth year, being as how willing the NCAA is to give them out โ€” Minnesota’s Trevor Mbakwe is the highest profile sixth-year player in recent memory.

Problem is, with most sixth-year seniors, that’s a risk that a lot of them have to really be willing to take, whether it’s for personal or collegiate pride. Sixth years can be a blessing and a curse. Players risk further injury, a dip in production that could lead to a dip in any pro aspirations or, what I see as the most hurtful result, a loss of confidence that can affect all aspects of a player’s and a team’s approach.

As a junior in 2010-11, Foster, a Lake Forest, Calif. native, averaged 2.9 points and 5.4 rebounds for the Utes.

From a team standpoint, losing Foster is a kick in the teeth to a team that has almost no experience in the post for the 2012-13 season.

Utah returns their leading scorer in 6-10 senior Jason Washburn, who averaged 11.4 points per game last season. The experience ends there.

The Utes brought in a slew of transfers. First, another 7-footer in Southern Utah transfer Dallin Bachynski, a sophomore, and 6-9 junior Renan Lenz out of Arizona Western College. They also added 6-10 sophomore Harry Whitt, a transfer from Southern Illinois, and 6-7 redshirt sophomore Xan Ricketts from Simon Frazier (Utah) University (?). Two first-year players hit the roster in 6-10 redshirt freshman Jeremy Olsen and 6-6 true freshman Jordan Loveridge.

The Utes are going to have a tough time against teams with any depth in the post. Bodies can help, but bodies that are getting used to a new style of play and a new conference (or Division I in general) will have limited effectiveness. I can’t see last season’s 6-25 record getting too much better unless coach Larry Krystkowiak finds some additional eligibility for Keith Van Horn and Andre Miller.

This may be the biggest rebuilding job in Division I this season.

David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

Grand Canyon lands Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson

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Grand Canyon landed an important piece for its NCAA tournament push on Saturday night as Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson pledged to the Antelopes.

The 6-foot-3 Benson will be eligible right away as spent the past three seasons with the Ducks as a key reserve guard, helping Oregon to multiple deep NCAA tournament runs. Benson picked Grand Canyon over Wisconsin for his final season of college basketball as Benson’s brother, T.J., is an assistant coach with the Antelopes.

Benson shot 40 percent from three-point range last season while also being a steady ball handler over the course of his career at Oregon as he has only 81 career turnovers in over 2,600 career minutes with the Ducks. While Benson wasn’t asked to score a lot for a loaded Oregon team that featured multiple bucket-getters, he could be asked to do more at Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon is eligible for the NCAA tournament for the first time next season as the addition of Benson gives them an experienced guard who should be more of a factor in the WAC. The Antelopes are coming off of a 22-9 season in which they finished 11-3 in conference play.

With great facilities and a quickly-growing fan base, head coach Dan Majerle has the potential makings of a perennial mid-major conference contender if he continues to recruit well to Grand Canyon.

Colorado adds commitment from Class of 2017 point guard McKinley Wright

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Colorado landed one of the best available point guards for next season on Friday as Class of 2017 floor general McKinley Wright committed during an official visit.

A former Dayton commit who opted out of his recruitment after former head coach Archie Miller took the Indiana job, Wright was one of the best available point guards left as he played last weekend on the adidas Gauntlet in front of college coaches with D1 Minnesota.

The 6-foot-0 Wright gives the Buffaloes another ball handler and distributor as he was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball during this past season. As a senior, Wright averagedย 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.

It’s always hard to say if spring recruits who elevate a level in recruiting after decommitting are making the correct decision, but Wright looked the part of a high-major lead guard last weekend, and Colorado wasn’t the only high-major program that was pushing hard to add Wright at this late stage.

Oral Roberts to hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills

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Oral Roberts has found its new head coach as they will hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills, as first reported by NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster.

Mills had been on staff with the Bears since 2003 as he’s been a big factor in why head coach Scott Drew has been able to turn around that program. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mills has been a full-time assistant at Baylor since the 2009 season.

“I am honored to accept this role of representing this historic institution, its students and its mission,” Mills said in a release. “Making this commitment today is a highlight of my career and I look forward with excitement to the basketball season directly ahead. Go Golden Eagles.”

Mills will replace former head coach Scott Sutton, who was relieved of his duties this offseason after 18 years at the helm.

 

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery to redshirt in basketball to pursue baseball

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Iowa commit Connor McCaffery is in a unique spot when he starts his freshman year in Iowa City next year.

Not only is the 6-foot-4 guard the son of basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, while being a four-star national basketball prospect, but Connor also has a bright future in baseball.

There was a lot of speculation as to what Connor might do for his future in athletics and he gave more clarification on what he might be looking to do on Friday.

McCaffery has decided to redshirt in basketball next season to focus on the beginnings of his baseball career at Iowa. A walk-on for both sports, the move enables Connor McCaffery to potentially play three years of basketball with his younger brother, Patrick, who is also a heralded basketball recruit for Iowa. This move also gives Connor the best chance to pursue both sports while he’ll also help out a young Iowa basketball team with its tough scholarship scenario.

Butler, Chris Holtmann agree to a contract extension

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Butler has agreed to a contract extension with head coach Chris Holtmann, the school announced on Friday, that will keep him under contract through 2025.

“Butler truly is a special place, and my family and I are thankful to be part of a great academic institution and an athletics department that is a source of pride for those who embrace Butler and The Butler Way,” said Holtmann. “Our student-athletes, our staff, and so many throughout our campus are remarkable at what they do, and Iโ€™m excited to continue to work alongside them.”

Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 25-9 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In three years with the program, Holtmann has a record of 70-31.

“Chris is a tremendous ambassador for Butler and the Butler Way, and his leadership has resulted in success both on and off the court for the talented young men in our program,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “This commitment โ€“ both by our university and by Chris โ€“ allows the momentum within our program to continue.”

Holtmann was in the mix for a couple of jobs this spring, including N.C. State and Missouri.