The Morning Mix – Midnight Madness Edition

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Midnight Madness events across the country took place this weekend, signaling the start to the 2012-13 college basketball season. With so much taking place on Friday night, we’re providing you with a video-heavy Morning Mix of all the Midnight Madness action.

For the regular Monday edition of The Morning Mix, you can click here

– If there is something specific you are looking for, but can’t find it here, there’s a good chance that Jeff Eisenberg documented it over at Yahoo Sports’ The Dagger. Jeff put together a great running list of all the top Midnight Madness moments from this weekend

A great mixtape of highlights from Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness, which is gaining a strong reputation as the premiere season tip-off event in all of college basketball, as evidence by their $300K budget. Plus, Matthew Mitchell, the head coach of Kentucky’s women’s team, has gained a nice cult following thanks in large part to his charisma and MC Hammer routine at Midnight Madness. While John Calipari won’t go to the same creative lengths as Tom Izzo, he utilizes the season-opening event better than any coach in the country. Plus, he turned the court at Rupp Arena into a projection screen TV:
 

 
 
– Speaking of Tom Izzo, Michigan State’s Spartan Madness is always one of the more entertaining Midnight Madness events, and coach Izzo and his family always dress up for the show.  This year the Izzo’s donned superhero outfits, and Tom made his entrance on a zip line in a full Iron Man suit:
 

 
 
– Baylor’s Moonlight Madness has become home to some of the best preseason dunk contests in the country. Duece Bello is one of the best dunkers in the country, Pierre Jackson has a 50-inch vertical, and even Brittney Griner can throw down. Lots of dunks were had on Friday night

– The grandfather of North Carolina State sharpshooter Scott Wood collapsed at Primetime with the Pack and was taken to a nearby hospital. He was released on Saturday afternoon

– At Wagner College, Josh Thompson dunked over both his parents at Madness Before Midnight. In 2011, Thompson dunked over his mother, and decided to bring his dad along for the fun this time around

A student hit a half court shot and won a car at San Diego State’s Madness on the Mesa

– College Basketball Talk released our list of Top Dunkers to watch in 2012-13, and Memphis’ D.J. Stephens was one of the few elite dunkers left off the list. This was a huge mistake. What you are about to watch may be the most impressive dunk I have ever seen:
 

 
 
– For Texas Tech, their Midnight Madness event signified the end of the madness that was Billy Gilispie’s tenure as head coach

A great mixtape from Minnesota’s Midnight Madness event, featuring a bevy of highlight reel dunks from Rodney Williams

– The Cleveland State Vikings took a militaristic approach to their Midnight Madness, dressing up in full combat camouflage and entering the arena in an army surplus truck

– Two years ago, Keion Bell dunked over seven people at Pepperdine’s Midnight Madness. Bell transferred to Missouri last year and had to sit out last season. He made his Tigers debut at Midnight Madness, and promptly dunked over six people

– Purdue’s D.J. Byrd punk’d the fans at the Boilermaker’s Midnight Madness. The senior guard dressed up as Dirk Hunter, a country music performer, only to remove his costume mid-performer

– The Carrier Dome held a rather interesting Syracuse Midnight Madness. The event was hosted by Scoop Jardine and his girlfriend Jasmine Jordan, the daughter of Michael Jordan. If that wasn’t enough, a man was stabbed during the event in the concourse area. Oh, and the men’s and women’s basketball team broke out some “Gangham Style” at the end of their rather-entertaining dance medley

– Speaking of “Gangham Style”, the senior class at Kansas did a spot on rendition of the viral video mega-hit. Jeff Withey, Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford and Kevin Young shut it down:
 

 
 
– Pittsburgh held their Midnight Madness event outside, a new wrinkle to Midnight Madness that is likely to be replicated at various campuses across the country. Coach Jamie Dixon made his entrance as Jackie Moon, Will Ferrell’s character from the comedy “Semi-Pro”. This is not likely to be replicated by many coaches across the country

– At Georgetown University, Jack the Bulldog made his return from an ACL injury the 9-year old bulldog sustained on Selection Sunday back in March. He was joined on Friday night by Jack Junior (J.J.) who was making his Georgetown debut. J.J. is only ten months old and will take over game day duties in a few years

An awesome mash-up of highlights from the Midnight Madness festivities at UNC-Wilmington. While the Seahawks didn’t have the saem theatrics as Kentucky, the event was still entertaining, and provided a great atmosphere for the season tip-off

– St. John’s JaKarr Simpson threw down a a nice one-handed dunk at Red Storm Tip-Off. But the dunk was set-up by a nice soccer-flick from Orlando Sanchez

– Who doesn’t love when fat people dance? North Carolina State has the right idea

 

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

Ball State forward Zach Hollywood found dead in off-campus apartment

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Zach Hollywood, a redshirt freshman on the Ball State basketball team, has died, the university confirmed to multiple local news outlets Tuesday.

He was 19 years old.

Hollywood redshirted last season at Ball State after averaging 17.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game as a senior at Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School in Bradley, Ill.

Muncie police are investigating the death at Hollywood’s off-campus apartment, according to WTHR-TV.

“On behalf of Ball State University, it is with profound sadness that we learned today of the passing of Zachary “Zach” Hollywood, a student from Bradley, Illinois,” the school said in a statement. “Zach has been a part of our family for the past year. During his time on campus, he was a member of men’s basketball team and made many positive impressions throughout campus.

“This is a tragedy. Our heartfelt condolences are with his family, friends and teammates. “For members of our Ball State family who need support during this difficult time, we encourage them to take advantage of the numerous resources available on- and off-campus.”

Hollywood’s death is a tragic turn in an already devastating story for his family, which lost Zach’s mother, Susan, suddenly just over one year ago.

3-on-3 at the Final Four for $100,000? It’s happening

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The Final Four just got more exciting.

On Tuesday, Intersport announced a 3-on-3 tournament that they will be hosting at the Final Four with a $100,000 payout for the winners. The participants must be seniors that have exhausted their collegiate eligibility, the teams will be created based on conference and the rules will be standard, international 3-on-3 rules: one-point for a bucket inside the arc, two points for a bucket outside the arc, 12-second shot clocks and games played to 21 points, or whoever has the highest score after 10 minutes. Each all-star team will feature four players, including one sub.

And, well, this is awesome.

I cannot express enough how much I love this idea.

One potential pothole here is that teams that are playing in the Final Four will, quite clearly, not have players eligible to participate.

It also should be noted that since “three-pointers” are now worth two points and “two-pointers” are now worth one, the value of long-range shooting is increased even more.

With all that in mind, why don’t we make a quick power ranking of the teams that can be created from the nine biggest conferences in college hoops:

  1. ACC: Grayson Allen (Duke), Bonzie Colson (Notre Dame), Joel Berry II (North Carolina), Ben Lammers (Georgia Tech)
  2. Big East: Angel Delgado and Khadeen Carrington (Seton Hall), Trevon Bluiett (Xavier), Marcus Foster (Creighton)
  3. Big 12: Devonte’ Graham (Kansas), Jevon Carter (West Virginia), Jeffery Carroll (Oklahoma State), Zach Smith (Texas Tech)
  4. AAC: Rob Gray (Houston), B.J. Taylor (UCF), Gary Clark (Cincinnati), Obi Enechionya (Temple)
  5. Pac-12: Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stewart (USC), George King (Colorado), Thomas Welsh (UCLA)
  6. Big Ten: Nate Mason (Minnesota), Scottie Lindsay (Northwestern), Vince Edwards and Isaac Haas (Purdue)
  7. Atlantic 10: E.C. Matthews and Jared Terrell (Rhode Island), Peyton Aldridge (Davidson), Jaylen Adams (St. Bonaventure)
  8. SEC: Yante Maten (Georgia), Deandre Burnett (Ole Miss), Daryl Macon and Jaylen Barford (Arkansas)
  9. WCC: Jock Landale and Emmett Naar (Saint Mary’s), Jonathan Williams III (Gonzaga), Silas Melson (Gonzaga)

I had way too much fun putting this together.

What did I miss?

Harsh Reality: Indiana did not do Grant Gelon wrong, getting cut is part of sports

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What happened to Grant Gelon sucks, and I’m not sure anyone in their right mind would try to argue otherwise.

A 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Crown Point, Indiana, Gelon accepted a scholarship offer from then-Indiana head coach Tom Crean as a member of the Class of 2016. His commitment was something of a surprise at the time; Gelon was a two-star prospect, according to Rivals, and ranked 402nd in the class, according to 247 Sports. At the time, Gelon reportedly had seven scholarship offers: Central Michigan, UIC, Toledo, Iona, Youngstown State, IUPUI and Western Carolina.

It was a reach for Crean, but it was also a dream come true for an Indiana kid getting a chance to don the cream and crimson.

Which is what made what happened this spring particularly painful.

Crean was fired on March 16th. Indiana hired Archie Miller to replace him on March 27th. Five weeks later, after a handful of workouts with the new coaching staff, Miller called Gelon into his office — the date, according to the Northwest Indiana Times, was May 3rd — and told him that he was being cut. There was not going to be minutes available, the staff said, for a sophomore that played in just 12 games last season, and that finding a place to transfer would be Gelon’s best option.

“I told them I wanted to stay,” Gelon told the Indy Star. “I told them, I’m making my mind up, I’m gonna push hard, show them what I can do, I’m here for a reason. When I said that, it was like, ‘Whoa, slow down.’ They were kind of making that sound like it wasn’t an option.”

That’s because it wasn’t.

Miller was cutting Gelon.

He was not cutting his scholarship, mind you. The Indiana student-athlete bill of rights protects players from losing their tuition due to poor performance on the court or the field. Gelon would still be getting his education paid for if he opted to remain at Indiana, he just wouldn’t be playing for the Hoosiers. Gelon’s departure opened up a scholarship for the Hoosiers that eventually went to Race Thompson, a four-star power forward that reclassified into the Class of 2017 in order to enroll at Indiana this year.

“Coach Miller believes honesty in evaluating talent, while often difficult, is the appropriate measure to take at all times and in the best interest of each player,” a statement released by the Indiana athletic department read. “Grant was made aware that our staff believed his abilities were not of the caliber that would allow him to receive playing time of any kind in the future for the IU program.”

I feel for Gelon here. I really do. Getting cut sucks, and everyone reading this now has probably gone through it at some point in their life. It happens all the time, in every sport, at every age group. Once you get to a level in athletics where you’re playing in more than your hometown rec league, it gets competitive. If you’re not good enough, you don’t make the team. That is how this works. Gelon found that out the hard way.

And frankly, what Miller did is not uncommon. It’s called running a player off, and it happens all the time at every program. Gelon had a bad enough season as a freshman that there is no guarantee that he would have kept his spot on the team had Crean kept his job. Simply put, he is not a Big Ten basketball player. I’d wager that two out of every five transfers at the Division I level are the result of a player transferring out of a school — either because he was forced or because the writing was on the wall — to a lower level, one more in line with his skill-set.

That’s what happened with Gelon. He’s now at State Fair Community College in Missouri, where he’ll spend a year before looking to climb his way back into the Division I ranks, most likely at the low-major level.

And no matter how many interviews that he or his family gives, you won’t find me saying that Indiana handled this the wrong way.

Was Miller callous?

That wouldn’t surprise me. He’s not the type of guy to mince words, and there really is not a good way to sugar-coat, ‘You are not good enough for us.’

But Gelon was not having his scholarship taken away. Indiana was living up to their promise of paying for his education. They did not do him wrong. The staff gave him more than a month to prove himself as a player and, eventually, made the decision he would not be in their plans moving forward.

So he was cut. That opening allowed a four-star power forward to enroll this year.

That’s the harsh reality of life in the Big Ten.

And there’s nothing wrong with the coach of a basketball team doing what Miller and Indiana did.

VIDEO: UConn’s Kwintin Williams would win the NBA dunk contest

Screengrab via Instagram
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Think that’s too strong?

Look at this dunk:

Light

A post shared by Kwintin Williams (@jumpmanebig) on

He also did this over the summer:

Williams is a 6-foot-7, 215 pound JuCo transfer that should provide UConn with some minutes in the frontcourt this season.

LSU officially announces addition of Kavell Bigby-Williams

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LSU has announced the addition of Oregon transfer Kavell Bigby-Williams, a 6-foot-11 junior that was the National Junior College Player of the Year as a sophomore.

Bigby-Williams, who is a native of London, averaged 3.0 points and 2.8 boards last season as the Ducks reached the Final Four, but he played the majority of the season while under investigation for an alleged sexual assault that occurred while he was at Gillette College in Wyoming.

The local County Attorney declined to charge Bigby-Williams with a crime, and Gillette College police consider the case closed.

“The university conducted a responsible and comprehensive review before approving the transfer,” a release posted on LSU’s Athletics site read, “including close coordination with Title IX officials, multiple discussions with Gillette and Oregon officials and a thorough examination of available public records.”

LSU head coach Will Wade was quoted in that release as well: “This is an issue we all take seriously and we made absolutely sure we did our due diligence before considering moving forward. Kavell understands that and has made clear to me that he’s going to repay our confidence by representing LSU with his very best on and off the court.”