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.

Illinois lands important commitment from four-star Class of 2017 guard Mark Smith

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Illinois landed a very important Class of 2017 commitment on Wednesday as guard Mark Smith pledged to the Illini.

The 6-foot-4 Smith was previously a Missouri commit for baseball, but some issues with his arm caused him to look back into basketball last summer. A native of Edwardsville, in the St. Louis metro area, Smith came out of nowhere to win the Illinois Mr. Basketball award as a senior this season as he averaged 21.9 points, 8.4 assists and 8.2 rebounds while becoming a consensus national top-100 prospect.

Rivals rates Smith as the No. 52 overall prospect in the Class of 2017 as he could come in and earn immediate minutes at Illinois next season at either guard spot.

This is a very important commitment for head coach Brad Underwood and the Illini as the new head coach was able to hold off some elite programs like Kentucky and Michigan State for Smith’s services.

Northwestern gets commitment from Boston College transfer A.J. Turner

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Northwestern landed a transfer on Wednesday as former Boston College wing A.J. Turner pledged to the Wildcats, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com.

The 6-foot-7 Turner just finished his sophomore season with the Golden Eagles as he averaged 8.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. A well-rounded wing who also shot 37 percent from three-point range, Turner will have to sit out one season due to NCAA transfer regulations before getting two more years of eligibility.

With Scottie Lindsay and Vic Law only having limited time left in Evanston, Turner provides a bit of insurance on the wing for the Wildcats for the future as he’s a proven rotation player coming from the ACC.

Oakland’s Greg Kampe hosting charity golf event with big-name coaches

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Oakland head coach Greg Kampe hosted a successful charity event for cancer research two years ago by allowing people to bid online to play a round of golf with some of college basketball’s best coaches.

Kampe is back again this year as he’s hoping to eventually raise $1 million for the American Cancer Society.

According to a report from Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press, Kampe has 11 high-profile names that fans can play with this year.

  • Tom Izzo, Michigan State
  • Frank Martin, South Carolina
  • Rick Barnes, Tennessee
  • Mick Cronin, Cincinnati
  • Chris Holtmann, Butler
  • Kevin Willard, Seton Hall
  • Greg Kampe, Oakland
  • Stan Van Gundy, Detroit Pistons
  • Steve Lavin
  • Fran Fraschilla
  • Bill Raftery

Fans can find more details about the auctions and all of the details here.

The minimum bid is $15,000 per coach. A “buy now” bid of $24,000 is also available.

Each round includes the following, according to the event’s website:

Up for auction will be 11 spectacular packages, featuring a private dinner with elite basketball coaches and VIPs, a one night stay at MotorCity Casino Hotel on Sunday, June 4, and an afternoon of golf on Monday, June 5 at Oakland Hills Country Club on the South Course. The winning bidders and their two guests will round out the foursomes with their selected VIP: Rick Barnes, Mick Cronin, Fran Fraschilla, Chris Holtmann, Tom Izzo, Greg Kampe, Steve Lavin, Frank Martin, Bill Raftery, Stan Van Gundy, or Kevin Willard.

There are a lot of great selections to choose from for this sort of thing, but I can’t imagine a better afternoon than playing golf with Bill Raftery and a few friends. There are some other tempting choices on this list, but that’s the one I would have to jump at.

If you think 137 players declaring for the draft is stupid, you’re probably stupid

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The NBA Draft’s full early entry list came out on Tuesday afternoon, and there were 137 underclassmen listed on it.

137.

For 60 spots in the NBA Draft, only 30 of which guarantee you a contract in the NBA.

And that’s before you factor in the 45 international players that also declared for the NBA Draft, as well as the crop of seniors — Josh Hart, Monte’ Morris, Jaron Blossomgame, Alec Peters — that are going to end up hearing their names called. All told, there are going to be roughly 200 players competing to be one of the 60 people that end up getting drafted on June 22nd, and you don’t have to be any good at math to realize that 200 is a much, much bigger number than 60.

This unleashed a torrent of bad takes on the decision of these players.

And bad may not be doing those takes justice.

Because the bottom-line is this: You cannot paint the decision on whether or not to go pro with a broad brush.

For some players, making money of any kind is something they need to do to support their family, whether it’s what they’ll get with a first round guarantee, the $75-100,000 they’ll get for making a training camp roster to subsidize their time in the D-League while teams develop them or the money they can make in the D-League or overseas. You don’t know what their financial situation is. Maximizing their ability to capitalize on every available dollar they can make off of their athletic gifts may be more important than working towards a degree.

And it’s worth noting here that a guaranteed contract isn’t the only way to make a living in professional basketball. To say nothing of the money that can be made overseas or the number of second round picks and undrafted players that make guaranteed money — which is more than you probably realize — it needs to be noted that D-League salaries are getting a bump this year with the new CBA.

The NBA has also instituted something new called a “two-way contract”. Without getting into the legalese, it’s essentially a retainer worth well into the six figures that they will be able to give to two players that will allow them to retain that player under contract while sending them between the D-League and the NBA roster. In a sense, it creates an extra 60 NBA roster spots for players that have 0-3 years worth of professional basketball on their résumé.

Some players are simply declaring without signing with an agent because they want to get feedback directly from NBA personnel on what their professional prospects. Some will hear that they need to return to school to work on their body, or work on their jumper, or mature as a person to be able to handle everything that comes with being a professional. Others will be told they’re going to make a lot of money by staying in the draft, or that they need to go back to school because, frankly, they are not professional basketball players. Not getting invited to the NBA combine is a pretty good indication of where you stand in the eyes of NBA teams.

Still other players are putting their name into the draft to leave their options open should they be recruited over by the program they are a part of. Take Frank Jackson, for example. If he can return to school and thrive as Duke’s point guard, maybe he turns into a top 20 pick. But what happens if Trevon Duval, the best point guard in the Class of 2017 and a top five pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, picks Duke? Would it be in Jackson’s best interest to come back to Duke when he won’t be playing the position that he needs to learn to play to turn himself into a lasting NBA player?

Jackson, like the roughly 100 underclassmen that have declared without an agent, has until May 24th to make his decision on whether or not he will keep his name in the draft. Until then, he can return to school without damaging his eligibility.

The entire reason that the NCAA changed their rules to allow players to test the waters is so that they can make the most important decision of their lives with as much information as humanly possible. This thing exists for the sole purpose of allowing the kids to have as much knowledge about their options as possible.

And that is exactly what these kids are doing.

So the idea that this rule, or players taking advantage of that rule, however high that number may be, is a bad thing is stupid.