The Morning Mix

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– Yesterday College Basketball Talk released season preview list of the 15 players with breakout potential in 2012-13. We also published part-2 of the 2012-13 CBT Unified All-Name Team. Trust me, you do not want to go any further until you check it out

– In unquestionably the most disgusting piece of news today, the house of Bowling Green State head coach Louis Orr was vandalized with racist graffiti over the weekend.  Just because we all know racism still exists does not mean we should tolerate it and allow it to happen. Disgusting.  Back in 2007, Ball State head coach Ronny Thompson resigned after just one season because of racist threats towards him. Thompson stated that he had been working in a racially hostile work environment.  Disgusting.

– Saint Louis point guard Kwamain Mitchell, a member of the Atlantic-10 All-Conference Third Team last season, underwent successful foot surgery yesterday to repair a fracture, and will miss at least the next six weeks. Mitchell is the team’s veteran ball handler and led the teams in steals and assists last season

– Who doesn’t love a story like this? 5-foot-10 Syracuse walk-on guard Nolan Hart was rewarded a scholarship by head coach Jim Boeheim. Walk-ons work just as hard as scholarship athletes, and it’s always nice to see the bench-warmers rewarded for their hard work

The Duke Blue Devils spent Monday at Fort Bragg, where they practiced in-front of roughly 1,000 troops. The Blue Devils also went through a rigorous boot camp, but took a lot away from the special opportunity they were blessed with. The Dukies also received some bad news on Monday, as it was announced that freshman Marshall Plumlee, the younger brother of senior Mason, will miss the next six to eight weeks due to a stress fracture in his left foot. The youngest of the Plumlee brothers took a redshirt season last year.

– This is kinda interesting: Due to the announcement that the state of New Jersey will begin issuing sports betting licenses in January, the NCAA has decided to remove all scheduled championship events from the Garden State. While no men’s basketball championship events will be relocated, the women’s east regional was scheduled to take place in Trenton and will no have to find an arena in a new state. Since we’re on the topic, you should probably know that the NCAA just surpassed $500 million in net assets, including an endowment fund of $260, which is double what it was in 2006.  Yet despite these gaudy numbers, the NCAA still refuses to provide student-athletes with a small stipend….

– The NCAA will not look to alter their current charge/block rules in the wake of the announcement that the NBA will be imposing fines for “flopping”. Hey look, it’s a rare sighting of the NCAA actually doing the right thing. Cherish these moments folks

– For the second straight day, Bob Knight is in the headlines for peculiar circumstances. Over Sunday is was reported that Knight, an outspoken critic of John Calipari and the University of Kentucky, will announce two Wildcat games this season. On Monday, news broke that the coaching icon will be auctioning off his three national championship rings, his gold medal from the 1984 Olympics and other various trophies and memorabilia  Why? No it’s not for a good cause. It turns out Knight just doesn’t have a use for any of those things, and wants to make some easy coin

– If Kansas wins the Big-XII Cofnerence title this season, it will be the school’s ninth in a row. It’s insane that this isn’t getting more publicity. Nine straight championships in anything is insanely difficult to do

– Athlon published their list of the top-10 impact freshman in 2012-13 (No real surprises here)

– Class of 2013 guard Roddy Peters will make his college decision tomorrow and is expected to choose his hometown Maryland Terrapins

– Yup, look for Adrien Payne to have an increased role for the Spartans, which should lead to a breakout season for the junior big-man

– Jim Calhoun gave a speech at a UConn Alumni dinner, and provided a bunch of thoughts on the players he won’t be coaching this year

– Speaking of former UConn people, Kemba Walker is narrating a 10-part documentary series that follows a New York City AAU team. When you play for the Charlotte Bobcats, you always have to have a back-up plan

– Hustle Belt ranks the non-conference schedules of all the team in the MAC

– Mid-Major Madness ranks the top-10 players in the Horizon League. Be on the look out for Cleveland State’s Anton Grady and Detroit’s Nick Minnerath. Both players should have breakout-caliber seasons

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

Seven identified after threats made against referee John Higgins following Kentucky Elite Eight loss

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College basketball referee John Higgins received threats to his home and business in late March after some controversial calls in North Carolina’s win over Kentucky in the 2017 NCAA Tournament.

Seven people have now been identified for making threats against Higgins, according to an Associated Press report. The FBI’s Omaha, Nebraska field office said that information on the seven people will be referred to authorities in their jurisdictions.

An investigation over the last few months helped find the culprits, as the Omaha-based Higgins received emails, phone calls and voicemails to his personal home and roofing company following Kentucky’s NCAA Tournament departure. Wildcat head coach John Calipari might have ignited some of the anger in Kentucky fans by criticizing the officiating following the North Carolina loss.

“Based on the investigation’s findings, our office has determined that no local charges will be filed and that pursuit of any criminal charges would be best served by deferring to authorities in the appropriate jurisdictions,” Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov said in a statement to The Associated Press. “The length of the investigation was drawn out due in part to the large volume of potential evidence requiring analysis, and the multi-jurisdictional issues arising from the multiple states in which the communications originated.”

Polikov also said that at least two media outlets were exposing and promoting Higgins’ contact information.

“This information has been referred to the Federal Communications Commission for further investigation of the potential violations related to applicable federal communications regulations,” Polikov said.

Higgins received about 3,000 phone calls at his office in the two days following the game. Sheriff’s investigator Matt Barrall told the AP that an estimated 75 percent of the calls were from Kentucky area codes.

The roofing business that Higgins owns was also flooded with bad online reviews and negative star ratings, causing his Google rating to fall while also forcing Higgins to take down the Facebook page for his business.

Beilein still upbeat after Michigan loses another to NBA

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — For a major program, Michigan is a somewhat unlikely candidate for this kind of NBA-induced attrition.

The Wolverines have fielded some very good teams under John Beilein, but they haven’t been relying on prospects expected to jump to the pros as soon as they can.

“We’re not depending all our success on one-and-dones,” Beilein said. “Given that, our numbers right now are extraordinary.”

Beilein was referring to the number of players Michigan has sent to the NBA, particularly as early entrees. The Wolverines lost D.J. Wilson to the draft this offseason with two years of eligibility remaining, and now they’ll go through the familiar process of trying to replace a key player who turned pro.

The most significant early exodus occurred in 2013 and 2014, when Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary all went pro before their eligibility was up. Michigan won a lot of games with those players, reaching the Final Four and Elite Eight those two years, but their development made them attractive to NBA teams and shortened their college careers.

Wilson’s rise followed a similar pattern. He averaged only 2.7 points per game in 2015-16, and then increased to 11.0 this past season and became Michigan’s leading rebounder. His efforts helped Michigan win the Big Ten Tournament and reach the Sweet 16, and now he’s off to the NBA draft. The entire sequence of events would have seemed highly improbable a year ago.

The Wolverines won’t receive much sympathy from their Big Ten opponents, especially since Michigan will still have big man Moe Wagner, who tested the NBA waters but ultimately decided to stay in school. The 6-foot-11 Wagner averaged 12.1 points last season and shot 39.5 percent from 3-point range, showing huge improvement in much the same way Wilson did.

After losing senior point guard Derrick Walton, it will be interesting to see how Michigan’s offense operates if Wagner becomes even more of a focal point. When Beilein was at West Virginia, the Mountaineers achieved success behind center Kevin Pittsnogle, whose skill set and 3-point shooting ability was at least somewhat similar to Wagner’s.

“We’re not going to put him in that category yet,” Beilein said. “Let’s just say, having a big man who can shoot the ball like that changes a lot of things.”

Michigan was also able to add a new point guard recently in Jaaron Simmons, a graduate transfer from Ohio. Simmons is eligible immediately in 2017-18 and will move up from the Mid-American Conference to the Big Ten.

“A lot of the mid-majors are having this happen to them, and I don’t like it at all, but the fact is if Jaaron doesn’t come here, he ends up probably somewhere else in the Big Ten,” Beilein said. “He’s just fundamentally so sound. He’ll be here this summer. Just as a person, I just wanted to coach the kid after spending an hour with him — just the leadership, the desire to win.”

Simmons could help the Wolverines withstand the loss of Walton, and Beilein indicated he could serve as a bit of a mentor to players like point guard Xavier Simpson, who is entering his sophomore season.

“We went all-in with (Simmons), knowing we had that scholarship,” Beilein said. “We felt that was a huge need for us, is to just have a little bit more experience in the backcourt next year.”

Follow Noah Trister on Twitter @noahtrister

LaVar Ball having ‘zero’ interaction with UCLA team bodes well for next season

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With the NBA Draft looming in less than a month, the biggest talking point has been just how much of an impact LaVar Ball is going to have on his son, Lonzo’s, NBA career.

It’s a question worth asking given the, ahem, outspoken nature of the eldest Ball.

But in the collegiate ranks, that’s a question that’s been asked about UCLA regarding next season. While Lonzo and LaMelo, who is finishing up his sophomore season in high school, are the stars that get the majority of the attention, there is another Ball brother that will be enrolling at UCLA next season: LiAngelo.

LaVar has already said that he expect Gelo to be a one-and-done player, which may not jibe with how good Gelo actually is. He’s not Lonzo and he’s not LaMelo. He’s not a dynamic athlete or a lead guard. He’s a 6-foot-5, 200 pound shooter with limitless range but limited upside. There’s a reason Rivals ranks him as a three-star prospect.

What’s going to happen when UCLA, a top 15 team in the NBC Sports Preseason Top 25, doesn’t give Gelo Lonzo-esque minutes or shots next season? How will LaVar handle it if his second son is coming off the bench for the Bruins?

Steve Alford doesn’t seem concerned about it, telling a reporter from the LA Times that LaVar was “never at practice, never called me” and was around the team “zero.”

“I think all parents probably should know that moving on to the collegiate level anyway,” Alford said. “It’s not high school, it’s not AAU. Your son’s on scholarship; your son’s at UCLA getting an incredible opportunity academically and athletically.

“Playing time, shots, that kind of stuff — we don’t entertain some of those phone calls anyway. I never had any issues at all with LaVar.”

It will be interesting to see if that continues next season.

The Bruins have a chance to be pretty good. Maybe not quite as good as last season, maybe not a Pac-12 title favorite or even the best team in LA — USC is loaded — but I wouldn’t be shocked to see them end up as a top four seed in the NCAA tournament with Aaron Holiday and Thomas Welsh returning and Jaylen Hands headlining the recruiting class.

Will LaVar be able to handle UCLA’s success if it comes at the expense of his son’s?

NCAA: Former USF assistant provided extra benefits, lied to NCAA investigators

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The NCAA has alleged that former South Florida assistant coach Oliver Antigua provided roughly $500 in impermissible benefits and initially lied to NCAA investigators about it, according to the Tampa Bay Times, who obtained the NCAA’s summary disposition report.

Oliver Antigua is the younger brother of Orlando Antigua, who was the head coach at USF until he was fired in January. Now an assistant on Brad Underwood’s staff at Oklahoma State, Orlando was not alleged to have committed an NCAA violation in the report.

Oliver is alleged to have provided the extra benefits to two student-athletes while they were being tutored by the sister-in-law of Gerald Gillion, a special assistant to Orlando who resigned last fall, four months after Oliver did. USF has already self-imposed a $5,000 and reduced their scholarships from 13 to 12, according to the report.

“The University of South Florida and the NCAA continue to work together to resolve the inquiry into violations of NCAA bylaws and university standards by a USF intercollegiate athletic program,” according to a statement released by the school. “USF anticipates having a final resolution with the NCAA sometime this fall. Until the process concludes and the matter is fully resolved, USF cannot provide further comment.”

Villanova lands four-star 2018 guard

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Villanova added its first recruit in the Class of 2018 on Wednesday night.

Jay Wright and his staff landed a verbal commitment from Paul VI Catholic High School’s Brandon Slater, a four-star guard by Rivals as the No. 42 overall prospect in the rising senior class.

The 6-foot-5 Slater announced his decision via Twitter.

Slater, according to Jeff Borzello of ESPN, picked the Wildcats over Maryland, Miami, South Carolina, and Virginia.

He is currently playing the Nike EYBL with Team Takeover, the same grassroots program that produced current Villanova guard Phil Booth.