The Morning Mix

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– Utah’s basketball team may not be very good. But that doesn’t mean the Utes can’t inspire.  In your #ReadoftheDay, Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune details the remarkible journeyUtes’ guard Glen Dean went through last December when he was forced to undergo emergency brain surgery. Dean will be back on the court when Utah opens up their 2012-2013 campaign. Just an incredible story

– Your second #ReadoftheDay come from CAA Hoops’ Michael Litos who drops a phenomenal list of the five best possible host-sites for the CAA Tournament

– You won’t find many posts more straight-forward than Jeff Goodman’s latest thoughts and observations on Duke.

– The Minnesota Golden Gophers had themselves an interesting weekend. On Friday Trebor Mbakwe was in court to receive his punishment for violating probationary terms. The Star forward will not have to serve any jail timejj and will be able to play this year. On top of that, assistant coach Saul Smith, the son of head coach Tubby Smith, was placed on indefinite unpaid administrative leave after being arrested for a DUI this weekend

– This is not how it was supposed to play out for superstar UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson. But with just a few weeks left until the start of the season, the two freshman phenoms are still uncertain if they will be cleared by the NCAA to play

– Louisville sophomore Chane Benhahan has been suspended for the team’s first scrimmage of the season against Pikesville on November 1. The talented forward has also been made unavailable for all media inquires until the end of the first semester. No reason has been given for the suspension

– A police officer in Prince George’s County, MD was found guilty of second degree assault stemming from an alleged beating of a University of Maryland student following the Terrapins home win against Duke in 2010. I remember watching the cell phone video when it was released. Pretty ghastly stuff. Glad that justice was served

– It’s been awhile since we’ve discussed the topic of paying players. Bill Self is in favor of it, but not always felt that way. The Kansas head coach will address similar issues at a discussion panel he is hosting at the beginning of November

– Dayton is the perfect place for the “First Four” round of the NCAA Tournament. The fans in Dayton want to make sure that the event remains in their city, and will sell out this season’s edition in order to help the cause

– Remember when Reeves Nelson tried to sue Sports Illustrated because they published an article that labeled him as a complete jerk and borderline psycho? Well, a California judge dismissed the case on Friday

– With all the preseason hype surrounding Cody Zeller, Christian Watford and the loaded freshman class, many people will forget that the return of Maurice Creek is one of the other reasons why the Hoosiers are projected to be the top team in the land

– Jason Brickman does not get the credit he deserves. The talented LIU-Brooklyn point guard is overshadowed by the likes of Jamal Olasawere and Julian Boyd. But do either of them have a  promotional video? Jason does, and it’s pretty awesome

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

Seton Hall’s Derrick Gordon won’t pursue pro basketball to become a firefighter

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12:  Derrick Gordon #32 of the Seton Hall Pirates celebrates after hitting a basket against the Villanova Wildcats during the Big East Basketball Tournament Championship at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2016 in New York City. Seton Hall Pirates defeated Villanova Wildcats 69-67.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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After a successful career that included stops at Western Kentucky, UMass and Seton Hall, Derrick Gordon, Division I college basketball’s first openly gay player, will not pursue professional opportunities and will instead become a firefighter.

The 6-foot-3 Gordon averaged 8.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game as a senior for the Pirates, helping the team reach the NCAA tournament during his graduate transfer year. By making the NCAA tournament with Seton Hall this past season, Gordon became the first college basketball player to reach the event with three different teams.

A tenacious perimeter defender who could have earned a pro contract if he stuck with basketball, Gordon will instead pursue a career as a firefighter in San Francisco.

“I’ve had an amazing basketball career and want to thank everybody who has always been there supporting me every step on the way,” Gordon said via his Instagram. “But I’m making a change in my career…I will now be working towards becoming a San Francisco Firefighter!! I’m excited about this and looking forward to having a long career!!”

While Gordon likely would have never made the NBA on talent alone, his defensive prowess would have likely given him a shot overseas or in the D League. It’s hard to say why Gordon is making this decision, but given what we saw with all of the attention surrounding Michael Sam when he tried to play in the NFL, Gordon was probably going to face a lot of scrutiny wherever he decided to play.

Hopefully Gordon finds his calling as a firefighter and brings the same energy and leadership that he brought on the floor to helping other people outside of basketball.

Washington guard Markelle Fultz pulls off sick spin and dunk at FIBA U18 Americas

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Kelly Kline/Under Armour
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Washington incoming freshman guard Markelle Fultz is going to be one of the premier players in the country next season as his unique game is going to be fascinating to watch.

The 6-foot-5 Fultz is currently playing with the USA U18 team in Chile for the FIBA U18 Americas as he’s second on the team in scoring and first in assists as the Americans play Canada for the title on Saturday.

Against the host country, Fultz had an electric spin move in the paint and finished with an easy dunk. If you’re not willing to stay up late to watch this dude play this year, then set your DVRs, because Fultz is going to have some fun moments during the season.

(H/t: Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report)

POSTERIZED: Class of 2016 forward Chris Seeley has a massive dunk on defender

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The Las Vegas AAU events are all going on this week and it’s the final event for rising seniors.

At the Las Vegas Fab 48, forward Chris Seeley of the Splash City 17U team put down one of the best poster dunks of the summer as he skied over a defender for an emphatic finish.

The Class of 2016 forward attends Central High School in Fresno, California as he’s receiving plenty of buzz for his recent play.

 

 

 

Five-star forward Jarred Vanderbilt cuts list to nine

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LAS VEGAS, NV — Five-star Class of 2017 forward Jarred Vanderbilt has been one of the most sought-after recruits in the country since he was a freshman in high school.

The 6-foot-8 native of Houston is beginning to wind things down in the recruiting process as he cut his list to nine schools on Friday. Vanderbilt’s list includes some of the most storied programs in college basketball and plenty of schools from his home state of Texas.

“I just followed my heart. Went with the schools I liked the most and who I have the best relationships with. Thear were the schools I could see myself playing for,” Vanderbilt told NBCSports.com.

Regarded as the No. 13 overall prospect in the Rivals.com national rankings, Vanderbilt is currently recovering from a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot.

Vanderbilt will see a doctor in three-to-four weeks as he’s currently in a boot to help his foot heal.

Report: Michigan State and Penn State will play at the Palestra

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Head coach Patrick Chambers of the Penn State Nittany Lions looks on against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has previously expressed a desire to coach a game at the legendary Palestra in Philadelphia and it appears he’ll get his chance in a Big Ten game this season.

According to a report from Brendan F. Quinn of MLive, Penn State will use the Palestra as its home gym for the Jan. 7, 2017 Big Ten game against Michigan State. It is the only time the two teams are scheduled to play during Big Ten season and Penn’s home gym will offer a unique setting for the game.

Since the capacity of the Palestra is 8,722, it should make for a fun atmosphere for both programs since this will be a game both fan bases will likely want to attend.

With Nittany Lions head coach Pat Chambers making Philadelphia a major recruiting priority for his program, a game like this in Philadelphia makes sense while Michigan State has always been open to playing games in unique settings such as aircraft carriers.

The Palestra has been a college basketball mainstay since it was built in 1927 as it hosts all Penn home games and, in the past, hosted a lot of Big 5 Philadelphia college games between La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph’s, Temple and Villanova.

Overall, a fun idea that should make for an interesting experience for both programs. It’s not often that a team will change its home venue for a conference game, but it could be the start of something we see other schools look to do.