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.

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 averaged 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 I’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 – both by our university and by Chris – 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.