Daniel Ochefu, Halil Kanacevic

The Morning Mix

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On day three of exam week, the Catholic-7 emerged as this big storyline of the day. Plus, there were some half-decent games played out on the hardwood. Remember, you have to take everything with a grain of salt during exam week. We’re working with slim pickins here.

Lets hit the links.

Wednesday’s Top Games: 
7:00 p.m. – Savannah State @ No. 7 Ohio State
7:00 p.m. – Towson @ Temple
8:00 p.m. – Monmouth @ Maryland
9:00 p.m. – DePaul @ Arizona
9:00 p.m. – UW-Green Bay @ Wisconsin
9:30 p.m. – Lamar @ Baylor
10:00 p.m. – Colorado @ Fresno State
10:35 p.m. – Oregon State @ Portland State

Read of the Day:
Halil Kanacevic flipped off the Villanova student section. It was stupid, it was dumb, it was regrettable, and it ultimately cost his team the game. Aaron Bracy provides a great-read on the 21-year old’s mistake and reaction. We’ve all done stupid things before. But luckily for most of us, they didn’t appear on national television. Read it. (Philahoops.com)

Top Stories:
Late Night Snacks: Trevor Mbakwe had his first big-time performance of the season, Siyani Chambers won the game for Harvard, and Halil Kanacevic flipped off the Villanova student section.

Villanova wins the Holy War, but St. Joe’s is still blowing close games: Villanova displayed great toughness against the Hawks last night, but were helped out by some poor decision-making by St. Joe’s down the stretch. The Hawks were the favorites to win the A-10 and have a solid win over Notre Dame under their belt. But still, this was St. Joe’s game to win, and they lost.

Does it really make sense for the hoops schools to leave the Big East? As mentioned, the big story line from Tuesday was the reports that the catholic schools in the Big East want to break off and either start their own conference or join the Atlantic-10. But does either option really make sense?

Cincinnati e-mails show school administrators mulling options in Big 12, ACC: As the conference expansion landscape continues to change, Cincinnati continues to mull their options.

Properly evaluating Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart: The freshman phenom is tearing up the Midwest  yet has been somewhat of a lightning rod for debate. Some say he’s the best player in the country, others think he’s not a good enough shooter. Rob Dauster breaks it down for you.

45 different scouts will be in attendance for North Texas vs. Lehigh: When the two mid-major programs square off next Thursday, 26 different NBA teams will have representatives on hand to watch North Texas’ Tony Mitchell and Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum.

Exam week essay on how to cure what ails Kentucky: Kentucky is currently battling through the roughest year of the John Calipari era. What is the root problem for the Wildcats and how, if at all, can it be remedied in order for the team to make their third-straight Final Four?

Hoops Housekeeping
– Butler freshman Chris Harrison-Docks is transferring to Western Kentucky. (Topper Talk)

– Fordham freshman Devon “Fatty” McMillan granted release, will transfer at the end of semester (SNY.tv)

– UNLV freshman DaQuan Cook was expected to take a redshirt season, but it looks like he will see meaningful minutes on Thursday in what will be his first game of the season (Las Vegas Sun)

Observations & Insight:
– Gary Parrish has the answers to all your questions regarding the potential departure of the non-football members of the Big East (Eye on College Basketball)

– The addition of the Catholic-7 to the A-10 would be a welcomed with open arms by VCU fans (VCU Ram Nation)

– The CAA is moving it’s postseason tournament from Richmond to Baltimore, probably because Old Dominion and Viriginia Commonwealth are no longer members. (Baltimore Sun)

– This is still in the rumor stage, but it should be monitored: Mountain West to keep Boise State, SDSU; add Houston, SMU, Tulsa, BYU (Mountain West Connection)

– It was announced that the BracketBusters event will shut down after this season. With all the TV coverage availbile through ESPNU, NBCSN and CBSSN, the need for a platform for mid-majors is no longer needed. (ESPN)

– The NCAA honored all-time greats yesterday as part of 75 years of March Madness celebration (NCAA.com)

– Did anyone expect San Francisco to be this good? I know I didn’t. (College Chalk Talk)

– Duquesne got a huge win last night against West Virginia, the first “signature win” of Jim Ferry’s tenure in Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)

Odds & Ends:
– Michael Carter-Williams states there was “a big misunderstanding” regarding the incident at a Lord & Taylor store at the Destiny USA mall. (Sporting News)

– T. Boone Pickens purchased remaining 4,000 tickets for Oklahoma State vs. Gonzaga game in order to fill out the arena (NewsOK.com)

Picture of the Day:
#FacePalm. Halil Kanacevic, please take note. If you are going to flip off the opposing team’s student section, you must a) make sure you win the game, b) flip them off AFTER you’ve beaten their team or c) make your foul shots.  The St. Joe’s forward did none of these and his team ultimately lost to Villanova 65-61 last night. (The 700 Level)

source:

Dunk(s) of the Day:
Rodney Williams and Trevor Mbakwe spent a lot of time above the rim during the Golden Gophers in over South Dakota State last night. I love the 360-jam, but you gotta stay on your feet homeboy. (The Daily Gopher)

Video(s) of the Day:
A teaser trailer for the All Access: Inside Memphis video for Inside Memphis Basketball. I’m not sure when it’s coming out, but man am I looking forward to it.

Do you like the new Morning Mix? Hate it? Have a suggestion or wanted something featured? Troy Machir will take all your praise, insults and inquiries via Twitter (@TroyMachir)

Cody Riley cuts list to five schools

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Cody Riley has cut his list to five schools, according to Scout.com.

A four-star four man, Riley is now considering just UConn, Kansas, Oklahoma, UCLA and USC.

Ranked the No. 29 player in the Class of 2017 by Rivals, Riley is an undersized-but-powerful forward. His bread and butter is on the block, where his strength and low center of gravity make him a nightmare to deal with, but he’s also skilled enough to do damage as a face-up four.

Riley is from California and will be playing his senior season alongside Marvin Bagley III, the No. 1 player in the Class of 2018, at Sierra Canyon.

Auburn continues to stockpile talent, adds top 50 prospect in 2017

Bruce Pearl
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey
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Auburn’s hire of Bruce Pearl was almost universally lauded as the first step towards the return of relevance for the Tiger basketball program.

And while the results have yet to shine through on the floor, Pearl is unequivocally stockpiling the kind of talent that will allow him to push for trips to the NCAA tournament and maybe one day contend for a league crown with Kentucky.

The latest step came on Sunday, when Pearl landed a commitment from Chuma Okeke, a top 50 wing prospect out of Georgia.

“He is a versatile wing who can handle and score,” said NBCSports.com recruiting analyst Scott Phillips. “Coming off of a big July, Okeke could move up the national rankings and Auburn pounced on him right away.”

Okeke joins big man Austin Wiley, a top ten player in the class, and Davion Mitchell, who is likely one of the five best point guards in the country, in what is currently the nation’s best recruiting class in 2017. That’s before you consider that Pearl already has Mustapha Heron, a top 25 prospect, joining the mix this season.

“This group has the makings of a monster recruiting class for Auburn,” Phillips said.

Okeke picked the Tigers over Florida State, Georgia and a number of other programs across the southeast.

VIDEO: Watch Virginia freshman Jay Huff dunk from the free throw line

Tony Bennett
AP Photo/Nell Redmond
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Jay Huff is a member of Tony Bennett’s best recruiting class to date, a 6-foot-11 top 50 recruit from North Carolina.

He also happens to be pretty athletic.

Don’t believe me?

Check out this video that McDonald’s All-American Kyle Guy tweeted out on Sunday night:

Yup, that’s Huff taking off from the foul line to dunk.

Not bad, young fella.

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

Kelly Kline/Under Armour
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)