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)

Gonzaga lands their first post-Final Four commitment

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Gonzaga capitalized on their run to the national title game by landing a commitment from French point guard Joel Ayayi, who announced the news on twitter.

Ayayi is an interesting long-term prospect, according to Draft Express. He has the size and the frame to eventually be a significant contributor in the college game, but he’s raw. His handle needs work, as does his ability to create off the dribble and find teammates off of the bounce.

That said, he’s 6-foot-4 with a 6-foot-7 wingspan and the ability to shoot it from the perimeter, and if Gonzaga can do anything, it’s develop players that enter their program.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson, top three prospect in 2018, breaks defender’s ankles

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Zion Williamson, one of the most sought-after recruits in college basketball, had himself a highlight-worthy moment at the Adidas Gauntlet event in Dallas over the weekend, breaking a defender’s ankles before hitting a three.

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.

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.