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The Morning Mix

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Mike Rice was fired at Rutgers. Richard Pitino is the new head coach at Minnesota. The best high school players in the country played very little defense last night at the McDonald’s All-American game in Chicago. That and more in today’s T.M.M.

let’s hit the links.

Read of the Day:
Kevin Ware has become a national story. Prior to the grizzly injury, Ware was soft-spoken and often reserved. But under adverse circumstances the young guard is flourishing in the spotlight. (Yahoo Sports)
 
 
Observations & Insight:
– The Big East will now be known as The American Athletic Conference. Original stuff right there. (CBS Sports)

– Dunk City is not relocating to Southern California. It’s staying in Dunk City, Fla. (ESPN LA)

– Marshall Henderson wrote an apology letter to Ole Miss fans for some of his outlandish behavior. (Clarion Ledger)

– Did Old Dominion whiff on their head coaching hire? Bob Molinaro certainly thinks so. (Virginian-Pilot)

– Arizona-bound Aaron Gordon captured the MVP award last night at the McDonald’s All-American Game. (AZ Desert Swarm)

– Maxim’s historical list of the top-7 players to break out during March Madness. I’ll contest Kemba Walker being on this list. He didn’t “break out” during the NCAA tournament. He hit four game-winners during the regular season, won five-straight Big East tournament games, and broke Gary McGee’s ankles. (Maxim)

– George Mason defeated Santa Clara last night, setting up a decisive game three for the C.B.I championship. (Washington Post)

– Siena made a great hire in Jimmy Patsos. If they were looking for somebody who will win the press conference, they certainly got their guy. (Keepin’ Track of the MAAC)

– Louisville is selling t-shirts that honor Kevin Ware, and following negative press regarding the profit of t-shirts, the school announced that they will not be profiting from the production and sale of t-shirts. (WDRB.com)
 
 
Odds & Ends:
– Marshall Henderson is a good dude at heart. If he was actually the jerk he portrays himself as, would he really subject himself to a public dunk tank? (Busted Coverage)

– Andy Enfield, his supermodel wife, and USC song girls. Of course. (USA Today)
 
 
Hoops Housekeeping:
– Minnesota made a bold hire yesterday with the selection of Florida International’s Richard Pitino. While he only has one year of head coaching experience, he does have the pedigree for success. (Fox Sports North)

– Syracuse police will monitor the activity on Marshall Street during the Final Four games. The police want to take a proactive approach against couch fires. (Syracuse Post-Standard)

– The basketball gods have rewarded us with another season of Marshall Henderson. (Sports Illustrated)

– A list of ten potential candidates for the Rutgers head coaching spot. Danny Hurley, Tommy Amaker and John Giannini are just several of the potential candidates that the school reaches out to. (New Jersey Hoops Haven)

– NC-State got a dose a good news yesterday. T.J. Warren announced that he will return to Raleigh. This is a sigh of relief for Wolfpack fans, who already saw C.J. Leslie, Lorenzo Brown and Rodney Purvis leave school. Leslie and Brown are declaring for the draft and Purvis is transferring. (ACC Insider)

– Cal guard Allen Crabbe has decided to enter the NBA draft. (CBS SF Bay Area)
 
 
Picture of the Day:
Oh it’s nothing really, just Tom Izzo and 2Chainz. (h/t @2chainz)

source:
 
 
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DePaul adds 2018 commit

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Wisconsin guard John Diener has committed to DePaul, his grassroots program announced Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-4 Class of 2018 guard ends his recruitment rather early with offers also from instate schools Green Bay and Milwaukee. He’s known as a shooter and becomes the first commit for Dave Leitao in the 2018 class.

Diener, who plays with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors in the spring and summer, commits to the Blue Demons with them coming off a disappointing campaign, Leitao’s first in Chicago. DePaul went 9-22 overall and 3-15 in the Big East, finishing only ahead of St. John’s.

DePaul has been recruiting the Midwest hard with incoming 2016 recruits from La Lumiere School in Indiana, Sagninow, Mich. and locally in Chicago.

Four-star guard Fisher commits to TCU

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Jamie Dixon’s presence is already being felt in the Big 12 and on the recruiting trail.

TCU received its first commitment of the Dixon era when four-star 2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher announced his decision to join the Horned Frogs on Wednesday.

“Due to how comfortable my family and I are with the coaching staff,” Fisher posted from his Twitter account, “and the emphasis the university has put on making basketball a priority, I’m committing to be a student-athlete at TCU.”

Getting a consensus top-75 prospect, who was once committed to UNLV, is a heck of a coup for being just a couple months on the job. It instantly shows the Frogs are going to be a player for some of the country’s top players, which is a necessity if you have designs on making a move up the ladder of arguably the country’s best league in the Big 12.

Maybe the most gratifying thing for TCU, though, is the reason Fisher publicly stated for making his decision, the school’s “making basketball a priority.” The hoops program has suffered immensely in the Big 12 (while the football program has flourished), winning a total of eight games in their four seasons (including a winless 2014), but the school sank $72 million into renovating its arena, made an aggressive move in firing Trent Johnson and then went out and got its dream candidate, Dixon, an alum. Fisher’s commitment is the first time those moves have shown that commitment to basketball paying off.

 

Report: Izundu’s San Diego State transfer ban rescinded

Ernie Kent
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Washington State transfer Valentine Izundu will be visiting San Diego State after all.

Coach Ernie Kent has rescinded his restriction on the 6-foot-10 graduate transfer from visiting the Aztecs, according to a report from the Spokesman-Review, citing an anonymous source. Izundu will also be reportedly visiting Fresno State and UNLV.

Izundu had previously been barred from considering the Aztecs by Kent because of suspcisions of tampering. Izundu vigorously denied that was the case as at the center of the dispute was a trip he made to San Diego for spring break. He publicly said he did not have any contact with the SDSU coaching staff , though he attended an Aztecs NIT game.

Kent, though, appears to have relented, as many coaches who have similarly faces public pressure in such situations before him have. In this era where so much attention is being paid to player rights and welfare, there only seems to be growing public sentiment against programs restricting transfers beyond the absolute bare minimum is rarely going to go over well. It may make things more difficult for coaches and programs, but it’s the deck is largely already stacked in their favor in most every other instance.

Ex-Michigan State player Keith Appling faces weapons charges

Keith Appling
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DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) Authorities say former Michigan State basketball player Keith Appling faces charges including carrying a concealed weapon after he was found in possession of guns and marijuana in suburban Detroit.

The Wayne County prosecutor’s office says 24-year-old Appling was arrested outside a Dearborn club on Sunday night. Club security called police after seeing a man pull a gun from the trunk of a car.

Prosecutors say Appling was in the driver’s seat of the car when police arrived. Officers found a handgun under the driver’s seat, a loaded weapon in the trunk and a small amount of suspected marijuana.

Weapons and marijuana possession charges were announced Wednesday.

The court says he doesn’t have a lawyer on record.

Appling played for the Spartans from 2010-2014 and plays for the NBA’s development league.

UNLV transfer to finish career at Michigan State

UNLV forward Ben Carter, right, celebrates after his team defeated Oregon in an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, in Las Vegas. UNLV won 80-69. (AP Photo/John Locher)
(AP Photo/John Locher)
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Former UNLV center Ben Carter announced on Wednesday that he will be transferring to Michigan State to finish his collegiate career.

Carter, who began his career at Oregon, averaged 8.6 points and 6.0 boards in his one season with UNLV before tearing his ACL in late January. He spent two seasons with the Ducks before transferring to Vegas, which is why he’s eligible immediately for the Spartans.

And that’s the biggest reason that Tom Izzo and company targeted him.

The Spartans lost Deyonta Davis to the NBA Draft after one season, a fact that became an inevitability midway through the year but one that the Spartans didn’t necessarily plan for heading into last season. Carter isn’t going to be an instant impact kind of player, particularly not when he’s coming off of an ACL injury, but he is a big body and a veteran presence on a front line that wasn’t going have much of either.