Victor Oladipo, Kyle Vinales

Kyle Vinales won’t leave Central Connecticut State after all

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When it was announced just over a month ago that Central Connecticut State leading scorer Kyle Vinales would look to transfer, the biggest factor in his decision was a desire to reach postseason play.

Vinales, who averaged nearly 22 points per game as a sophomore, at one point tweeted his decision to transfer to Toledo only to reconsider that move the following day.

Toledo was certainly an interesting destination given the fact that they haven’t reached the NCAA tournament since 1980. But to be fair, Tod Kowalczyk and his staff have things headed in the right direction after being ineligible for postseason play in 2012-13 due to APR issues.

The “where will Vinales attend school next year” saga reached its end on Friday, as it was reported by Mike Anthony of the Hartford Courant that Vinales will return to Howie Dickenman’s program for his junior season.

“I called Coach Dickenman on Thursday to ask if my scholarship was still available.  He said that it was,” Vinales said on Friday in a statement released by the school.

“I made a mistake and this process has taught me what is really important.  I learned that my teammates are my brothers and that this coaching staff and school truly care about my future and about me.  You don’t find that everywhere and I realize that now.”

To say the least this is big news for CCSU, which lost small forward Adonis Burbage (10.3 ppg; transfer) at the end of the 2012-13 season. With Vinales back in the fold the Blue Devils will return their top two scorers from a season ago, as 6-5 forward Matt Hunter will look to build upon a season in which he averaged 15.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.

But for as positive as this change of heart is from a skill standpoint, Vinales may have some work to do in the locker room when it comes to regaining the trust of a group he decided to leave a month ago.

“Kyle knows that he has some work to do to earn back some of the trust of his teammates, but I believe he is sincere in doing that,” Dickenman said in the statement.

“He is committed to what he needs to do to make this right. We didn’t have any ill will towards Kyle when he decided to leave, and now that he has been through that process we are happy that he will be a Blue Devil for the rest of his career.  He’s a hard worker, and now the work continues for next season.”

Does CCSU have enough firepower to challenge the likes of LIU Brooklyn, Robert Morris and Wagner in the Northeast Conference next season? That remains to be seen, but the return of Vinales won’t hurt their chances.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

No. 25 Texas A&M outlasts No. 10 Gonzaga

Billy Kennedy
AP Photo/Chuck Burton
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No. 25 Texas A&M made a statement on Turkey Day, as they knocked off No. 10 Gonzaga 62-61 in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis.

Danuel House led the way with 19 points for the Aggies while Tony Trocha-Morales finished with 14 points as Texas A&M picked up the win despite the fact that they did not score for the final eight minutes of the game.

Billy Kennedy’s club looked the part of an SEC contender, playing tough defense and keeping Gonzaga’s massive and talented front line in check. Perhaps most impressive was that they were able to hang on despite blowing a lead late in the second half, and that they did it with their defense. Gonzaga can score. They have big bodies inside and shooters to surround them, but Domantas Sabonis struggled with foul struggle throughout the game while Kyle Wiltjer did not score in the final 12 minutes.

Kentucky, at this point, is the clear-cut favorite in the SEC, and while Vanderbilt looked really good in Maui this week, A&M looks like they’re going to end up giving the Commodores a run for their money for second-best in the league.

On the other hand, this loss wasn’t a total disaster for the Zags. They had the final possession with a chance to be a good team on a day when Domantas Sabonis was rendered completely ineffective. And, more importantly, point guard Josh Perkins was terrific. He did have a late turnover, but he scored all 15 of his points in the second half as he helped keep the Zags within striking distance.

Texas A&M will play the winner of Syracuse and No. 18 UConn for the title.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Thanksgiving Day Edition!

Kevin Ollie
(AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Syracuse vs. No. 18 UConn, 3:30 p.m.

For the first time since the Orange departed the Big East, the two former rivals will square off. Today’s battle will take place at the Battle 4 Atlantis, as the Orange knocked off Charlotte yesterday and the Huskies dispatched Michigan. To get ready for this battle, I’d suggest ready through the conversation @NoEscalators had with himself last night.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 25 Texas A&M vs. No. 10 Gonzaga, 1:00 p.m.

The other semifinal in the Battle 4 Atlantis could end up being just as good, as the Aggies — who might be the second best team in the SEC — square off with a Gonzaga team that has one of the best front lines in the country. This will be a good test to figure out just how good both of these teams are.


1. No. 20 Wichita State vs. USC, 2:00 p.m.: The Shockers will be without Fred VanVleet for this event. It will also be a chance for us to gauge just how good this 4-0 USC team is.

2. No. 23 Xavier vs. Alabama, 12:00 p.m: The Musketeers should have no problems dispatching Alabama.

3. No. 8 Villanova vs. Stanford, 4:30 p.m.: The Wildcats are, once again, as good as any team in the country. Josh Hart might be the nation’s most underrated star.

4. No. 14 Cal vs. San Diego State, 12:00 a.m.: Tyrone Wallace and company have been awesome this season. They get their first real test of the season tonight.

5. Providence vs. Evansville, 7:00 p.m.: Evansville is one of the nation’s best mid-majors, good enough to give the likes of Wichita State and Northern Iowa a fight in the Missouri Valley. And Providence? They got a kid named Kris Dunn. Heard of him?


  • No. 3 Michigan State vs. Boston College, 6:30 p.m.
  • No. 11 Arizona vs. Santa Clara, 11:30 p.m.
  • No. 17 Notre Dame vs. Monmouth, 6:30 p.m.