Matt Carlino, John Gage

The Secondary Break: Tuesday’s Links

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Now that the college basketball season is finally here, it’s time to bring back the daily collection of links needed to catch you up on the happenings of the night before.

While you were asleep: 24-hour college basketball marathon links 

BYU puts up 112 points in their win at Stanford
Proponents of the changes to the way in which the game will be officiated must have loved this one, as the Cougars and Cardinal combined to score 215 in Palo Alto. Tyler Haws (31 points) and Matt Carlino (25) led the way for BYU, who with the victory picked up a non-conference victory that could prove valuable come March. Chasson Randle led Stanford with 33, but the attempt to run with BYU didn’t work out too well.

Wichita State takes care of business at home
Fred Van Vleet played very well for the Shockers, who beat Western Kentucky by the final score of 66-49. The sophomore finished with 17 points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists against the two-time defending Sun Belt tournament champions.

Saint Mary’s caps a 3-0 night for the WCC
West Coast Conference teams are now a combined 15-0 on the season thanks to the Gaels’ 85-63 beating of Akron early Tuesday morning. Brad Waldow scored 16 points to lead the way for Saint Mary’s, who pulled away after leading by seven at the intermission. Of note moving forward was the performance of James Walker III, who finished the game with 15 points (11 in the first half). If he can be a consistent double-figure scorer alongside Stephen Holt, Saint Mary’s could prove to be closer to Gonzaga and BYU than many believe them to be.

New Mexico State holds off Hawaii, 95-88 
This contest featured five technical fouls, one of which coming as a result of Hawaii calling a timeout when they had none remaining. In the end New Mexico State’s work inside of the arc and on the glass proved to be the difference, with five Aggies scoring 15 points or more.

And now for the morning reading material:

Boston College has a special teammate in 15-year old Robo Arcand (NESN)
Arcand’s been fighting leukemia, but he hasn’t done so alone. And just as he’s benefitted from their assistance, Steve Donohue’s program has received benefits as well.

UMass’ Cady Lalanne will be an important piece for UMass (Hoopville)
With LSU bringing its stable of solid big men to Amherst later this morning this is a good read on Lalanne, who’s looking to build on his outstanding performance against Boston College on Sunday.

More chatter about how displeased some coaches are with the new points of emphasis (Washington Post)
Once again, there will be growing pains when it comes to the move to “clean up” the game and limit contact both on and off the ball. But that doesn’t mean some coaches won’t pass up the opportunity to voice their displeasure.

Remember Grinnell’s Jack Taylor? His goal is to be remembered for more than scoring 138 points in a game (Associated Press)
When you score as many points in a single game as Taylor did last season, people tend to look at you as some kind of “carnival act.” Taylor’s aim in 2013-14 is to change that by being more productive on a consistent basis.

Zay Henderson’s broken hand leaves Murray State with eight available scholarship players (West Kentucky Star)
Steve Prohm’s squad will have to depth issues to deal with during the early portion of the season, with reserve forward Zay Henderson going down with a broken hand. The Racers will add Clemson transfer T.J. Sapp at the end of the semester, but this is a group that can’t afford any more roster issues.

Elite freshmen are all the rage, and a few will take center stage at the Champions Classic tonight (USA Today)
The freshmen are a big reason why there’s more excitement for both the college basketball season as a whole, and tonight’s Champions Classic in Chicago. Newcomers at Duke, Kansas and Kentucky will all be on display at the United Center (as well as some tough veterans at Michigan State).

Who should be blamed for Oregon’s Dominic Artis and Ben Carter selling team-issued sneakers? (Complex)
There’s no doubt that the two players, who were suspended for nine games apiece, violated an NCAA rule. But is there more blame to be passed around in the aftermath?

Video of the Morning: How did two Wichita State fans keep their energy levels up during the Shockers’ win over Western Kentucky?

It’s obviously too late for any advice on how to remain awake for the entire 24-hour college hoops marathon, but keep this in mind for next year (if you’re a fan of such beverages).

Self pays freshman Jackson a major compliment

Josh Jackson, from Napa, Calif.,, dunks over Nancy Mulkey, from Cypress, Texas, as he competes in the slam dunk contest during the McDonald's All-American Jam Fest, Monday, March 28, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
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Freshman phenom production under Bill Self has been something of a contentious topic. Many fault the coach, who has won one national title and 12-straight Big 12 championships, for not developing one-and-done talent to their fullest potential during their single-season stays in Lawrence. Cliff Alexander and Cheick Diallo are Exhibit 1-A and 1-B for this argument in recent years.

Whatever outside criticism there is (Andrew Wiggins did go No. 1 overall just 2 years ago, after all), Self isn’t shying away from hyping the latest freshman with big expectations to come to KU. When asked who the greatest athlete of all-time is at the school’s annual Tradition Night last week, Self had a simple, if tongue-and-cheek, response.

“I’ll say Josh Jackson,” Self said of the the 6-foot-8 shooting guard ranked No. 1 in his class, according to Lawrence Journal-World.

With others answering with the likes of Michael Jordan and Muhammed Ali, it’s pretty fair to say Self was playing to the crowd with the answer, but it’s still telling that he was willing to deliver such a sound bite, even if it was before a welcoming audience. Self didn’t try to seriously depress expectations for Wiggins, a player Jackson is often compared to, and it looks like he won’t for Jackson as well.

Jackson, though, won’t have the burden Wiggins had as there’s one of the country’s best backcourts in Frank Mason II and Devonte Graham to help shoulder the workload for the Jayhawks.

 

ACC non-commital on HB2 stance

John Swofford
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With North Carolina unwilling to rescind their controversial so-called bathroom bill, the NBA has withdrawn its All-Star Game from the state this year and numerous high-profile music acts have canceled performances as a result.

The ACC is declining to join them with a hard-line, or really any, position.

“We don’t want to damage our league with any premature decisions,” commissioner John Swofford said on The David Glenn Show. “We’ll just see how it plays out.”

The ACC, of course, has quite the presence in the state with North Carolina, N.C. State, Duke and Wake Forest all in the Tar Heel State. Swofford’s comments are sure to draw the interest of the LGBT community, which has roundly been critical of the bill, which requires people to use the bathroom which corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate, and has recently been active in college athletics, opposing the Big 12’s potential inclusion of BYU in its expansion plans over concerns of the Church of Latter Day Saints school’s honor code.

North Carolina’s bill has also drawn the eye of the NCAA, which is requiring potential championship sights to provide information on local anti-discrimination laws.

One of the loudest voices in the ACC, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, has come out against the law.

“It’s an embarrassing bill,” Coach K said last month.

The Champions Classic renewed through 2019

LAWRENCE, KS - FEBRUARY 27: Bill Self head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks claps for his team as they celebrate winning the Big 12 Conference Championship after they defeated Texas Tech Red Raiders 67-58 at Allen Fieldhouse on February 27, 2016 in Lawrence, Kansas. With the win, Kansas clinched its 12th straight conference championship. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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The Champions Classic is back, baby!!!

On Wednesday, the four schools that participate in the event — Kentucky, Duke, Kansas and Michigan State — announced that they have signed deals to extend the life of the doubleheader for another three years.

This is terrific news. The Champions Classic is always the best early-season event of the season, an annual double-header that always ends up putting together two of the best non-conference games in packed NBA arenas. This year, it features Duke, the consensus preseason No. 1 team in the country, squaring off with Kansas, who is a consensus top three team with the No. 1 freshman in the class, Josh Jackson, on their roster, in one game.

The other game? Kentucky, the third consensus top three team nationally, going up against Tom Izzo and Michigan State, who will be, at worst, a top 15 team in the preseason polls.

So yeah, we’re going to get a pair of sensational basketball games in Madison Square Garden on Nov. 15th. MSG also just so happens to be the best arena to watch a great neutral site basketball game.

It’s going to be awesome.

There’s only one possible way to make it better: turn it into a two-day event, with the winners squaring off for the Champions Classic title the following night.

Make it happen.

Anyway, here’s the schedule:

Nov. 14, 2017 (United Center, Chicago)
Kansas vs. Kentucky
Duke vs. Michigan State

Nov. 13, 2018 (Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis)
Michigan State vs. Kansas
Duke vs. Kentucky

Nov. 12, 2019 (Madison Square Garden, New York)
Kansas vs. Duke
Michigan State vs. Kentucky

Hartford makes smart decision to allow ‘Pancake’ Thomas transfer

AP Photo
Hartford coach John Gallagher, AP Photo
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Another talented graduate transfer has hit the market.

Cleveland ‘Pancake’ Thomas — that’s a helluva name, isn’t it? — has been granted a release by Hartford and will be allowed to transfer to another program for his fifth season.

“Our biggest priority for Cleveland was that he graduate from the University of Hartford with a valuable degree,” Hartford head coach John Gallagher said in a statement released to ESPN after some speculation that Thomas wasn’t going to be given a release. “That happened. Beyond wishing him the very best, we don’t comment on other program’s players. We are very excited about our group and the upcoming season.”

The term “release” is needed here because Thomas, a 6-foot-3 guard who averaged 18.9 points and shot 42.6 percent from three this past season, spent his first two years of eligibility at New Mexico. A graduate transfer exception is granted to any player making their first transfer after receiving an undergraduate degree. But since Pancake had already transferred once, he was only eligible to apply for a graduate transfer waiver, which the school he is leaving must support.

Remember the saga of Todd O’Brien? He tried to leave St. Joseph’s to spend his fifth-year at UAB but made headlines everywhere when Phil Martelli wouldn’t let it happen? That’s because O’Brien had started his career at Bucknell and needed Martelli to support the waiver.

Gallagher could have done the same to Pancake.

He made the right decision not to — Martelli has enough coaching cache to withstand the onslaught on criticism he received, I’m not sure that is true for Gallagher — even if it will result in Thomas playing elsewhere, hence the cold-hearted nature of that statement.

Anyway, Thomas never averaged more than 3.9 points at New Mexico, so while he’s a tantalizing prospect for programs that are dying for perimeter depth and shooting, this isn’t exactly a kid that’s going to launch himself into the NBA Draft’s first round by jumping up to a higher level.

Shawn Forrest named assistant coach for Jankovich at SMU

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 22:  Head coach Larry Brown (L) and associate head coach Tim Jankovich of the Southern Methodist Mustangs look on during the team's game against the Kent State Golden Flashes during the 2015 Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena on December 22, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Southern Methodist won 90-74. The game marks Brown's return from a nine-game suspension.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
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DALLAS (AP) Shawn Forrest has been named an assistant basketball coach at SMU, his third school since the end of last season.

Mustangs coach Tim Jankovich announced Forrest’s hiring Tuesday.

Forrest spent the past three seasons as an assistant at Western Kentucky before head coach Ray Harper resigned. Forrest was named a UTSA assistant in May, but two weeks later left for Louisiana Tech before the unexpected opening at SMU.

Jankovich was SMU’s associate head coach before the abrupt resignation last month of Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown. Forrest fills the open assistant spot created on the staff when Jankovich was promoted to head coach.

Before Western Kentucky, Forrest was an assistant coach at Louisiana-Lafayette, North Texas, Arkansas State and Florida A&M.