The Secondary Break: Wednesday’s Links

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UCSB shows Rebels, Rice how to play (Las Vegas Review-Journal) 
While much of the nation was captivated by the Champions Classic UNLV suffered its worst home loss since 2003, falling to UCSB by 21 points. And it’s safe to say that people are none to thrilled with how the Runnin’ Rebels lost, as they lacked energy and at times looked downright confused against the Gauchos.

BYU doing its part to bring scoring back to college basketball (Deseret News) 
Early in the 24-hour college basketball marathon BYU put up 112 points in their nine-point win at Stanford. Armed with guards Matt Carlino and Tyler Haws, the Cougars are well-equipped to continue scoring at a high rate this season. Not sure about 100+ points on a consistent basis, but they’ll definitely help in the quest to improve the offensive production in the college game.

Parker, Randle and Wiggins shine in Chicago (Sports Illustrated) 
An interesting read on how these three freshmen performed at the United Center on Tuesday night.

While the outcome may have been a disappointment, Kentucky can take some valuable lessons out of its 78-74 loss to No. 2 Michigan State (Louisville Courier-Journal)

On the other side, Michigan State didn’t feel as if they accomplished much (or at least said that they didn’t) in beating the Wildcats (MLive.com)

Those early morning marathon games can be tough on fans who aren’t used to unfamiliar game times, but that didn’t stop Wichita State fans from making their presence known- and heard (Wichita Eagle)

While Andrew Wiggins is an impressive talent, the number of weapons alongside him helps to relieve some of the pressure (Kansas City Star)

On a night that included the returns of Chane Behanan and Luke Hancock, it was Chris Jones who stood out in Louisville’s win over Hofstra (Louisville Courier-Journal)

Spending part of the summer with the German national team has paid off for UConn senior forward Niels Giffey (Hartford Courant)

Cal’s Justin Cobbs should be fine after taking a tough fall in the Golden Bears’ win over Denver (SFGate.com)

While you won’t have much trouble finding men who coach women’s college basketball, the same can’t be said for women in the men’s game (USA Today)

Skal Labissiere has not been cleared by the NCAA

Kelly Kline/Under Armour
Kelly Kline/Under Armor
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While the timeline surrounding Cheick Diallo’s eligibility has made headlines for months now, another elite recruit at a blue blood program is still awaiting word on whether or not he will be allowed to play college basketball this season.

Kentucky center Skal Labissiere, the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2015 and a potential No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, has not yet been cleared to play this season. His guard, Gerald Hamilton, confirmed as much to ESPN earlier today.

“Not yet,” Hamilton said. “We’re just trying to get everything squared away. They are asking a few questions.

“They haven’t cleared him, but we’re sticking with our faith. There’s no real concern about anything from the Kentucky compliance people.”

Labissiere has more red flags than you can count, almost all of them pertaining to Hamilton. It was the worst kept secret in high school basketball that Hamilton more or less had Labissiere for sale. It’s why he played three different AAU programs and two different high schools in four years. Hamilton runs a non-profit called Reach Your Dream and, after a transfer rendered him ineligible for his senior high school season, Labissiere played for a team called ‘Reach Your Dream Prep’, which Hamilton founded simply to ensure Labissiere had a place to play.

Here’s how CBSSports.com summarized things back in November:

Multiple coaches who have recruited Labissiere told CBSSports.com Hamilton either directly indicated or strongly suggested pursuing Labissiere would mostly be a waste of time if they couldn’t offer assistance in helping fund his foundation. One coach from a prominent staff said: “We couldn’t even get in the door.” Another added: “We recognized what it was about early on and decided not to get involved.”

In other words, no one is surprised that the NCAA is looking into Labissiere’s situation, and it’s not hard to look at Kentucky bringing in Isaac Humphries and Tai Wynyard as a sign that they’re not completely certain that Labissiere will make it through this. The surprise is in how quiet that investigation has been over the course of the last few months.

The shame in all of this is that Labissiere is a sweet kid with an incredible back-story. He survived the devastating earthquake in Haiti despite having a house collapse on him. If he can get through this investigation, he’ll easily be one of the biggest and most likeable stars in the sport this season.

Xavier commit to enroll early, redshirt

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Xavier landed a commitment on Wednesday from four-star big man Eddie Ekiyor, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com.

Ekiyor, who picked the Musketeers over Miami and Florida, is a borderline top 100 recruit. He’s an athletic, 6-foot-8 post that shouldn’t have an issue adjusting to the pace and physicality of the game, although he needs to continue to develop offensively to be more than a catch-and-dunk big man down the road.

In other words, on paper, Ekiyor isn’t much different from the majority of high major big men. But what’s different about this situation is that Ekiyor will be enrolling at Xavier for the start of the spring semester, technically making him a member of the Class of 2015. Xavier won’t be rushing him through the process — he’ll redshirt the second half of the 2015-16 season — but getting him on campus early will allow him an extra six months of learning the Xavier system, developing in collegiate practices and working out with the Xavier strength coaches.

That should help him limit the adjustment phase as he transitions from high school. That’s important for the Musketeers, because there’s a chance that they could lose their starting front line — James Farr (graduation) and Jalen Reynolds (early entry) — after this season.