Gary Payton II, aka ‘The Mitten’, is headed to his dad’s alma mater


Oregon State has struggled in recent years, and the beginning of this season has been no different. The Beavers lost to Coppin State in their opener and struggled to deal with Portland last night.

But the program reached back to their glory years on Thursday, as the Beavers earned a commitment from Gary Payton II. The elder Payton starred for the Beavers in the late 80s and early 90s.

Payton II — who was given the nickname “The Mitten” to pay homage to his dad’s nickname, ‘The Glove’ — was not exactly a highly-regarded recruit. He picked the Beavers over some quality mid-major programs like Utah State and St. Mary’s, but the product of Salt Lake Community College isn’t expected to be a program changing commitment.

He’s a role player, which means that, while getting plenty of publicity for his lineage and his name, Craig Robinson still has quite a bit of work to do in Corvallis.

Report: Four-star center reclassifying to 2015; down to three

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An interesting recruiting development hit on Friday as Josh Gershon of Scout.com reported that four-star center Jayce Johnson is reclassifying to the Class of 2015 and looking to join a program at semester break.

The 7-foot native of California is down to Cal, Colorado and Utah and Johnson is on an official visit to Utah this weekend after transferring to a charter school this week. As Gershon notes, only Cal has a scholarship to offer Johnson this season, but the family is willing to pay a semester at the other programs if it’s the right fit. Johnson would like to redshirt and train with his future college while playing against more mature players.

But if Johnson is persuaded not to redshirt, he could be an intriguing big man off the bench later in the season for a couple of teams looking to make a postseason appearance. As the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson is a talented prospect and he isn’t afraid to score with either hand. With some time to fill out, Johnson can turn into a talented Pac-12 player down the road.

VIDEO: Utah Valley’s Mark Pope dances, lip syncs with daughters

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New Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope made quite an impression on fans at the team’s Midnight Madness celebration last night. That’s because Pope did a dance and lip sync routine with his four daughters that turned out to be pretty impressive.

The former BYU assistant looks to be the leader in the clubhouse for best coach dance so far this preseason. We’ll see if any other coaches pull out elaborate routines at madness celebrations the next few weeks.