The Secondary Break: Thursday’s Links

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Stanley Johnson to announce college decision Friday (Scout)
The early signing period began on Wednesday, and Friday’s setting up to be a busy day on the recruiting trail. In addition to Cliff Alexander, Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor , five-star guard Stanley Johnson will announce his decision as well. The three schools in the running for the Mater Dei HS (Calif.) product are Arizona, Kentucky and USC.

After tragedy, Andre Dawkins shares his personal journey (Sports Illustrated)
Duke senior guard Andre Dawkins returned to the program after spending the 2012-13 year away from the program as he dealt with the passing of his sister, taking the time to not only address that but his own bout with depression.

He’s back! Marshall Henderson to return to the court Saturday (Associated Press)
Ole Miss’ lone senior will make his season debut on Saturday against Coastal Carolina, with Henderson’s three-game suspension having run its course. Henderson helped lead the Rebels to an SEC tournament title last season, but he’ll have more heavy lifting to do with Reginald Buckner and Murphy Holloway no longer in the front court.

“Miscommunication” led to Dez Wells playing just five first-half minutes (CSN Washington)
Maryland struggled for the first 25 minutes or so of their 69-44 win over Abilene Christian, and as the first half wore on many wondered why Dez Wells remained on the bench. According to head coach Mark Turgeon Wells playing just five minutes in the first half was a result of “miscommunication,” but there will be no lingering issues regarding the matter.

New rules mean more zone for Pitt (Beaver County Times)
Pitt’s man-to-man defense has been a staple of the Jamie Dixon era (and Ben Howland before him), but with the new rules aiming to remove contact both on and off the ball adjustments need to be made. One of those for the Panthers: play more zone, with the defense proving to be a catalyst in their comfortable win over Fresno State.

Eastern Kentucky ties OVC record with 20 three-pointers (Louisville Courier-Journal)
A record nearly fell in the Colonels’ 114-45 win over Warren Wilson College, as EKU tied the OVC record for made three-pointers in a game with 20. EKU needed 39 attempts to do so, and they led 61-17 at the intermission.

Jones makes most of opportunity against VCU (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Virginia’s free throw shooting left something to be desired in their 59-56 loss to VCU, but one positive was the play of Teven Jones. With Evan Nolte out due to injury Jones took advantage of his nine minutes on the floor, and not sulking after receiving little playing time in the Cavaliers’ season-opening win over James Madison.

Jeff Walz to run up $5,000 beer tab (Louisville Courier-Journal)
In order to say “thanks” to fans who attend his team’s games, Louisville women’s basketball coach Jeff Walz is buying the first 2,500 (of age) fans a beer at the team’s Preseason NIT semifinal game against LSU on Thursday

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

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SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

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South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.

 

N.C. State lands second transfer of day with Utah’s Devon Daniels

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A big recruiting day for N.C. State continued on Saturday afternoon as Utah transfer and guard Devon Daniels pledged to the Wolfpack.

Earlier in the day, N.C. State and new head coach Kevin Keatts landed another quality transfer in UNC Wilmington guard C.J. Bryce.

The 6-foot-5 Daniels just finished his freshman season with the Utes in which he put up 9.9 points 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 57 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Just like Bryce, Daniels will have to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations before he has three more seasons of eligibility.

N.C. State now has two potential starters on the perimeter for the 2018-19 season with the addition of Bryce and Daniels as it will be interesting to see what kind of talent the Wolfpack can get around them.