The Secondary Break: Monday’s Links

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Joe Dean Sr., Mr. String Music and an LSU/college basketball legend, passes away (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
College basketball lost one of its all-time greats on Sunday, as Joe Dean passed away at the age of 83. A member of the College Basketball Hall of Fame, Dean was known as “Mr. String Music” and was one of SEC basketball’s biggest proponents.

Michigan welcomes back Mitch McGary, goes hunting for chemistry (
Mitch McGary made his return to the court in Michigan’s 77-70 loss to Iowa State, finishing the game with nine points and seven rebounds. And as Brendan Quinn points out here, it’s going to take the Wolverines a little time to get used to having the big man on the court.

Thompson emerging for the Hokies (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
With their lack of experience, Virginia Tech’s going to need contributions from their newcomers if they’re to hold their own in the ACC. One of those players is Trevor Thompson, who posted a double-double in his second career game. While veteran C.J. Barksdale will be back on the floor after serving a three-game suspension, Thompson’s earned himself a spot in James Johnson’s rotation.

Wildcats and their fans never forgot loss to Robert Morris (Beaver County Times)
Despite the fact that the two teams are drastically different this season, more than a few Kentucky fans saw Sunday’s game against Robert Morris as a shot at payback. And in the aftermath of Kentucky’s 87-49 win, both head coaches are hopeful that the talk about that Postseason NIT game can come to an end.

Illini’s Groce fires back at critics (Chicago Tribune)
To say the least Friday was a tough day for Illinois on the recruiting trail, as Quentin Snider de-committed and signed with Louisville and Cliff Alexander chose Kansas. That led to some stating that John Groce’s program was “put in its place,” and he wasn’t a fan of that talk. Groce spoke on the matter Saturday while announcing the players the program did manage to sign during the early signing period.

After rough childhood, David Laury’s thriving at Iona (New York Post)
In forward David Laury the Iona Gaels have one of the best forwards at the mid-major level, as he’s a threat to post a double-double every night he’s on the floor. But life wasn’t always so “easy” for Laury, as more than 20 moves as a child (living in six different states) had a significant impact on the power forward. He’s been able to take steps in the right direction at Iona, thanks in large part to head coach Tim Cluess.

Yogi Ferrell settling into starting role for Indiana, ahead of New York City trip (Indianapolis Star)
Given how much production the Hoosiers lost from last season’s Big Ten champion team, point guard Yogi Ferrell is a highly important piece to the puzzle for Tom Crean. Thus far the sophomore’s gotten more comfortable as a leader, and with the Hoosiers participating in the 2K Sports Classic this coming week we’ll learn even more about Ferrell.

Marcus Paige, Joel Berry lead No. 9 North Carolina past No. 2 Maryland

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.

For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the Preseason National Player of the Year.

On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.

Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.

Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.

In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.

As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.

(More to come from Chapel Hill…)

VIDEO: Melo Trimble drops Nate Britt with a crossover

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North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.

(H/T: The Cauldron)