Vin Parise’s 30-second timeout: Five questions with Glenn Braica

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Vin Parise from CollegeBasketballTalk caught up with St. Francis Brooklyn head coach Glenn Braica. The Terriers are 2-2 with wins against Miami and Florida Atlantic.

CBT: Preseason you were picked 7th out of 10 in the NEC Coaches Poll. How big of a concern was your early non-conference slate?

Braica: I was definitely worried about our schedule early – I still am. 8 out of our first 9 are on the road and we’re obviously playing good competition. At this level, you have to teach through tough losses sometimes and still remain upbeat and positive. I’m happy with the way our kids have fought to be 2-2 overall.

CBT: You received a lot of attention early because you won at Miami 66-62 in OT and then took Syracuse down to the final minute at the Carrier Dome. What’s been going right?

Braica: Miami was without question a huge win for our team and a great night for our school. At Syracuse I actually feel we didn’t really get going until midway through the ballgame. We looked up at one point in the 2nd half and realized we had a shot at winning the game. I liked the way we made C.J. Fair work for everything and how we made some big shots. We have veterans that have been through it, and we have some talented guys who are learning on the fly.

CBT: What are the Terriers going to be known for this season?

Braica: We play extremely hard….really hard….and we really defend. We’re holding teams to 37% from the field – and 18% from 3 pointt land. Those are really good numbers and that’s what we’ll be all about. Our shooting and execution could be better; but we can be really good if your offense catches up to our defense.

CBT: Your thoughts on the Northeast Conference this year?

Braica: You have to show up every single night in this league. You can’t coast yourself to a win. The coaches in our league work extremely hard and they’re hungry which is great. Wagner is terrific, LIU is much better than people realize, Andy Toole is a great coach at Robert Morris and look at the talent at Bryant! I know I’m leaving teams out, but the point is that every league game this season is literally up for grabs.

CBT: You worked for Norm Roberts for six years. How often do you guys stay in touch?

Braica: I talk to Norm multiple times each week and we’ll always be close. He is a terrific coach and great man with integrity. I will never forget how he handled the adversity at St. John’s with such a great demeanor and positive attitude. While recruiting recently, I actually stopped by a Kansas practice and caught up with Norm, Bill Self and the rest of the staff. A lot of what we do here at St. Francis that has been successful, I learned from Norm Roberts.

Vin Parise is the College Basketball Insider for NBC Sports Network and SportsNet New York. He is also a contributor & analyst for ESPN3, MSG Network, Cox Sports New England, Fox Sports 1, The Providence Coaches Show, St. John’s Radio & Iona College Radio. He coached 8 seasons at FDU, Rutgers & Iona. Follow Vin on Twitter: @VinParise

Colorado adds commitment from Class of 2017 point guard McKinley Wright

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Colorado landed one of the best available point guards for next season on Friday as Class of 2017 floor general McKinley Wright committed during an official visit.

A former Dayton commit who opted out of his recruitment after former head coach Archie Miller took the Indiana job, Wright was one of the best available point guards left as he played last weekend on the adidas Gauntlet in front of college coaches with D1 Minnesota.

The 6-foot-0 Wright gives the Buffaloes another ball handler and distributor as he was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball during this past season. As a senior, Wright averagedΒ 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.

It’s always hard to say if spring recruits who elevate a level in recruiting after decommitting are making the correct decision, but Wright looked the part of a high-major lead guard last weekend, and Colorado wasn’t the only high-major program that was pushing hard to add Wright at this late stage.

Oral Roberts to hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills

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Oral Roberts has found its new head coach as they will hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills, as first reported by NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster.

Mills had been on staff with the Bears since 2003 as he’s been a big factor in why head coach Scott Drew has been able to turn around that program. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mills has been a full-time assistant at Baylor since the 2009 season.

“I am honored to accept this role of representing this historic institution, its students and its mission,” Mills said in a release. “Making this commitment today is a highlight of my career and I look forward with excitement to the basketball season directly ahead. Go Golden Eagles.”

Mills will replace former head coach Scott Sutton, who was relieved of his duties this offseason after 18 years at the helm.

 

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery to redshirt in basketball to pursue baseball

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Iowa commit Connor McCaffery is in a unique spot when he starts his freshman year in Iowa City next year.

Not only is the 6-foot-4 guard the son of basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, while being a four-star national basketball prospect, but Connor also has a bright future in baseball.

There was a lot of speculation as to what Connor might do for his future in athletics and he gave more clarification on what he might be looking to do on Friday.

McCaffery has decided to redshirt in basketball next season to focus on the beginnings of his baseball career at Iowa. A walk-on for both sports, the move enables Connor McCaffery to potentially play three years of basketball with his younger brother, Patrick, who is also a heralded basketball recruit for Iowa. This move also gives Connor the best chance to pursue both sports while he’ll also help out a young Iowa basketball team with its tough scholarship scenario.

Butler, Chris Holtmann agree to a contract extension

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Butler has agreed to a contract extension with head coach Chris Holtmann, the school announced on Friday, that will keep him under contract through 2025.

“Butler truly is a special place, and my family and I are thankful to be part of a great academic institution and an athletics department that is a source of pride for those who embrace Butler and The Butler Way,” said Holtmann. “Our student-athletes, our staff, and so many throughout our campus are remarkable at what they do, and I’m excited to continue to work alongside them.”

Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 25-9 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In three years with the program, Holtmann has a record of 70-31.

“Chris is a tremendous ambassador for Butler and the Butler Way, and his leadership has resulted in success both on and off the court for the talented young men in our program,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “This commitment – both by our university and by Chris – allows the momentum within our program to continue.”

Holtmann was in the mix for a couple of jobs this spring, including N.C. State and Missouri.

Report: Nike, Adidas and Under Armour all pass on sponsoring Lonzo Ball

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Lonzo Ball will enter his rookie season in the NBA without a sponsorship deal from Nike, Adidas or Under Armour, only his family’s Big Baller Brand apparel.

That, according to a report from ESPN, is due to his father LaVar’s insistence that Lonzo not sign with one of the three major apparel companies unless they opted to sign a licensing deal for Big Baller Brand merchandise instead of outfitting Lonzo with their own gear.

“We’ve said from the beginning, we aren’t looking for an endorsement deal,” LaVar told ESPN. “We’re looking for co-branding, a true partner. But they’re not ready for that because they’re not used to that model. But hey, the taxi industry wasn’t ready for Uber, either.”

LaVar had been representing his son in the negotiations, and is now expected to reach out to other shoe brands, including Chinese apparel companies like Li-Nang.

Big Baller Brand is a startup apparel company launched by LaVar Ball. They sell t-shirts, sweatshirts and hats, with most of their products costing at least $50.

Lonzo declared for the NBA Draft after an all-american season that saw him and the UCLA Bruins flame out of the NCAA tournament in the Sweet 16. UCLA lost to Kentucky in that game, and Lonzo had a quiet night while his point guard counterpart, De’Aaron Fox, went off for 39 points.

Lonzo is a likely top three pick in the NBA Draft and, potentially, could still end up going No. 1. He has two younger brothers as well. LiAngelo will be a freshman with the Bruins next season while LaMelo just finished his sophomore season in high school. Both will attend UCLA.