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The Secondary Break: Monday’s Links

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Cal, Stanford will be revealed this week (San Jose Mercury News)
Entering this week with a combined record of 8-1, bitter rivals California and Stanford will be tested this week in separate in-season tournaments. Cal, which is 4-0, begins play in the Maui Invitational on Monday with a game against Arkansas and the Golden Bears have the talent needed to contend in the Pac-12. Stanford, whose lone blemish came at the hands of BYU, takes on Houston in Brooklyn at the Progressive Legends Classic. By the time Bay Area basketball fans stuff themselves with Thanksgiving dinner, they should have a better idea of what the two area Pac-12 teams are capable of this season.

College basketball hall calls its first team: the 1963 Loyola Ramblers (Kansas City Star)
On Sunday night the College Basketball Hall of Fame inducted its 2013 class in Kansas City, and among the inductees was the first team to receive such an honor. The 1963 national champion Loyola (Ill.) Ramblers, who tend to be overlooked by many due to the Texas Western squad that won the title with five Black starters three years later, were the first national champion with a predominantly Black starting lineup.

Eric Mika expected to play when BYU takes on Texas Monday night (Deseret News)
Late in BYU’s loss to Iowa State on Wednesday night BYU freshman forward Eric Mika was struck in the right eye when DeAndre Kane reached in to strip Mika of the basketball. Kane received a flagrant two and Mika received an eye abrasion, and it seems as if the freshman will be able to go on Monday night when the Cougars play Texas in the CBE Classic in Kansas City.

A look at what’s behind the explosion of neutral-site games in college basketball (The Oklahoman)
In recent years more neutral-site games have been played in college basketball, from in-season tournaments to the single-game match-ups that tend to help match up high-profile programs in an environment that doesn’t favor one team or the other. But it can be argued that this development has come at the expense of the locals who support their programs, as the home non-conference schedule becomes less attractive as a result of these games.

Wilbekin ready to rejoin Gators for Jacksonville game after long road back (Florida Athletics)
Florida senior guard Scottie Wilbekin has earned he way back onto the floor for Billy Donovan, and he’ll make his season debut on Monday when the Gators take on Jacksonville. The road was tough but Wilbekin did what he needed to do and it’s a good thing he did, as the Gators are still without freshman Kasey Hill (ankle).

Will Devonte Graham end up at Appalachian State? “No shot in hell” (CBS Sports)
Earlier this fall the story of Devonte Graham, who signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Appalachian State in 2012, made news. Graham wanted out of the NLI but Appalachian State, stating that it felt that another school had tampered with Graham, refused the request. Now at Brewster Academy, Graham participated in this past weekend’s National Prep Showcase and played well. Coaches at other schools remain interested, but they can’t talk to Graham until May.

Gonzaga University’s basketball success fuels unprecedented growth (Spokesman-Review)
The impact of big-time athletics on universities has been discussed with greater regularity in recent years, as conference realignment and growing salaries and television deals make many wonder what’s being done with all the money. One school that has benefitted greatly from the success of its basketball program is Gonzaga, which has seen an 82% increase in enrollment since 1999.

Colorado’s Boyle impressed with Calipari’s success (Boulder Daily Camera)
Building a program primarily with players who are due to become millionaires within a year isn’t for everyone, but one of the coaches who has enjoyed a great deal of success with such players is Kentucky’s John Calipari. And in the eyes of Colorado head coach Tad Boyle, who has four true freshmen to mold this season, Calipari doesn’t receive the credit he deserves when it comes to coaching such players.

Flintstone Mateen Cleaves humbled to join legendary pantheon of athletes in local hall of fame (MLive.com)
Michigan State great Mateen Cleaves has been inducted into another hall of fame, as he’s a member of the Greater Flint Area Sports Hall of Fame. Cleaves, also a member of the Michigan State Athletics and Michigan Sports halls of fame, was the leader of a team that won Michigan State’s second basketball national title in 2000.

D.J. Harvey cuts list to ten schools

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With the July Live Period coming to an end, it’s time for schools to starts deciding who they’re going to target, who they’re going to offer a scholarship to and who they’re going to cut bait with.

At the same time, we’re going to see a flurry of players starting whittling down the number of schools they’re actually considering.

D.J. Harvey was once considered a top ten prospect in the Class of 2017, and while the DeMatha product has seen his stock slide a bit in the last year, he’s still a top 50 player that has a number of power programs knocking on his door.

Over the weekend, he announced that he has cut his list to ten schools: Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Duke, Texas, Villanova, UConn, UCLA, Maryland, Arizona and Louisville.

Rick Pitino: ‘We’re going to press more than we’ve ever pressed’

Louisville coach Rick Pitino shouts instructions to his team during the first half of its NCAA college basketball game against Florida State, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley
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Rick Pitino hopped on the air with 93.9 in Louisville recently and discussed the stuff you expect to hear a coach discuss on the radio in July.

He talked about the players that are improving (Jaylen Johnson). He talked about how he’s worried about how his team is going to score next season. He talked about the glut of big men on his roster and how none of them have done much to separate themselves from the pack.

It was all fairly typical.

But this line did catch my eye:

“Defensively, we’re going to press more than we’ve ever pressed,” Pitino said. “We’ve pressed a lot in the past but this team is very long, very athletic. I’m very bullish on this basketball team.”

Pitino’s teams have always pressed but he hasn’t been mentioned with the likes of Shaka Smart (Havoc) or Bobby Huggins (Press Virginia) because it isn’t an all-out press. Typically, the Cards run a 2-2-1 zone press that drops back to a half-zone/half-man amalgam that’s designed, in part, to confuse opponents as much as it is to force turnovers.

Is that going to change this year?

It would make some sense. This team is as athletic, long and versatile as any that he’s coached in recent memory. Think about the kind of physical tools that Ray Spalding and Jaylen Johnson and Deng Adel have. Think about what Donovan Mitchell can do if he’s allowed to ball-hawk the way Peyton Siva and Russ Smith did in the past.

This group can cause a lot of problems if they’re allowed to fly around the floor, and it sounds like Pitino may let them do just that.

Malik Williams cuts his list to eight schools

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Yesterday, when we released our July Live Period Superlatives, we listed Malik Williams as being the biggest stock riser in the country.

He went from being a kid that wasn’t playing in a shoe-company affiliated league in the spring to a five-star lock that has a bright future and NBA potential.

And on Monday, he announced that he has trimmed his list to eight schools:

N.C. State, Georgetown, Louisville, UCLA, Michigan State, Purdue, Iowa and Indiana.

Former Southern Miss forward Jonathan Mills shot and killed

Southern Mississippi forward Jonathan Mills (24) reacts at the buzzer in Memphis' 60-58 win in an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Lance Murphey)
AP Photo/Lance Murphey
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In two seasons as a member of the Southern Miss basketball program from 2011-13, forward Jonathan Mills made an impression based on how hard he played the game. Monday afternoon it was reported that Mills was shot and killed in Chicago, not too far away from his alma mater of North Lawndale High School.

Before attending Eastern Utah CC and Southern Miss, Mills plied his trade at North Lawndale where he helped the school win a state title in 2008 and the Chicago Public League title as a senior in 2009. North Lawndale HS coach Lewis Thorpe told the Chicago Tribune that he and Mills had plans to work out at the school Monday afternoon, only for Thorpe to receive a phone call from his nephew informing him of Mills’ death.

Mills was going through workouts with his high school coach in preparation for a move overseas to play professionally.

The coach said he heard from witnesses at the scene that Mills had gone to a corner store with some friends and, when they came out, a car drove up and someone inside shot him.

“I’m so messed up. I am so shocked,” he said. “When I say he was well liked…everybody loved him.’’

Thorpe said Mills called him “Pops” when he coached him in high school.

After word of Mills’ death made the rounds many paid tribute to him via social media including Donnie Tyndall, who coached Mills at Southern Miss.

Richmond announces change to European trip itinerary

Chris Mooney - UR
AP Photo/Skip Rowland
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With the NCAA allowing college basketball programs to take one trip outside of the country every four years, some coaches look at it as an opportunity to get a head start on preparations for the upcoming season. Chris Mooney’s Richmond Spiders are one team taking a trip this summer, as they’re due to leave the United States for Europe on August 8 with three exhibitions scheduled for their 12-day tour.

The trip was originally scheduled to begin in France, with the Spiders spending their first week there before making stops in the Netherlands and Germany. Monday afternoon the program announced a change to the itinerary, with the Spiders now spending their first week in Ireland and not France.

“We continue to be excited about the opportunity to travel abroad this summer,” Mooney said in the release. “We were able to make some changes to our travel itinerary, and we believe that this new itinerary will give our team a great opportunity to grow together and see other parts of the world.”

It isn’t stated as the reason for the change in the release but this news comes just over a week after a man drove a truck into a crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, claiming the lives of 84 people and leaving more than 200 others injured.

Richmond, which returns two of its top three scorers from a season ago in forward T.J. Cline and guard ShawnDre’ Jones, is schedule to return to the United States August 20. Per NCAA rules they’re also afforded the opportunity to practice for two weeks leading up to the trip, and heading to Europe can help the team build stronger connections in unfamiliar surroundings.