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.

Reports: Duke’s Frank Jackson to declare for draft

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Frank Jackson will declare for the draft but will not be signing with an agent, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Previous reports had indicated that Jackson “planned” to return to school, and that still may end up proving true. But the combination of Trevon Duval potentially enrolling at Duke combined with the fact that there is zero downside to going through the draft process, it makes sense for Jackson to declare.

Jackson averaged 10.9 points and shot 39.5 percent from three. He’s projected as a mid-first round pick in 2018 by Draft Express, but at 6-foot-3, he’s too small to play the two in the NBA and has yet to prove he can be a point guard.

Jackson is the fourth Duke player to declare, following Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles III and Luke Kennard. All three signed with an agent. Grayson Allen and Marques Bolden are both returning to school.

VIDEO: Top 2018 recruits Zion Williamson and Romeo Langford go head-to-head at adidas

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This weekend is the first live evaluation period of the spring recruiting calendar as college coaches from all over the country are scouting (and babysitting) the top recruits in the Class of 2018 and 2019.

Friday night the adidas Gauntlet in Dallas opened with a marquee matchup of two star players as five-star forward Zion Williamson and five-star guard Romeo Langford went head-to-head in what should be one of the best games of the spring.

Most scouting services have Williamson and Langford as the No. 2 and No. 3 overall prospects in the Class of 2018 as the duo didn’t disappoint in front of the huge crowd in Fort Worth.

Williamson helped his team to a win with 26 points and seven rebounds while Langford had 28 points, four rebounds and four assists. You’ll be hearing plenty about both of these guys over the next few months as both are still wide open in the recruting process.

(H/t: Ball is Life)

Report: Coppin State hires Juan Dixon as new head coach

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Coppin State has hired former Maryland star guard Juan Dixon to be its next head coach, according to a report from Don Markus of the Baltimore Sun.

The 38-year-old Dixon is best known for leading Maryland to the 2002 national championship as he was the Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four that year. Now Dixon will have a chance to lead a Division I program for the first time.

Dixon spent seven years in the NBA and also played professionally in Europe before joining the Maryland coaching staff in 2013 as a special assistant to head coach Mark Turgeon. Not retained by Maryland after the 2015-16 season, Dixon took the head coaching job for the women’s team at the University of the District of Columbia last season as the Division II program finished only  3-25.

Coppin State finished last season with an 8-24 record after losing its first 12 games of the season. While Dixon will generate some positive local buzz given his background, he’s going to have an uphill battle trying to rebuild that program.

Nebraska scores important Class of 2017 commitment from four-star guard Thomas Allen

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Nebraska landed an important commitment from the Class of 2017 on Friday as four-star guard Thomas Allen is heading to Lincoln next season.

The 6-foot-1 guard is considered the No. 99 overall prospect by Rivals in the national Class of 2017 rankings as Allen was previously committed to N.C. State before head coach Mark Gottfried was fired.

A scorer with a good amount of skill, Allen has a chance to come in and make an immediate impact at Nebraska as he can play a bit on or off the ball. Allen should help offset the loss of senior Tai Webster in the Husker backcourt.

Allen joins wing Nana Akenten in Nebraska’s Class of 2017 recruiting efforts.

North Carolina lands four-star Class of 2017 big man Garrison Brooks

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North Carolina pulled in a late Class of 2017 commitment to begin the weekend as the Tar Heels secured a pledge from four-star Class of 2017 big man Garrison Brooks.

The 6-foot-9, 225-pound Brooks was previously committed to Mississippi State, but he was granted his release this spring to explore other opportunities.

The Tar Heels pounced as they’re getting a low-post threat who could develop into a potential double-double threat. A solid rebounder who isn’t afraid to play with physicality, Brooks has a chance to earn some immediate rotation minutes with seniors like Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks exhausting their eligibility.

Brooks is regarded as the No. 120 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, according to Rivals, as he is a four-star prospect. The native of Auburn, Alabama joins a North Carolina recruiting class that includes point guard Jalek Felton, shooting guard Andrew Platek and big men Brandon Huffman and Sterling Manley.