The Secondary Break: Monday’s Links

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On first anniversary of his death, Billikens recall lasting legacy of Rick Majerus (Fox Sports Midwest)
Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of the passing of former Saint Louis head coach Rick Majerus, and with that being the case former players and friends took time to discuss what they learned from him.

NU’s Scott Eatherton rebounds with new body (Boston Herald)
After sitting out last season following a transfer over from St. Francis (PA), Northeastern forward Scott Eatherton has been a valuable contributor for Bill Coen’s Huskies. Averaging 16.3 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, Eatherton has transformed his body in recent years according to his former high school coach.

Louisville’s Wayne Blackshear needs consistency (Louisville Courier-Journal)
With the loss of Peyton Siva from last year’s national champion squad, Louisville junior guard Wayne Blackshear will be required to do more for the Cardinals this season. The only problem is that he’s struggled with consistency, and that’s something that needs to change if Louisville’s to make a run at another title.

UK’s Cauley-Stein, block party of one (Lexington Herald-Leader)
For all the attention that Kentucky’s freshmen have received, they’re joined by a very good sophomore in center Willie Cauley-Stein. Against Providence on Sunday night the 7-foot-1 big man accounted for 15 points, eight rebounds and nine blocked shots, and he’ll be a key contributor as the Wildcats look to win the program’s second national title in three years.

Midseason form is a good look for Arizona basketball (USA Today)
Arizona earned the NIT Season Tip-Off title on Friday with a win over Duke on Friday, and the feeling is that Sean Miller has the pieces needed to make a run at the program’s second national title. One of the leaders is point guard T.J. McConnell, who like Miller is a native of western Pennsylvania and is playing his first season at Arizona after spending two years at Duquesne.

Calipari in town as a coach and a topic (New York Times)
Another source of attention in Kentucky’s win over Providence was the presence of head coach John Calipari, who at one time was the head coach of the franchise that now calls the Barclays Center home (the Nets were in New Jersey then). Of course there’s been plenty of discussion regarding a possible return to the NBA, chatter that Calipari has dismissed on multiple occasions.

What we learned from Butler’s second-straight narrow miss (Indianapolis Star)
Butler left the Old Spice Classic with just one win, but it very well could have been three and a title had they been more fortunate in close losses to Oklahoma State and LSU. The goal now is to apply the lessons learned with the start of Big East play less than a month away.

Newcomers yet to catch up for Lobos (Albuquerque Journal)
While the New Mexico “big three” of Kendall Williams, Alex Kirk and Cameron Bairstow has hit the ground running, the same can’t be said of Craig Neal’s newcomers. The players in their first season with the New Mexico program have struggled to pick things up on both ends of the floor, and that’s had an impact of the team’s depth.

Summitt and son taking poignant journey together (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
While Pat Summitt, one of the greatest coaches in the history of the sport, is no longer coaching there’s still a Summitt in women’s basketball. That would be her son Tyler, who’s now an assistant at Marquette. And as Tyler embarks on a career of his own, the two are making this voyage together.

The Sweet 16 of College Basketball Venues (Travel Channel)
It’s always interesting to see how observers rank the best arenas in college basketball, and in this slideshow the Travel Channel singles out 16 buildings. Rupp Arena, Allen Fieldhouse and The Palestra are among the 16 buildings discussed.

Mykhailiuk returning to Kansas for senior season

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Kansas’ attempt for a 14th consecutive Big 12 title, and run for Bill Self’s second national title, got a shot in the arm Wednesday.

Svi Mykhailiuk announced that he will return to Lawrence for his final season of eligibility. “Senior year going to be fun,” he wrote on his Instagram page.

Senior year gonna be fun😈👌🏼🤘🏼 #KUCMB

A post shared by Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (@sviat_10) on

The Jayhawks were already going to be loaded this season with Devonte Graham, a potential All-American, returning for his senior season and Udoka Azubuike healthy after missing last year due to injury along with Malik Newman becoming eligible after a transfer from Mississippi State and recruits Billy Preston and Marcus Garrett bolstering the ranks. The return of Mykhailiuk, though, only solidifies Kansas’ place not only atop the Big 12, but in the country.

Mykhailiuk, a 6-foot-8 forward, had something of a breakthrough season as a junior, posting career highs nearly across the board, including shooting 39.8 percent on nearly five 3-point shot attempts per game. With his size and shooting ability, Mykhailiuk was sure to garner professional interest, even though it would have been more likely than not he would been drafted in the second round of next month’s draft.

Mykhailiuk’s situation is certainly a unique one for college basketball as the Ukraine native enrolled at Kansas in 2014 just after his 17th birthday. He won’t turn 20 until next month, making him the same age as many sophomores and more likely to be viewed by NBA teams in the future as having upside, rather than a typical 22- or 23-year-old senior who scouts look at as having come close to reaching their ceiling.

Mykhailiuk wasn’t going to be the linchpin of Kansas’ success next season, but his decision to return shouldn’t be underestimated. His size, experience, skill and versatility provide the Jayhawks with a real weapon that will help alleviate pressure and expectations from other players up and down the roster. He’s very much a difference-maker for a team that will be contending for a spot in the Final Four.

Swanigan to stay in draft

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Caleb Swanigan is leaving Purdue and staying in the NBA draft.

The Boilermaker big man held as much sway on the college basketball landscape with his decision as nearly any player who declared for the draft without an agent. After a season in which he became a double-double machine and averaged 18.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game, Swanigan would have been one of – if not the – favorites for National Player of the Year while also making Purdue right at the top of the Big Ten with Michigan State.

Instead, he’ll end his collegiate career after a pair of seasons and one Sweet 16 appearance in West Lafayette. As a professional prospect, Swanigan is an interesting case. He was as productive of player as college basketball has seen in recent years as a sophomore, putting up 20-20 games with ridiculous consistency. He’s got some range, but limited quickness and athleticism. The question will be how his game – and frame – will translate into the new NBA that prioritizes versatility, shooting and athleticism. Right now, not many have him pegged as a sure-fire first-round pick.

The loss for Purdue is hard to overstate given just how good “Biggie” was. There’s just no replacing that type of production in the lineup. Still, Matt Painter and the Boilermakers still have an intriguing group, with Isaac Haas and Vince Edwards both electing to return to school after dipping their toes in the NBA waters. There’s some other intriguing young pieces there that will keep Purdue interesting in the Big Ten race.

Florida State picks up late commit from McDonald’s All-American

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The losses sustained by Florida State have been numerous and significant. Three players declared early for the NBA Draft. Another two contributors were lost to graduation. All in all, the Seminoles haven’t had the greatest of springs.

Wednesday, though, they got some good news.

McDonald’s All-American wing M.J. Walker committed Leonard Hamilton’s program to give Florida State a late, and important, addition to its 2017 recruiting class, beating the likes of Ohio State, Georgia Tech and UCLA.

Walker, a 6-foot-5 guard, gives the Seminoles yet another five-star prospect after landing Dwayne Bacon and Jonathan Isaac in the last two recruiting classes. Walker will help Hamilton and Co. reboot after both Bacon and Isaac, along with Xavier Rathan-Mayes, all left school to pursue professional careers after the Seminoles’ 26-9 season that saw them advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Walker becomes the sixth member of Hamilton’s 2017 recruiting class that was previously headlined by four-star 7-footer Ikechukwu Obiagu. That group will be tasked to retool a team losing not only major NBA-level talent, but also major production. The Seminoles won’t return a single player who averaged double-digit points per-game last year and just one who played at least 20 minutes per night.

Michigan returns Mo Wagner, loses D.J. Wilson

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The best-case scenario did not take place for Michigan this week.

The Wolverines waited for four weeks to hear back from their pair of mobile big men, and the news on Mo Wagner was positive. The 6-foot-10 junior from Germany announced on Wednesday that he will return to school after testing the NBA Draft waters.

The news was not as fortunate with D.J. Wilson, who announced less than ten hours before the deadline that he will be signing with an agent and turning pro. Wilson is projected as a late first round or early second round pick.

Without Wilson in the fold, Michigan lacks some front court depth, which will probably be enough to keep them out of the preseason top 25.

Gonzaga to return Johnathan Williams III

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Losing Nigel Williams-Goss and Zach Collins to the professional ranks probably torpedoed Gonzaga’s chance of making another run to the NCAA tournament national title game, but after Johnathan Williams III announced on Wednesday that he will be returning to school and withdrawing from the NBA Draft, Gonzaga does appear to be a favorite to win the WCC title again.

Williams is now Gonzaga’s leading returning scorer and rebounder, anchoring a front court that also loses Przemek Karnowski to graduation. He was expected to go undrafted.

With Williams back in the fold, the Zags should be right there with Saint Mary’s in the race for the WCC title. Josh Perkins, Silas Melson and Killian Tillie all return as well.

ESPN was the first to report the news.