The Secondary Break: Tuesday’s Links

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Arizona’s Sean Miller: Being ranked No. 1 a ‘great compliment’ (Sporting News)
On Monday Arizona reached the top spot in the national polls for the first time since 2003, and while it’s only December this is still an important achievement for Sean Miller’s team. When he took over the program wasn’t in the best shape, but that certainly has changed under the former Xavier head coach. And instead of running from the top ranking and the pressure that comes with it, Arizona’s going to embrace it’s position.

Michigan’s John Beilein remains split on college basketball rules changes (MLive.com)
While the loudest opinions regarding the rules “changes” in college basketball tend to be either for or against them, there are a number of coaches who sit in the middle so to speak. One of those coaches is Michigan’s John Beilein, who likes the new hand-checking initiative but remains a bit skeptical of the block/charge initiative.

Iowa State men, women sitting atop college basketball world (Des Moines Register)
There are now just two schools in the country whose men’s and women’s basketball teams are currently undefeated: UConn and Iowa State. And for the Cyclones that’s quite the achievement for the programs currently run by Fred Hoiberg and Bill Fennelly.

High Point forward Allan Chaney’s career ends due to heart concerns (CBS Sports)
High Point forward Allan Chaney was one of the sport’s greatest comeback stories last season, returning to the floor after a heart ailment nearly ended his career to lead the Panthers to a 12-4 conference record while earning first team All-Big South honors. But due to a mid-game incident involving his internal defibrillator during a game last month Chaney’s been forced to retire.

CCSU/Hartford basketball rivalry is blooming once again (Hartford Courant)
After struggling for much of the early portion of the season both Central Connecticut State and Hartford are in good spirits entering their meeting tonight. The Hawks dealt with a tough travel schedule while also being without the services of forward Nate Sikma, whose return should benefit Mark Nwakamma inside. Meanwhile CCSU has begun to give the effort on the defensive end that head coach Howie Dickenman didn’t think they were giving earlier in the year.

Real Basketball Moms of Kentucky (New York Times)
The way in which parents support their sports-playing children has been a point of conversation in recent years, with there being both positives and negatives to that. In Kentucky six parents whose sons play basketball have signed deals with a production company that specializes in reality television shows.

K-State basketball shows signs of progress (Topeka Capital Journal)
Bruce Weber’s Wildcats will be looking for their fourth straight win on Tuesday night when they host South Dakota, but despite the recent run of success there are still areas in which the Wildcats are looking to improve. Those areas include turnovers (16.5 per game over their last four contests) and free throw shooting.

Purdue’s Sterling Carter – student-athlete, father and not necessarily in that order (Indianapolis Journal)
Purdue fifth-year senior Sterling Carter has a lot on his plate these days with the birth of his daughter last month.

Wichita State’s McDuffie testing the NBA draft waters

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Wichita State forward Markis McDuffie entered his name into the NBA draft without signing with an agent, sources told NBC Sports on Tuesday.

It was initially believed that McDuffie would return to Wichita State for his senior season. As a sophomore, McDuffie, a former top 100 recruit, averaged 11.5 points and 5.7 boards, but he played fewer than 20 minutes a night as a junior after missing the first half of the season with a broken foot.

He will be a late-second round pick at best, but is likely to go undrafted if he opts to sign with an agent. He’s expected to return.

The Shockers are already staring down the barrel of a rebuilding season. Two players, including starter Austin Reaves, are transferring out of the program while all-american guard Landry Shamet has already made the decision to enter the draft and sign with an agent. As it currently stands, assuming McDuffie returns, just four scholarship players from this year’s team will play for Wichita State next season: McDuffie, Samajae Haynes-Jones, Asbjorn Midtgaard and Rod Brown.

Jeff Capel lands first commitment as the head coach at Pitt

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Jeff Capel is on the board with his first commitment as the head coach of Pittsburgh.

Trey McGowens, a top 100 prospect in the Class of 2019, announced on his twitter page that he will be enrolling at Pitt as a member of the Class of 2018.

A 6-foot-3 combo-guard, McGowens picked the Panthers over a handful of other high-major programs.

This is not exactly a program changing kind of commitment for Capel. Players that are late-spring commitments are almost always more celebrated because they end up in higher demand when there are fewer players left to fill the holes on rosters around the country. I’m not sure McGowens is all that different, but what’s significant about his commitment is that it’s proof that Capel is, at the very least, going to make some noise on the recruiting trail.

Capel has a long rebuild in front of him, but landing four-star prospects that will help spend a few years in the program are the kind of pieces that he needs at this point, and the kind of pieces that his predecessor was not able to land.

Felder no longer part of South Carolina basketball program

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina point guard Rakym Felder is no longer part of the Gamecocks basketball team.

Felder, a key freshman reserve for South Carolina’s Final Four team two years ago, was dismissed from the program by coach Frank Martin on Monday.

The 5-foot-10 Felder, from Brooklyn, New York, was suspended last summer after his second arrest in less than a year. Felder was not enrolled last fall. He was allowed to return in the spring semester although he did not play.

Martin said there were guidelines Felder had to follow upon coming back “and unfortunately, he has not met those expectations.”

Martin has not detailed those guidelines for Felder’s return to the court.

Felder had 15 points in South Carolina’s NCAA Tournament win over Duke in 2017

Washington’s Thybulle returning for senior season

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Matisse Thybulle will return to Washington for his senior season after contemplating declaring for the NBA draft following a junior campaign in which he was named the Pac-12 defensive player of the year.

“The NBA is really enticing and it was definitely something that I seriously considered when the season was over,” Thybulle told the Seattle Times. “I talked it over with my family and we came to the conclusion that it would be in my best interest to stay and get my degree (in communications) and grow as a basketball player and take this last year to mature and fine tune everything so I can be fully prepared to take that next step when it’s time.”

The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 11.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game last season. He shot 44.5 percent from the field and 36.5 percent from 3-point range.

“I talked to coach (Mike Hopkins) and he gave me some good advice that was honestly something that helped in the grand scheme of things,” Thybulle said. “He told me that if I do it (enter the draft), then I should be all in because that’s what I’m going to be up against is a whole bunch of guys fighting for their lives. He thought it would be a better idea for me to stay in school until I’m at that point.”

Washington is awaiting the decision of Noah Dickerson, who declared for the draft but has not hired an agent. The 6-foot-8 averaged 15.5 points and 8.4 rebounds last season.

Koby McEwen transferring to Marquette

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Steve Wojciechowski added a significant piece to his 2019-20 team over the weekend.

Koby McEwen announced his intention to transfer to Marquette from Utah State late Sunday evening.

“I would like to thank God, my family, inner circle and all the schools/coaches that recruited me during this process!” McEwen tweeted. “With that being said, I’m proud to announce that I’ll be furthering my college career at Marquette University.”

McEwen picked the Golden Eagles over fellow finalists Creighton and Grand Canyon after he decided to transfer when the Aggies announced South Dakota coach Craig Smith was taking over the program last month. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 15.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game while shooting 40 percent from the field and 30 percent from 3-point range as a sophomore.

After sitting out the upcoming season, McEwen will have to years of eligibility remaining. Marquette went 21-14 last season, but missed the NCAA tournament for the third time in Wojciechowski’s four years in Milwaukee.