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The Secondary Break: Wednesday’s Links

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From watching highlights to creating them, Duke’s Jabari Parker remains true to self (USA Today)
Despite being one of the nation’s best players, Duke freshman forward Jabari Parker has allowed the fame to change who he is. As a result the Blue Devils remain one of the favorites to win the ACC.

How Tad Boyle built Colorado into a Pac-12 contender (Sports Illustrated)
When he took over as the head coach at Colorado, Tad Boyle had a lot of work to do. The climb to respectability began while the school was a member of the Big 12, and since their move to the Pac-12 Colorado’s consistently factored into the conference race. That’s quite the achievement for a coach who began his career as a restricted earnings coach at Oregon.

The five most disappointing teams in college basketball thus far (The Dagger)
With this being finals weeks for many schools there have been a number of lists released by various websites. One such list is a compilation of the five most disappointing teams in college basketball, with two ACC programs leading the way.

Fab Four Freshmen: Metrics weigh in Andrew Wiggins’ favor (Sporting News)
Another popular list has been the weekly ranking of the nation’s top freshmen, and despite the hand-wringing that tends to take place when he’s on the floor Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins has some numbers working in his favor to this point in the season. Among those numbers: a 116.2 offensive rating per that’s better than nay of the other newcomers listed.

The Scott Drew jokes never stop but they don’t really make any sense (CBS Sports)
On Friday night Baylor managed to defeat Kentucky, adding another solid win to the resume of head coach Scott Drew. But the run of success that Drew’s enjoyed at Baylor since taking over never seems to be enough for some, who insist that the Bears win in spite of their head coach. And that line of thinking doesn’t make much sense at all.

Q&A: Josh Bartelstein talks Michigan basketball through nine games (UM Hoops)
With Michigan having the week off to deal with finals and prepare for their game against No. 1 Arizona, former Michigan walk-on Josh Bartelstein offered his thoughts on the Wolverines’ season to date.

Mountain West basketball searches of signature victories (Albuquerque Journal)
Boise State’s loss at Kentucky represented another missed opportunity for the Mountain West, which finds itself searching for more marquee non-conference victories with the start of league play rapidly approaching. The next opportunity comes on Saturday, when New Mexico takes on Kansas in Kansas City.

Louisville backcourt struggles in first scrimmage

Quentin Snider, Jerian Grant
Associated Press
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While a few teams did manage to hold special events for the official start of practice this weekend, most simply went about their business with drills and conditioning. One team that was the exception to all of this was Louisville, which held the first of its two intersquad scrimmages on Saturday. The Cardinals had a head start of sorts on the season, as they played six exhibition games in Puerto Rico this summer.

One hope heading into Saturday’s scrimmage was that guards Trey Lewis and Quentin Snider would have better chemistry than they did in Puerto Rico. But according to Jeff Greer of the Louisville Courier-Journal, that remains a work in progress for the Cleveland State transfer (Lewis) and rising sophomore (Snider).

They struggled in Puerto Rico, and they struggled again in Saturday’s Red-White scrimmage, the first public intrasquad practice since August. They played one half of the game together, paired with the presumed starting lineup with Mangok Mathiang out with an eye injury, a group that also included Damion Lee, Jaylen Johnson and Chinanu Onuaku.

That team lost the first half by 13 points to a younger group of Louisville players, and Lewis and Snider combined for eight points on 3-of-12 shooting, five turnovers, five steals, four assists and three rebounds.

“I thought (Snider) and (Lewis) did not play well together,” U of L coach Rick Pitino said. “They’ve got to get used to that. Neither guy made other guys better. That’s what they need to learn to do.”

As Greer also noted in his story the Cardinals have in recent years employed backcourt tandems in which both guards are capable of making plays for themselves and others. On the 2013 national champion team Peyton Siva and Russ Smith led the way, with Smith being joined by Terry Rozier or Chris Jones the following season and Rozier/Jones being the grouping last season before the latter was dismissed from the team.

Once Jones was dismissed Snider saw more time on the court, and his development was one of the keys for a Louisville team that fell one win short of the Final Four. Louisville needs him to take another step forward heading into the 2015-16 season, because even with Lewis’ experience at the Division I level Snider has more experience playing in Pitino’s system.

But while Saturday’s scrimmage didn’t go as well as anyone involved hoped, there’s still plenty of time for Louisville to work out the kinks before they open the season November 13 against Samford.

Knee injury sidelines Memphis assistant

Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets
Associated Press
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With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.

Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.

“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”

Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.

As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.