The Secondary Break: Thursday’s Links

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Utah, Kansas to meet next season in Kansas City (Utah Athletics)
On Wednesday it was announced that Utah and Kansas will meet on December 13, 2014 in Kansas City. While this may not be a significant boost for the Jayhawks it is for Larry Krystkowiak’s program, which didn’t put together the strongest of non-conference schedules this season.

Willie Cauley-Stein’s “sickle cell problem” (Louisville Courier-Journal)
Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein put together yet another solid performance in the Wildcats’ win over Boise State on Tuesday night, finishing with six points, seven rebounds and nine blocked shots. And he did so playing at less than full strength due to a medical condition few knew about prior. Cauley-Stein disclosed that he has the sickle cell trait, which at times has resulted in “bad chest pain.”

Trenton Catholic Academy’s Malachi Richardson ready to announce college choice (Trenton Times)
Top 25 2015 guard Malachi Richardson (Trenton, N.J.) announced on Wednesday that he will announce his college choice on Friday afternoon, picking one of the six schools on his final list. In the running for the 6-foot-5 Richardson’s services are Syracuse, Indiana, Villanova, Arizona, Connecticut and Rutgers.

Northern Arizona, Grand Canyon begin potential rivalry Saturday (Arizona Daily Sun)
On Saturday afternoon provisional Division I member Grand Canyon will visit Northern Arizona, with the two schools playing for the first time in 26 years. While this may not move the needle much in a state dominated by Pac-12 rivals Arizona and Arizona State it is an important game for both GCU and NAU, as both programs look to establish themselves within the state.

College Basketball Caucus: The most surprising team in the country? (USA Today)
A group of selected college basketball scribes have taken in the question of who’s the most surprising team in the country to this point in the season, with both Villanova and Wisconsin among the schools mentioned.

How do college basketball’s elite freshmen compare to former Syracuse star Carmelo Anthony? (Syracuse Post-Standard)
One of the first names that comes up when discussing successful one-and-done players is that of former Syracuse star Carmelo Anthony, who in his one season at the school helped lead the Orange to their lone national title. With this being the case, Mike Waters of the Post-Standard took a look at this year’s crop of freshmen with an eye towards how their debuts compare to that of Anthony.

Ex-N.C. State coach Lowe pleads guilty to tax charges (Sports Illustrated)
Former N.C. State head coach Sidney Lowe pleaded guilty to charges of failing to file his North Carolina tax returns on Wednesday, with the state alleging that he did not file from 2009 to 2011. As part of his sentence Lowe received a suspended 45-day jail sentence, 100 hours of community service and he’ll have to pay $79,000 in restitution and a $2,000 fine.

2015 center Deyonta Davis verbally commits to attend Michigan State (MLive.com)
On Wednesday Michigan State added a recruit to its 2015 class as 6-foot-9 center Deyonta Davis (Muskegon, Mich.) verbally committed to attend the Big Ten school. Davis, who picked the Spartans over the likes of Iowa State and Memphis, stated that the school’s closeness to home factored into his decision.

Kansas lands second commitment in the Class of 2018

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Kansas landed their second big man in the Class of 2018 on Sunday, as David McCormack, a top 50 prospect, announced that he will be a Jayhawk when he plays his college ball.

The 6-foot-10 center picked Kansas over Xavier, NC State, Oklahoma State and Duke.

A product of the famed Oak Hill Academy, McCormack averaged 15 points and 10 boards on the Adidas Gauntlet circuit this spring. He joins fellow four-star big man Silvio de Sousa in the 2018 class for Bill Self, although the Jayhawks will get three players eligible after they sit out the 2017-18 season as transfers: Dedric and K.J. Lawson, who transferred in from Memphis, as well as Charlie Moore, a point guard from California.

Report: North Carolina won’t attend White House

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After capturing a national championship earlier this year, the North Carolina men’s basketball team will not be visiting the White House, a North Carolina spokesman said to Andrew Carter of the The Charlotte Observer.

Although the Tar Heels were invited to go to the White House from the staff of President Donald Trump, the team couldn’t figure out a date that worked.

“We couldn’t find a date that worked for both parties,” North Carolina team spokesman Steve Kirschner said to Carter. “We tried about eight or nine dates and between they couldn’t work out that date, we couldn’t work out that date, so – we would have liked to have gone, but not going.”

According to Carter’s report, Kirschner also said that North Carolina players, “were fine with going.”

With Trump’s recent comments towards NFL players and the national anthem and his Saturday morning tweet at Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the President with regards to athletes over the past 24 hours.

Although the timing of this may seem like North Carolina is making some sort of political statement, the school is downplaying any sort of politics by focusing on the bad timing.

Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer

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Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer from the program to move closer to home, according to a release from the school.

The 6-foot-7 Ridder hails from Springfield, Missouri as he was regarded as a top-150 prospect by Rivals in the Class of 2017.

“After much consideration and talking with my family, I have decided that it is in my best interest to move home,” Ridder said in the release.

“Jared has indicated to the coaching staff that he has a desire to be closer to home,” Xavier head coach Chris Mack said. “While we are disappointed, we all want Jared to be happy moving forward. We wish him nothing but the best.”

A potent scorer and noted perimeter shooter at the high school level, Ridder helped MoKan win the Nike Peach Jam during the summer of 2016 playing alongside talented players like Missouri’s Michael and Jontay Porter and Oklahoma’s Trae Young. With a desire to move closer to home, could Ridder potentially land at a spot where one of his talented former teammates is playing?

Ridder averaged 24.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists during his senior season of high school ball at Kickapoo as he was a first-team, All-State selection in Missouri.

Four-star 2018 forward Ian Steere decommits from Creighton

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Creighton took a big hit to its recruiting efforts late this week as Class of 2018 forward Ian Steere is decommitting from the Bluejays, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Steere’s decommitment was first reported by Julius Kim of Elevate Hoops.

The 6-foot-8 Steere is considered a four-star prospect by Rivals as he is coming off of a very solid spring and summer playing with Team Charlotte in the Under Armour Association. A plus athlete who isn’t afraid to bang on the interior, Steere showing an improving skill level throughout the spring and summer as he could see his recruiting soar after opening things up.

According to a report from Jon Nyatawa of the World-Herald, one of the reasons that Steere is opening up his recruitment is his desire to be closer to his native North Carolina. With so many top programs looking for quality help on the interior, it’ll be interesting to see which programs jump in and try to recruit Steere the second time around.

John Wall emotional in Kentucky Hall of Fame induction speech

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John Wall was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night as he delivered an emotional speech while talking to his mother.

The first inductee into the Hall of Fame to play for current Wildcat head coach John Calipari, Wall only spent the 2009-10 season in Lexington but he became the first national player of the year to play at Kentucky before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

Thanking his mother, Calipari, his family, friends and Big Blue Nation, the Washington Wizards guard gave a very moving speech, including an emotional part directed to his mother at around 4:35.