cooley

The Secondary Break: Monday’s Links

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PC coach Ed Cooley has dropped 100 pounds as he strives to improve his health (Providence Journal)
At the end of last season Providence head coach Ed Cooley knew that something had to change. Weighing 344 pounds and with friends and family concerned about his health, Cooley changed his diet and underwent a medical procedure that has resulted in him losing 100 pounds to date. His goal: to get down to 225, which was his playing weight at Stonehill College.

Big East nostalgia in the air as No. 2 Syracuse tops St. John’s (Sports Illustrated)
Sunday’s meeting between the Orange and Red Storm brought back memories of the good old days for some, when the Big East existed without the influence of major college football. But even with those feelings being present, things aren’t the same.

Book on Illinois’ 1989 Final Four team interesting, controversial (Chicago Sun-Times)
Stephen Bardo, currently a color commentator for both the Big Ten Network and Fox Sports I, was also the starting point guard on the 1989 Final Four team at Illinois. Dubbed the “Flying Illini” due to their explosive style of play, that team is one of the best in school history. Bardo’s written a book on the experience, and some of the stories in the book have gained attention.

BYU-Utah rivalry alive and kicking (Salt Lake Tribune)
On Saturday night Utah made quite the statement within the Beehive State, soundly defeating BYU 81-64. And amidst talk of the rivalry possibly coming to an end soon, the atmosphere showed that the rivalry is still alive.

Former Georgetown forward Greg Whittington commits to Rutgers (Gannett New Jersey)
Rutgers picked up a key addition on Sunday as 6-foot-8 forward Greg Whittington made the decision to transfer to the school. Whittington was a member of the Georgetown program and sitting out the season due to a knee injury until being dismissed from the program a few weeks ago.

Illini can’t close in loss vs. Oregon (Chicago Sun-Times)
Illinois had a key victory away from home well within reach on Saturday night, but they were unable to seal the deal against No. 15 Oregon. That’s part of the process of a team that has multiple newcomers in the rotation and lacks a credible interior scoring threat. But they will be competitive.

Embiid rouses Kansas in 80-63 win over New Mexico (Kansas City Star)
While Andrew Wiggins has received much of the attention when Kansas’ crop of freshmen are discussed, he has a teammate in center Joel Embiid who’s shown significant amounts of both talent and upside. In the Jayhawks’ win over New Mexico on Saturday Embiid played a critical role in the outcome, and as the season wears on Bill Self’s going to have to give him even more minutes.

Jelling woes still linger for Kentucky’s young basketball team (Lexington Herald-Leader)
Kentucky’s loss at North Carolina on Saturday was simply the latest piece of evidence that the Wildcats have plenty of growing up to do both collectively and individually. Who are the leaders capable of bringing the players together? That’s a question the team has yet to answer, and until they do Kentucky won’t be able to reach its full potential.

DePaul adds 2018 commit

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Wisconsin guard John Diener has committed to DePaul, his grassroots program announced Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-4 Class of 2018 guard ends his recruitment rather early with offers also from instate schools Green Bay and Milwaukee. He’s known as a shooter and becomes the first commit for Dave Leitao in the 2018 class.

Diener, who plays with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors in the spring and summer, commits to the Blue Demons with them coming off a disappointing campaign, Leitao’s first in Chicago. DePaul went 9-22 overall and 3-15 in the Big East, finishing only ahead of St. John’s.

DePaul has been recruiting the Midwest hard with incoming 2016 recruits from La Lumiere School in Indiana, Sagninow, Mich. and locally in Chicago.

Four-star guard Fisher commits to TCU

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Jamie Dixon’s presence is already being felt in the Big 12 and on the recruiting trail.

TCU received its first commitment of the Dixon era when four-star 2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher announced his decision to join the Horned Frogs on Wednesday.

“Due to how comfortable my family and I are with the coaching staff,” Fisher posted from his Twitter account, “and the emphasis the university has put on making basketball a priority, I’m committing to be a student-athlete at TCU.”

Getting a consensus top-75 prospect, who was once committed to UNLV, is a heck of a coup for being just a couple months on the job. It instantly shows the Frogs are going to be a player for some of the country’s top players, which is a necessity if you have designs on making a move up the ladder of arguably the country’s best league in the Big 12.

Maybe the most gratifying thing for TCU, though, is the reason Fisher publicly stated for making his decision, the school’s “making basketball a priority.” The hoops program has suffered immensely in the Big 12 (while the football program has flourished), winning a total of eight games in their four seasons (including a winless 2014), but the school sank $72 million into renovating its arena, made an aggressive move in firing Trent Johnson and then went out and got its dream candidate, Dixon, an alum. Fisher’s commitment is the first time those moves have shown that commitment to basketball paying off.

 

Report: Izundu’s San Diego State transfer ban rescinded

Ernie Kent
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Washington State transfer Valentine Izundu will be visiting San Diego State after all.

Coach Ernie Kent has rescinded his restriction on the 6-foot-10 graduate transfer from visiting the Aztecs, according to a report from the Spokesman-Review, citing an anonymous source. Izundu will also be reportedly visiting Fresno State and UNLV.

Izundu had previously been barred from considering the Aztecs by Kent because of suspcisions of tampering. Izundu vigorously denied that was the case as at the center of the dispute was a trip he made to San Diego for spring break. He publicly said he did not have any contact with the SDSU coaching staff , though he attended an Aztecs NIT game.

Kent, though, appears to have relented, as many coaches who have similarly faces public pressure in such situations before him have. In this era where so much attention is being paid to player rights and welfare, there only seems to be growing public sentiment against programs restricting transfers beyond the absolute bare minimum is rarely going to go over well. It may make things more difficult for coaches and programs, but it’s the deck is largely already stacked in their favor in most every other instance.

Ex-Michigan State player Keith Appling faces weapons charges

Keith Appling
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DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) Authorities say former Michigan State basketball player Keith Appling faces charges including carrying a concealed weapon after he was found in possession of guns and marijuana in suburban Detroit.

The Wayne County prosecutor’s office says 24-year-old Appling was arrested outside a Dearborn club on Sunday night. Club security called police after seeing a man pull a gun from the trunk of a car.

Prosecutors say Appling was in the driver’s seat of the car when police arrived. Officers found a handgun under the driver’s seat, a loaded weapon in the trunk and a small amount of suspected marijuana.

Weapons and marijuana possession charges were announced Wednesday.

The court says he doesn’t have a lawyer on record.

Appling played for the Spartans from 2010-2014 and plays for the NBA’s development league.

UNLV transfer to finish career at Michigan State

UNLV forward Ben Carter, right, celebrates after his team defeated Oregon in an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, in Las Vegas. UNLV won 80-69. (AP Photo/John Locher)
(AP Photo/John Locher)
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Former UNLV center Ben Carter announced on Wednesday that he will be transferring to Michigan State to finish his collegiate career.

Carter, who began his career at Oregon, averaged 8.6 points and 6.0 boards in his one season with UNLV before tearing his ACL in late January. He spent two seasons with the Ducks before transferring to Vegas, which is why he’s eligible immediately for the Spartans.

And that’s the biggest reason that Tom Izzo and company targeted him.

The Spartans lost Deyonta Davis to the NBA Draft after one season, a fact that became an inevitability midway through the year but one that the Spartans didn’t necessarily plan for heading into last season. Carter isn’t going to be an instant impact kind of player, particularly not when he’s coming off of an ACL injury, but he is a big body and a veteran presence on a front line that wasn’t going have much of either.