The Secondary Break: Thursday’s Links

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Duke deliveries by Santa (Duke Blue Planet)
Many college basketball fans across the country received presents that featured their favorite teams/players. Duke’s official blog compiled some of the things Blue Devil fans found under their trees on Christmas Day.

Chris Collins embraces challenge of leading Northwestern to NCAAs (USA Today)
Bill Carmody was relieved of his duties in the spring, with his inability to lead Northwestern to the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history being one of the main reasons why. In his place is former Duke assistant Chris Collins, who has embraced the challenge in front of him.

No looking back: A new life and a new-ish game suit Chier Ajou just fine (Inside Northwestern)
One of the players on Collins’ squad is big man Chier Ajou, whose trek to Northwestern is an incredible one. Ajou’s a native of South Sudan, a land that has dealt with a violent power struggle for years. And after playing in just seven games last season, Ajou’s working to become a player who can earn consistent minutes in the new system.

Foreign-born players becoming more commonplace in college basketball (Louisville Courier-Journal)
Ajou was one of 333 foreign-born college basketball players last season, and a player who joined him in those ranks this season is Louisville’s Mangok Mathiang. Mathiang’s also a native of South Sudan, and his trek from the war-torn nation to Louisville began at the age of five.

From Philly to Texas: Aaric Murray now an NBA prospect again (CSN Philly)
Texas Southern forward Aaric Murray’s taken quite the road to the Houston-based school, spending time at both La Salle and West Virginia in his first four seasons (playing three) of college basketball. Now under the tutelage of John Lucas, Murray’s blossomed into the player he was able to only show flashes of in each of his two prior stops.

The commonality of the 40-point scorer in college basketball (CBS Sports)
With scoring in college basketball up from a team standpoint, college basketball has seen a rise in the number of individuals who have scored 40 points or more in a game this season. And the four-game slate on Christmas Day didn’t yield a 40-point scorer, ending a streak of five straight days in which a player reaching that mark.

Marcus Posley has no regrets over college change (Rockford Register Star)
After making the MAC All-Freshman team at Ball State last season, Marcus Posley made the decision to transfer to Indian Hills JC. It’s a decision that Posley doesn’t regret at all, and it’s one that has benefitted Indian Hills as well.

Memphis lands commitment from 2018 center Connor Vanover

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Memphis picked up its first commitment in the Class of 2018 on Wednesday night as unique center prospect Connor Vanover announced his decision on Twitter.

At 7-foot-2, Vanover brings elite size to the interior for the Tigers and he’s also skilled enough that he was a 43 percent three-point shooter during his stint playing with Pro Skills in the Nike EYBL this spring. Although Vanover needs to add strength and athleticism to adapt to the college level, he simply has size that you can’t teach. Pair that size with an intriguing perimeter jumper and it’ll be interesting to see how head coach Tubby Smith is able to develop Vanover the next few years.

A three-star prospect according to Rivals, Vanover averaged 9.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game during the spring. Originally from Arkansas, Vanover is spending his senior season of high school ball at prep school powerhouse Findlay Prep.

Bill Self unsure of how long he will continue to coach

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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Kansas head coach Bill Self is one of the most decorated college basketball coaches of all time.

Recently inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this month, Self has won a record 13 consecutive Big 12 regular-season championships while also claiming a national title for the Jayhawks during his storied career.

But while most legendary coaches in contemporary college basketball have stayed around to coach well into their late 60s or early 70s, the 54-year-old Self doesn’t necessarily see his career playing out that way.

Speaking with ESPN.com reporter Myron Medcalf on Wednesday, Self acknowledged that he’s thinking about potentially retiring once his next contract ends after the 2021-22 season. With five more years left on his current deal, that would mean that Self would be retiring before he would even turn 60.

“I’ve said all along that if I could go to my late 50s, that’d be good for me,” Self said to Medcalf. “Now that I’m getting close to my late 50s, I’m like, ‘Well…’ but my contract runs until I’m 59, so I’ve got five more years left. I definitely want to do that. Then whatever happens after that I’d be happy with whatever. But I don’t want to [coach too late].”

While Hall of Fame coaches like Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim (72 years old), Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski (70 years old) and North Carolina’s Roy Williams (67 years old) are showing no signs of slowing down, Self acknowledged to Medcalf that coach, and specifically recruiting, has started to take its toll on him.

“With recruiting the way that it is, it just wears you down,” Self said to Medcalf.

With Kansas pursuing so many potential one-and-done prospects over the past few seasons, it means that Self usually has to recruit sizable recruiting classes

Self is certainly entitled to do what he wants with his career and his life but it would be a shame to see one of the game’s greats hang it up at that point in his career. Potentially retiring at that age means that Self won’t chase 1,000 wins or any additional longevity records

Ohio State lands second pledge in two days with 2018 guard Duane Washington

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Ohio State stayed hot on the recruiting trail on Wednesday as the Buckeyes landed a commitment from Class of 2018 guard Duane Washington.

The 6-foot-3 Washington is the second commitment for Ohio State and new head coach Chris Holtmann in the last two days after four-star forward Jaedon LeDee pledged to the Buckeyes on Tuesday.

One of the better shooters in the Class of 2018, Washington averaged 14.9 points per game on tremendous shooting splits (48% FG, 87% FT, 45% 3PT) playing with The Family in the Nike EYBL this spring. A Michigan native who now resides in California, Washington gives Ohio State a much-needed guard commitment in the Class of 2018.

With the Buckeyes needing to fill a lot of scholarships due to roster turnover, Washington is a solid start to their perimeter class. While Washington isn’t likely to play point guard, he can play multiple perimeter spots and should be a solid addition to the Buckeye rotation.

Syracuse walk-on accused of sexual assault

Syracuse Post-Standard
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Dominick Parker, an 18-year old freshman who was added to the Syracuse roster as a walk-on just 12 days ago, was arrested last Friday and charged with sexual abuse in the first degree, reports Syracuse.com.

Parker is accused of having sexual contact with an 18-year old female student while she was incapable of giving consent. His name and picture have been removed from the Syracuse athletics website.

“Sexual and relationship violence is not tolerated at Syracuse University,” the school said in a statement. “We are now doing all that we can to support and provide assistance to those affected by the alleged incident. As this is an ongoing investigation, Syracuse University will not be providing further comment.”

Wichita State to sell beer at Koch Arena

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
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As if it wasn’t already hard enough to win games at Koch Arena.

Starting this season, Wichita State fans will be able to buy beer during games at their home arena, a fact that should ensure that the raucous home environs that have made the Shockers so difficult to beat in Wichita remains the same.

That’s not a bad thing to add to a home court advantage while making the move into a new conference, the American, for the 2017-18 season.

Once a rarity, beer at college sporting events in aΒ growing trend. Minnesota, Florida and Texas, among a number of others have added alcohol sales in recent years. Given the money that would seem likely to be generated, it’s a trend that will probably become even more pervasive in college athletics.

Let’s just make sure that everyone partakes in moderation.