Former BC coach Al Skinner still hurt over the way he was fired (Boston Globe)
Much is made of players who wish to leave the game of basketball on their own terms, and the same can be said for coaches. Al Skinner, now an assistant at Bryant after spending three seasons out of the game, saw his 13-year run at Boston College come to an end in 2010. And the way in which he was let go still doesn’t sit well with the coach, whose former assistants truly believe should be in charge of his own program.
Baylor women’s 69-game home win streak on the line vs. UConn (Associated Press)
Virginia/Duke and Kansas/Iowa State may have the attention of many college basketball fans but Monday also features a Top 10 matchup in the women’s game. No. 7 Baylor will put its 69-game home win streak on the line when No. 1 UConn visits Waco in what should be an entertaining affair.
Duke, North Carolina learning along with their players (USA Today)
Saturday marked the first time since the 1996 ACC quarterfinals that all three Triangle schools lost on the same day, with Duke, N.C. State and North Carolina all falling. In the case of the Blue Devils and Tar Heels, they’re still learning more about their respective pieces and that’s led to struggles that many did not anticipate before the season began.
Story Time: Wilt Chamberlain feared death by soda poisoning, and other stories (The 700 Level)
No. 24 Memphis’ trip to Philadelphia to play Temple Saturday afternoon may not have been an eventful one outcome-wise (Memphis won 79-69), but Memphis head coach Josh Pastner treated the media to some good stories regarding his links to the Philadelphia area. One statement: his father has a recording of Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point guard with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Spartans legend Draymond Green agrees: Michigan State has “great” potential (Detroit Free Press)
Thanks to the NBA schedule-makers former Michigan State player Draymond Green, now a member of the Golden State Warriors, was able to attend his old team’s overtime win over Minnesota on Saturday. And he’s of the opinion that the Spartans have the pieces needed to win a national title, but they’ve yet to “scratch the surface” of their full potential.
Cougars regain their swagger but a four-game road swing awaits (Salt Lake Tribune)
BYU took a step in the right direction on Saturday night, beating Loyola Marymount 91-68 in Provo. Having regained some of the confidence lost in their run of four losses in five game, the Cougars are now looking forward to a four-game road swing that will undoubtedly impact their chances of contending in the WCC.
Yes, your basketball team is good (The Mid-Majority)
The Harvard Crimson were one of the big stories at the mid-major level at the start of the season, due to their performance last season and the many key contributors back on campus. With that being the case expectations are high for Tommy Amaker’s team, even if there are some on campus who are unaware of how good their basketball team is.
Colorado landed one of the best available point guards for next season on Friday as Class of 2017 floor general McKinley Wright committed during an official visit.
A former Dayton commit who opted out of his recruitment after former head coach Archie Miller took the Indiana job, Wright was one of the best available point guards left as he played last weekend on the adidas Gauntlet in front of college coaches with D1 Minnesota.
The 6-foot-0 Wright gives the Buffaloes another ball handler and distributor as he was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball during this past season. As a senior, Wright averaged 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.
It’s always hard to say if spring recruits who elevate a level in recruiting after decommitting are making the correct decision, but Wright looked the part of a high-major lead guard last weekend, and Colorado wasn’t the only high-major program that was pushing hard to add Wright at this late stage.
Oral Roberts has found its new head coach as they will hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills, as first reported by NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster.
Mills had been on staff with the Bears since 2003 as he’s been a big factor in why head coach Scott Drew has been able to turn around that program. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mills has been a full-time assistant at Baylor since the 2009 season.
“I am honored to accept this role of representing this historic institution, its students and its mission,” Mills said in a release. “Making this commitment today is a highlight of my career and I look forward with excitement to the basketball season directly ahead. Go Golden Eagles.”
Mills will replace former head coach Scott Sutton, who was relieved of his duties this offseason after 18 years at the helm.
Iowa commit Connor McCaffery is in a unique spot when he starts his freshman year in Iowa City next year.
Not only is the 6-foot-4 guard the son of basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, while being a four-star national basketball prospect, but Connor also has a bright future in baseball.
There was a lot of speculation as to what Connor might do for his future in athletics and he gave more clarification on what he might be looking to do on Friday.
McCaffery has decided to redshirt in basketball next season to focus on the beginnings of his baseball career at Iowa. A walk-on for both sports, the move enables Connor McCaffery to potentially play three years of basketball with his younger brother, Patrick, who is also a heralded basketball recruit for Iowa. This move also gives Connor the best chance to pursue both sports while he’ll also help out a young Iowa basketball team with its tough scholarship scenario.
Butler has agreed to a contract extension with head coach Chris Holtmann, the school announced on Friday, that will keep him under contract through 2025.
“Butler truly is a special place, and my family and I are thankful to be part of a great academic institution and an athletics department that is a source of pride for those who embrace Butler and The Butler Way,” said Holtmann. “Our student-athletes, our staff, and so many throughout our campus are remarkable at what they do, and I’m excited to continue to work alongside them.”
Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 25-9 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In three years with the program, Holtmann has a record of 70-31.
“Chris is a tremendous ambassador for Butler and the Butler Way, and his leadership has resulted in success both on and off the court for the talented young men in our program,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “This commitment – both by our university and by Chris – allows the momentum within our program to continue.”
Holtmann was in the mix for a couple of jobs this spring, including N.C. State and Missouri.
Lonzo Ball will enter his rookie season in the NBA without a sponsorship deal from Nike, Adidas or Under Armour, only his family’s Big Baller Brand apparel.
That, according to a report from ESPN, is due to his father LaVar’s insistence that Lonzo not sign with one of the three major apparel companies unless they opted to sign a licensing deal for Big Baller Brand merchandise instead of outfitting Lonzo with their own gear.
“We’ve said from the beginning, we aren’t looking for an endorsement deal,” LaVar told ESPN. “We’re looking for co-branding, a true partner. But they’re not ready for that because they’re not used to that model. But hey, the taxi industry wasn’t ready for Uber, either.”
LaVar had been representing his son in the negotiations, and is now expected to reach out to other shoe brands, including Chinese apparel companies like Li-Nang.
Big Baller Brand is a startup apparel company launched by LaVar Ball. They sell t-shirts, sweatshirts and hats, with most of their products costing at least $50.
Lonzo declared for the NBA Draft after an all-american season that saw him and the UCLA Bruins flame out of the NCAA tournament in the Sweet 16. UCLA lost to Kentucky in that game, and Lonzo had a quiet night while his point guard counterpart, De’Aaron Fox, went off for 39 points.
Lonzo is a likely top three pick in the NBA Draft and, potentially, could still end up going No. 1. He has two younger brothers as well. LiAngelo will be a freshman with the Bruins next season while LaMelo just finished his sophomore season in high school. Both will attend UCLA.