The Secondary Break: Tuesday’s Links

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Arizona’s Sean Miller is one of the best bargains in college basketball (Forbes)
The game’s best coaches tend to be well-compensated, and this is certainly the case for Arizona head coach Sean Miller. According to Forbes the leader of the nation’s top-ranked team will earn $2.3 million, a figure that’s low when compared to some of the other top coaches in college basketball. And with the increased revenues being generated by the program, Miller may be one of the best bargains in college basketball.

Appalachian State athlete starts shoe drive for Nigerian children (The Appalachian)
Appalachian State forward Michael Obacha is using his position as a member of the basketball team to help others in need, as he’s started a shoe drive with the proceeds to benefit children in his native Nigeria. Obacha, whose shoe drive will begin on Tuesday night when the Mountaineers host UNCG, also has the support for former Davidson forward and fellow Nigerian Andrew Lovedale.

Top 10 Most Hated College Basketball Teams Ever (Lost Lettermen)
This is an interesting slide show of the ten most hated college basketball teams ever, according to the folks over at Lost Lettermen. To say the least it’s an interesting look at some teams that, in addition to inviting fan vitriol, also accomplished some good things on the court.

After drama, Iowa State’s DeAndre Kane writes happy ending (USA Today)
Iowa State guard DeAndre Kane has been one of the nation’s best transfers this season, leading the way for an Iowa State team that currently has a 14-2 record on the season. Kane’s college career has been an eventful one as well, with personal struggles and the loss of his father very nearly resulting in Kane deciding to give up basketball for good.

Unexpected basketball struggles may leave empty NCAA seats (Raleigh News & Observer)
With the PNC Arena in Raleigh slated to host NCAA tournament games this spring, many Duke and North Carolina fans purchased tickets with the belief that their team would be able to do enough to be placed in that subregional for the first weekend of the Big Dance. However the recent struggles of the Blue Devils and Tar Heels has some concerned that the teams could end up being sent elsewhere. But there’s a lot of basketball still to be played.

Fewer fouls since fallout of basketball rule changes make Larry Eustachy a happy coach (The Coloradoan)
Colorado State head coach Larry Eustachy was none too thrilled with the rules changes made to increase offensive players’ freedom of movement, and he certainly made his opinions on the matter known. But as the season’s worn on things have evened out somewhat, resulting in a happier head coach.

UC Irvine center Mamadou Ndiaye creates altering reality for opponents (Los Angeles Times)
7-foot-6 center Mamadou Ndiaye is certainly a sight to behold when he’s on the floor for the preseason favorites to win the Big West, as his size makes scoring in the paint incredible difficult for opponents. But even if he isn’t racking up the blocked shots, Ndiaye’s mere presence changes many shots on a consistent basis.

Utes searching for answers to offensive woes (Deseret News)
Utah’s trip to Washington this past weekend was a difficult one, with the Utes falling to both Washington and Washington State. Against the Cougars Larry Krystkowiak’s team scored just 46 points, and with their recent offensive struggles in mind Utah’s in search of answers with the Los Angeles schools visiting this week.

After latest blowout, Terps “just got to stay positive” (Washington Post)
On Sunday night Maryland took an absolute beating at Florida State, with the game being the second straight defeat by at least 20 points for the Terrapins. But given how tough ACC play can be, there’s no time for Mark Turgeon’s team to sulk and feel sorry for itself.

Grand Canyon lands Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson

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Grand Canyon landed an important piece for its NCAA tournament push on Saturday night as Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson pledged to the Antelopes.

The 6-foot-3 Benson will be eligible right away as spent the past three seasons with the Ducks as a key reserve guard, helping Oregon to multiple deep NCAA tournament runs. Benson picked Grand Canyon over Wisconsin for his final season of college basketball as Benson’s brother, T.J., is an assistant coach with the Antelopes.

Benson shot 40 percent from three-point range last season while also being a steady ball handler over the course of his career at Oregon as he has only 81 career turnovers in over 2,600 career minutes with the Ducks. While Benson wasn’t asked to score a lot for a loaded Oregon team that featured multiple bucket-getters, he could be asked to do more at Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon is eligible for the NCAA tournament for the first time next season as the addition of Benson gives them an experienced guard who should be more of a factor in the WAC. The Antelopes are coming off of a 22-9 season in which they finished 11-3 in conference play.

With great facilities and a quickly-growing fan base, head coach Dan Majerle has the potential makings of a perennial mid-major conference contender if he continues to recruit well to Grand Canyon.

Colorado adds commitment from Class of 2017 point guard McKinley Wright

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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 to hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills

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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 to redshirt in basketball to pursue baseball

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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, Chris Holtmann agree to a contract extension

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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.