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The Secondary Break: Monday’s Links

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Brain surgery motivates Manhattan recruiting ace (New York Post)
The Manhattan Jaspers are one of four teams sitting atop the MAAC standings with a 6-2 conference record, and their eight wins away from Draddy Gymnasium makes them one of college basketball’s most successful road/neutral teams. One person who’s had an active role in this is assistant coach Rasheen Davis, and he overcame personal setbacks to get to where he is today.

Catching up with former Lafayette men’s basketball standout Brian Burke (The Express-Times)
It’s always interesting for fans to read about the things some of their favorite players of the past are up to after hanging up their sneakers, and in this story the focus is former Lafayette guard Brian Burke. Burke, who currently ranks ninth on the school’s all-time assists list, was a member of the Leopards’ last two NCAA tournament teams (2001 and 2002).

Player’s on-court wedding proposal steals show after Long Beach State’s women’s team suffers loss (Long Beach Press-Telegram)
College basketball had itself a wedding proposal this past weekend, and the recipient was Long Beach State women’s basketball player Alex Sanchez. Sanchez’s boyfriend proposed following the 49ers’ 107-102 overtime loss to Cal Poly, capping a wild day at The Pyramid.

ASU basketball coach Herb Sendek in big stretch (AZ Central)
With Arizona State having lost two straight games, the Sun Devils are in need of a reversal of fortune with Utah and Colorado slated to visit this week. And given the fact that the program hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament since 2009, this begins a very important stretch for head coach Herb Sendek’s program.

Maurice Creek has given George Washington a healthy outlook (Washington Post)
George Washington guard Maurice Creek has been one of the best stories in college basketball, finally healthy after dealing with various injuries throughout his time at Indiana. As a result the Colonials, picked to finish in the bottom half of the Atlantic 10 during the preseason, have shown signs of being a credible contender.

Cougars build confidence with Bay Area sweep (Deseret News)
After losing four straight games away from Provo, BYU picked up wins at Santa Clara and San Francisco this weekend. With a renewed confidence and players more comfortable with their current roles, Dave Rose’s Cougars could be poised to make a run in the WCC.

Manuel feels UConn in middle ground financially with power conferences (Connecticut Post)
With the recent discussion that the five most powerful Division I conferences could end up governing themselves to a certain extent, schools outside of the group find themselves in a tough spot. One such school is UConn, and the way in which they move forward in order to keep up with programs in richer conferences will determine the long-term health of the athletic department.

Jabari Parker learns scouting report, turns it against NC State in Duke blowout (Raleigh News & Observer)
Much had been made of Jabari Parker’s decreased productivity in the days leading up to No. 23 Duke’s game against NC State, with the freshman not playing at the level he did to start the season. But a renewed focus and a better understanding of what opponents are looking to do to him resulted in Parker returning to the form many grew accustomed to seeing.

Florida State continues recruiting momentum with 2017 commitment

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Florida State has been active on the recruiting trail recently and the Seminoles continued that momentum on Wednesday with a commitment from in-state wing Wyatt Wilkes.

The 6-foot-7 Wilkes is considered a three-star prospect and ranked No. 113 in the Rivals 150 in the Class of 2017 as he gives Florida State its fourth commitment in the class.

A versatile and skilled forward who can knock down shots, Wilkes joins a Florida State Class of 2017 that includes wing Anthony Polite — who committed on Tuesday — forward Raiquan Gray and guard Bryan Trimble.

The last two recruiting classes, Florida State has done a nice job of focusing on its targets and landing them early. It’s hard to say if finishing the Class of 2016 early helped the Seminoles complete this group in a similar timely fashion, but it’s worth monitoring for the next class as well to see if this becomes some sort of trend.

Oregon lands Georgetown transfer Paul White

PORTLAND, OR - MARCH 19: Paul White #13 of the Georgetown Hoyas fights for position with Drew Brandon #22 of the Eastern Washington Eagles in the second half during the second round of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Moda Center on March 19, 2015 in Portland, Oregon.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Oregon pulled in a former highly-touted recruit via transfer on Wednesday as Paul White committed to the Ducks.

Spending his first two seasons at Georgetown, White battled injury problems as he only registered 67 total minutes last season during his sophomore year. As a freshman, the 6-foot-8 native of Chicago averaged 5.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.

A skilled wing forward who can handle the ball a bit, White is a good passer from the elbows and also isn’t afraid to help a bit on the glass. Offensively, White will have to figure out his calling as a scorer, but he’s versatile enough of an offensive players to get others involved while he’s on the floor.

Formerly the No. 50 overall recruit in the Class of 2014, White will have to sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules.

Oregon has had a lot of success with transfers under head coach Dana Altman, but it will be interesting to see how White looks when he’s able to play. With basically two full seasons off between competitive games, we’ll have to see how White looks, or if he’s added to his game, when he’s able to take the floor in 2017-18.

VIDEO: Dennis Smith Jr. dunks on N.C. State students

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Last week, it was North Carolina freshman Seventh Woods dunking on a crowd of his classmates late at night.

This week, it’s Dennis Smith Jr., the uber-athletic redshirt freshman for N.C. State.

Rutgers’ twitter ‘gaffe’ is a pretty standard recruiting technique

Stony Brook coach Steve Pikiell  congratulates guard Roland Nyama (24) after a play during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Vanderbilt on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey
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Rutgers has been the butt of quite a few jokes on social media the last 24 hours, as the school’s official men’s basketball twitter account posted the following picture late on Tuesday night:

That’s an image of six UConn grads and two Pitt grads with the title “$1.1 billion earned”, which, on the surface, doesn’t really make any sense, right? Those eight guys — names like Shabazz Napier and Ray Allen and Steven Adams and Rip Hamilton — have no connection to the Scarlet Knights beyond the occasional beating back when they were still in college.

It’s the Rutgers coaching staff that has a connection to them.

New head coach Steve Pikiell, who was hired from Stony Brook less than six months ago, used to be on the UConn staff. Karl Hobbs, who was an assistant at UConn for both Jim Calhoun and Kevin Ollie, joined Pikiell. Another assistant coach, Brandin Knight, a former star player at Pitt, was on Jamie Dixon’s staff with the Panthers last season.

None of those guys have coached a single Rutgers player yet.

And they won’t for another month, when practice finally starts.

So what do they have to pitch to recruits? How can they market the Rutgers program? How do they make it appealing to the loads of talent playing basketball in New Jersey high schools? By selling kids on what these coaches were able to accomplish with the players they actually have worked with, the stars from their former schools. If you don’t think that is what Rutgers’ new staff — or any new staff, for that matter — is using as a recruiting pitch then you don’t know a damn thing about recruiting.

Or Rutgers.

The program has no basketball history worth mentioning. None. But neither did SMU when Larry Brown took over, and he turned the Mustangs into a program perennially in or around the top 25 that literally beat out Kentucky for a recruit (Emmanuel Mudiay).

Do you think that Brown was selling players on SMU’s past or his past? Did he say “Come hoop at a football school in a football state” or did he brag about coaching Allen Iverson and the rings he won with Kansas in 1988 and Detroit in 2004?

The bottom line is this: The tweet missed its mark, highlighting player earnings over professional success, and the responses to it have been pretty hilarious.

But I also find it funny that people are up in arms about Rutgers promoting the players their brand new coaching staff has worked with, because if you don’t think that Jim Fox uses Steph Curry to recruit to Appalachian State or Rick Barnes references Kevin Durant in his pitches to Tennessee targets, I have a bridge in Brooklyn you can buy.

VIDEO: Western Michigan walk-on gets scholarship atop Eiffel Tower

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Yesterday, we brought you a video of South Dakota’s Logan Power, a walk-on heading into his third season in the program, receiving his scholarship while on the team’s trip to Spain.

Today, we have video of Western Michigan walk-on Ryan Wade getting a scholarship … at the top of the Eiffel Tower?

In a really cool moment, Steve Hawkins, WMU’s head coach, asks two players to try and read a piece of paper in French. He then has Wade read the translation of what the players were saying and … well … just watch:

What a cool moment.

If only there was a camera on the French people watching the crazy Americans sing and jump around a thousand feet in the air …