The Secondary Break: Monday’s Links

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Former La Salle great Tom Gola passes away (Philadelphia Daily News)
On Sunday it was reported that Tom Gola, who led the La Salle Explorers to NCAA and NIT titles as a player, passed away at the age of 81. In four seasons at La Salle, Gola accounted for 2,461 points and 2,201 rebounds, with the rebounding total being a mark that likely won’t be reached again.

Ex-RMU coach Schmidt has transformed St. Bonaventure (
After putting Robert Morris in a position where they could eventually win the Northeast Conference and reach the NCAA tournament, Mark Schmidt accepted the position at St. Bonaventure with the Bonnies having gone 24-88 under Anthony Solomon. What Schmidt has done in Olean is turn the program in the right direction, even reaching the NCAA tournament in 2012.

Virginia Cavaliers on Emersonian win streak (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
With their blowout win over Virginia Tech on Saturday, Virginia moved to 6-1 in ACC play with all six wins being by double digits. Head coach Tony Bennett used the occasion to quote Ralph Waldo Emerson while addressing his players, noting that “a hero is not fed on sweets.”

Stony Brook’s Anthony Jackson embracing bench role (Big Apple Buckets)
Stony Brook is the lone remaining undefeated team in America East, and while players such as Jameel Warney and David Coley have been key pieces so has Anthony Jackson. Jackson, a senior guard, has been referred to as a “sixth starter” by head coach Steve Pikiell.

Pitt’s Lamar Patterson: Focus on performance, not Wooden snub (Sporting News)
One of the players surprisingly left off of the midseason Wooden Award list was Pittsburgh senior forward Lamar Patterson, who has been a key figure for a team that’s been among the best in the ACC. But that doesn’t concern Patterson, who’s focused on more important matters such as the team’s game against Duke on Monday night.

Seniors, upperclassmen share spotlight with superstar freshmen (USA Today)
The freshmen arrived on the scene amidst much fanfare, but as the season’s worn on a number of older players have stepped forward across the country. Creighton’s Doug McDermott, Syracuse’s C.J. Fair and UConn’s Shabazz Napier are just a couple of the players who have had major impacts on college basketball this season.

With less flash, Bluejay Brooks making a splash (Omaha World-Herald)
Creighton junior guard Devon Brooks has been an important addition for the Bluejays, especially with Grant Gibbs currently out of the lineup with a knee injury. But there was some fine-tuning to be done, as Brooks needed to remove some of the flash in order to become a more effective player.

California’s Justin Cobbs, Richard Solomon bring balance to court (Los Angeles Times)
While California’s trip to southern California didn’t go as planned, with the Golden Bears losing to both USC and UCLA, they’re still in a tie for second place with the Arizona schools visiting Berkeley this week. Two key players are point guard Justin Cobbs and power forward Richard Solomon, who have been friends since high school.

Colorado’s Tory Miller reprimanded by Pac-12 after biting opponent

Dusan Ristic, Tory Miller
AP Photo
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Colorado sophomore forward Tory Miller has been reprimanded by the Pac-12 and he also apologized for biting Air Force’s Hayden Graham earlier this week.

During Colorado’s win over Air Force on Wednesday, Miller was assessed a Flagrant 2 Dead Ball Technical Foul and ejected with 12:25 left in the second half after biting Graham during a loose ball.

In a release from the Pac-12, they announced reprimanding Miller, but he will not be suspended.

“All of our student-athletes must adhere to the Pac-12’s Standards of Conduct and Sportsman-ship,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in the release. “Regardless of Mr. Miller’s frustration and emotion, such behavior is unacceptable and he is being appropriately reprimanded.”

Miller also released his apology in the same release.

“I would like to apologize for my actions during the Air Force game. I would like to apologize to Hayden Graham, Air Force, my teammates and fans. It was a heat of the moment thing. I’m an emotional player, but I let my emotions get the best of me. I will use this as a learning experience and focus on helping my teammates and respecting my opponents for the rest of the season and beyond,” Miller said.

For Miller to not be suspended for this is good news for him and Colorado since he won’t miss any additional action, but did the Pac-12 make the right decision on this?


Michigan State’s Tum Tum Nairn battling foot injury

Lourawls Nairn Jr.
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Michigan State has climbed on the back of star senior wing Denzel Valentine early in the season but they’ll undoubtedly need more help as the season goes on if they want to sustain their current top-5 ranking. One of the keys to the Spartans could be the on-going health of sophomore point guard Lourawls ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn, who is battling a foot injury.

According to a report from Kyle Austin of, Nairn has been putting on a protective boot the last few months to help battle plantar fasciitis as the guard has been playing in practices and hasn’t had his minutes reduced in games.

The injury looked like it was hurting Nairn’s early-season play, but he’s been very good in two games at the Wooden Legacy in California this week, so it could be that he’s getting more used to playing through the pain of the injury.

If Nairn is healthy and capable of contributing, he’s a huge boost to Michigan State because he’s one of the fastest players in college basketball and an additional ball handler on the floor. Through six games so far this season, Nairn is averaging 5.3 points and 4.7 assists per game as he’s been one of the team’s best distributors.

Plantar fasciitis can be a tough injury to fight through, so we’ll have to see if this affects Nairn as the season goes along.