The Secondary Break: Monday’s Links

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St. John’s has work cut out to make NCAA tournament (New York Daily News)
Steve Lavin’s St. John’s Red Storm were thought to be the most talented team in the Big East when the season began. But there’s also the need to make good on said promise when games actually begin, and that’s been a struggle for the Red Storm. There are still opportunities to go on a run and reach the NCAA tournament, but that will likely come down to the Big East tournament.

Ochefu standing tall for Villanova (Delco Times)
During Jay Wright’s tenure at Villanova, guards have received most of the attention when the Wildcats rank among the nation’s best. But there’s also the need for rugged big men in the Villanova attack, from Dante Cunningham and Will Sheridan during the mid-2000s to Daniel Ochefu now. Yes, Ochefu, who has made immense strides throughout the 2013-14 season for Villanova.

Milestone reached as Oregon Tech’s Danny Miles gets 1,000th win (Oregon Tech Athletics)
Two of Division I’s winningest head coaches faced off at the Carrier Dome on Saturday night, with Jim Boeheim’s Syracuse Orange beating Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke Blue Devils in overtime. However there was also a milestone reached on Saturday, as Oregon Tech’s Danny Miles picked up his 1,000th win as a college head coach. He’s just the second coach in college basketball history to reach the 1,000 win mark.

Jordan Morgan leads the charge in Michigan’s turnaround (Michigan Daily)
With Mitch McGary out indefinitely after undergoing back surgery, Michigan needed its veteran big men to step up in order for the Wolverines to be a contender in the Big Ten. That has happened, with Jordan Morgan playing an important role for the Wolverines. His motivation: not seeing the floor much during Michigan’s run to the national title game last season.

Aaric Murray overcomes obstacles, now possible NBA prospect again (KTRK Houston)
Texas Southern senior center Aaric Murray arrived in Houston a man who had run out of chances. After seeing stints at La Salle and West Virginia come to a premature end, Murray sought out help from John Lucas and a fresh start at Texas Southern under Mike Davis. Thus far he’s taken advantage of the opportunity, and as a result Murray’s back on the mind of some pro scouts.

SDSU’s Quinn relished chance to start (San Diego Union-Tribune)
With Josh Davis having to miss Saturday night’s game against Colorado State for health reasons, No. 5 San Diego State needed someone to step into the starting lineup and be a productive replacement. Enter Aqeel Quinn, who scored eight points in 24 minutes of action as the Aztecs held off Colorado State.

Northwestern rallying around Collins (CBS2 Chicago)
After starting Big Ten play with three consecutive losses, the Northwestern Wildcats looked to be in serious trouble in the first season of the Chris Collins era. But the Wildcats have turned things around, reaching 5-5 in conference play and winning three straight league road games for the first time since 1960. The team’s head coach hadn’t even been born when the last streak occurred.

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

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SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

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South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.

 

N.C. State lands second transfer of day with Utah’s Devon Daniels

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A big recruiting day for N.C. State continued on Saturday afternoon as Utah transfer and guard Devon Daniels pledged to the Wolfpack.

Earlier in the day, N.C. State and new head coach Kevin Keatts landed another quality transfer in UNC Wilmington guard C.J. Bryce.

The 6-foot-5 Daniels just finished his freshman season with the Utes in which he put up 9.9 points 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 57 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Just like Bryce, Daniels will have to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations before he has three more seasons of eligibility.

N.C. State now has two potential starters on the perimeter for the 2018-19 season with the addition of Bryce and Daniels as it will be interesting to see what kind of talent the Wolfpack can get around them.