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.

Florida freshman will miss the season with stress fracture

GAINESVILLE, FL - JANUARY 19: Head coach Mike White of the Florida Gators gestures during the game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center on January 19, 2016 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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Florida freshman forward Dontay Bassett is out for the season with a stress fracture, according to a release from the school.

Bassett will require surgery in his right foot and his projected recovery time will be four-to-six months. The injury will force Bassett to redshirt the 2016-17 season.

A three-star recruit coming out of Oldsmar Christian in Florida, the 6-foot-9 forward wasn’t expected to be a big contributor during his first year with the Gators, but his loss does hurt some of the team’s frontcourt depth. With John Egbunu, Devin Robinson, Justin Leon and Kevarrius Hayes all returning, the Gators should have plenty of players to use in the frontcourt this season without Bassett.

Once Bassett is healthy and able to play next season he showed good athleticism and an ability to hit the glass hard while he was in high school. Bassett should be able to join Florida’s rotation as an energy defender and rebounder right away.

Iowa State lands four-star Class of 2017 guard Lindell Wigginton

GREENVILLE, SC- July 9, 2016:  adidas Gauntlet Finale at Upward Stars Center (Jeff Hinds/adidas)
GREENVILLE, SC- July 7, 2016:  adidas Gauntlet Finale at Upward Stars Center (Jeff Hinds/adidas)
Jeff Hinds/adidas
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Iowa State has its point guard of the future as four-star Class of 2017 prospect Lindell Wigginton pledged to the Cyclones on Friday.

The 6-foot-1 Wigginton is regarded as the No. 40 overall prospect on as the Canadian has spent the last few seasons at powerhouse Oak Hill Academy. With an ability to play both guard spots and defend a few spots, Wigginton is a valuable addition to head coach Steve Prohm’s ballclub as Wigginton could help replace Monte Morris after he exhausts his eligibility.

Wigginton is going to need to improve his consistency on his perimeter jumper, but he’s a good pull-up scorer who can make plays for himself or others off the bounce. Iowa State’s Class of 2017 recruiting haul now includes Wigginton, four-star wing Terrence Lewis and three-star guard Darius McNeill.

This commitment is huge for Prohm as Wigginton is the most highly-regarded recruit that he has landed with the Cyclones. With Prohm’s point guard history with guys like Isaiah Canaan at Murray State and Monte Morris now with Iowa State, Prohm did a nice job of finding his next young guard to mold for the future.

Davidson star Jack Gibbs to miss a few weeks with shoulder injury

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 11:  Jack Gibbs #12 of the Davidson Wildcats celebrates a basket against the St. Bonaventure Bonnies during the Quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament at the Barclays Center on March 11, 2016 in New York, New York.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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Davidson senior guard Jack Gibbs is one of the most under-the-radar players in college basketball as he will be among the nation’s leading offensive threats this season if he’s healthy.

But health is going to be a question for the 6-foot-1 guard as Gibbs is dealing with a shoulder injury that will sideline him for 2-to-3 weeks, according to head coach Bob McKillop. McKillop told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman that tests came back negative for Gibbs and he’s expected to be back for the Wildcats’ season-opener. The injury for Gibbs occurred during Thursday’s Davidson practice.

As a junior, Gibbs averaged 23.5 points, 4.9 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game as he became one of the nation’s premier offensive players.  Gibbs is going to be a huge key for Davidson this season as he needs to be healthy in order for the Wildcats to make it back to the NCAA tournament.


VIDEO: Dennis Smith Jr. electrifies N.C. State fans at team’s scrimmage

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(Photo by Kelly Kline/Getty Images)
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N.C. State freshman point guard Dennis Smith Jr. excited fans with some absurd plays at the team’s Primetime with the Pack event last night.

The highly-touted, five-star prospect is the most electric prospect to come to the Wolfpack in years and Smith had the crowd buzzing with some highlight-reel dunks during the team’s 20-minute scrimmage.

Smith made one teammate look silly by putting it between his legs and throwing down a vicious dunk during one play while he also threw an alley-oop to himself to finish another break.

(h/t: Ball is Life)

VIDEO: Kentucky freshman Malik Monk throws down vicious dunks during scrimmage

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 15:  West Team MVP Malik Monk (L) (Bentonville, AR) in action during the 15th iteration of the Jordan Brand Classic at Barclays Center on April 15, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Jordan Brand )
(Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Jordan Brand )
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Kentucky freshman guard Malik Monk is going to be one of the newcomers to keep an eye on this season as the 6-foot-3 Arkansas native is an explosive scorer who packs vicious athleticism.

Monk showed Big Blue Nation some of what they can expect to see during Friday night’s Blue/White Scrimmage as he unleashed a ferocious dunk in some traffic and also had another good dunk in transition. While Monk has great lift off the floor, he also isn’t afraid to cock the ball back and put some authority on his dunks. He’s going to be a ton of fun to watch this season.