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The Secondary Break: Tuesday’s Links

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Questions remain as UMass hits home stretch (Daily Hampshire Gazette)
During much of the non-conference portion of the season, Derek Kellogg’s UMass Minutemen were a pleasant surprise that put together one of the better resumes in college basketball. Unfortunately for UMass the rigorous Atlantic 10 schedule has resulted in three losses, and as they approach the home stretch there are some significant questions to be addressed.

Talent in college basketball in need of new definition (Sports Illustrated)
What does it take to be labeled as “talented” in college basketball? Is it solely about physical gifts, or are there other aspects that need to be taken into consideration? Sports Illustrated’s Seth Davis tackles this question and makes some good points about what all should be taken into consideration when discussing “talent.”

Documentary on Duke/North Carolina rivalry premieres Sunday (Beverly Hills Courier)
For all the great games that the Duke and North Carolina basketball programs have staged over the years, there seems to be a shortage of documentaries on one of college basketball’s greatest rivalries. On Sunday evening a new documentary on the rivalry will make its west coast premiere in Los Angeles.

Petteway leading Cornhuskers’ surge in Big Ten play (Associated Press)
Who’s the leading scorer in Big Ten play? Michigan State’s Gary Harris? Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell? The answer is actually Nebraska sophomore Terran Petteway, who’s currently averaging 19.5 points per game in Big Ten play. And he’s a big reason why Tim Miles’ Cornhuskers have won three of their last four games.

Caught in a shooting slump, Oregon’s Joseph Young found his answer in a familiar place: the gym (The Oregonian)
Shooting slumps are something that every basketball player has to deal with at some point in their career. What separates the standouts from the ones who are merely good is what they do about it. Oregon’s Joseph Young was faced with a shooting slump entering last week’s games against the L.A. schools, and his hard work helped the Houston transfer snap out of that funk.

John Calipari expects better defense from Kentucky basketball team (Louisville Courier-Journal)
One issue that many freshmen have trouble with when making the move from high school to college is understanding the commitment it takes to play well on the defensive end. That’s something that Kentucky’s had to address, and John Calipari isn’t too pleased with the way in which they’ve defended of late.

Maryland set for last game as ACC member in Chapel Hill (Raleigh News & Observer)
On Wednesday night the Maryland Terrapins will visit North Carolina, with the contest being the final one between the two as ACC members. The series has been in existence since 1924, and the two programs have staged some quality games over the years. But with Maryland moving to the Big Ten, this long-running chapter will be coming to an end.

High-scoring games becoming routine for Haws (Salt Lake Tribune)
After hitting a rough stretch during the latter stages of non-conference play, BYU finds itself tied for second place in the WCC at the halfway point. The biggest reason why: the prolific scoring ability of junior guard Tyler Haws. Haws’ ability to score has reached the point where some have even begun to take his recent stretch for granted.

Arizona Wildcats basketball: Surgery likely for Ashley (Arizona Daily Star)
With Brandon Ashley sidelined for the remainder of the season after breaking his right foot, No. 2 Arizona has begun the process of moving forward with the pieces they have. What does Ashley’s injury mean for their rotation? More minutes for the six players safely in the rotation, and an opportunity (depending in part on the opposition) for forward Matt Korcheck and guards Jordin Mayes and Elliott Pitts.

Five-star 2017 forward Porter Jr. releases top five schools

Father Tolton Catholic's Michael Porter, Jr. (1) celebrates after sinking a basket and drawing a foul during the first half of the Missouri Class 3 boys high school championship basketball game against the Barstow Saturday, March 12, 2016, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
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As one of the top players in the Class of 2017, 6-foot-8 small forward Michael Porter Jr. has been on the receiving end of attention from many high-major programs. Monday night Porter, a native of Columbia, Missouri who’s ranked second in the class by Rivals.com, revealed his top five schools at this point in time.

The five schools that made the cut (in alphabetical order): Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Virginia and Washington.

"Top 5 Top 5 Top 5" 🙏🏽 #Blessed

A photo posted by Michael Porter Jr. (@m1chael_porter) on

Of the five schools on Porter’s list Missouri and Washington may be the most interesting given the family connections. Not only is Missouri the hometown school, but Porter’s older sisters Bri and Cierra are members of the women’s basketball team.

And one of the assistants on that coaching staff was Porter’s father, who earlier this spring joined Lorenzo Romar’s staff at Washington. The elder Porter isn’t the only Washington connection either, with Michael’s younger brother Jontay being a commit in the Class of 2018.

Texas A&M lands Spanish forward Eric Vila

AP Photo
AP Photo/Patric Schneider
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With the loss of all-conference forward Jalen Jones, Texas A&M was in a position where they could afford to add another front court body alongside the likes of Tyler Davis and Tonny Trocha-Morelos. Thursday afternoon head coach Billy Kennedy and his staff managed to do just that, as 6-foot-9 forward Eric Martinez Vila made his pledge to the SEC program.

News of Vila’s commitment was first reported by TexAgs.com, and the FC Barcelona Lassa (that’s the club’s basketball program) product took visits to Texas A&M, Missouri and Wake Forest earlier this spring. Vila’s viewed as more of a combo forward, with the ability to step away from the basket and hit perimeter shots, giving the Aggies some added versatility in the front court.

Vila has plenty of experience playing for both FC Barcelona’s B team (however he did appear with the A-team during the 2014-15 season), and he represented Spain in the 2014 FIBA U16 EuroBasket and 2015 FIBA U18 EuroBasket events. Vila is the fifth member of Texas A&M’s 2016 class, joining guards J.J. Caldwell and J.C. Hampton, wing DeShawn Corprew and forward Robert Williams.

Nevada forward Cameron Oliver to return for sophomore season

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 11: Angelo Chol #3 of the San Diego State Aztecs drives to the hoop against Cameron Oliver #0 of the Nevada Wolf Pack during a semifinal game of the Mountain West Conference basketball tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center on March 11, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)
Jeff Bottari/Getty Images
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With the deadline for early entrants to withdraw from the NBA Draft set for Wednesday, some college basketball teams will receive important news as it pertains to the 2016-17 campaign. One of those teams was Nevada, which surprised many last season by winning 24 games in Eric Musselman’s first season at the helm. And with one of the key contributors from that team deciding to withdraw from the NBA Draft, the Wolf Pack will be well positioned to be even better in 2016-17.

Forward Cameron Oliver, who was one of the Mountain West’s best freshmen this past season, will return to Reno for his sophomore season with Musselman making the news official Monday afternoon.

The 6-foot-8 Oliver averaged 13.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game for Nevada, shooting 50.8 percent from the field in his debut season. Oliver was named third team All-Mountain West while also earning conference All-Defensive team honors.

Oliver and wing D.J. Fenner (13.7 ppg) are the team’s top two returning scorers, with guard Marqueze Coleman (15.1 ppg) out of eligibility, and they’ll lead the way for a team that can contend in the Mountain West next season.

In addition to Oliver and Fenner, Nevada adds two talented transfers in Leland King and Marcus Marshall, with the latter averaging 19.5 points per game at Missouri State in 2014-15.

Georgia’s Juwan Parker granted medical redshirt

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 28: Juwan Parker #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs shoots under Joey King #24 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the first half at Madison Square Garden on November 28, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
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ATHENS, Ga. (AP) Georgia guard Juwan Parker has been awarded a medical redshirt, leaving him with two years of eligibility, after missing the 2015-16 season with a partially torn Achilles tendon.

Parker, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, played in Georgia’s exhibition game against Armstrong State but missed the regular season. He originally suffered the injury in the 2014-15 season, when he averaged 4.9 points and 3.7 rebounds while starting 14 games.

Parker will be a junior in the 2016-17 season.

Georgia also announced that forward Osahen Iduwe will transfer after averaging 0.5 points in 18 games.

Iduwe, from Nigeria, attended Central Park Christian School in Birmingham, Alabama, in 2012-13 and St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin, in 2013-14.

Xavier star to return to school for junior year

Xavier's Trevon Bluiett celebrates after scoring in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Butler, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
(AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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Xavier forward Trevon Bluiett will return to school for his junior season.

Bluiett did not receive an invitation to the NBA Draft combine, but he did get a few workouts with NBA teams after declaring for the draft in March. He did not sign with an agent, meaning he can withdraw his name from consideration without losing any eligibility.

This is big for the Musketeers. Bluiett, a 6-foot-7 combo-forward that gives Xavier some lineup versatility, averaged 15.1 points and 6.1 boards while shooting 39.8 percent from three last season. With Bluiett back in the fold, the Musketeers return their top four perimeter scorers and may have the best 1-2 punch in the league with Bluiett and point guard Edmond Sumner.