Steve Masiello

The Secondary Break: Monday’s Links

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Unbreakable (BU Today) 
Boston University freshman Connor Lenahan is incredibly busy, announcing games for three different teams on campus while also running his own sports blog. Add to this the full course load that college students have to navigate, and there’s a lot on his plate. Lenahan, who has a congenital bone disease, has proven to be an inspiration to those he comes in contact with on campus.  

An inside look at how Coach Masiello leads the Jaspers squad (New York Post) 
The Manhattan Jaspers capped their regular season with a 68-63 win over Canisius on Sunday afternoon, earning the two-seed in next weekend’s MAAC tournament as a result. Leading the way is head coach Steve Masiello, who’s done an excellent job in turning around a program that was reeling at the time of his hire. How does he do it? This story follows Masiello in the hours leading up to Manhattan’s win at Monmouth on February 20. 

You made your bed Calipari, now lie in it (Yahoo! Sports) 
With No. 17 Kentucky losing games to Arkansas and South Carolina last week, the Wildcats aren’t playing their best basketball with the NCAA tournament rapidly approaching. For some the issue is the number of “one-and-done” players bring brought into the program by head coach John Calipari, and their struggles are seen as an indictment of his recruiting. 

Clashes between fans and players draw greater scrutiny (New York Times) 
With the clash between New Mexico State players and some Utah Valley fans on Thursday night, the issue of court-storming has become a national topic in college basketball. Add to this Marcus Smart pushing a fan last month, and the issue of fans and players interacting is one administrators have to address in the very near future. 

Gregarious band member is a McKale Center staple (Arizona Daily Star) 
No. 3 Arizona has more than enough talent on the floor to captivate its fan base, as evidenced by its lofty ranking and outright Pac-12 championship. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t action in the stands as well, with band member Jordan Ingram’s dance moves gaining both local and national attention beginning with last season’s NCAA tournament. 

Markel Brown will try to treat Senior Night like just another day (The Oklahoman) 
Senior Night is an emotional affair for players, as they’ll be playing in front of the home folks for the final time in their college career. But there’s also the need to remain focused on the task at hand, something that becomes even more important for teams looking to play their way into the NCAA tournament. That’s the spot Oklahoma State’s currently in, and Markel Brown aims to treat the game like it’s any other. 

Inconsistency part of growing up for N.C. State (Raleigh News & Observer) 
Mark Gottfried’s N.C. State Wolfpack suffered a difficult loss on Saturday, dropping an 85-70 decision at home to Miami. That result could be the final nail in the coffin in regards to the Wolfpack’s at-large hopes, and inconsistency has been an issue for this young group for much of the season. And that hasn’t come as a surprise tot he head coach. 

Redshirt guard Zak Showalter role player by design (Wisconsin State Journal) 
One of the more overlooked aspects of successful teams is the impact that scout teams have. Those players, who are either walk-ons or redshirts, are entrusted with the task of preparing their teammates for games by emulating the skill sets and strategies of the upcoming opponent and a good job can lead to victory. One such player is Wisconsin guard Zak Showalter, who’s redshirting this season and has played the role of some of the Big Ten’s best guards. 

Kawhi Leonard to be inducted into SDSU Hall of Fame

Kawhi Leonard (Getty Images)
Kawhi Leonard (Getty Images)
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Kawhi Leonard is, and probably always will be, the greatest player to ever come through the San Diego State ranks.

And this week, the Aztecs announced that they will be honoring the all-NBA wing due to his accomplishments in Viejas Arena: Leonard will be enshrined in the SDSU Hall of Fame this October.

Leonard is a terrific story, one that most people probably already know. A former Mr. Basketball in California, Leonard was somewhat under-recruited, winding up at SDSU where he proceeded to post monster numbers for an Aztec team that climbed into the top five in the country his sophomore season. He went pro after just two years with the program, getting picked 15th by the Spurs due to concerns about his ability to adjust to the perimeter full-time.

And we all know how that worked out.

VIDEO: South Dakota walk-on Logan Power get surprised with a scholarship

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Logan Power, a 6-foot-4 redshirt sophomore from Nebraska, landed a scholarship at the end of South Dakota’s trip to Spain.

You can see the video of it above. Power played in 14 games last season, averaging 2.5 points as he played a real role for the Coyotes down the stretch of the season.

Sometimes moments like this can feel like artificial, like a production designed to boost a coach’s Q rating as much as it is to award the player that scholarship. This doesn’t feel like that at all, as head coach Craig Smith barely can even offer a speech about the player as he fights to hold back tears.

It’s a touching moment.

Well done, USD.

Why did Trevon Duval list Seton Hall, St. John’s and not Duke, Kentucky?

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Trevon Duval is the reason that mixtapes were created.

A top five player and the top point guard in the Class of 2017, Duval is 6-foot-3 and super-athletic, boasting the kind of handle that would make Uncle Drew blush. It’s not possible to do any kind of scouting off of a mixtape; judging what a player can and can’t do based off of a highlight package doesn’t happen.

But given what Duval is capable of doing, it makes him the perfect player to have game film cut and edited so that his highlights fit seamlessly within the beat of an instrumental.

That’s why this mixtape is so good.

But unlike a lot of mixtape phenoms, Duval’s game goes beyond the tricks that look good in slow motion.

His ranking isn’t a fluke. He’s far and away the best point guard in 2017, but you wouldn’t know that based on his offer list.

On Monday, “trimmed” his list to ten schools: He’s not following a typical path for the top point guard in the class. Much has been written in the last six months about how Duke and Kentucky, the two preeminent programs on the recruiting trail, have been targeting second tier point guards in the Class of 2017, the likes of Trae Young and Quade Green and Tremont Waters.

Young and Green and Waters are all terrific players, top 30 recruits with a shot at becoming McDonalds All-Americans, but Duval is in a tier all by himself. He’s the only surefire one-and-done point guard in the class.

And he listed Seton Hall and St. John’s in his final ten.

He didn’t list Duke and Kentucky.

What do Seton Hall, St. John’s and Trevon Duval all have in common?

Under Armour.

Duval plays for We-R-1 on the travel circuit, a program that is sponsored by UA. He played his junior season at API, a high school program in Texas that was sponsored by Under Armour. Emmanuel Mudiay and Terrence Ferguson, the last two elite prospects to forego college to head directly to the professional ranks overseas, both came from API and reportedly signed sponsorship deals with UA. If UA has a reputation at the grassroots level, it’s that they’re as loyal as any of the three major shoe companies. They do everything they can to keep it all in the family.

The best example of this?

Diamond Stone, a product of the Under Armour Association circuit and Wisconsin native that bucked in-state powers Wisconsin and Marquette to play for Maryland, the program that is to UA and Oregon is to Nike.

It doesn’t always work that way — see: Josh Jackson — and of the final 10 schools on Duval’s list, only four are programs sponsored by Under Armour.

But it’s not an accident that Seton Hall and St. John’s made the cut, and it’s not a coincidence that UCLA — who just this summer signed a massive sponsorship deal with the apparel company — is now considered to be the favorite to land Duval.

The idea that shoe companies control where elite prospects go to school is a bit overblown in this day and age. If it wasn’t, Kansas, an adidas school, wouldn’t have landed Andrew Wiggins or Josh Jackson, two of the last four No. 1 players in the country, neither of whom played with an adidas sponsored team before college.

But it does happen.

And when it does, it’s not all that hard to identify.

Trevon Duval (Kelly Kline/Under Armour)
Trevon Duval (Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

Report: CBE Hall of Fame Classic headliners set

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The headliners for the 2017 CBE Hall of Fame Classic have been set.

UCLA, Baylor, Wisconsin and Creighton will highlight the bill for the annual event in Kansas City, according to a report from CBS Sports.

The CBE Hall of Fame Classic historically has included on-campus games and a flagship four-team championship round at the Sprint Center. This year’s headliners include Kansas, Georgia, George Washington and UAB.

Certainly securing four high-majors is a significant get for the event, which will also likely coincide with the induction of the 2017 class of the Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. The 2016 class is highlighted by Mark Aguirre, Doug Collins, Dominique Wilson, Jamal Wilkes and Mike Montgomery.

Coach Cal softball game raises $300K for La. flood relief

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John Calipari is known for his ability to amass talent. Over the weekend, that quality helped raise $300,000 for Louisiana flood relief.

The Coach Cal Celebrity Softball Classic brought Kentucky stars like Keith Bogans, Andrew Harrison and Karl-Anthony Towns and the likes of former UK quarterback Tim Couch and NFL Hall of Famer Chris Carter to Lexington to help aid Louisiana in conjunction with the Red Cross after the area suffered major flooding earlier this month.

“I didn’t want to really do a softball game,” Calipari said according to his website, “but then we decided to do it and then Louisiana happens and now you have a cause. … It’s kind of neat. You have a cause, you have a why.”

Towns’ team was the 18-12 victor over Team Calipari on the day.

“This is amazing,” Towns said on CoachCal.com. “This is something that we get a chance to rarely do. We get to help the community out but at the same time have fun. There’s nothing better than doing something that we would do for free but for charity. This is something we’re going to have a lot of fun doing today.”

The softball game was played the same weekend as the John Calipari Basketball Fantasy Experience which generated $1 million that will be shared with 14 charities.