Joe Harris

The Secondary Break: Friday’s Links

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Former Virginia teammates miles apart, but still close (USA Today)
No. 5 Virginia wrapped up first place in the ACC last week, and one of their leaders for the last four seasons has been guard Joe Harris. He was part of a large recruiting class that dwindled down to three players thanks to transfers, one of whom was guard Billy Baron. And although the two players are performing at different schools, they remain close friends.

DePaul star freshman Billy Garrett Jr. thrives in defiance of his disease (Sports Illustrated)
DePaul’s had another tough season but one of the bright spots has been freshman guard Billy Garrett Jr. And Garrett Jr. has been one of the Big East’s best freshmen despite having sickle cell disease, which has led to medical issues in the past. Doctors questioned whether or not he should continue to play at a high level, but Garrett Jr. continues to persevere.

Higher Education: How basketball coach Tommy Amaker has transformed Harvard (SB Nation)
When Tommy Amaker arrived to take over the basketball program at Harvard, the program had experienced little success in the Ivy League. That’s obviously changed, with the Crimson one win away from their third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance. There have been bumps in the road, but Amaker’s built a program that will be an Ivy contender for years to come.

UCF guard Isaiah Sykes’ rise to NBA prospect fueled by family (Orlando Sentinel)
UCF senior guard Isaiah Sykes hasn’t had the experience he envisioned prior to the start of this season, with the Knights struggling in their first season in the American. But he’s worked throughout his career to become an NBA prospect, and his family has served as motivation.

Seniors have given Jays three years of Kodak moments (Omaha World-Herald)
Saturday is Senior Day at Creighton, and it’s bound to be an emotional one as four players will be honored. Doug McDermott, Grant Gibbs, Jahenns Manigat and Ethan Wragge have all provided fans with great memories during their time in Omaha, helping lead the program from contender status in the Missouri Valley to the Big East.

Butler, DePaul are close in standings but not in promise (Fort Wayne News-Sentinel)
The two teams at the bottom of the Big East standings met Thursday night at Allstate Arena and the outcome was not good for the home team, as Butler throttled DePaul 79-46. And while Blue Demon fans are lamenting the lack of progress under Oliver Purnell, Brandon Miller’s team continues to compete and this may bode well for the Bulldogs in the future.

Wildcats must get on board with rebounding after posting surprising stats against Oregon State (Arizona Daily Star)
No. 3 Arizona was able to hold off Oregon State on Wednesday night, but one reason why the game was so close was the Wildcats’ performance on the boards. Oregon State grabbed 16 offensive rebounds on the night, and rebounding tends to tell the story of how well Arizona’s playing. With this being the case the Wildcats need to get back to basics ahead of their game at Oregon.

Trusting instincts, Monte Ross steers Blue Hens’ turnaround (Wilmington News Journal)
Thursday night Delaware head coach Monte Ross was named CAA Coach of the Year, with his Blue Hens winning the league’s regular season title. And in making the key decisions that determine winning and losing, Ross has trusted his instincts with a team that has improved on its 19 wins over a season ago.

Kennedy Meeks to return to North Carolina

Kennedy Meeks
(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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North Carolina center Kennedy Meeks announced on Wednesday that he would be withdrawing his name from NBA Draft consideration.

“I’m thankful I had the chance to explore my draft options, but I’m excited about the opportunity to rejoin my teammates and work toward having another outstanding season at UNC,” says Meeks. “I appreciate the support my coaches and teammates gave me during this process as we gathered information about my professional opportunities at this time. The feedback on what I have to work on so that I can have a great senior year, help my team have a great season and be ready to take that next step is invaluable.”

Meeks did not get an invitation to the NBA Draft combine, which is a pretty clear indication that he did not have a real chance to get drafted this year. But the new rule allows him to gather feedback on what he needs to do to improve and get himself into a position where he can land a professional contract after he graduates next season.

As a junior, Meeks battled injury but still managed to average 9.2 points and 5.9 boards.

Louisville students’ lawsuit against escort is dismissed

Rick Pitino
(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
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A Louisville judge has dismissed a lawsuit by University of Louisville students filed against Katina Powell that said the escort’s book allegations of sex parties at the men’s basketball players’ dormitory had devalued their education.

Kyle Hornback and three other students sued Powell last fall, saying her book damaged the school’s reputation. Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry denied their argument in Friday’s decision but allowed others who joined the suit after being named in the book to file amended complaints that they were falsely accused and defamed.

Powell has said that former Cardinals basketball staffer Andre McGee hired her and other dancers to entertain recruits and players. Several investigations are ongoing including one by Louisville, which self-imposed a postseason ban and reduced scholarships and recruiting opportunities.

Report: Wichita State approaches Mountain West

gregg marshall
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A year ago, Wichita State president John Bardo called for the school to study the feasibility of bringing football back to the athletic program.

Apparently the Shockers administration has even grander designs.

Wichita State has approached the Mountain West Conference about membership, according to a report from CBSSports.com.

The Missouri Valley Conference, which has been the Shockers’ home since 1946, is aware of Wichita State’s interest in switching conference affiliation, the report states. The Mountain West would makes sense for the Shockers as the conference currently has an odd-number hoops membership of 11 and would provide them with higher-profile opponents than the Valley. Just twice in conference history has the MWC been a one-bid NCAA tournament team, with last year being the first since 2001 for it to occur. The Shockers are also reportedly eyeing other leagues, like the AAC and Conference USA.

MWC commissioner Craig Thompson told CBS Sports that if Wichita State were to leave the Valley, “it ain’t going to be to us.”

Wichita State, which dropped football in 1986, has seen its basketball profile skyrocket in recent years under Gregg Marshall, who led the Shockers to a Final Four and a 35-0 start to the season in back-to-back years before reaching the Sweet 16 in 2015 and the Round of 32 last year. Marshall now makes more than $3 million per season.

Losing Wichita State would be a considerable blow to the Valley, which already lost perennial power Creighton to the Big East in the last round of realignment. Loyola Chicago, formerly of the Horizon League, filled the Bluejays’ spot.

Michigan’s Chatman transferring

Michigan  guard/forward Kameron Chatman (3) passes against Northwestern during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Tuesday, March 3, 2015, in Evanston, Ill. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
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Kameron Chatman is leaving the Michigan program after two seasons, the school announced Tuesday.

The 6-foot-8 forward will transfer following a sophomore season in which his minutes were halved from his freshman campaign.

“I am incredibly grateful for my two years at Michigan,” Chatman said in a statement released by Michigan. “I would like to thank coach (John) Beilein and his entire staff for taking a chance on a small town kid out of Portland. I know my experience has inspired others as I will take all of my lessons learned to continue my pursuit of becoming the best man and player I can.”

Chatman is now the fourth Wolverine to transfer this spring, as Spike Albrecht (Purdue), Aubrey Dawkins (Central Florida) and Ricky Doyle have already departed. The Wolverines, who still have not announced replacements for assistant coaches LaVall Jordan (Milwaukee) and Bacari Alexander (Detroit), have been active in graduate transfer market as they look to rebuild much of their depth on the perimeter.

Chatman, who was a top-50 recruit out of high school, averaged 3.2 points and 2.0 rebounds per game for Michigan. He made 15 starts as a freshman, but only two as a sophomore.

Gilmore leaving VCU

Will Wade (AP Photo)
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Sophomore forward Michael Gilmore is transferring from VCU, the school announced Tuesday.

Gilmore started 18 games and appeared in 55 total for the Rams, but never carved out more than a marginal role, averaging 11.5 minutes per game as a sophomore after 6.3 his freshman season. He averaged 3.2 points and 2.8 rebounds per game this past year as he saw his role dwindle down the stretch for the Rams.

His departure will take away some interior depth for VCU, but coach Will Wade will still be returning the bulk of the team that tested eventual Final Four participant Oklahoma in the Round of 32 a month ago.

For Gilmore, he’ll likely have plenty of suitors despite the pedestrian numbers he posted over the last two years as 6-foot-10 forwards who have shown the ability to space the floor don’t hit the transfer market with great regularity.He was a consensus four-star recruit in the Class of 2014.