The Secondary Break: Monday’s Links

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T.J. Warren should be rewarded with ACC Player of the Year award (Fayetteville Observer)
One day after Duke’s Jabari Parker racked up 30 points and nine rebounds in a win over North Carolina, N.C. State sophomore T.J. Warren scored 42 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in a win over Boston College. So who should win ACC Player of the Year? Parker? Warren? Someone else? One writer believes that Warren should be the winner, considering his stats and what the Wolfpack would be without him.

Hoops have tied Utah star Jordan Loveridge and his father together (Deseret News)
Utah sophomore forward Jordan Loveridge has been an important player on a team that has taken steps in the right direction in 2013-14, and it’s a group that should be even better next year. And he’s had help in the process of improving as a basketball player, with his father doing what he can to help Jordan reach his goals.

Michigan coach John Beilein shows uncommon fire for his uncommon team (Detroit Free Press)
In one of the more surprising happenings of the weekend Michigan head coach John Beilein was assessed a technical foul in the first half of the Wolverines’ 84-80 win over Indiana. How uncommon was the technical foul? It was only the fourth of Beilein’s coaching career.

McDermott quiets doubters, earns first team All-Big East honors (Omaha World-Herald)
If there were any questions regarding the skill level of Creighton senior forward Doug McDermott before the start of the season, they centered around the fact that the Bluejays were moving from the Missouri Valley to the Big East. How would McDermott and his teammates adjust? Well, Creighton finished second in the conference and McDermott was a unanimous first team All-Big East selection.

Rutgers falls to Cincinnati, but head coach Eddie Jordan says program is on the right track (NorthJersey.com)
Rutgers played its final regular season game as a member of the American Athletic Conference, losing a 70-66 decision to nationally ranked Cincinnati. On their way to the Big Ten this summer, head coach Eddie Jordan feels that the program is headed in the right direction.

Road to the Final Four: Louisville is that city’s pro team (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
With the Final Four headed to Arlington, Texas next month, the Star-Telegram is taking a look at some of the programs that could wind up playing in the event. One such program is Louisville, a highly popular basketball team in a state that loves its basketball. And according to the author, the relationship between the program and the city is like that of a professional sports franchise.

Napier, Boatright did not share well at Louisville (Connecticut Post)
While Russ Smith was outstanding in Louisville’s 81-48 win over UConn on Saturday, dishing out 13 assists, the same couldn’t be said for UConn guards Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright. The talented tandem shot a combined 4-for-24 from the field, while dishing out just four assists and turning the ball over nine times. The hope in Storrs is that the beating will serve as a teaching point ahead of postseason play.

Cats land 7-foot recruit from Serbia (Arizona Daily-Star)
Arizona added a big man to its 2014 recruiting class on Saturday, with 7-footer Dusan Ristic verbally committing to attend the Pac-12 school. This is an important commitment for the Wildcats, with it still being unknown which front court players could possibly move on to the professional ranks at the end of the season.

Illinois lands important commitment from four-star Class of 2017 guard Mark Smith

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Illinois landed a very important Class of 2017 commitment on Wednesday as guard Mark Smith pledged to the Illini.

The 6-foot-4 Smith was previously a Missouri commit for baseball, but some issues with his arm caused him to look back into basketball last summer. A native of Edwardsville, in the St. Louis metro area, Smith came out of nowhere to win the Illinois Mr. Basketball award as a senior this season as he averaged 21.9 points, 8.4 assists and 8.2 rebounds while becoming a consensus national top-100 prospect.

Rivals rates Smith as the No. 52 overall prospect in the Class of 2017 as he could come in and earn immediate minutes at Illinois next season at either guard spot.

This is a very important commitment for head coach Brad Underwood and the Illini as the new head coach was able to hold off some elite programs like Kentucky and Michigan State for Smith’s services.

Northwestern gets commitment from Boston College transfer A.J. Turner

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Northwestern landed a transfer on Wednesday as former Boston College wing A.J. Turner pledged to the Wildcats, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com.

The 6-foot-7 Turner just finished his sophomore season with the Golden Eagles as he averaged 8.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. A well-rounded wing who also shot 37 percent from three-point range, Turner will have to sit out one season due to NCAA transfer regulations before getting two more years of eligibility.

With Scottie Lindsay and Vic Law only having limited time left in Evanston, Turner provides a bit of insurance on the wing for the Wildcats for the future as he’s a proven rotation player coming from the ACC.

Oakland’s Greg Kampe hosting charity golf event with big-name coaches

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Oakland head coach Greg Kampe hosted a successful charity event for cancer research two years ago by allowing people to bid online to play a round of golf with some of college basketball’s best coaches.

Kampe is back again this year as he’s hoping to eventually raise $1 million for the American Cancer Society.

According to a report from Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press, Kampe has 11 high-profile names that fans can play with this year.

  • Tom Izzo, Michigan State
  • Frank Martin, South Carolina
  • Rick Barnes, Tennessee
  • Mick Cronin, Cincinnati
  • Chris Holtmann, Butler
  • Kevin Willard, Seton Hall
  • Greg Kampe, Oakland
  • Stan Van Gundy, Detroit Pistons
  • Steve Lavin
  • Fran Fraschilla
  • Bill Raftery

Fans can find more details about the auctions and all of the details here.

The minimum bid is $15,000 per coach. A “buy now” bid of $24,000 is also available.

Each round includes the following, according to the event’s website:

Up for auction will be 11 spectacular packages, featuring a private dinner with elite basketball coaches and VIPs, a one night stay at MotorCity Casino Hotel on Sunday, June 4, and an afternoon of golf on Monday, June 5 at Oakland Hills Country Club on the South Course. The winning bidders and their two guests will round out the foursomes with their selected VIP: Rick Barnes, Mick Cronin, Fran Fraschilla, Chris Holtmann, Tom Izzo, Greg Kampe, Steve Lavin, Frank Martin, Bill Raftery, Stan Van Gundy, or Kevin Willard.

There are a lot of great selections to choose from for this sort of thing, but I can’t imagine a better afternoon than playing golf with Bill Raftery and a few friends. There are some other tempting choices on this list, but that’s the one I would have to jump at.

If you think 137 players declaring for the draft is stupid, you’re probably stupid

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The NBA Draft’s full early entry list came out on Tuesday afternoon, and there were 137 underclassmen listed on it.

137.

For 60 spots in the NBA Draft, only 30 of which guarantee you a contract in the NBA.

And that’s before you factor in the 45 international players that also declared for the NBA Draft, as well as the crop of seniors — Josh Hart, Monte’ Morris, Jaron Blossomgame, Alec Peters — that are going to end up hearing their names called. All told, there are going to be roughly 200 players competing to be one of the 60 people that end up getting drafted on June 22nd, and you don’t have to be any good at math to realize that 200 is a much, much bigger number than 60.

This unleashed a torrent of bad takes on the decision of these players.

And bad may not be doing those takes justice.

Because the bottom-line is this: You cannot paint the decision on whether or not to go pro with a broad brush.

For some players, making money of any kind is something they need to do to support their family, whether it’s what they’ll get with a first round guarantee, the $75-100,000 they’ll get for making a training camp roster to subsidize their time in the D-League while teams develop them or the money they can make in the D-League or overseas. You don’t know what their financial situation is. Maximizing their ability to capitalize on every available dollar they can make off of their athletic gifts may be more important than working towards a degree.

And it’s worth noting here that a guaranteed contract isn’t the only way to make a living in professional basketball. To say nothing of the money that can be made overseas or the number of second round picks and undrafted players that make guaranteed money — which is more than you probably realize — it needs to be noted that D-League salaries are getting a bump this year with the new CBA.

The NBA has also instituted something new called a “two-way contract”. Without getting into the legalese, it’s essentially a retainer worth well into the six figures that they will be able to give to two players that will allow them to retain that player under contract while sending them between the D-League and the NBA roster. In a sense, it creates an extra 60 NBA roster spots for players that have 0-3 years worth of professional basketball on their résumé.

Some players are simply declaring without signing with an agent because they want to get feedback directly from NBA personnel on what their professional prospects. Some will hear that they need to return to school to work on their body, or work on their jumper, or mature as a person to be able to handle everything that comes with being a professional. Others will be told they’re going to make a lot of money by staying in the draft, or that they need to go back to school because, frankly, they are not professional basketball players. Not getting invited to the NBA combine is a pretty good indication of where you stand in the eyes of NBA teams.

Still other players are putting their name into the draft to leave their options open should they be recruited over by the program they are a part of. Take Frank Jackson, for example. If he can return to school and thrive as Duke’s point guard, maybe he turns into a top 20 pick. But what happens if Trevon Duval, the best point guard in the Class of 2017 and a top five pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, picks Duke? Would it be in Jackson’s best interest to come back to Duke when he won’t be playing the position that he needs to learn to play to turn himself into a lasting NBA player?

Jackson, like the roughly 100 underclassmen that have declared without an agent, has until May 24th to make his decision on whether or not he will keep his name in the draft. Until then, he can return to school without damaging his eligibility.

The entire reason that the NCAA changed their rules to allow players to test the waters is so that they can make the most important decision of their lives with as much information as humanly possible. This thing exists for the sole purpose of allowing the kids to have as much knowledge about their options as possible.

And that is exactly what these kids are doing.

So the idea that this rule, or players taking advantage of that rule, however high that number may be, is a bad thing is stupid.