The Secondary Break: Thursday’s Links

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McCaffery showed empathy for Iowa fan before outpouring for son (CBS Sports)
Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery coached Wednesday night’s game against Tennessee just hours after his 13-year old son underwent surgery to remove a tumor from his thyroid. Moments such as that put games in perspective, and it’s something the coach has done before in order to help a family who lost a young child to a heart ailment.

The Game that Saved March Madness (Sports Illustrated)
On March 19, 1989, Princeton faced Georgetown in a game many expected to follow the usual script when it comes to 1 vs. 16 games. Princeton, simply happy to be in the 64-team field, would take their beating from the Big East juggernaut and we’d soon forget about the Tigers. But that didn’t happen with the Tigers getting two chances to win the game, only to have Alonzo Mourning reject both attempts. And it’s a game that still has an impact to this day.

Women’s NCAA tournament graduation rates best men (NBC Sports)
Every spring one topic that tends to come up is how well programs are doing in the classroom, and thanks to the APR that progress now impacts postseason eligibility. A study released by UCF’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport revealed that women’s teams are graduating their student-athletes at an 87% rate, with the men behind at 72%. And those aren’t even the numbers that the researchers found most disturbing either.

Villanova wants Bell to go in style – with wins (CSN Philly)
Villanova senior wing James Bell has been an important leader for the Big East regular season champions. And with this being the case his teammates, many of whom are expected back next season, would like to do nothing more than make sure that Bell and his classmates Tony Chennault and Nick McMahon enjoy a deep NCAA tournament run.

Jahii Carson’s legacy, ASU basketball future to be shaped by one game (Arizona Republic)
Arizona State’s game against Texas on Thursday is a big one for obvious reasons, with the loser seeing its NCAA tournament experience cut short after one game. But for the Sun Devils the outcome will likely impact how the program is viewed by fans starved for a consistent winner. And with Jahii Carson, Jordan Bachynski and Jermaine Marshall all moving on afterwards, there will be changes for Herb Sendek to make from a personnel standpoint.

Youthful Kentucky ready to “do something crazy” (Louisville Courier-Journal)
Postseason play can offer teams that haven’t performed as well as they would have hoped a second life so to speak, because getting hot at the right time can result in a trip to the Final Four or maybe a national title. That’s the position Kentucky finds itself in, and they’ll begin NCAA tournament play against nine-seed Kansas State on Friday. And according to Jay Bilas, the Wildcats’ seed may be too low.

Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky his own biggest critic (Chicago Tribune)
Wisconsin forward Frank Kaminsky has been one of the nation’s most improved players, earning first team All-Big Ten honors after being a role player a season ago. One reason for the 7-footer’s growth is the fact that Kaminsky is his own biggest critic, working to keep that edge and continue to improve for a team with designs on reaching the Final Four for the first time since 2000.

Memphis lands commitment from 2018 center Connor Vanover

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Memphis picked up its first commitment in the Class of 2018 on Wednesday night as unique center prospect Connor Vanover announced his decision on Twitter.

At 7-foot-2, Vanover brings elite size to the interior for the Tigers and he’s also skilled enough that he was a 43 percent three-point shooter during his stint playing with Pro Skills in the Nike EYBL this spring. Although Vanover needs to add strength and athleticism to adapt to the college level, he simply has size that you can’t teach. Pair that size with an intriguing perimeter jumper and it’ll be interesting to see how head coach Tubby Smith is able to develop Vanover the next few years.

A three-star prospect according to Rivals, Vanover averaged 9.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game during the spring. Originally from Arkansas, Vanover is spending his senior season of high school ball at prep school powerhouse Findlay Prep.

Bill Self unsure of how long he will continue to coach

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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Kansas head coach Bill Self is one of the most decorated college basketball coaches of all time.

Recently inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this month, Self has won a record 13 consecutive Big 12 regular-season championships while also claiming a national title for the Jayhawks during his storied career.

But while most legendary coaches in contemporary college basketball have stayed around to coach well into their late 60s or early 70s, the 54-year-old Self doesn’t necessarily see his career playing out that way.

Speaking with ESPN.com reporter Myron Medcalf on Wednesday, Self acknowledged that he’s thinking about potentially retiring once his next contract ends after the 2021-22 season. With five more years left on his current deal, that would mean that Self would be retiring before he would even turn 60.

“I’ve said all along that if I could go to my late 50s, that’d be good for me,” Self said to Medcalf. “Now that I’m getting close to my late 50s, I’m like, ‘Well…’ but my contract runs until I’m 59, so I’ve got five more years left. I definitely want to do that. Then whatever happens after that I’d be happy with whatever. But I don’t want to [coach too late].”

While Hall of Fame coaches like Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim (72 years old), Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski (70 years old) and North Carolina’s Roy Williams (67 years old) are showing no signs of slowing down, Self acknowledged to Medcalf that coach, and specifically recruiting, has started to take its toll on him.

“With recruiting the way that it is, it just wears you down,” Self said to Medcalf.

With Kansas pursuing so many potential one-and-done prospects over the past few seasons, it means that Self usually has to recruit sizable recruiting classes

Self is certainly entitled to do what he wants with his career and his life but it would be a shame to see one of the game’s greats hang it up at that point in his career. Potentially retiring at that age means that Self won’t chase 1,000 wins or any additional longevity records

Ohio State lands second pledge in two days with 2018 guard Duane Washington

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Ohio State stayed hot on the recruiting trail on Wednesday as the Buckeyes landed a commitment from Class of 2018 guard Duane Washington.

The 6-foot-3 Washington is the second commitment for Ohio State and new head coach Chris Holtmann in the last two days after four-star forward Jaedon LeDee pledged to the Buckeyes on Tuesday.

One of the better shooters in the Class of 2018, Washington averaged 14.9 points per game on tremendous shooting splits (48% FG, 87% FT, 45% 3PT) playing with The Family in the Nike EYBL this spring. A Michigan native who now resides in California, Washington gives Ohio State a much-needed guard commitment in the Class of 2018.

With the Buckeyes needing to fill a lot of scholarships due to roster turnover, Washington is a solid start to their perimeter class. While Washington isn’t likely to play point guard, he can play multiple perimeter spots and should be a solid addition to the Buckeye rotation.

Syracuse walk-on accused of sexual assault

Syracuse Post-Standard
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Dominick Parker, an 18-year old freshman who was added to the Syracuse roster as a walk-on just 12 days ago, was arrested last Friday and charged with sexual abuse in the first degree, reports Syracuse.com.

Parker is accused of having sexual contact with an 18-year old female student while she was incapable of giving consent. His name and picture have been removed from the Syracuse athletics website.

“Sexual and relationship violence is not tolerated at Syracuse University,” the school said in a statement. “We are now doing all that we can to support and provide assistance to those affected by the alleged incident. As this is an ongoing investigation, Syracuse University will not be providing further comment.”

Wichita State to sell beer at Koch Arena

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
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As if it wasn’t already hard enough to win games at Koch Arena.

Starting this season, Wichita State fans will be able to buy beer during games at their home arena, a fact that should ensure that the raucous home environs that have made the Shockers so difficult to beat in Wichita remains the same.

That’s not a bad thing to add to a home court advantage while making the move into a new conference, the American, for the 2017-18 season.

Once a rarity, beer at college sporting events in a growing trend. Minnesota, Florida and Texas, among a number of others have added alcohol sales in recent years. Given the money that would seem likely to be generated, it’s a trend that will probably become even more pervasive in college athletics.

Let’s just make sure that everyone partakes in moderation.