The Secondary Break: Wednesday’s Links

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Sons ย of playground legends finally meet (San Diego Union-Tribune)
When No. 1 Arizona and No. 4 San Diego State face off on Thursday, two of the key players on display will be Arizona’s Nick Johnson and San Diego State’s Dwanye Polee II. Both are the sons of players who were known for their exploits on the basketball, and the fathers never played each other while collegians.

Cuonzo Martin, Tennessee ignore doubters, stay course to reach Sweet 16 (USA Today)
As recently as three weeks ago there were a number of Tennessee fans who wanted to see a change made in the leadership of the basketball program. But instead of worrying about the negativity, Martin and his players continued to work hard in hopes of turning their season around. And as a result, the Volunteers are in the Sweet 16.

Miller brothers give dad a Sweet 16 twofer (Arizona Daily Star)
While Sean Miller’s Arizona squad was expected to participate in the Sweet 16, the same can’t be said for Archie Miller’s Dayton Flyers. Yet here they are, with both head coaches giving their father a gift in the form of two quality match ups with a shot at getting to the Elite 8.

No money for college players? Now that’s rich (The Chronicle-Telegram)
The exploits of college athletes in recent days has resulted in coaches and administrators receiving even more money as a result of their program coin well in the NCAA Tournament. With all of the extra money being given to those people thanks to the achievements of their players, some have wondered whether or not it’s time for those athletes to be properly compensated.

Kentucky tattoo fan hopes to have the last laugh (Louisville Courier-Journal)
Just a couple weeks ago when it was learned that a Kentucky fan got a tattoo celebrating the 2014 national champions, many laughed given the Wildcats’ play at that time. Few saw that being a possible achievement for a young team that struggled to establish consistency for much of the season. However, with UK having won two games to reach the Sweet 16, Tyler Austin Black is hopeful that he’ll have the last laugh.

Ritchie McKay is “the other head coach” for Tony Bennett and Virginia (Washington Post)
With Virginia winning the ACC, head coach Tony Bennett has been the recipient of a lot of praise and rightfully so. But there’s another trusted voice on the UVA sideline in the form of associate head coach Ritchie McKay, whose prior experiences as a college head coach have proven to be invaluable.

Grand Canyon lands Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson

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Grand Canyon landed an important piece for its NCAA tournament push on Saturday night as Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson pledged to the Antelopes.

The 6-foot-3 Benson will be eligible right away as spent the past three seasons with the Ducks as a key reserve guard, helping Oregon to multiple deep NCAA tournament runs. Benson picked Grand Canyon over Wisconsin for his final season of college basketball as Benson’s brother, T.J., is an assistant coach with the Antelopes.

Benson shot 40 percent from three-point range last season while also being a steady ball handler over the course of his career at Oregon as he has only 81 career turnovers in over 2,600 career minutes with the Ducks. While Benson wasn’t asked to score a lot for a loaded Oregon team that featured multiple bucket-getters, he could be asked to do more at Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon is eligible for the NCAA tournament for the first time next season as the addition of Benson gives them an experienced guard who should be more of a factor in the WAC. The Antelopes are coming off of a 22-9 season in which they finished 11-3 in conference play.

With great facilities and a quickly-growing fan base, head coach Dan Majerle has the potential makings of a perennial mid-major conference contender if he continues to recruit well to Grand Canyon.

Colorado adds commitment from Class of 2017 point guard McKinley Wright

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Colorado landed one of the best available point guards for next season on Friday as Class of 2017 floor general McKinley Wright committed during an official visit.

A former Dayton commit who opted out of his recruitment after former head coach Archie Miller took the Indiana job, Wright was one of the best available point guards left as he played last weekend on the adidas Gauntlet in front of college coaches with D1 Minnesota.

The 6-foot-0 Wright gives the Buffaloes another ball handler and distributor as he was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball during this past season. As a senior, Wright averagedย 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.

It’s always hard to say if spring recruits who elevate a level in recruiting after decommitting are making the correct decision, but Wright looked the part of a high-major lead guard last weekend, and Colorado wasn’t the only high-major program that was pushing hard to add Wright at this late stage.

Oral Roberts to hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills

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Oral Roberts has found its new head coach as they will hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills, as first reported by NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster.

Mills had been on staff with the Bears since 2003 as he’s been a big factor in why head coach Scott Drew has been able to turn around that program. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mills has been a full-time assistant at Baylor since the 2009 season.

“I am honored to accept this role of representing this historic institution, its students and its mission,” Mills said in a release. “Making this commitment today is a highlight of my career and I look forward with excitement to the basketball season directly ahead. Go Golden Eagles.”

Mills will replace former head coach Scott Sutton, who was relieved of his duties this offseason after 18 years at the helm.

 

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery to redshirt in basketball to pursue baseball

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Iowa commit Connor McCaffery is in a unique spot when he starts his freshman year in Iowa City next year.

Not only is the 6-foot-4 guard the son of basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, while being a four-star national basketball prospect, but Connor also has a bright future in baseball.

There was a lot of speculation as to what Connor might do for his future in athletics and he gave more clarification on what he might be looking to do on Friday.

McCaffery has decided to redshirt in basketball next season to focus on the beginnings of his baseball career at Iowa. A walk-on for both sports, the move enables Connor McCaffery to potentially play three years of basketball with his younger brother, Patrick, who is also a heralded basketball recruit for Iowa. This move also gives Connor the best chance to pursue both sports while he’ll also help out a young Iowa basketball team with its tough scholarship scenario.

Butler, Chris Holtmann agree to a contract extension

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Butler has agreed to a contract extension with head coach Chris Holtmann, the school announced on Friday, that will keep him under contract through 2025.

“Butler truly is a special place, and my family and I are thankful to be part of a great academic institution and an athletics department that is a source of pride for those who embrace Butler and The Butler Way,” said Holtmann. “Our student-athletes, our staff, and so many throughout our campus are remarkable at what they do, and Iโ€™m excited to continue to work alongside them.”

Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 25-9 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In three years with the program, Holtmann has a record of 70-31.

“Chris is a tremendous ambassador for Butler and the Butler Way, and his leadership has resulted in success both on and off the court for the talented young men in our program,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “This commitment โ€“ both by our university and by Chris โ€“ allows the momentum within our program to continue.”

Holtmann was in the mix for a couple of jobs this spring, including N.C. State and Missouri.