The Secondary Break: Tuesday’s Links

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Frank Kaminsky big reason why Wisconsin is in Final Four (New York Daily News)
No. 2 Wisconsin will play in the Final Four for the first time since 2000 on Saturday, and one of the biggest reasons as to why is 7-foot center Frank Kaminsky. One of the nation’s most-improved players, Kaminsky scored 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the Badgers’ win over No. 1 Arizona in the West regional final.

UConn’s Calhoun, Auriemma there for Kevin Ollie (Associated Press)
In his second season as the head coach at UConn, Kevin Ollie has his alma mater in the Final Four. And he’s got a good support system behind him as well, with former head coach Jim Calhoun and women’s head coach Geno Auriemma being important sounding boards for Ollie.

Mike Montgomery’s legacy is changing the perception of Stanford basketball (Yahoo Sports)
On Monday Cal head coach Mike Montgomery announced his decision to retire from coaching, ending what has been a highly successful career on the sidelines. Among Montgomery’s accomplishments was the job he did at Stanford, transforming that program into one of the (at the time) Pac-10’s premier programs.

Ivan McFarlin and the 2004 Cowboys left their egos at the door (The Oklahoman)
This season marks the ten-year anniversary of Oklahoma State’s last trip to the Final Four, with the Cowboys beating Saint Joseph’s in the East regional final before losing to Georgia Tech in the national semifinals. Eddie Sutton’s group may not have included a player who went on to be a star professionally, but the group was full of guys who sacrificed personal glory in order to make sure the team was successful.

At any level, Bo Ryan’s method is well-suited for March Madness (USA Today)
Much has been made about this being the first trip to the Division I Final Four for Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan. However he’s been on the Final Four stage, albeit at the Division III level as he led UW-Platteville to four national titles in 15 seasons at the helm. One of his players was Saul Phillips, who’s now the head coach at North Dakota State.

Florida looks to avenge December loss to UConn in Final Four (Gainesville Sun)
No. 1 Florida is the only team in the Final Four to have played each of the other three teams this season, as they’ve defeated Kentucky three times and lost to both Wisconsin and UConn. And while their 65-64 loss to the Huskies back in early December gives Billy Donovan’s team a “reference point” of sorts, these two teams are different outfits now than they were during the regular season meeting.

Kentucky “in a great frame of mind” for Final Four (Lexington Herald-Leader)
After being seen as a disappointment for much of the regular season, No. 8 Kentucky is in the spot many expected them to occupy back in October: preparing for the Final Four. The task of beating No. 2 Wisconsin will be difficult, and the fact that head coach John Calipari doesn’t expect to have the injured Willie Cauley-Stein doesn’t help maters.

Union chief’s immediate focus on policy, not money (Chicago Sun-Times)
When news broke last week that the Chicago chapter of the NLRB granted the Northwestern football team the right to form a union, many assumed that this was about the players getting paid. However that isn’t the case, with the CAPA looking to change policy regarding concussions, medical care and transfer rules.

IUPUI to become Horizon League’s 10th member

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The Horizon League officially announced this week that IUPUI will be replacing Valparaiso as the league’s 10th member. Valpo left to replace Wichita State in the Missouri Valley.

“We are excited to welcome IUPUI to the Horizon League family,” Horizon League commissioner Jon LeCrone said. “The Jaguars bring us tremendous competitive potential, particularly in men’s basketball, along with an engaged and energized city. Their addition solidifies our broad community partnerships in Indianapolis and is the right school at the right time.”

IUPUI — which stands for Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis — has been a member of the Summit League, which will be left with eight teams now that the Jaguars have departed. They’ve made it to one NCAA tournament, back in 2003, and have been a full-fledged member of Division I for 19 years. That was the year before NBA point guard George Hill enrolled. Current head coach Jason Gardner has been there for three years but has yet to record a winning season; IUPUI has not been over .500 since 2011, when Ron Hunter was still the head coach.

“We are excited about engaging with the other Horizon League member institutions to enhance the overall competitiveness of the league,” said IUPUI Director of Athletics Dr. Roderick Perry. “As an institution and athletics department, our mission, vision, and core values align closely with the Horizon League. This is an important step forward in the life of our athletics department.”

Former Louisville standout Chris Jones shot in Memphis

AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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Former Louisville point guard Chris Jones was shot while playing basketball in his native Memphis on Tuesday night.

According to a report from FOX 13 in Memphis, shortly after 11 p.m. shots rang out on in Halle Park after an altercation on the court. Two people were taken to the hospital, one with a head injury stemming from a fight. The other was Jones, who was shot in the leg twice, according to the Courier-Journal. His injuries are not life-threatening and he has already been released from the hospital, according to Steve Forbes, his former Junior College coach.

Jones played at Melrose High in Memphis before spending two years at Northwest Florida Junior College and two more seasons at Louisville.

This past year, he spent time playing professionally in Greece and in France, although he played just a grand total of three games in the two leagues.

Perhaps the craziest part about this story is that Jones was shot on a court that is next to a police station. This is a screengrab from FOX 13’s live shot from the basketball courts, and you can see the police cars in the station’s parking lot in the back ground:

Preaching patience, new Pitt AD says hoops program “a complete rebuild”

AP Photo/Athens Banner-Herald, AJ Reynolds
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Things did not go particularly well for Kevin Stallings in his first year at Pitt. The program, which essentially pushed Jamie Dixon out the door for being consistently good but not often enough great, struggled, going 16-17 overall and 4-14 in the ACC, just two games out of the cellar.

On top of that, six players prematurely left the program this spring.

Not great, especially when you’ve got a new boss that didn’t hire you, as is the case for Stallings with new Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke, who came aboard in March. In her first meeting with Stallings, Lyke asked a rather blunt question.

“Do you want to be here?” according to the Beaver County Times.

Stallings answered that he did, and his new athletic director would appear to be willing to give her predecessor’s hire time to reclaim and rebuild the program.

“It’s a steep climb, if you will,” Lyke said. “It’s not something that’s going to come easy and it takes an incredible amount of work.”

Stallings’ personal reputation took a significant amount of damage this spring when he attempted to block Cameron Johnson from an intra-ACC transfer to North Carolina. NBC Sports’ Scott Phillips called him a “town-deaf clown” in his attempt to keep Johnson from being a Tar Heel, a position he later relinquished, allowing Johnson to head to Chapel Hill.

Losing Johnson certainly won’t help Stallings and the Panthers recover from the difficult first season. Pitt didn’t hit any grand-slams in recruiting but is adding four-star guard Marcus Carr in its 2017 class.

The immediate outlook doesn’t look particularly bright, but Pitt appears to be positioning itself to exhibit some patience.

“If you look at the team, it is a complete rebuild,” Lyke said. “So I do think that (Stallings) is going to need a little time to develop it.

“But, we’ve got to be headed in the right direction. There’s some things that have got to get better and noticeable improvements. I’ve already seen those things start to happen.”

 

Miller Time: Indiana coach cashes in with $24 million deal

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — New Indiana coach Archie Miller will make $24 million under his seven-year deal — and potentially even more in bonuses.

Miller accepted the job in March, but the athletic department didn’t announce details of the contract until Tuesday.

He will receive a base salary of $550,000 per year and $1 million in deferred income each season. Miller also will receive an additional $1.85 million in outside marketing and promotional income — and will get a $50,000 per year raise each year through March 2024.

Miller can earn a $250,000 bonus for winning a national championship. He can earn an additional $125,000 for a Big Ten regular-season title, reaching the Final Four and producing multiyear Academic Progress Rate scores over 950.

Utah, BYU rivalry back on after one-year hiatus

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The BYU-Utah annual rivalry series will be back on this season after taking a one-year hiatus last year.

For just the second time since 1909, the Utes and the Cougars did not play in 2016-17 after Utah head coach Larry Kyrstkowiak asked for a one-year cooling off period stemming from an intense and emotional game against BYU in 2015-16. In that game, then-freshman Nick Emery was ejected as a result of this punch that he threw:

The last time those two teams did not play was due to World War II.

The game will be played at BYU on Dec. 16th.

Utah will also play Utah State this season, the first time that they have played the Aggies since 2011.