Diamond Stone (AP)

Report: Malik Newman/Diamond Stone ‘package deal’ isn’t a guarantee

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Last month it was reported by multiple outlets that guard Malik Newman and center Diamond Stone, two of the top players in the Class of 2015, had hopes of being a “package deal” and banding together to make a run at a national title as freshmen. But recruiting is a fluid situation, with one of the determining factors being which schools are recruiting both players.

So while both certainly have hopes of playing together at the college level there’s no guarantee that it will happen. And in a conversation with Jeff Erman of InsideMDSports.com, Stone’s father stated that what’s most important is to make sure Diamond winds up in the best possible situation.

Bob Stone told InsideMDSports.com that the two will team in college if their respective recruitments work out that way, but a package deal isn’t — no pun intended — set in Stone.

“Our objective is to put Diamond in the best position to meet his goals and be successful and I’m sure the Newmans feel the same,” the elder Stone said.

College basketball has certainly seen a number of “package deals” discussed in recruiting in recent years, but how often do those plans come to fruition? Duke certainly benefitted with Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor making their pledges to join Mike Krzyzewski’s program, but the most important thing for the players involved is to make sure they wind up in the best possible situation.

If that means two talented players with hopes of wearing the same uniform do so, then so be it. And if that leads to a change of plans, that’s fine as well.

VIDEO: Utah Valley’s Mark Pope dances, lip syncs with daughters

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New Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope made quite an impression on fans at the team’s Midnight Madness celebration last night. That’s because Pope did a dance and lip sync routine with his four daughters that turned out to be pretty impressive.

The former BYU assistant looks to be the leader in the clubhouse for best coach dance so far this preseason. We’ll see if any other coaches pull out elaborate routines at madness celebrations the next few weeks.

UConn commit tears ACL for second time

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UConn commit Juwan Durham, a four-star big man in the Class of 2016, has torn the ACL in his right knee for the second time in seven months. The Florida native committed to the Huskies and head coach Kevin Ollie back in September. The 6-foot-9 forward is regarded as the No. 31 overall prospect in the national Class of 2016, so he can really be a force when he’s healthy.

In a report from Tampabay.com’s Bob Putnam, UConn was notified of the injury immediately and there is no change in plans with the commitment. The Huskies also own commitments from four-star point guard Alterique Gilbert and three-star power forward Mamadou Diarra in the Class of 2016. Having Diarra, an active, rim-protecting presence, helps with Durham’s recovery, since he can provide some more front court depth.

If Durham rehabs back to full speed, UConn has a very talented power forward who was just hitting his stride in the Florida state playoffs last February. UConn has a nice class so far with this group, especially if Durham can recover, With a year to recover until next season, Durham can hopefully play during his freshman season in 2016.