Rising Coaches Elite preparing for fifth annual conference July 22-24

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It goes without saying that the month of July is an important one for college basketball programs. With there being three five-day open recruiting periods, coaches are traveling the country to keep tabs on prospects they’ve already been following while also learning more about those who they may not have seen during the high school season and the lone open period of the spring (late April).

This is also an important time for current players, as many are going through summer school while also being put through the paces by their program’s strength and conditioning staff in preparation for the upcoming year. Support staff members, including graduate assistants and managers, can’t be forgotten either during July for two reasons.

First of all, they can help keep an eye on things in the office while the head coach and his assistants are on the road recruiting. And secondly the added knowledge they pick up working camps and attending seminars can prove beneficial not only to the staffer from a career advancement standpoint, but also in regards to making them a more valuable member of their current program.

Later this month Rising Coaches Elite, a program founded by three former Clemson staffers (former Longwood assistant Andy Farrell, current Mississippi State director of basketball operations Adam Gordon and current Miami University assistant Trey Meyer), will hold its fifth annual conference from July 22-24 in Las Vegas. The location helps in that this runs right into the third open period of the month, with Las Vegas hosting three separate grassroots events.

And with the number of coaches due to show up in Las Vegas, this helps with the process of finding speakers for the event. Among those currently scheduled to speak are Chattanooga head coach Will Wade, Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon, Arizona assistant Joe Pasternack and Georgetown assistant Kevin Sutton.

“We are a grassroots organization that wants to focus on two things,” Farrell told NBC Sports. “First, develop lifelong friendships in the profession through networking and brainstorming of ideas. Second, we want to learn how to be assistant coaches and head coaches from some of the highest level coaches in the game.

“These coaches will also share insights on how to do our current jobs better, how to continue to serve the game of basketball the right way, and how to better ourselves as future coaches.”

And for the second year in a row the Rising Athletic Directors conference will run in conjunction with Rising Coaches Elite, allowing young coaches and administrators to not only learn from those experienced in their respective fields but also network with each other as they look to climb through the ranks.

“Over the past 4 years, we have been able to connect coaches from all over the country with one another, that have led to a variety of positive experiences,” noted Farrell. “Some attendees have gotten jobs directly from meeting speakers, some attendees have been able to get reccommended for jobs from their peers they’ve met, and other have been able to use this conference as a platform to grow their network to learn the game at a higher level and enhance their own development and job responsibilities.”

Syracuse walk-on accused of sexual assault

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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

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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.

Blue Ribbon release college basketball preseason top 25, all-american teams

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Blue Ribbon, the college basketball bible, has released their top 25 and preseason all-american awards, the first publication to do so as far as I know.

Their top five — Arizona, Michigan State, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky — contains the same teams as my top five will, only in a different order. The only crazy ranking that I see in their top 25 comes with Miami checking in at No. 16. I have a feeling they are going to end up regretting that by the end of the season.

What is somewhat crazy, however, is Blue Ribbon’s all-american teams.

Bonzie Colson is their Preseason National Player of the Year. That’s not my pick, but it’s justifiable. But having Miles Bridges as a second-team preseason all-american? Angel Delgado as a fourth-team preseason all-american? I disagree with both of those picks.

But that will all play out during the season.

And, frankly, I haven’t exactly had the best track record predicting all-americans in recent years, not after I opted to rate Skal Labissiere as a first-team preseason all-american over Buddy Hield.

That was a miss.

It happens to the best of us.

But I feel pretty comfortable saying that Miles Bridges as a second-team preseason all-american will end up being a miss.

4-star center commits to Purdue

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With Vince Edwards and Isaac Haas entering their senior seasons, adding front court options in the 2018 class was something that Purdue needed to do. Purdue added its second front court commitment in the 2018 class Tuesday evening, as four-star center Emmanuel Dowuona reportedly made his pledge. News of Dowuona’s commitment was first reported by the Lafayette Journal & Courier.

Dowuona, a 6-foot-11 big man who attends Westwood Christian School in Miami, joins fellow four-star prospect Trevion Williams in Purdue’s 2018 class to date.

Dowuona’s commitment comes just days before he was reportedly to visit Tennessee. Among the other programs to have offered Duwuona were Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami and UConn.

Dowuona played for the Team Breakdown program on the Under Armour Association circuit during the summer, averaging 7.9 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game while shooting 59.3 percent from the field. While still a bit raw offensively, the native of Ghana provides value as a defender and rebounder. Dowuona is joining a program that during Painter’s tenure as head coach has done a good job of developing big men.

Dowuona and the aforementioned Williams will look to compete for playing time in 2018-19 alongside current redshirt junior Jacquil Taylor and 7-foot-3 redshirt freshman center Matt Haarms.

Dayton freshman Toppin ineligible for 2017-18 season

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Dayton announced Tuesday afternoon that one of the program’s incoming freshmen will not be eligible to compete this season. 6-foot-8 forward Obadiah Toppin has been ruled by the NCAA to have not met initial eligibility requirements, and he will have to sit out the 2017-18 season as a result.

Toppin will be allowed to remain a member of the team and participate in practices, and he will have four seasons of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2018-19 season. While the NCAA’s decision leaves the Flyers short a front court option in head coach Anthony Grant’s first season at the helm, it did not come as a surprise.

“We knew this was a possible scenario for Obi early on in the recruiting process,” Grant said in the release. “And if it came to pass, we saw this as a chance for him to utilize this year acclimate as a student and enhance his strength and skill as an academic redshirt. This is a great opportunity for Obi to develop as a player and student over the next 12 months, and prepare himself for a very successful college career.”

Toppin, who averaged 17 points and eight rebounds per game at Mt. Zion Academy last season, is one of five freshmen who have joined the program. Matej Svoboda and Jordan Pierce will look to earn minutes alongside returnees Josh Cunningham and Xeyrius Williams, and the same can be said for redshirt freshman Kostas Antetokounmpo.

Toppin being declared ineligible is the third hit Dayton has taken to its front court this offseason. Ryan Mikesell, who played in 32 games last season, will redshirt after undergoing two hip surgeries. And Sam Miller, who was also part of the team’s front court rotation last season, was suspended from school for the fall semester after he was arrested during the summer.