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Five-star wing Brandon Ingram elevates his play during July

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CHICAGO — July in the recruiting world is all about peaking at the right time. While the spring portion of the grassroots basketball season is big for dictating rankings and developing skills, July is the time when scholarships are earned and reputations are cemented.

Entering July, North Carolina native Brandon Ingram was already a top-25 national prospect in the 2015 class, but the 6-foot-8 small forward was still a question mark in the eyes of some coaches and scouts because of his sporadic play.

For Ingram, the upside and ability was there, but the lightbulb was flickering.

With a long and lanky frame and developing ball skills, Ingram would look great one game in the spring and look invisible in other games.

But at the adidas Unrivaled Camp in Chicago this week, Ingram has come out focused and aggressive. The No. 25 prospect, according to Rivals, outplayed the top small forward in the country, Jaylen Brown, in the opening game at camp on Thursday and has had a tremendous week at adidas so far.

“I think I played with a better motor than in early June and May and the spring. My spring was good, but I think I came out with a better motor today,” Ingram told NBCSports.com. “Getting used to my teammates, we’re communicating more and we just had a good game.”

MOREAll our content from the 2014 July Live Recruiting Period

The matchup against Brown, the No. 3 prospect in the class, was added motivation for Ingram. Although the two rarely guarded each other, it was still a chance for Ingram to showcase that he belonged in the conversation with his peers on the wing.

“Everybody wants to be No. 1, everybody wants that top ranking,” Ingram said. “It just gives me a little bit more drive to go at each and everybody. We’re always friends off the court, but when we get on the court, it’s business.”

Ingram even seems different in interviews from how he was this spring. His confidence is up and seems to have found what makes him a consistent impact player on the floor. Ingram maintained that the work he’s put in this spring is really paying off.

“Lot of things I talked about early in May when I was getting interviewed, I went back and I worked on it and I got better at it,” Ingram said.

Getting better for Ingram means two-a-day summer workouts with his Dad and consistently getting in the gym.

“I’m just waking up early in the morning and going to the gym with my Dad and go to work about 6 [a.m.],” Ingram said. “And then when he gets off of work we’re right back in there.”

College coaches are noticing the upside and ability that Ingram has to offer. Clemson, Duke, Florida, Louisville, North Carolina, NC State, VCU, and Wake Forest have offered scholarships while Kansas and Kentucky have made recent contact. During the week at adidas camp, multiple national championship-winning head coaches have watched Ingram play, including Coach K and Roy Williams on the side court at Quest Athletics on Friday afternoon.

“Kentucky has come on-board more,” Ingram said. “Seeing Coach Calipari out here, we actually had a phone call and he talked to me about three days ago. He’s just been doing a lot of research on me and he wanted to come out and see me.”

Ingram also acknowledged that Kansas was, “anxious to get out here and see me,” and even though the in-state North Carolina schools have been heavily involved, Ingram is open in the recruiting process.

“Same schools have been in the mix,” Ingram said. “I know there were rumors around that I was supposed to be narrowing my list at the end of last month, but it’s coming soon.”

Former Kentucky coach Gillispie announces retirement

CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 18:  Head coach Billy Gillispie of the Kentucky Wildcats looks on during the game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at the Dean E. Smith Center on November 18, 2008 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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One of the most mercurial college coaching careers of recent years is coming to a close.

Billy Gillispie, who rose in the profession to helming Kentucky and then fell to the junior college ranks, is retiring amid health concerns, he told the Dallas Morning News.

“No one’s ever enjoyed coaching more than I have, I promise, and no one’s ever been luckier in the coaching profession than I have,” Gillispie told the newspaper in a text message. “What a wonderful career!

“I’ve been very sick with blood pressure issues since the summer, but I’ve tried to fight it out. I got a report Monday that told me if I didn’t address this blood pressure situation immediately, irreversible, bad things were very likely to happen here relatively soon and my long-term health could be compromised.

“Timing isn’t great, but I’ve decided to do what I was told and try to return to healthy ASAP.

“I’ve had a wonderful career and in the last two years some of the best days I’ve ever experienced as a coach. I hate leaving this team because they are really coming around, but they understood me being sick. That’s the worst part of it, not coaching.”

After lengthy stints as an assistant, Gillispie got his first head coaching job at UTEP in 2002 and turned the Miners into an NCAA tournament team by his second season, which paved the way for his exit to Texas A&M and the Big 12. He won 20-plus games in all three of his seasons with the Aggies and brought them to back-to-back NCAA tournaments, spending much of the 2006-07 season ranked in the top-10.

Gillispie then took over for one of the most storied programs in the history of the sport when Tubby Smith bolted for Minnesota, but he would last just two seasons in Lexington before being fired after missing the 2009 NCAA tournament.

Two years later he resurfaced at Texas Tech, but didn’t make it to a second season in Lubbock after allegations of player mistreatment.

He’s spent the last year-and-half at Ranger College in Texas.

Report: Former Buckeye Mitchell headed to Arizona State

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 11: Head coach Thad Matta of the Ohio State Buckeyes talks to Mickey Mitchell #00 against the Michigan State Spartans in the quarterfinal round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 11, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Yet another one of the members of the heralded 2015 Ohio State recruiting class won’t be playing at his second choice of school either.

Mickey Mitchell will transfer to Arizona State after initially planning on going to UC-Santa Barbara upon his exit from the Buckeyes, according to Scout.

Thad Matta lost four players from that top-10 five-man recruiting class with Austin Grandstaff, Daniel Giddens and A.J. Harris all also deciding to leave Columbus.

Grandstaff also did not play at his first choice after Ohio State, deciding to ultimately depart Oklahoma for DePaul after heading to Norman from OSU.

Mitchell, once a four-star recruit, appeared in 23 games for the Buckeyes as a freshman, averaging 2 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. He is expected to enroll at Arizona State in time for the next semester and will be eligible at the semester break next year for the Sun Devils.

Utah’s Krystkowiak reveals he had cancerous thyroid removed

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Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak had surgery this spring to remove his thyroid after cancer was discovered in it, he revealed Monday during his coach’s radio show, according to the Deseret News.

“I had my thyroid taken out this spring,” Krystkowiak said. “Found some cancer in it.”

Krystkowiak made light of the situation, mentioning it contributed to some weight game.

“It’s OK if I skip a meal from time to time,” he said. “I gotta watch the midsection. That’s one of the byproducts of not having a thyroid. I guess you get a little chunky.”

Krystkowiak, who has been at Utah since 2011, and the Utes are currently 6-1 with their lone loss coming to Butler. They travel to face Xavier on Saturday.

Bobby Hurley ridicules his Arizona State team’s effort in loss

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 16:  Head coach Bobby Hurley of the Arizona State Sun Devils yells to his players during their game against the UNLV Rebels at the Thomas & Mack Center on December 16, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Arizona State won 66-56.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK — A totally forgettable Arizona State performance in the Jimmy V Classic on Tuesday night led to some truly unforgettable comments from head coach Bobby Hurley.

Hurley, who has a reputation for having something of a temper, teed off on his team in the press conference after the game, criticizing them as harshly as you’ll ever see a coach do in public. He called them “embarrassing” and the performance “disturbing”.

“I thought we competed for about eight minutes out of 40,” Hurley said. The Sun Devils were down 47-21 at the half, by as many as 42 points in the second half and eventually lost 97-64 to a Purdue team that scored 19 first half points against Louisville exactly a week ago. “It’s unfortunate that our team didn’t even come close to the energy that Jimmy V had in his life and his passion. We had no passion for playing. We did a disservice to this game and this event and what he represented.”

It’s not often that you see a coach publicly ridicule players like that. Humiliation isn’t always the best motivating tactic. Oftentimes, it’s the easiest way to lose a locker room.

Hurley wasn’t done.

“For a city that’s a blue-collar city and an arena that has so much tradition and so many good players that have played on this court — to look like that, it was embarrassing,” he said. “And then the cause, such a great cause that we’re playing for tonight. Did my players play as hard as the people that are going through what they go through in cancer, as families go through in their personal situations? I don’t think so.”

Oh, there’s more.

“That was really disturbing, how we competed,” Hurley said. “It’s not a reflection of my personality or the teams I’ve coached in the past, so we have to make some changes.”

For better or worse, this is the second time in Hurley’s tenure with Arizona State that he’s made national headlines. Last season, he went viral during a theatrical ejection in an Arizona State loss against in-state rival Arizona.

Hurley is trying to make Arizona State relevant, which is why he’s scheduling games against anyone and everyone in an effort to get his brand on national television.

And he’s succeeded in a sense.

After this rant, you’ll see his name on every sports website this morning.

I’m not so sure that’s the best way to build recruiting momentum.

CBT Podcast: Recapping Kentucky-UCLA, Player of the Year ranks, Cuse-UConn

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In the latest episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk podcast, I was joined by my former colleague Raphielle Johnson to discuss everything from Kentucky-UCLA to Syracuse-UConn to who deserves to be the Player of the Year after the first month of the season.

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You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Audioboom