Former Memphis Tiger Will Barton signs endorsement deal with Under Armour

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Former Memphis Tiger Will Barton has signed a lucrative endorsement deal with Under Armour, he announced via his Twitter page Wednesday.

Barton, who averaged 18 points and 8.0 rebounds per game this past season for the Tigers on his way to winning Conference USA Player of the Year, was drafted 40th overall by the Portland Trailblazers in this year’s NBA draft.

Under Armour is a Baltimore-based company that has strong ties to the Washington D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area, meaning Barton’s signing digs those roots in further.

Barton is a native of Baltimore who starred for Lake Clifton (Md.) before moving to Brewster Academy (N.H.) for his senior season.

Barton is added to an Under Armour lineup that is headlined by Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings, along with Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, Charlotte Bobcats guard Kemba Walker, and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Derrick Williams.

Greivis Vasquez, a former guard at Maryland, is also under the UA umbrella, as is his alma mater. Under Armour has made in-roads on the grassroots basketball scene, as well, with their logo adorning the jerseys of prominent AAU teams that include DC Assault, UA Baltimore’s Finest, and Sports U (N.J.).

Outside of the basketball court, the company has signed a deal with Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, who also hails from Baltimore.

As for Barton, he signed a three-year deal with the Blazers on July 18 and played well for the team during Summer League competition.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Former Maryland guard Greivis Vasquez to be honored at White House

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Guard Greivis Vasquez was a fixture at Maryland from 2006-10 and has continued his career in the NBA, and now he is being honored off the court.

Vasquez is set to be honored as a “Champion of Change,” an honor given as part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative, which recognizes educators, entrepreneurs, and community leaders for their work.

“The Champions that we recognize today have helped their countries and communities of origin, and in doing so have bettered our region as a whole,” Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson said in a release.

“These exceptional individuals, with their work in sports and community development, in education and financial inclusion, inspire others by their example. In a region with such profound human links between our societies, ideas and inspiration spread quickly to the benefit of people all over the Americas and the Caribbean.”

Vasquez, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, has run basketball camps in his home country and was also part of the “Sports Diplomacy” program created by the US State Department to “to help foster improved relations” between the two countries.

He graduated from Maryland in 2010 after averaging 16.0 points and 5.7 assists per game over his career as a Terrapin. He now plays for the New Orleans Hornets, where he averaged 8.9 points and 5.4 assists per game in 2011-12.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

The Morning Mix

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– An interesting-read out of the New York Times yesterday. Author Harvey Araton draws parallels between the Kentucky baksetball program in 1989 and the Penn State football program in 2012 and explains what PSU can learn from UK

– Mississippi State freshman guard Craig Sword is your new clubhouse leader for “Dumbest Offseason Arrest”. MSU freshman guards are not having a great week thus far

– Unfollow @RobDauster. Why? Because once again he failed to include me in an post topic email chain. This is fourth time in like two months. He also owes me $400. Sure, read the post, but make sure you unfollow him

– Mookie Jones is leaving Syracuse for what seems like the fifth time. But the reason why is what takes the cake: Cyberbullying. Really? I thought they just made PSA’s about that. I was unaware anybody, let alone a D-I basketball player, actually participated in cyberbullying

Cal State Bakersfield faught the law, and the law didn’t win. We all know Bakersfield won’t be making the NCAA Tournament any time soon, but at least the program still has a fighting chance. Unlike, say, UConn

– The Florida vs. Georgetown aircraft carrier game will be played aboard the USS Bataan, a ship that has a noble history of service work

– The Big-XII announced the schedule for the ESPN Big Monday series. Kansas will make four appeareances and West Virginia will make three. Missouri and Texas A&M won’t make any…..#SeeWhatIDidThere?

– Isaiah Thomas wants another crack at head coaching, despite being fired from Florida International at the end of the 2011-2012 season

– ESPN’s Summer Shootaround series tackles the C-USA and West Coast Conference

– Back in the day (See: 2006-2010), Greivis Vasquez was one of the most polarizing players on the college hoops scene. as a member of the Maryland Terrapins. Today he’s a member of the New Orleans Hornets and apparently he is just an all-around really good person. He’s getting honored at the White House this week for being “A Champion of Change”

Wisconsin isn’t going to miss a beat without Jordan Taylor? I know the team brings in hot prospect Sami Dekkar and returned Josh Gasser, but Jordan Taylor was something else. But if Bo Ryan and Jeff Goodman are saying it, it must have some merit

– I think this is a very interesting topic: Has Rick Pitino outcoached Jon Calipari in each of the team’s last four meetings? Here’s the thing, I think the argument could be valid if Louisville had not lost all of the games in question. But having lost four in a row, the “outcoaching” argument is null and void. I’m not going to get into the argument Matt Jones is having because I don’t know enough. He does, which is why he’s allowed to make the points he is making (I agree with most of them too)

– From the looks of this list, it doesn’t look like the WAC has any potential draft picks in 2012-2013

Troy Machir is the managing editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @TroyMachir.