The Morning Mix

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Now that Inauguration Monday/MLK Day is in the books, we can start to look forward to anther solid week of college basketball. Everybody was bemoaning the loss of the Kansas/Missouri rivalry game when the Tigers jumped to the SEC. But the Jayhawks take on their other rivals, you know, the Sunflower State university, tonight in what should be a very entertaining Super Tuesday tilt. Methinks the Octagon of Doom is going to be just a bit chaotic.

Lets hit the links.

Tuesday’s Top Games:
6:30 p.m. – Iowa @ No. 16 Ohio State
7:00 p.m. – No. 13 Michigan State @ Wisconsin
7:00 p.m. – No. 18 North Carolina State @ Wake Forest
7:00 p.m. – South Carolina @ No. 22 Missouri
8:00 p.m. – No. 3 Kansas @ No. 11 Kansas State
8:00 p.m. – No. 5 Louisville @ Villanova
8:00 p.m. – Tulane @ Memphis
9:00 p.m. – Kentucky @ Alabama
 
 
Top Stories:
Report: Frank Haith, Miami to be served with notice of allegations from NCAA: According to Jeff Goodman, the current Missouri head coach will be served a notice of allegations for his involvement with Nevin Shapiro during his time as head coach at Miami.

Carter-Williams, Triche lead Syracuse to win over Cincy down the stretch: For the second straight game the backcourt duo of Brandon Triche and Michael Carter-Williams led the way for the Orange. C.J. Fair tipped in a Jerami Grant miss with 20 seconds remaining to win the game for Syracuse.

Cory Jefferson, Isaiah Austin, finally play like Baylor’s twin towers: The Bears beat Oklahoma State 64-54 to improve to 12-5 on the season and Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson combined for 11 blocks in the win.

Good Georgetown shows up, beats Notre Dame on the road: is there a more puzzling team in college basketball than the Georgetown Hoyas? Lost to Pittsburgh by 29, went to overtime against Indiana, lost to 0-4 South Florida, and beat UCLA> On Monday night, the good Hoya team showed up in South Bend and had arguably their most impressive win of the season. And road wins at the Joyce Center are few and far between.

Utah State loses Preston Medlin, Kyisean Reed, WAC title hopes: Both Preston Medlin and Kyisean Reed left in the second half of Thursday’s game with NMSU, and they won’t be returning anytime soon. Medlin will be out for 6-8 weeks after breaking his wrist. Reed is done for the year with a torn ACL. The two had combined to average 28.4ppg.

Bob Huggins tees off on team’s effort, apologizes to West Virginia fans: Not many teams have been more disappointing this season than West Virginia. The always colorful head coach sounded off about his teams struggles, which included an apology to Mountaineer fans.

Catching up with Kyle Casey, Brandyn Curry during year away from Harvard: Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry are no longer members of the Harvard basketball program because of a widespread cheating scandal that rocked the university. But the two have not sat idly by. Curry is working in the insurance industry and Casey is giving back to his community.

NCAA rulebook underwent major changes on Saturday: The NCAA’s Board of Directors voted in changes “ to deregulate in several areas, including personnel, amateurism, recruiting, eligibility and awards, benefits and expenses, and create a set of commitments that will serve as the foundation for all future rules changes.”
 
 
Hoops Housekeeping
– Butler’s Rotnei Clarke will miss another game for the Bulldog as he continues to recover from a neck sprain. Fresh off their magical buzzer-beating win over Gonzaga on Saturday, the Bulldogs will travel to LaSalle on Wednesday. (WISHTV-8)

– Joel Berry, a top-5 guard in the class of 2014, committed to North Carolina yesterday. (Hoopniks)

– Hawaii guards Hauns Brereton and Brandon Jawato are battling nagging injuries and their status for the Warriors’ game at Cal-Poly on thursday is still undecided. (Warriors Insider)
 
 
Observations & Insight:
– The ACC hasn’t exactly been known for its parity over the last few seasons. It has been a conference of haves-and-have nots. But with games defined by low-scoring outputs, the gap at the top is not very large. (Washington Post)

– With the home loss to Georgetown last night, Notre Dame has now lost three out of their last four, with the lone win being by three points against Rutgers. Needless to say, this is not what the Irish expected heading in to Big East play. (The Dagger)

– Bruce Weber is hoping to bring a different style of play into the Sunflower State showdown between the Kansas Jayhawks and his Kansas State Wildcats. (Wichita Eagle)

– Stephen F. Austin doesn’t get a lot of love, but the Lumberjacks have won 11 in a row, are undefeated in the Southland Conference and are climbing up the TPI rankings. (Fox Sports)

– Mike Anderson took the job at Arkansas to revitalize the Razorbacks program. It will take a while, and the fanbase has been hesitant to buy in for the long haul. (Sporting Life Arkansas)

– A.J. Walton has been at Baylor for four seasons, and has rarely, if ever, garnered any attention, despite being the winningest player in Baylor basketball history. But his performance last night against Oklahoma State should help raise his public profile. (Rush The Court)
 
 
Odds & Ends:
– Manti Te’o’s fake girlfriend tried to reach out to Louisville guard Peyton Siva during last year’s NCAA Tournament. (Card Chronicle)

Picture of the Day:
Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson, the brother of First Lady Michelle Obama, dropped an epic photo-bomb on his Brother-in-Law yesterday. (@FangBites)

source:
 
 
Video of the Day:
This is the view from Butler students Saturday as their Bulldogs knocked off Gonzaga is the best finish of the season. This video is “MUST-WATCH”.


 
 
Dunk: of the Day:
Kiddos. Watch tape of Michael Carter-Williams if you want to know how to “go hard in the paint”.


 
 
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Middle Tennessee loses four returnees during the week

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Middle Tennessee has been one of the best mid-major programs in the country over the last few years but now the Blue Raiders will be facing a major rebuild.

With former head coach Kermit Davis taking the Ole Miss job and new head coach Nick McDevitt coming over from UNC Asheville, the program experienced some major roster turnover this week as four returnees left the program.

Earlier in the week, junior guard David Simmons opted to transfer out of Middle Tennessee after he averaged 17.9 minutes per game for the Conference USA regular-season champions last season.

On Friday, the losses continued, as three more players left the team. Rising junior point guard Tyrik Dixon announced his intention to transfer while the program dismissed guard Antwain Johnson and forward Davion Thomas. Dixon was a valuable floor leader for Middle Tennessee the past two seasons while Johnson, a rising senior guard, would have been the team’s returning leading scorer after putting up 10.3 points per game last week.

Since so much of the successful core of the past three seasons is now gone from Middle Tennessee, it will be on McDevitt to bring in new talent to sustain the recent great stretch of play. The Blue Raiders made two Round of 32 appearances in a row before missing the NCAA tournament last season after winning C-USA’s regular season crown.

Now, with Western Kentucky making a power play by bringing in five-star big man Charles Bassey, and the power has shifted very quickly in one of the most competitive mid-major conferences in the country.

Report: One-and-Done rule could be eliminated for 2021 NBA Draft

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The NBA is reportedly exploring the possibility of ending the infamous one-and-done rule that forces many potential professional basketball players to head to college for at least one season.

According to a report from ESPN’s Zach Lowe, citing a league memo sent to NBA teams late this week, the league office is indicating that “eligibility rules” for the NBA draft could change as soon as 2021 or 2022 — but not earlier. The league is currently trying to figure out how the FBI’s investigation into college basketball will play out while also trying to navigate the player development changes that would be needed for high school players to once again potentially enter the NBA. Recently, the NBA has started to allow its teams and front-office personnel to attend elite summer high school events as the Pangos All-American Camp and the NBPA Top 100 Camp both had an NBA presence to watch elite Class of 2019, 2020 and 2021 prospects.

Lowe’s report mentions that the one-and-done rule is not mentioned directly by name, but the NBA is trying to warn its teams before the 2018 NBA Draft. These future changes could be on the horizon and teams need to understand what they are doing with future draft picks in potential trades.

The scenario of a 2021 NBA Draft in which high school players might be eligible is a fascinating subplot for college basketball, and the sport at-large, over these next few years.

As Lowe pointed out in his report, whenever the rule is eventually opened up, it will create one large mega draft in which two elite classes of high school players would be draft-eligible in the same year. With potentially double the lottery-level and first-round talent of a typical NBA draft, it would force a lot of elite college recruits to exam the possibility of reclassifying up in order to get ahead of that mega draft and be in a pool with fewer elite prospects.

It also gives the high school players themselves a unique decision with regard to their potential college futures. If an elite high school prospect is one year away from entering the NBA draft out of school, would some go to college or would they try to go for a postgrad year and follow in the footsteps of players like Thon Maker and Anfernee Simons?

The expanding presence of the NBA’s G-League is also a factor in all of this as salaries for the league are increasing and becoming more respectable — giving high school players a viable professional option in the United States instead of college for one year before moving on to the draft.

There are still way too many moving parts to truly speculate how this will all go down. But at least we know that the NBA appears to be viewing 2021 or 2022 as the potential change to the one-and-done rule. We’ll have to see how elite high school prospects start potentially adjusting to reclassify while colleges also might have to adopt some new and unique recruiting strategies if they rely on one-and-done players to fill out their roster.

Five-star guard Ashton Hagans enrolling at Kentucky after graduating year early

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Kentucky received additional reinforcements for the 2018-19 season on Friday as five-star guard Ashton Hagans graduated high school a year early with the intent to head to Lexington for next season.

The 6-foot-4 Hagans is considered by many recruiting analysts to be a top-ten national prospect in the Class of 2019 as he gives the Wildcats three five-star recruits at lead guard for next season. The Georgia state Player of the Year as a junior this past season, Hagans joins a crowded Kentucky backcourt that includes sophomore Quade Green and fellow incoming freshman and McDonald’s All-American Immanuel Quickley.

While the juggling of minutes is going to be a major storyline for head coach John Calipari this season, the addition of Hagans gives Kentucky even more lineup flexibility than they had before. Because Hagans has good size and defensive ability, he could be used to play alongside the smaller Green, giving the Wildcats a two-guard look that would have more defensive intensity. Playing Quickley and Hagans together would give Kentucky a bigger two-guard lineup that would have a chance to be pretty strong defensively.

And, of course, Calipari could opt to go with some three-guard lineups with other off-guards like Keldon Johnson or Tyler Herro to give Kentucky a tough perimeter attack.

Handling minutes and egos will be something to watch for in Lexington this season, but Calipari has handled this sort of situation with a Final Four appearance before. It’s hard to say if the Wildcats will try to play another platoon type of system like we saw in 2014-15, but if they end up getting graduate transfer forward Reid Travis, they might have the personnel to give it a shot.

Villanova lands late commitment from four-star prospect

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Villanova made a late addition to their 2018 recruiting class on Friday afternoon as they landed a commitment from four-star prospect Saddiq Bey.

Bey was originally committed to N.C. State, but he asked out of his Letter of Intent in mid-May as the Wolfpack ended up over the scholarship limit. The versatile, 6-foot-7 forward is a good fit for the way that Villanova likes to play, as he can guard different positions, plays with the toughness you expect out of a kid from Washington D.C. and is a capable scorer.

Bey is also a product of Sidwell Friends, the same high school that produced former Villanova star Josh Hart.

He will joined a recruiting class that also includes five-star point guard Jahvon Quinerly, four star prospects Cole Swider and Brandon Slater and Albany grad transfer Joe Cremo.

The news was first reported by 247 Sports.

Marvin Bagley III, a ‘Nike kid’, to sign endorsement deal with Puma

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In a somewhat surprising turn of events, Marvin Bagley III will reportedly sign an endorsement deal with Puma in the NBA.

It’s a five-year deal, according to reports, that will pay Bagley and his family quite a bit of money and will allow them to fund an AAU program for Bagley’s younger brother. That program will be coached by Marvin Bagley Jr., and that gets to the heart of what makes this decision so surprising.

Bagley III has always been considered a “Nike kid”. He played for Nike AAU programs throughout his high school career. The last two years, his father ran the program that he played for, originally called Phoenix Phamily but eventually changed to Nike Phamily. That meant that Nike was able to legally pay Bagley Jr. a significant amount of money to fund that program. Eventually, Bagley would up enrolling at Duke, one of Nike’s flagship college basketball programs.

This is not the way that it is supposed to go for a shoe company like Nike. The reason they spend as much money as they do in the youth ranks is to keep as many kids as possible loyal to the brand. It’s fairly easy to figure out who will end up having a chance at being an NBA player as early as 15 years old, but what’s harder to do is to predict who will actually be able to move product. Did anyone think James Harden or Damian Lillard would be worth a signature shoe? So these shoe companies will spend a relatively small amount of money to fly those kids around the country during their high school years, keep them decked out in their gear and hope that lottery ticket eventually pays off.

What is a couple hundred thousand dollar investment when the payoff is hundreds of millions of dollars in shoe sales? All you need to do is land one Kyrie Irving or Kevin Durant to make the math work.

But that isn’t all that the shoe companies are looking for here.

With the amount of money that they have invested in sponsorship deals with these schools, they need to protect that investment. We saw it with Adidas and Louisville. They funneled $100,000 to Brian Bowen, a Nike kid, to get him to an Adidas school not because they thought he would end up being an uber-profitable spokesman but because they needed to protect their investment at the college level.

So while it’s easy to look at this and same that Bagley’s time spent at Duke helped him get a big, fat shoe contract, I think it’s the other way around. He helped Nike — without getting his market value — during his one season at Duke, and what it got him was a shoe contract worth roughly $1 million a year, according to Oregon Live.

Either way, the fact of the matter is that Bagley’s value to these brands is no different now than it was when he was playing for the Blue Devils.

Why is it only now that he’s allowed to cash in on it?