Mid-Major Morning Mashups: Looking Ahead Edition

By now you've realized that the college basketball news stream has slowed to a trickle. The early and furious stages of the coaching carousel have been completed, the early entry deadline for the NBA Draft has come and gone and most of the big recruiting news was finalized during the early signing period. 

With that in mind  Mid-Major Madness will begin its 2011-2012 series this week. Our Morning Mashups section will continue on days that are a bit heavier with news and our NBA Draft scouting reports will continue through as well, with updated news and analysis through draft night. Our team breakdowns will carry all the way through until next season however and will comprise the bulk of our coverage for the upcoming months, in addition to our feature stories and interview series.

These team breakdowns will consist of a look at returning player, incoming recruits, storylines to watch and some of the advanced visual analysis that you've gotten familiar with in our NBA Draft scouting reports. So keep your eyes open for our first team evaluations coming in the next few days and until then, here's news and analysis from the weekend.

Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer: "Ramone Moore changed his mind. After a conference call Saturday with family members and his mentor, the Temple shooting guard decided not to file paperwork to enter the NBA draft. The previous day, the 6-foot-4 redshirt junior had told The Inquirer that he would apply for the draft. "It was basically a family decision," Moore said in a statement about changing his mind. "We talked it over this morning and I realized that my main focus was to stay in school, earn my degree, and play my senior year at Temple." According to a source, Moore "decided to enter his senior year at Temple without any distractions. He didn't want to make coach Fran Dunphy mad. "He didn't want to make it seem all about him and his dream to make it in the NBA. That would have distracted from the team and the team's goal." Dunphy, however, made it clear that he wouldn't have had a problem if Moore had entered his name in the draft. "Ramone is always a team guy," Dunphy said. "He would be a team guy if he tested the waters, and a team guy if he didn't test the waters."

Doug Harris of the Dayton Daily News: "Juwan Staten played with Ohio State's Jared Sullinger and Aaron Craft and Michigan State's Adreian Payne in high school on the AAU circuit. For at least a portion of his college career, the disgruntled former University of Dayton guard will find out what it's like to play against them. The Atlantic 10 all-rookie team selection plans to transfer to Penn State, the Big Ten school confirmed Friday. Staten will have three years of eligibility beginning in 2012-13. Neither Staten nor his father returned calls from the Dayton Daily News, but the player told The Harrisburg Patriot-News: "Me and my AAU coach and father and mother all got together to try to find a school with a style that played like I play, a school that would be a good fit for me. ... They play fast and play loose, and the coach allows them to play their game." The Dayton native finished second in the A-10 in assists with 5.4 per game but said his talents weren't being maximized in coach Brian Gregory's system. Asked by the Patriot-News whether he was looking to be more involved in the offense at UD, Staten said: "No, no, no, that's not the situation at all. A lot of things went into the equation, ultimately - getting away from home a little bit. A lot of things went into it, and I don't really want to revisit those things. I'm just really looking towards the future."

Chris Murray of the Reno Gazette-Journal: "Louisiana Tech's Olu Ashaolu will enter his name in the NBA draft, according to the Toronto Sun. The Canadian-born Ashaolu averaged 14.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game last season. He had a career-high 26 points and 17 boards against Nevada in January. Ashaolu was a junior last season and will reportedly not hire an agent, leaving open the option to return to school. Which school he returns to, if he doesn't stay in the draft, is undetermined. Ashaolu reportedly has already graduated and received his release to transfer from Louisiana Tech. Ashaolu has one year of eligibility remaining, but has already used his redshirt season. He could play next season if he enrolled in a graduate program at his new school that Louisiana Tech doesn't offer. This rule was made famous by Greg Paulus, who went from Duke's point guard to Syracuse's quarterback without having to sit out a season. Ashaolu isn't expected to be drafted, but he could pursue overseas opportunities. He is the third WAC underclassmen to enter the draft, following Fresno State's Greg Smith (who has hired an agent) and NMSU's Troy Gillenwater (who is testing the waters)."

The good folks at HoopsWorld list San Diego State's Kawhi Leonard as one of the top five NBA-ready small forwards in the current crop of draft prospects. 

Oscar LeRoy of the Midland Reporter-Telegram: "Everything just fit for Guy Landry on his official visit to Gonzaga University over the weekend, so the Midland College sophomore made a verbal commitment to the Zags and is expected to sign his letter-of-intent this week. "I just thought it would be the right place for me," said the 6-foot-5 sophomore guard/forward from Paris. "I played high school and have family in Los Angeles, so I have ties to the West Coast. I also think they have one of the best coaches in the country and one of the best programs in the country. They're also a winning program and usually make a run at the (NCAA) tournament." Landry's commitment ends a hectic past few weeks for the Chaparral star. Because he neither committed nor signed before the end of the season, Landry -- who played high school ball at Sylmar High School and Van Nuys High School in the L.A. area -- constantly received calls from Division I coaches wanting his signature. His only other visit was to Wichita State but had interest from Seton Hall, Michigan State, Minnesota, Fresno State and Utah among others."

David Woods of the Indianapolis Star: "Micah Mason, the 6-foot-2 shooting sensation from Natrona Heights, Pa., made an oral commitment Sunday to play college basketball at Drake. Butler was among the schools looking at Mason, a junior at Highlands High School who averaged 33.3 points a game and shot 47 percent on 3-pointers. He scored 64 points in one game. Mason made a weekend trip to Des Moines, Iowa, to visit Drake's campus. He posted his commitment on Twitter and told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Candidly, I am not completely surprised. It is one of the reasons I wanted my story on Mason to be published Saturday in The Star - before he committed elsewhere. Mason was and is a great story, and I felt our readership would be interested in someone his high school coach described as "an Indiana kid."

Marvin Pave of the Boston Globe with a real nice feature on former UMass standout Anthony Gurley as he prepares for the NBA Draft. 

Mike Wise of the Washington Post: "I know it's just another coach who left because he had a chance to make more money and ply his trade in a more prestigious conference. I understand Jim Larranaga is 61, unfailingly loyal to everyone around him, and this is likely his last opportunity to cash in as a basketball lifer after having said no to the millions his alma mater and other schools tried to tempt him with for years. But why does it feel like Gene Hackman is leaving Hickory High to take over UNLV today? Why, less than 24 hours after Larranaga bid adieu to the Fairfax campus where we all figured he would retire gracefully at, oh, 70, and took a more prominent job at The U., does his parting feel so awkward, so out of place? Coach L. to South Beach? That's like Tom Brokaw to "Entertainment Tonight" or Mister Rogers bolting PBS for MTV. It doesn't feel right. Larranaga was George Mason University, right down to the plate of meat loaf, mashers and peas and carrots he devoured in front of me at the school's food court four years ago. Perpetually upbeat, thoughtful (okay, and a tad long-winded), Larranaga seemed so unaffected by the unseemliness that became his business over the past two decades."

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