There may not be a single moment more bittersweet than the playing of "One Shining Moment" - it's one of the highs of the college basketball season, yet also signals the end. That's where we stand presently, a long seven-month stretch before players return to the floor for another season of games.
That of course doesn't mean things will be any less busy here at Mid-Major Madness, quite the contrary. We will continue with our daily Morning Mashups section, though with a lack of games to analyze there may be slightly less commentary on some days, with a greater emphasis on links and notes. Additionally we will be providing plenty of coverage of mid-major players making waves as the NBA Draft process unfolds, examine the recruiting spectrum and of course continue with out advanced statistics and visual breakdowns of the game as it pertains to previewing the 2011-2012 season. The single biggest project will be providing an extensive breakdown/preview of each and every team outside the power conferences, while also checking in on occasion with some of the bigger player and coaching names in the mid-major world in our spring and summer feature series.
For now though, let's just into the commentary of the day and keep a look out for our analysis of mid-major players at the Portsmouth Invitational later today.
Chris Dabe of the Houston Chronicle: "The man with the famous father stepped to the lectern and talked about establishing an identity. He talked about building a program people could be proud of. He talked about hard work and playing defense. He talked about winning. Pat Knight, son to legendary coach Bob Knight, hopes to do all that at Lamar University. The school announced Knight, 40, as its 10th men's basketball coach on Tuesday afternoon. "From my standpoint, I got into this business not for fame, not for fortune," he said at an introductory press conference in the Montagne Center. "I got in this business to start my own program and to run my own program and to build a program people would be proud of. And I have an opportunity to do that at Lamar." Knight will do that with the long shadow of his father cast over him. When people think of Knight, they think of his dad, whose 902 victories are the most in college basketball history."
Tom Archdeacon of the Dayton Daily News: "Wright, the Dayton Flyers' leading scorer and rebounder last season, was supposed to be there, too. With his heralded career at UD now over, he's finishing up school and trying to position himself for a pro career. A few days ago, he hired agent Lance Young of Octagon Worldwide Inc., the Washington D.C.-based company that represents NBA players such as Rudy Gay, Kirk Hinrich, David West and Stephen Curry. In May, Wright plans to begin workouts with trainer Tim Grover of Attack Athletics, the Chicago company that Michael Jordan used. And after that will come individual workouts with pro teams. But the initial stage for college seniors is Portsmouth, and two weeks ago, Wright was looking forward to it when we spoke on campus: "It's the perfect opportunity to show things I've improved at. The perfect place to show some what I can do." But now that the Flyers basketball season is over and graduation is just one month away, the only place his mom is looking for him to showcase himself is in the classroom."
Mike Scott of KSPR-TV: "Missouri State men's basketball head coach Paul Lusk has officially begun the process of filling his staff with the announcement Tuesday (April 5) of his first assistant coach. Long-time Loyola Chicago assistant Patrick Baldwin will join the MSU staff later this week after spending the seven years on the Ramblers' staff in Chicago. Baldwin was promoted to associate head coach for the 2010-11 season after six seasons as an assistant for coach Jim Whitesell. Prior to his arrival at Loyola Chicago, he had successful assistant coaching stints at Green Bay (2002-04) and Lincoln University in Jefferson City (2001-02). "I'm really excited to join Paul and the Missouri State family," Baldwin said. "The tradition at Missouri State is great, and I am excited about the opportunity to help coach Lusk be successful."
The 2011 Parade All-American Teams were announced this week and future mid-major stars were well represented throughout. Future Memphis Tiger Adonis Thomas was the lone non-power conference player to crack the first time out of Melrose, Tennessee. On the second team, is Georgia scoring machine Adam Smith who will take his 28 points per game to the CAA where he will suit up for UNC Wilmington. Another future CAA star, soon to be Delaware freshman Jarvis Threat was joined by Pepperdine's Jordan Baker and Buffalo's Xavier Ford. Finally on the fourth team, five more players who will suit up this fall including Jake White (Wichita State), Tanner Wozniak (Florida International), Reese Morgan (Cal Poly), Colin Gruber (Northern Arizona) and Ryan Spangler (Gonzaga).
Tristan Aird of the Las Vegas Review-Journal: "Oxnard (Calif.) College freshman guard Marcus Falley, a 2009 graduate of Durango High School, has committed to Pacific and plans to sign with the Tigers this month, Durango coach DeShawn Henry said. Falley, a third-team all-state selection as a Durango senior, played one season at prep school Mt. Zion Academy (N.C.) before transferring to Oxnard College."
The final Coaches Poll was released and mid-majors were not surprisingly well represented. Butler finished with a No. 2 national ranking, with VCU ending up 6th, the highest ranking ever achieved by a CAA program. Also included in the final rankings were San Diego State (No. 11), BYU (No. 13), Richmond (No. 21) and Utah State (No. 25). Temple, Xavier, Wichita State, George Mason, Old Dominion and Gonzaga all received votes as well.
Peter Iorizzo of the Albany Times-Union: "Siena guards Jonathan Breeden and Kyle Griffin formally notified the school of their intent to leave the men's basketball program, the college announced Tuesday. Both were granted conditional releases to transfer to other schools. Neither departure comes as a surprise. Griffin had said soon after the season he was considering leaving, and WNYT had reported last week that Breeden would be gone, too."