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Mid-Major Minutes: June 14

Damian Lillard’s in Boise, and Matt McCall’s trying to revive UMass.

Good morning! If you’re reading this, you’re clearly starting your day off right with an effort to better yourself by becoming more educated about the goings-on in the mid-major world.

In a landscape so dominated by the biggest schools and conferences, it’s quite hard to winnow down the information you want and need to hear about your favorite mid-major programs.

Thankfully, Mid-Major Madness is here to aggregate the news and links for you, providing you with a brand-new, daily post about the world of mid-major hoops.

#Content to Read

Damian Lillard’s training at Boise State (Blue Turf Sports)

NBA All-Star and former Weber State standout Damian Lillard is training at Boise State this summer, helping out his former assistant coach, and current Boise State assistant, Phil Beckner. As B.J. Rains writes:

It’s the second consecutive summer that Lillard has come to Boise to work out with Beckner on Boise State’s campus. The two have been close since Beckner was an assistant coach at Weber State and Lillard was on the team from 2008-2012.

It sounds like Lillard and Beckner are still quite close, and it’s very interesting to see Lillard keep coming back to him this long after his days in Ogden.

Mountain West Conference Schedule Released (Mountain West Conference)

The dates for every Mountain West Conference matchup for the upcoming season have been released. No matchups should come as a surprise, as the MWC released its conference play pairings last week. Now, when it comes to television broadcasting, the conference noted in its press release that:

The national television selections are expected to be completed by the middle of August. Regional partner AT&T Sports Net/ROOT Sports and the Mountain West Network on STADIUM will begin their picks after the national television lineup has been announced.

Mercer fills out its coaching staff (Macon Telegraph)

Dale Layer is joining the Mercer coaching staff for the upcoming season, and the Bears have landed themselves a coach with a wealth of college basketball knowledge. Layer has been a head coach before at Colorado State and Liberty, and it’s clear that Bob Hoffman has hired a guy who knows how to win at some of the highest levels. As The Telegraph’s Ron Seibel writes:

Layer’s teams have four NCAA Tournament berths and seven postseason appearances. He also has been head coach at Queens College in North Carolina.


Layer, a 1980 Eckerd College graduate, started the Queens men’s basketball program in 1988, putting together eight winning seasons and two NCAA Division II Tournament appearances in nine seasons.

Quite frankly, this is an exceptional hire for Mercer.

Nigel Williams-Goss wins something else (The Spokesman-Review)

The ex-Zag was given the WCC Scholar-Athlete of the Year award by the conference, and he’s another in a long list of Bulldogs (nine, to be exact) that have earned the award. Jim Meehan highlights exactly what Williams-Goss did to garner such an impressive honor:

Williams-Goss graduated in 2016 with a 3.84 grade-point average in psychology and earned a 4.0 last year in the Organizational Leadership Masters Program. He was a CoSIDA first-team Academic All-American and also made numerous All-American teams.

Matt McCall’s trying to bring UMass back to its former glory (Sports Illustrated)

This lengthy piece by SI’s Tim Balk details the challenges ahead for UMass’ new head man as he tries to replicate the unbelievable success the school enjoyed during the Calipari era.

For those who forgot: McCall was the former Chattanooga coach who was hired after Pat Kelsey was hired and then decided to go back to his job at Winthrop. As Balk detailed:

McCall, who left Chattanooga after winning 48 games and making one trip to March Madness in two seasons, spoke in his late-March introductory press conference about building on the legacy already that has already been established at UMass. His charge, more than anything, is to restore the legacy.

There’s a big task ahead for the guy who hopes to restore the program to its mid-90’s glory, but he sounds like he’s up to it.

Tweets of Interest

Zach Collins is over here showing off for NBA teams

Richmond Spiders star T.J. Cline is working out as well!

Former UAB star Aaron Johnson stopped by an Alabama A&M basketball camp

Probably not the last time Grambling will pour it on the Dawgs.

Hoops Weiss is here, and he brought musical jokes

I can’t write about every coaching hire, okay? Just read the press release

Who among us could forget?

Milwaukee’s taking this all in stride

Recruiting News

A former UT Martin player is transferring

Prepare to be bombarded with Verbal Commits tweets: