Now that the NBA Draft is over and the offseason is in full swing, the mid-major basketball news landscape might be a little barren.
But fear not! We’ve got you covered. In Mid-Major Madness’s Offseason Clickbait Roundup, we’ll try to gather some of the best news stories, tweets and general nonsense from the mid-major ranks.
Here are some highlights from last week that you might have missed. Fair warning: Not all of them will be remotely basketball-related.
JESSE EISENBERG TO GCU, CONFIRMED?
That wasn’t a typo.
This visit has been several decades, podcast appearances and one fan letter in the making. Back in 1993, a nine-year-old Eisenberg wrote to his hardwood hero Dan Majerle during the NBA Finals. The Zombieland and Social Network star mentioned this anecdote on Mike Pesca’s Upon Further Review podcast in May, and 98.7 FM Arizona Sports hosts Bickley and Marotta pulled the strings to unite the two on a show.
According to Paul Coro’s official release, Eisenberg agreed to potentially visit a ‘Lopes game on the air:
“If you ever come to a Suns game, take the 15-minute drive and come to GCU and there’ll be on-the-floor seats and we can sit down in my office and I’ll field any questions you want,” Majerle said.
Eisenberg said he had been planning to write a book about the people he liked as a child and Majerle was the first person who came to mind. He said Majerle gave hope to a “skinny kid in the suburbs.”
“I thought, ‘Why don’t I go to Grand Canyon and meet you?’” Eisenberg said. “I’d love to take you up on that.”
Hopefully Eisenberg will catch a GCU game during conference play. I’d hate to see GCU squander a celebrity appearance on a game against [checks scribbled note on a Dutch Bros. napkin] Mississippi Valley State.
Nevada had a photoshoot with kittens
The Nevada Wolf Pack are too good at the internet. As if their roster announcement hijinks haven’t been enough, the Wolf Pack have doubled down on their affinity for #content with their latest photoshoot with kittens from a local SPCA shelter.
Guess who met their mini kitten versions today?! @NevadaHoops players @cody_martin15 @Calebmartin14 and @Fadeaway_J24 with @EricPMusselman !! These kittens will be available to adopt next week! (But they sure had fun today!) Thanks team, Go Pack! @KRNV @KTVN @KOLO8 pic.twitter.com/aisxcKbDZE— SPCA Northern Nevada (@spcanevada) June 20, 2018
But wait, there’s more! The three kittens in the photoshoot were named after Jordan Caroline, Caleb Martin and Cody Martin, and the mother is named after Coach Eric Musselman, according to the official release on the Nevada athletics site.
The kittens are available for adoption, but photo evidence of their visit with the Nevada stars can be found here. Fair warning: They’re adorable.
Now That’s What I Call Summer Camp! Vol. 1
It’s summer camp season, which means most of our favorite athletes and coaches are helping instruct tomorrow’s mid-major stars. Although not all parts of basketball camp make for good #content — as entertaining as defense stance and ball-handling drills are, they don’t quite measure up to the highlights I’ve culled below — here are some of the best videos to come out of youth basketball camps:
Third place: UMBC’s Dan Akin and Brandon Horvath have a blindfolded layup contest
This mornings olympic event - blindfolded hoops. Dan 'Danimal' Akin took the lead over Brandon 'Fortnite' Horvath... series is now 3-2!!! pic.twitter.com/rmCITxCpwR— UMBC Mens Basketball (@UMBC_MBB) June 21, 2018
The sophomores look like Virginia in that video, folks.
Second Place: Charlotte’s Jon Davis dunks over a camper
The crowd’s reaction is my favorite part of this video. Nothing causes “unbridled grade school joy” quite like watching a college kid dunk on one of your peers.
First place: Murray State campers win free ice cream on this ridiculous shot
Shoutout to former Racers graduate assistant Marcus Smith, whose three-quarter court heave earned not only free ice cream for the campers, but also a shoutout from SportsCenter.
Non-conference games to get excited about
John Becker is doubling down on playing power-five opponents. Vermont kept it close with Kentucky to open last season; playing against Louisville and Kansas will be a great opportunity for Anthony Lamb and company to try pulling upsets on national television.
Arizona will host UTEP on November 14th as part of each teams’s non-conference schedule.— The D1 Docket (@TheD1Docket) June 21, 2018
Could this be Arizona’s first non-conference loss in McKale Center since San Diego State upset the No. 23 Wildcats in 2011? Rodney Terry’s Miners might not be the team to escape Tucson with a win, but don’t count out UTEP entirely: This might be the weakest Arizona team in years.
Speaking of slumping Pac-12 teams, the California Golden Bears have set themselves up for buy-game brutality yet again. California kicked off last season with a home loss to UC Riverside, which set the tone for the rest of the year.
I already see three home losses for the Bears: San Diego State will roll, San Francisco’s deep bench will be hard to pin down and don’t count out a resurgent Seattle squad.
Last week’s good reads
How Chandler Hutchinson went from a role player at Mission Viejo High School to a first-round draft pick — via Mountain West Wire
Jeron Artest, son of Lakers’ defensive stalwart Metta World Peace, is raking in the mid-major offers — via Casper Star Tribune
New Mexico Director of Player Development Sarah Works is as qualified as they come — via Alberquerque Journal
Pepperdine senior Kevin Hempy pulled off a rare student-athlete feat last season — via Pepperdine Magazine