- Eamonn Brennan, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Afternoon Links are back, and they are exactly what they say they are. Some days will bring more links than others. This is the offseason, after all. If you have a link you'd like included, your best bet is to hit me on Twitter. You can also e-mail your link to collegebasketballnation at gmail.com, or use the submission form here.
James Johnson's first item of business was winning the news conference, and that seemed to go pretty well, at least according to Hampton Roads Daily Press' David Teel: "James Johnson didn't act like the ACC's youngest, least-experienced and probably lowest-paid head basketball coach Tuesday. Conversely, Virginia Tech's new boss appeared comfortable during his introductory news conference. Comfortable in the spotlight, confident in himself. Don't misunderstand. There wasn't a whisper of brashness. He wasn't glib, emotional or long-winded. Some may interpret that as anxiety. But I saw comfort mixed with humility." Even better? As planned, Johnson's hiring prompted recruit Marshall Wood, who had asked for his release after former coach Seth Greenberg's departure, to remain in the fold.
Western Kentucky freshman Derrick Gordon announced his transfer to UMass, where he will sit out a year before becoming eligible in 2013-14, via Twitter. Judging by the COPIOUS USE OF CAPS LOCK, Gordon is excited about the news.
Over the weekend, Team USA added Oklahoma City's James Harden and (more relevant to our interests) likely No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis to the pool of players eligible for selection to this summer's Olympic team. Davis would still have to make a final cut, but given the dearth of true big men available to Mike Krzyzewski this summer -- Dwight Howard is out, and without him the only true center in the player pool is NBA defensive player of the year Tyson Chandler -- Davis might have an outside shot at making the squad. I'll be honest: I would love to see Davis play in the international system. (And also: I can not wait until the 2012 Summer Olympics. You're going down, Spain! Who's with me?)
We missed this late last week, but Connecticut got a commitment from Phil Nolan, a 6-foot-10 forward ranked No. 23 at his position in the class of 2012. Nolan might not make an immediate impact, but in the wake of Andre Drummond's draft departure, Alex Oriakhi's transfer to Missouri, and Roscoe Smith's defection, Nolan's sheer size makes him an important get.
The Washington Post recognized the 10th anniversary of Maryland's 2002 national championship with a photo slideshow. When done poorly, photo slideshows are one of the worst things about the Internet. When done well, they're totally awesome. This is an example of the latter, complete with "Where are they now?" updates on each of the beloved title-winning Terrapins. For example: Did you know Juan Dixon is in Turkey? True! And that Steve Blake plays for the ... ha, just kidding.
Obligatory in-house links: Today, Myron Medcalf breaks down how Kentucky's 2012 freshmen raised the expectations bar forever. In case you missed it, be sure to see Myron's story on Trent Lockett, who transferred from Arizona State to Marquette be closer to his mother, who is fighting her second diagnosis of a "crazy" and "rare" brand of lymphoma cancer. And don't miss last week's feature on a renewed Bruce Weber, who looked refreshed and ready for a new challenge at Kansas State when he spoke with our Jason King.
Daily basketball break: "Any faceted solid, he showed, no matter how complex or irregular, could be folded from a single uncut sheet of paper. Start with a piece of paper big enough, and you could model Notre Dame down to the last gargoyle." You may want to read this story.