1. New Mexico coach Steve Alford won gold at the 1984 Olympics, when he was a player at Indiana. That gold medal was eight years before the 1992 Dream Team. The debate about whether to send amateurs and professionals has arisen again, with NBA commissioner David Stern broaching the subject of a 23-and-under cutoff for the Olympics going forward. Alford isn’t a fan. “That ship has sailed,’’ said Alford. “We have to send our pros. Everyone else is doing it. The international game has grown and it has grown because we’ve helped it grow. We have sent players over there for decades, doing clinics and everything else. We’ve had as much to do with the international game growing by sending our best. We have to send our pros.’’
2. Murray State’s Isaiah Canaan has been all over the summer scene. Canaan was at the Chris Paul, Deron Williams and LeBron James camp. He has been in and out of Murray, Ky., taking classes, and according to coach Steve Prohm has taken another step up in being a leader. But the Racers can’t equal last season’s NCAA tournament run to the third round on Canaan alone. Prohm said Ed Daniel has been sensational in following a similar path to the Amare and LeBron camps. The key may be rising sophomore Zay Jackson, who has been a hit in workouts and can complement Canaan on the perimeter. Prohm is banking on Daniel’s defense and rebounding as a staple, but he’s learning to finish with more consistency. Daniel’s scoring in the paint is a must in the absence of Ivan Aska.
3. Valparaiso should be picked over Detroit for the Horizon League title now that Butler is out. Valparaiso won the regular season a year ago but lost to Detroit at home by 20 in the conference tournament title game. Crusaders coach Bryce Drew is attempting to enhance the nonconference schedule in the oft-chance the Crusaders can’t win the conference/tournament. Drew said he has scheduled games against Nebraska, New Mexico, Murray State, Kent State, Missouri State and Oakland. The games against Murray and UNM are quality RPI games and both will return in 2013. Drew is still trying to get Pitt to agree to a game. Drew would also like to get a home-and-home series with the return game being at the United Center in Chicago in his attempt to be creative for a strong series. Meanwhile, the Crusaders will be more formidable if Cal transfer 6-6 Alex Rossi gets a waiver to play immediately. Rossi, who played sparingly at Cal in three games, came home for family reasons. The Crusaders are already adding 6-1 South Florida transfer LaVonte Dority at semester. Dority played in nine games last season, playing 15 minutes a game.