- Eamonn Brennan, ESPN Staff Writer
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Afternoon Links are exactly what they say they are. Now that the brutally slow dog days of August are over, you'll probably see more Afternoon Links. Probably. Maybe? We'll see. To submit you own, hit me here or on Twitter @eamonnbrennan.
Rakeem Buckles' last-ditch appeal to play at Minnesota this season has been denied according to Richard Pitino, ESPN's Jeff Goodman reported Tuesday afternoon. The move would have been Buckles' second transfer, which is probably the best explanation for why the NCAA out-and-out denied him the chance to play for a team that is ineligible for postseason play thanks to NCAA APR penalties dating to the Isiah Thomas era (never forget). But just because that is the best explanation does not make a particularly good one, and it'd be nice if the NCAA could at least provide some hint as to the rationale here. The alternative means giving up on understanding transfer rules entirely, which is probably our only course of action at this point. Sigh.
Top-50 2014 wing Trevon Bluiett committed to UCLA coach Steve Alford this weekend. Alford convinced Bluiett to head west out from under a handful of schools that had recruited him heavily in-state, including Alford's alma mater, Indiana. Worth noting is that Alford hired Bluiett's former high school coach, Ed Schilling, to his staff at UCLA. Alford's recruiting efforts in the coming seasons — both locally and, apparently, from his connections in the middle of the country — will be the defining factor in his success going forward.
Iowa State dismissed reserve guard Bubu Palo. From the AP: "Palo originally was suspended last year after being charged with second-degree sexual assault. That charge was dropped in January of this year and the university's Office of Judicial Affairs cleared him to play, allowing him to return to the team. But that decision was appealed, the university said in a statement released Saturday, and Palo then was found to have violated ISU's Student Code of Conduct, resulting in his dismissal."
Illinois kept up its solid recruiting under John Groce this weekend, landing 2014 power forward Leron Black.
Gary Harris suffered an ankle injury during a pickup game this weekend, one that will keep him sidelined for about four weeks. Not at all a big deal in a vacuum, but slightly disconcerting, given the nagging injuries that hampered Harris throughout his freshman season.
First rule of redesigning your college basketball court in the post-Oregon era: Never, ever, ever leave it up to a vote. This is what happens. Go home, James Madison's new court. The long weekend is over.