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Monday, April 29, 2013
Roundball Chatter for April 29

By Dick Vitale
ESPN.com

• Louisville got some great news when Russ Smith decided to pass up the NBA draft and return to school. I am sure Rick Pitino is thrilled with that decision as the Cardinals improve their chance of repeating as national champions. Among others that decided to stay in school included Doug McDermott, who will be All-Solid Gold next season, Syracuse forward C.J. Fair, Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes, Baylor's Cory Jefferson and Connecticut's Shabazz Napier.

Shane Larkin of Miami, who previously announced plans to return to Miami, did an about face and opted for the NBA. Ray McCallum Jr. of Detroit and USC's Dewayne Dedmon also decided to leave for the NBA.

• Often you see players transfer in the off-season due to lack of playing time. Recently that was not the case in three players of note. Kansas State guard Angel Rodriguez decided to leave to play closer to his native Puerto Rico. Alabama's Trevor Lacy, one of the team's top players and assists leader last season, also opted to transfer. Kyle Vinales of Central Connecticut State, who averaged over 20 PPG, also decided to leave. Sophomore forward Hunter Mickelson is transferring from Arkansas to Kansas, where he will sit out next season and have two years of eligibility remaining. Indiana's Maurice Creek, who has been plagued by injuries throughout his career, also announced plans to transfer. He will be eligible to play right away as he graduated at Indiana but had one more season of eligibility left.

• The NCAA made the right decision granting Penn State guard Tim Frazier a fifth year of eligibility. He suffered a season-ending Achilles injury early in the season, and the Nittany Lions struggled.

• 6-4 guard Allerik Freeman from Findlay Prep has gotten out of his commitment to UCLA and will now go elsewhere. Don't tell me coaching changes don't influence decisions made by players.

• Congratulations to LaSalle coach Dr. John Giannini, whose Explorers made a great run at the big dance. He was rewarded with a contract extension. James Madison's Matt Brady, who got the Dukes into the tourney, also received a four-year extension.

• Former St. John's assistant coach Chris Casey was hired as the new head coach at Niagara. Joe Mihalich left Niagara for Hofstra.