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The Secondary Break: Monday’s Links

Jan 6, 2014, 8:00 AM EST

Gene Teague Getty Images

Gophers centers push to make each other improve (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
Elliott Eliason and Mo Walker have seen their roles grow under first-year head coach Richard Pitino, and they’ve taken advantage of the opportunity while pushing each other to improve on a daily basis. That will need to continue to be the case as Big Ten play wears on, as Minnesota looks to return to the NCAA tournament.

The ramifications of a lengthy layoff for Seton Hall’s Eugene Teague (South Orange Juice)
After losing to Creighton on Saturday afternoon Seton Hall dropped to 1-1 in Big East play. And they’ve been shorthanded of late too, as starting center Eugene Teague’s missed the last two games after a horrific fall in a win over Lafayette. With their lack of interior depth and other players (Patrik Auda, Fuquan Edwin and Aaron Geramipoor) also dealing with recent health issues, what would the impact of Teague missing a a lengthy amount of time on the Pirates be?

Duluth East grad Dyami Starks among scoring leaders in Division I (Duluth News Tribune)
Bryant guard Dyami Starks has been one of the nation’s best scorers this season, scoring up an average of 21.2 points per game. And one reason for the junior guard’s success was his hard work during the summer, with days beginning at 4:00 a.m. with a job at a FedEx facility in Duluth, Minn.

Prosecutor raps reinstatement of Shaw (Logan Herald Journal)
Utah State forward Jarred Shaw was reinstated by head coach Stew Morrill after being suspended one game due to his arrest on a drug possession charge. And the fact that Shaw was reinstated so quickly doesn’t sit well with Cache County prosecutor Tony Baird, who lamented the fact that the decision sends the wrong message to kids who look up to athletes such as Shaw.

Colorado products making impact on Division I hoops teams (Denver Post)
No. 20 Colorado’s win over No. 10 Oregon may have been spearheaded by two guards from California, but the Buffaloes also have two big men from the the state of Colorado in Josh Scott and Wesley Gordon. And they aren’t the only Colorado natives to enjoy success at the Division I level this season, with Colorado State, Denver and Air Force also making good use of local talent.

Alford proving critics wrong with fast, fun Bruins (Fox Sports)
In UCLA’s 107-73 win over USC on Sunday the talent disparity between the two teams was clear, with Steve Alford’s team playing faster than the opposing head coach thought they were capable of prior to the start of the season. And it was the latest positive result for Alford, who’s proving people wrong with this start.

Chester’s Hollis-Jefferson giving Arizona all he’s got (Delaware County Daily Times)
Arizona freshman wing Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has been a key contributor for the top-ranked Wildcats, filling the sixth man role for much of the season and even starting when Kaleb Tarczewski missed time with a sprained ankle. And Hollis-Jefferson’s goals for the future aren’t limited to basketball either, as he hopes to lift up his hometown of Chester, Penn. as well.

Young Deacons finally provide tangible signs of growth in upset of North Carolina (Wilmington Star News)
Wake Forest’s 73-67 win over No. 19 North Carolina was an outcome fans have been waiting for, with the desire to see any sign of growth from Jeff Bzdelik’s program. The question now is whether or not the Demon Deacons can build on the result as they move deeper into ACC play.