The Dagger - NCAAB

1. Justin Hamilton's performance on LSU's recently completed Italy trip is one of the few promising omens for a Tigers program that hasn't experienced much good news lately. The 6-foot-11 Iowa State transfer averaged 14.5 and 8.9 rebounds, leading LSU to a perfect 6-0 record against Italian teams and raising hope that he can be an impact player next season in the SEC.

2. In addition to his well-documented struggles on the court as a freshman, underachieving Syracuse center Fab Melo is now enduring some off-the-court woes. The sophomore-to-be plead not guilty to misdemeanor charge of fourth degree criminal mischief on Wednesday after he allegedly reached through the driver's side window of a woman's car and snapped off the turn signal control arm.

3. The Dedham High players Jim Calhoun coached in the early 1970s don't see much of a change between the current version of the fiery future hall of fame coach and the man who they first met 40 years ago. "He was fiery and passionate," ex-player Norm Jones said. "And remember, he was only 28 years old. He could still play. So take that fire and passion and throw in the fact that he could get out on the court and hammer us on the backboards."

4. Here's Derrick Jasper's explanation for why he accepted a graduate assistant job at Texas Tech despite previous reports that new Red Raiders coach Billy Gillispie rushed him back from a serious knee injury at Kentucky in 2008. "I think that was blown out of proportion a bit," Jasper told the Las Vegas Sun. "We had a good relationship. It wasn't bad. It was me wanting to get closer to him. I wouldn't be going back to work for him if I didn't believe he was a good guy.

5. Arizona Republic reporter Doug Haller offers a list of six Pac-12 players he expects to break out and help replace the long list of underclassmen the conference lost to the NBA. Stanford's Dwight Powell, Washington's Terrence Ross and Oregon's E.J. Singler are three from this list in particular that I'd watch closely next season. 

Ex-Kentucky big men Patrick Patterson, Josh Harrellson, Perry Stevenson and Jared Prickett stopped by a Kentucky steakhouse and delivered a dynamite karaoke rendition of The Jefferson's theme song, "Movin on Up." About the only thing that could make this video better is if Harrellson had a solo. (Thanks, Kentucky Sports Radio)

"Every team that played (Irvine) this year, he was the focus of the game plan. ... He's not going to wow you during warm-ups and he's not going to wow you athletically, but he has has a great feel for the game. He'll play (for USC). I can't say if he'll start or not, but he'll be in their rotation." -- an anonymous Big West assistant on 6-foot-6 former UC Irvine post Eric Wise, who is transferring to USC. (Arizona Republic)

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