Keep your HLT port high, it will keep temps more even. It doesn't need to be pinched really, just a gentle rotation will work fine.
In the BK the location is less important, mid or high will be fine, but a little pinched diameter at the return port is good to give the whirl more speed.
Good call on using the full-flow connects.. it makes a dramatic difference from using the pro-flow hose barbs. Tried them both. It will get you a very decent flow rate with the pump. I use the camlocks with female NPT connectors, and a 5/8" hose barb with 1/2" tubing.