According to the Dayton Daily News, Ohio State freshmen Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., and Daequan Cook are all likely to declare for the NBA Draft. Albert Powell, who was an assistant coach on the AAU team that all three played on, thinks that there is a "90 to 95 percent" that the trio will decide to enter the Draft. He is close with all three families, and said that “If it's one, it's all of them."
According to the Associated Press, Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun said that freshman center Hasheem Thabeet would like to return to the Huskies for his sophomore season, but first make sure that it is financially possible. "He wants to stay very badly," Calhoun said. "He's just got to find ways in which some help can be given the mother. I don't mean financial help. Maybe some type of work program, it's very complex." Calhoun added, "He just has some responsibilities that are a little unique from most kids. . . . This is not a simple case of a kid wanting to go out, or not go out.” Thabeet will announce his intentions in the next week, according to Calhoun.
According to the Corvallis Gazette-Times, five Oregon State basketball players will not return next season. Coach Jay John announced Tuesday that Sasa Cuic, Wesley Washington, Liam Hughes, Angelo Tsagarakis, and Vojin Svilar will all leave the team. Cuic is going to pursue a professional career; Washington is not academically eligible; Hughes and Tsagarakis will be graduating this spring; and Svilar will go back home to Croatia. “My job is to build a program with stability and a foundation,” John said. “That was not here when I arrived. … And that’s what we are in the process of doing. We are in the midst of the transition. What we are doing is the right thing for Oregon State basketball in the long haul.” The Beavers needed to get rid of at least three players to make room for the newcomers next season, including Kansas transfer C.J. Giles.
According to the Mobile Press-Register, Charlotte head coach Bobby Lutz is the favorite to replace new Arkansas coach John Pelphrey at South Alabama. Lutz visited the campus on Wednesday, and was the first to be interviewed for the job. In his nine years with the 49ers, Lutz has compiled a 168-112 record with five NCAA Tournament appearances. In addition to Lutz, USA is planning on interviewing Alabama assistant coach Philip Pearson, Sam Houston State head coach Bob Marlin, and Lipscomb head coach Scott Sanderson. Athletic director Joe Gottfried has already said he prefers to hire someone with experience as a head coach to fill the vacancy rather than going with an assistant coach.
According to the Seattle Times and other media outlets, Washington freshman forward Phil Nelson had decided to transfer to another school. Coach Lorenzo Romar did not expect this. “It surprised me," Romar said. He also added that Nelson is likely headed to Portland State, coached by former UW assistant Ken Bone. “His familiarity with Coach Bone helped with that, and it's close to his home,” Romar said. “It will be a comfortable place for him.” Romar also said that playing time wasn’t the sole issue, Times staff reporter Bob Condotta thinks the multitude of perimeter players next year could have been a factor in Nelson’s decision.
Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer thinks that North Carolina freshman forward Brandan Wright should declare for the NBA Draft. According to him, Wright won’t announce his intentions until at least April 20th. Fowler writes that Wright’s stock is at its peak, and he should take advantage of that. He also discusses the implications if Wright stays, including injury and his stock dropping.
Caulton Tudor of the Raleigh News & Observer writes how North Carolina will not have an easy road in the ACC next season, despite all the talent on their roster. Tudor discusses how there are several teams that will contend depending on who goes pro and who stays, but he also writes how the four toughest games will be against in-state rivals Duke and North Carolina State. He says, “The Heels could be the team to beat nationally, but surviving the neighborhood won't be easy.”
Bob McClellan of Rivals.com gives his take on the 2007-2008 season with his Preseason Top 25. Surprisingly, Florida is #1. Granted, this was made on April 4th, before the four Gators went pro, but one had to see that coming, right? Ohio State, North Carolina, UCLA, and Georgetown round out the top five.
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