Thursday, April 26, 2007

April 26th News and Notes

According to, Kansas sophomore wing Brandon Rush is planning on announcing his intentions to enter the NBA Draft. A source told them that Rush will officially announce it at a press conference on Friday, and is meeting with the coaching staff to inform them of his decision. The source also says that Rush will not hire an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Jayhawks. Rush is projected as a first-round pick, and averaged 13.8 points and 5.6 rebounds this past season.

Georgia Tech freshman guard Javaris Crittenton has announced his intentions to enter the NBA Draft. However, he has not hired an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Yellow Jackets for his sophomore season. “I enjoy Georgia Tech, the environment here and all the fans, and I appreciate all the support I've gotten though high school and my freshman year, both from the Tech community and the people in Atlanta, but I feel I need to enter my name right now in order to get the best possible information from people in the NBA,” Crittenton said. Crittenton is the second Georgia Tech player to declare in the past two days, with fellow freshman Thaddeus Young announcing his plans on Tuesday. Crittenton, projected by most mock drafts to be drafted in the first round, averaged 14.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game this past season.

UCLA sophomore guard Darren Collison has announced that he will forgo the NBA Draft and return to the Bruins for his junior season. The announcement was originally made by UCLA spokesman Ryan Finney, who said that Collison stopped by his office to notify him of the decision. Fellow sophomore Luc Richard Mbah a Moute also said that he would return to the Bruins. Collison, projected by most mock drafts to be drafted in the lottery in 2008, averaged 12.7 points and 5.7 assists per game this past season. Mbah a Moute averaged 8.2 points and 7.4 rebounds.

Connecticut freshman center Hasheem Thabeet has announced that he is going to forgo the NBA Draft and return to the Huskies for his sophomore season. "I am very excited about next season and returning to UConn for my sophomore year," said Thabeet. "I look forward to continuing my education as a person and as an athlete. We have all been working very hard since the season ended and will continue doing everything we can to get better each day and have a great season next year." Coach Jim Calhoun was excited about the decision. “We obviously have high expectations for Hasheem in the coming year,” he said. “He has the opportunity to take it to the next level during this coming summer and heading into next season and can really be a big part of our team achieving success in the future.”’s Andy Katz reported on Tuesday that Calhoun said he expected Thabeet to return. He averaged 6.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 3.8 blocks per game this past season.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Robert Morris will hire Pittsburgh assistant coach Mike Rice as their new head coach, replacing Mark Schmidt. Schmidt resigned after six seasons to take the St. Bonaventure head coaching position. Rice has been an assistant under Jamie Dixon with the Panthers for one season, and was an assistant at St. Joseph’s prior to that. He was chosen over assistants from Baylor, Kentucky, and Rhode Island. Robert Morris was 17-11 this past season.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Missouri junior forward Glen Dandridge has announced that he will leave the team. However, he plans on staying in school until the end of summer. "I'm staying here to finish the semester and summer school," he said. Dandridge averaged 1.4 points per game this past season.

Bob McClellan of breaks down the draft decisions by many of the top players. He thinks that Wilson Chandler, Glen Davis, and Arron Afflalo made the wrong decision by leaving school, and also thinks that Daequan Cook made the right call by going to the NBA. He discusses eleven other players, and questions Jamont Gordon’s decision to stay.

Following up his column regarding five new coaches who should win right away,’s Luke Winn discusses five coaches who should be afforded patience in their first seasons. Leading the way is Michigan’s John Beilein, followed by Iowa’s Todd Lickliter, Stan Heath of South Florida, Tubby Smith of Minnesota, and Colorado’s Jeff Bzdelik. He also gives a timetable for each team’s next NCAA Tournament appearance.

Caulton Tudor of the
Raleigh News & Observer writes about the bigger role that several North Carolina players will have to take on now that Brandan Wright has declared for the NBA Draft. The big men that he discusses are freshman Alex Stepheson and Deon Thompson, and sophomore Mike Copeland. He states: “Carolina is still up to its ears in bigs. Losing Wright hurts but doesn't cripple a team that still will be among the national championship favorites when the season starts."

Mark Bradley of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes about Thaddeus Young’s decision to go to the NBA, and how it was not an easy choice for him. He discusses how many people think they know what Young should do, but there is more to it than what is apparent on the surface and that Young had to choose what is best for him. He states: “It’s easy to say what you’d do were you in Young’s shoes, but you aren’t. . . . The guess is that he’ll leave, but it’s just a guess. It isn’t advice. See, I’m not Thaddeus Young.”

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