Monday, April 30, 2007

April 30th News and Notes/Weekend Wrap-Up

Saint Louis has ended their search for a new coach, hiring former Utah head coach Rick Majerus to replace the fired Brad Soderberg. "I'm excited about this opportunity,'' Majerus said. “I look forward to working with this team. I feel very excited. I think it's a world-class university and I think we can bring the team up to the standards of the university.” Athletic director Cheryl Levick was excited about the addition. "Rick Majerus is known as one of the most passionate basketball coaches in America, and he has already communicated that passion to all he has met at SLU," she said. "Rick is committed to taking our men's basketball program to the next level, which is what our athletic department and all Billiken fans want.” Majerus has a career record of 422-147 in twenty seasons, reaching 11 NCAA Tournaments, four Sweet Sixteens, and a national title game. Prior to Utah, Majerus was the head coach at Marquette and Ball State.

Oklahoma State junior guard JamesOn Curry has announced his intentions to enter the NBA Draft. However, he is not expected to hire an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Cowboys for his senior season. "It's a win-win situation,” Curry told The Daily Oklahoman. "I'm going to be motivated to go out and play and have them tell me what I need to work on.” Coach Sean Sutton supported the decision. “JamesOn and I have visited on several occasions about whether or not to enter his name into the NBA Draft,” he said. “Rules are in place now so that student-athletes can go through the process of the pre-draft workouts and can make an informative and educated decision on whether or not to keep their name in the draft.” Curry is projected to be drafted in the late second-round or go undrafted. He averaged 17.3 points and 3.7 assists this past season.

Mississippi State sophomore guard Jamont Gordon has withdrawn his name from the NBA Draft pool, only days after declaring for the Draft. "I got an evaluation on myself and it said late second round," Gordon said. "I'll just wait until next year." reported that Gordon had announced his intentions to enter the NBA Draft late Thursday night. Most mock drafts did not include Gordon, although many feel as if he is a borderline first-round pick in 2008. He averaged 16.0 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 5.3 assists this past season.

New Orleans junior guard Bo McCalebb has declared for the NBA Draft. However, he is not going to hire an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Privateers for his senior season. "Regardless of what happens, I will support Bo and any of our players in any way possible," coach Buzz Williams said. "We've talked about this quite a bit, and we've talked to others. Bo's like any other kid in his situation. He wants a clear barometer of where he stands." The Sun Belt Player of the Year, McCalebb averaged 25.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.1 steals per game this past season.

According to The Tennessean, Tennessee State junior guard Bruce Price has declared for the NBA Draft. However, he is not going to hire an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Tigers for his senior season. “Obviously, Bruce can help us if he comes back next year,” said coach Cy Alexander. “Since he’s not getting an agent, I think this is more of a exploratory deal, trying to get his name back out there among the NBA people just to see what their thinking is on him.” Price has missed most of the past two seasons with two separate ACL injuries, only playing in six games two years ago and missing all of this past season. Price has averaged almost 16 points per game for his career.

According to The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio State junior guard Jamar Butler will not enter the NBA Draft. “He said he had thought about it but he wasn't going to do it,” his father, Melton Butler, said. Butler is the lone returning starter and point guard for the Buckeyes, assuming Mike Conley stays in the draft. He averaged 8.5 points and 3.6 assists per game last season.

Andy Katz of analyzes all the decisions for each of the early-entries. He discusses how this season might have more players on the fence, in terms of deciding to stay in the draft or return to school, than any other season. For each player, he gives a short analysis of their game, the “vibe” they are getting from NBA teams, and the effect their loss will have on their college team.

Jeff Goodman of breaks down the NBA early entrants by category. He discusses the “no-brainers”; players who made “the right call”; players that “would benefit from one more year”; players who are rolling the dice; players who “need to come back”; and he gives kudos to several players for returning to school. He also wishes “good riddance” to two players and says that one player made the “wrong call to stick around” in school for another year. Some interesting category choices for certain players include Joakim Noah, who he says would benefit for another year, and Derrick Caracter, who says should have gone to the NBA instead of staying in school.

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