Friday, April 6, 2007

April 6th News and Notes

Kentucky has finally found a replacement for the departed Tubby Smith. The Wildcats have hired Texas A&M coach Billy Gillispie. Gillispie, who turned around the Aggies’ program in only three seasons, was given a raise last week by Texas A&M to stop him from going to Arkansas. Gillispie will reportedly receive $2.3 million per year from Kentucky. Regarding the Wildcats’ program, Gillispie said “This program got turned around like 2,000 years ago and it's been turned around ever since. Since they started putting those nets up there and used a round ball, they never needed a turnaround.” Kentucky went 22-12 this past season, while Texas A&M was 27-7.

According to the
Tucson Citizen, Arizona sophomore forward Marcus Williams has announced that he will enter the NBA Draft. He also said that he will hire an agent, meaning that he will not be allowed to return to the Wildcats. Williams said, “I think I'm ready. It's going to give me a lot of opportunities to give back to my community. I felt like it was time.” It came as no surprise to anyone that has followed Arizona this past season, and even coach Lute Olsen has said several times that he expected Williams to declare for the Draft after the season. The All-Pac-10 first-teamer is projected as a late-first round pick, and averaged 16.6 points and 6.7 rebounds this past season.

According to the Seattle Times, Washington freshman center Spencer Hawes has announced that he will enter the NBA Draft. However, he is not going to hire an agent, leaving the option of returning to the Huskies open. Hawes said, “You have to go in focused 100 percent on what your goal is, so right now, my mindset is I'm trying to be as prepared as possible for the draft and to contribute at that level . . . My goal since I've been a kid was to go to the NBA and try to be a starter in the NBA and I think that's something I look forward to.” Coach Lorenzo Romar backed Hawes’ decision, saying “The rule was put in place for this very reason: to go out and test the waters and see what the experts think.” Hawes is considered a lottery pick in most draft projections. He averaged 14.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game this past year.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Santa Clara has hired UCLA assistant coach Kerry Keating to fill the Broncos’ vacant head coaching spot. Keating was an assistant under Ben Howland for the Bruins the past four seasons, and was an assistant under Buzz Peterson at Tennessee for two years prior to that. He is known as a terrific recruiter who helped UCLA land several outstanding recruits over the past few seasons. Keating, 35, will replace Dick Davey, who retired under pressure from the program. He is expected to be formally announced as the new head coach on Friday.

Sophomore guard
Jonathan Bailey of Rice was stabbed and killed outside of a bar in College Station, Texas early Thursday morning. Jonathan and his twin brother, Janson, were involved in an altercation inside the bar, which was later continued outside the bar after those involved were asked to leave. Police found the brothers at 1:45 a.m. and were brought to a hospital. Jonathan was later pronounced dead, while Janson was listed in fair condition. Bailey, a walk-on for Rice, played four games and scored four points this past season.

According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, incoming Memphis freshman guard Derrick Rose is looking forward to playing for the Tigers and thinks that he will mesh well with the team. Rose said, “I can't wait to just get down here for summer school and get to know the area and meet the fans . . . I’m going to fit in perfect.” He also thinks that the Tigers should have high expectations heading into 2007-2008. “Man, we should be up there," Rose said. "The way they played this year, the way they played as a team. The whole year, they got it done.” Memphis is ranked in most preseason top fives around the country, and Rose is considered a top-five prospect by most recruiting services.

Bob Smizik of the
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette thinks that criticism of coach Jamie Dixon is not right and fans need to “get used to” the success that the Pittsburgh program has had over the past few years. “Dixon should be hailed for his coaching, if not his recruiting,” Smizik said. “His teams have consistently overachieved. He is a victim of his own success . . . Winning more than 25 games, a dream season for most fans, doesn't do it for them.” However, Smizik thinks that Dixon needs to get better players in order for the Panthers to take the next step. Smizik wrote, “…teams don't make it to the Final Four with this caliber of recruit . . . Getting better players would considerably speed up the process.”

Kevin Brockway of the
Gainesville Sun writes about the future for the Florida Gators after the loss of their top six players from this season. Coach Billy Donovan said, “We’re starting over in many respects. You can’t lose half your team . . . and not miss a beat.” Brockway also discusses the bigger role that the returnees need to play, as well as the incoming freshmen class. “We’re going to have to get back to work,” Coach Donovan said. “…we’ll have a lot of playing time, and there might be a situation where everyone is starting from scratch.” Moreover, Brockway mentioned McDonald’s All-American Patrick Patterson, who is still unsigned. The Gators are one of the finalists for his services.

No comments:

Post a Comment