Tuesday, May 29, 2007

May 24-29 News and Notes

Kansas sophomore Brandon Rush has announced that he will return to the Jayhawks for his junior season. “Throughout the process I have been able to give this much thought,” Rush said. “We have a great team returning and I love my teammates. The people at Kansas and the fans have treated me so well. It is hard to pass up the opportunity to experience another year of that.” Coach Bill Self was excited about the situation. “It has never been my goal that Brandon return,” he said. “It has always been my goal that Brandon make the best decision for his future.”

When making
the announcement, Rush also said that it was not because of a knee injury he sustained in a pickup game. “People will think the reason I am returning is because I injured my knee playing in a pickup game,” Rush said. “That is not true, but it did reinforce to me that the time was not right to go to the NBA.” However, the University of Kansas announced on Tuesday that Rush tore his ACL and will miss up to six months. “The MRI report from last Friday confirms that Brandon did tear his ACL,” Bill Self said. “We did not announce the nature of the injury last week per Brandon’s request.” Because of the injury, Rush would not have been able to attend the Orlando pre-draft camp—meaning he could not perform in front of scouts and executives.

Georgia Tech freshman
Javaris Crittenton has announced that he will keep his name in the NBA Draft and will not return to the Yellow Jackets for his sophomore season. "Everyone has given me their support and blessing," Crittenton said. "I see this as an opportunity, and I plan to put my best foot forward and give it my all. I'd like to thank all of my coaches, teammates and fans for a great time at Georgia Tech." Crittenton told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the thin class of point guards in this year’s draft played a role in his decision. "There are a few teams that have kind of announced that they need a point guard, but anything can happen,” he said. “I'm confident in my decision and trusting in God." He averaged 14.4 points and 5.8 assists per game this past season. Tech is still waiting on the final decision from fellow freshman Thaddeus Young.

Matt Winkeljohn of the
Atlanta Journal-Constitution takes a look at the possible replacements for Crittenton. The top two options are senior Matt Causey, who transferred from North Georgia, and freshman Maurice Miller, a top-20 point guard recruit. "I know a little about Mo Miller. He came on his visit and did a great job in pick-up games," Crittenton told the AJC. "I can't say if he'll be able to handle that pressure right away, but Matt Causey, I know he will. People don’t know Matt because he had to sit out a year, but he may shock people.”

Eastern Washington sophomore guard
Rodney Stuckey has announced that he will hire an agent and not return to the Eagles for his junior season. "When you get good feedback saying you're a first-round pick ... I've got to do what's best for me and my family,” said Stuckey. "Not a lot of players get to be in position to be doing this. I thought this year was the best year for me to go.” His coach, Mike Burns, supported Stuckey’s decision. "Look at the numbers he's put up: They're staggering," said Burns. "He's had a phenomenal career.” Stuckey, who averaged 24.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game this past season, is projected to be drafted in the late-to-middle part of the first round.

Larry Drew Jr., one of the nation’s top point guard recruits, has announced that he will be headed to North Carolina. "It was the right school for me," he said. "Everybody in North Carolina treats you like family." His coach, Derrick Taylor, backed the decision. "I think the system fits him," he said. "The personality of a coach is important, and Roy Williams works for Larry." Many have described Drew as an old-school point guard. "Larry can dominate a game without having to score a lot of points," Taylor told The News & Observer. "He understands the game of basketball.” Drew, whose father, Larry Drew Sr. is a former NBA player, is ranked as the No. 4 point guard by Scout.com and the No. 12 point guard by Rivals.com.

According to the
Charlotte Observer, Davidson is not shying away from big-name opponents next season, scheduling Duke, North Carolina, and North Carolina State. The Wildcats, who return everyone from last season’s NCAA Tournament, including star freshman Stephen Curry, will also play at Charlotte. "We want to provide the best experience for our players and for our fans," coach Bob McKillop said. "These games do that, and also give the best exposure to our program."

According to
The Baton Rouge Advocate, LSU sophomore forward Magnum Rolle has announced that he will transfer. “It’s been a vigorous two years for me,” Rolle said. “After this season, me and my family members discussed it and decided that LSU is not the best place for me. It’s a great place, but it’s just time for me to move on and get a fresh start somewhere else.” He added that he didn’t think he ever had a chance to prove himself. “In two years here I never really got a chance to show what I can do,” he said. “That’s why I don’t feel like this is the place for me anymore.” Rolle averaged 2.8 points and 3.2 rebounds per game over his career.

Creighton freshman guard
Isacc Miles has announced that he will leave the Blue Jays’ program and will transfer to another team. He started 27 games last season, helping lead Creighton to the NCAA Tournament, and averaged 6.1 points per game.

According to the
Wilmington Star News, Wake Forest transfer Kevin Swinton has committed to UNC-Wilmington. However, UNCW sports information director Joe Browning told the Greensboro News-Record that Swinton is not a Seahawk yet. "We don't have an official announcement on Kevin Swinton as of yet," Browning said. Swinton originally transferred from the Demon Deacons on April 11. "Wake Forest is a special place," Swinton said at the time. "I am definitely going to miss the fans and the great basketball here, but I thought it would be most beneficial to me right now to continue my career at another school." He averaged 2.8 points per game this past season.

MSNBC’s Mike Miller of the
Beyond the Arc blog discusses some of the 2007-2008 contenders. He says that Brandon Rush’s return to the Jayhawks puts them near the top of the rankings, joining UCLA, Memphis, Georgetown, and North Carolina. Miller also writes that USC, Washington State, Tennessee, Louisville, Indiana and Duke will also be in the hunt. Furthermore, he touches on some of the top Player of the Year candidates, including Rush, Darren Collison of UCLA, Tyler Hansbrough of North Carolina, Indiana’s D.J. White, Michigan State’s Drew Neitzel, Roy Hibbert of Georgetown, Chris Lofton of Tennessee, and USC’s Taj Gibson.

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