Thursday, May 31, 2007

May 31 News and Notes

Iowa freshman forward Tyler Smith, who asked for his release from the Hawkeyes in April, has been admitted to Tennessee. "It feels great to get everything situated," said Smith, who is originally from Tennessee. "It has been kind of crazy since I announced I was leaving Iowa. It is great to be back home.” Coach Bruce Pearl was looking forward to the addition. "I am really excited about Tyler Smith coming back to Tennessee," Pearl said. "Our program and Tyler's situations have changed and it is clear to me that this has a chance to work out for Tyler and the University of Tennessee.” Smith wanted to transfer from Iowa to move closer to home and his family. The All-Big Ten selection averaged 14.9 points and 4.9 rebounds last season.

According to Andy Katz of, Ohio State freshman Daequan Cook is likely to stay in the NBA Draft, barring an injury in the next two weeks. "Right now, I'm all the way in," Cook said. "There's no question [he's staying in the draft] unless an injury comes up. Right now it's just in case anything could happen until June 18 so you have to be ready for anything." He says that he is going to sign with Mike Conley Sr., who also represents Buckeye teammates Mike Conley Jr. and Greg Oden. Cook, who averaged 9.8 points and 4.3 rebounds last season, is projected as a first-round pick.

Four UTEP basketball players will not return to the program next fall, including three part-time starters. Freshmen Malik Alvin and Dale Vanwright, redshirt freshman Franklin Jones, and sophomore Maurice Thomas will all transfer from the Miners, according to UTEP officials. "I want all my players to share my vision of what a student-athlete should be -- academically, athletically and socially,” said coach Tony Barnee, who is bringing in six new recruits next season. “I wish them all the best in their future endeavors." Barnee is bringing in six new recruits next season. Alvin averaged 8.0 points and 4.4 assists per game; Vanwright averaged 6.0 points per game; and Thomas averaged 9.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.

Eastern Washington will be looking for a new coach, as
head coach Mike Burns was fired Wednesday morning by interim athletic director Michael Westfall. His contract was terminated for convenience but no specific reason was given. Burns, who has been the head coach for three seasons, has two years remaining on his contract. The Eagles were 38-49 under Burns, 22-22 in the Big Sky Conference. This past season, EWU went 15-14 overall and 8-8 in league play—but failed to reach the conference tournament. Burns had previously been an assistant at Eastern Washington, Central Washington, Washington State, and Stephen F. Austin before returning to EWU in 2004.

Paola Boivin of The Arizona Republic writes about Herb Sendek and the rising Arizona State program. Despite the Sun Devils only going 8-22 overall and 2-16 in the Pac-10 last season, there is optimism in Tempe. "I think there's a tremor building under the surface right now where there's a curiosity to see what's going to happen next," Sendek said. Boivin discusses Sendek’s recruiting abilities, and why people are excited about the upcoming season.

Tom Timmerman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch talks with Rick Majerus and his hectic first month as the head coach at Saint Louis. "We start working at 7 a.m. and end around 11," Majerus said. If I wanted to, I could do four or five hours of media interviews a day." According to administrative assistant Rachel Diener, there is always something for Majerus to do. "When Coach is in the office, he's needed in 10 different places," she said. "My job is to get him to as many places as possible. ... To think it's been a month already is crazy. It's gone by so fast." Since Majerus was hired, season ticket sales have skyrocketed and boosters have shown more interest in the program.

Larry Vaught of the Kentucky Sports Report talks to coach Billy Gillespie about his passion for college basketball. Basketball is my passion,” Gillespie said. “It is also my job, but it is my passion as well. I spend about 23 hours and 50 minutes every day thinking about my passion. I love that.” He also discusses what Gillespie does in his spare time: “I like watching the horses run,” he said. “I like to golf. I am not any good at it, but I like to golf.” They also talk about Gillespie’s interesting breakfast combo—Dr. Pepper and peanut butter crackers.

Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News continues his look at the five most pivotal players in the country for next season with sophomore forward Marcus Landry at No. 3. He writes that Landry is going to need to step up as a go-to scorer if the Badgers are going to continue their winning ways in the Big Ten. He also discusses Landry multi-faceted game as a major reason why he could become the main offensive option for Bo Ryan and Wisconsin in their search for replacements for Alando Tucker and Kammron Taylor.

Jeff Goodman of has a complete list of every player that has transferred during or since the 2007-2008 season ended. It is a great source if you want to catch up on all of the latest transfer news in the past couple of months. Some of the biggest names on the list include Gonzaga’s Pierre Altidor-Cespedes, Tyler Smith of Iowa, Mississippi’s Justin Cerasoli, Miami’s Denis Clemente, Richard and Reginald Delk of Mississippi State, Michigan State’s Maurice Joseph, Oregon’s Chamberlain Oguchi, Johnny Wolf of Xavier, and Joe Trapani of Vermont.

With the spring signing period coming to a close and almost every relevant recruit committed to a school, has unveiled their
final Top 30 recruiting class rankings for the 2007 season. Florida jumps from No. 5 to No. 1 with the addition of Jai Lucas, while Kentucky jumps from unranked to No. 13 with the signings of Alex Legion and Patrick Patterson. Michigan drops out of the rankings with the loss of Legion. Kansas State, USC, Syracuse, and Arizona round out the top five.’s Bryan Graham discusses the recent trends in college basketball in his Market Watch. Kentucky, who led the country in attendance for the second straight season, and Rutgers, who is finalizing plans to build new practice facilities, are on the rise. On the other side, Georgia Tech, who lost Javaris Crittenton to the NBA Draft, Creighton, who lost transfer Isacc Miles, and Lindsay Lohan are falling. Kansas, who saw Brandon Rush announce his return to the Jayhawks only to get the news that he tore his ACL, is in the “hold” category.

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