Thursday, June 28, 2007

Radio Appearance Tonight at 7 PM

If anyone is going to be near a computer or in the Missouri area on Thursday evening, Jeff Borzello, the lone writer and editor of March Madness All Season, will be making an appearance on The Sports Fix on KRMS in Missouri. I should be going on at 7:10 EST around or so, and will be interviewed on a variety of topics surrounding the NBA Draft, including my take on Greg Oden vs. Kevin Durant, the Florida boys, lottery sleepers, potential early-entry busts, second-round sleepers, and much more. Be sure to tune in by listening to the live stream on the station website!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Which Early-Entrants Made the Right Call?

Every year is the same. Once the college basketball season ends, it seems that every remotely good player—and some not-so-good players—decides to test the NBA Draft waters. Experts and fans from coast-to-coast overreact and start thinking: “What a horrible decision!” This year was no different, as 59 NCAA players entered their names into the Draft. However, once the withdrawal deadline passed last Monday, only 32 collegiate players remained in the Draft as 27 players realized that it would be best to wait at least one more season until leaving school.

Despite the fact that many players made the correct decision to withdraw their name from the Draft, there were still several questionable players on the early-entry list. With that in mind, here is a look at all 32 early-entrants and a breakdown of whether their NBA decision was a good one.

Arron Afflalo, UCLA: For the second season in a row, the All-American didn’t play very well in the Final Four, possibly hurting his stock with the poor performance. Although he did not have a very impressive NCAA Tournament overall, Afflalo is still a likely late first-round pick due to his skill at both ends of the floor. However, he could have returned to the Bruins and made them the favorites heading into next season.

Shagari Alleyne, Manhattan: I don’t understand this decision at all. Alleyne has never proven to be a player that can contribute on any level of basketball—and did not even play this past season after transferring from Kentucky. His shining moment came in his sophomore year, when he averaged 9.2 minutes per game (not points, minutes), registering 1.5 blocks per game. He has no offensive game and is generally awkward on the court. Despite that, some mock drafts have him getting picked in the late second round, which would be one of the worst choices out there.

Corey Brewer, Florida: Nearly everyone knew that Brewer and the rest of the Gators were going to leave after their junior season, so this was no surprise. He has good size, he is long and athletic, and he can be effective at both ends of the floor. Brewer is likely to be drafted in the top seven, so this was clearly a smart decision.

Dwight Brewington, Liberty: Former Providence transfer was a solid scorer—in the Big South. He does not have much shooting range, and does most of his work inside the arc. I don’t see that working out in the NBA for a 6-5 shooting guard.

Wilson Chandler, DePaul: When he announced he was going pro, Chandler did not even contemplate returning to the Blue Demons, despite the fact that no one really expected him to go pro at all. He is very athletic and runs the floor well, but did not get a chance to show that in a slow-down system at DePaul. I think he would have been better off declaring for the draft, but returning to the Demons.

Mike Conley, Jr., Ohio State: Terrific NCAA Tournament boosted his stock to a lottery lock. Going back to school without Greg Oden could have exposed some flaws—like not being able to shoot consistently—so this was a good idea for him.

Daequan Cook, Ohio State: I guess Cook felt left out with all the attention Oden and Conley were getting, so he decided to go pro with them. He is apparently going to be drafted in the first round, although that is clearly not based off of production. Cook averaged 4.4 points per game over the last 11 games of the season—what NBA team could pass that up?

Javaris Crittenton, Georgia Tech: Borderline lottery pick and one of the top three point guards in the Draft, so he made the right decision to go. Furthermore, his game and size should translate well to the NBA. Probably would not have gained anything from staying another year at Tech.

JamesOn Curry, Oklahoma State: Didn’t see this move coming, considering he is an undersized shooting guard that likely won’t get drafted. He could have even declared for the draft and just not signed with an agent, so he could pull a Randolph Morris and return to school—but that obviously didn’t appeal to him. Curry struggled mightily down the stretch, scoring in single-digits in five of his last nine games.

Glen Davis, LSU: His stock was at its highest after his sophomore season, when Davis and his infectious smile lead the Tigers to the Final Four. However, this past season, he seemed to regress. LSU played better while he was injured and they only went 5-11 in the SEC. Davis does not have great leaping ability or length, and his game does not translate well to the NBA.

Kevin Durant, Texas: Going to be one of the top two selections and did not have much to gain by returning to the Longhorns—obviously a good decision.

Jeff Green, Georgetown: Seemed to go back and forth on his decision several times over the past couple of months, but I’m not sure why. He is going to get drafted in the lottery, and has been projected as high as No. 5. Could have returned to help lead the Hoyas back to the Final Four, but this was a good decision.

Taurean Green, Florida: Was going to be a second-round pick whenever he came out, so it made sense to follow the rest of his teammates to the NBA. He’s proven to be a winner and a player capable of running a team, though.

Spencer Hawes, Washington: He was hampered by injuries during his one season with the Huskies and never really had a chance to show his full potential. Could have stayed another year to develop his game, but he’s going to be a top ten pick so one can’t blame him for going.

Al Horford, Florida: Has been an unsung hero throughout his career at Florida, always overshadowed by the boisterous Joakim Noah. However, this year he showed that he was the better player and might be the leading candidate to be taken No. 3 in the Draft. He is a tenacious rebounder and a good shot-blocker who can score in a variety of ways up front. He is also a solid passer.

Robert Earl Johnson, Clinton JC:
Another one of the worst decisions this season. He played in only 10 games at Clinton, averaging 11 points per game. Furthermore, he shot only 57% from the free-throw line. None of those numbers matter, though, as there’s no chance he will get drafted.

Kellen Lee, Los Angeles City College: Another JC player that won’t get drafted. He’s 6-11 and was a solid high school player, so I’m not sure why he wouldn’t take a shot at a D-I school.

Dominic McGuire, Fresno State: Was one of the first players to declare for the draft this season, and is a likely second-round pick. He is long and athletic, and can do a variety of things at both ends of the floor. If he keeps his focus while on the court, he could be a good NBA player. Probably a good decision, as another year might not have done anything for his stock.

Josh McRoberts, Duke: Never really seemed overly interested in playing at Duke anyway, so this was likely the only choice in McRoberts’ mind. His stock has dropped more and more since he came to Duke two seasons ago, although he has the talent and skill to make a different at the next level.

Joakim Noah, Florida:
Everyone knew Noah and the rest of his “Gator boys” were going to go pro after their second national title in a row, so this was no surprise. He would have been drafted much higher last season, but will have to settle for top ten instead of top three.

Greg Oden, Ohio State: Nothing really to discuss here, as Oden is going to be top pick overall and would have been if he came out two years ago or two years from now. Potential franchise player.

Kendaris Pelton, Southern Mississippi: He’s not really from Southern Miss, as he only played seven games for the Golden Eagles—during the first half of the 2005-2006 season. He played almost 27 minutes per game, but averaged less than three points per game, and shot 29% from the field. Pelton has not been heard from since then, and certainly won’t hear his name on Thursday.

Gabe Pruitt, USC: His stock rose considerably during the NCAA Tournament, as he showed that he is capable of running the point despite not playing there before this past season. He is a borderline first-round pick that probably did not want to spend an entire season sharing the ball with incoming Trojans guard O.J. Mayo. Probably the right choice.

Ramon Sessions, Nevada: Had an up-and-down career at Nevada, with a great freshman season, mediocre sophomore campaign, and a great junior year. He is going to be a mid-second round selection, but his stock would likely have dropped next season without Nick Fazekas in Reno anymore.

Jason Smith, Colorado State: No player’s stock has risen more than Smith’s over the past couple of months. Instead of being a second-round selection, he is likely to be drafted in the top-twenty. This was a terrific decision, as he did the smart thing: tested the waters without signing an agent, was very impressive in workouts, then decided to stay in the Draft. This should be the posterboy for players that are undecided if they should enter the draft or stay in school.

Rodney Stuckey, Eastern Washington: Smart decision, as Stuckey is being looked at as a mid-first round selection despite the fact that he has not been a household name nationally during his career at EWU. He is a bit of a tweener right now, as he is too small to be a shooting guard but does not have much experience at the point guard position.

Marcus Williams, Arizona: Another situation where the player never really seemed interested in playing college basketball. It doesn’t seem as though Williams will be missed much in Tuscon next season, despite his impressive statistics. He is likely to be drafted in the first round, though, making his decision a smart one.

Sean Williams, Boston College: He had no choice but to go pro after being suspended and later kicked off the Eagles in the middle of the season for failing drug tests. He is a terrific shot-blocker and has potential as a scorer and rebounder. One interesting thing, though, is that Williams is not working out for too many teams, which could hurt his draft stock.

Brandan Wright, North Carolina: While he likely could have used another year at UNC, Wright essentially had to go pro as he is going to be drafted in the top ten—and as high as No. 3. He sometimes drifted and lost interest during games last season, but that could change in the NBA. Wright has arguably more upside than anyone in this Draft outside of Oden and Durant.

Julian Wright, Kansas: A multi-faceted player, Wright is going to be drafted in the top ten and made the right decision to go pro. However, I am not completely sold on Wright as a future star, though. While he does everything well, he is not exceptional in any particular category and also does not have a defined position. He might not be strong enough to play power forward, and does not shoot well enough to be a very good small forward.

Nick Young, USC:
One of my favorite players in college basketball, I think that Young is going to be an outstanding pro. He is a bubble lottery pick, and likely made the right decision by turning pro. Young had an impressive NCAA Tournament, averaging 19 points and 7 rebounds per game (even matching up with Kevin Durant against Texas), and if he improves his three-point shooting consistency, he could be a terrific two guard in the NBA.

Thaddeus Young, Georgia Tech: His stock dropped since last season as he probably would have been a top ten pick if high school players were allowed to enter the NBA Draft. Now, however, he is going to have to settle for the late lottery or mid-first round. I think he made a poor decision, though. He could have used another year at Tech working on his game. There were times when Young was not aggressive enough, and he is also not a very good three-point shooter or ball-handler. Young could be a terrific NBA player down the line, but I don’t think he is ready right now.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Tyler Smith Eligible to Play Immediately at Tennessee

Tennessee freshman forward Tyler Smith has been granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA. Smith transferred from Iowa after the season to be closer to his father, Billy, who suffers from lung cancer and whose condition is not improving. Shortly after transferring, Smith filed an appeal to the NCAA that would allow him to play immediately so his father could watch him play.

Bruce Pearl was glad to see the NCAA make the right decision. "This is really good news for Tyler, his family and the University of Tennessee basketball program," he told the Knoxville News-Sentinel. "I am pleased to see the process work and I believed all along that granting the waiver was the right decision." He went on to say that the announcement did not come as a surprise to him. "This is a good example of the NCAA doing the right thing in the best interest of the student-athlete,'' he said. "This isn't a surprise to me; this is how the system is supposed to work.''

The Volunteers were already looking forward to playing with Smith next season. "And we're still a family," freshman forward Duke Crews said. "Tyler belongs here with us; we've all known him since we started playing.''

In a statement, Smith thanked the Tennessee program and said he was excited to play next year. "I'm appreciative of the University for working with the NCAA and their support during the process,'' he said. "I'm anxious to play and contribute as a member of next year's team.'' Smith, who was an all-Big Ten freshman this past season, averaged 14.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.

Friday, June 22, 2007

June 22 News and Notes

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, New Mexico State recruit and high school All-American Herb Pope might back out of his commitment to the Aggies after former NMSU coach Reggie Theus left Las Cruces to become the new Sacramento Kings coach. "I'd say it's a little better than 50-50 that he won't stay at New Mexico State," said Nick Lackovich, Pope’s assistant coach in high school. Herb's pretty upset about [Theus' departure]. I think he might wait a week to see what happens." Lackovich also said that when Pope signed with New Mexico State, Pope and Theus had a verbal agreement that the school would release Pope from his letter of intent if Theus went elsewhere.

Bob McClellan of gives his updated Preseason Top 25. North Carolina stays at the top spot, with Memphis, UCLA, Kansas, and Louisville rounding out the top five. Some interesting rankings include: USC at No. 9, Kansas State at No. 11, and Arizona at No. 12. Florida is unranked.

Bryan Graham of gives his Early-Summer Top 25. Memphis is atop the rankings, while North Carolina, UCLA, Georgetown, and Louisville round out the top five. The two-time defending national champs, Florida, sit at No. 23. goes through each of the six major conferences with a quick look at each team in the league, discussing the good and bad news every team faces heading into next season.

Mark Schlabach:
Jay Bilas:
Big East
Andy Glockner:
Big Ten
Fran Fraschilla:
Big 12
Andy Katz:

According to the Rapid City Journal, UC-Irvine sophomore guard Adam Templeton has announced that he will transfer to Drake. Templeton said that basketball was not the only reason for the transfer. “At Drake, academically, they’ve got a business major that I want to pursue,” he said. “At Irvine, they didn’t have a business school, so I want to major in business at Drake.” He also mentioned the level of play in the Missouri Valley Conference as a key selling point. “Oh yeah, the teams are going to be a little better competition,” he said. “I’m looking forward to that. Hopefully we can get to the tournament sometime.” At Irvine, Templeton was a part-time starter who averaged 8.0 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

According to the
Gainesville Sun, Rayford Shipman, one of the top players in Florida, has announced that he will be headed to the Gators. "He's come up to Gainesville each of the last two years and really enjoyed the school, the facilities and the coaches," said Shipman’s high school coach, Mark Lieberman. "He's looking forward to going to Florida." ranks Shipman as the No. 12 small forward in the country and the No. 65 recruit overall, while ranks him as the No. 21 small forward.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

June 20-21 News and Notes

Incoming Texas freshman Gary Johnson could miss the upcoming season after being diagnosed recently with a heart condition. Johnson, who was the Longhorns’ top recruit and a projected starter, never had problems in high school with his heart. "In high school, he didn't have any situations at all with his heart as far as breathing or fainting or anything like that," Johnson’s former high school coach, Zeke Smith, said. "So I was shocked to learn about this." Smith added that there is no timetable on Johnson’s return. “We’re in a wait-and-see-type situation,” he told the Houston Chronicle. “It’s possible we won’t have any answers for a few months.” He did not even rule out Johnson playing next season. "They didn't give him a definite 'no, you won't play anymore,’” Smith told the Austin American-Statesman. “Maybe next year.” Although Longhorns coach Rick Barnes was unavailable for comment, Texas team trainer Fred Burnett issued the following statement: “At this point in time, Gary Johnson has not been cleared to participate in any physical activities at the University of Texas.” Johnson was ranked as the No. 59 recruit by and the No. 33 recruit by

New Mexico State head coach Reggie Theus has accepted an offer to become the next head coach of the Sacramento Kings. He was excited about the opportunity. "The only other time I can remember having this feeling was being drafted into the NBA," he said. "This is an amazing experience." Co-owner Gavin Maloof was looking forward to the new coach. "We consider him a first-class person and this is a first class organization," he said. "We call him the King of Kings." He pointed to Theus’ ability to rebuild the NMSU program as a key hiring point. "That kind of turnaround just doesn't happen," he said. "We are proud of his accomplishments." Theus played 13 seasons in the NBA, including four with the Kings.

Andy Katz of gives his updated pre-Preseason Top 25. Memphis stays at the top spot, while North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA, and Georgetown round out the top five.

Joe Lunardi of provides his updated Bracketology for the 2007-2008 season. The top seeds are: North Carolina, UCLA, Memphis, and Louisville, while Marquette, Kansas, Tennessee and Michigan State get two seeds.

Jeff Goodman of gives his updated Preseason Top 25. UCLA is atop the rankings, with North Carolina, Memphis, Michigan State, and Kansas rounding out the top five.

Luke Winn of ranks the five winners and losers of the offseason thus far. Georgetown leads the way in the “winners” category, followed by Kentucky, Marquette, Florida, and Kansas. On the other side, Georgia Tech is the top loser, followed by West Virginia, Ohio State, Washington, and Nevada.

Jeff Goodman of writes that Washington will just reload despite the loss of freshman center Spencer Hawes to the NBA Draft. Coach Lorenzo Romar thinks that freshman Quincy Pondexter is going to be the key. “He has shown he can step up and be a go-to guy,” Romar said. “He scores quickly (he had 20 in a half against Arizona) and averaged double-figures as a freshman without being the go-to guy. He was our leading scorer until conference play.” Romar also says that sophomore Justin Dentmon will have to step up at the point. “We didn’t have to depend on Justin his freshman year,” Romar said. “His sophomore year we would have liked to have depended on him, but things didn’t work out that way.” Goodman writes that the starting lineup will be: Dentmon and Ryan Appleby in the backcourt; and Pondexter, Jon Brockman, and incoming freshman Matthew Bryan-Amaning up front.

Jeff Goodman of updates UCLA junior Josh Shipp’s recovery from hip surgery. "He's doing great with his rehab," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "He's kept his weight steady and he'll be running on it this coming week. They'll put him on the treadmill." Howland thinks that Shipp should be ready to go by October. “He's already been through the rehab process once," Howland said, referring to the first hip surgery Shipp had in 2005. "He played the year and there was no issue." Shipp averaged 13.3 points per game last season, and is expected to be the Bruins’ go-to-guy next year.

Carl Steward of the
Oakland Tribune writes that California junior center DeVon Hardin made the right decision by returning to the Golden Bears for his senior season. “Hardin's prospects would seem higher with one more year of college seasoning,” Steward says, “and he should have his degree in hand if it turns out they aren't. He'll be set up for a good life regardless of what happens.” He discusses how smart Hardin is—both in the classroom and with his Draft decision. He also says that Hardin will make more money next season, when he could be a lottery pick.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

June 19 News and Notes

After yesterday's barrage of news, here's some quick-hitters for today:

- Outstanding piece on New Mexico State recruit Herb Pope by Thayer Evans in the New York Times

- Gary Parrish of
CBS gives his Preseason Top 25 (and one). Guess who the former Memphis Commercial Appeal writer and current Memphis resident has atop the rankings?

- Bob McClellan of discusses eight players that may be ready to break out next season

- Andy Katz of discusses how the decisions by several key early-entrants affect their former or current teams

- Mike DeCourcy of the
Sporting News breaks down the winners and losers from the NBA Draft’s withdrawal deadline

- Top 25 recruit
Romero Osby is headed to Mississippi State

- Kentucky freshman guard
Derrick Jasper had knee surgery last week and will miss four-to-six months; he is not expected to miss any official practice time or games

- Incoming Virginia freshman point guard
Sam Zeglinski won’t get thrown into the fire immediately now that Sean Singletary is returning

- Jenni Carlson of the Stillwater News-Press looks at life at Oklahoma State without JamesOn Curry, and also discusses how it is the beginning of a new era as Curry was the last link to the Cowboys’ 2004 Final Four team

- Matt Winkeljohn of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says that the timeline between the end of the season and the deadline for early-entrants to withdraw from the NBA Draft is way too long

- Andy Fritchley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution thinks that Georgia Tech freshmen Thaddeus Young and Javaris Crittenton should have stayed in school, and that coaches should recruit players who will stick around for more than one year

- Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times thinks that Washington freshman Spencer Hawes made the right decision by turning pro

- Ted Miller of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer writes that Washington freshman Spencer Hawes going pro is a win-win for both Hawes and the Huskies

- Former Iowa transfer and current Tennessee freshman Tyler Smith is looking forward to playing for the Volunteers—although he might have to wait a year

- Bryan Mcanally of The Battalion, Texas A&M’s student newspaper, looks ahead to the Aggies’ 2007-2008 season

Monday, June 18, 2007

NBA Draft Early-Entry Deadline in Review

With the deadline for early-entrants to withdraw their names from the NBA Draft passing at 5:00 PM EST today, the dust has finally settled from two and a half months of underclassmen declaring, returning to school, and/or signing with an agent to keep their names in the Draft. Here at March Madness All Season, we kept you updated on all the news and notes surrounding the Draft--especially today, which saw several players wait until the last few hours to make their decision. In case you missed anything from this past weekend, though, here is a recap:

Staying in the Draft
Jeff Green, Georgetown: LINK
Spencer Hawes, Washington: LINK
Mike Conley, Ohio State: LINK
Thaddeus Young, Georgia Tech: LINK
Jason Smith, Colorado State: LINK
Daequan Cook, Ohio State: LINK
Ramon Sessions, Nevada: LINK
JamesOn Curry, Oklahoma State: LINK

Returning to School
Sean Singletary, Virginia: LINK
Dominic James, Marquette: LINK
DeVon Hardin, California: LINK
Marcelus Kemp, Nevada: LINK
Shaun Pruitt, Illinois: LINK
Charles Rhodes, Mississippi State: LINK
Maureece Rice, George Washington: LINK
Jaycee Carroll, Utah State: LINK
Aaron Bruce, Baylor: LINK

For non-NBA Draft related news from the weekend, click here.

With the deadline finally passed and the 2007-2008 rosters beginning to take form, it is time to take a long look at next season. In the coming weeks, expect more content, including an analysis of the NBA Draft early-entrants, a post-NBA Draft Top 25, a "Who's #1?" column, various thoughts on the 2007-2008 season, and a look back at the predictions that March Madness All Season has made over the past year. Of course, March Madness All Season will also have all the News & Notes to keep you informed in the world of college basketball.

Early-Entry Update: Jason Smith Staying in Draft; Charles Rhodes Returning

According to the Fort Collins Coloradoan, Colorado State junior center Jason Smith has announced that he will keep his name in the NBA Draft and not return to the Rams for his senior season. “I thoroughly enjoyed my years at Colorado State,” Smith said. “I had a great relationship with (former CSU coach) Dale Layer and his staff. I also enjoyed my time with (new) coach Tim Miles over the last few months. While the future of CSU Rams basketball is in great shape, I have spent the past three weeks working out and visiting with various NBA teams. Based on the feedback and response I have received, the opportunity in front of me is one I cannot pass up.” Coach Tim Miles supported the decision. “The NBA is getting a young man with tremendous character, wonderful work ethic, and big-time athletic ability,” Miles said. The 7-footer will be represented by agent Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports in Chicago. Smith, whose draft stock is rising rapidly, averaged 16.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per game last season.

According to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, Mississippi State junior forward Charles Rhodes has announced that he will withdraw his name from the NBA Draft and return to the Bulldogs for his senior season. "I have officially withdrawn my name from the 2007 NBA draft by faxing the required paperwork to the NBA office," Rhodes said. "The NBA put this policy in place to allow underclassmen like myself to test the draft waters, and I simply took advantage of the opportunity. I now have a better perspective on the areas of my game that I need to work on in order to improve my status for next year's draft." Coach Rick Stansbury supported the decision. "Hopefully through this process, Charles has learned the importance of hard work and how it impacts his future," he said. "We now expect Charles to come back ready to help our team compete for another championship." Rhodes averaged 13.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game last season.

Sean Singletary Returning to Virginia

According to The Daily Progress, Virginia junior guard Sean Singletary is planning to announce that he will withdraw his name from the NBA Draft and return to the Cavaliers for his senior season. “He said staying in school is something that you’ll never be able to replace,” said Sean's father, Harold Singletary. “He said it would be just so fulfilling for him to finish out his education.” An official announcement is expcted later today. Singletary averaged 19.0 points and 4.7 assists per game last season.

Spencer Hawes Staying in the Draft; Maureece Rice Returning

Not surprisingly, Washington freshman center Spencer Hawes has made it official, according to the Seattle Times: he is going to keep his name in the NBA Draft and not return to the Huskies for his sophomore season. "After meeting with everyone, getting all the appropriate feedback and going through the entire evaluative process, I made a decision I believe is the best for my future and that is to remain eligible for the NBA Draft,'' Hawes said. “The decision to further my career in the NBA at this point in time was difficult. Every day I had different feelings about it. But at the end of the game, I have to be realistic and trust my instincts.'' He added that Washington’s struggles this past season made his decision even harder. “Certainly there are some things I would have liked to accomplish in college,” Hawes said. “But, I feel I made the best decision for my family and my future.'' Coach Lorenzo Romar said the UW will move on without Hawes. “Other guys are capable of stepping up,” he said. "We'll just have to do things a little differently. But here at Washington, that's not new, because that's what we did before Spencer.'' Hawes is projected to be drafted in the lottery. He averaged 14.9 points and 6.4 rebounds per game this past season.

According to the Associated Press, George Washington junior guard Maureece Rice has withdrawn his name from the NBA Draft and will return to the Colonials for his senior season. As a junior, Rice led the Colonials in scoring, averaging 15.8 points, and in 3-pointers made, with 64. He was the 2006 Atlantic 10 sixth man of the year. Rice was not projected to be drafted, according to most mock drafts.

DeVon Hardin Returning to California

According to the Alameda Times-Star, California junior center DeVon Hardin has announced that he will withdraw his name from the NBA Draft and return to the Golden Bears for his senior season. "It'd probably be in the early to late 20s, in that range," Hardin said. "The kind of thing I was hearing was that I was in the mix with a couple guys. That means there's no guarantees. "I feel like I can make that even better if I go back to school." He added that it was not an easy choice to make. "It was a very difficult decision, especially getting down to the wire," Hardin said. "I got some pretty good offers as far as this year, but always Cal was the first option. I feel pretty good. I made my decision. I've got to accept it and make the best of it." Coach Ben Braun was excited about Hardin’s decision. "Obviously, I'm happy for us, but I'm happy for DeVon," he said. "It's not an easy decision for a young man to make. I think it takes a lot of courage, it takes a lot of foresight." The announcement comes on the heels of a San Francisco Chronicle report that said Hardin was planning on hiring an agent. Michael Hardin, DeVon’s father, told on Monday afternoon that "the report was inaccurate. We have pulled his name out." Hardin averaged 10.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game last season over the first twelve games, before missing the last 22 contests with a stress fracture in his left foot.

Early-Entry Update: Who's Staying, Who's Going?

According to Gary Parrish of CBS and Jeff Goodman of, Georgetown junior forward Jeff Green is going to keep his name in the NBA Draft and not return to the Hoyas for his senior season. "He decided for sure this morning," a source said Monday. "The coaches already know." Sources close to the situation told Chad Ford of that Green had been going back and forth about the decision for weeks, but he ultimately decided that his draft position was too good to pass up. Green is projected to be drafted in the lottery. He averaged 14.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game last season.

According to Jeff Goodman of, Georgia Tech freshman forward Thaddeus Young has decided to keep his name in the NBA Draft and not return to the Yellow Jackets for his sophomore season. "Obviously, we wish him the best in the NBA," coach Paul Hewitt said. "He's a great young man who will have a fine career in the NBA. He's a high-character kid who has a lot of talent." Young is projected to be drafted in the middle part of the first round. He averaged 14.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game last season.

According to Jeff Goodman of, Washington freshman center Spencer Hawes is going to keep his name in the NBA Draft and not return to the Huskies for his sophomore season. Two sources close to the situation said that Hawes will remain in the Draft. He is projected to be drafted in the lottery. Hawes averaged 14.9 points and 6.4 rebounds per game this past season.

According to the Quad-City Times, Illinois junior center Shaun Pruitt has announced that he will withdraw his name from the NBA Draft and return to the Fighting Illini for his senior season. “At this stage in my career, I feel it would be best to return to the U of I men’s basketball program and help my teammates prepare for another winning season,’’ Pruitt said. He added that he learned a lot about his game by playing against top competition. “I’ve had the opportunity to test my skills and abilities against several draft-eligible players from across the country and overseas,’’ Pruitt said. “I’ve also learned a lot about the game of basketball on the next level.’’ Coach Bruce Weber backed the decision, saying that “he will be a better player by having gone through the process.’’ Pruitt averaged 11.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game last season.

According to the Waco Tribune-Herald, Baylor junior guard Aaron Bruce has announced that he will withdraw his name from the NBA Draft and return to the Bears for his senior season. “I evaluated the situation and concluded it’s in the best interest of everybody if I come back to Baylor,” Bruce said. “My mindset from the start was to see how the process worked and find what I need to work on before next year’s draft.” He also said that he is looking forward to making a run at the NCAA Tournament. “My goal since I got here was to help turn the team around and play in the NCAA Tournament, and that’s the main reason I’m coming back,” Bruce said. Bruce averaged 14.3 points and 3.5 assists per game last season.

June 18 News and Notes: Early-Entry Deadline Special

For the rest of the weekend news, click here.

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Marquette sophomore guard Dominic James has announced that he will withdraw his name from the NBA Draft and return to the Golden Eagles for this senior season. "I discussed it over with my family, and it's the best thing for me,” James said. “I had an assessment from the GMs and scouts and all that, but I feel like the most important assessment was the assessment of myself. I feel like another year of college, or maybe even two, will set me up for the future." Coach Tom Crean supported James’ decision. “He definitely trusted the process and allowed it to take its course,” he said. “He got the information throughout it that gave him the best chance to make the best possible decision." James said he is not disappointed that he did not get the reaction from NBA scouts and GMs that he wanted. "I don't look at it in a bad way,” he said. “I just look at it as a chance to get better. That's what my whole life has been, taking some type of adversity and turning it into a positive." James averaged 14.9 points and 4.9 assists this past season.

According to Andy Katz of, Oklahoma State junior guard JamesOn Curry is planning on staying in the NBA Draft and not returning to the Cowboys for his senior season. Coach Sean Sutton said that Curry informed him that he would be staying in the draft and was hopeful that he would be selected in the second round. Sources have told that Curry is under the impression that he will be selected in the second round by Chicago; the Bulls have refuted those rumors. Curry is being advised to remain an amateur through the draft and not sign with an agent. If Curry were to go unselected, with no signed representation, then he could return to college. He averaged 17.3 points and 3.7 assists per game last season.

Nevada junior guard Ramon Sessions has decided to keep his name in the NBA Draft and not return to the Wolf Pack for his senior season. "After giving it a great deal of thought, I have decided to forgo my senior season," Sessions said. "I truly enjoyed my experience at the University of Nevada. Playing at Nevada has opened many doors for me, including this one, and it is now time for me to pursue my dream." Coach Mark Fox said that Sessions’ decision caught him by surprise. "I really didn't expect it,” he said. "He has been told by the NBA he'll be somewhere in the second round.” Sessions, who is projected as a second round pick in most mock drafts, averaged 12.3 points and 4.7 assists per game last season.

As expected, Ohio State freshman guards Mike Conley Jr. and Daequan Cook are planning on signing with an agent, according to the
Columbus Dispatch. Both players are expected to sign with Mike Conley Sr., which would close their option to return to the Buckeyes for their sophomore seasons. Cook’s former coach, Al Powell, said that he has been hearing nothing but positives about Cook. "He's really impressed people," said Powell. "The closest I've had (a general manager) tell me he should go back to school is he'd make more money (next year) if he went back. But I haven't had a parade of people say he needs to go back to school." Conley Sr. is confident that his son will be drafted in the top-10. "He's doing really well," Conley Sr. said. "His stock is about as high as you can ever ask for in a college basketball player." Conley Jr. averaged 11.3 points and 6.1 assists per game last season, while Cook averaged 9.8 points per contest.

According to Andy Katz of and Jeff Goodman of, Nevada junior guard Marcelus Kemp is going to withdraw his name from the NBA Draft and return to the Wolf Pack for his senior season. Head coach Mark Fox and a source close to the program both confirmed that Kemp was coming back to Reno. Kemp, who averaged 18.5 points and 4.6 rebounds per game last season, is entering his sixth year of college in 2007-08.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle and a source close to the family, California junior center DeVon Hardin is expected to announce that he has signed with an agent and will keep his name in the NBA Draft rather than return to the Golden Bears for his senior season. His father, Michael, said that no decision has been made yet. "This whole situation is kind of fluid, so it's too soon to say," he said. "We're hearing good news, and we're getting some feedback that will be useful in making the decision, but there's no decision yet." Hardin has until Monday to withdraw his name from draft consideration. He is projected by most mock drafts to be drafted in the latter part of the first round. Hardin averaged 10.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game last season over the first twelve games, before missing the last 22 contests with a stress fracture in his left foot.

Utah State junior guard Jaycee Carroll has decided to withdraw his name from the NBA Draft and return to the Aggies for his senior season. "I have decided to return to Utah State for my senior season," Carroll said. "Coming back to school will give me the opportunity to continue to develop as a player and enhance my draft status for the next year.” He is looking forward to next season, both on and off the court. "I also want to finish my degree and help Utah State contend for a Western Athletic Conference championship and a trip to the NCAA tournament," Carroll said. Coach Stew Morrill is excited about the decision. "Jaycee returning for his senior year has been a strong possibility throughout this process and we are very pleased that he has reached this decision," Morrill said. "This experience has been both positive and informative for Jaycee. He will now be better prepared for his future basketball opportunities and at this point be able to concentrate on our upcoming season." Carroll averaged 21.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game last season.

According to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Mississippi State junior forward Charles Rhodes has not made up his mind yet regarding the NBA Draft and will wait until Monday’s deadline to make decision. “It’s going to come down to the last second,” he said. “I’ve been doing a lot of work preparing myself. We’ll just have to wait and see. I want to make sure it’s the right decision.” Despite the fact that he is not on any mock drafts currently, Rhodes is not worried. “I really don’t get into it,” he told The Clarion-Ledger. “It’s going to work out.” Rhodes averaged 13.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game last season.

According to the Denver Post, Colorado State junior center Jason Smith is still undecided on whether he will keep his name in the NBA Draft or withdraw and return to the Rams for his senior season. "We have to make a decision on if it's the best decision for me," Smith said. "If I'm the highest place I can go, if I can go first round, middle of the first round, then we'll see. I'm hearing from about 15-30, and that's really good. If I can go 15-20, 15-25, that's really good." Coach Tim Miles said he and the other players are not lobbying too hard for Smith’s return because they understand what is at stake. "They'd love to have him back," Miles said. "But they understand that if he can be one of those top 15, 20 picks, that's a pretty cool thing, too." Smith, whose stock is rising rapidly in most mock drafts, averaged 16.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per game last season.

According to Andy Katz of, George Washington junior guard Maureece Rice is expected to withdraw his name from the NBA Draft and return to the Colonials for his senior season. "As far as I know, he's coming back," coach Karl Hobbs said. Rice, who does not appear in most mock drafts, averaged 15.8 points per game last season.

June 18 News and Notes: Weekend Wrap-Up

Devin Ebanks, one of the top recruits in the Class of 2008, has announced that he will be headed to Indiana. "Coach Sampson sat down with me and my family and we felt it was the best situation for me," Ebanks said. "Indiana's always going to be a Top 25 team and they also have one of the top academic programs in the country." He also said that the passion for basketball in Bloomington played a key role in his decision. "Their fans are crazy," Ebanks said. "I've never even seen so many people come to an AAU tournament." Ebanks, who is ranked No. 10 by and No. 11 by, chose the Hoosiers over Rutgers, UConn and Georgia.

According to the
Monroe News Star, LSU sophomore forward Magnum Rolle has decided to transfer to Louisiana Tech. “I’m excited about the style of play that will help me develop personally and individually to help the team,” Rolle said. “[Freshman] D.J. [Wright] and I can create mismatch opportunities for the opponents along with the other guys on the team. I look forward to helping other guys get better in practice and develop team chemistry.” Coach Kerry Rupp is excited about the addition. “Magnum Rolle is a very versatile big man who has the skill and ability to play both inside and outside,” Rupp said. “He will be what I call a ‘mismatch basketball player.’ We are very excited about Magnum and feel that he will not only be an excellent player, but also a tremendous asset as a person both on and off the court for our basketball team.” Rolle averaged 4.0 points and 4.1 rebounds per game last season.

Kemba Walker, a rising high school point guard, has announced that he will be headed to Connecticut. "It's kind of my dream school," he said. "Jim Calhoun is a Hall of Fame coach." Walker also added that he wanted to decided quickly and avoid the questions that were sure to follow him throughout the summer. "I just had to get this over with," Walker said. Former Rice High School teammate and current Husky Curtis Kelly helped Walker with the final choice. "He told me it was a good situation," Walker said. has Walker as the No. 4 point guard in the Class of 2008, and the No. 36 player overall. He chose the Huskies over St. John’s and Cincinnati.

According to the Baltimore Examiner, Richmond freshman guard Brian Morris has decided to transfer to Towson. “He's a very versatile perimeter player,” Towson coach Pat Kennedy said. “There aren't too many 6-foot-6 guys who can play the point. He can always be a small forward. It's nice to get guy with his flexibility.” Kennedy is looking forward to the impact that Morris will make. “He was one of our top recruits coming out of high school,” Kennedy said. “He's going to be a very good CAA player. There's no question about it.” Morris averaged 8.1 points and 2.3 assists per game last season, starting 23 games for the Spiders He is the fifth transfer Towson has gained this offseason, joining Vernon Carr, Tony Durant, Junior Hairston and Josh Thornton.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Memphis freshman guard TreVon Willis has decided that he will transfer to UNLV. "I felt comfortable with everything. It's a perfect fit for me," said Willis, who averaged 2.6 points per game last season. "I felt like it was the right thing, and I had to do what's best for me." Willis, who is originally from Fresno, California, said he was transferring from Memphis because he was unhappy with playing time and wanted to return to the West Coast. He chose the Rebels over Fresno State and San Diego State.

Jeff Goodman of writes about Michigan State and its Final Four hopes in 2007-2008. He starts off with this whopper: “You heard it here first: Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans will be back in the Final Four next year.” Goodman discusses how the Spartans will be able to get back to running the ball up the court instead of the slow-down, walk-it-up style Izzo utilized last year. “I pulled the hair out of my head having to walk it up, but I had no choice,” Izzo said. With the return of nearly every key player from last season and the addition of three quality freshmen, the Spartans will be able to play quicker. “We’re not re-inventing how we play,” Izzo said. “We’re just getting back to how we do play.” Izzo also said that the added depth will make them tougher to prepare for. “We won’t have a drop-off and we’ll be able to keep guys fresher and put a little more pressure on teams defensively,” Izzo said. “We also won’t have to play one style. We can get out and run or play slower if we need to.”

Friday, June 15, 2007

June 14-15 News and Notes

Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg is resigning from his post to take an administrative job with the Big Ten Network, an upstart television station. "There's never a perfect time to depart, but I believe the current time is good," Weiberg told the San Antonio Express-News. "The bottom line for me is that it's time for a change. Nine years is a long time at this job. A change will be good for me and the conference. It's a great job, but for me it's not a two-decade job." He also said that he began thinking about leaving throughout the year. "I began having feelings through the course of this past year that it was time for a change," Weiberg told the Dallas Morning News. "I began to have feelings that nine years was a long time to do it. Parts of the routine were bothering me more than they used to." It took all of the athletic directors in the conference by surprise. "If you knew this was coming, you're in the minority," Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione told the Morning News. "I sure didn't. I just didn't expect that. Missouri AD Mike Alden agreed. “It certainly took me by surprise,” he told the Kansas City Star. “It sounds like a good opportunity.” Kansas State AD Tim Weiser said that it is a big loss for the Big 12. "I’m disappointed, and I say that selfishly,” he told the Star. “He’s been a steady influence on this conference.” As for Weiberg’s successor, Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne does not think it is going to be easy to fill his shoes. “He's going to be difficult to replace,” he told the Morning News.

Andy Jasner of the
Seattle Post-Intelligencer writes about Washington freshman center Spencer Hawes and his forthcoming decision on whether to stay in the Draft or return to the Huskies. "It's hard to put a number on it," Hawes said. "I think I'm feeling pretty good about how my workouts are going. I still have to sit down with my family, people that are close to me, and try to make that decision." Hawes also discussed how the decision is constantly on his mind. "I think it still kind of eats at me, the season we had and the legacy I left," Hawes said. "It didn't work out the way I wanted it to. If that's (UW) the best place to be, to develop -- and I still need to decide that -- then it would be a reason to return. I thought we would at least make the (NCAA) Tournament. We had a tough season. We didn't accomplish what we thought we were going to. That stays on your conscience." According to Jasner, Philadelphia 76ers general manager Billy King was impressed by Hawes. "He's very skilled for his age," King said. "For his size, he has the ability to handle the ball, can shoot, post up. He's got a lot of positives." Hawes averaged 14.9 points and 6.4 rebounds this past season.

Steve King of the Philadelphia Daily News and Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer both write about Virginia junior guard Sean Singletary and his forthcoming decision on whether to stay in the Draft or return to the Cavaliers for his senior season. "I'm ready for it. I just want to make sure I'm making the right decision," Singletary told the Daily News. “I'm going to play in the NBA eventually, I just want to make sure this is the right time. It's a very tough decision, but it's just a part of the process." He added that he was not overly worried about the decision. "I'm just taking all the information in and will sit down and discuss everything with my family," Singletary told the Inquirer. "I'm not stressing out at all." All he wants to do is be able to make an impact in the NBA—either this year or next year. "I definitely want to come in and be an impact player right away," Singletary said to the Daily News. "I don't just want to come in and be another player on an NBA roster just sitting there. I want to come in and be able to help contribute to my team for an entire season." Asked which way he was leaning, Singletary responded to the Inquirer: "Right now all I am trying to do is make an impression on the various general managers.” He averaged 19.0 points and 4.7 assists per game last season.

According to the
Oakland Tribune, San Francisco sophomore guard Antonio Kellogg has decided to leave USF to pursue a career in professional basketball. "I feel that it is in my best interests to move into a pro career and support my family," Kellogg said. "I really enjoyed my time at the University of San Francisco, but right now I feel that this is the proper path for me." Dons coach Jessie Evans said that he understands Kellogg's decision. "We are supportive of what Antonio wants to do," Evans said. "The young man gave us all that he had on the court, but he feels that it is time to move on and take an important step in his life." Kellogg averaged 17.2 points and 3.6 assists per game in his only season with USF after transferring from Connecticut.

According to the
Los Angeles Daily News, UCLA has finalized its non-conference schedule for next season. The marquee match-ups are games at Michigan and home against Texas. The Bruins will also play in the Wooden Classic, for which their opponent is undetermined, and the College Basketball Experience, in which they will be one of the four pod hosts, along with Michigan State, Maryland, and Missouri.

According to the Associated Press, Wofford junior guard Drew Gibson has announced that he will withdraw his name from the NBA Draft and return to the Terriers for his senior season. Coach Mike Young was excited about the news. "We are delighted to have Drew back as we assumed we would when we discussed this back in March," Young said. Gibson averaged 12.8 points and 5.4 assists this past season.

According to the
Louisville Courier-Journal, Louisville freshman center Derrick Caracter will undergo surgery Monday to repair torn cartilage in his left knee after suffering the injury in a pickup basketball game this week. "He has a very small tear of the meniscus," coach Rick Pitino said. "He'll probably be out 4-6 weeks. It's a very minor surgery, but it has to be fixed." Pitino also said that Caracter would have to watch his weight when he is not playing. "He's going to go on an all-vegetable diet," Pitino said. "He has to be on a very strict diet, because if he doesn't play, (his weight) can be a problem." Caracter averaged 8.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season, and also had multiple suspensions due to various off-court problems.

According to Andy Katz of, Memphis has added a four-year series against Georgetown to its schedule for next season and, as a result, dropped Mississippi from the 2007-2008 slate. With the addition of the Hoyas, John Calipari and the top-five Tigers have home games against Georgetown, Arizona, Gonzaga and Tennessee, as well as neutral-site match-ups against USC in the Jimmy V Classic and likely two more in the Coaches vs. Cancer benefit tournament in November. Both Calipari and athletic director R.J. Johnson consider it the nation’s toughest schedule. The Tigers were not forced to pay a buyout to the Rebels because the Ole Miss football team asked the Tigers to drop the final two years of a four-year series in football.

According to the Spokane Spokesman-Review, Eastern Washington has hired UNC-Wilmington associate head coach Kirk Earlywine to replace the fired Mike Burns as its head basketball coach. “This has always been my goal and I’ve prepared myself for this for 22 years,” Earlywine said. “It’s very humbling because there are only 325 NCAA Division I jobs and not everyone gets this opportunity. I’m very excited to work at a school I’m so familiar with.” EWU President Rudolfo Aravelo was excited with the choice. “After making several rounds of reference calls, it solidified in my mind the final selection,” Aravelo said. “Kirk’s experience with coach Rick Majerus and his success at Weber State, coupled with the caliber of recommendations we received, made this a great choice for Eastern.” Prior to being an associate coach at UNCW, Earlywine was an assistant coach at Weber State, Ball State, and Utah, the latter two under the tutelage of Rick Majerus.

Kentucky sophomore center Jared Carter has re-injured the right shoulder that limited him to three games last season. He injured it in a pick-up game last week, according to the school. Kentucky spokesman Scott Stricklin said that school is awaiting test results to determine the extent of the injury and the needed corrective measures. Last season, Carter injured the shoulder in November, only to return for three games and injure it again. The Wildcats are awaiting word whether Carter will get a medical redshirt for last year.

Jeff Goodman of and Andy Katz of both discuss the optimism that coach Norm Roberts has for his St. John’s squad heading into next season. “We’re going to be much more athletic and versatile,” Roberts told FOXSports. “We’re going to be able to spread the court and play faster.” He was also very excited about incoming freshman Justin Burrell. "He's got a chance to be great," Roberts told "He's so big, so active. We'll be so much more athletic with him." Roberts also thinks that junior Anthony Mason, Jr. is primed for a break-out season. "He's really ready to take off," Roberts said to The Red Storm finished 16-15 last season, 7-9 in the Big East.

Frank Dascenzo of the Durham Herald-Sun writes that Duke will not miss NBA Draft early entrant Josh McRoberts. He discusses how they lost eleven games with McRoberts in the lineup, including defeats in the first round of both the ACC and NCAA Tournaments. “The truth is McRoberts could have had most anyone hold the door for him,” Dascenzo writes. He also discusses how coach Mike Krzyzewski recruited high school star Patrick Patterson heavily because of the anticipated departure of McRoberts, and that “rumor has it Duke's basketball loyalists are more depressed about [Patterson’s decision to attend Kentucky] than McRoberts'.”

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

June 13 News and Notes

Samardo Samuels, the nation’s top center and one of the top ten recruits in the Class of 2008, has announced that he will be headed to Louisville. "It just seemed like the perfect opportunity," Samuels said. "I talked with Coach (Rick Pitino) about what I needed to do and what he is going to do for me. (Pitino) was excited, and I'll make it work. I really liked it there." The 6-9 forward made a visit to Louisville over the weekend, reportedly vaulting the Cardinals past North Carolina and Connecticut on his list. "To tell you the truth, I thought it was just another trip," Samuels said of his expectations. "But when I went down there and started seeing things and picturing things happening and what can I do at this place, it was perfect." Playing time and head coach Rick Pitino were key factors in his decision. "I am going to get better as a player under Coach," he said. "He knows what it takes to help me get to the next level.” Samuels is ranked as the No. 6 player in the country by both and

Coastal Carolina head coach Buzz Peterson has announced that he accepted a position as director of player personnel with the Charlotte Bobcats. Peterson is long-time friends with the Bobcats’ managing partner, Michael Jordan. "I don't think timing's good no matter what if you're doing this," Peterson said. "I told the assistant coaches we need to make sure we put our arms around and answer all the questions for these young men. They made a commitment to us at Coastal Carolina. Timing's bad, but I didn't want to prolong it longer and longer." University President David DeCenzo does not like the timing of the departure, but he knows he has to adapt. "In a perfect world, you'd rather not be looking for a coach in the middle of June,” he said, “but you have to look at the situations as they arise. For all concerned, we now have some closure." Peterson was 35-25 in two seasons with the Chanticleers, who had eleven consecutive losing seasons before Peterson arrived.

According to the Associated Press, Duke sophomore Josh McRoberts has signed with an agent, therefore making him ineligible to return to the Blue Devils. Bob Myers announced that he will be representing McRoberts. He said that McRoberts has a wide range of where he will be drafted. "It's tougher now; an agent (usually) has a better sense at this stage," Myers said. McRoberts announced that he was leaving school early in March, and most figured it was a foregone conclusion that he would stay in the NBA Draft. At the time, coach Mike Krzyzewski said that "it is time for him to move on to the next level.” McRoberts, who is projected as a mid-first round pick by most mock drafts, averaged 13.0 points and 7.9 rebounds last season.

Florida freshman guard Brandon Powell and a UF football player, Brandon James, have been suspended indefinitely from their respective teams after being arrested Monday night on drug possession charges. "We are aware of the situation and understand the severity of its nature," Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said in a statement. "This is not something we take lightly. Both coaches have informed me that the players involved have been suspended indefinitely and we will continue to follow the procedures in addressing this." According to Gainesville Police spokesman Sgt. Keith Kameg, the two purchased about eight grams of marijuana for $20 from a confidential source. "There was a conversation about money for exchange and then a sale was completed," Kameg said. Powell averaged 1.6 points per game last season.

Chris Carlson, who spent four seasons working for coach Ben Howland at UCLA, has been hired as the new UC San Diego coach. “The opportunity to be the head coach at UCSD is a special one that also affords me the opportunity to return home,” said Carlson. Carlson said it was a tough decision. "This wasn't an easy decision. It's not easy to cut bait and leave a school like UCLA," Carlson told the Los Angeles Daily News. "The chance to lead your own program is always something special and unique. To have it occur at UC San Diego is tremendous, and very exciting for me." He takes over for Bill Carr, who left the Tritons to become an assistant at San Diego. UCSD is a Division-II program. At UCLA, Carlson was the director of basketball operations, and has also worked under Howland at Pittsburgh, Northern Arizona, and UC Santa Barbara. “He will definitely be missed here,” Howland said.

Justin Young of breaks down the top mid-major recruiting classes for the 2007-2008 season and which freshmen will make impacts next season. He writes that Memphis and Gonzaga are the only Top 20 recruiting classes in the mid-major world, while New Mexico State, Pepperdine, and Virginia Commonwealth round out the top five. Young also writes that the Atlantic-10 has five teams in the Top 20 of the mid-major recruiting rankings, while UNLV and Dayton picked up big-time commitments in five-star recruit Beas Hamga and four-star signee Chris Wright. Butler also has a quality recruit in forward Matt Howard. According to Young, the top five recruits on mid-major teams next season are: Memphis’ Derrick Rose, the nation’s top point guard, and Jeff Robinson; Gonzaga’s Austin Daye; UNLV’s Beas Hamga; and New Mexico State’s Herb Pope.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

June 11-12 News and Notes

According to the Associated Press, Texas A&M junior forward Joseph Jones has decided to withdraw his name from the NBA Draft and return to the Aggies for his senior season. "I feel like I was not getting the response from the NBA people in the spot I wanted to be in, which is the first round or something guaranteed," Jones said. He was not expected to be drafted in the first round by most mock drafts. Jones averaged 13.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game last season.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Utah State junior guard Jaycee Carroll is likely to return to the Aggies for his senior season. He has not had a chance to work out for an NBA team yet. "I don't need to convince everyone in the NBA that I can play," Carroll said. "I just have to have one person think I can play and give me the opportunity." There are reportedly four teams interested in bringing Carroll in for a workout. "I need to go and I need to have a good workout somewhere," said Carroll. "That'd make the whole thing worth it. If I can get one workout, it'd make it worth it." Carroll averaged 21.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per last season.

According to Jeff Goodman of, Purdue sophomore guard Chris Lutz has announced that he will transfer to Marshall. "I was thinking about leaving Purdue after my freshman year," Lutz said. "I just wasn't getting acquainted and initially I wanted to be closer to home. But through the process, I realized that I still wanted to play somewhere I could make the NCAA tournament." The Big Ten’s leading three-point shooter chose the Boilermakers over Xavier and Rhode Island. "Coach Jones and the rest of the staff made me feel comfortable and I just felt like I couldn't get a better person to play for," Lutz said. "His whole vision about the program is tremendous and his style of play is something I've always wanted to play." Lutz averaged 6.1 points per game this past season.

According to the
Nevada Appeal, high school All-American Luke Babbitt has announced that he is going to opt out of his verbal agreement with Ohio State and attend Nevada. "Basically I had a change of heart," the 6-8 forward said. "I just decided that I wanted to stay close to home. Obviously Nevada is getting better and better, and I want to try and help them keep winning. Coach (Mark) Fox has done a great job up there, and I've always liked him. He's a great guy, and I'm looking forward to playing for him." He informed Ohio State coach Thad Matta of his decision Monday morning. "We didn't talk long," Babbitt said. "I don't know exactly how he took it. This was basically because of me wanting to play in front of my family. It had nothing to do with those guys (going to the NBA)." Although Babbitt cannot sign anything official until November, he says his decision is final. "I thought about it (calling the other schools)," Babbitt said. "This is it for me. I don't want to be re-recruited. I'm sure I want to go to Nevada. I wanted to let people know as soon as possible." Babbitt is ranked No. 37 in the country by

According to Jeff Goodman of, Michigan State sophomore guard Maurice Joseph has announced that he will transfer to Vermont. "They are a good program and have been to the NCAA tournament three of the last four years," Joseph said. "My goal was to be somewhere I can be more of a focal point and win." Joseph chose the Catamounts over Rhode Island. He liked the coaches and the proximity of Burlington to his family in Montreal. "That was part of it," Joseph said. "I also like the staff at Vermont. They are young guys who have fire in their eyes. They want to take the program to another level." He averaged 5.9 points per game last season.

Tom Keegan of the Lawrence Journal-World writes about the bond formed between Kansas freshmen Sherron Collins and Brady Morningstar. Brady and his family helped Collins adapt to living away from home when they first arrived last summer. “She made it easier for me when I first got down here last summer,” Collins said of Brady’s mother. “I was a little homesick, and Brady and the Morningstars welcomed me in like I was one of their family members, so I owe them a lot, and I love them like they’re my own family.” The two hang out all the time off-the-court, with Brady knowing more places to go and things to do than Sherron. “Brady helps me out a lot,” Collins said. “We’re just like brothers, basically. We do everything together.”

Jeff Goodman of writes about Georgia Tech in 2007-2008, and the return of guard Lewis Clinch, who was suspended in January for academics. “He’s taking summer school classes and should be fine,” Hewitt said. “He just can’t have any slip-ups in the summer.” Hewitt also discussed the point guard situation for the Yellow Jackets, with freshman Maurice Miller and former Georgetown and North Georgia transfer Matt Causey fighting for the starting spot. “We were prepared for the possibility of Javaris going pro and that’s why Mo was such an important recruit for us,” Hewitt said. ”Matt played well in practice last year and he gives us experience. We feel like we’ve got adequate depth at the position.”

Justin Young of breaks down the Big 12, calling it the No. 6 conference in the country for recruiting this season, and its incoming freshmen for 2007-2008. Young writes that the Big 12 has only four teams with Top 30 recruiting classes, with only one in the Top 20. He also says that the Big 12 will be stocked with quality big men for years to come thanks to the incoming class. According to him, the top five freshmen next season will be: Kansas State’s Michael Beasley, Texas A&M’s DeAndre Jordan, Iowa State’s Craig Brackins, Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin, and Kansas’ Cole Aldrich.

Jeff Goodman of writes about Illinois in 2007-2008, and how coach Bruce Weber expects junior forward Shaun Pruitt to withdraw his name from the NBA Draft and return to the Fighting Illini. “We’re hoping Shaun’s going to be back,” Weber said. “And we think the process will be a positive for Shaun and for us.” Weber also discussed senior forward Brian Randle’s health for 07-08. "He’s hoping to get out there playing again in July,” Weber said of Randle, who had groin surgery after the season ended. “He hasn’t played at all since the season ended. Weber thinks that Randle could have a big season if he is healthy. “A year ago, NBA guys were checking in after watching him at Nike camp,” Weber said. “If he can get healthy, he can have a breakout year."

Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News continues his look at the five most pivotal players in the country for next season with Arizona junior guard Jawann McClellan at No. 2. He writes that McClellan does not have to be the go-to-guy on offense, or even the second option, but he has to be able to take control and become the leader for the Wildcats. He also says that McClellan needs to stay healthy and polish his game. DeCourcy discusses how the recent Arizona teams have failed because of the lack of leadership from the seniors; McClellan can change that.

James Pennington of
The Kentucky Kernel, the UK student newspaper, takes a look at the 2007-2008 season in the SEC. He writes that Tennessee could be one of the strongest teams in the league; Alabama will make noise in the SEC West; Mississippi State is the team to beat in the SEC West; Auburn and Arkansas will be tough opponents; and that Florida and Kentucky are reloading. He also provides each team’s key losses and additions.