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 FOXSports.com, 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 Scout.com.

According to Jeff Goodman of FOXSports.com, 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 FOXSports.com 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 Rivals.com 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 FOXSports.com 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.

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