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.

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