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.

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