Monday, June 4, 2007

June 4 News and Notes

According to Jeff Goodman of, new Orlando Magic head coach Billy Donovan is regretting leaving Florida and wants to return to the Gators. A source close to the situation said that Donovan, who accepted the job on Friday, has approached both sides about getting out of the deal. Donovan has not signed the deal yet—and reportedly regretted accepting it shortly after agreeing to the contract. Another source said that Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley flew to Virginia to meet with VCU coach Anthony Grant about the vacant head coaching spot, but had to return to Gainesville shortly after landing due to an emergency: Donovan wanting to return to the Gators.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the Orlando Magic will allow former Florida head coach Billy Donovan to return to the Gators. "It's over," said a source close to the situation. Donovan, who agreed to a 5-year, $27.5 million deal on Friday but reportedly regretted it soon thereafter, discussed the matter over the weekend with both Magic General Manager Otis Smith and President Bob Vander Weide. Unless Donovan wakes up today and changes his mind, the Magic will let him go, the source said. Donovan has won back-to-back championships with Florida; the leading candidate to replace him was VCU's Anthony Grant, who said Sunday that he has not met with anyone from Florida yet.

Virginia Commonwealth head coach Anthony Grant, the favorite to replace Billy Donovan at Florida, said Sunday night that he has not met with anyone from Florida yet. I have been contacted by the University of Florida regarding their coaching vacancy,” he said in a statement. “I have not had any in-person contact with any Florida representative nor have I been offered the job.” He also said that he wanted to clear the air because of all the news surrounding him and the Gators. Due to the amount of media speculation regarding my involvement with the University of Florida coaching vacancy, I felt it necessary to address the situation,” he said. At this point in time, I will have no further comment on this situation as my focus is on my responsibilities at VCU." Grant was expected to meet with Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley on Saturday, but that did not happen according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Grant was an assistant under Donovan at Florida for ten seasons before taking the VCU job prior to last year.

According to his former AAU coach, Miami (Fl.) sophomore guard Denis Clemente has transferred to Kansas State. Al Alvarez, who founded the Miami Tropics AAU team that Clemente once played for, said that Clemente enrolled at KSU for two summer sessions. "He's probably the kid with the biggest upside we've ever had," Alvarez said. "He'll definitely be an impact player there at K-State." Clemente chose Kansas State over Clemson, Seton Hall, and Arizona. Clemente averaged 9.8 points per game last season before being suspended for an undisclosed violation of team rules late in the season.

According to the
Daily Press, Arkansas sophomore guard Sean McCurdy has transferred to William & Mary. "He's very excited about it," said McCurdy's father, Bob, who played at Richmond in the mid-1970s. "It's a great school and Tony (Shaver) is a great coach. He didn't get as much playing time as he hoped as a freshman and sophomore (at Arkansas). Most players think they deserve more playing time, and he wanted to make sure to get that opportunity. It really couldn't have worked out any better." McCurdy averaged 1.7 points in 9.3 minutes per game last season.

According to the Fresno Bee, Fresno State guard Kevin Galloway did not meet the academic standards agreed upon when Galloway arrived on campus and is now likely to transfer to a junior college. Galloway transferred to Bulldogs from USC in January, but was already behind academically when he joined the team, according to coach Steve Cleveland. "I absolutely love Kevin Galloway, but to be successful at this level you have to be successful in the classroom," Cleveland said. "This is not a program that can be in [conflict] with the [NCAA's Academic Progress Rate]." The team received a warning from the NCAA earlier this month that it could be penalized if its APR does not improve to the required 925 score. "When we take a transfer," Cleveland said, "it's critically important that they are in a position academically to graduate and to meet requirements. The APR is too important for us right now to turn my back on it." has made their initial Power Rankings for the 2007-2008 season. They rank the top ten players at each position, plus the top ten head coaches. Surprisingly, Mississippi State’s Jamont Gordon leads the way at the point guard position, with UCLA’s Darren Collison and D.J. Augustin of Texas following. At shooting guard, Chris Lofton of Tennessee gets the top spot, with Kansas’ Mario Chalmers and Michigan State’s Drew Neitzel behind him. The injured Brandon Rush of Kansas gets the nod at small forward, with North Carolina State’s Brandon Costner and Arizona’s Chase Budinger following. North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough is No. 1 at power forward, while Indiana’s D.J. White and USC’s Taj Gibson are ranked behind him. Roy Hibbert leads the way at center, with Stanford’s Brook Lopez and Memphis’ Joey Dorsey following. Thad Matta of Ohio State is the No. 1 coach, while Georgetown’s John Thompson III and Tony Bennett of Washington State round out the top three.

Bob McClellan of discusses the power rankings and how the power in college basketball has shifted to the West for the upcoming season. 13 of the 50 players listed are from the Pac-10 with the Mountain West providing three more. No other conference has more than seven. McClellan also discusses the injuries surrounding Kansas’ Brandon Rush, Alabama’s Ronald Steele, and UCLA’s Josh Shipp—and how they impacted the rankings.

Jeff Goodman of discusses the 2007-2008 season for Georgia and how it might be the best team that coach Dennis Felton has had in Athens. When asked, Felton responded definitively: “Yes. Clearly.” The Bulldogs have a terrific backcourt trio in Mike Mercer, Sundiata Gaines, and Billy Humphrey, as well as a solid frontcourt led by Takais Brown. Felton is excited about the addition of freshman Jeremy Price. ``He’s going to be a stud,” he said. “He’s a big old guy who can score and rebound.” Georgia finished 19-14 last season, getting knocked out in the second round of the NIT.

Mike DeCourcy of
The Sporting News writes about the early-entries for the NBA Draft and who he thinks should come back to school and who should keep their name in the Draft. He says that Marquette’s Dominic James will come back, along with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s Chris Daniels, Georgetown’s Roy Hibbert, and New Orleans’ Bo McCalebb—who have all already withdrawn their names. Lottery picks Mike Conley of Ohio State and Spencer Hawes of Washington lead the way in the “won’t be back but should be” category, while Marcus Williams of Arizona and Sean Williams of Boston College won’t be missed by their former teams, according to DeCourcy. James Mays of Clemson leads the way in the “need to come back and probably will” category.

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