Friday, June 8, 2007

June 8 News and Notes

According to Andy Katz of, Clemson junior forward James Mays has withdrawn his name from the NBA Draft and will return to the Tigers for his senior season. "I didn't do enough to stand out," Mays said. "I didn't showcase myself. I knew going in I wasn't a first-round pick and saw that this was the best situation for me." He also said that he wanted to focus his attention on completing his degree and helping Clemson compete for an ACC championship. Mays averaged 12.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game this past season.

According to Gary Parrish of CBS, Memphis sophomore Kareem Cooper and freshman Tre’von Willis are going to transfer from the Tigers. Sources close to the situation said that both players want more playing time after getting lost in the deep Memphis rotation under coach John Calipari. One source said neither player has chosen a destination, adding Cooper is "wide open" while stating Willis will "likely transfer out west." Cooper, who has had multiple off-court problems during his stint with the Tigers, averaged 4.4 points and 3.6 rebounds per game last season, while Willis averaged 2.6 points and 1.0 rebound per contest.

California has announced its schedule for the 2007-2008 season. It has eight non-conference opponents that won at least 20 games last season, including three NCAA Tournament teams. "We played one of the strongest schedules in the country last year, and this year's schedule could be even more difficult," said coach Ben Braun. "We will face some very strong teams from good conferences, and the Pac-10 will be as challenging as ever. It is a schedule I believe our fans will really enjoy." The Golden Bears will face Nevada and Kansas State on the road, as well as Long Beach State, Missouri, San Diego State, Delaware State, and Jackson State at home. Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that it might not appear overly daunting at first look, but “requires some concentrated research to elicit much anticipation.”

According to Jeff Goodman of, Tulsa freshman forward Jamel McLean has announced that he will transfer to Xavier. “For me, it was the competition and the ability to develop and get better," McLean said. "They have been really good and I can see myself improving a lot." He averaged 6.0 points and 4.8 rebounds per game last season.

According to the
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Arkansas sophomore forward Cyrus McGowan has announced that he will transfer from the Razorbacks. He is leaving to find more playing time, but is not upset with the Arkansas program. “It’s not anything negative,” Florence McGowan said. “There’s no animosity.” Cyrus would have stayed if he could have redshirted, but new coach John Pelphrey said that was not an option. McGowan, who averaged less than three minutes per game last season, is the third Arkansas player to transfer since Pelphrey was hired.

Jeff Goodman of writes about
North Carolina State’s point guard situation for next season, and how incoming Iowa State transfer Farnold Degand will likely get first crack at replacing the graduation Engin Atsur. “It’s going to be a big year for him,” coach Sidney Lowe. “He’s not guaranteed to replace Engin. We don’t want to put that out there. There are other guys he’s going to be battling.” Lowe is excited about the exceptional speed that Degand brings to the table. “He’s got a talent you can’t teach – speed,” Lowe. “Sometimes that’s a special weapon that’s hard to deal with and it cures a lot of problems. His game is based on speed and we’re going to try and take advantage and get some easy baskets.” Other players in the mix at the point include Tennessee transfer Marques Johnson, who won’t be eligible until December, and freshman Javier Gonzalez.

The field is set for the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla. In the first round of action, Penn State will take on South Carolina; Rider will face North Carolina State; Central Florida will meet Villanova; and Kansas State and George Mason will square off. The Classic is held Thanksgiving weekend, and will begin on Thursday, Nov. 22. "We feel that these exciting matchups will add to a first-class experience for college basketball fans attending the event and the many viewers watching on the ESPN networks," said Pete Derzis, senior vice president and general manager of ESPN Regional Television. Arkansas beat West Virginia in last season’s title game.

Justin Young of breaks down the ACC, calling it the No. 5 conference in the country for recruiting this season, and its incoming freshmen for 2007-2008. Young writes that the ACC has only three teams with Top 25 recruiting classes. He also says that Wake Forest has a solid 1-2 punch in the backcourt with signees Jeff Teague and Gary Clark, and that the Georgia Tech and North Carolina State rivalry could get stronger next season. According to him, the top five freshmen next season will be: Duke’s Kyle Singler and Taylor King, North Carolina State’s J.J. Hickson, Florida State’s Solomon Alabi, Georgia Tech’s Gani Lawal.

Bryan Graham of discusses the recent trends in college basketball in his weekly
Market Watch. Kansas, which saw All-American Brandon Rush undergo successful surgery on his torn ACL; Louisiana Tech, which hired Karl Malone; and former second-round picks, including Daniel Gibson and Carlos Boozer, are all on the rise. On the other side, Kevin Durant, who couldn’t bench 185 pounds, and Paris Hilton are falling. Florida, which saw Billy Donovan leave and then return, is in the “hold” category.

One last piece of non-college hoops news: I hate to get all lacrosse homer on you guys again, but I felt like this needed to be passed along. Huntington, the top-ranked high school team in the country and winners of 63 straight games, lost 11-10 in double overtime to John Jay in the semifinals of the New York State tournament last night. "I can't believe we did it. They're unbelievable. We just beat the best team ever," said Tyler Granelli of John Jay, who had never won a game here on Long Island before Thursday. The Blue Devils were up 10-7 with under 5 minutes left, but John Jay scored three goals in the last 4:48, including the game-tying goal with 26 seconds left. Brian Douglass of John Jay won the game with nine seconds left in the second overtime on a 10-yard bounce shot. Huntington, located in Long Island, NY, was going for its third straight state title.

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