Monday, December 17, 2007

News & Notes, December 17

- Syracuse junior guard Eric Devendorf will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL in his left knee, the university announced yesterday. The injury occurred when Devendorf landed awkwardly on his left leg after making a pass during the second half against East Tennessee State on Saturday. "You can't afford to lose guys like Eric," Boeheim said following Saturday's game." He's a tremendous player. There's nothing you can do. You try to make it up as best as you can." Devendorf is the second Orange guard to tear his ACL this season; fellow starter Andy Rautins tore his in August. Along with the loss of guard Josh Wright -- who didn't attend practice last week and of whom Boeheim said: "I assume he's not going to play basketball any more this year" -- Syracuse is down to just seven scholarship players. Devendorf averaged 17.0 points and 3.9 assists per game.

- According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Stanford sophomore Brook Lopez is expected to become eligible before Wednesday's game against Santa Clara. There was an outside chance he would be able to play in yesterday's game against the College of Idaho, but his grades were not posted in time. Lopez was academically ineligible for the fall semester. Stanford is 8-1 without him, with its lone loss coming on the road to Siena.

- Steve Rivera of the Tucson Citizen writes Arizona's most important statistic in last night's win over Fresno State was the 21 assists it had. The Wildcats scored 27 baskets total. "In the first half I really thought we really ran our stuff well,'' O'Neill said. "We hit the second and third options on set plays. We shared the ball on the break when we had opportunities. I was very happy how we moved the ball.'' Chase Budinger had five, Jawann McClellan six, while Jerryd Bayless led the way with 21 points.

- Patrick Finley of the Arizona Daily Star says sophomore forward Jordan Hill -- and his tattoos -- are getting better and better with every game. "He's getting much more confidence," interim head coach Kevin O'Neill said. "He was Pac-10 Player of the Week last week. For young guys, sometimes that goes to their head a little bit. But he came out and really, really did a great job during practice — and it carried over to the game." Hill had 23 points and 14 rebounds last Saturday against Illinois and 15 points and nine rebounds against Fresno State last night.

- USC is entering the easy stretch of its non-conference schedule, writes Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times. The Trojans face Delaware State tonight, and then Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and UC Riverside. However, since the season-opening loss to Mercer, the Trojans know they can't look past any team. "Look at the first game of the season," sophomore guard Dwight Lewis said. "We can't overlook any team in a season full of upsets." USC has faced Memphis, Kansas, Southern Illinois, Oklahoma, Miami (Ohio) and South Carolina so far this season. The Trojans are 6-3.

- Kansas freshman forward Cole Aldrich has improved greatly since the start of the season, writes Tom Keegan of the Lawrence Journal-World. "Cole is going to bring a lot to the table this year, especially when Big 12 ball comes," senior Darnell Jackson said. "I see it. The coaches see it. Everybody sees it. He’s getting better every day." Aldrich has played a combined 33 minutes in thet past three games, scoring 18 points, grabbing 15 rebounds and blocking five shots. He is averaging 3.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per game on the season.

- The always entertaining -- if not controversial -- Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star writes that Kansas will be unbeatable once sophomore guard Sherron Collins becomes fully healthy. He calls Collins the Jayhawks' "best player" and says if Collins is completely recovered from his knee injury and loses weight, "the Jayhawks will be national title favorites and everyone will wonder exactly how high in the NBA lottery Collins will go." Kansas coach Bill Self agrees that Collins is not at 100 percent right now. “Sherron is just a shadow of himself,” Self said. “He’s not out there like he will be. He has no explosion right now."

- Chip Brown of the Dallas Morning News writes that Texas sophomore guard D.J. Augustin's drastic improvement since last season can be attributed to the three days he spent at Steve Nash's skill camp. "I came away with the thought that D.J. was the best point guard in the group," said ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla, an instructor at Nash's camp. Augustin said he has tried to emulate Nash in what he does on the court. "Coach said, 'This is who I want you to play like.' Now, I just try to do the things he does, which is hard to do because he's a great player," Augustin said. He is averaging 19.5 points and 7.0 assists per game for the 10-0 Longhorns.

- Wisconsin has been a mix of quality basketball and sloppy basketball lately, partially due to academic considerations, writes Rob Schultz of The (Madison) Capital Times. The Badgers shot 50 percent from the field and held Wisconsin-Green Bay to 33.3 percent in a victory over Wisconsin-Green Bay on Saturday. Wisconsin also dominated inside, outscoring UWGB 34-8 in the paint. However, the Badgers also committed 16 turnovers. "We didn't execute that well but, man, the desire was there and the guys played hard," head coach Bo Ryan said. "So, I'm pleased with that part of it. The execution has to get better." The Badgers are 8-2 on the season.

- Marquette forward Ousmane Barro has adapted well to his new role coming off the bench, writes Todd Rosiak of the Marquette Journal-Sentinel. " 'Ooze' is going to finish games, at times. He can start (tonight)," coach Tom Crean said. "It's not what he's not doing, and it's really not even as much what Dwight (Burke) is doing. It's just the way the chemistry is working out right now. I like it the way we've been doing it." The main reason for the move to the bench was simply foul trouble. By bringing Barro off the bench, there's a better chance he will be available down the stretch of games. He is averaging 5.6 points and 5.4 rebounds in 18.4 minutes per game this season.

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