Monday, April 30, 2007
Oklahoma State junior guard JamesOn Curry has announced his intentions to enter the NBA Draft. However, he is not expected to hire an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Cowboys for his senior season. "It's a win-win situation,” Curry told The Daily Oklahoman. "I'm going to be motivated to go out and play and have them tell me what I need to work on.” Coach Sean Sutton supported the decision. “JamesOn and I have visited on several occasions about whether or not to enter his name into the NBA Draft,” he said. “Rules are in place now so that student-athletes can go through the process of the pre-draft workouts and can make an informative and educated decision on whether or not to keep their name in the draft.” Curry is projected to be drafted in the late second-round or go undrafted. He averaged 17.3 points and 3.7 assists this past season.
Mississippi State sophomore guard Jamont Gordon has withdrawn his name from the NBA Draft pool, only days after declaring for the Draft. "I got an evaluation on myself and it said late second round," Gordon said. "I'll just wait until next year." Rivals.com reported that Gordon had announced his intentions to enter the NBA Draft late Thursday night. Most mock drafts did not include Gordon, although many feel as if he is a borderline first-round pick in 2008. He averaged 16.0 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 5.3 assists this past season.
New Orleans junior guard Bo McCalebb has declared for the NBA Draft. However, he is not going to hire an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Privateers for his senior season. "Regardless of what happens, I will support Bo and any of our players in any way possible," coach Buzz Williams said. "We've talked about this quite a bit, and we've talked to others. Bo's like any other kid in his situation. He wants a clear barometer of where he stands." The Sun Belt Player of the Year, McCalebb averaged 25.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.1 steals per game this past season.
According to The Tennessean, Tennessee State junior guard Bruce Price has declared for the NBA Draft. However, he is not going to hire an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Tigers for his senior season. “Obviously, Bruce can help us if he comes back next year,” said coach Cy Alexander. “Since he’s not getting an agent, I think this is more of a exploratory deal, trying to get his name back out there among the NBA people just to see what their thinking is on him.” Price has missed most of the past two seasons with two separate ACL injuries, only playing in six games two years ago and missing all of this past season. Price has averaged almost 16 points per game for his career.
According to The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio State junior guard Jamar Butler will not enter the NBA Draft. “He said he had thought about it but he wasn't going to do it,” his father, Melton Butler, said. Butler is the lone returning starter and point guard for the Buckeyes, assuming Mike Conley stays in the draft. He averaged 8.5 points and 3.6 assists per game last season.
Andy Katz of ESPN.com analyzes all the decisions for each of the early-entries. He discusses how this season might have more players on the fence, in terms of deciding to stay in the draft or return to school, than any other season. For each player, he gives a short analysis of their game, the “vibe” they are getting from NBA teams, and the effect their loss will have on their college team.
Jeff Goodman of FOXSports.com breaks down the NBA early entrants by category. He discusses the “no-brainers”; players who made “the right call”; players that “would benefit from one more year”; players who are rolling the dice; players who “need to come back”; and he gives kudos to several players for returning to school. He also wishes “good riddance” to two players and says that one player made the “wrong call to stick around” in school for another year. Some interesting category choices for certain players include Joakim Noah, who he says would benefit for another year, and Derrick Caracter, who says should have gone to the NBA instead of staying in school.
Friday, April 27, 2007
According to the Los Angeles Daily News, USC junior guard Gabe Pruitt has declared for the NBA Draft. However, he will not hire an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Trojans for his senior season. I'm looking to hear I'll be a first-round pick because of the guaranteed money," Pruitt said. "If it's not looking like I'll be a first-round pick, I'll obviously stay in school. If it is, I'll have to look over my options." Pruitt is considering a bubble first-rounder by most mock drafts. He averaged 12.5 points and 4.3 assists this past season after missing the first eleven games due to academic suspension, but he improved his stock greatly in the NCAA Tournament.
According to Rivals.com, Mississippi State sophomore wing Jamont Gordon has declared for the NBA Draft. However, he will not hire an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Bulldogs for his junior season. "I've been working all my life to play in the NBA, and I want to make sure the NBA people know who I am," Gordon said. "I'd like to find out where I am with my game." Most mock drafts do not include Gordon, although many feel as if he is a borderline first-round pick in 2008. He averaged 16.0 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 5.3 assists this past season.
According to FOX Sports’ Jeff Goodman, suspended Boston College center Sean Williams has announced his intentions to enter the NBA Draft. "I did it [on Wednesday]," Williams told FOXSports.com. Williams was suspended twice before being kicked off the team on January 17th. His permanent suspension reportedly came after failing multiple drug tests. He had previously spent 90 days in a drug rehabilitation program after getting arrested for marijuana possession. Despite his off-the-court problems, Williams could be a borderline first-round pick due to his shot-blocking ability. He averaged 12.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 5.0 blocks this past season.
According to FOX Sports, UC-Riverside is planning on hiring former Kansas State head coach Jim Wooldridge as their new head coach. Sources close to the situation say that an official announcement will come early next week. Wooldridge will replace David Spencer, who resigned last month after missing the season due to medical reasons. Interim coach on Webb took over, going 7-24 this past season. Prior to coaching the Wildcats, Wooldridge was the head coach at Louisiana Tech, Texas State, and Central Missouri. Wooldridge, who has a career record of 312-237, was chosen over former San Diego coach Brad Holland and ex-St. Bonaventure head coach Jan Van Breda Kolff.
Jeffrey Jordan, son of Michael Jordan, has announced that he will walk-on to play basketball at Illinois. He turned down scholarship offers from Valparaiso and Loyola (Chicago) to be a preferred walk-on with the Fighting Illini. "Illinois is a great school with a strong basketball program,'' he said. “I look forward to receiving a great education at Illinois, and I also look forward to proving that I can play and compete at the Big 10 level." Most recruiting analysts see Jordan as a mid-major prospect, rated as a three-star recruit by both Scout.com and Rivals.com.
Bryan Graham of CSTV.com discusses the draft decisions made by many key players. He writes about five guys that are going but should stay; five guys that are staying but should go; and five “interesting cases”. He lists Josh McRoberts and Thaddeus Young among the players that should stay; Darren Collison and D.J. White with the players that should go; and says that Sean Singletary and Julian Wright are both interesting cases.
Steve Megargee of Rivals.com writes about South Carolina’s optimism heading into next season. The Gamecocks are excited because of the addition of five transfers, including Zam Frederick from Georgia Tech, Devan Downey from Cincinnati, and Mike Jones from Syracuse—all native South Carolinians. "We can win the SEC tournament," said Frederick. "We're going to try to make the NCAA Tournament.”
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Georgia Tech freshman guard Javaris Crittenton has announced his intentions to enter the NBA Draft. However, he has not hired an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Yellow Jackets for his sophomore season. “I enjoy Georgia Tech, the environment here and all the fans, and I appreciate all the support I've gotten though high school and my freshman year, both from the Tech community and the people in Atlanta, but I feel I need to enter my name right now in order to get the best possible information from people in the NBA,” Crittenton said. Crittenton is the second Georgia Tech player to declare in the past two days, with fellow freshman Thaddeus Young announcing his plans on Tuesday. Crittenton, projected by most mock drafts to be drafted in the first round, averaged 14.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game this past season.
UCLA sophomore guard Darren Collison has announced that he will forgo the NBA Draft and return to the Bruins for his junior season. The announcement was originally made by UCLA spokesman Ryan Finney, who said that Collison stopped by his office to notify him of the decision. Fellow sophomore Luc Richard Mbah a Moute also said that he would return to the Bruins. Collison, projected by most mock drafts to be drafted in the lottery in 2008, averaged 12.7 points and 5.7 assists per game this past season. Mbah a Moute averaged 8.2 points and 7.4 rebounds.
Connecticut freshman center Hasheem Thabeet has announced that he is going to forgo the NBA Draft and return to the Huskies for his sophomore season. "I am very excited about next season and returning to UConn for my sophomore year," said Thabeet. "I look forward to continuing my education as a person and as an athlete. We have all been working very hard since the season ended and will continue doing everything we can to get better each day and have a great season next year." Coach Jim Calhoun was excited about the decision. “We obviously have high expectations for Hasheem in the coming year,” he said. “He has the opportunity to take it to the next level during this coming summer and heading into next season and can really be a big part of our team achieving success in the future.” ESPN.com’s Andy Katz reported on Tuesday that Calhoun said he expected Thabeet to return. He averaged 6.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 3.8 blocks per game this past season.
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Robert Morris will hire Pittsburgh assistant coach Mike Rice as their new head coach, replacing Mark Schmidt. Schmidt resigned after six seasons to take the St. Bonaventure head coaching position. Rice has been an assistant under Jamie Dixon with the Panthers for one season, and was an assistant at St. Joseph’s prior to that. He was chosen over assistants from Baylor, Kentucky, and Rhode Island. Robert Morris was 17-11 this past season.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Missouri junior forward Glen Dandridge has announced that he will leave the team. However, he plans on staying in school until the end of summer. "I'm staying here to finish the semester and summer school," he said. Dandridge averaged 1.4 points per game this past season.
Bob McClellan of Rivals.com breaks down the draft decisions by many of the top players. He thinks that Wilson Chandler, Glen Davis, and Arron Afflalo made the wrong decision by leaving school, and also thinks that Daequan Cook made the right call by going to the NBA. He discusses eleven other players, and questions Jamont Gordon’s decision to stay.
Following up his column regarding five new coaches who should win right away, SI.com’s Luke Winn discusses five coaches who should be afforded patience in their first seasons. Leading the way is Michigan’s John Beilein, followed by Iowa’s Todd Lickliter, Stan Heath of South Florida, Tubby Smith of Minnesota, and Colorado’s Jeff Bzdelik. He also gives a timetable for each team’s next NCAA Tournament appearance.
Caulton Tudor of the Raleigh News & Observer writes about the bigger role that several North Carolina players will have to take on now that Brandan Wright has declared for the NBA Draft. The big men that he discusses are freshman Alex Stepheson and Deon Thompson, and sophomore Mike Copeland. He states: “Carolina is still up to its ears in bigs. Losing Wright hurts but doesn't cripple a team that still will be among the national championship favorites when the season starts."
Mark Bradley of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes about Thaddeus Young’s decision to go to the NBA, and how it was not an easy choice for him. He discusses how many people think they know what Young should do, but there is more to it than what is apparent on the surface and that Young had to choose what is best for him. He states: “It’s easy to say what you’d do were you in Young’s shoes, but you aren’t. . . . The guess is that he’ll leave, but it’s just a guess. It isn’t advice. See, I’m not Thaddeus Young.”
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Texas A&M junior forward Joseph Jones has announced that he will enter the NBA Draft. However, he is not planning on hiring an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Aggies for his senior season. "I just want to test the water and see how I can compete against the best players in the world," Jones said. Coach Mark Turgeon supported the decision. "Joe and I have discussed entering his name in the draft many times," he said. "We have done our homework, and we want to do everything we can to help him pursue his dreams." Jones, who is not considering to be a first-rounder, averaged 13.4 points and 6.8 rebounds last season.
The nation’s leading scorer this past season, Virginia Military Institute’s Reggie Williams, has decided to enter the NBA Draft. However, the junior forward does not plan on hiring an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Keydets for his senior season. "I felt that I had a successful season and I would like to explore my options at the next level," said Williams. He averaged 28.1 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 4.4 assists last season.
According to Andy Katz of ESPN.com, Clemson junior forward James Mays is planning on declaring for the NBA Draft. However, he is not expected to hire an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Tigers for his senior season. "He's leaning toward doing it, but we both agreed he should get a little bit more information," coach Oliver Purnell said. Mays is expected to make an announcement in the coming days. He averaged 12.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game this past season.
According to Andy Katz of ESPN.com, Connecticut freshman center Hasheem Thabeet is likely to return to the Huskies for his sophomore season. Coach Jim Calhoun said that he expects Thabeet to come back, but that an official announcement will be made Thursday. Thabeet is projected as a first-round pick in nearly every mock draft. He averaged 6.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 3.8 blocks per game this past season.
Oklahoma freshman guard Bobby Maze will not be returning to the Sooners next season, coach Jeff Capel said on Tuesday. "Bobby and I met last week and we came to an agreement that he and our program will part ways," Capel said in a statement. "This decision is best for Bobby and for our team. I appreciate Bobby's efforts this past season and certainly wish him well in the future." Maze emerged as the starting point guard down the stretch, averaging 5.6 points and 2.1 assists per game on the season.
FOX Sports’ Jeff Goodman revises his Preseason Top 25 after all the defections and coaching changes of the past few weeks. He has UCLA in the top spot, with North Carolina, Memphis, Georgetown, and Michigan State rounding out the top five. One interesting choice to notice is his decision to put Pittsburgh at #13.
SI.com’s Luke Winn discusses five new coaches who should be expected to win in their first year on the job. Mark Turgeon of Texas A&M tops the list, followed by Kansas State’s Frank Martin, John Pelphrey of Arkansas, Kentucky’s Billy Gillespie, and Bob Huggins of West Virginia. He also projects how far their respective teams should go in the NCAA Tournament, and where they will finish in the conference.
Gregg Doyel of CBS Sportsline.com breaks down the coaching changes of the past month with his five best and worst hires. However, he says that only one school—Kentucky—“absolutely nailed its hire.” He lists Mark Turgeon and Gregg Marshall among the worst hires, and Jeff Bzdelik and Tommy Amaker with the best.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
According to the Baton Rouge Advocate, LSU sophomore Tasmin Mitchell is not planning on entering his name into the NBA Draft. There had been rumors swirling around regarding his intentions, mainly ESPN.com’s Chad Ford listing Mitchell under the “50-50: Players who are still deciding about whether to declare for the draft” category on his early-entry list. “I’m not going anywhere yet,” Mitchell said. “That’s just a rumor and it’s not true. I’m working as hard as I can to get ready for next year.” Mitchell averaged 14.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game this past season.
According to The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio State junior guard Jamar Butler is considering entering the NBA Draft. A source said that Butler is not planning on signing with an agent, and is hoping for an invite to the pre-draft camp in Orlando. Butler’s father neither confirmed nor denied the rumor. Butler would be the lone returning starter for the Buckeyes if Mike Conley stays in the NBA Draft. Greg Oden has already signed with an agent, and Ron Lewis and Ivan Harris were seniors. Butler averaged 8.5 points and 3.6 assists per game last season.
According to Jeff Goodman of FOX Sports, high school recruit Alex Legion is planning on signing with Kentucky. "It's a done deal," said a source close to the situation. Legion is one of the nation’s top unsigned seniors, and is ranked in the Top 50 nationally by most recruiting services. He originally signed with Michigan on two occasions, but most recently reneged on his commitment due to the coaching change.
CSTV.com’s Bryan Graham looks at six rising sophomores that should have breakout campaigns next season. He discusses budding stars like California’s Ryan Anderson and Davidson’s Stephen Curry as well as role players such as Arizona’s Jordan Hill. Graham states, “The unprecedented depth of this year's landmark freshman class might not hit home until next season.”
Todd Jones of The Columbus Dispatch writes that the loss of Mike Conley will hurt Ohio State more than the loss of Greg Oden. He states, “Who's going to handle the ball in the backcourt and feed the Buckeyes' bevy of big men?” He discusses how Thad Matta did not recruit with the thought that Conley would leave after one year, and that the Buckeyes do not have a true point guard on their roster outside of Jamar Butler.
Monday, April 23, 2007
North Carolina freshman Brandan Wright has announced that he will enter the NBA Draft. However, he said that he is not going to hire an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Tar Heels for his sophomore season. "I was definitely torn in my decision," he said. "There are so many positives and negatives in me entering the draft. But I feel like the positives outweigh the negatives." Coach Roy Williams does not think that he is planning on returning to school despite not hiring an agent. "I think the decision is 99.99 [percent] that this is what he's going to do," Williams said. "It's not that he's trying to get more research or anything like that." Wright had been back and forth regarding his decision over the past few weeks, but is projected to be drafted in the top five of most mock drafts. He averaged 14.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game this past season.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Marquette sophomore guard Dominic James is expected to enter the NBA Draft. A source close to the situation said that James is going to meet with coach Tom Crean to finalize his decision in the upcoming week. The source also said that James is not going to hire an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Golden Eagles for his junior season. He is only going to keep his name in the draft if he is going to be picked in the first-round, which is not likely. James averaged 14.9 points and 4.9 assists per game this past season.
Iowa freshman forward Tyler Smith has been granted his release from the university. He said that he wanted to transfer closer to his home in Pulaski, Tennessee, to be closer to his father, who suffers from lung cancer. Athletic director Gary Barta saw it coming. "I have had conversations with both Tyler and his father from the time we knew we would have a coaching change," said Barta. "Both expressed a sincere appreciation for Iowa, but also hinted toward a desire for Tyler to continue his career closer to home.” New coach Todd Lickliter supported the decision. “Tyler asked to be released, expressing his desire to be closer to his father,” Lickliter said. “We respect his decision to be near his family and will grant the release in order for Tyler to further his education closer to home.”
Smith was the team’s second-leading scorer last year, averaging 14.9 points per game, earning him third-team all-Big Ten honors. He told the Tennessean that he wants to play for Bruce Pearl and the Volunteers. "Tennessee is where I want to go. I've always liked Tennessee," Smith said. "They're the only school I'm looking at right now, and it's close to home. It makes the most sense for me and my dad. I hope it works out this time." He originally signed with the Volunteers out of high school, but went to prep school after Buzz Peterson was fired from Tennessee.
According to the Associated Press, Baylor junior guard Aaron Bruce has announced that he will enter the NBA Draft. However, he is not going to sign with an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Bears. "I sat down with my parents and the coaching staff and we think this is the best move for me at the moment to see where I stand," Bruce said. "It's a good way for me to learn the process and to be ready for next year." Coach Scott Drew backed the decision. "Our staff fully supports Aaron in taking a step in pursuit of his dream to one day play in the NBA," he said. Bruce plans on returning to school unless he is a first-round pick, which is not likely. Bruce averaged 11.3 points and 3.4 assists per game this past season.
According to The Clarion-Ledger, Mississippi State junior forward Charles Rhodes has announced that he will enter the NBA Draft. However, he is not going to sign with an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Bulldogs. “Basically, it was a decision on my past season and a decision with my family and that was it,” Rhodes said. “Basically, right now all I’m focusing on is testing the waters right now. Testing the waters. Have fun with what I’m doing.” Coach Rick Stansbury supported the decision, saying “I have no problem with Charles testing the waters to see where he stands.” Rhodes averaged 13.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game this past season, and is not projected to be picked by most mock drafts.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Utah State junior guard Jaycee Carroll has announced that he will enter the NBA Draft. However, he is not expected to sign with an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Aggies. "It has always been a dream of mine to play in the NBA and I owe it to myself and my family to do whatever I can to make that dream come true," Carroll said. "I think it is important for the development of my game to see how I compare against the best collegiate basketball players in the country." Coach Stew Morrill backed the decision, saying “Our coaching staff understands and supports Jaycee on his decision to explore the NBA. . . . Jaycee understands unless he is guaranteed to be a first-round pick that the wise decision would be to come back to school.” Carroll averaged 21.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game this past season, earning first-team all-WAC honors.
According to Andy Katz of ESPN.com, Tennessee junior guard Chris Lofton is not expected to enter the NBA Draft. The NBA’s draft advisory committee evaluated Lofton and said that he would likely be a middle second-round pick. Therefore, coach Bruce Pearl does not anticipate Lofton declaring. "So, that's not where he's at and he's excited about coming back [to Tennessee]," Pearl said. "It's a good decision." With Lofton returning, the Volunteers are expected to be a preseason Top 10 team. He averaged 20.8 points per game last season.
According to the Stillwater NewsPress, Oklahoma State sophomore guard Terrel Harris was arrested early Saturday morning on charges of possession of false identification and obstructing an officer. "We're obviously disappointed," Cowboys coach Sean Sutton said in a statement. "We're looking into the matter and we'll address it." Harris averaged 10.0 points and 4.1 rebounds per game this past season.
Friday, April 20, 2007
#1 Detroit over #8 Orlando in 4
#4 Chicago over #5 Miami in 7
#6 New Jersey over #3 Toronto in 6
#2 Cleveland over #7 Washington in 4
#1 Detroit over #4 Chicago in 6
#2 Cleveland over #6 New Jersey in 7
#1 Detroit over #2 Cleveland in 6
#1 Dallas over #8 Golden State in 6
#5 Houston over #4 Utah in 6
#3 San Antonio over #6 Denver in 7
#2 Phoenix over #7 Los Angeles in 5
#1 Dallas over #5 Houston in 7
#2 Phoenix over #3 San Antonio in 7
#2 Phoenix over #1 Dallas in 7
#2 Phoenix over #1 Detroit in 6
According to the Associated Press, Nevada junior guards Marcelus Kemp and Ramon Sessions have decided to enter the NBA Draft. However, neither player is expected to hire an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Wolf Pack. Coach Mark Fox backed the decisions of his players. “I am supportive of Marcelus' and Ramon's desire to explore the NBA and gain the information necessary to make educated decisions," Fox said. Kemp averaged 18.5 points per game this past season, earning first-team all-WAC honors, while Sessions averaged 12.3 points and 4.7 assists per game, garnering second-team all-WAC accolades.
According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Eastern Washington sophomore guard Rodney Stuckey is expected to announce his intentions to enter the NBA Draft. Stuckey, projected by most mock drafts as a first-round pick, will officially announce it on Friday. He averaged 24.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game this past season.
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, four-star recruit Anthony McClain has committed to Cincinnati. The 6-11 McClain, who chose the Bearcats over Connecticut, was the top unsigned center in the country. His high school coach Trevor Brown said that McClain picked Cincinnati and coach Mick Cronin because of the familiarity Brown had with the program as well as the immediate opportunity to make an impact. “He liked the coaching staff and I know all those guys up there,” Brown said. “I know they’re a good staff and I know they’re going to build a good program. Plus, playing time. He should be able to play right away.” McClain was the 6th-ranked center by both Scout.com and Rivals.com, and is a consensus Top 50 player nationally.
Princeton's search for a new coach is over. The Tigers have hired Georgetown assistant coach Sydney Johnson to replace Joe Scott as the next Princeton head coach. It will officially be announced on Monday. Johnson is looking forward to the opportunity. "I had a lot of excitement and nervous energy when I accepted the position, but that has quickly turned into a feeling of relaxation of knowing that this is the right place to be," Johnson said. "It's great to be here, and the challenge now will be to move forward." Johnson has worked under John Thompson III at both Georgetown and Princeton, and also played for the Tigers during his playing career. "As a player at Princeton, Sydney Johnson was the embodiment of heart, passion, class and dignity," athletic director Gary Walters said. "We are delighted that he will bring those same qualities back to Princeton as our head men's basketball coach."
Rick Bozich of the Louisville Courier-Journal discusses the 2007-2008 season and why there will be a “vacuum” at the top of the rankings that needs to be filled. He also writes about the “local Big Three” (Louisville, Kentucky, Indiana) all improving next year. His Final Four includes the Cardinals, along with North Carolina, Memphis, and Tennessee.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
According to FOX Sports, Arizona freshman forward Chase Budinger is not likely to enter the NBA Draft. Wildcats coach Lute Olson said that Budinger has “no interest in it.” "He's never indicated an interest in it," Olson said. "Chase's goal is to be the best college basketball player in the country and that's what he's set his sights on.” He also mentioned how Budinger has been worked hard so far in the offseason to become a better player next year. Budinger averaged 15.6 points and 5.8 rebounds this past season, and was a projected first-round and possible lottery pick in most mock drafts.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Illinois junior center Shaun Pruitt has decided to enter the NBA Draft. However, he is not planning on signing with an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Fighting Illini. Pruitt averaged 11.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game this past season. An official announcement is expected to come Thursday.
According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Memphis sophomore guard Chris Douglas-Roberts has announced that he will bypass the NBA Draft and return to the Tigers for his junior season. "I'm not even going to test it," Douglas-Roberts said. There was speculation recently that Douglas-Roberts might go to the NBA, but he said he never seriously considered leaving. Most experts have the Tigers as a preseason top-three team for next season, but Douglas-Roberts is not getting ahead of himself. "It's great, but we've still got to prove ourselves," Douglas-Roberts said. "We're going into the year like we've still got that chip.” He averaged 15.4 points and 3.4 rebounds per game this past season, helping lead Memphis to their second straight Elite Eight appearance.
According to DraftExpress.com, Memphis junior center Joey Dorsey has decided to bypass the NBA Draft and return to school for his senior season. Dorsey, who is 23, was rumored to be considering the possibility of entering the Draft because of his age, but he ultimately decided to stay. Most experts have Memphis in the top five for 2006-2007.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
According to ESPN.com, Chicago State will name Tulane assistant coach Benjy Taylor their new head coach, replacing Kevin Jones. Taylor has been an assistant at Tulane for the past two seasons, and was a head coach at North Central College and an assistant at Indiana State prior to that. Chicago State went 9-20 this past season. The official announcement will be made Wednesday.
According to FOX Sports, Gonzaga junior guard Pierre Altidor-Cespedes is leaving the program and will be eligible to play at another school. He averaged 3.2 points per game this past season, starting 14 games. He has been grandfathered into the rule that allowed a player to transfer and play immediately if they graduate and still have a fifth year of eligibility remaining. Former BYU transfer David Burgess also said that he would not be returning to the team.
The 2007 ACC-Big Ten Challenge schedule has been set. The eleven games will be played on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday after Thanksgiving (November 26-28). It will feature the first-ever meeting between Wisconsin and Duke and a rematch of last year’s marquee North Carolina-Ohio State match-up. Other top games include Georgia Tech heading to Indiana, and Michigan State facing off against North Carolina State.
Wichita State recruit Guy Ntang died Monday night during a pickup game at New Hampton School in New Hampshire. According to a news release, Ntang “was on the court, away from the action, when he apparently lost consciousness and fell backward.” Mike Brandt, a family friend of Ntang, added, “He was playing and he was just back-tracking and he just fell backward and died. It’s horrible.” New Shockers coach Gregg Marshall was watching the game from the stands, hours after meeting Ntang for the first time. He did not comment on the situation, although he reportedly told Brandt that “it was the most devastating thing he had ever seen.”
According to the Raleigh News and Observer, Michigan and Duke will renew their series now that Tommy Amaker is no longer coaching the Wolverines. Duke associate athletic director Mike Cragg said that the two teams will play a home-and-home series beginning this season. The two teams had played every season from 1989 until 2002, when the series was not renewed. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski does not like coaching against former players; Amaker played for him from 1984-1987.
Skip Myslenski of the Chicago Tribune writes about the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and how the Big Ten has not put up much of a fight since the inception of the event. He discusses how the ACC has won all eight of the Challenges, and that only one Big Ten team, Michigan State, has a winning record in the tournament.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
According to the Associated Press, George Washington junior guard Maureece Rice has announced that he will enter the NBA Draft. However, he is not planning on hiring an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Colonials. Rice led the team in scoring this past season with 15.8 points per game, and also added 3.6 rebounds per contest.
According to The News & Advance, Liberty junior guard Dwight Brewington, who is trying to become the first deaf NBA player, has announced that he will enter the NBA Draft. He also intends to hire an agent, which would ruin any shot he had of returning to the Flames next season. Brewington said he was doing it to support his family. “But it is time to take care of my family,” he said. “I am going to get my degree regardless, but for now I am putting it on hold to pursue my dream of playing professional basketball." Newly hired coach Ritchie McKay backed the decision. "We are supportive of Dwight in his decision to pursue a professional opportunity," McKay said. "Our prayers and support are with him and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors." Brewington, who played two years at Providence before transferring, averaged 14.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game this past season.
According to the Rocky Mountain News, Air Force has ended their search for a new coach to replace new Colorado head man Jeff Bzdelik. The Falcons have promoted assistant coach Jerry Reynolds to the top spot. Reynolds has been an assistant at Air Force since 2005. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach at Tulane and UNC-Greenbsoro, and a head coach at Wingate.
According to Andy Katz of ESPN.com, South Alabama will hire Texas A&M-Corpus Christi coach Ronnie Arrow to become their next head coach. Arrow will replace John Pelphrey, who was hired at Arkansas earlier this month. Arrow has coached at Corpus Christi since 1998, guiding them from a new Division-I program to the NCAA Tournament this past season. Interestingly, Arrow was already the head coach at South Alabama for seven seasons in the late 80s and early 90s, going 114-93 and reaching two NCAA Tournaments. The official announcement will be made on Tuesday.
Saint Louis University has fired head coach Brad Soderberg. The Billikens went 20-13 this past season, and Soderberg went 80-74 in his five seasons with SLU. However, the Billikens never reached the NCAA Tournament under Soderberg. The school released a statement discussing the firing. "Saint Louis University has today informed Brad Soderberg that he will be replaced as head men’s basketball coach, and the University will immediately begin the process of hiring a new head coach. . . . An extensive review of the state of the men’s basketball program has been ongoing since the end of the 2006-2007 season. This review has included a detailed analysis of the just-concluded season, the team’s failure to make a postseason tournament in recent years, and the future of the men’s basketball program . . . It was determined that a coaching change is necessary if the University is to achieve its goal of consistently having one of the nation’s top basketball programs. . . .”
According to The Clarion-Ledger, three Mississippi State sophomores will transfer from the school. Twins Reginald and Richard Delk, both starters this past season, and reserve center Bernard Rimmer have announced their intentions. “Reginald, Richard and Bernard are all good people from terrific families, and we wish them the very best of luck in their future endeavors,” coach Rick Stansbury said. “All three players are looking to play more minutes and want to play bigger roles than are currently available on this team.” The Delk’s father, Rickie, said that the twins were not happy with the style of play that the Bulldogs utilized. He also said that it is too early to tell where Reginald and Richard will transfer. Reginald averaged 9.5 points per game, while Richard contributed 5.7 per contest. Rimmer, who played sparingly, is expected to transfer to Georgia State.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Michigan coach John Beilein has granted a release to the team’s top recruit, Alex Legion. “We have had several discussions with Alex and his family, and they have expressed an interest in opening his recruitment,” Beilein said. “We understand his situation and encouraged him to do so, giving Alex his unconditional release. “I feel that this was the best thing for me," Legion told FOXSports.com. Legion also said that he has narrowed his list of schools to Connecticut, UCLA, Kentucky, and Kansas. He is ranked as one of the top 50 players in the country by most recruiting services.
According to the Associated Press, Texas A&M recruit DeAndre Jordan said that he will honor his commitment to play for the Aggies. "It was real important because I didn't know anything about [new head] coach [Mark] Turgeon," Jordan said. “So I met with him. I liked what he was talking about and where he is taking the program and that convinced me." Jordan had been rumored to be wavering on his commitment to A&M after the departure of Billy Gillespie to Kentucky and the hiring of former Wichita State coach Mark Turgeon. Jordan is ranked as the #8 recruit in the country by Rivals.com.
FOX Sports’ Jeff Goodman breaks down the recruitment of McDonald’s All-American Patrick Patterson. The nation’s top unsigned recruit, Patterson has narrowed his list to six schools: Florida, Duke, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wake Forest. Goodman says that Florida is the favorite. However, Patterson does not seem like he will announce his intentions anytime soon. “I am going to take my time," Patterson said. “I may wait until May.”
Monday, April 16, 2007
According to the Associated Press, Georgetown juniors Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert have announced that they will enter the NBA Draft. However, neither player is going to sign with an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Hoyas. "Both young men have worked extremely hard to position themselves for this opportunity," coach John Thompson III said. "They have begun a process of information gathering which is necessary for them to make educated decisions." Green averaged 14.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game this past season, while Hibbert averaged 12.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game. Most mock drafts project both to be drafted in the lottery.
Wichita State’s search for a new coach to replace the departed Mark Turgeon has ended. The Shockers have hired Winthrop head coach Gregg Marshall to take over their top position. Marshall will make $750,000 per year for seven seasons. "It just had to feel right," Marshall said. "And it felt right." He was excited about the opportunity to move up in the coaching world. "This job is ready-made," Marshall told the Wichita Eagle. "This just needs the right guy to take it to another level." Athletic director Jim Schaus was very happy with the decision. “I don't believe there is anybody more talented or a greater fit for Wichita State than Gregg Marshall,” Schaus said. “We could search for weeks, months, years and not find somebody with his talent and caliber.” Marshall was 194-83 in nine seasons at Winthrop, including seven NCAA Tournament appearances.
According to the Los Angeles Daily News, USC junior forward Nick Young is going to announce that he will enter the NBA Draft. Sources say that an official announcement will be made next week. Furthermore, a source close to Young says that he is going to hire an agent in the coming weeks, forfeiting his college eligibility. "You never know if his stock will be this high again," said one source involved in the decision. "Anything can happen next year." Young averaged 17.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game this past season, and is projected by most mock drafts to be drafted in the top-20.
Hawaii has promoted associate coach Bob Nash to the head coaching position. He replaces Riley Wallace, who is retiring after twenty years with the Rainbow Warriors. Nash has been at Hawaii since 1981, with the last twenty as an associate coach under Wallace. Athletic director Herman Frazier said, “We conducted a national search, and our national search brought us back to one of our own.” Nash never felt like he had the job wrapped up until he got the phone call. "I had to prove myself to (Frazier) that I was worthy of being the head coach," Nash told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. "He saw I was up for the challenge to fight for this job. It was not a given." The Rainbow Warriors went 18-13 last season.
Winthrop wasted no time in finding a new coach to replace the departed Gregg Marshall, promoting assistant coach Randy Peele to the top spot. Peele has been an assistant with the Eagles for the past season. "Randy Peele has been an integral part in that success and we believe the future of Winthrop basketball will continue to flourish under his leadership," Winthrop athletic director Tom Hickman said. In a news release, Peele added, "We will do everything possible to maintain the benchmark that has been set." Prior to being an assistant at Winthrop, Peele was a head coach at UNC-Greensboro, and an assistant at Virginia Tech, Campbell, Tennessee-Martin, and St. Michael’s College.
According to DraftExpress.com, USC junior guard Gabe Pruitt is planning on declaring for the NBA Draft on Tuesday. He is not expected to sign with an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Trojans. Pruitt is projected as a first-round pick in most 2008 mock drafts, but could use his impressive NCAA Tournament performance to boost him into the 2007 first round in what is a relatively weak draft for point guards. He averaged 12.5 points and 4.3 assists per game this past season.
Greg Couch of the Chicago Sun-Times writes about the bizarre situation at Chicago State. Former coach Kevin Jones was fired for no apparent reason; his son has been beaten up twice by a former Chicago State player who was the reason for Jones Sr. losing his job; and the player behind all this, Camron Clay, is nowhere to be found. Interesting read, to say the very least.
Friday, April 13, 2007
According to The Sports Network and the Associated Press, Oregon State junior forward Marcel Jones has announced that he will enter the NBA Draft. However, he is not going to sign an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Beavers. "My plan is to come back to Oregon State," said Jones. "But I'd like to test the waters and see what happens.” He also said, “If I don't stay in the draft, then when I come back to OSU I know people will have raised expectations for me. I'll come back a better player and ready to make us a better team." Jones averaged 15.3 points and 7.9 rebounds this past season. The announcement comes only a day after Beavers coach Jay John said that five players will not return to the team next season.
According to the Burlington Free Press, Vermont freshman forward Joe Trapani has announced that he will transfer to another school. Trapani said it was for “personal reasons” and “It was not completely related to basketball. I was thinking about it for a while but it was a very difficult decision to make.” Coach Mike Lonergan did not expect this announcement. “I was surprised, shocked,” Lonergan said. “He told me it had nothing to do with basketball or the team.” Trapani averaged 11.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game this past season. Coach Lonergan said, “It will be hard to ever find another Joe Trapani."
According to the Kansas City Star, Missouri-Kansas City has ended their search for a new coach, and has hired West Virginia assistant Matt Brown to replace the fired Rich Zvocek. Brown was an assistant under John Beilein for the past ten seasons, five at West Virginia and five at Richmond. He was also an administrative assistant under Billy Donovan at Florida. UMKC athletic director Tim Hall said, “We are excited to get him. He’s a consummate professional.” In a press release, Hall also added, “I am confident Matt will work with great enthusiasm to graduate our men's basketball student-athletes, while building a program that will win championships and become one of the finest programs at the mid-major level.”
According to the Associated Press, Oregon junior forward Malik Hairston has announced that he will return to the Ducks for his final season. Hairston averaged 11.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game this past season, and missed ten games due to injury. His scoring numbers went down from his sophomore season (15.0 ppg), but his all-around game improved across the board.
ESPN.com’s Andy Katz makes his revised pre-preseason Top 25 after a wild week of player defections and coaching changes. North Carolina moves up from #3 to the top spot, and Davidson, North Carolina State, and Southern Illinois make the rankings this time. He says that he will continue to make adjustments to the Top 25 as the personnel and coaching changes become clearer.
Ken Tysiac of the Charlotte Observer gives his take on the 2007-2008 season with his Preseason Top 25 and All-American team. He also projects the ACC standings and makes his picks for the All-ACC team. Kansas is #1 in his Top 25 and North Carolina leads the way in his ACC predictions. Interestingly, he has Georgia Tech guard Anthony Morrow on the All-ACC team.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
According to the Associated Press, Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun said that freshman center Hasheem Thabeet would like to return to the Huskies for his sophomore season, but first make sure that it is financially possible. "He wants to stay very badly," Calhoun said. "He's just got to find ways in which some help can be given the mother. I don't mean financial help. Maybe some type of work program, it's very complex." Calhoun added, "He just has some responsibilities that are a little unique from most kids. . . . This is not a simple case of a kid wanting to go out, or not go out.” Thabeet will announce his intentions in the next week, according to Calhoun.
According to the Corvallis Gazette-Times, five Oregon State basketball players will not return next season. Coach Jay John announced Tuesday that Sasa Cuic, Wesley Washington, Liam Hughes, Angelo Tsagarakis, and Vojin Svilar will all leave the team. Cuic is going to pursue a professional career; Washington is not academically eligible; Hughes and Tsagarakis will be graduating this spring; and Svilar will go back home to Croatia. “My job is to build a program with stability and a foundation,” John said. “That was not here when I arrived. … And that’s what we are in the process of doing. We are in the midst of the transition. What we are doing is the right thing for Oregon State basketball in the long haul.” The Beavers needed to get rid of at least three players to make room for the newcomers next season, including Kansas transfer C.J. Giles.
According to the Mobile Press-Register, Charlotte head coach Bobby Lutz is the favorite to replace new Arkansas coach John Pelphrey at South Alabama. Lutz visited the campus on Wednesday, and was the first to be interviewed for the job. In his nine years with the 49ers, Lutz has compiled a 168-112 record with five NCAA Tournament appearances. In addition to Lutz, USA is planning on interviewing Alabama assistant coach Philip Pearson, Sam Houston State head coach Bob Marlin, and Lipscomb head coach Scott Sanderson. Athletic director Joe Gottfried has already said he prefers to hire someone with experience as a head coach to fill the vacancy rather than going with an assistant coach.
According to the Seattle Times and other media outlets, Washington freshman forward Phil Nelson had decided to transfer to another school. Coach Lorenzo Romar did not expect this. “It surprised me," Romar said. He also added that Nelson is likely headed to Portland State, coached by former UW assistant Ken Bone. “His familiarity with Coach Bone helped with that, and it's close to his home,” Romar said. “It will be a comfortable place for him.” Romar also said that playing time wasn’t the sole issue, Times staff reporter Bob Condotta thinks the multitude of perimeter players next year could have been a factor in Nelson’s decision.
Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer thinks that North Carolina freshman forward Brandan Wright should declare for the NBA Draft. According to him, Wright won’t announce his intentions until at least April 20th. Fowler writes that Wright’s stock is at its peak, and he should take advantage of that. He also discusses the implications if Wright stays, including injury and his stock dropping.
Caulton Tudor of the Raleigh News & Observer writes how North Carolina will not have an easy road in the ACC next season, despite all the talent on their roster. Tudor discusses how there are several teams that will contend depending on who goes pro and who stays, but he also writes how the four toughest games will be against in-state rivals Duke and North Carolina State. He says, “The Heels could be the team to beat nationally, but surviving the neighborhood won't be easy.”
Bob McClellan of Rivals.com gives his take on the 2007-2008 season with his Preseason Top 25. Surprisingly, Florida is #1. Granted, this was made on April 4th, before the four Gators went pro, but one had to see that coming, right? Ohio State, North Carolina, UCLA, and Georgetown round out the top five.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
SI.com’s Stewart Mandel ranks the top-10 active coaches in the country. He says that it is not a career-achievement list and that it is more based on recent achievement. Moreover, he says that only coaches that have been a head coach for at least three seasons were considered. Billy Donovan of Florida is #1.
Greg Hansen of the Arizona Daily Star provides his Top Ten rankings for the 2007-2008 season. North Carolina is #1, and Hansen says that “Florida will not be among the 65 teams in the 2008 NCAA Tournament.”
Dick Harmon of the Deseret Morning News discusses the past season for BYU and also writes about next year’s prospects for the Cougars. In the story, coach Dave Rose says, “We accomplished many of the goals we set for our team at the beginning of the season and gave ourselves a good starting point for next year.” Harmon also discusses how the Cougars came together last season en route to an undefeated home record and the program’s first Top 25 ranking since 1993. BYU brings in two freshmen and several junior college players for next season.
Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch breaks down the coaching changes in the Big 12, and how they will benefit the Missouri Tigers. Gordon writes, “Moving up in the conference pecking order ought to be somewhat easier without Gillispie and Huggins around, regardless of who those schools hire as replacements.” He discusses the departure of Billy Gillespie and Bob Huggins from Texas A&M and Kansas State, respectively, and the addition of Jeff Bzdelik to Colorado.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Tuesday, Hansbrough and Lawson both jokingly announced their intentions at an awards banquet. Hansbrough said, “I also have another announcement to make. I cut a deal with Coach [Roy] Williams before the banquet that I’d be back for my junior year only if he fired [assistant] Coach [Joe] Holladay.” That drew laughs from everyone in attendance. After the banquet, Hansbrough definitively stated, “I've definitely decided that I will be back (for) my junior year, Personally, I'm not ready for the next step of the NBA.”
At the banquet, Lawson said, “After thinking about things and talking to my parents, I think it would be best if I take my skills to the NBA. I’m sorry.” He then paused and said, “I’m just playing -- I’ll be back next year.” After the ceremony, more seriously, Lawson said, “I just like being a college basketball player.”
On Monday, Ellington’s dad said that his son would be returning next season.
Hansbrough averaged 18.4 points and 7.9 rebounds; Lawson averaged 10.2 points and 5.6 assists; and Ellington put up 11.7 points per game.
According to the Boston Globe, Harvard has offered their vacant head coaching position to former Michigan coach Tommy Amaker. Amaker is expected to accept the job. The official appointment could come as early as Wednesday. Amaker went 109-83 in his six seasons at Michigan, winning the NIT title in 2004 but never reaching the NCAA Tournament. Prior to that, he was a head coach at Seton Hall for four seasons and an assistant coach at Duke for nine years. Amaker will replace Frank Sullivan, who was fired this year after 16 seasons as the head coach of the Crimson.
According to the Associated Press, California junior center DeVon Hardin has announced that he will enter the NBA Draft. However, he is not going to hire an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Bears. “I am looking to get an evaluation of my game and find out where I am physically,” Hardin said. “The only way to get better is to compete against the best. I want to see where I stand, and my decision will depend on how I do against those guys.” Coach Ben Braun echoed those statements, saying “DeVon is using this opportunity just as the rule intended.” Hardin played in only 11 games this past season due to a stress facture in his left foot, and was averaging 10.7 points and 8.4 rebounds before the injury.
According to the Associated Press, St. Bonaventure has found a replacement for the fired Anthony Solomon. The Bonnies have hired Robert Morris head coach Mark Schmidt to fill the job. Athletic director Steve Watson said, “He is a proven successful head coach who impressed us with his attitude, desire and passion.” Schmidt went 82-90 in his six years at Robert Morris, and previously worked as an assistant at Xavier, Penn State, and Loyola (Md.). St. Bonaventure initially offered the job to Albany head coach Will Brown, who turned it down last month. The Bonnies went 8-19 last season—the team’s best record in Solomon’s four years in the program.
According to DraftExpress.com, Delaware State junior forward Roy Bright will enter the NBA Draft. However, he will not sign with an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Hornets. He said that he is hoping for “the opportunity to compete at the Orland pre-draft camp.” The former Cincinnati transfer averaged 15.5 points and 4.9 rebounds last season.
Everyone’s favorite Bracketologist, ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi, wasted no time in looking at the 2007-2008 season. He has released his Projected Field of 65 for next March’s NCAA Tournament. Some interesting seeding choices: Georgia Tech and North Carolina State as #2 seeds; Louisville as a #1 over UCLA; Illinois as a #5; and the exclusion of Kansas State.