Thursday, May 31, 2007
According to Andy Katz of ESPN.com, Ohio State freshman Daequan Cook is likely to stay in the NBA Draft, barring an injury in the next two weeks. "Right now, I'm all the way in," Cook said. "There's no question [he's staying in the draft] unless an injury comes up. Right now it's just in case anything could happen until June 18 so you have to be ready for anything." He says that he is going to sign with Mike Conley Sr., who also represents Buckeye teammates Mike Conley Jr. and Greg Oden. Cook, who averaged 9.8 points and 4.3 rebounds last season, is projected as a first-round pick.
Four UTEP basketball players will not return to the program next fall, including three part-time starters. Freshmen Malik Alvin and Dale Vanwright, redshirt freshman Franklin Jones, and sophomore Maurice Thomas will all transfer from the Miners, according to UTEP officials. "I want all my players to share my vision of what a student-athlete should be -- academically, athletically and socially,” said coach Tony Barnee, who is bringing in six new recruits next season. “I wish them all the best in their future endeavors." Barnee is bringing in six new recruits next season. Alvin averaged 8.0 points and 4.4 assists per game; Vanwright averaged 6.0 points per game; and Thomas averaged 9.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.
Eastern Washington will be looking for a new coach, as head coach Mike Burns was fired Wednesday morning by interim athletic director Michael Westfall. His contract was terminated for convenience but no specific reason was given. Burns, who has been the head coach for three seasons, has two years remaining on his contract. The Eagles were 38-49 under Burns, 22-22 in the Big Sky Conference. This past season, EWU went 15-14 overall and 8-8 in league play—but failed to reach the conference tournament. Burns had previously been an assistant at Eastern Washington, Central Washington, Washington State, and Stephen F. Austin before returning to EWU in 2004.
Paola Boivin of The Arizona Republic writes about Herb Sendek and the rising Arizona State program. Despite the Sun Devils only going 8-22 overall and 2-16 in the Pac-10 last season, there is optimism in Tempe. "I think there's a tremor building under the surface right now where there's a curiosity to see what's going to happen next," Sendek said. Boivin discusses Sendek’s recruiting abilities, and why people are excited about the upcoming season.
Tom Timmerman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch talks with Rick Majerus and his hectic first month as the head coach at Saint Louis. "We start working at 7 a.m. and end around 11," Majerus said. If I wanted to, I could do four or five hours of media interviews a day." According to administrative assistant Rachel Diener, there is always something for Majerus to do. "When Coach is in the office, he's needed in 10 different places," she said. "My job is to get him to as many places as possible. ... To think it's been a month already is crazy. It's gone by so fast." Since Majerus was hired, season ticket sales have skyrocketed and boosters have shown more interest in the program.
Larry Vaught of the Kentucky Sports Report talks to coach Billy Gillespie about his passion for college basketball. Basketball is my passion,” Gillespie said. “It is also my job, but it is my passion as well. I spend about 23 hours and 50 minutes every day thinking about my passion. I love that.” He also discusses what Gillespie does in his spare time: “I like watching the horses run,” he said. “I like to golf. I am not any good at it, but I like to golf.” They also talk about Gillespie’s interesting breakfast combo—Dr. Pepper and peanut butter crackers.
Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News continues his look at the five most pivotal players in the country for next season with sophomore forward Marcus Landry at No. 3. He writes that Landry is going to need to step up as a go-to scorer if the Badgers are going to continue their winning ways in the Big Ten. He also discusses Landry multi-faceted game as a major reason why he could become the main offensive option for Bo Ryan and Wisconsin in their search for replacements for Alando Tucker and Kammron Taylor.
Jeff Goodman of FOXSports.com has a complete list of every player that has transferred during or since the 2007-2008 season ended. It is a great source if you want to catch up on all of the latest transfer news in the past couple of months. Some of the biggest names on the list include Gonzaga’s Pierre Altidor-Cespedes, Tyler Smith of Iowa, Mississippi’s Justin Cerasoli, Miami’s Denis Clemente, Richard and Reginald Delk of Mississippi State, Michigan State’s Maurice Joseph, Oregon’s Chamberlain Oguchi, Johnny Wolf of Xavier, and Joe Trapani of Vermont.
With the spring signing period coming to a close and almost every relevant recruit committed to a school, Rivals.com has unveiled their final Top 30 recruiting class rankings for the 2007 season. Florida jumps from No. 5 to No. 1 with the addition of Jai Lucas, while Kentucky jumps from unranked to No. 13 with the signings of Alex Legion and Patrick Patterson. Michigan drops out of the rankings with the loss of Legion. Kansas State, USC, Syracuse, and Arizona round out the top five.
CSTV.com’s Bryan Graham discusses the recent trends in college basketball in his Market Watch. Kentucky, who led the country in attendance for the second straight season, and Rutgers, who is finalizing plans to build new practice facilities, are on the rise. On the other side, Georgia Tech, who lost Javaris Crittenton to the NBA Draft, Creighton, who lost transfer Isacc Miles, and Lindsay Lohan are falling. Kansas, who saw Brandon Rush announce his return to the Jayhawks only to get the news that he tore his ACL, is in the “hold” category.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Tom Keegan of the Lawrence Journal-World writes it is not definite that Brandon Rush will be able to play in the 2007-2008 season. He talks to orthopedic surgeon Dr. Johnny Benjamin, who says that the six-month time frame that Rush’s doctor gave him is “very aggressive” and that “less than a year” is a better time frame. Keegan and Benjamin also discuss that Rush might come back less than 100% and decide he does not want to risk a potential NBA career by playing injured with the Jayhawks.
Joey Johnston of The Tampa Tribune writes about coaching in the NBA, and why or why not Florida coach Billy Donovan would want to coach in the Association in the future. He talks to Louisville coach Rick Pitino, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, UNLV coach Lon Kruger, Kansas coach Bill Self, and former Detroit Pistons coach Chuck Daly. Daly thinks that Donovan will coach in the NBA one day. "Once I got to the NBA, I thought it was the way to go," Daly said. "You didn't have to recruit. You didn't have to worry about getting them to class. It was all basketball, and it was the best basketball in the world. Billy Donovan will eventually go [to the NBA], I think, just for the challenge of that." Pitino agrees with Daly, but says that he regrets going to the NBA. "I know there's a part of him that's curious about coaching in the NBA," Pitino said. "He's like me. He's like the rest of us. If it comes down to it, if he wants my suggestions, I'll tell him straight-up. I think I made a mistake."
Tony Barnhart of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution talks to Florida coach Billy Donovan about what lies ahead for the hottest head coach in basketball. He discusses the new deal that he and Florida are trying to work out—and why a deal has not been reached yet. "I have trust in Jeremy and Dr. Machen, and so really it's not in my hands," Donovan said. "It's really in the University of Florida's hands. I understand that it is a process that they are going to have to go through." Donovan also talks about a possible NBA coaching job in the future, as well as the 06-07 Gators. “I just think you have to consider those guys one of the best teams of all time,” he said.
According to the Dayton Daily News, Duquesne freshman Scott Grote has left the Dukes program and will transfer, most likely to Wright State, which is close to home. He asked for his release from the program last week. "I have an interest in Wright State,” he said. “I don't want it to come out yet that I'm going there, because I'm not quite sure that's what's going to happen.” He also said that he likes WSU coach Brad Brownell. "I always liked him," Grote said. "Everybody does a little of everything on his teams, and he stresses teamwork a lot." He averaged 9.9 points and 4.1 rebounds last season, starting 22 games.
According to the Fort Collins Coloradoan, Purdue freshman Dan Vandervieren is transferring to Colorado State. “The addition of Dan Vandervieren is critical to the success of CSU basketball. He is a great kid and an excellent player,” CSU coach Tim Miles said. “Dan is a center who plays with great tenacity and will provide us with a physical force in the paint.” Vandervieren averaged 1.7 points and 1.4 rebounds last season.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Wake Forest freshman Casey Crawford is going to transfer to Colorado. "I appreciate the opportunity to come to Wake Forest and be a part of ACC basketball," Crawford said. "I just felt like a new place and a new challenge would be best for me right now." Crawford chose the Buffaloes over Northwestern. He played sparingly last season for the Demon Deacons, logging just 27 minutes.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
When making the announcement, Rush also said that it was not because of a knee injury he sustained in a pickup game. “People will think the reason I am returning is because I injured my knee playing in a pickup game,” Rush said. “That is not true, but it did reinforce to me that the time was not right to go to the NBA.” However, the University of Kansas announced on Tuesday that Rush tore his ACL and will miss up to six months. “The MRI report from last Friday confirms that Brandon did tear his ACL,” Bill Self said. “We did not announce the nature of the injury last week per Brandon’s request.” Because of the injury, Rush would not have been able to attend the Orlando pre-draft camp—meaning he could not perform in front of scouts and executives.
Georgia Tech freshman Javaris Crittenton has announced that he will keep his name in the NBA Draft and will not return to the Yellow Jackets for his sophomore season. "Everyone has given me their support and blessing," Crittenton said. "I see this as an opportunity, and I plan to put my best foot forward and give it my all. I'd like to thank all of my coaches, teammates and fans for a great time at Georgia Tech." Crittenton told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the thin class of point guards in this year’s draft played a role in his decision. "There are a few teams that have kind of announced that they need a point guard, but anything can happen,” he said. “I'm confident in my decision and trusting in God." He averaged 14.4 points and 5.8 assists per game this past season. Tech is still waiting on the final decision from fellow freshman Thaddeus Young.
Matt Winkeljohn of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution takes a look at the possible replacements for Crittenton. The top two options are senior Matt Causey, who transferred from North Georgia, and freshman Maurice Miller, a top-20 point guard recruit. "I know a little about Mo Miller. He came on his visit and did a great job in pick-up games," Crittenton told the AJC. "I can't say if he'll be able to handle that pressure right away, but Matt Causey, I know he will. People don’t know Matt because he had to sit out a year, but he may shock people.”
Eastern Washington sophomore guard Rodney Stuckey has announced that he will hire an agent and not return to the Eagles for his junior season. "When you get good feedback saying you're a first-round pick ... I've got to do what's best for me and my family,” said Stuckey. "Not a lot of players get to be in position to be doing this. I thought this year was the best year for me to go.” His coach, Mike Burns, supported Stuckey’s decision. "Look at the numbers he's put up: They're staggering," said Burns. "He's had a phenomenal career.” Stuckey, who averaged 24.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game this past season, is projected to be drafted in the late-to-middle part of the first round.
Larry Drew Jr., one of the nation’s top point guard recruits, has announced that he will be headed to North Carolina. "It was the right school for me," he said. "Everybody in North Carolina treats you like family." His coach, Derrick Taylor, backed the decision. "I think the system fits him," he said. "The personality of a coach is important, and Roy Williams works for Larry." Many have described Drew as an old-school point guard. "Larry can dominate a game without having to score a lot of points," Taylor told The News & Observer. "He understands the game of basketball.” Drew, whose father, Larry Drew Sr. is a former NBA player, is ranked as the No. 4 point guard by Scout.com and the No. 12 point guard by Rivals.com.
According to the Charlotte Observer, Davidson is not shying away from big-name opponents next season, scheduling Duke, North Carolina, and North Carolina State. The Wildcats, who return everyone from last season’s NCAA Tournament, including star freshman Stephen Curry, will also play at Charlotte. "We want to provide the best experience for our players and for our fans," coach Bob McKillop said. "These games do that, and also give the best exposure to our program."
According to The Baton Rouge Advocate, LSU sophomore forward Magnum Rolle has announced that he will transfer. “It’s been a vigorous two years for me,” Rolle said. “After this season, me and my family members discussed it and decided that LSU is not the best place for me. It’s a great place, but it’s just time for me to move on and get a fresh start somewhere else.” He added that he didn’t think he ever had a chance to prove himself. “In two years here I never really got a chance to show what I can do,” he said. “That’s why I don’t feel like this is the place for me anymore.” Rolle averaged 2.8 points and 3.2 rebounds per game over his career.
Creighton freshman guard Isacc Miles has announced that he will leave the Blue Jays’ program and will transfer to another team. He started 27 games last season, helping lead Creighton to the NCAA Tournament, and averaged 6.1 points per game.
According to the Wilmington Star News, Wake Forest transfer Kevin Swinton has committed to UNC-Wilmington. However, UNCW sports information director Joe Browning told the Greensboro News-Record that Swinton is not a Seahawk yet. "We don't have an official announcement on Kevin Swinton as of yet," Browning said. Swinton originally transferred from the Demon Deacons on April 11. "Wake Forest is a special place," Swinton said at the time. "I am definitely going to miss the fans and the great basketball here, but I thought it would be most beneficial to me right now to continue my career at another school." He averaged 2.8 points per game this past season.
MSNBC’s Mike Miller of the Beyond the Arc blog discusses some of the 2007-2008 contenders. He says that Brandon Rush’s return to the Jayhawks puts them near the top of the rankings, joining UCLA, Memphis, Georgetown, and North Carolina. Miller also writes that USC, Washington State, Tennessee, Louisville, Indiana and Duke will also be in the hunt. Furthermore, he touches on some of the top Player of the Year candidates, including Rush, Darren Collison of UCLA, Tyler Hansbrough of North Carolina, Indiana’s D.J. White, Michigan State’s Drew Neitzel, Roy Hibbert of Georgetown, Chris Lofton of Tennessee, and USC’s Taj Gibson.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Brandon Jennings, the nation’s top-rated point guard recruit in the Class of 2008, has announced that he will be headed to Arizona. “By taking a visit, I knew right then and there this was something I wanted to do,” Jennings said. “I got to meet the AD (Jim Livengood), the academic people and stuff like that.” He also said that he liked the lineage at Point Guard U. “I like all the point guards who came out of there -- they’re all stars in the league,” Jennings said. “I believe Arizona can get me ready for the next level. Look at (Mike) Bibby, Jason Terry, Gilbert Arenas.” One of his coaches, Kelly Williams, also said that Jennings wanted to stay close to his home in Los Angeles. "He said he wants to be closer to home," he said. "He wants to be closer so his mom and his family are able to come and see him play." Jennings originally committed to USC, but re-opened his recruitment and eventually chose the Wildcats over Connecticut. He is ranked No. 12 by Rivals.com and in the top five by Scout.com.
According to the Arizona Daily Star, Arizona has released its schedule for 2007-2008. Once again, they will face one of the toughest schedules in the country. The Wildcats have non-conference road games at Kansas, Memphis, Houston, and UNLV, as well as home contests against Virginia, Illinois, and Texas A&M.
Kansas has released its non-conference schedule for the 2007-2008 season. The marquee contests include home games against Arizona and DePaul, as well as road match-ups against USC, Georgia Tech, and Boston College. “I think it’s a very good schedule,” Kansas coach Bill Self told the Lawrence Journal-World. “It’s probably the toughest we’ve had next to 2004-05, when we had the No. 1 RPI in the country. Every team on our upcoming schedule had a winning record. We have several high-profile games, and many other games against quality competition that should be attractive to television (which, like game times, has not been announced). It’s really a challenging schedule.”
According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, New Orleans junior guard Bo McCalebb has withdrawn his name from the NBA Draft. "I just wanted to get my name out there," McCalebb said. "My whole intention was to come back to school." He also said that he was not upset about the lack of an invitation to the Orlando pre-draft camp. "I wasn't really that disappointed," he said. "I was probably coming back to school even if I had been invited. The Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year averaged 25.0 points per game last season, good enough for sixth in the country, and also chipped in with 6.8 rebounds and 2.0 steals per contest.
Kentucky is going to pay $50,000 to back out of a scheduled game with Massachusetts. UMass athletic director John McCutcheon was not happy about it. "You live and learn,” he said. I know this was a concern for the coaches' association [teams getting out of contracts]. We're going to have to refund the money. It's a big hassle and very problematic. Playing in Boston is off the board now. I don't see how we can get a caliber opponent like Kentucky." McCutcheon believes the Wildcats backed out because of the coaching change to Billy Gillespie. "This is a bad practice and maybe next time we should have a higher buyout," McCutcheon said. "This wasn't our arena. This wasn't on our campus."
Not surprisingly, there was plenty of reaction from around the country:
The Louisville Courier-Journal has another story about the buyout. Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart defended the Wildcats. "With a young team and a new coach, we just wanted to give him the best opportunity to get off on the right foot at Kentucky," he said. "We felt like we needed some (additional) home games. We felt like it was important to give him the opportunity to get his program started in a comfort zone. That's the goal." Massachusetts athletic director John McCutcheon called the move “very unprofessional” and “very problematic.” Assistant athletic director for media relations Jason Yellin said that the Minutemen are not only upset at the fact that Kentucky cancelled, but also the late timing of it. "The buyout is in the contract, so they can do it, but it's disappointing to us that they've chosen to," Yellin said. "We can't get another marquee opponent this late. (Playing UK) was going to be a great showcase for our program. It's really disappointing that they would do that to Travis."
On the other side, Ron Chimelis of The Republican in Massachusetts calls the move by Kentucky “a very foul shot” and writes how the news of the cancellation affects Massachusetts in multiple ways. It ruins the marquee game on the Minutemen’s schedule and could cost UMass as much as $300,000. "I'm kicking myself, just a little, for not making the cancellation fee greater in the contract," Massachusetts athletic director John McCutcheon said. "But we assumed the contract would be fulfilled, and I think it would have been, had Tubby Smith still been the coach." McCutcheon went on to say that there was no reason for Kentucky to cancel this game other than the fact that they wanted another home game. "There's a question of professional ethics," McCutcheon said. "They said, we're just going to do what's best for Kentucky, they just didn't care about anyone else."
Andy Katz of ESPN.com talked to former Kentucky player and current Massachusetts coach Travis Ford about the buyout and cancellation. "I love the University of Kentucky," Ford said. "They've been good to me and I have so many friends there. I'm not mad at Kentucky. I love Kentucky basketball. I'm just disappointed. To me Kentucky basketball has the best fans." He was also caught off-guard by the buyout, because the Minutemen moved the game to November 24 in order to appease the Wildcats. “I didn't think they would do that to me,” he said.
Eric Crawford of the Louisville Courier-Journal writes that Kentucky is not following proper business practices by backing out of games at such a late date. He questions the comment by Kentucky deputy athletic director Rob Mullens, who said, "Our priority is to protect the University of Kentucky basketball team." He also writes that the Wildcats are winning at “dodgeball”, referring to the Kentucky and its habit of moving around games and canceling them to suit its own interests.
Larry Vaught of the Kentucky Sports Report thinks that Kentucky should play Massachusetts. He says that he has no problem with new coach Billy Gillespie trying to play more home games so he has a better understanding of the Wildcats, but says that backing out of the game with UMass was not the right thing to do. He says that it is “not the classiest move” and questions if Gillespie thinks his team could have won at UMass.
According to the Wichita Eagle, Wichita State junior guard Sean Ogirri has announced that he will transfer to Wyoming. "We're excited about Sean," Cowboys coach Heath Schroyer said. "He is a tremendous player who can come in here and have success. He brings to our program the experience of playing at a high level at Wichita State. He has made big shots in big games, including the NCAA Tournament." Ogirri averaged 9.5 points per game last season. He and two other players were granted releases from the program after former coach Mark Turgeon took the head coaching job at Texas A&M.
According to Andy Katz of ESPN.com, there could be a potential Pittsburgh-Duke match-up next season at Madison Square Garden. The Panthers are trying to rework scheduling conflicts in order to make it happen. In other news, he writes that Kansas State is going to play Notre Dame in the Jimmy V Classic at MSG next year.
According to the FOXSports.com’s Jeff Goodman, UCLA sophomore forward Ryan Wright has announced that he will transfer to Oklahoma. "I've made my decision and I feel that Oklahoma is the best place for me," said Wright, who chose the Sooners over Baylor and Purdue. He averaged 2.4 points as a freshman, but averaged only 5.4 minutes this past season.
According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, new Kentucky signee Patrick Patterson turned down the Worldwide Leader. ESPN approached Patterson, saying that they would televise his announcement if he revealed to them which school he was going to—a half-hour before it was official. Patterson said no, with his mother saying, "You can come to the news conference like everybody else."
Dave Weekley of The Charleston Gazette discusses the impact that Patrick Patterson and O.J. Mayo had on recruiting rankings. He writes that, had Patterson gone to Florida, the Gators would have risen to the top of most recruiting rankings. However, since he committed to Kentucky, Mayo and USC are the likely top class in the country.
Mark Bradley of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution writes about the waiting game that Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt has to play with his two freshmen in NBA Draft, Thaddeus Young and Javaris Crittenton. Both have entered their names into the early-entry pool, but neither has hired an agent. Hewitt says he’s not really worried about the future. “I wait until August,” he says, “and I see who’s there.” Bradley also writes that Hewitt does not handicap the draft or try to convince Young and Crittenton to stay. “We have to make the most of the team we have,” Hewitt said. “That’s one of the reasons we work so hard on individual instruction, to be able to absorb [personnel] losses.”
Terence Moore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes about former Kentucky coach Tubby Smith’s move to Minnesota. He discusses how Smith was very successful with the Wildcats, but never could do enough to appease the UK fans. “All Smith did for Big Blue was win 76 percent of the time, with NCAA tournament bids every year that produced a national championship, six trips to the Sweet 16, four to the Elite Eight and five SEC regular-season titles,” writes Moore. “Even so, it was whine, whine, whine by those Wildcat Wackos, still worshiping Adolph Rupp’s ghost and Rick Pitino’s shadow.”
Jeff Goodman of FOXSports.com writes about Florida State in the 2007-2008 season. He says that they will have more balance than they have had in the past, mainly due to the fact that coach Leonard Hamilton is bringing in two quality post men in freshmen Solomon Alabi and Julian Vaughn. The Seminoles have been one of the last teams left out of the NCAA Tournament the past two seasons, but that could change next year. ``I believe we’ve grown from the things we’ve had to overcome,” Hamilton said. “We’ve had to mature and we’re hungrier.”
Bryan Graham of CSTV.com breaks down eight of the top in-season tournaments for the first month of the 2007-2008 season. He discusses the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, the CBE Classic, the NIT Season Tip-Off, the Top of the World Classic, the Virgin Island Paradise Jam, the Maui Invitational, the Great Alaska Shootout, and the Old Spice Classic.
Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News ranks the Top 5 most pivotal players in the country for next season. #5 is Kansas guard Sherron Collins, and #4 is Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet. DeCourcy writes that Collins needs to be the game-changing point guard that he was at times last season, and will be the go-to-guy for the Jayhawks next season. As for Thabeet, DeCourcy writes that he needs to improve his hands to become a dominant performer at both the offensive and defensive ends of the court.
The Big Lead has a very interesting interview with FOXSports.com’s Jeff Goodman. He talks about how the career route he took to get to FOX Sports, his social life, and how it feels to be able to work out of home. He also takes some shots at ESPN.com and calls VCU’s Anthony Grant the most underrated coach in the country.
Bryan Graham of CSTV.com unveils his latest Market Watch. Georgetown, Purdue, Arizona, and of course, the Portland Trail Blazers are on the way up, while Wichita State and Massachusetts are falling. He says that the Hoyas are the favorites to repeat as Big East champions since Roy Hibbert has decided to return to school; the Boilermakers will get a renovation of Mackey Arena; the Wildcats get point guard recruit Brandon Jennings; and Portland got the #1 pick in the Draft. On the other side, the Shockers’ Sean Ogirri is transferring to Wyoming; and UMass won’t get a chance to play Kentucky next season.
Friday, May 18, 2007
According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Kentucky coach Billy Gillespie is very excited about the addition of Patrick Patterson. "When you draw up a power forward for me, he possesses everything you need to win," Gillespie said. "Great size and ability. Extremely long arms. Really good hands. He's tougher than anything. He's tough and he's a very, very, very competitive guy. Very intelligent. He's what I always want to look for in a power forward-type player." Gillespie also discussed Patterson’s confidence and intensity, in addition to what it felt like leading up to Patterson’s announcement.
John Clay of the Lexington Herald-Leader writes that Kentucky has its swagger back after the signing of Patrick Patterson. He discusses how the addition of Billy Gillespie has made the Wildcats a factor again in the recruiting world—an area where former coach Tubby Smith struggled during stay in Lexington. Clay writes that the fact that Patterson has been overhyped lately is irrelevant: “Doesn't matter. Not now anyway. Perception is reality. Perception was, Kentucky couldn't cut the recruiting mustard anymore. No more. When it comes to recruiting, the Cats are back.”
Eric Crawford of the Louisville Courier-Journal writes that the signing of Patrick Patterson by Kentucky is more significant than just simply getting Patterson. He discusses that, in only six weeks, coach Billy Gillespie has received commitments from Patterson and fellow Top-50 recruit Alex Legion. Crawford writes about the fact that Kentucky has not beaten anyone for a key recruit in recent years, and has let most of the talent in its own backyard go elsewhere. He also discusses that Patterson going to Lexington restores some of the glitz of the Kentucky program and, almost as important, keeps the fans happy.
Jai Lucas, one of the top unsigned players left, committed to Florida on Monday. "I loved everything about Florida," said Lucas. "When that happened, the opportunity was suddenly there for me at point guard. All the pieces of the puzzle fell into place." Lucas chose the Gators over Kentucky and Oklahoma State. "It was a very tough decision," he said. "But Florida is a great fit. The opportunity to play right away is there and Florida is an elite basketball school right in line with North Carolina and Duke.” The 5-10 point guard was a McDonald’s All-American, and is ranked No. 34 by Scout.com and No. 42 by Rivals.com.
According to the Los Angeles Times, USC junior guard Gabe Pruitt has announced that he will sign with an agent, closing the option he had of returning to the Trojans. "I just felt that it was in my best interest to move on with my basketball career and focus fully on basketball right now," said Pruitt. "I talked it over with my family and I made the final decision. I still love the Trojan family and I still will support them as if I was still there." Pruitt, who joins fellow Trojan junior Nick Young in the official early-entry pool, averaged 12.5 points and 4.3 assists per game last season. He is projected as a late first-round pick in most mock drafts.
Not surprisingly, North Carolina freshman forward Brandan Wright has announced that he will hire an agent, closing the option of returning to the Tar Heels. He will be represented by Jim Tanner of the Williams and Connolly law firm in Washington, D.C. “I felt comfortable with Jim and the Williams and Connolly team from the start, and I am confident that they will help me achieve my career goals," Wright said. Wright, who averaged 14.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game last season, is projected to be the third pick in the NBA Draft.
The Mid-Continent Conference is gone. Starting June 1, 2007, the league will change its name to The Summit League, and will also unveil a new logo. "The Summit League provides a mental image to reach for the top, both academically and athletically," Commissioner Tom Douple said. "The new name fits in perfectly with the Presidents Council's vision for continued improvement and growth of the league. Today is a monumental day in the history of our conference. As we finish the 25th year of play in our conference, we're now setting the precedent for the next 25 years." The conference was first established in 1982, known then as the Association of Mid-Continent Universities. In 1989, it changed its name to the Mid-Continent Conference. The 10-team league now consists of: Centenary, IPFW, UMKC, IUPUI, North Dakota State, Oakland, Oral Roberts, South Dakota State, Southern Utah and Western Illinois. Valparaiso is leaving for the Horizon League.
Former Vermont transfer Joe Trapani has decided to play for Boston College beginning in the fall of 2008. “I just like the school, the city of Boston, and playing for someone like Al Skinner," said Trapani. "I also had a good rapport with the guys I met on campus." Coach Skinner was excited about the new addition. "At BC, we can offer him everything he wants,” he said. “The level of competition is good as it gets and he will have a chance to show what he can do individually." Trapani averaged 11.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game as a freshman with the Catamounts.
According to Andy Katz of ESPN.com, Syracuse assistant coach Mike Hopkins has been named Jim Boheim’s successor. There is no timetable for Boheim’s retirement, but he wanted a say as to who would follow in his footsteps. Hopkins has been an assistant under Boheim for twelve seasons, while Boheim just completed his 31st season with the Orange. He is 750-264 in those 31 years.
According to the Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming junior forward James Spencer has announced that he will transfer. He averaged 10.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game this past season, his first year with the Cowboys after transferring from Los Angeles City College. Spencer is the third player to leave the Cowboys since the end of the season, when Heath Schroyer replaced Steve McClain as the head coach.
According to the Charlotte Observer, the ACC schedule is likely to stay at 16 games for four more seasons. Commissioner John Swofford said that ACC officials would discuss an 18-game conference schedule beginning in 2008-09. However, the league coaches unanimously endorsed keeping the 16-game format through the 2010-11 season. "I just think the prevailing wisdom was to maintain what has been successful for us for the length of the (current) contract," said Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser. "It's been applauded by people with the NCAA (selection) committee and all that." The coaches are also worried that increasing the number of conference games would force the teams to drop some of their marquee games—which could potentially lessen the league’s national appeal.
According to The State, South Carolina freshman Mike Jones has been dismissed from the Gamecocks for academic reasons. Jones had been at USC for only one semester after transferring from Syracuse midway through his freshman season. “The decision was made by the university not to re-admit him. They were the ultimate decision-maker,” Odom said. “It was not a decision that was made after the fact. It was a decision that was made as a result of what was done or not done.” Jones was a former Top-50 recruit and Mr. Basketball in South Carolina.
According to Oregon Preps.com, LSU sophomore point guard Ben Voogd is transferring back home to Washington State as a walk-on. Voogd played in 63 games in his career with the Tigers, averaging 11.6 minutes per game.
FOXSports.com’s Jeff Goodman discusses the rebuilding project ahead for Billy Donovan and Florida. "No one in the country lost as much as us," coach Billy Donovan said. The Gators lose their top six scorers from their two-time national champions, but do bring in a very good recruiting class. However, Goodman does not think the Gators are just going to reload and be a contender next year. “Let's face it: The Florida Gators aren't just rebuilding. They are starting over,” he writes.
Jeff Goodman of FOXSports.com writes about life after Kevin Durant for Texas. He discusses the development of sophomore Dexter Pittman and the fact that Damion James is going to have to step up in a big way with the loss of Durant. “If we can get Dexter to give us 10 or 11 minutes a half and build from there, it’s going to be good for us,” coach Rick Barnes said. Durant thinks that James is going to have a breakout year. “When Damion wants to play extremely hard, he can score at will,” he said. “He’s strong and athletic and it’s just a matter of him being confident and doing it.”
Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com writes about how Villanova is going to be more balanced next season than they have been in recent years. In addition to Scottie Reynolds and three highly-touted freshmen on the perimeter, coach Jay Wright has Shane Clark, Dante Cunnigham, and several solid post players up front. “We have more depth and balance, but we’re young,” Wright said. “I never thought we’d have as highly touted guards as Allan [Ray], Randy [Foye] and Curt [Sumpter], but [McDonald’s All-Americans Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes, and Malcolm Grant] come in with even more accolades.”
Andrew Skwara of Rivals.com writes about UCLA sophomore point guard Darren Collison and his decision to return to the Bruins instead of testing the NBA Draft waters. “I still haven't reached my goal of winning a national championship," Collison told Rivals.com. "I thought I could have done better. I could have been a better leader. Until we get a championship I haven't done my job as a point guard." Skwara also discusses what Collison is doing in the offseason as well as UCLA’s future in the 2007-2008 season. "We have a lot of good players coming back who are going to get better individually and a great recruiting class," Collison said. "I think we will be a much better team. That made my decision easy. It's a win-win situation for me."
Sid Dorfman of the Newark Star-Ledger writes that Tommy Amaker made a very smart move by accepting the coaching job at Harvard. He says that Amaker was planning on sitting out a year or two, but decided to jump on the opportunity to coach the Crimson. Dorfman writes: “At Harvard, Amaker will be able to grow old peacefully as a coach” as opposed to his situations at Michigan and Seton Hall. Furthermore, he says that Amaker is going to be able to use a special program that Harvard has: any kid of a single-parent family earning $60,000 or less gets a free scholarship from Harvard.
Monday, May 14, 2007
I know this is a college basketball site, but with the offseason very slow right now, I figured I would a) send a shout-out to my school and b) draw everyone's attention to the fastest-growing sport in America right now: lacrosse.
Unless you follow the sport, you probably wouldn't know that my University of Delaware Blue Hens defeated No. 2 seed Virginia in the NCAA Tournament yesterday. Many experts consider the victory to be the biggest upset in lacrosse tournament history. While the Cavaliers were the defending national champions and had lost only one home game in the past three seasons, the Blue Hens went into Charlottesville and dominated the hosts, coming out with a 14-8 win.
The win also snaps a 20-game losing streak against top 10 teams for Delaware, and is its first tournament win since 1999. Virginia is the highest ranked opponent the Hens have ever defeated.
With a Final Four bid on the line, the Hens will go up against UMBC, who knocked off No. 7 seed Maryland in their first-round match-up.
If you're going to be in the Baltimore or Annapolis area on Sunday, head over to Navy's campus and watch Delaware play. There's a good chance I'll be there (in case you were wondering).
Your regularly scheduled programming will return tomorrow.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Bob McClellan of Rivals.com gives his top ten shoes to fill as a result of early-entries, and also discusses who might fill them. Florida’s junior quartet ranks at the top, and he thinks that a mix of returnees and newcomers will have to step for the Gators. Ohio State’s freshman trio, Georgetown’s post duo, Texas’ Kevin Durant, and Georgia Tech’s freshman combo round out the top five.
Jody Demling of the Louisville Courier-Journal reports that Jai Lucas, one of the top two unsigned recruits in the country, has announced that he will choose between Kentucky, Florida, Oklahoma State for his college destination. The McDonald’s All-American is ranked No. 34 by Scout.com, and No. 42 by Rivals.com. He and fellow unsigned recruit Patrick Patterson are scheduled to make their decision next week.
Jeff Goodman of FOX Sports thinks that Miami (Fl.) could contend for an NCAA Tournament berth in the ACC next season. He writes that the Hurricanes will have one of the most athletic and physical frontlines in the conference, led by Anthony King. “This is the most talented team since I’ve been there,” said coach Frank Haith. Miami won only twelve games last season, but they return plenty of talent heading into 2007-2008.
CSTV.com’s Bryan Graham gives his weekly market watch. UCLA, who received a verbal commitment from high school junior Drew Gordon, and West Virginia, who hired Billy Hahn as an assistant coach, are rising. On the other side, Iowa State, who lost two scholarships as a result of the NCAA APR report, is falling. Utah and Pittsburgh are in the “hold” category.
Big East Basketball Report has been giving team snapshots for every team in the conference. Each team report includes a roster breakdown that shows who is leaving and who is returning. The write-ups also discuss the “open items/issues” for each team heading into the summer as well as a summary, which talks what the 2007-2008 season holds for each team.
FOX Sports’ Jeff Goodman writes that Duquesne will contend in the Atlantic-10 next season, now that the shooting tragedy last September is behind them. He says that the Dukes’ roster will be as talented as anyone in the Atlantic 10. Transfers Shawn James of Northeastern and Kojo Mensah from Siena will have an immediate impact for the team, while Kieran Achara leads the way for the returnees.
According to Jeff Goodman of FOX Sports, Mississippi State sophomore center Vernon Goodridge has announced that he will be transferring from the Bulldogs. He also told FOXSports.com that he would like to go to La Salle. Goodridge is the team’s fourth player to transfer this offseason, following Reginald and Richard Delk, and Bernard Rimmer. Reginald Delk is headed to Louisville, while the other two are undecided. Goodridge averaged 2.3 points and 3.0 rebounds last season.
Niagara, last season’s MAAC champions, will get richer next season as two Big East transfers have announced that they will be playing for the Purple Eagles. Connecticut sophomore guard Rob Garrison and Villanova sophomore guard Bilal Benn will both be headed to Niagara as a result of their lack of playing time. Garrison played only 2.3 minutes per game last season after averaging almost 9 per game his freshman year, while Benn played less than ten minutes a contest last year.
According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, Louisville sophomore center Jonathan Huffman has announced that he will transfer to Iona. He played in only 14 games last season, averaging just 1.1 points and 0.7 rebounds per game. Coach Rick Pitino encouraged Huffman to redshirt or transfer after the season.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
FOX Sports’ Jeff Goodman writes about how Xavier is playing a very difficult schedule despite losing three starters. The Musketeers will face Virginia, Tennessee, Creighton, Cincinnati, Auburn, and Kansas State, among others. Coach Sean Miller said he did this because he wants to give his team a chance to get an at-large bid out of the Atlantic-10. Goodman also discusses how Manhattan transfer C.J. Anderson will play a key role next season for the Musketeers.
Dick “Hoops” Weiss of FOXSports.com writes about how Memphis coach John Calipari is using a very similar method to build up the Tigers as he did with Massachusetts in the 90s. Calipari recruits in a way that most coaches don’t, he plays a difficult schedule, and the Tigers dominate Conference-USA. "BCS teams all want to do the Wal-Mart thing,'' Calipari said. “They all want to dominate the world. We're like a thorn in their side. Here we are, just like the UMass days. We've bumped into their parade, their party.''
OnMilwaukee.com’s John Keegan writes that Marquette guard Dominic James is not ready for the NBA and should return to college, while The Journal Times' Gery Woelfel thinks that James should stay in the Draft. Keegan thinks that James needs to work on his jump-shot before he enters the Draft because guards without jumpshots don’t normally make it in the NBA. On the other hand, Woelfel thinks that James should stay in the Draft because his stock might drop with another year in college and the point guard position is not very deep this year.
Ken Tysiac of the Charlotte Observer reports that Patrick Patterson, the nation’s top unsigned recruit will announce his college plans on May 16. According to Patterson’s high school coach, Lloyd McGuffin, he will decide this weekend between Duke, Kentucky, and Florida. Patterson is ranked No. 11 by Scout.com, and No 15 by Rivals.com.
Drew Gordon, the top-ranked junior big man on the West Coast, has announced his plans to attend UCLA. "All the schools were great schools, all the coaches were excellent coaches," Gordon said. "UCLA and its staff would be the best fit for me at this point in time to be able to further my career beyond college. Basically, that's what it came down to.” He chose the Bruins over Washington, California, Arizona, North Carolina, and Duke. Gordon, who averaged 16 points, 14 rebounds, and 3.8 blocks per game this past season, is ranked No. 20 by Scout.com and No. 25 by Rivals.com.
Monday, May 7, 2007
Bob McClellan of Rivals.com gives his second Preseason Top 25 since the end of the 2006-2007 season. North Carolina rises from #3 to the top spot, while Memphis, UCLA, Louisville, and Tennessee round out the top five. The most drastic change is Florida, who he had #1 after the NCAA Tournament and is now #25. Ohio State, who was previously #2, is #24 in the newest rankings.
Jeff Goodman of FOX Sports looks at ten coaches who could make the jump to the NBA in the near-future. He also discusses how, despite the lack of success recent college coaches have had in the pros, the NBA should still take a look at them. Florida’s Billy Donovan leads the way, followed by Jay Wright of Villanova, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, Rick Barnes of Texas, and several others.
Matt Winkeljohn of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes about Georgia Tech’s freshmen Javaris Crittenton and Thaddeus Young preparing for the NBA Draft. Both players declared for the draft, but neither hired an agent, leaving open the option of returning to the Yellow Jackets. Young is projected to go anywhere from the lottery to the late first-round. “Who wouldn’t go if they’re a lottery pick?” said Young. On the other hand, Crittenton is ranked #3 among point guards, and many think he might stay in the draft because of the lack of point guards. “That’s almost like being scared of who’s coming out next year, and I’ve never been scared of anybody in my life," he said. "That is not a factor at all."
According to FOX Sports’ Jeff Goodman, Florida junior point guard Taurean Green has signed with an agent, leaving him no chance of returning to the Gators for his senior season. Most NBA executives consider Green a second-round pick, and he will attend the Orlando pre-draft camp later this month to boost his NBA stock. He averaged 13.3 points and 3.7 assists this past season for the two-time national champions.
Florida State assistant coach Tim Carter has been named the head coach at South Carolina State, replacing the fired Jamal Brown. "They really, really want to turn that thing around," Carter said. "They're putting a lot of resources into the job, and they really want to be a major player in that league." Carter formerly coached at Texas-San Antonio, going 160-152 in 11 seasons. He was an assistant at Florida State for one season, and was also an assistant at Oklahoma State before taking the job at UTSA.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi ended their search for a new coach on Tuesday, hiring former Miami (Fl.) and Tulane head coach Perry Clark to replace Ronnie Arrow. Arrow resigned after this past season to accept the head coaching position at South Alabama. "Perry Clark is a proven winner, on and off the basketball floor, and we are fortunate at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to have a man of his knowledge, experience and integrity leading our basketball program," athletic director Brian Teter said. Clark was 250-199 in 15 seasons with the Hurricanes and the Green Wave, reaching the NCAA Tournament four times. Prior to that, he was an assistant at Penn State and Georgia Tech. He has been working as a TV analyst for the past three seasons after being fired by Miami (Fl.).
According to Andy Katz of ESPN.com, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi junior center Chris Daniels will likely pull his name out of the NBA Draft pool. New Islanders coach Perry Clark said, “He told me he's coming back. He told other people he's coming back. He can get better.” Daniels’ name was on the official early-entry list that was released on Thursday. He averaged 15.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game this past season.
The official list of the 2007 NBA Draft early-entries was released on Thursday and it included several surprises. Some of the players that were not expected to be on the list include: Wichita State’s P.J. Couisnard, Dan Coleman and Spencer Tollackson of Minnesota, Manhattan’s Shagari Alleyne, and Tack Minor of LSU. Some of the better small-school players to declare were Wofford’s Drew Gibson and Isaac Wells of Arkansas State. Some non-D-1 players were also on the list. One glaring omission from the list was Oklahoma State’s JamesOn Curry, who announced his intentions last week. When contacted by ESPN.com, OSU was stunned, as was Curry’s family.
Luke Winn of SI.com gives his power rankings for the 2007-2008 season, his first since the early-entry deadline passed. North Carolina sits in the top spot, with UCLA, Memphis, Louisville, and Kansas rounding out the top five. In his write-up of Texas A&M (#15), he picks his top post duos for next season. The Aggies, UNC, UCLA, Kansas, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, and Connecticut are all on the list.
With the coaching carousel winding down lately, FOX Sports’ Jeff Goodman takes a look at who might be in the mix for a new head coaching position after next season. VCU’s Anthony Grant tops the “hot” head coaches list, followed by Tony Bennett of Washington State, Marquette’s Tom Crean, Chris Lowery of Southern Illinois, Nevada’s Mark Fox, and several others. He also discusses ten assistant coaches who could get a head coaching spot next year, led by Derek Kellogg of Memphis. Duke’s Chris Collins and Georgetown’s Robert Burke follow him.
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
ESPN.com’s Andy Katz revises his pre-preseason Top 25 after the early-entry deadline passed Sunday night. Memphis moves up to the top spot after losing no one, while North Carolina sans Brandan Wright drops from #1 to #2. Kansas and Georgetown follow the Tigers and Tar Heels, while the surprise #5 is Washington State. Some other interesting ranking choices: UCLA at #6 behind Washington State, Gonzaga at #11, and Arizona at #13.
Gary Parrish of CBS Sportsline.com discusses the five winners and the five losers of the early-entry deadline. Florida leads the way in the “teams that were hurt badly” category, followed by Ohio State, Georgetown, Kansas, and Georgia Tech. Surprisingly, North Carolina is the top winner in the “teams that survived well” category. Stanford, Tennessee, Memphis, and UCLA round out the top five.
CBS Sportsline.com’s Gregg Doyel gives his picks for the worst decisions of this year’s early-entry period in his “Ten for Tuesday.” Ohio State freshman Daequan Cook leads the way, with Doyel writing “Get your passport, baby.” Josh McRoberts, Marcus Williams, and Arron Afflalo are also on the list. The only player in the top ten that decided to stay in school was Stanford’s Brook Lopez, as Doyel says that he should have gone pro with his stock as high as it currently is.