Monday, June 30, 2008

Post-NBA Draft Top 25

Unlike last season, when several teams made a case throughout the early part of the season to be considered the No. 1 team in the country, this season has a clear-cut favorite heading into the summer. Once North Carolina's trio of Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green announced their decision to return to school rather than enter the NBA Draft, the Tar Heels were entrenched as the top team in the nation. After UNC, it is wide-open, as a handful teams -- or more -- have a legitimate argument to be ranked in the top five. With the NBA Draft in the rearview mirror and most of the comings and goings finished, it is time for March Madness All Season to release its Top-25 rankings heading into July. This will change as the summer progresses, and I take a more in-depth look at each team's roster and personnel. For now, though, this should spark enough debate.

1. North Carolina
2. Connecticut
3. Duke
4. Louisville
5. Notre Dame
7. Pittsburgh
8. Purdue
9. Michigan State
10. Gonzaga
11. Tennessee
12. Memphis
13. Texas
14. Marquette
15. Georgetown
16. Arizona State
17. Villanova
18. Miami (Fl.)
19. Florida
20. Oklahoma
21. USC
22. Arizona (If Brandon Jennings goes to Europe, the Wildcats will drop out)
23. Wake Forest
24. Wisconsin
25. Syracuse

Five More to Watch:
- West Virginia
- Baylor
- Davidson
- Kansas
- Ohio State

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Robinson Leaves UConn, Return Up in the Air

According to The Day (Ct.), Connecticut sophomore forward Stanley Robinson is back home in Alabama taking summer classes at a local community college, and will miss the first semester of next season. "He will not play in the first semester," head coach Jim Calhoun said. "I'm not keeping him out. The NCAA is not keeping him out. But we asked for a medical redshirt. We just filed it. … We're just going to keep him out of school." Robinson is dealing with personal and academic issues, but wants to return to the Huskies. "He wants to stay here," Calhoun said. "That's what he tells me. He tells me if any school calls not to release his stuff, and we've had them call." Calhoun said Robinson has a tendency to disappear for a few days and return home, and also has a problem with missing classes. "He's got to get his life squared away," Calhoun said. "And this is the only way that we feel that we can get Stanley to start reacting. So he's got some responsibilities this summer. The next step would be the possibility of coming back this January, or next May and be back in summer school with two years' eligibility." The 6-9 Robinson averaged 10.4 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last season.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Missouri's Lawrence to Transfer

As first reported by the Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri sophomore guard Keon Lawrence has decided to leave the Tigers and transfer to another program. "I decided a little bit ago," Lawrence said. "I just ain’t really been happy. I made my mind up." He is looking at schools in the Big East and ACC as possible destinations. "It’s not my teammates, and it’s not the fans. That should tell you something," Lawrence said. "I definitely don’t think this time I’m changing my mind. At this point, I just can’t." The 6-2 Lawrence averaged 11.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game last season for the Tigers.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Johnson Transfers to Syracuse

As reported by the Syracuse Post-Standard, former Iowa State forward Wesley Johnson has decided to transfer to Syracuse. "I liked what they had to offer . . . enough to end the recruiting,"Johnson said. "I really liked the school a lot. I got to meet the coaches and see the campus and the Carrier Dome. I felt good about it." The 6-7 sophomore, who left the Cyclones late last month, canceled his scheduled visits to Ohio State, Pittsburgh and West Virginia. His older brother, Craig Carroll, said the Orange had everything Johnson was looking for. "He lined up all the things he wanted and Syracuse met each one," Carroll said. "He knew what he wanted and Syracuse has that." Johnson averaged 12.4 points per game last season.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Report: Jennings Fails to Qualify, Will Play in Europe

According to the East Valley Tribune, Arizona signee Brandon Jennings did not achieve a qualifying score on his standardized test, and will therefore choose to play professionally in Europe before he enters the NBA Draft. However, nothing official has been announced yet, as Arizona spokesman Richard Paige said the school has not received his test score. ESPN, the Tucson Citizen and the Arizona Daily Star have all reported that the scores are not yet in.

Jennings, the nation's top-rated recruit by, had taken the test twice before. He failed it in the first time, but increased his score dramatically the second time, prompting officials to request that he take the test one more time. Over the past week, the talk had grown louder that Jennings would contemplate playing in Europe even if he passed the test. If the Tribune report is true, though, he will not have to contemplate anything. As a college basketball fan, this makes me very nervous for what the future holds.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Players Should Have Same Rights as Coaches

Tyshawn Taylor just wanted to play for the coach who recruited him at the college he signed with.

The high school basketball star from St. Anthony High School in Jersey City (N.J.) originally signed with Marquette University in October after being recruited for months by Golden Eagles’ coach Tom Crean. However, Crean left Marquette on April 1 for a head coaching position at Indiana vacated by Kelvin Sampson.

Shortly after, reports suggested Taylor was planning on asking for a release from his letter of intent as a result of Crean's departure.

Taylor met April 11 with new head coach Brent “Buzz” Williams – a Marquette assistant who was part of Taylor’s recruitment and was promoted to the head coaching position. After Marquette received the release request on April 17, it officially released Taylor from his letter-of-intent on the same day. However, some people still were not happy. At the time, legendary St. Anthony coach Bob Hurley said to Adam Zagoria of The Herald News (N.J.): “It’s unacceptable but it’s one of the things wrong with college basketball, that they would hold a kid for this long when there's such uncertainty.” Taylor eventually signed with Kansas University.

Although the issue was resolved in a timely manner, the aforementioned scenario is a growing problem in college basketball. In short, the Tyshawn Taylor saga is not unusual and happens at various colleges around the country every spring.

It goes as follows: a star recruit signs with a specific school after being recruited incessantly by a usually persuasive coach. However, the coach moves to a better head coaching position, leaving all of the new recruits at an enormous disadvantage. They are now stuck at a school with a coach who they do not know and who did not recruit them. As Taylor told Zagoria during the aforementioned situation: “I don’t want to go to Marquette and everything gets changed around.”

Unfortunately, since the player has already signed a letter of intent, it is not guaranteed that the university will allow them to immediately leave the school and sign somewhere else. If the school does not let them leave, the player will have to sit out a year if he wants to transfer.

It does not make sense for universities to force student-athletes to stay in a situation that they did not necessarily agree to. They signed with a specific coach. Yes, the legacy of the basketball program or the location of the school may have played a part, but the relationship between a recruit and a coach is more often than not the deciding factor when a player chooses his destination.

“We have a minor entering into a contract with a university based on the influence the coach had over this child to make him decide to sign with this school over somewhere else,” Hurley told “A very persuasive adult with a basketball reputation convinced this minor to enter a contract because of all the things he’s going to do for him. Then the coach goes to another situation, and now you’re going to have another person coach the kid who [the recruit] doesn't even know.”

There seems to be a growing consensus among most people around high school and college basketball that there needs to a rule change when it comes to players who sign with schools that eventually lose their coaches. It simply makes sense. Why should a high school recruit be forced to stay in a situation that he did not agree to and is not likely to be happy in?

Fran Fraschilla, a former coach at Manhattan College and St. John’s University and now a college basketball analyst for ESPN, said he thinks players should have time to reconsider their commitment to a school in case the coach leaves or is fired.

“My feeling is, if a coach leaves, the player who signed should be free to decide whether to stay or open up his recruitment,” Fraschilla said. “If the coach that recruited them decides to leave, the player should be let out for a period of time to explore his options. Regardless of who the coach is, he can stay there – but he should be able to reconsider his decision.”

Fraschilla thinks the period of time should be three weeks, which is ample time for a recruit to look at other schools and see if he wants to stick with his original college choice.

He actually went through this situation with one player when he made the short move from Manhattan to St. John’s. “He signed a letter-of-intent to play for me, and it was touchy,” Fraschilla said. “But I had a good enough relationship with Manhattan that they let him out.”

Zagoria is on the same side of the issue as Fraschilla, as he thinks incoming recruits of a certain program should have the same options as the coach that left for a presumably better job. “If a college basketball coach leaves, the student-athlete should have that same opportunity,” Zagoria said. “It’s absolutely absurd; the kid is bound but the coach is not.”

There is certainly another side to the issue. Many people believe a player should not base his college decision simply on his relationship with the current coach, and he should factor in a coach’s job security when it comes to make a final choice. Coaches across the country are always either in danger of losing their jobs because of constant disappointment, or are consistently getting looked at for better jobs because they have been successful enough for a certain period of time. It is a tough balance for a prospective recruit to keep in mind, but it is also one that needs to be thought about when deciding on which school to attend.

“The reality is, coaches are always in a tenuous situation,” Fraschilla said. “Their life spans are not long.”

As a result, there is an argument that players need to look at other aspects of the college outside of strictly the head coach when choosing their college.

Although Zagoria feels there should definitely be a rule allowing players to reconsider their options once a coach leaves, he sees the other side of the argument.

“The school is still the same, it’s in the same place,” he said. “All of the elements are still the same.”

There is at least one person who feels that the issue is becoming less of a problem lately because administrators are becoming more understanding about the situation. Carmen Maciariello, vice president of the Albany City Rocks, an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) program that has sent 67 players to Division-I schools in the past decade, said more and more players are being allowed to leave in case a coach departs.

“Now a lot of athletic directors are becoming more flexible,” Maciariello said. “Usually those kids can get out of their letters-of-intent, but we try to have a very good relationship with the coach and athletic director just in case.”

Despite the clear need for a rule change in general, there certainly should be limits to how far the rule should extend. If it goes too far, too many players will feel they have the right to leave. For example, many high school players are recruited most heavily by assistant coaches, and it is not a stretch to say that some players choose a school based on the relationship they developed with that assistant coach. However, if schools start allowing recruits to leave because an assistant coach moved on to another job, that could open a Pandora’s box of problems, as too many student-athletes will think they have a legit reason to leave without being penalized.

“I wouldn’t be in favor of that,” Fraschilla said of the hypothetical rule extending to include assistant coaches. “I think that would be going a little overboard.”

Furthermore, the hypothetical rule likely shouldn’t apply to transfers, either. Currently, the rule in college basketball is that a player who wants to leave a program and transfer needs to sit out a year before becoming eligible to play again. It prevents players from going to four different schools in four different years, or leaving a college whenever they want. The transfer rule makes sense, and should stay the way it is.

“Sitting out a year implies that there is an impact of changing schools,” Zagoria said. “You don’t want to create a scenario where everyone can leave.”

Fraschilla feels the same way. “If he starts attending school and the coach gets fired, he shouldn’t be allowed to just leave and be eligible right away,” he said. “He should still have to sit out if he was already at the school. The one-year policy that exists should stay in place.”

There might be one way to avoid the problematic situation altogether. Indiana University made a somewhat controversial hire when it chose Kelvin Sampson as its head coach. Sampson had problems with the NCAA when he was at the University of Oklahoma, and continued to have the same problems when he arrived in Bloomington in 2006. The NCAA began an investigation in October 2007 regarding impermissible phone calls Sampson supposedly made. Unfortunately for the Hoosiers, that was right around the time that the early signing period for high school recruits began.

In order for recruits to stick with Indiana and not get scared away at the possibility of NCAA punishment or the loss of Sampson, the university gave each player an opt-out clause. It stated that, if Sampson left or the school received a postseason tournament ban before the recruit arrived on campus in the fall of 2008, the player would be freed from his commitment. At the time, the recruits – Terrell Holloway and Devin Ebanks – never thought they would have to use it, but lo and behold, Sampson was out before March began after the NCAA found Indiana had committed five major violations during Sampson’s tenure. Holloway has since signed with Xavier, while Ebanks is still considering his options.

Zagoria said this concept could really help the whole recruiting process if it becomes more popular. “If all kids could get that, it would set a real precedent,” he said.

Maciariello thinks it is a good idea but feels that it should not be necessary. “In an ideal world, you don’t need to have that,” he said. “It’s good for the schools to cover themselves, but hopefully people’s words still matter nowadays.”

If a rule change was in fact enacted which allowed players to reconsider their options in case the coach they signed with either left for another job or was fired, there are two domino effects that it could have on college basketball. One, coaches might receive more job security due to the fact that administrators and athletic directors wouldn’t want to risk losing an entire recruiting class by getting rid of a coach. Fraschilla discussed how some athletic directors would rather fire a coach before a highly-touted recruiting class arrives so that the new coach would have a nice base on which to build his version of the program. If this rule were put into place, the administrators would have to rethink their approach.

Secondly, this would directly affect one of the rising trends in the recruiting game: players signing with schools later and later in the process. It used to be that players would sign in November during the early signing period and there would be nothing but scraps and the occasional star player available come the spring, or late, signing period. However, a growing number of players are now waiting to sign with schools until after their high school season ends, which is normally in March. For example, three of this season’s top-13 recruits (Tyreke Evans, Scotty Hopson, Ater Majok) according to waited to sign until April, while another (Ebanks) signed in May.

Fraschilla mentioned how the aforementioned Bob Hurley is a major proponent of signing in the spring, mainly because of the chance a coach might leave after one of his players has signed with that school.

“This is why Bob Hurley would rather his players sign in the spring,” he said. “[His son] Bobby Hurley didn’t sign [with Duke] until the spring; he doesn’t like his players signing in the fall.”

It boils down to the fact that the majority of players choose their destination as a result of how they got along with the head coach, a fact solidified by discussions with multiple people involved in high school and college basketball.

Said Fraschilla: “A player will likely choose a school based on his relationship with the head coach.”

Said Zagoria: “The biggest part in a player’s decision is his relationship with the coach.”

There should undoubtedly be a rule enacted which would allow recruits a certain period of time to reconsider their options should the coach they signed with get fired or move up in the coaching ranks to another job. A player who signs with a school is not just signing with the school; he’s signing with a coach and that coach’s vision of building a program. The coach may have made a player a relative promise about how much playing time he should expect to receive, or what plans he has for the player. Once that coach leaves, though, all of that is out the window. If the player meets with the new coach and finds that he does not have the same vision as the former coach, the player should not be forced to stay in that situation. It is not the situation he signed on with, and he therefore should be able to change his mind and find a place where he will be a better fit and be happier.

Luckily for Tyshawn Taylor, he was able to eventually get out of his letter-of-intent and move on to another school where he actually wanted to be. However, all student-athletes aren’t so lucky, and that is both wrong and unfair.

UPDATED AT 11:47 PM EST, June 26

Monday, June 23, 2008

Jennings Going to Europe Instead of Arizona?

According to the New York Times, incoming Arizona point guard Brandon Jennings is pondering going to play for a year in Europe instead of heading to Tucson. "I told my mom that that was something we should look into, going overseas, it seems like a good idea," Jennings said. "I think people just develop better over there. You’re playing professional ball for a year, you’re playing against guys who are older than you. I’ll constantly be playing basketball 24-7. I don’t have to worry about school and things like that." Jennings has yet to receive a qualifying test score for the NCAA, although he passed on his second attempt. However, the NCAA asked him to take it a third time because of the difference between his two previous tries. "For a person that plays ball, our dream is to get to the N.B.A.," Jennings said. "College is like, O.K., we’ll do this one year, but our real mind-set is that we’re trying to get to the league, take care of our families. They’re making us do college so we feel like, Let’s do one year, go to class half the time." Jennings would be the first to do this sort of thing since the NBA issued the rule forcing players to be out of high school for at least one year before entering the NBA Draft. He said he will wait until he gets his test score back, though. "If I pass, it’ll be something me and my mom can really sit down and talk about," Jennings said. "We’ll figure it out, try to see, do I really want to go to college? If I don’t pass, then I have no other option but to go, or work out for a year." He is the top-rated player in the country by

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Site Update

As many of you have noticed, there has not been much original content posted on March Madness All Season in the past several weeks. First off, I apologize for that -- with all the NBA Draft news and rumors, plus spring signings and transfers, there has not been enough time for too many articles.

However, that is all about to change over the next few weeks. I am going to post a story I wrote a couple of weeks ago about college coaches being able to leave for a better opportunity whenever they can, while players have to go through multiple obstacles to get out of their letter-of-intent. I spoke to several different sources for the story, including ESPN analyst and former college head coach Fran Fraschilla.

Furthermore, I am going to be doing a post-withdrawal deadline Top 25, which will serve as my de facto preseason Top 25 heading into the summer. It will likely not be updated until my preseason preview starts up in October. I am also going to be doing a couple of articles on the teams most affected and least affected by the NBA Draft and other activities during the spring.

Lastly, I have been and will be traveling in the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia area to cover various high school tournaments. I was at the Rumble in the Bronx last weekend at Fordham, and was at Rutgers for the Hoop Group Showcase this past weekend. I talked to dozens of players during that span, and have contributed many of my stories to the Big East Basketball Report. I am going to post a few of the features I wrote for them here on March Madness All Season, and will also continue to keep all you loyal readers informed off the latest news and notes from the summer recruiting trail.

That's about it for now -- thank you again for continuing to support March Madness All Season, and I hope you enjoy all the upcoming material.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wesley Johnson Looking at Four

According to Jeff Goodman of, former Iowa State forward Wesley Johnson is leaning towards four schools: Syracuse, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Ohio State. Johnson left the Cyclones last month out of nowhere, saying that he wanted to go to a place where he could have a better relationship with the coaches, and also a place with a different style of play. Although he played last season in constant pain due to a foot injury, Johnson still managed to average 12.4 points per game.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Negedu Commits to Tennessee

Top-50 prospect Emmanuel Negedu's recruiting saga has come to a close. The former Arizona signee has announced his commitment to Tennessee. "Tennessee was one of the schools I considered before I [signed with] Arizona [last November], and when I visited there I liked the campus and I really got along with the players," Negedu told Gary Parrish of "It just seemed like a family. I love it. And I feel like I've known the coaches forever." The 6-7 forward chose the Volunteers over Indiana, Memphis and Georgia Tech. Negedu asked for a release from his letter of intent from Arizona last month as a result of all the changes on the Wildcats' coaching staff. He is ranked as the No. 40 recruit in the country by

Caracter Transferring from Louisville?

The Derrick Caracter saga continues -- but will it be at Louisville? On Saturday, Caracter told the Louisville Courier-Journal that he wanted to continue to play for coach Rick Pitino and the Cardinals. "This is where I want to be," Caracter said. "This is where I want to play. I took my name out of the draft because I want to play here. I don’t want to transfer. I’m going to talk to coach at the end of the month. I don’t want to be anywhere else." However, reported today that Caracter is leaving the team. "He's transferring," Pitino told Jeff Goodman. The talented 6-8 big man had a myriad of off-court problems during his career with the Cardinals, leading Pitino to essentially say after the season that he no longer wanted Caracter in the program. Caracter averaged 8.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game last season.

Sallie Signs with Memphis

The same day Memphis received word that Robert Dozier was withdrawing from the NBA Draft, the Tigers also picked up another bit of good news: junior college guard Roburt Sallie has picked Memphis. "I didn't think I was going to commit on the trip, but I'm ready to get rolling now," Sallie said. "We're going to try to do some special things here. Cal is very, very special. He’s one of a kind. He cares about his players . . . This is bigger than basketball." The 6-5 Sallie was the California junior college player of the year and will be reunited with former Laurinberg Prep teammates Dozier and Antonio Anderson. "Me and Antonio and Rob experienced that 40-0, and that's what Cal is definitely shooting for," Sallie said, referring to Laurinberg's undefeated season. He originally committed to Nebraska out of prep school, but he failed to qualify and went to junior college. Sallie chose the Tigers over Kentucky and Cincinnati. "Rob's a winner," said Laurinberg Prep coach John Parker. "Of all the kids that I've ever coached in prep school, he's the most competitive and the most complete player I ever coached. The city of Memphis will be blown away by this kid."

Jasper Transferring to UNLV

Former Kentucky guard Derrick Jasper has announced that he will be transferring to UNLV. "I really enjoyed the weekend and I love the city," Jasper told the Las Vegas Sun. "I got to hang out with the players. They seem like real great guys. I like how coach operated practice and motivates the players. It seems like a great fit for me." One of the things that helped Jasper make his decision was his former AAU teammate, Tre'Von Willis, who transferred from Memphis to UNLV two seasons ago. "I really enjoy playing with him in our AAU days,” Jasper said. "He’s a great teammate. He competes really hard, and it will be nice to suit up with him again." Jasper, a 6-6 guard, averaged 4.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game last season for the Wildcats.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Early-Entry Deadline Update

As the clock ticks towards 5:00 p.m. EST, nearly all of the 20 remaining underclassmen who had yet to make a final decision before today have made an announcement regarding their intentions. While there are a couple of players still on the fence, here is a look at which players are in the NBA Draft and which players are heading back to school.

Note: Updated at 6:12 p.m. with Akognon, Mbah a Moute decisions.

Returning to School (Source in Parenthesis)

A.J. Abrams, Texas (Houston Chronicle)
Josh Akognon, Cal State Fullerton (
Chase Budinger, Arizona (
Robert Dozier, Memphis (Memphis Commercial Appeal)
Wayne Ellington, North Carolina (, first broken by
Danny Green, North Carolina (, first broken by
Lester Hudson, Tennessee-Martin (
Ty Lawson, North Carolina (, first broken by
Jeremy Pargo, Gonzaga (
Ronald Steele, Alabama (Mobile Press-Register, first reported by
Robert Vaden, UAB (Birmingham News, first reported by

Staying in the Draft

Ryan Anderson, California (
Jamont Gordon, Mississippi State: No official word, but signs point to him leaving.
Richard Hendrix, Alabama (
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (
Bill Walker, Kansas State (

Announced Intentions Sunday

Joe Alexander, West Virginia: Signed with agent Doug Neustadt; will not return to school. (
Mario Chalmers, Kansas: Informed coaching staff he was staying in the draft. (Kansas City Star)
Lee Cummard, BYU: Coach Dave Rose said Cummard has decided to return to school. (
J.J. Hickson, North Carolina State: Officially announced on Sunday that he was staying in the Draft. (

Who's In, Who's Out?

Despite the fact today at 5:00 p.m. EST is the deadline for underclassmen to withdraw their names from the NBA Draft, there were still 20 players who had yet to make a final decision heading into yesterday afternoon. While some players are expected to withdraw and others are almost guaranteed to stay in, there are also several prospects who are completely up in the air. What is the latest word on each of the 20 remaining underclassmen without an agent? Let's take a look.

A.J. Abrams, Texas: Has not decided yet, but will make his final choice today. (Austin American-Statesman)

Josh Akognon, Cal State Fullerton: No word from him, but signs point to him staying in the Draft.

Joe Alexander, West Virginia: Has signed with agent Doug Neustadt; will not return to school. (

Ryan Anderson, California: Entirely up in the air; said last Tuesday he was nowhere near a decision. (

Chase Budinger, Arizona: Said he has received "good enough" feedback to justify staying in Draft. (Arizona Daily Star)

Mario Chalmers, Kansas: Informed coaching staff he was staying in the draft. (Kansas City Star)

Lee Cummard, BYU: Coach Dave Rose said Cummard has decided to return to school. (

Robert Dozier, Memphis: Coach John Calipari expects Dozier to come back to school. (Memphis Commercial Appeal)

Wayne Ellington, North Carolina: Will make decision today; no indication of where he is currently leaning. (Raleigh News & Observer)

Jamont Gordon, Mississippi State: As good as gone. For weeks, he and his people have been saying that he is likely staying in the Draft.

Danny Green, North Carolina: Was supposed to talk to coach Roy Williams Sunday, but meeting has been postponed until today. Said he will make his decision after talking to Williams. His father announced that he would be staying in school, and Danny also said he was likely returning.(Raleigh News & Observer, Fayetteville Observer,

Richard Hendrix, Alabama: Has not announced his decision, and was still working out with teams this weekend. (The Huntsville Times)

J.J. Hickson, North Carolina State: Officially announced on Sunday that he was staying in the Draft. (

Lester Hudson, Tennessee-Martin: Met with his coaches this weekend to make a final decision; said if he was projected to be drafted in the first 35 picks, he would leave. (Jackson Sun)

Ty Lawson, North Carolina: Has not made a decision yet, and will announce final choice today. Originally looked like he would stay in the Draft, but developments over the last couple of weeks have clouded the picture. (Winston-Salem Journal)

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, UCLA: Has not reached a decision yet. It seems like he wants to stay in the Draft, but might not get feedback he needs to justify that decision.

Jeremy Pargo, Gonzaga: No indication as to which way he is leaning; coach Mark Few does not know what Pargo will do.

Ronald Steele, Alabama: After the back-and-forth announcements that occurred a couple of weeks ago, there has not been much talk about him. He was still working out for teams this weekend, and will announce his decision today. (The Huntsville Times)

Robert Vaden, UAB: Coach Mike Davis said Vaden is 50/50 on staying in the Draft. He has a final workout today with Detroit, and will likely make a decision after that. (

Bill Walker, Kansas State: Might be the most interesting case of them all. It looked like he was going to stay in the Draft; coach Frank Martin said he was not expecting Walker to return to school. However, Walker injured his right knee this weekend and will need an MRI. Will not make a decision until just before the deadline today. (,

Saturday, June 14, 2008

IUPUI's Hill Not Returning to School

As reported by the Indianapolis Star, IUPUI junior guard George Hill has decided to keep his name in the NBA Draft, ending any chance he had of returning to the Jaguars for his senior season. "It’s very exciting," Hill said. "It’s always been a dream to be part of the process. Now to be part of the process with other top players, it’s very humbling." While he does indeed support the decision, head coach Ron Hunter has mixed feelings about it. "It’s kind of a bittersweet thing," Hunter said. "I’m happy for him, but I’m sad to lose him, just like I’d be sad losing any of my seniors who were going on and getting a job. His job just happens to be basketball." Hill, the Summit League Player of the Year last season, is projected as a late first-round, early second-round selection.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Green Likely Returning, Walker Likely Gone

According to Jeff Goodman of, North Carolina junior swingman Danny Green is likely to withdraw his name from the NBA Draft and return to the Tar Heels for his senior season. On the other hand, Kansas State redshirt freshman forward Bill Walker is expected to keep his name in the Draft and not return to the Wildcats.

Green told Goodman that he is leaning towards coming back to Chapel Hill. "I'm going to talk to Coach (Roy Williams) about it, but that's what it's looking like right now," Green said. "I feel like I got what I needed out of this process." He suffered a multitude of injuries over the past couple of months, which hampered him at team workouts. Green has previously said that he would stay in the Draft if he was going to be selected in the first-round, which does not seem likely. Teammates Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington have yet to decide their respective NBA Draft futures. The deadline to withdraw is June 16.

On the flipside, Kansas State head coach Frank Martin is not expecting Walker to be a Wildcat next season. "I’d be surprised if he came back,” Martin said. “I think he’s a first-round pick. There’s not 30 better players than him out there and I think he’s starting to solidify himself as a first-round pick.” Walker's stock dropped after he suffered a knee injury during his freshman season, but it has risen lately due to his performance at various workouts. He is projected as a late first-round pick.

Riek Withdraws from Draft

According to Jeff Goodman of, highly-touted 7-2 center John Riek has withdrawn his name from the NBA Draft, and will attend IMG Academy next season. "John had some offers, but felt as though it was in his best interest to get healthy before he goes into the draft,” Fatah Muraisi, Riek's advisor, said. Riek burst onto the scene during the summer, but has since been hobbled by a knee injury and has not lived up to the original hype bestowed upon him.

Miles Cleared to Play for UConn

Connecticut added another piece to its potential Final Four puzzle on Thursday, as talented recruit Nate Miles was granted eligiblity and cleared to play by the NCAA. "I'm just so happy for Nate," Miles' legal guardian, Sean Patterson, said. "Nate's dream has always been to go to UConn and play for a Hall of Fame coach, and that's something he needs. Nate kept his word and UConn kept its word, too. If he didn't want to go to UConn we could have stopped this whole process when it got difficult and sent him to a junior college or just have him enter the [NBA] draft." Of course, as I mentioned yesterday, this might be another nail in Stanley Robinson's career with the Huskies. According to the Hartford Courant, head coach Jim Calhoun, in regards to Robinson, said: "You might see him in a UConn uniform again, but it won't be next year. That's not 100 percent, but that's the way it is leaning." The Huskies currently have 14 scholarship players for next season, which is one over the limit. Miles has attented five high schools and is already 20 years old.

Mack Transferring from Memphis

As first reported by the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Memphis sophomore guard Doneal Mack has decided to leave the Tigers and transfer to another school. "Next year is his junior year, and we just feel like it's time to move on," his father, Greg Mack, said. "We're not getting the positive feedback that we expect to get from the Tiger coaches, and it's time to move on." Greg said the main reason for the transfer was the lack of playing time, and the fact Mack's minutes dropped from his freshman to sophomore season. "You were at the games; you know (the playing time) went down from his freshman year to his sophomore year," Greg said. "We need to know what we're up against, and we're not getting answers. The kid wants to play and without those answers, we can't go into next year guessing." Coach John Calipari is going to miss coaching Mack, but he also understands the decision. "I'm disappointed because I loved coaching the kid, I think he really improved," Calipari said, "but I also respect he and his family's decision, and I wish him nothing but the best." Mack averaged 6.9 points per game off the bench last season.

Udoh Transferring to Baylor

Former Michigan center Ekpe Udoh has announced that he will be transferring to Baylor. "I transferred from Michigan because I wanted to get closer to home," Udoh said. "I visited Baylor in May and then came back last week. I really hit it off with Tweety Carter. This is the school where I feel most comfortable." Udoh will sit out a year, and then likely become the same shot-blocking force he was in Ann Arbor. "I'll play at center or forward or wherever they need me — and I think the opportunity will be there," Udoh said. "Defense is obviously the area where I do best, but I’m going to work extremely hard to develop my offensive game." The Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year, Udoh averaged 2.9 blocks per game to go with 6.0 points and 5.0 rebounds.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Robinson Next UConn Player Out?

The seemingly annual upheaval of the Connecticut roster might not be over just yet. According to head coach Jim Calhoun, there is a chance sophomore forward Stanley Robinson will not be part of the Huskies' team next season. "He's got some things that he's got to prove to us much the same as, quite frankly, Curtis [Kelly] and Doug [Wiggins]," Calhoun told The Connecticut Day. "Right now Stanley is in the process of [determining] if he wants to be part of the program. It's the same package as the other kids with a combination of academics and social, and being on time and being dedicated to the program." Kelly and Wiggins both transferred earlier this offseason. Calhoun did not say that Robinson was going to be kicked off the team, but did say he needed to prove himself to the coaches. "He has time to show us that he wants to do the things that we asked him to do," he said. "There is an opportunity. He certainly could have a UConn uniform on again." The 6-9 Robinson averaged 10.4 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last season.

Chalmers, Anderson Still Deciding Futures

According to Andy Katz of, both Kansas junior guard Mario Chalmers and California sophomore forward Ryan Anderson have yet to make a decision regarding their respective NBA futures. Both players have until Monday to make a final choice.

Anderson is completely on the fence, and is not close to a decision yet. "It's something that I need to weigh because I know it's going to be hard for teams to guarantee me anything right now to stay in the draft," Anderson said. "I've been hearing good information. That's what I'm hearing and it's heading me in a good decision toward a decision but I'm no where near finalizing yet." He said he felt like he was prepared to play in the NBA, but he has also been told that his stock might rise if he stays another year. Furthermore, he is excited about the possibility of playing under new coach Mike Montgomery. Anderson said there are pros and cons for either decision. "That's what makes it so tough," he said. "I'm trying to get as much information as possible." Anderson, who is projected as a late first-round pick, averaged 21.1 points and 9.9 rebounds per game last season.

On the other hand, all indications point to Chalmers keeping his name in the NBA Draft. Despite that, his father, Ronnie, who is the director of basketball operations at Kansas, told Katz that the two will make a final decision Sunday afternoon. "The main thing is for Mario to be at peace with what he's doing," Ronnie said. "I'll support him and get him the information to make a good decision." Ronnie said that Chalmers is a lock for the first-round based on the reports he has been receiving. Jayhawks' coach Bill Self is not expecting Chalmers to return to school for his senior season. "He’s staying in the draft," Self told Gary Bedore of the Lawrence Journal-World. "He’s telling everybody he’s leaving. Why would he be saying that if he’s still thinking he’s going to come back?" Chalmers averaged 12.8 points, 4.3 assists and 2.5 steals per game last season.

Speights Signing with Agent, Staying in Draft

As reported by multiple outlets earlier today, Florida sophomore big man Marreese Speights has decided to sign with an agent, ending any chance he had of returning to the Gators for his junior season. "It was a hard decision,'' Speights told the St. Petersburg Times. "But we had a good conversation. Coach [Billy] Donovan understood. He always said he wants what's best for me.'' Donovan backed Speights' decision. "I completely support his decision, this is what he wants to do,'' he said in a statement. "I wish him nothing but the best of luck on June 26 and in the future.'' The 6-10 Speights is expected to sign with agent Andy Miller of ASM Sports. Speights' former AAU coach, Matt Ramker, said that a decision was not made until numerous people were spoken to regarding the situation. "It took a lot of conversations with coach and a lot of people the last two weeks so we could make the best decision for Marreese,'' Ramker said. Speights, who is expected to be drafted in the middle of the first round, averaged 14.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game last season.

BYU's Cummard Likely Returning

According to Jeff Goodman of, BYU junior swingman Lee Cummard is likely to return to the Cougars for his senior season. The co-Player of the Year in the Mountain West has had two workouts thus far, and has two more scheduled. Still, he said he is not going to stay in the NBA Draft unless a team guarantees him that he will be selected. "And even then, I’m such a rookie in this process, I don’t even know if I’d trust it," he said. "I'd have to feel comfortable and the only way I’ll feel comfortable is if my coach feels comfortable." Cummard was a surprise entry into the draft process, but he said that he was relatively unknown before and now is on some NBA radars. He also said BYU coach Dave Rose has been involved throughout the last few months. "Coach is handling it all with this process," Cummard said. "Everything goes through him. Nothing happens without him knowing about it." The 6-6 Cummard averaged 15.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game last season, and shot 47 percent from three-point range.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Crawford Leaving Indiana

They should start making a general headline tablet: "[Blank] Leaving Indiana." Freshman guard Jordan Crawford announced today that he is leaving the Hoosiers and transferring to another school. Crawford is the eleventh player to depart from Indiana since the end of the season, when former Marquette coach Tom Crean took over for interim coach Dan Dakich. The team had five seniors; Eric Gordon left early for the NBA Draft; Armon Bassett, Jamarcus Ellis, DeAndre Thomas and Brandon McGee were kicked off the team; and Eli Holman transferred. Dakich was left in charge of the program after Kelvin Sampson resigned because of NCAA allegations. With the loss of Crawford, just one scholarship player from last season remains: seldom-used forward Kyle Taber. "Jordan Crawford and his family informed us today that he will not return to Indiana University," the university said in a statement, and neither Crawford nor Crean had further comment. Crawford averaged 9.7 points and 3.4 rebounds per game last season.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Chalmers, Hickson Likely Staying in Draft

Kansas junior guard Mario Chalmers is leaning towards staying in the NBA Draft, he told Phoenix reporters after his workout for the Suns on Friday. "I’m leaning towards staying [in the draft]," Chalmers said. "I’ve been hearing a lot of good things, so I’ll probably stay in." The hero of the National Championship game said he wants to be taken in the first-round. "[If I determine that I will be taken] in that top first round, anywhere between 15 and 25, I’m going to stay in [the draft]," he said. Chalmers also added that it would not be hard going to back to the Jayhawks for another season, despite winning a title and hitting his memorable shot. However, he did say: "But it’s my dream to be in the NBA, and I am so close to it." Chalmers, who averaged 12.8 points, 4.3 assists and 2.5 steals per game last season, is projected as a late first-round pick.

Similarly, North Carolina State freshman forward J.J. Hickson told reporters after his workout that he is most likely not returning to the Wolf Pack for his sophomore season. "I would say that I’m definitely in the draft," Hickson said. "I came out just testing the waters but since I’m hearing a lot of good things about my game I’m not going to pull my name out." Hickson thinks he has been impressive in his workouts and is NBA-ready. "I’m coming in here and I'm trying to impress the scouts and that’s why I think I’m going to keep my name in," he said. Hickson, projected as a first-round pick, averaged 14.8 and 8.5 per contest last season.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Lawson Arrested for Drinking and Driving

North Carolina sophomore point guard Ty Lawson was arrested early Friday morning and charged with driving after consuming alcohol, violating a local noise ordinance and driving with a revoked license. According to police, Lawson was driving by himself at the time of arrest, and was pulled over after an officer heard loud music coming from Lawson's vehicle. Lawson took a field sobriety test, as well as a Breathalyzer test. North Carolina state law prohibits anyone under 21 from driving after drinking any amount of alcohol. Neither Lawson, the coaching staff or the university had any comment on the arrest, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. Lawson averaged 12.7 points and 5.2 assists per game last season in helping lead the Tar Heels to the Final Four. He was one of three UNC players to declare for the upcoming NBA Draft without hiring an agent; he has yet to make a final decision regarding his future.

Speights, Hickson Likely Staying in Draft

According to Andy Katz of, Florida sophomore big man Marreese Speights and North Carolina State freshman forward J.J. Hickson are both likely to keep their names in the NBA Draft. Katz says that both players will ultimately sign with agent Andy Miller after the June 16 withdrawal deadline; Miller has been advising both Speights and Hickson throughout the draft process. Furthermore, Katz writes that both Florida and NC State expect the two players to leave, as do the NBA teams they have worked out for. Both players are projected as first-round picks. Speights averaged 14.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game last season, while Hickson averaged 14.8 and 8.5 per contest.

Pilgrim Transferring to Kentucky

According to the school, former Hampton forward Matt Pilgrim has enrolled at Kentucky to take summer classes. However, Pilgrim is not living with the rest of the players at Wildcat Lodge, and the team is not making any announcements regarding his scholarship status or his status with the basketball team. Jeff Goodman of first reported on Tuesday that Pilgrim had decided to transfer to Kentucky. A source told Goodman that Pilgrim was supremely skilled, but a "cancer" to the team. "He was the most talented player in the league," the source said. "But he’s a giant head case. I’m shocked Kentucky would take him." Pilgrim, a 6-8 sophomore, averaged 7.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game last season in a reserve role for the Pirates.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Budinger Likely Staying in Draft

According to Andy Katz of, Arizona sophomore forward Chase Budinger is likely to keep his name in the NBA Draft and not return to the Wildcats for his junior season. "He's 100 percent committed to the effort," Chase's father, Duncan Budinger, said. "And in his mind, he's going ahead and not saying Arizona is a safety parachute." Budinger has five workouts scheduled before the June 16 withdrawal date, and another 10 lined up after that date. "Chase is looking at it that he feels he's ready, and if he gets the right feedback then he'll go," Duncan said. "Is he mentally ready? Oh yeah." Budinger is projected as a mid-to-late first-round pick by most draft experts. He averaged 17.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last season.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

KSU's Walker Yet to Decide Future

According to Andy Katz of, Kansas State redshirt freshman Bill Walker has not reached a decision regarding his NBA Draft future yet. Wildcats' head coach Frank Martin said Walker wants to be sure he will be a first-round pick. "He's going to be as thorough with the process as he can," Martin said. "He's got to make the right decision, but being a first-round pick is something very important to him." Martin also added that Walker is not in a rush to leave, but if he is a first-round lock, he will go. "It's not like he can't wait to leave," he said. "He wants to be in the first round." Walker, who is projected as a late first-round pick by most draft experts, averaged 16.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game last season.

UNC's Green Possibly Pulling Out of Draft

According to Jeff Goodman of, North Carolina junior swingman Danny Green will likely remove his name from the NBA Draft pool next week if his injuries continue to bother him. Green, who has a workout with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday, is suffering from a sprained ankle, a hairline fracture of his wrist, an injured elbow, and a hip pointer. "If I’m not feeling good after the Cavs, I’m shut it down and pull out of the draft," Green said. "I’m just trying to go into all the workout with a positive attitude and not make any excuses. But I can’t do some things I want to do and it’s a little frustrating." Green was one of three Tar Heels to declare early for the NBA Draft without signing with an agent. The others, Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington, have also not made decisions regarding their future. Green averaged 11.5 points and 4.9 rebounds last season in helping lead North Carolina to the Final Four.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

UM's Gilchrist Granted Transfer Release

Things keep getting worse for Maryland. Incoming Terrapins' freshman Gus Gilchrist has been granted his release by the university so he can potentially play immediately at another school outside of the ACC. Since Gilchrist had originally signed with Virginia Tech, the NCAA said he had to sit out the first semester of games. Head coach Gary Williams said the team appealed twice to the NCAA and was denied both times. "Gus has asked for a release to explore other options which may allow him to play more games at another university outside the ACC, pending an NCAA waiver," Williams said in a statement. Gilchrist was grateful to the Terps' coaches for trying to get him eligible for the upcoming season. "I would like to thank Coach Williams and the basketball staff at Maryland for all their support in attempts in appealing this process," he said in a statement. "I wish them the best in the future." Since he will be considered a transfer no matter where he ends up, Gilchrist will have to petition the NCAA to get the standard one-year waiting period waived so he can play right away. The announcement comes less than two weeks after JC transfer Tyree Evans also asked for his release from the school.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Steele Still Deciding his Future

Contrary to an ESPN report over the weekend, Alabama junior point guard Ronald Steele has still not made up his mind regarding the NBA Draft. Head coach Mark Gottfried told's Andy Katz that Steele had decided to return to the Crimson Tide for his senior season. However, Steele said Gottfried misunderstood the conversation they had on Saturday. "It was a mix-up," Steele told "I can work out until the 16th, and a number of teams have called so I'm going to take those workouts and then make a decision." Steele said he has workouts scheduled right before the June 16 withdrawal deadline, and has been told that several teams are interested in him. "I'm still in," Steele said. "I haven't withdrawn yet. I'm going to make a good decision and Orlando provided me with the opportunity to play with the best players, and I think I did fairly well and showed all of my skill set."

Comments from Steele's mother and father to various newspapers in Alabama immediately after the ESPN report made it clear that their son had not yet completely made up his mind. "He has up until the 16th (of June) to make a decision," Ronald Steele Sr. told the Birmingham News. "He hasn't made one yet." "It's still in the air," he also told the Mobile Press-Register. "He's going to keep his name in the hat and do a series of workouts before he makes a decision." Apparently, Steele did tell Gottfried that he was returning to the Crimson Tide, but later changed his mind after discussing it further with his father. "(Gottfried) talked with Ron (Saturday) night, and Ron told him he was coming back," Steele St. told the Birmingham News. "Then after we talked, we told him he had a little more time. Might as well explore it a little bit more, get a little more experience. After we talked, he retracted that statement."

Steele was one of three Alabama players to enter their names in the NBA Draft without signing an agent. Alonzo Gee has already announced his return, while Richard Hendrix has yet to make a decision. Steele missed all of last season after undergoing knee surgery, and was bothered his junior year by nagging knee injuries. During his last injury-free campaign, which was his sophomore season in 2005-2006, Steele averaged 14.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.

FSU's Reid Suspended Indefinitely

Florida State sophomore forward Ryan Reid has been suspended indefinitely by head coach Leonard Hamilton for a violation of team rules. He was cited on Saturday night by police for shooting a BB gun at a stop sign and a building near the FSU campus. "It was a very dumb thing to do and I have embarrassed not only my family, [but] my teammates, our coaching staff and the entire Florida State basketball program," Reid said in a statement. "I put myself in a situation that I should not have been in and for that I am truly sorry. I will have to work very hard to regain the trust of the many people I have hurt because of my poor choices." It is the second time Reid has been suspended from the team, as he missed nine games in the middle of last season for violating team rules. He averaged 5.6 points and 5.0 rebounds per game last season.

Williams to Oregon State, Not Long Beach State

According to Andy Katz of, former Providence sophomore Dwain Williams is transferring to Oregon State, not Long Beach State as was previously reported. "It was a miscommunication," Williams' former AAU coach, J.J. Santa Cruz, said. "He wants to go to Oregon State to help them turn it around." Last month, LBSU issued a news release stating that Williams had signed a letter of intent to play for the 49ers, but head coach Dan Monson said he would allow Williams out of his commitment so he could go to Oregon State. The 6-0 guard from San Diego averaged 11.0 points and 2.2 assists per game for the Friars last season despite missing 10 games.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Steele Returning to Alabama

According to Andy Katz of, Alabama junior Ronald Steele has decided to withdraw his name from the NBA Draft and return to the Crimson Tide for his senior season. "Ron made a great a decision," head coach Mark Gottfried said. "He's a smart person, who evaluated this whole process and I believe that he will again be considered one of the premier point guards in the country next year and at the end of next year be a first-round pick.'' As of Friday afternoon, Steele was unsure about whether to return to Tuscaloosa, but he made up his mind Saturday morning after talking to his coaches. Steele was one of three Alabama players to enter their names in the NBA Draft without signing an agent. Alonzo Gee has already announced his return, while Richard Hendrix has yet to make a decision. Steele missed all of last season after undergoing knee surgery, and was bothered his junior year by nagging knee injuries. During his last injury-free campaign, which was his sophomore season in 2005-2006, Steele averaged 14.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.

Arthur to Sign Agent, Stay in Draft

As reported by the Lawrence Journal-World and other media outlets, Kansas sophomore Darrell Arthur has announced that he intends to sign with an agent, ending the possibility of returning to the Jayhawks for his junior season. "Yes, I'm coming out," Arthur said. The 6-9 forward is projected by many mock drafts to be selected in the lottery, which is why head coach Bill Self was not surprised by the news. "We've anticipated this happening since last August," Self said. "It's not news to us at all. I think it's good. Everybody knew Shady would stay in." Arthur's high school coach, James Mays, also figured he would end up staying in the draft. "I assumed it was headed this way. It looked like Darrell's draft position was in the area he wanted it to be," Mays said. "I think this is good because it'll benefit Darrell and his family. That's the most important thing to him — his family." Arthur, who helped lead the Jayhawks to the national championship in Arpil, averaged 12.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game last season.