Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Decisions, Decisions, Part Two

Over the past week or so, there have been some important personnel decisions that will have an impact on next season. Let's take a look at those decisions, and the potential effect of each.

Calathes Heading to Europe: As first reported by the Orlando Sentinel, Florida sophomore guard Nick Calathes has decided to play professionally in Greece next season. Without Calathes, the Gators could struggle at the point guard spot next season. They struck out with No. 1 recruit John Wall, and will now need Erving Walker, a sparkplug last season, to run the team. Freshman Kenny Boynton is an outstanding scorer and can play the point if necessary, but he is better suited to play off the ball. Rumors are making their way around recruiting circles that Florida could be making a late push for unsigned prospect Lance Stephenson.

XU's Brown Likely Staying in Draft: Xavier junior forward Derrick Brown told Jeff Goodman of FOXSports.com today that a return by him to the Musketeers is doubtful. New head coach Chris Mack will have to find a way to replace him up front, as now XU's top three scorers from last season are gone. Jamel McLean and Jason Love will have to step up down low, and Indiana transfer Jordan Crawford might have to shoulder more of a scoring load in the backcourt. The Musketeers will still fight with Dayton at the top of the Atlantic-10.

Oglesby Leaving Clemson for Europe: In a very surprising and sudden move, Clemson sophomore guard Terrence Oglesby has decided to forgo his final two seasons with the Tigers and pursue a professional career in Europe. He was an outstanding shooter who had deep range and could really stretch a defense. Next season, Clemson's strength will be in the frontcourt with potential All-America Trevor Booker and impact freshman Milton Jennings, but the perimeter needs to be shored up. Demontez Stitt returns at the point, while Tanner Smith could step in for Oglesby. Andre Young and freshman Donte Hill will see additional minutes.

Tavernari Returns to BYU: Not surprisingly, BYU junior forward Jonathan Tavernari has announced that he will return to the Cougars for his senior campaign. Tavernari is an all-conference performer who can score in a variety of ways, shoot it from deep and is the team's best rebounder. With him back in the fold, BYU could be the favorite in the Mountain West again. Tavernari and Jimmer Fredette form a dynamite duo, while Emery Jackson and Chris Miles also return as starters. They will still need to find a way to replace FOXSports.com All-American Lee Cummard, but it will be much easier with Tavernari on the roster again.

Williams Commits to Memphis: In a key move for new head coach Josh Pastner, five-star forward Latavious Williams announced his commitment to Memphis earlier today. He chose the Tigers over Georgetown, as well as Florida International and Kansas State. Williams is very athletic and can finish around the rim. He also has a decent mid-range jumper, and can block shots defensively due to his leaping ability. If Shawn Taggart withdraws his name from the NBA Draft, Memphis will have an excellent frontcourt duo. Throw in Willie Kemp, Wesley Witherspoon, Doneal Mack and Roburt Sallie from the perimeter, and the Tigers still have plenty of talent.

Johnson Asks for Release from USC: As first reported by Alex Schwartz of Northstar Basketball and subsequently confirmed by other media outlets, USC signee Noel Johnson has been granted a release from his letter-of-intent. He expressed concern regarding the recent NCAA allegations about head coach Tim Floyd and former Trojan O.J. Mayo. Johnson is reportedly looking at LSU, Connecticut, Georgia Tech and UNLV, with Memphis also in the picture. As for USC, this really hurts them. The Trojans already lost DeMar DeRozan and Daniel Hackett to the pros, Solomon Hill and Renardo Sidney decommitted and Taj Gibson has still not withdrawn his name from the NBA Draft. Dwight Lewis will have to carry the Trojans' offense in a big way next season, especially if Gibson doesn't return. There are also rumors that incoming point guard Momo Jones could ask out of his letter-of-intent, too. That Arizona job looks pretty good now, doesn't it, Mr. Floyd?

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