12.29.08 Fast BreaksPosted by nvr1983 on December 28th, 2008
This is the last installment of Fast Breaks for the calendar year, but it’s a loaded one with lots of news before the New Year’s ball drops.
- After being spoiled by ridiculously talented freshmen the past two years (Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, and Michael Beasley), it appears as if we have returned back to normal. While there are several talented diaper dandies out there, none of them has really caught our eye as the next big thing. Pete Thamel gives a short run-down of the candidates for freshman of the year at this point. I’d be interested to hear what you guys have to say about this year’s class because quite frankly I haven’t been that impressed.
- Syracuse has announced that Eric Devendorf will be reinstated and is expected to play this Tuesday against Seton Hall in their Big East opener. Devendorf has completed the necessary requirements (missing 2 games and performing 40 hours of community service) that the school’s University Appeals Board asked of him for hitting a female student in the face. I’m expecting this to have some sort of anti-Sterger effect on female applications to Syracuse.
- Jai Lucas appears to have found a new home in Austin, Texas with Rick Barnes and the Longhorns. Lucas decided to transfer out of Gainesville late this summer with most people speculating that it was based on a lack of expected PT in the upcoming season. I’m not exactly sure how going to a better program in Texas will lead to more minutes, but I guess Jai has his reasons.
- Speaking of the Gators. . .UF recruit Austin Rivers, son of Doc (the head coach of the world champion Boston Celtics), led his high school team to a win over nationally-ranked Marietta-Wheeler (GA). Rivers put up 46 points including 30 in the 1st half. We still don’t have word if Doc let him start the next game or made him play JV after his career night.
- In a surprising story, Anthony Crater, a highly rated PG coming out of high school last year, was granted a release from his scholarship by Thad Matta. I’d be interested in hearing some of the reasons behind this. It looks like Crater hasn’t been getting much time on the court this year, but it’s really early to be deciding to leave Ohio State just based on that. If any of the Buckeye fans (or haters) have the inside scoop, I would be interested to hear it.
- Seth Davis with a look back at the Super Saturday games and a few recommendations on how to make them even better. Seth might want to remember that the “antiseptic environments” he refers to from Super Saturday are probably better than where the Final 4 is played at every single year.
- Kansas will be adding another giant to their current crop with 7-foot tall Jeff Withey transferring from Arizona to Kansas. Withey’s decision appears to be related to Lute Olson’s retirement in October.
- The New York Times recently ran the inspiring story of Kevin Laue, who could probably beat any of our readers one-on-one despite the fact that he was born with one playing arm. It’s definitely worth a read and we wish Kevin the best of luck in his search for an offer from an Ivy League school.
- Think you have a rough week ahead of you? Try trading places with Rutgers coach Fred Hill who takes his Scarlet Knights up against #1 UNC, #2 UConn, and #3 Pittsburgh in the same week. On the bright side, only 2 of the 3 games are on the road so Hill at least gets a shot at Pittsburgh in New Jersey. I’m guessing their strength of schedule might go up a little bit this week.
- Kevin Armstrong with a look at the changes at Duke that have resulted from Nolan Smith replacing Greg Paulus as the team’s starting guard. While Paulus was often overmatched physically against bigger, stronger guards, I think he could make an excellent backup/change of pace for the Blue Devils in March as he rounds into shape.
- Rick Pitino wants you to know his team’s problems are all mental. He also wants you to know Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish will not be walking through that door.
- Apparently, Rick left a few of his books back in Rupp Arena because Billy Gillispie wants you to know that the Wildcats can get better. To be fair to Billy, the Wildcats have certainly been much better than what they were like at the beginning of the season, but I don’t think any of us have been wondering if the Wildcats have been playing great basketball recently.