PSA: CBS College Sports Replaying 2009 NCAA Tournament

Posted by rtmsf on July 21st, 2009

Here’s a friendly public service announcement from your friends at RTC…

cbs college sports logo

If you’re jonesing for some college hoops during the long, hot, humid days of summer, CBS College Sports channel (CSTV on your channel guide) has your prescription.  Games started yesterday, but the channel has plans to show the entirety of the 2009 NCAA Tournament over the next two weeks.  A complete schedule of games is here, but here are the date/times for the best few.  Set your Tivos now…

  • UCLA v. VCU – Wednesday, July 22 @ 4pm (encore showings: Thurs. July 23 @ 10am and Fri. July 31 @ 6pm) – Eric Maynor does his best to knock off the mighty Bruins but comes up just short.
  • Tennessee v. Oklahoma St.Wednesday, July 22 @ 10pm (Thurs. July 23 @ 4am and Sat. Aug. 1 @ 4pm) - Byron Eaton with a clear path to the basket…
  • Siena v. Ohio St. - Friday, July 24 @ 10pm (Sat. July 25 @ 3:30am and Sat. Aug. 1 @ 10pm) – re-live the plucky Saints hitting clutch shot after clutch shot to defeat OSU in double-overtime.
  • Gonzaga v. W. Kentucky - Sunday, July 26 @ 4pm (Sat. Aug. 1 @ 8pm) – Demetri Goodson with his best Tyus Edney impersonation…
  • Missouri v. MarquetteTuesday, July 28 @ 12pm (Wed. July 29 @ 6am and Sat. Aug. 1 @ 2pm) – the best game of the second round featured end-to-end action throughout. 
  • Pittsburgh v. Villanova - Wednesday, July 29 @ 10pm (Thurs. July 30 @ 4am) – fantastic finish to get to the F4 and the best game of the 2009 Dance. 
  • Michigan St. v. UConnThursday, July 30 @ 6pm (Fri. July 31 @ 12am and Sun. Aug. 2 at 12pm) - not the greatest game ever, but it was fun watching the upstart Spartans take on the much more highly-favored Huskies in this one.
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07.20.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on July 20th, 2009

Is there a worse time of year for roundball fans than July/August?  Well, is there?  Let’s see what’s been cooking over the last week or so…

  • Economics, NCAA Style.  Have you guys heard that we’re in a recession – that the economy may not exactly be whirring along at a blistering pace?  Inevitably, college athletic departments are starting to feel the crunch nearly as much as your local Citibastard – some are cutting expenses such as chartered flights and media guides, while even the venerable and uber-rich Stanford athletic department is cutting employees.  Meanwhile, schools such as UCLA, Cal, and others are instituting high-dollar seat licensing fees (we’re talking hundreds of thousands) to finance their stadium renovations and attend their games for the next quarter-century.  Crisis is another word for opportunity, and we’re wondering if the current economic climate will only provide leverage for the NCAA haves (Florida, Texas, Ohio St., UCLA, etc.) to exploit and exacerbate the widening gap between themselves and the have-nots by using private equity as the hammer.  The NCAA ADs have given lip service to construct a more equitable model of competition for its member institutions, but like the Yankees/Red Sox freight train in MLB, the arms race inertia is already accelerating downhill and moving too quickly to be stopped.  The final solution may ultimately have to be a separation of BCS schools from the remainder of D1, and to get there, you have to pay to play.   
  • 2009 ACC/Big Ten Challenge.  Last year we had very high hopes that the Big Ten would finally get off the mat and win one of these challenges.  Alas, MSU took its first of two emasculations at the hands of UNC last year in Ford Field, and the Midwesterners lost 6-5.  This year’s schedule is out, and unfortunately for the Big Ten, our first glance reveals that the odds are significantly in the ACC’s favor to win this event again.  The Monday and Tuesday night games (Nov. 30 and Dec. 1) favor home teams Virginia, NC State, UNC, Purdue and Iowa, but we’d expect the ACC to break serve by Maryland winning in Bloomington for an early 4-2 lead.  Even with a Dec. 2 slate that favors the Big Ten, with Michigan and OSU holding serve at home to match Clemson, we’d expect Minnesota to get a road win at Miami (FL) only for the league to fall on its face again when Duke does what it does and rips Wisconsin a new one in the Kohl Center.  The ACC wins again, 6-5.  We have it coming down to three road winners, with the ACC taking two of them (Maryland and Duke).  How do you see it?
  • UConn Savior?  This was quiet over the weekend but we find it to be a significant piece of news out of the UConn program, which is that the oft-confounding Ater Majok has committed that he will indeed play for Jim Calhoun’s Huskies next season.  Majok’s eligibility has been a wild ride for UConn faithful, beginning a year-plus ago with his verbal commitment and two semesters of classwork in Storrs, only to be followed by a flirtation with the NBA Draft (withdrawing) and lucrative professional options overseas.  The versatile 6’10 forward will help Calhoun shore up a somewhat inexperienced frontcourt led by returnees Stanley Robinson and Gavin Edwards, and if the reports of his potential are true, could provide an offensive force on the blocks to relieve some of the pressure from the very talented perimeter tandem of Kemba Walker and Jerome Dyson.  Major good news for the UConn program, which has taken its share of hits the past few months.   
  • Quick Hits.  Noel Johnson: the former USC recruit will end up at ClemsonDave Bliss: resurfaces in Texas (not coaching, thank God).  Karen Sypher: no merit to her complaint against PitinoTark the Shark: his spinal surgery delayedKeno Davisextended through 2016Al-Farouq Aminu: looking to dominate in 2009-10Larry Sanders: thinking first round next season.  Renardo Sidney: Part 1 of the NCAA inquiryLance Stephenson: much ado about disorderly conductJared Sullinger: another in a run of Buckeye bigsHarrison Barnes: get used to that nameMichael Gilchrist: another World Wide Wes guy with no chance at a childhoodSeth Davis: analyzes the top players on the summer recruiting circuitSouth Carolina: in violation of impermissible snackage.
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Report: Tennessee Loses Prized Recruit Selby

Posted by zhayes9 on July 20th, 2009

Some surprising recruiting news broke this morning and has been confirmed by multiple sources: Josh Selby, an elite class of 2010 point guard recruit from Baltimore, has de-committed from Tennessee. Selby, who first announced the news via his Facebook page, is ranked as the #3 point guard in the class and considered a legitimate five-star recruit who would have solved Bruce Pearl’s ongoing search for a player to run his fast-paced offensive attack.

Selby’s mother to CBS Sports: “We’re just going to get together as a family and figure it out. Right now we don’t even know. We haven’t compiled a list or anything.” She didn’t rule out a return to Rocky Top for her son and cited the main reason for de-committing as being “overwhelmed” during the initial process, leading to a rash decision to commit to Bruce Pearl and the Vols. Industry sources indicate that John Calipari could immediately jump on this juicy situation and lure Selby to Kentucky to take over as starting point guard when John Wall departs for the NBA. Louisville could also be involved (they offered Selby before he committed to UT) while Memphis and Oregon are the sleepers.  Selby broke through in a big way at the LeBron James Skills Academy this month, only improving his already leaping stock as a top-10 player in the entire 2010 class. Selby shot down rumors of a possible de-commitment from Tennessee during the camp, but apparently he had been considering such a decision.

This has to be crushing news for Vols headman Bruce Pearl, who is currently coaching Team USA in Israel at the Maccabiah Games. Pearl has garnered some controversy from Vol fans for ditching the all-important July recruiting trail for the games and the de-commitment of Selby will not soothe their worries. While head coaches like Calipari, Ernie Kent, Paul Hewitt or Josh Pastner have been able to converse with Selby during these elite summer recruiting camps, Pearl’s assistants have taken over such duties, leaving one to question whether that was a good decision.

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Buzz: Erin Andrews Debacle

Posted by rtmsf on July 18th, 2009

Hey, we love Erin Andrews as much as any other red-blooded American sports blogger, and we hold a particularly special place for Ms. Andrews considering she earned her national rep as an ESPN sideline reporter for college sports, most notably football and our beloved game.  But the news that broke last night that some  surly troglodyte filmed her getting dressed in a hotel room through a peephole in the door is reprehensible, unconscionable and utterly criminal.  There is absolutely no excuse for this kind of behavior, and RTC hopes that if we ever have the chance to encounter Andrews in the future at any college basketball games or events, we’ll be able to personally tell her that not all blogs are equally willing to go down that road.  Our hope is that the feds get involved and quickly nail whoever subjected Andrews to such a blatant and sick invasion of her privacy.

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It’s Dre Day at Duke?

Posted by rtmsf on July 17th, 2009

Jeff Goodman reported today that Duke recruit and Class of 2010 shooting guard Andre Dawkins is considering enrolling in Durham one year earlier than expected.  Dawkins has completed four years of high school already due to a transfer after his freshman year and is merely one course away from completing all his graduation requirements.  However, his father stated to the Raleigh News & Observer that this was not a ‘done deal,’ and no decision will be made until late August, presumably when they learn whether Dawkins will have passed muster with the NCAA Clearinghouse.

If this occurs, this will be a major coup for Duke and Coach K, as the Devils are facing a near-crisis situation in their backcourt after the losses of Gerald Henderson (NBA) and Elliot Williams (transfer) in the offseason.  Dawkins will provide MUCH-needed depth on the perimeter, turning a paper-thin rotation of Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith into a more daunting trio including the 6’4 shooting guard.  While Dawkins isn’t a point guard but instead a shooter with inside-the-gym range, his ability to spell Scheyer and Smith suddenly makes Duke a much tougher team for 2009-10.

We’re not convinced that this solves all of Duke’s problems going into next season, as the Devils still won’t have an elite playmaker in the backcourt, but this may mean that Coach K won’t feel the need to play zone defense after all.  Speaking of defense, reports are that Dawkins doesn’t exactly excel in that area, so if he figures that Duke’s necessity will dictate automatic minutes for him, he’ll still need to address that deficiency in order to satisfy Coach K (much as Elliot Williams did last year).  By any objective measure, however, the potential addition of Dawkins to the 09-10 Blue Devils has no downside, and their fans must be absolutely thrilled with this pleasant surprise.

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Coming Soon To A Discount Bin Near You…

Posted by jstevrtc on July 15th, 2009

Several outlets today are reporting that the literary world is about to be turned on its ear.  As if he didn’t have enough on his plate, like hauling the University of Kentucky into court, trolling the Lexington bars, making friends with the locals, and maybe trying to find a JOB, one Mr. Billy Gillispie has decided to put pen to paper and tell the world his story (with the aid of an actual writer, of course).  That’s right.  Even though I’d say you might have to wait a whole, like, TWO WEEKS for the thing to be written, we will soon be enlightened by…The Billy Gillispie Story.

BillyGBookcover2

My question is what on earth is going to actually GO INTO this book?  Riveting chapters about how he was Kentucky’s 18th choice for the head coaching job when they hired him?  A list of his favorite beers?  A discussion on the benefits of never playing a second of zone defense, or how two-hour full-speed practices on game days can lead to REALLY cool injuries for your team?  It seems to me, aside from taking himself a lit-tle too seriously, making an idiot out of himself and embarassing the school he represented (esp. as it pertains to a certain Jeanine Edwards) and being an inflexible boob, the man just hasn’t DONE anything yet.  And there’s a good chance he never will.  With the public persona he’s built for himself and the fact that he’s shown a proclivity for suing former employers, the guy’d be lucky to get a job cleaning John Calipari’s golf cleats, let alone a coaching job at anything resembling a major basketball program.

Seriously, who’s going to buy this thing?  The Texas A&M and UTEP years are too far gone for anyone there to care.  Kentucky fans will only buy it if it turns into a diatribe against his former players (yeah, THAT’LL make players want to play for you, big guy), but even then most UK supporters will refuse to buy it out of spite.  He might call it The Billy Gillispie Story, but I think we all know what this is, in terms of his career — a hundred-page, picture-filled, large print coffin nail.

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Lords of the Hoops: USA U19s Win Gold In Worlds

Posted by jstevrtc on July 12th, 2009

Get lost, Frodo and company.  Liv Tyler, you can stay.  But recognize, today, it’s the USA U19s who are the toast of New Zealand.

In an event we’ve had a fun time following this summer at RTC, the USA Under-19 squad took the gold medal at the Under-19 World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand over the weekend, going a perfect 9-0 for the tournament.  Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas) led the Americans with 18p/2r/6a/5s in the finals against the U19s from Greece, with UTEP’s Arnett Moultrie adding 10p/9r/2a.  The USA placed two players on the All-Tournament Team (which, in New Zealand, is apparently called the “All-Star Five”), namely Taylor, and Butler’s Gordon Hayward.  The title is the Americans’ first in this competition since 1991.  Incidentally, if you’d like another name to watch out for (we had previously told you about Rutgers’ Mike Rosario who played for the Puerto Rico U19s and the 54 he plopped on last-place France), don’t forget Croatia’s Mario Delas.  He was named the tournament’s MVP and is currently set to go 18th on nbadraft.net’s 2011 mock draft.

Sing it proud, guys.  (Credit:  usabasketball.com)

Sing it proud, guys. (Credit: usabasketball.com)

The final against Greece was indicative of the entire tournament for the US squad in that it was a true team effort.  In the final, all but one player on the team played at least 11 minutes and there were seven players who contributed at least seven points.  Jamie Dixon (Pitt), Matt Painter (Purdue) and Chris Lowery (Southern Illinois) crafted a US team with players suited for those crazy, confounded international rules, not to mention one that produced an extremely balanced attack, and they brought home the hardware.

Of course, the big question is what each individual player will take from this experience — besides a sweet gold medal which looks a little like a NYC subway MetroCard tied to a lanyard, and what I’m sure are some lovely photos of the NZ countryside — and how he’ll apply it to the rest of his college career.  Travel of this nature can only help to broaden a young man’s mind; and we all know that everyone wants to beat the tar out of the United States whenever they get the chance and that everyone guns for us.  That’s a sentiment some guys on this team (like Taylor from Kansas, Darius Miller from Kentucky, eventually Seth Curry from Duke) might be used to, and while that environment provides invaluable experience for everyone involved, it’s especially good for players from smaller programs.  Doesn’t look like Moultrie or Hayward had a problem with it, eh?  It’ll also be interesting to see if Southern Illinois makes a jump forward this year with Lowery having spent quality time around two of the best in the business in Dixon and Painter.  In any event, great work all around, gentlemen!  Enjoy showin’ off the new bling.

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Some Floor Time With The Big Time

Posted by jstevrtc on July 11th, 2009

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is a contributing writer for Rush The Court.  In his spare time, he officiates basketball at various levels and recently had the occasion to share the floor with a referee from the Big East.

Last summer Pat Devaney, who coordinates the Hamilton Park (high school) Summer League, asked if Brian O’Connell might be interested in officiating.  Brian is an outstanding official who works a good portion of his schedule in the Big East.  Brian and Pat are friends from their days growing up in Bayonne (NJ), so there was a realistic shot at getting him.  The one problem would be if his conferences (which happen to be the Big East and the MAAC) would permit Brian to work summer ball on a prep level.  As it turned out there was no problem and Brian accepted a schedule in the Hamilton Park circuit.  Just as a high school or lower division coach might be thrilled to be in a huddle with Roy Williams or Coach K, I was fortunate to have the chance to work three games with a major-conference official in Brian last Tuesday.

Why is that man smiling?  Because he knows Ray Floriani.  (Credit: statsheet.com)

Why is Mr. O'Connell smiling? Because he knows Ray Floriani. (Credit: statsheet.com)

We had three games at School #7 (air-conditioned, thank God) in the Heights section of Jersey City.  Our first game was Long Branch and Newark Tech.  Brian lives in the Jersey Shore area not far from Long Branch so he knew the coaches rather well.  An advantage of Summer ball is the opportunity to speak with coaches in an informal setting before or after a game.  From the outset it’s all Newark.  I get a good look at Brian’s people skills.  Many officials can make calls or have no calls but people skills, dealing with coaches and players, allow you to rise through the ranks.  Brian talks to one player who fouled, not adhering to verticality.  “You know why you fouled,” he said, “this is what you did… .”  As we move on, Brian has a great no-call on a defender flopping on a possible block/charge.  “If the shot didn’t go in I had a block,” he explains during a time out.  The game ends with Newark Tech a one sided victor.  “Wish I had at least one call back,” I said.  “The slap,” Brian answers, remembering the play perfectly.  It was third quarter with Newark up twenty-something and penetrating.  There is a slap on the arm but the Newark player finishes it.  Given the time, score and play I could have passed.”  The slap had me jump the gun,” I said.  “Just wait on a play like that,” Brian advises.

The second game is between St. Peter’s Prep and Union High School.  It is a well-contested one possession game. Late in the first half the Prep head coach Mike Kelly, who was quietly watching at the end of the bench while his assistant ran the team, disagrees with Brian over a no-call. Kelly jumps off the bench shouting, is well out onto the floor, and Brian gives him a technical.  Kelly persists and is thrown out.  Leaving, the coach makes a remark about being ‘big timed’.  We move on.  Prep spurts early in the second half and goes on to a well earned 44-32 victory.  “Can you believe that?” Pat Devaney says about the flare up.  “Maybe Kelly wanted a mention in the column,” I replied to interject a little humor.  Brian is one of the easygoing guys on the college circuit and is slow to ‘T’ people.  “That’s my second tech all year,” he says.  “Who got the other one?” I ask.  “John Thompson III, but he wanted it (to fire up his team).”

Game three is a full court track meet between High Tech and the Jersey Jayhawks AAU team.  The Jayhawks have only five players.  At the quarter Brian tells me # 15 of the Jayhawks has two fouls.  “I know, I called them,” I said.  As far as game management, Brian is very aware of the entire situation.  As officials in that spot, when someone is in foul trouble, we work hard to ensure further infractions are severely warranted.  As (revered former collegiate official and supervisor) Edgar Cartotto says, “Forget the misdemeanors, grab the felonies.”  At one point, we have a jump ball.  I have the arrow wrong.  Brian corrects me.  During a timeout I said, “I’m honored to be in the same situation as Jim Burr, in reference to a game at the Garden when Brian had to correct the veteran Burr on an arrow.  Brian had to leave the fourth quarter in our game; it was cleared with Devaney ahead of time and I finished up with  long time officiating friend Dennis Nuber.  On the way out Brian notes he was very pleased with my work but suggests getting in closer on an opening tap.  “Jump balls are tough,” he said, “that’s why I try not to toss too much.”

The second half is all Jayhawks as they post a convincing win over a good club.  On the way out, Pat Devaney tells me, “Brian said you did an excellent job.”  I have covered games Brian has worked at the RAC, the Garden, Prudential Center, et al.  I have watched NCAA tournament games he has worked.  Tonight we were partners on the same floor.  An unforgettable honor for yours truly.

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Thou Shalt Not Facial King James

Posted by rtmsf on July 8th, 2009

Jeff Goodman first reported this yesterday afternoon, and it’s taken off like wildfire across the web so we felt obligated to show some love to Xavier sophomore Jordan Crawford for throwing down a TWO-hander over King James during Monday night’s games at the Lebron James Skills Academy.  Nike, the camp sponsor and LBJ overlord, immediately confiscated tapes from the two videographers in the building who, coincidentally, were the only people in the building who could have shown the outside world what happened there.   Like Elie Wiesel in “Night,” (oh yes, we went there) Ryan Miller and his yet-unnamed companion are left to tale the tale through the fading lenses of eyewitness accounts.  Shouldn’t Nike, the progenitor of the all things buzzworthy and masters at managing viral marketing, have understood that confiscating these tapes would end up causing more of an outcry and commotion than simply allowing them to surface on Youtube?  We’re not sure that Phil Knight would be very proud of Nike senior director Lynn Merritt these days (she of the tape stealing).  For what it’s worth, Goodman kept pressing on this so-called policy that Nike has allowing them to steal the tapes, but surprise, they were unable to produce anything written to support said policy.

Goodman didn’t see it, but he did interview Crawford afterwards, who had this to say:

“I was on the right wing and went down the middle. I got past Danny Green and LeBron was waiting under the basket,” Crawford said. “I don’t think he thought I was going to dunk it, so he jumped late. It was two-handed.”  Crawford said he didn’t even fully realize what he had done until afterward.  “Not during the game, but I was geeked afterwards about it,” Crawford said. “Everyone was talking about it.”

Luckily, Gary Parrish has unearthed a photo that Nike is allegedly focus grouping for its next campaign:

img11934206

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Myles Brand’s Solution to 1-and-Dones: 2-and-Dones

Posted by rtmsf on July 7th, 2009

We stumbled across an article recently while reading about the latest Sarah Palin tragicomedy, and we were immediately surprised about a couple of things.  First, why is the Huffington Post writing about one-and-done basketball players?  And second, why is the author of the piece, NCAA head honcho Myles Brand, blogging for the HuffPo and not ESPN, CBS Sports, NCAA News or some other sports-related website?  Further investigation revealed that Brand has been writing on this platform since last August – 13 total entries – ranging in topics from the myth of the ‘dumb jock’ to diversity hiring in athletics to pay-for-play.  It made for some interesting browsing, and if you have an extra fifteen or twenty minutes, well worth the time to delve deeper into the mind of someone who has spent countless hours in contemplative thought about the major issues affecting collegiate athletics today.

myles brand painting

Of course, the post that caught our eye initially was written this week and called “Maybe Two is More Than Twice As Good As One,” and the central thesis to Brand’s argument is that there is a media-driven hysteria that significantly overblows the negative impact that one-and-dones have on college basketball.  Brand writes:

Other than all the articles written, it [one-and-dones] has little impact on the college game.  “But wait,” shout the naysayers, “What about the fact that the rule guarantees there will be basketball players — student-athletes — who have no intention of being students and even stop going to classes their second semester? And what about the fact that some may cheat to become eligible for their required one year?”  The problem with the majority of the media reports is that they focus on the same two or three examples and fail to point out that the number of one-and-doners is no more than a handful in any one year.

Brand, in aggregate terms, is right about this part.  We showed in our analysis of one-and-dones last week that there have been 24 total such players in the three year history of the rule, or, roughly eight per year, which accounts for <0.1% of D1 players in a given season.  Of the 24, only two players – USC’s OJ Mayo and Memphis’ Derrick Rose – have been involved in ex post facto allegations of impropriety (roughly 8% of those).  (Note: the class of 2009 with John Wall, Lance Stephenson, Renardo Sidney and others could significantly increase these numbers).  Eight percent of a sample of 0.1% of D1 players is a very small number indeed, and from Brand’s perspective as president of the entire shebang, seemingly insignificant.

The problem is that, from a casual college basketball fan’s perspective, those 24 players are significant.  And for a fan of a particular school that has lost multiple star players in three seasons to the one-and-done rule – schools such as Ohio St. (3), UCLA (2), Georgia Tech (2), Memphis (2), or USC (2) – those players are very significant.   Not to mention fans who are fatigued from watching star players pass through campus for one unfulfilling season before shuffling off to the NBA – keep in mind that of the nineteen one-and-dones, only Rose, Kevin Love and the OSU trio of Greg Oden, Mike Conley and Daequan Cook have played in a Final Four and none has won a championship (Melo, of course, came to Syracuse prior to the NBA rule).  As a result of this rule, college basketball is robbed of its top young players every single year, often before they can make a national splash, and that fact alone makes it increasingly difficult for casual fans to stay tuned in on a year-to-year basis.

Teaming Up Basketball

While we generally take issue with the relative impact of the one-and-done rule according to Brand (it’s a big deal!), we completely agree with his suggested solution: just add another year to the NBA requirement.  We’re as much a right-to-work person as anybody, and by no means do we want to suggest that this is the ‘right’ thing from the perspective of the athletes; however, if the NBA is going to continue to insist on a rule for its own selfish reasons of improved scouting, minimizing competitive risk, and providing players a less stressful opportunity to grow, then a two-year requirement is the proper compromise.  By staying in college for two seasons, Brand mentions that the marketability of stars would increase substantially and it certainly would get more players further along the path toward graduation (4+ semesters vs. 1+), and we completely agree with his assessment.

The word we’ve heard for some time now is that NBA Commish David Stern wanted a two-year requirement during the last collective bargaining negotiations, but he backed off in order to get some other things on his wish list.  With a rough economy taking a bite of the entertainment dollar in NBA cities across the land, Stern may be in good position to push through the two-year rule when the next bargaining session begins in 2011.  And who knows, with Myles Brand lobbying/blogging into his ear, college hoops may just end up better for this in the long run.

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07.06.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on July 6th, 2009

Hope everyone had a brilliant ID4…

  • Class of 2009. Evan Daniels of Scout.com wrote an interesting piece on how wishy-washy the high school class of 2009 was before finally settling on a school. Six of the top ten players – John Wall, Xavier Henry, Lance Stephenson, Renardo Sidney, DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Favors – had what Daniels terms an ‘interesting’ recruitment. Interesting in the sense that the propect took forever to decide on a destination, had eligibility concerns, switched up commitments, or all of the above. From our view, this is a predictable byproduct of the NBA’s 1-and-done rule, which is now impacting its fourth class of high school seniors. All of these above players are viewing one year in college as just another somewhat annoying hoop to jump through – an unavoidable pit stop on their way to riches in the League. When seen through that prism, there’s little emotional investment in the process of choosing a college (in fact, choosing a coach is infinitely more important) and the concomitant worries about staying eligible for that one season become mitigated by all the shady characters and hangers-on offering nickels now for promises later. There’s no easy fix for this problem and as we showed last week, 1-and-dones generally help programs more than they hurt, but the NBA requiring two years after high school could help players take more ownership over this process simply because they’d be forced to care more.
  • 2009-10 Scheduling.  The Big East announced its completely unbalanced schedule last week, and Andy Katz believes that Villanova and UConn have the toughest two slates, with each having all three ‘home-and-homes’ with other contenders (at least, on paper).  What’s interesting in going down this list is just how far off the talent level has fallen in this conference since last season – it’s phenomenal, really.  Moving on…  the Jimmy V Classic is going for slow and methodical this year, with its recent announcement that Butler v. Georgetown and Pitt v. Indiana will be the schools represented.  Pitt should easily desecrate IU, but we’d look for Butler-Gtown to be a very good game.  And if you browse to the bottom of this blog post by Katz, you’ll see a good analysis of the various preseason tournaments as they currently stand.  We’d have to agree that the Maui Invitational seems very weak compared to its norm, but the 76 Classic for the second year in a row is strong. 
  • Top Rivalries.  Pat Forde took an old-fashioned beating for his article last week outlining what he thinks are the ten hottest hoops rivalries heading into next season.  To recap, Kentucky-Louisville was #1, Michigan St.-Purdue was #2 (???), Kentucky-Tennessee was #3, and UNC-Duke was #4.  Something seems amiss here.  We think we understand his premise that these are the projected top rivalries for the upcoming season, but maybe what he should have said was ‘games.’  For a rivalry to exist, there needs to be historical gravitas behind it – countless incidents, slights, fights, etc., that give each school a bitter taste in its mouth for the other.  Do Michigan St. fans have such negative feelings about Purdue?  Villanova and Pitt?  Instead, Forde seems to rely considerably on coaching rivalries in making this list – Calipari vs. Pitino; Calipari vs. Pearl; Ford vs. Capel; Montgomery vs. his old school.  This is an interesting way to categorize school rivalries, but he probably should have been a little clearer about that; otherwise, it’s difficult to swallow some of his inclusions without question.  Syracuse-UConn? Maryland-Duke?  And many more…  
  • Some Quick Hits.  Duke: playing zone next season?  Jay Wright: loving life at VillanovaClass of 2009 (again): mapping the top 25Dave Rose: a harrowing month of JuneClass of 2010: time for the July scouting period.  AAU Ball: shocking lack of fundamentals (um, thanks for the investigative journalism, WSJ). July Recruiting Period: Gary Parrish’s FAQ.
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Budding Star in New Zealand: Rutgers’ Mike Rosario

Posted by rtmsf on July 6th, 2009

We’ve been keeping a lazy eye on Team USA’s performance at the Under-19 World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand, this week, and so far, so good.  It’s a nice opportunity to see how some of our better young collegians perform at the international level, in addition to allowing us to evaluate some names to keep an eye on next season.  Several of Team USA’s players – Howard Thompkins from Georgia, Ashton Gibbs from Pitt, Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack from Butler, Seth Curry from Duke, Tyshawn Taylor from Kansas – are known commodities for the average RTC reader, but they haven’t yet gotten the national recognition they’ll receive as they take greater roles on their teams next season (except Curry, of course, who will sit out his transfer year at Duke). 
Learn These Names and Faces for 2009-10

Learn These Names and Faces for 2009-10

As it stands, the Under-19 lads are 4-0 with blowout wins over Iran, France, Egypt and Greece thus far.  Georgia’s 6’9 Howard Thompkins has been a beast on the blocks, averaging 13/5 on 64% shooting in just under 15 mpg, including a 22-pt outburst against the Greeks.  Butler’s Hayward has also been impressive, contributing 10/5 with a well-rounded number of assists, steals and blocks while he’s been on the floor.  In the backcourt, Gibbs, Curry and Mack have logged the most minutes, each adding timely scoring and floor leadership to the team despite not shooting the ball all that well (Gibbs excluded).  The Americans have yet to be tested, and will likely have to wait until its Wednesday game against Lithuania to face some serious competition. 

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Tuesday, however, presents an interesting storyline in that Team USA will face Puerto Rico and the hottest player in the tournament, Rutgers guard and rising sophomore Mike Rosario.  Rosario, a gifted scorer who averaged 16 ppg in college last season, exploded for 54 points in his most recent game against France, scoring 17 in the final quarter as he led his team to a come-from-behind victory, 90-89.  He’s leading the tournament with a 31.8 ppg scoring average, and is shooting a lights-0ut 51% from the field.  It will be interesting to see how Team USA defends him, and whether Rosario will be able to get the same looks he’s gotten throughout this tournament.  His success in New Zealand comes on the heels of a successful trip to France where Puerto Rico finished second in the World Juniors Tournament there and Rosario was named to the all-tournament team.  At Rutgers, Rosario tended to have a gunner’s mentality last season, often shooting his team out of Big East games as quickly as into them, but if his summer shooting percentages are any indication of improved shot selection, head coach Fred Hill has a budding star on his hands in Piscataway. 

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