SEC Media Notes: 06.29.10

Posted by nvr1983 on June 29th, 2010

As part of our attempt to continue to provide you with the best independent college basketball information on the Internet we will periodically bring you information from conference media calls. Today’s entry comes from the SEC, which amazingly was not affected what could have been a massive conference shake-up.

Ed. Note: The conference call actually took place on Monday, but I had an ophthalmologist appointment and I’m pretty sure that they used just about the entire bottle of eye drops to dilate my eyes so I’m just starting to see straight again. The below entries are my some of the key points the coaches made, but are not direct quotes. If you want to listen to the coaches speak directly, click on the link next to their name.

Anthony Grant (Alabama)Audio
– Defense: Last year their defense gave them a chance to be in every game that they played, but they had to have that solid defense because their offense was not always there.
– Returning players: Senario Hillman one of elite athletes in the SEC and can guard multiple positions. He will need to improve shot selection and decision-making, but is making strides. JaMychal Green adds size and strength to the frontcourt, which is as good as any team in the SEC. Should improve with an extra year of experience. Tony Mitchell had a very good freshman year and being named to SEC All-Freshman team was an accomplishment. Grant is looking for the players to make a jump between their first and second year in the Alabama program.

Tony Barbee (Auburn)Audio / Key Quotes
– Lack of Experience: Starting over is exciting because you get to mold a new group of players. It will be hard to judge what he has until he sees the team together in the Fall.
– Plan: Focus on defense because they could be “offensively challenged” because they don’t know what they have outside of Frankie Sullivan. Given their lack of size on the inside they might have to focus on their offense around the 3-point line.

John Pelphrey (Arkansas)Audio
– Frontcourt: They have Marshawn Powell on the inside, but will need to develop more on the inside to help support him.
– APR: We’re all working very hard. We want to see these young men improve in the classroom and on the court. He isn’t sure statistics over the short-term can adequately reflect the academic performance of a program, but is open to more long-term measures.
Andre Clark: Aware of the transfer to TCU and does talk with players who have transferred if they contact him about an issue.

Billy Donovan (Florida)Audio
– Backcourt: Didn’t know what to expect coming into last season having lost Nick Calathes. Irving Walker played his freshman year at 2 guard spot. Kenny Boynton came in with huge reputation out of high school, but you’re never sure with them making the jump. Limited depth in the backcourt meant those two played more minutes than they probably should have, which meant they couldn’t do some of the stuff they would have otherwise done such as press. Coming into this year with the experience should be helpful for those two coming into this season. Still some issues with depth in the backcourt this year although they are adding freshmen Scottie Wilbekin and Casey Prather to the backcourt.
Alex Tyus: First UF player to put his name in the NBA Draft and return to UF. It was Alex’s decision. He worked out with a couple of NBA teams and listened to what NBA had to say about where he might go. No pressure from UF to come back. Donovan feels that process is only going to help the Gators going forward.
Patric Young: Very physical and aggressive player, but needs some work on the inside. In the near term he will bring energy and a great rebounding presence to the Gators.

Mark Fox (Georgia)Audio
Marcus Thornton: Really big boost after picking him up following his release from his letter of intent from Clemson. Gives Georgia a lot of options because of his versatility.
Trey Thompkins: Had discussion with family and got info from NBA. Felt it wasn’t appropriate. Only would be able to work out for 1 or 2 days due to final exams and the new NBA Draft withdrawal deadlines.
Turnovers: Feels they will take better care of the ball and they should also be able to create more turnovers on the defensive end, which should create more easy baskets.

John Calipari (Kentucky)Audio / Transcript (Part 1/Part 2)
– This past week he went to Haiti, where his “Hoops for Haiti” telethon helped raise $1.5M. Even though they money is helping there is still long way to go. Then there was the NBA Draft, which was also emotional, but from a different perspective. He enjoyed being with the 5 families of the 5 players and helping to create hope for them and their families. As for his much discussed quote, he is standing by it because he was not talking about the past, but talking about the future. He met with Chris Douglas-Roberts on the night before this press conference and he echoed the comments. The NBA Draft was a 2-hour infomercial, which will have effects for at least the next 5 years, and it will be the players who it was aimed at who will win Kentucky championships in the future.
– Future Draft Picks: He feels that Darius Miller and DeAndre Liggins could be in that position next year. Josh Harrelson has improved a lot too and could be a major force next year, which fans were not able to see because he spent last year stuck behind two 1st round picks.
– Last season’s accomplishments: Even though they lost in the Elite 8 to West Virginia he was proud of the team’s accomplishments as only one Kentucky team won more games in a season (1948).
– Incoming freshman: Brandon  Knight will enter school with almost one year worth of academic credits. Doron Lamb and Stacey Poole will add depth to the guard position. Lamb can play the 1 or 2 spot and they might play a pair of point guards similar to what they did this year with John Wall and Eric Bledsoe. That’s one of the best things about dribble-drive: position doesn’t matter since all four perimeter players are the same.
– Frontcourt: They lost three frontcourt players and are bringing in a couple to replace them, but they will not be that deep. They will rely on Eloy Vargas and Enes Kanter to step up, but there might be times where the Wildcats play 4 guards and a single big man, which means they may press more. At this point it is just conjecture without having seen them play together.

Trent Johnson (LSU)Audio / Key Quotes
– This year will be a completely different team as they are brininging in five freshman and a transfer. He doesn’t think moving from the West Coast (Stanford) to the East Coast was that big of an adjustment especially for recruiting.
Bo Spencer: He’s in summer school and is not a member of the team at this moment, but Johnson did not elaborate on the possibility of him returning to the team.

Andy Kennedy (Mississippi)Audio
Nick Williams out of Indiana practiced with the team last year could make an immediate impact. He is a big wing player who brings a physical and mental toughness that will be welcome. He can play any of about three positions. He is most comfortable off the ball, but can score in a variety of ways.
Dundrecous Nelson and Demarco Cox could also contribute as they are physical ready coming out of high school, but he will need to see if the rest of their game is ready for the transition.

Rick Stansbury (Mississippi State)Audio
– Losing impact players like Jarvis Varnado and Barry Stewart will be difficult to overcome, but given time he thinks they can overcome it this season. Loss of Varnado hurts them defensively, but they were a good defensive team before he was there and they can still be one after he has left. He does not think they will shoot as many three-pointers this season. He thinks the inside game could become a bigger presence. There are a lot of personnel and injury questions for the team heading into the season.
Phil Turner: He does not want to discuss it. He says both sides have made their statements and he will not talk about it any further.
Dee Bost appealing to get his eligibility back: Stansbury has zero control over the situation. He says the reporter knows more about it than he does. He says this is a first time situation so they are all waiting to hear about Bost’s eligibility.
Renardo Sidney: It will be relatively easy (compared to the prior two problems) integrating Sidney into the team after his nine game suspension.

Darrin Horn (South Carolina)Audio
– Losing Devan Downey is difficult and it is not something you can do with one player and it is not something that they will try to do. Already dealt with loss of Dominique Archie will not be a big change because he only played 5 games last year so they had to deal with the transition last season. Ramon Galloway showed some flashes last season and they will need to develop that into more consistent output this season.
– Defense: Last year they abandonned what they wanted to do because of personnel issues.
– Freshman: He expects them to have an impact this year. He thinks that all of them can play right away.

Tony Jones (Tennessee)Audio
– They never explained why he was talking instead of Bruce Pearl.
Tobais Harris is McDonald’s All-American who is a solid kid, great student, and obviously a great player. Jones feel that he can do it all–shoot, make plays for others, and rebounds along with having a great basketball IQ.
– Florida and Kentucky will be the favorites, but hopefully at the end the Volunteeers will be right there.

Kevin Stallings (Vanderbilt)Audio
– Feels that he has some returning players who can alleviate the loss at point guard (Jermaine Beal) and in the post (A.J. Ogilvy). He thinks that Brad Tinsley is a very capable point guard who has played the 2 guard while he has been at Vanderbilt and Festus Ezeli can help on the inside.
Jeffery Taylor: He would not be surprised if this was Taylor’s last season at Vanderbilt because of the interest from NBA scouts and he agrees with the praise from those scouts.
– Reseeding: The team enjoys being in “the toughest division in college basketball”.
– One-and-Done: Originally thoguht it was going to be a good thing, but he no longer feels that way. He says he wants a few modifications although he did not specify what those specifications were.

nvr1983 (1307 Posts)


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