Around The Blogosphere: April 25, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on April 25th, 2011

If you are interested in participating, send your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com as we will be updating these posts throughout the day.

News

  • Jim Larranaga to leave George Mason, accept Miami head coaching job: Looking at Larranaga’s move from a George Mason point of view. (GMU Hoops)
  • Early favorite to replace Jim Larranaga could be Bill Courtney: Looking at the candidates who could replace Larranaga. (GMU Hoops)
  • Hamilton, Joseph, and Thompson All Declare for NBA Draft: Looking at the three Longhorns who declared for the NBA Draft and where they might be selected. (Burnt Orange Nation)
  • Hollis Thompson Enters 2011 NBA Draft: “Georgetown sophomore Hollis Thompson has entered the NBA Draft but has not hired an agent. Thompson, a 6’7″ small forward, averaged 8.6 points and 4.4 rebounds while shooting nearly 46% from three point range in just over 23 minutes per game for the Hoyas last season.” (Casual Hoya)
  • Jamal Coombs-McPoordecisionmaking: sophomore forward arrested for marijuana possession: “UConn police arrested sophomore forward Jamal Coombs-McDaniel for possession of 5.6 grams of marijuana on campus last night. Coombs-McDaniel was also in possession of a marijuana grinder and a package of cigars that could presumably used for rolling paper. There were two other individuals arrested with Coombs-McDaniel, Shakwaan Ishmale Simpkins and Stanley Darnel Winn, both of Boston.” (The UConn Blog)

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Morning Five: 04.25.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on April 25th, 2011

  1. At Midnight ET last night, the NBA’s draft entry deadline passed.  Although we won’t know for certain all the players who announced their intentions to test the waters until the league releases its certified list later this week, there were a few others over the weekend who announced they’re going to give it a shot.  Texas stars Jordan Hamilton and Cory Josephannounced that they would join teammate Tristan Thompson in the draft pool, with the latter two electing to not sign with an agent.  Thompson (along with Hamilton) is projected as a top 20 pick and is expected to stay in the draft, while Joseph is in a more precarious spot.  If he doesn’t appear to become a first-rounder, we’d expect to see him back in Austin next season to team with Myck Kabongo to form one of the best backcourts in all of college basketball.  Another late addition to the draft pool was Georgetown small forward Hollis Thompson, a bit of a surprise to most observers but one which nearly everyone expects will be a temporary situation — he has not signed with an agent and is not projected as a  first or second round pick on any major draft board at this time.
  2. Miami (FL) confirmed on Friday evening that Jim Larranagawould be their new head coach, taking over for Frank Haith.  While some have derided the age of Larranaga as a major barrier to the rebuilding project in Coral Gables, Mike DeCourcy doesn’t believe that will matter much.  He cites Jim Calhoun, Coach K, and Roy Williams as the last three national championship coaches, all of whom are in Larranaga’s age bracket, but we think he fails to adequately recognize that it will take the 61-year old coach at least a year or two to get his feet wet recruiting in South Florida.  While it’s true that he’ll inherit a solid Hurricane team with most of its top players back, the group finished ninth last season in a historically bad ACC, and we’re of the opinion that younger go-getters such as Steve Donahue (BC), Brad Brownell (Clemson) and Brian Gregory (Georgia Tech) are better positioned to move up the conference ladder in coming years.
  3. We know that you were waiting with baited breath on the ruling from the Indiana Supreme Court on how the NCAA handles its public ticket sales for the Final Four, and the decision came down Friday.  You will be thrilled to learn that the court found in a unanimous ruling that the NCAA’s lottery method of selecting the chosen few to dole out $150 for ducats to the sport’s marquee event is not illegal.  A similar case currently sits at the federal level in the 7th Circuit US Court of Appeals, but no ruling has been made in that one yet.
  4. UConn sophomore Jamal Coombs-McDanielwas arrested along with two other individuals for possession of 5.6 grams of marijuana in a dorm room on Thursday night.  That night was the kickoff to an annual UConn rite known as Spring Weekend, a campus-wide party prior to final exams in coming weeks, and JCD apparently was doing his part to liven the place up.  He faces both a possession and a drug paraphernalia charge for his role in the crimes, and we’d expect to see him doing some hardcore community service in and around Storrs in the near future.
  5. Speaking of players behaving badly, BYU’s Brandon Davies, he of the school honor code violation involving premarital canoodling, is expected to “meet conditions so he’ll be eligible” to return to school for the fall semester.  This is great news for a BYU program facing the losses of NPOY Jimmer Fredette and secondary stars Jackson Emery, Kyle Collinsworth (Mormon mission), and two other players as it moves to the WCC in basketball next year.  Still, Davies’ foul-up (the getting caught part, not the canoodling part, in our estimation) may have cost BYU a trip to its first-ever Final Four, so we’ll be interested to see just how forgiving the Cougar faithful will be when he suits up again.
Share this story

Miami Goes The Safe Route With Jim Larranaga

Posted by nvr1983 on April 23rd, 2011

Over the past three weeks we have heard all kinds of speculation about why Miami opted not to pursue Kansas State coach Frank Martin. He would need too much money. A statement that Martin refuted as his base salary was essentially the same as Frank Haith‘s base salary at Miami and was only made higher due to the fact that Martin’s teams won enough to hit performance-based incentives. His demeanor turned off Miami officials at a game at this season’s Orange Bowl Classic. A fair criticism if you are looking to run a youth league team, but some of the biggest coaching names in college basketball are well-known in media circles for their foul language. Do you think that Miami officials wouldn’t love Mike Krzyzewski on their sideline (ignoring what would likely be an astronomical salary to get him to leave Duke)? He was caught cheating at Miami Senior High. Perhaps the only fair criticism as Martin’s championship team, which featured Udonis Haslem and Steve Blake, had its 1998 state championship vacated due to recruiting violations related to using players zoned outside the school’s area. It is worth noting that Martin was never formally accused on any wrongdoing, but in the eyes of many in the Miami-Dade basketball community he was culpable.

Miami opted to go the safe route with Larranaga (Credit: Nick Wass/Associated Press)

 

Now Miami has opted to go with George Mason coach Jim Larranga, a fine coach to be sure and one who has actually advanced further in the NCAA Tournament than Martin ever has (Final Four versus Elite Eight), but you would be hard-pressed to find a pundit who would argue that Larranaga was a better fit for Coral Gables than Martin. This is not intended to minimize Larranaga’s accomplishments at George Mason, which are laudable as he not only made the Final Four (2006), but also made the NCAA Tournament four other times including this year where his team was considered a borderline top 25 team late in the season.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Around The Blogosphere: April 22, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on April 22nd, 2011

After a brief hiatus we are back with our ATB2 feature. We will probably be doing these posts on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule although that is a moving target and will be related to the amount of newsworthy material. If you are interested in participating, send your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com.

News

  • Sources: Tristan Thompson To the NBA: “Thursday afternoon, Statesmen hoops writer Mark Rosner tweeted that a source close to Texas forward Tristan Thompson’s family and an NBA scout told him that Thompson will enter the NBA draft.” (Burnt Orange Nation)
  • Darius Morris To Enter NBA Draft Without Hiring Agent: The full text statement from the University of Michigan. (UM Hoops)

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Morning Five: 04.22.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on April 22nd, 2011

  1. Your daily NBA Draft early entrant rowboat took on a bit more water yesterday, as three more prominent players made it official that they will be entering this year’s June festivities.  Wasn’t the looming lockout supposed to scare most of these mid-level guys into sticking around another year?  Isn’t happening.  The most notable player to announce Thursday was Texas forward Tristan Thompson, who reneged on an earlier statement that he was returning for his sophomore season.  Thompson told the media prior to UT’s Third Round game against Arizona last month that he was “coming back another year” and that he couldn’t wait to play with incoming guard Myck Kabongo, a fellow Canadian.  And therein lies a lesson, young’ins — don’t make such statements until you’re mentally ready to do so and physically ready to back them up.  UT now anxiously awaits Jordan Hamilton’s draft decision to learn if they’ll have a legitimate chance next season.
  2. Two other sophomores also made their names available for the NBA Draft, Colorado’s Alec Burks and Michigan’s Darius Morris.  Burks, an all-Big 12 wing who led the league in scoring average and set school records for points in both his freshman and sophomore years, will sign with an agent and is expected to be the first shooting guard chosen in June.  Morris, on the other hand, is in a more tenuous position.  John Beilein said that this declaration was “exploratory” and it had better be, as Morris is projected as a second round pick (or worse) in most mock drafts — we’d expect to see him back in Ann Arbor next year.  Who’s next?  Step right up, folks, because there’s only two days left until the draft deadline on Sunday.
  3. There are always naysayers among us, and without them we’d have no reason for aye-sayers.  But if you thought that the 2010-11 season was pretty much a stinker from start to finish, that it never held your attention because of a lack of star power, that parity “sounds good on paper but looks bad on television,” then this article from Gregg Doyel is completely for you.  Rather than getting into a 500-word retort to this position, suffice it to say that our opinion is that last season was generally a good one that ended with a thud, and leave it at that.
  4. Somebody needed to say it, but Tim Dwyer at The University Daily Kansan does it better than most with his targeted missive on Bill Self’s program: “Start six years ago, when J.R. Giddens was stabbed in a 2005 fight that witnesses said he instigated. C.J. Giles, who was there at the Giddens stabbing, was arrested for battery in 2006. Sherron Collins was charged with sexual assault, though the charges were dropped when Collins filed a counterclaim for defamation. Then there was Markieff Morris’ battery charge. Morningstar’s DUI. Fights with the football team, highlighted by Tyshawn Taylor’s injury and Facebook posts. Little’s battery charge. And now [Thomas] Robinson’s [recent assault charge].”  He goes on to say that many KU fans criticize Self for his NCAA Tournament failures when they really should be looking at a demonstrated tendency toward lawlessness from his players.  Yet for some reason, at least at the national level, KU and Self seem to skirt this perception.
  5. The late-breaking news on Thursday revolved around reports that George Mason head coach and inspiration to mid-majors everywhere, Jim Larranaga, might be taking the open position at Miami (FL).  Whether this is a power play for a better contract at GMU or a genuine opportunity to leave NoVa’s unpredictable weather for a warmer climate, we’re not sure; but it is odd in that Larranaga has certainly had better offers in his lap before this one (Providence; certainly others), and yet according to the Miami Herald, they are reporting that he will make the move as soon as Friday.  Maybe the financial offer was too sweet to pass up, but we’re not sure we see this working out very well in Coral Gables for either party in the long run.
Share this story

Morning Five: 04.21.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on April 21st, 2011

  1. It wouldn’t be a random mid-April Wednesday without NBA Draft comings and goings, and not one, but two, SEC teams announced the draft intentions of three of their stars yesterday.  First and foremost, John Calipari’s talented trio of Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight and DeAndre Liggins are all going to test the waters over the next few weeks, and by all indications, it appears that next year Kentucky fans will face a third straight season of uber-talented but inexperienced freshmen leading their team.  Knight and Jones are projected as lottery picks, whereas Liggins, a second rounder if chosen at all, probably wouldn’t be in any better position after returning for his senior season.  Jeff Goodman argues that, despite all of Calipari’s martyrdom last year about his five first-rounders (“best day in Kentucky history” and all that nonsense), he actually wants his players to return.  It’s no leap of faith to state that a coach, if forced to do so, would admit to wanting his best players to stick for two, three, or even four years, but Calipari certainly didn’t expect them to — after all, why recruit a Marquis Teague if you already have a Brandon Knight; or, why recruit a Michael Gilchrist if you already have a Terrence Jones?  The truth is that those players are going to Kentucky with an expectation that minutes at their positions will be available, and they didn’t get those impressions through a careful reading of the tea leaves.
  2. Moving on to the SEC team that announced on Wednesday that its three stars would be returning, Vanderbilt’s all-SEC trio of Jeffery Taylor, John Jenkins and Festus Ezeli will be back in Nashville next season.  The Commodores went 23-11 overall and 9-7 in the rugged SEC East before losing a heartbreaking opener in the NCAA Tournament against a much-lower seed for the second straight year.  Kevin Stallings’ team will have the weight of enormous expectations on it next year, as this news gives him as talented and experienced a team he’s ever had in his twelve seasons at Vandy.
  3. We’ve got space today for one piece of significant transfer news — Wake Forest’s Ari Stewart will reportedly resurface at USC in the 2012-13 season.  The 6’7 Demon Deacon forward suffered a bit of a sophomore slump in his first year under Jeff Bzdelik, but he has the tools and the jumper to become an all-conference level player at his next destination.  USC picked up a good one as Kevin O’Neill continues rebuilding with his own players in Troy.
  4. Princeton again decided to keep it within the family by reaching out and hiring Class of 1998 graduate Mitch Henderson to take over for the departed  head coach Sydney Johnson.  Henderson has spent the last eleven years working under Bill Carmody at Northwestern, and said upon his hiring that when junior Doug Davis’ shot fell through in the Ivy Championship game this year against Harvard, he “jumped off his couch” with excitement.  His era as a player (1994-98) was one of the best in program history, as the Tigers made three NCAA Tournaments, reached #7 in the national polls in 1998, and defeated defending national champion UCLA in his sophomore year.  As with Johnson, it’s a lot to live up to for a fan base with rather big expectations.
  5. Just when you thought you couldn’t be more impressed by Derrick Williams’ sophomore All-America season, we learned Wednesday that his “sprained right pinky” had actually been a broken one all along.  Yep, a broken digit that he decided to tough out and play with after suffering the injury in a late January game against UCLA.  Without question, Williams’ field goal percentages of 59.5% and 56.8% (from three) must have really taken a hit by virtue of D-Will’s injury — he likely would have been in the mid-60s in each metric had he not been hurt (we’re only partially kidding).  This exhibited ability to play through pain can only serve to elevate his draft stock come June.
Share this story

UK Trio Puts Their Names In The NBA Draft

Posted by nvr1983 on April 20th, 2011

After several weeks of speculation Kentucky freshmen Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones and junior DeAndre Liggins have put their names in the NBA Draft although none of them has signed with an agent yet, leaving open the possibility that they could all return to Lexington next season. Although we noted the interesting trend (is three players a trend?) of several of this year’s top freshmen deciding to stay in college at least one more year, it appears that will not be happening in Lexington. The allure of NBA riches has been tempered for some potential picks by the impending NBA lockout, which from what we have heard is more a matter of when than if, but many have speculated that agents will help the players get through the lockout without any financial difficulty.

Will Jones, Knight, and/or Liggins end up leaving Kentucky?

Knight and Jones are both predicted to be lottery picks this year after solid freshmen campaigns. Knight averaged 17.3 points and 4.2 assists per game while leading the Wildcats to the SEC Tournament title and a Final Four appearance. Knight was also named as a freshman All-American and the East Regional Most Outstanding Player. Jones, who started off extremely well with a spectacular performance at the Maui Invitational then saw his production taper as the season progressed, averaged 15.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game. Like Knight, Jones also picked up several individual awards along the way as he was named a freshman All-American and SEC Freshman of the Year. Liggins is a slightly more interesting case as most mock drafts have him going in the second round if he is even drafted. As a junior, Liggins averaged 8.6 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, but his biggest contribution to the Wildcats this season came on the defensive end as he received recognition from several media outlets for his defensive play as he was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year and to several national All-Defensive teams.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Morning Five: 04.20.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on April 20th, 2011

  1. Predictably, Bob Knight’s comment from a speaking engagement over the weekend about Kentucky’s 2009-10 starters “not been to class that [spring] semester” has gone over like a lead balloon in the Bluegrass State.  Former Wildcat stars Patrick Patterson and DeMarcus Cousins shot back today through the popular social networking medium known as Twitter (ensuring Knight wouldn’t see the comments directly), with Patterson stating his graduation and teammates’ GPAs “speak for themselves”; and, Cousins stating that he finished out that semester “strong,” even completing all his classes before going to the NBA.  On Tuesday, Knight apologized: “My overall point is that one-and-dones are not healthy for college basketball. I should not have made it personal to Kentucky and its players and I apologize.”  Thanks, General!  We understand the point Knight was trying to make, but in losing track of a key component of the argument against one-and-dones known as facts, he came off as an older, more famous Joe the Plumber than, as others might have us believe, the Grand Czar and Protector of the Sanctity of the Game.  Memo to Knight: get on fishin’.
  2. This week’s Knucklehead Award goes to Kansas forward Thomas Robinson, who was cited by Lawrence police for his involvement in a fight outside a bar called The Cave last week.  Of course, we recognize that Robinson has gone through some of the most horrific times that a young person can experience with respect to the loss of his mother and grandparents in a very short period of time.  But trying situations such as these usually turn out one of two ways, both of which are on the extreme ends, and Robinson would do well to find his way toward positivity because it won’t take many more situations like these to let his prodigious talents go to waste.
  3. The Voice of the Tar Heels, Woody Durham, is hanging up his microphone after forty years wearing the headset in Chapel Hill.  According to the Durham Sun, he has called 23 bowl games, 13 Final Fours and six men’s basketball national championship games while working with four men’s basketball coaches, six football coaches and four athletic directors at UNC.  But for anyone passing through the airwaves of “Carolina basketball” at any point in the last four decades, it was Durham’s work as the voice of Dean Smith’s Heels that will forever resonate in our ears.  Best of luck on the happiest of trails, Woody.
  4. Your daily NBA Draft news…  Washington State’s Klay Thompson will leave school a year early, and is unlikely to return.  Ken Bone will have quite the rebuilding process in Pullman next season without the services of all-Pac-10 players Thompson and DeAngelo Casto back in the fold.  The son of former #1 pick Mychal Thompson is projected as a late first round/early second round selection.  Speaking of NIT teams, Northwestern junior forward John Shurna announced that he will test the waters this spring, but he is not currently projected as a selection and is likely to return for his senior season.  Finally, as if anyone was expecting otherwise, Kentucky three-point marksman Doron Lamb announced that he would be returning to Lexington for his sophomore season.  As for the other two Wildcats everyone is waiting on — Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones – there are rumors that announcements could come as soon as today, and according to BK’s mom, he already knows his decision.
  5. Introducing what we’re calling The Degree of Calamity Scale, as penned by Mike DeCourcy yesterday.  MD breaks down the eight players who have already entered the NBA Draft without signing with an agent who would be very well served to come back to college for at least another season of growth.  Of course, we agree on all counts, and one of the major dangers of folks who support the compromise idea of the NBA adopting a MLB-style rule for early entries is that the slog to the bottom will eventually result in dozens of high school seniors thinking they’re “ready” for professional basketball in much the same way that the names on DeCourcy’s list currently do.  Generally speaking, players don’t make the best decisions about this sort of thing, and neither do GMs — they both need to be saved from themselves.
Share this story

Conference Report Card: Big East

Posted by Brian Goodman on April 19th, 2011

Brian Otskey is an RTC contributor. We will be publishing a series of conference report cards over the next week for conferences that got multiple NCAA bids to recap the conference, grade the teams, and look at the future for the conference.

Conference Recap

  • College basketball has never witnessed a season like this year’s Big East. The conference destroyed its own record of eight NCAA bids by placing 11 clubs in the Big Dance this year and also claimed the national champion with Connecticut, which spent most of the season in the middle of the pack in the Big East. The Huskies also gave the conference its first title since the Huskies last did the trick in 2004. While there was not a truly great team in the Big East (including Connecticut), the league was better than any other from top to bottom. Of the five teams that failed to make the NCAA Tournament, only South Florida and DePaul were truly uncompetitive. Rutgers showed signs of improvement while Seton Hall managed to win seven league games and gave some good teams a major scare in the process. Even Providence, which finished 4-14, knocked off Louisville and Villanova in consecutive games back in January. Despite the lackluster NCAA showing by most Big East members, it says here the conference boasted the best player in the nation (sorry, Jimmer) and a deserving national champion. Additionally, ten Big East teams were ranked in the AP Top 25 at some point this season. Say what you want about its postseason performance (it’s certainly fair to bash the league in that regard), but this was by far the best conference in the nation this year.

Jim Calhoun (left) and Kemba Walker will be inextricably linked to UConn's memorable NCAA Tournament run. (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)

Team-by-Team (teams are in order of finish, but grades are based on performance vs. expectations):

  1. Pittsburgh (28-6, 15-3): The regular season was terrific once again for Jamie Dixon and the Panthers but, as has become common over the years, they fell short of their goal–getting to the Final Four. Pittsburgh lost four of their final eight games after starting the season 24-2. A mid-season injury to Ashton Gibbs was thought to bring them down a peg, but Pitt responded with wins at West Virginia and Villanova without him to quiet any doubters. That turned out to be their peak. Dixon did not really test his team out of conference except for two games at Madison Square Garden against Maryland and Texas back in November as part of the 2K Sports Coaches vs. Cancer event and a “home” game (in Pittsburgh) against Tennessee, which they lost. Looking back, one theory could be that an average non-conference schedule did not adequately prepare this team for the NCAA Tournament which is all about match-ups and teams you haven’t seen before from other leagues. While Big East coaches love to use the strength of the league as a crutch when questioned about a lack of non-conference heft to their schedule, I think this is a theory that has to be taken into consideration. Big East play is obviously rough and tumble every night but that can actually be a detriment come tournament time when games are officiated tighter and you don’t have as much time to prepare for an opponent who you likely don’t know very well, if at all. Pitt will lose Gilbert Brown, Brad Wanamaker, and Gary McGhee to graduation while Gibbs tests the NBA waters. I expect Gibbs to come back to join a very good recruiting class led by five-star forward Khem Birch. Despite the loss of three senior leaders, look for Pitt to be in the thick of the Big East race yet again next season. Dixon has established a culture of winning and I have learned never to doubt him after witnessing the 2009-10 campaign, a season that certified Dixon as one of the best basketball minds in the country. While this year was a great success during the regular season, Pitt’s inability to get to the Sweet Sixteen and eventually the Final Four renders this year a disappointment. GRADE: B- Read the rest of this entry »
Share this story

Morning Five: 04.19.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on April 19th, 2011

  1. The biggest news on Monday was that UNC’s Harrison Barnes announced that he would return to Chapel Hill for his sophomore season.  His decision makes UNC the presumptive #1 team in most prognosticators’ preseason top 25s, but the real winner of his and others’ (notably Perry Jones and Jared Sullinger) returns might just be the sport of college basketball in general.  With these stars joining a strong freshman group from the Class of 2011, many teams will be considerably stronger than they otherwise might normally be in a year without an NBA lockout looming, and if you’re not already excited for a possible blockbuster rematch of bluebloods UNC and UK  in Lexington next December, then you should have your motor checked.
  2. In keeping with the theme of Barnes return to the Research Triangle, Luke Winn goes one step further (when doesn’t he?) and analyzes the relative impact of the player who got progressively better as the year went on in 2010-11.  He points out that the Heels with Barnes, Tyler Zeller, John Henson and James McAdoo in the lineup next season could join only 1999 Duke and 2005 UNC as two schools with four lottery picks on the roster — it says here that while an extremely impressive feat if it occurs, the 2012 Heels will be nowhere as good as either of those other two teams were (and he points out why in the later part of the column, weaknesses of their guard play).
  3. Over the weekend, Winthrop mascot Big Stuff — a bird representing the Winthrop Eagle — walked “basketball-mad” fan Johannes Schneider down the aisle of his wedding to marry bride-to-be Michelle Waters.  While mascots getting involved in superfan nuptials is nothing new, the best part of this story relates to the mascot asking a date to the wedding and how he tried to describe that he would be acting as Big Stuff in the proceedings.  Great stuff, Big Stuff.
  4. SEC Commissioner Mike Slive spoke in an informal Q&A on Monday about the logic behind the unprecedented eight-game suspension he placed on Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl last season as a result of NCAA and SEC violations.  He also said that the conference had no role in Pearl’s dismissal from UT (“sole purview of the institution”), and that he still keeps a good relationship intact with the now-unemployed coach.  Obviously, you can believe what you want, but a quick review of the comments at the bottom of that article certainly relates a general feeling that most UT fans do not particularly care for Mr. Slive nor his logic.
  5. As top dog at Indiana for three decades, Bob Knight was rarely on the Christmas list of the blue-and-white faithful living one state to the south.  But the Sweatered One has reserved a special place in hell for John Calipari, as he has used his bully pulpit as Crotchety Commentator in Chief to repeatedly goad and rip the current Kentucky head coach as pretty much a horrendous person with no ethical compass whatsoever.  The latest incident occurred during a speech over the weekend in Wabash, Indiana, where Knight referred to UK’s 2009-10 team as having “started five players…who had not been to class that semester.”  He’s referring in vague terms to the four one-and-done players (plus junior Patrick Patterson) whom Kentucky put into the NBA Draft last summer.  UK fired back almost immediately, stating that “every starter from the 2010 season finished the spring semester in good academic standing,” but the damage was once again already done.  Whether fair or not, Knight expressed the perception that many (most?) sports fans around the country have about Calipari, and it’s an open question to us if he or Kentucky can do anything to change that (erroneous?) sentiment.  Here’s the clip from the speech:

Share this story

Who’s Got Next? Reviewing the Jordan Brand Classic

Posted by rtmsf on April 18th, 2011

 
Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Josh Paunil, the RTC recruiting guru. We encourage you to check out his website dedicated solely to college basketball recruiting, National Recruiting Spotlight, for more detailed recruiting information. Each week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to who the hot prospects are in the lower levels of the sport. If you have any suggestions as to areas we’re missing, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Introduction

Throughout the past week, there have been many great performances and match-ups at high school events such as Austin Rivers (#1 – Duke) and Bradley Beal (#6 – Florida) at the Jordan Brand Classic; there have been numerous developing stories such as where Oklahoma is on Perry Ellis’ (#20) list and what Greg Whittington’s (Georgetown) impact on Otto Porter’s (Georgetown) commitment to Georgetown will be; there’s been a key commitment which will make a big impact on the ACC; the New York Times did an interesting article linking Facebook and recruiting; a West Virginia commit joined the likes of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard; and much more.

Austin Rivers (#1 – Duke) and Bradley Beal (#6 – Florida) fought for the #1 spot at shooting guard in the Jordan Brand Classic. (Credit: ESPN)

What We Learned

The Best SG in the Class of 2011. Going into the Jordan Brand Classic on Saturday night you knew that the battle between Rivers and Beal would be the primary match-up to watch. Both of these guys are great scorers and can hit shots from anywhere on the floor. They also have excellent three-point range and finish well above the rim. In this game, Rivers got the best of Beal as he finished with 16 points, six rebounds and four steals (the steals being very impessive due to the lack of defense in all-star games) whereas Beal had 15 points and eight rebounds.  Neither player shot the ball very well, combining for 11-32 shooting from the field and 1-8 shooting from the three-point line. However, the bad three-point percentage is in large part due to both guys taking very long threes that they wouldn’t normally take in a serious game. Look for these two guys to be two of the best scorers in college basketball starting next season.

Perry Ellis Likely Not Oklahoma-Bound. From what Fonda Ellis, Perry Ellis’ mom, told me (see full quotes from her in the “What They’re Saying” Section, below), it seems as though Oklahoma is losing ground in the Ellis sweepstakes (#20). This loss of interest looks to primarily be a result of the Sooners’ coaching change from Jeff Capel to former UNLV head coach Lon Kruger. Although Kruger said in a phone call to Ellis last week that he was still the Sooners’ top priority and that he wanted him to take an official visit to the OU campus, Ellis will have to get used to an entirely new coaching staff there. Ellis is also considering Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky, Memphis and Wichita State and told me in an interview last month that he’s looking to “be comfortable, have a good relationship with the coach and be in a system I like.”

Greg Whittington and Otto Porter’s Commitments. According to what Greg Whittington (Georgetown) told me Sunday after The Capital Classic, he is the one who got Otto Porter (#40 – Georgetown) to become a Hoya this past week (see full quotes from Whittington in the “What They’re Saying” Section, below). Whittington was able to convince Porter to commit to Georgetown due to the conference they’ll be in, among many other things. However, one thing that seemed to really help the Hoyas was the coaching change at Missouri since the Tigers were believed to have been the frontrunners. According to an ESPN source, the new staff at Missouri did not even have a chance to meet with Porter and his family before Porter made his decision to attend GU. Porter was a big-time pickup for the Hoyas since he is very long and has one of the best mid-range games in his class. He is a match-up problem for almost everyone he faces due to his height and he rebounds the ball and runs the floor well too. He is also good on the defensive end on the floor and is a solid ball-handler. Porter needs to improve on his strength more than anything else but his all-around game is solid and he should make a positive impact at Georgetown next year.

What You Missed

Anthony Davis (#4 – Kentucky) and James McAdoo (#7 – North Carolina) were the Co-MVPs at the Jordan Brand Classic.

Power Forwards Dominated Jordan Brand Classic. Anthony Davis (#4 – Kentucky) and James McAdoo (#7 – North Carolina) were the co-MVPs in the 10th annual Jordan Brand Classic Saturday with Davis recording 29 points (second highest in event history to LeBron James’ 34 points) on 13-15 shooting from the field and 11 rebounds, and McAdoo tallying 26 points on 10-16 shooting from the field and 14 rebounds. Davis also added four blocks and McAdoo hit the game-clinching free throws with 1.6 seconds left which gave the East a 113-109 victory over the West. Both players ran the floor well and were able to knock down the perimeter shot. Although Davis had the better overall game, McAdoo was more impressive since he showed the ability to not only score in the paint, but he also made several nice mid-range jumpers and multiple three-pointers which showed off his range. Both showed good court vision and passing skills as well as an ability to  make the pass in transition or out of the low post when double-teamed. Kyle Wiltjer (#26 – Kentucky) also brought back his sky hook from the McDonald’s game to this event and Johnny O’Bryant (#28 – LSU) consistently knocked down a turn-around jumper that will be deadly if he adds other moves to his arsenal.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Barnes Deciding To Come Back Sets The Stage

Posted by nvr1983 on April 18th, 2011

For weeks there has been speculation that Harrison Barnes was thinking seriously about returning to UNC for his sophomore season so his announcement today that he was in fact returning should not come as a major surprise in the way that the announcement by Perry Jones shocked the basketball world, but it is still remarkable. Going back less than six months Barnes was the talk of the college basketball world as the first freshman preseason All-American and the consensus #1 pick in the NBA Draft. At the time it was a foregone conclusion that Barnes would spend a single season in Chapel Hill before taking heading to the team that won the NBA Draft Lottery. In between that period a funny thing happened that just might help save college basketball.

Barnes turned down NBA riches for another year in Chapel Hill

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story