Morning Five: 05.27.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on May 27th, 2011

  1. Greg Paulus started for three years at Duke, played a year of quarterback at Syracuse, was an assistant coach at Navy last season, and already has landed his fourth gig. Thad Matta hired Paulus as Ohio State’s new video coordinator yesterday, which makes that Big Ten-ACC matchup that has the Blue Devils traveling to Columbus next season all the more interesting. Wonder if Coach Matta will be hitting up Greg for a little insider breakdown of Duke game film ahead of that little get-together?
  2. Props to the PROP! And by that we mean the NCAA’s Playing Rules Oversight Panel. Yesterday they approved the addition of an arc to be drawn on the floor three feet out from the basket inside of which a charge will not be called on an offensive player. There are also now two categorizations of certain types of hard fouls. Flagrant 1 means an intentional foul, and Flagrant 2 signifies a flagrant foul. As for the arc, we’re glad they added it, but are we to assume it theoretically extends to the baseline as well? And if so, why not just draw it? Guarantee you that will come up in at least one big game before New Year’s. And what’s the official name? The “three-foot arc?” We think that’s the best (and only real) option.
  3. A few weeks ago we posted an article about how researchers at the University of Washington found that Division I men’s basketball players had a greatly higher incidence of sudden cardiac arrest compared with college athletes in any division or any other sport, a fact that speaks to the necessity of pre-participation screening as well as availability of automatic defibrillators in gyms/arenas. Next month, researchers from several sites in Kansas will publish a study on student-athletes they screened (though it doesn’t look like any of them were college basketball players) that resulted in the same recommendation. We haven’t got our hands on their data yet, but we hope solid research and public outcry both continue to force schools’ hands on this.
  4. Mac Engel writes a sports blog for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Yesterday he published a conversation he recently had with Louisville head honcho Rick Pitino about how schools like TCU joining the Big East adds value to both Louisville and TCU, explaining to Engel that, “When I came to Louisville we were a top 10 program. In terms of value according to Forbes, there is only one basketball program among the top 50 money-making athletic programs in the country that is basketball. The rest are all football. We’re the one.” That’s not exactly true. That would mean U of L is the nation’s most valuable college hoops program, and, according to Forbes (which Pitino cited), the value list has gone 1) North Carolina, 2) Kentucky, and 3) Louisville for the last three years. Louisville has been the most profitable team in several Forbes surveys, but UNC recently took that distinction as well.
  5. St. John’s would love to tell NCAA bylaw 11.4.2 where to stick it. It’s been a tough week for Steve Lavin and that particular provision; first, Arizona transfer Lamont “MoMo” Jones was prohibited from transferring to SJU because of that rule. Yesterday it was revealed that incoming big-time recruit Maurice Harkless might not be able to play there, either, because of the same rule. Harkless played a little AAU ball with the New York Gauchos, a team that employs St. John’s Director of Basketball Operations Moe Hicks as an administrator. Rule 11.4.2 says a school that employs someone associated with a prospective player “in any athletics department noncoaching staff position” can’t recruit that player for two years. Still, St. John’s is optimistic they’ll be able to smooth this over and welcome Harkless in the fall.
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RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Nikola Vucevic

Posted by rtmsf on May 26th, 2011

Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 23, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night. There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.

Player Name: Nikola Vucevic

School: USC

Height/Weight 6’10, 240 lbs.

NBA Position:  Power Forward/Center

Projected Draft Range Late First Round

Overview: USC center Nikola Vucevic may have been the least hyped all-Pac-10 first team center that the conference has ever had.  It’s a guarantee that when his name is called on draft night, most people around the country will assume “another European player” without any knowledge that the athletic 6’10, 260-pounder played college ball in sunny Los Angeles for the last three years.  One of the reasons for that is because the Trojan program has spent the last two seasons recovering from the OJ Mayo/Tim Floyd debacle, and this year, even though USC ultimately made the NCAA Tournament as a #11 seed, they were summarily dismissed in the First Four by a soon-to-be-Cinderella VCU Rams.  But don’t let that fool you — Vucevic was the lone offensive bright spot on a team that scrapped and defended its way to 19 wins and a berth in the postseason that most west coast observers thought unlikely.  His consistent post game, shooting range, care with the ball and knack for rebounding anchored a Trojan team that had little else to hang its hat on; but it could count on a double-double from the big Montenegran almost every night out (22 last season).  He averaged 17.1 PPG, 10.3 RPG, and 1.4 BPG in nearly 35 minutes of action each night, and his efficiency in both shooting the ball (75% of FTs; 54% of twos; 35% of threes) and rebounding (he grabbed 26% of boards on the defensive glass) makes you wonder why a guy with such a nice low-post game isn’t getting more buzz as a sleeper pick this year. 

Vucevic is Fairly Unknown But Showed an All-Around Game at USC

Will Translate to the NBA:  You certainly can’t teach size, and Vucevic has a body built for banging around in the paint at the next level.  His draft measurements put him at the very top of this year’s class in terms of height (just a shade under seven feet with shoes on) and reach (nearly nine-and-a-half feet).  His draft weight is also ideal because he’ll ultimately be asked to hold his position defensively against some of the elite NBA bigs inside, and although he can stand to become a bit stronger, he’s already very far along in this area.  The other area where he’s already at an NBA level is his exceptionally nice touch with the ball in terms of shooting ability.  He has an established and consistent mid-range game and shoots the ball well from the foul line.  After making only eight three-pointers in his first two seasons at USC, he nearly quadrupled that number last season (29).  There’s no reason to believe he can’t become an excellent shooter when he finds openings in the defense.

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Examining Ed DeChellis: Why Are Some Coaches Trading Down?

Posted by rtmsf on May 26th, 2011

Monday’s announcement by Penn State head coach Ed DeChellis that he was resigning from his position in order to take another job isn’t the kind of thing that normally surprises anyone.  After all, fifty or so Division-I head coaching jobs change hands in a given offseason, and DeChellis is coming off one of the best seasons of his coaching career.  His Nittany Lions finished fourth in the Big Ten last season and made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a decade (losing by two points to Temple in the Second Round).  That he’s taking another job isn’t buzzworthy in itself; it’s that he’s not moving on to greener pastures as the new guy at Miami (FL) or Missouri, to name a couple prominent openings this year.  It’s that he’s resigning from a Big Ten school to take the head coaching position at Navy.  As in… the US Naval Academy, a Patriot League program that hasn’t been relevant since the Reagan Administration (and a gangly center named David Robinson was enrolled in Annapolis).

DeChellis Isn't the First Coach to Move Down the Ladder

It’s certainly an open secret among Penn State faithful and Big Ten watchers that DeChellis, despite PSU’s run to the NCAAs this season, was already on rather thin ice.  His eight-year career in Happy Valley resulted in more losses than wins and his relationship with the Penn State AD, Tim Curley, had reportedly deteriorated to a breaking point.  Still, by walking away from a Big Ten position — even one in the basketball wasteland known as central Pennsylvania — to take the helm at a struggling mid-major, he’s leaving at least a half-million dollars or more on the table, and essentially giving up on every coach’s dream to win and win big at the highest level of college basketball.  We’re not about to sit down and perform an analysis of the last couple of decades of coaching changes to test the theory, but in at least the last couple of offseasons, there seems to be a growing trend of coaches moving laterally or even downgrading themselves for one reason or another.  Here’s three who instantly came to mind.

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Morning Five: 05.26.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on May 26th, 2011

  1. By Michigan State standards, last year was a tough one to say the least. They could use some good fortune, but they’ll have to wait a little longer. Yesterday they learned that Russell Byrd, a 6’7 freshman guard with reliable three-point range who missed last season with a left foot injury, will have surgery on that same foot tomorrow. He should be back and ready in time for the start of practice in October, but MSU had hoped to have Byrd healthy and up to speed by now.
  2. Penn State has hired former South Carolina and Vanderbilt head coach Eddie Fogler to assist with their coaching search. You know, ’cause he helped with previous coaching searches at…Auburn and Georgia Tech. Yeah. Can you imagine this call from PSU AD Tim Curley to former coach Fogler? Curley: “Hey, Eddie, you know we have a coaching vacancy here, right?” Fogler: “Yeeeees…” Curley: “Well, we were wondering if…” Fogler (smiling in anticipation): “YEEEESSSS??” Curley: “Do you know anyone who might be interested?”
  3. “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” Couldn’t agree more with the great Lefty Driesell, who was inducted into the Southern Conference Hall of Fame this past Tuesday. Before moving on to Maryland, Driesell posted a 176-65 record at Davidson over nine seasons, went to the Sweet 16 three times and the Elite Eight twice, won five regular season titles and three conference tournament crowns. He hasn’t totally removed that coaching hat — he regularly advises his son Chuck, head coach at The Citadel. Chuck’s choice for the most important piece of advice his father has given him: “Recruit daily or perish.”
  4. Ryan Harrow decided to leave North Carolina State after his freshman year and the ouster of Sidney Lowe, and late last night he decided that he’ll head to Lexington and play for Kentucky. The 6’0 and 160-pound point guard was rated as the 39th-best overall player on the ESPNU 100 for 2010, and the eighth-best point guard. He averaged 9.3 PPG and 3.3 APG for the Wolfpack in his only season there, and led the team with a 1.9 assist-to-turnover ratio. He’ll sit out the 2011-12 season while learning to guard the likes of Marquis Teague and Doron Lamb in practice every day, and will eligible to play in 2012-13.
  5. Four years ago, North Carolina mascot Jason Ray was hit by a car and killed right in front of the team hotel in New Jersey before his team’s NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 game. He was an organ donor. Because of that, he helped save the lives of four people. One of them was Ronald Griffin of Franklin Township, New Jersey, who received Ray’s heart. Griffin lived for four more years. That’s four more birthdays, four more NCAA Tournaments, four more anniversaries, four more whatevers — and everything in between. 1,461 more days he got to enjoy the privilege of breathing, walking, perceiving. Mr. Griffin, who became a big Tar Heel fan after learning whose heart he received, died this week, aged 62. We have nothing to add to this, other than to express our condolences to Mr. Griffin’s family, and our respect to Jason Ray.
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Looking Forward to the 2011 Challenge Week Already

Posted by zhayes9 on May 25th, 2011

Zach Hayes is an editor, contributor and bracketologist for Rush the Court.

It’s about time the SEC and Big East followed suit.

Last week, those two esteemed conferences made it official: they plan on following the path set by the ACC and Big Ten, expanding their annual showdown to include (nearly) all members in a nationally televised spectacle creating enticing matchups that most cautious coaches would normally eschew (exception: Tom Izzo). The ACC/Big Ten Challenge, buoyed by ESPN’s services and the strangely captivating quest for the Big Ten to finally upend their ACC counterparts, has been a roaring success since its inception even through peaks and valleys in terms of talent level.

The lone saving grace once the excitement of the Thanksgiving tournaments have died down is remembering that the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and all it offers is right around the corner. Next December, the SEC and Big East have agreed to double our fun, expanding to 12 teams each. Although the dissection of each game won’t fully get underway until well after the leaves change colors, here are some of the matchups, individual and team, that jumped out to me as soon as the games were announced:

Florida backcourt vs. Syracuse backcourt - Two teams with Final Four aspirations next season for one primary reason: the strength of returnees and newcomers in their backcourts. Florida, periodically to their detriment, are overly reliant on their diminutive backcourt duo of point guard Erving Walker and three-point gunner Kenny Boynton, a trend that won’t recede with the departure of both Chandler Parsons and Vernon Macklin from the front line. Two-guard extraordinaire Brad Beal might be the best of the pack the minute he steps on campus as a pinpoint shooter and ace defender and Scottie Wilbekin saw ample time as an underage freshman. Syracuse has Big East title aspirations mostly due to their experienced backcourt returnees and double digit scorers: two-year starter Brandon Triche and fifth-year senior Scoop Jardine. Throw in combo guard Michael Carter-Williams, a McDonalds All-American that can spell Triche at the point and also fill it up, elite shooter Trevor Cooney and scorer Dion Waiters (provided he smoothes things over with his coach) and the Orange are even more stocked than the Gators in their backcourt. As it almost always the case: it’s a guard’s world, we’re just living in it.

Scoop Jardine spearheads a loaded Cuse backcourt

Jeffery Taylor vs. Kyle Kuric - Other than possibly Duke-Ohio State (couldn’t Carolina have paid a visit to Columbus or was Roy Williams not too anxious to embark?), the best matchup set by the powers-that-be are potential #1/#2 seeds Louisville and Vanderbilt butting heads. This winter is shaping up to be the most exciting season in Vandy basketball history provided they tighten up their defense and avoid yet another first round collapse. Those expectations were set when John Jenkins, Festus Ezeli and Jeffery Taylor, the latter a possible lottery pick, elected to skip the draft waters and return to Nashville. Taylor’s offensive repertoire has expanded since arriving on campus, but he’s always been known as a star defender because of his outstanding athleticism, length and ability to guard multiple positions. He may not face a more imposing threat in 2011-12 than Kyle Kuric, the sneaky quick and bouncy sharpshooter from Louisville that connected on 45% of his treys as a junior. Watching Taylor chase around Kuric for 35 minutes should be a sight to behold.

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RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Reggie Jackson

Posted by Brian Goodman on May 25th, 2011

Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 23, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night. There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.

Player Name: Reggie Jackson

School: Boston College

Height/Weight: 6’3/208 lbs.

NBA Position: Point Guard

Projected Draft Range: Late First Round

Overview: Reggie Jackson came to Boston College all the way from Colorado Springs as a heralded shooting guard. Making an early impact for former head coach Al Skinner, Jackson averaged seven points per contests in 20 minutes in his freshman season, including a season-high 17 on the road against North Carolina during the Tar Heels’ run to a national title. With surprisingly long arms for someone his size (his wingspan has been measured at seven feet), Jackson pulled down more rebounds than you would typically expect from a 6’3 guard. Juggling an increase in playing time with new full-time starting point guard responsibilities, Jackson improved steadily in his sophomore season, though he struggled shooting the ball (especially from the perimeter) where he failed to crack 30% beyond the arc in both of his first two seasons. His floor general skills shone through, however, as he posted one of the ACC’s top assist-to-turnover ratios in 2009-10. He continued to improve, but few could predict his spectacular 42% performance from beyond the arc in 2010-11, which played a major role in his shooting percentage rising from 43% from 50% last season. With several seniors graduating, Jackson decided to leave school a year early rather than play out the first stage of a massive rebuilding project in Chestnut Hill in 2011-12. Without a strong supporting cast, a return to BC would have spelled a rather strenuous workload as a senior.

Jackson is an Athletic Guard With Substantial Upside

Will Translate to the NBA: Jackson’s appeal stems from his athleticism and wingspan, which makes him a very explosive player on both ends of the court. Once he adds more muscle to his frame, scouts are confident that he’ll be good to go. He’s already a very good finisher on the break and can succeed in half-court sets as well, especially in the pick-and-roll. Jackson worked hard to improve his jumper last season, which will help him get by as he adds the weight necessary to drive and absorb contact in the lane.

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Around The Blogosphere: May 25, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on May 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.

General News

  • Ed DeChellis Leaves Penn State for Navy: In one of the more shocking moves of the offseason DeChellis decided to leave the Big East to take over at Navy. (The Daily Gopher)
  • Big East Tournament Changes?: “Among the topics up for discussion at the Big East meetings this week is how to handle a 17-team tournament. It is easily one of the biggest issues of contention for the basketball coaches to discuss. The 16 team tournament has it’s own drawbacks, of course, but has been a favorite of coaches, to whom it allows a late-seas0n redemption.” (VU Hoops)
  • Big East’s NCAA APR multiyear scores for men’s basketball: A look at the APR for all 16 teams. (Rumble in the Garden)
  • Mark Turgeon Meets with Media: May Not Add Another Player, Wants to Play Up-Tempo: Some notes from Turgeon’s press conference. (Testudo Times)
  • Olu Ashaolu Picks Oregon Over Texas: “In another cruel twist of fate for Texas basketball fans, UT lost on on Louisiana Tech transfer Olu Ashaolu when he decided on Oregon late this morning.” (Burnt Orange Nation)
  • Washington State Football, Basketball Post Improved APR Scores: “In what was an actual welcome piece of off-the-field news for Washington State University athletics, the football and men’s basketball teams both posted improved scores Tuesday in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate, with the WSU football team meeting the NCAA’s minimum score of 925 for the first time in four years.” (Coug Center)
  • Brandon Bender: “I’m telling everything”: “Everyone’s favorite…I don’t even know what noun to use here….anyway, Brandon Bender has thrust himself back into the summer news by stating that he plans to “tell the whole story about Rick Pitino” tomorrow evening on a radio station in Orlando.” (Card Chronicle)
  • The Momo saga continues: The rumors of Momo Jones heading to St. John’s may not be true due to a NCAA rule that may prevent him from being recruited by the school. (Rumble in the Garden)
  • More Details on Villanova’s European Preseason Tour: A look at Villanova’s summer trip to Europe. (VU Hoops)

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RTC Interviews Exclusive: A Conversation With Linda Gonzalez

Posted by nvr1983 on May 25th, 2011

Last Friday, Linda Gonzalez, the older sister of former Manhattan and Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez, posted a column (link to our post because she took her original post down) that drew a lot of attention across the Internet and within coaching and journalism circles. In that post, Gonzalez listed ten columnists (some local, but mostly national) whom she felt wrote with an agenda and often did not report the facts as they are, but instead tried to twist them to fit the story. After the post started a mini-firestorm online, we reached out to Linda Gonzalez to inquire about her thoughts and reasoning. What follows is a 25-minute interview with Gonzalez that touches on her reasons for writing the piece, thoughts on the media in general and specific individuals, and her impression of what led to her brother’s firing at Seton Hall. We have to admit that Linda Gonzalez turned out to be a lot more reasonable than we expected over the phone based on her initial post and some of the rumblings that we had heard from various media members before we spoke with her. She also makes some salient points about the media as a whole and about the perceived agenda that some media members have.

Gonzalez has been a controversial figure in the media for years

Rush the Court: By now, most of our audience is aware of  your post listing the 10 writers you consider the most corrupt or biased in the country, but we don’t know much about you other than the fact that you are Bobby Gonzalez’s sister. Could you provide us with a little background information on who you are?

Linda Gonzalez: Before we start let me make something clear. There is a difference between a public and private person. I am not a public person. I used to be a public person because I was a columnist for a newspaper. That was a long time ago. Now writing is a hobby. I have a personal blog that I write. In fact, I have two. One I keep for notes and whatnot, but I have a personal blog that I write that people are welcome to read, but it is still a personal and private blog. I am a private person who lives in upstate New York. I am involved with my family. I live a quiet life.

I am a daughter, sister, aunt, substitute mom, nana, niece, and friend. I want for my family the same as you want for your own. I want my family to have  love, success and to live a meaningful life with purpose. I do what I can, whenever I can to help them and myself to achieve that. I’m sure anyone would do the same.

I have a mother who is 84 and a brother who is a disabled Vietnam Vet. My sister died 20 years ago and she had four children. Now her children are starting to have children so I have got my hands full. Bobby is a part of the picture, a big part, because when one suffers, we all suffer.

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Morning Five: 05.25.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on May 25th, 2011

  1. Could have sworn there was a thunderclap after we first read this one. Jim Calhoun’s prediction for the Big East is that “I think you’ll see a separation” of the conference along the fault line of those BE schools that play football and those that play everything but football. Also interesting is that he thinks it’ll happen “within the next couple of years, four or five years down the road,” and adds, “I don’t think I’ll see this.” Calhoun leaving Connecticut in that time frame wouldn’t surprise anyone, but it’s still odd to conceptualize.
  2. A day after Ed DeChellis said adios to Penn state, PSU athletic director Tim Curley began the (not at all expected) search for a new head coach. For you speculating Nittany Lion backers, put names like Brad and Shaka out of your minds. Fran Dunphy would be a total coup and ain’t gonna happen, either. Curley says DeChellis left the program in an “excellent state,” but there’s no doubting he needs a name, here, or at the very least a young shark to get the student body excited. So, place your bets: Pat Flannery? Bruiser Flint? Ron Everhart? Joe Paterno?
  3. Mark Titus became a pretty famous guy a few years ago with the website Club Trillion, his blog about his adventures as a last-man-on-the-pine walk-on on the Ohio State basketball team. Regarding the recent allegations involving the football team and Jim Tressel, Titus recently posted on his site that he noticed how cars driven by football players were always nicer than those driven by basketball players, leading him to deduce that either the football players were awarded larger stipends, were better at managing money, came from wealthier families, or “received discounted and/or free cars.” The OSU faithful, many of whom were probably once Titus’ biggest fans, aren’t happy, as evidenced by the comments section [h/t: Lost Lettermen].
  4. Arik Armstead is the #1 high school football player in the country, according to Scout.com. He’s verbally committed to play at USC. So why is he making a visit to the University of Nevada with an eye toward playing college basketball? Well, he says he’d rather play hoops, and ESPN.com says he’s the 33rd best power forward in the country. And his father is good friends with Wolf Pack head coach David Carter. USC says he can also play basketball for them if he wants, and having the Song Girls cheer for you in two sports is a preposterously enticing deal, but Armstead throws in a quote at the end that makes us think he may actually be considering the roundball.
  5. Gentlemen of Villanova, get your passports ready. Jay Wright’s going all Clark W. Griswold on us and taking his team on a ten day European vacation in August. Because Wright has only two starters returning next season, it’s a good chance for the Wildcats to bond while playing some quality clubs just ahead of their 2011-12 campaign and after two straight years of disappointing NCAA Tournament results. Make sure to look both ways twice when crossing those streets, fellas.
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Is VCU Asking Its Students To Help Pay Shaka Smart’s Salary?

Posted by nvr1983 on May 24th, 2011

One of the feel-good stories of the offseason was how VCU coach Shaka Smart turned down the lure of the big money and name brand appeal of multiple job openings at schools in traditional power conferences so he could stay at VCU. This was surprising to many because the odds of Smart repeating the success of his team’s miraculous run to the Final Four are exceedingly small. Still Smart appeared to want to stay to help build a premiere program rather than just a flash-in-the-pan success story that was never heard from again. Of course, the jump in his salary from $325,000 to $1.2 million per year also helped persuade Smart to stay in Richmond.

The million dollar man

Although the VCU student body was undoubtedly pleased to retain the head coach that was responsible for the the most successful postseason performance in the school’s history there was the obvious question of who would foot the bill. The taxpayers? That’s funny. The alumni and boosters? Partly, but they are not footing the entire bill. How about the students? According to some reports they may be the ones picking up the tab on this one. Earlier today the VCU administration announced that the overall student fee would increase by $50 per full-time student for the next academic year, which would largely go towards the athletic programs and generate $875,000 in additional revenue for the athletic program. Of that $875,000 nearly two-thirds would go to the basketball program (approximately $583,000). Based on the full-time enrollment numbers from the university that would be a little over $20 per student towards the basketball program.

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RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Klay Thompson

Posted by rtmsf on May 24th, 2011

Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 23, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night. There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.

Player Name: Klay Thompson

School: Washington State

Height/Weight: 6’6, 206 lbs.

NBA Position: Shooting Guard

Projected Draft Range: Mid to Late First Round

Overview: Klay Thompson is on the very short list of contenders for the title of best pure shooter in the draft. After shooting 41% from three and 42% from the field as a freshman, Thompson saw his averages dip a bit as a sophomore mostly as a result of a significantly increased role in the Cougar offense, as by last year he used 32% of his team’s possessions (good for 15th in the nation). Thompson led the Cougs in scoring in his final two seasons on the Paloose, and despite leaving a year of eligibility on the table, he comes to the draft as a pretty complete offensive player, with an NBA-ready game and a history of improving every year. As a freshman, he was more or less “just a shooter,” but he has since added a deft mid-range game, has become very comfortable with the ball in his hands, and has shown a crafty ability to get to the line, shooting 185 free throws as a junior, a drastic jump from the mere 31 he attempted from the line as a freshman in nearly as many minutes. Thompson is average at best athletically, and as a result does not project to be a great defender, but his 1.6 steals per game as a junior indicate that he is active enough to contribute defensively. He did get dinged with a possession of marijuana charge at the end of last year that raised some eyebrows, but that is generally just regarded as a minor blip for a good character kid.

Thompson Has Classic NBA Shooting Guard Skills

Will Translate to the NBA: When you can stroke it from deep like Thompson can, you’ve got a spot in the NBA. At 6’6, Thompson has the length to be able to get off his shot with ease, and is just good enough off the bounce and on the move to keep defenders honest and earn him clean looks from three. Thompson shot 39% from three in his career at WSU, and given that he was almost always the focal point of the opposition’s defense, that’s a mighty impressive number.

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Who’s Got Next? National Champions, All-Americans and More…

Posted by Josh Paunil on May 24th, 2011

Who’s Got Next? is a bi-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. Twice a 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

The stars were out to shine last weekend as the iS8/Nike Spring Classic wrapped up with national champions and all-americans garnering first and second team honors. The closing of a notable New York school that produced an NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, and a star junior naming his final four schools are among the other headlines dominating the world of college basketball recruiting that we will explore in this edition of Who’s Got Next? Oh yeah, there’s also the DeAndre Daniels saga which continues to drag on…

What They’re Saying

Class of 2012 shooting guard Ricardo Ledo (#9) speaks out about his list.

  • Junior Ricardo Ledo (#9) on his list of schools: “I am looking at Kentucky, Providence, Syracuse and UConn.”
  • Senior Josiah Turner (#13) on how good he thinks Arizona will be next year: “I think we’re going to be pretty good, Sidiki [Johnson]’s coming in. He’s a big man. He’s a beast, so I think we’ll still be pretty good.”
  • Junior Archie Goodwin (#19) on his favorite basketball memory: “My greatest basketball moment would’ve been helping my team win an AAU national title last summer in Orlando. We had to go through a lot of hard times to get to that point. We had to win nine games in a row.”
  • Senior D’Angelo Harrison (#47) on playing with his future teammates at St. John’s: “It was quite funny playing with them. We have a pretty good bond now and it makes it so much easier playing with them in the future.”
  • Sophomore Isaiah Lewis on his favorite memory: “My most memorable basketball moment would’ve been making the all-tournament team at the City of Palms. As a sophomore that was a big accomplishment for me.”
  • Senior Quincy Miller (#7) on his favorite basketball memory: “My greatest basketball moment would’ve been when I hit the game-winning three in the 18U championship game against Brazil last summer.”
  • Junior Shabazz Muhammad (#3) on his favorite basketball memory: “My best basketball moment would’ve been winning back-to-back state titles my freshman and sophomore years. That was a great run we had.”
  • Senior Nemanja Djurisic on his favorite part of the recruiting process: “Meeting people that have been in basketball for a long time and learning something new from interacting with them was great.”

What We Learned

The DeAndre Daniels Situation. Since last Wednesday, Duke, Kansas, Oregon and Texas fans have been in limbo wondering if Class of 2011 small forward DeAndre Daniels will choose their favorite school and what that means for the future of their team… but the catch is that he might not choose any of those options. The top unsigned prospect remaining has more choices than people think and can drag out this decision all summer or to when the NBA agrees upon a new Collective Bargaining Agreement if he wants to skip college and hope the one-and-done rule is eliminated. Since Daniels has remained undecided past the spring signing period, he can only sign a financial-aid agreement at this point, not a letter of intent. If a financial-aid agreement is signed, it only binds the school to the player but not the player to the school. Because of the flexibility in this type of arrangement, Daniels could stay unsigned until a few weeks into next school year. If he chooses to go this route (which many people believe he will), then the two main players in his decision will be Kansas and Texas, although he has also expressed interest in Duke and Oregon. It has been speculated that Daniels is a heavy lean to one of the Big 12 schools, but that his father, LaRon Daniels, wants him to go to another school. Daniels also has the options of going into the NBA D-League or playing overseas, but both of these options are highly unlikely. It’s also been rumored that he’s waiting to announce his decision at the Pangos All-American camp, which takes place from June 3-5. The bottom line in this whole situation is that Daniels has so many routes he can take and multiple months to decide which way  he wants to go. Also, considering how reluctant Daniels and his father have been in talking to the media, the only thing that’s certain in the ongoing recruitment of DeAndre Daniels is that nothing is certain.

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