Morning Five: 08.03.11 EditionPosted by nvr1983 on August 3rd, 2011
- The Dominican Republic’s national basketball team arrived in Kentucky yesterday before they start their training camp on Sunday. The team from the Dominican Republic is training in Lexington per request of their coach, John Calipari. While most of the college basketball world’s interest in the Kentucky Legends team that is being assembled and will feature many recent NBA stars who recently played for the Wildcats, we are more interested in the Dominican Republic team that has Al Horford (Florida) and Edgar Sosa (Louisville) on it staying in Lexington for at least 2 weeks (the game against the UK Legends is on August 15th) with the, um, crazed Wildcat fans around them. If ESPN or any network decided to follow this team while they were in Lexington we would definitely tune in.
- UNLV‘s hiring of Dave Rice was widely praised as a sign that the program was headed in the right direction, but don’t count Runnin’ Rebel legend Larry Johnson in that group. The 1991 National Player of the Year has come out recently and been very critical of the program and the direction it has taken under an administration that is headed by Jim Livengood, who came from Arizona, which has led Johnson to say, “It’s not UNLV Runnin’ Rebels no more, it’s UNLV Wildcats right now.” Johnson concedes that former coach Lon Kruger had made some attempts to bring some of the former UNLV players back into the program. When Kruger left Johnson put his name in for consideration, but was reportedly not even contacted by the current administration. While Johnson does not have any coaching experience that we are aware of and his name probably doesn’t carry a lot of weight with players who are entering college or younger, it is pretty clear that the UNLV administration made a mistake here by not even reaching out to Johnson even if it was only for show. Given UNLV’s recent efforts to land local recruits having someone of Johnson’s reputation on their side would be a major pull even if it was only the AAU and high school coaches who knew how good “Grandmama” used to be.
- After arriving at Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon talked openly about installing a 4-guard offense. That task and creation of a rotation to make the feasible became harder earlier this week when rising sophomore Haukur Palsson announced that he was heading back to Europe to play professionally. Normally the loss of a player who averaged 2.8 points and 2.1 rebounds per game would be relatively minor, but with Palsson’s ability to play inside and outside he would have been an ideal player to use in the rotation as a guard who could also battle underneath for rebounds. With Palsson gone the Terrapins only have eight scholarship players and fitting them into an unconventional offense could be a big challenge for the new head coach.
- When we first saw the headline mentioning that Jabari Parker, one of the stars of the class of 2013, was seriously considering BYU we brushed it off as just more ridiculous Internet speculation until we remembered that Parker is a member of the LDS Church. While BYU has had its share of star players they very rarely land a major recruit (Danny Ainge is the only even close to Parker’s level that I can think of). The hype on Parker is already getting to ridiculous levels (Mike Krzyzewski has compared him to Kobe Bryant and Grant Hill and Seth Davis has already written a feature story on him for Sports Illustrated), but don’t think that just because Parker is a member of the LDS Church he will be a guaranteed commit to BYU. Our older members will remember that when 1997 Sporting News National Player of the Year Chris Burgess turned down BYU then head coach Roger Reid told him that he was letting “the other 9 million members of the LDS Church down” (before he let millions of Duke fans down with his play during his two years there).
- When former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl was fired in March there was plenty of speculation about where he would head next. While the logical choice seemed like a TV studio or announcing booth, it looks like Pearl wants to get back into coaching. With a NCAA show-cause penalty imminent Pearl would have to head to the NBA (former Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson’s hiring is a pretty clear indication that the NBA doesn’t care about breaking NCAA rules). It appears that the Texas Legends, the NBDL franchise for the Dallas Mavericks, are interested in hiring Pearl as a head coach. Pearl will meet with the team on Thursday in Dallas and reportedly has the job locked up if he wants it. Even though we will miss Pearl’s antics and his excellent coaching we have a feeling that this may be a sign that we won’t be seeing Pearl around college basketball any time soon.