Morning Five: 10.20.11 Edition
Posted by rtmsf on October 20th, 2011
- In yesterday’s M5 we mentioned that a poll of media facilitated by the Syracuse Post-Standard found that Syracuse and Connecticut were essentially viewed as equals at the top of the Big East this year. Wednesday’s survey of Big East coaches at Media Day came to the same ultimate conclusion. The Huskies had more first-place votes (seven) than the Orange (five), but more coaches chose SU second or third than UConn, which accounts for the difference. Louisville received three first-place votes (Rick Pitino took shots at the votes too), while Pittsburgh received one. The Panthers’ Ashton Gibbs was chosen as the preseason Big East POY, with UConn’s Jeremy Lamb, Syracuse’s Kris Joseph, Marquette’s Darius Johnson-Odom, WVU’s Kevin Jones, and Notre Dame’s Tim Abromaitis rounding out the first team.
- Down on Tobacco Road, the ACC was simultaneously holding its
Media Day Operation Basketball, and the proceedings generally read like a Carolina love-fest. UNC received 57 of the 59 first-place votes from the media, and the Heels’ Harrison Barnes was a unanimous selection on the preseason all-ACC first team along with teammates Tyler Zeller and John Henson (incidentally, Luke Winn breaks down Barnes’ 2010-11 progression here). The last time that a single school had three selections on the preseason all-ACC team was a decade ago, when defending national champion Duke brought back Jason Williams, Mike Dunleavy and Carlos Boozer. In no surprise whatsoever, Duke was picked to finish second, with Florida State third. The remaining all-ACC choices were Duke’s Seth Curry, Miami’s Malcolm Grant, and Virginia’s Mike Scott, with Duke’s Austin Rivers selected as the preseason ROY. More on Operation Basketball later this morning on our ACC microsite.
- We never contemplated a Wake Forest to USC pipeline developing, but if Jeff Bzdelik’s few talented players continue to get into trouble in Winston-Salem so that they ultimately transfer to Southern Cal, we’re sure that Kevin O’Neill will be happy to take them. After Wake forward Ari Stewart transferred across the country in May to spend his final two years at USC, guard JT Terrell (whom Stewart hosted on his official visit to Troy) has also decided to re-surface as a Trojan. Terrell is spending this season at a junior college in Washington, but the talented sophomore who averaged 11.1 PPG as a Demon Deacon frosh has announced that he will sign with O’Neill’s club during the early signing period in November. Between Alex Stepheson (UNC to USC), Larry Drew II (UNC to UCLA), Travis and David Wear (UNC to UCLA), Stewart, and now Terrell, there’s something weird going on here.
- Is Billy Gillispie ready to turn around the basketball fortunes at his third Texas destination in his somewhat short collegiate coaching career? After very successful stints at UTEP and Texas A&M, followed by a disastrous one at Kentucky, Gillispie says that he’s sober and back on track at his new school, Texas Tech. What was lost amidst all the chaos that surrounded Gillispie in his two years in Lexington is that he had completely rebuilt moribund programs in both El Paso and College Station very quickly, his teams employing a hard-nosed, defensive style that mimicked the coach’s somewhat infamous and notorious work ethic. Texas Tech seems like a great fit for him not only because he’s back in his home state surrounded by his people, but the expectations and pressures at a school like TTU are incredibly tame in comparison with one of the nation’s flagship basketball schools. Even during the Bob Knight experiment, getting to the Sweet Sixteen was cause for celebration. It says here that Gillispie will do well in Lubbock.
- We’ve already mentioned the heartbreaking story of Arizona’s Kevin Parrom in this space earlier this week. Jeff Goodman caught up with him recently and the drive and fortitude that the Wildcat junior continues to show in the face of such adversity — losing his grandmother, his mother, and getting shot in the hand and leg in the span of several months — is nothing short of remarkable. Rather than feeling sorry for himself, it’s clear in reading his quotes that he considers himself lucky to not only be alive, but also to have the opportunity to get an education on a basketball scholarship, something his mother made sure he put above all else. And that, my friends, is what good parenting is all about. Continued best of luck to Parrom as he works through these emotional and physical issues — we’re rooting for ya, kid.