Morning Five: 12.23.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on December 23rd, 2011

  1. Aaric Murray, who is sitting out this season after transferring from La Salle to West Virginia, was arrested in Philadelphia, his hometown, on Thursday morning for possession of marijuana. Having not learned the specifics of the charges we cannot comment too much other than to say that unlike narcotics, which marijuana is not despite reports otherwise on multiple sites yesterday, marijuana possession usually carries fairly light penalties. We are also not familiar with the details of Murray’s prior legal troubles, which could affect his sentencing if he is formally charged, although we have heard reports of prior behavioral issues. Murray, who averaged 15.2 PPG and 7.7 RPG as a sophomore at La Salle, would be a significant addition to the Mountaineer lineup next season assuming he does not blow that opportunity by ending up in these situations often. West Virginia has only released the following statement from Bob Huggins: “I’ve been alerted about the situation and the matter will be handled internally.”
  2. We have seen a lot of strange things from teenagers involved in the world of college recruiting before, but the actions of Torian Graham yesterday may have raised (or lowered) the bar. In the morning, Green, one of the top shooting guards in this year’s graduating class, recommitted to North Carolina State after having backed out of a commitment he had made to the school in May. When he announced, Graham said, “I’m all in for NC State.” Just a few hours later Graham decommitted from North Carolina State again saying, “Something came up… I don’t really want to talk about it.” We have no idea what could have come up in such a short period of time other than Mark Gottfried saying the offer was no longer on the table that could have changed Graham’s mind, but as you can imagine the people around the NC State program are not to thrilled with the latest turn of events and are suggesting that the team stop recruiting Graham. We doubt that Gottfried will do that, but it should be concerning for him or any other coach that is recruiting Graham.
  3. We have a couple of Khem Birch updates coming from fairly reliable, but divergent sources. On one side there is a report that Birch is interesting in coming back to Pittsburgh although he has not talked to Jamie Dixon yet. The other side is that Birch is headed to either Missouri or New Mexico State. While we would be more interested in the first report (for the posts we could write about it), we have a hard time believing that Dixon would be that ready to take back Birch after his decision to leave the school although technically it could be viewed as a freshman going home for winter break if it weren’t for all the games that Pittsburgh will be playing while still on “winter break”. The latter report seems more realistic and also offers the tantalizing possibility of a “Redemption Team” with Frank Haith coaching Birch and Jabari Brown if Birch were to head Missouri.
  4. Yesterday brought us the latest versions of power rankings from Luke Winn and Mark Titus. As you are well aware, the two approach these rankings very differently: Winn does so by providing you with a lot of quantitative analysis in a manner that is approachable for the casual fan while Titus does it with a mix of personal anecdotes and witty commentary. This week, Winn provides his usual adroitly presented analysis (though without the shocking statistic that we have come to expect) while Titus actually plays the part of a serious basketball writer by providing some thoughtful analysis without as much of his usual humor (it is still in there, but like Winn’s it is tamed down a bit this week).
  5. With the resurgence of Indiana this season there have been a lot of analysts trying to come up with a reason for the Hoosiers’ improvement. Some claim that it was just a matter of time before Tom Crean’s recruits could contend while others say that is it merely the improved health of the team. Sebastian Pruiti theorizes that it is due to their improved defense using advanced metrics and freeze-frame analysis from their games this season. While Pruiti applauds the Hoosiers’ efforts and improved defense he is quick to add that we shouldn’t get too far ahead of ourselves with projections for the Hoosiers this season.
nvr1983 (1397 Posts)

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