SEC Morning Five: 03.22.12 Edition
Posted by EMoyer on March 22nd, 2012
- After Shaka Smart turned down the Illinois job, another coach with VCU ties, current Alabama head coach Anthony Grant, emerged as a candidate for the position. According to The Chicago Tribune, “Athletic director Mike Thomas now will turn to his second-choice options, which include Alabama’s Anthony Grant and Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton, according to sources. Both are considered to have strong interest in the job…Thomas is believed to be pursuing high-profile candidates and African-American head coaches.”
- As Florida prepares for its Sweet 16 contest with Marquette, the desired pace of both schools should produce a high-scoring affair. “I think the game will certainly be a fast game,” said Florida coach Billy Donovan. “With the way we play and I think the way that they play, conditioning probably in both of our practices is a premium.” Florida and Marquette both average close to 76 points a game and rank among the nation’s top 30 scoring teams and among the top 30 most efficient offenses, according to KenPom.com.
- Kentucky head coach John Calipari will identify the people who have given $2.5 million to help renovate the locker room complex at Rupp Arena, a university spokesman said Wednesday. “Coach plans to publicly recognize the donors in an appropriate fashion to thank them for their contributions in the near future,” spokesman Jay Blanton said in a statement. The plan shows a new circular locker room, a players’ lounge, a theater-style meeting room, and a new kitchen and dining area, among other upgrades. Funding for the $2.9 million project — $400,000 will be provided by Lexington Center — will be funneled through the Blue Grass Community Foundation, Owen said. Because the Lexington Center Corp. is a not-for-profit organization rather than a charitable entity, it can’t accept direct donations, and donors couldn’t take tax deductions.
- Auburn senior forward Kenny Gabriel will participate in the slam dunk portion of the State Farm College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships on March 29 in Tulane’s Fogelman Arena at 8 p.m. on ESPN prior to the Final Four in New Orleans. “It is an honor because I never thought that I would be able to be in a dunk contest for college,” said Gabriel. “I am glad that I got the opportunity to do it. I hope to go down there and win it. I’m starting to work on my repertoire now.”
- As South Carolina continues its search for replacing Darrin Horn, one columnist, Ron Morris, from The State, writes that the Gamecocks need to pursue and hire a black coach. He writes, “Perhaps never in college basketball history has the opportunity been better and the number of qualified candidates greater for athletics departments to hire black men’s basketball coaches…USC is a little slow getting to this party. It remains one of four SEC programs — Florida, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt are the others — that have not employed a black men’s basketball coach.” By name, Morris mentioned Ohio State assistant Dave Dickerson (an Olar, South Carolina native) and Tennessee State’s John Cooper (assistant on Eddie Fogler’s staff from 1995 to 2001).