As NBA Draft Deadline Passes, A Reminder of NBA/NCAA Rules Discrepancies

Posted by EJacoby on April 30th, 2012

Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter.

The NBA’s deadline for players to enter the 2012 NBA Draft passed over the weekend, with the biggest news coming from North Texas that star big man Tony Mitchell is returning to school. Why the minimal buzz about the deadline? It’s because the NCAA’s own deadline had already passed back on April 10, the date by which players had to withdraw from draft consideration if they had previously declared but wanted to retain college eligibility. It’s a confusing rule that’s just one of many areas of discrepancy between the NBA and NCAA as far as eligibility is concerned. For two associations that depend on each other so much, they often act more like competitors than allies. From the NBA age minimum to NCAA amateurism to the different draft deadlines, there are several areas of contention worth reflecting on.

Tony Mitchell is Staying at North Texas, a Decision He Had to Make Before Sunday's NBA Draft Deadline (AP Photo)

On Friday, NBA Commissioner David Stern appeared on Dan Patrick’s radio show where he mentioned that he’d like the league to adopt an even more restrictive age minimum on incoming players. For Stern, the ‘one-and-done’ format still doesn’t adequately solve the problem of making sure players are prepared enough to contribute immediately to his league. But as we’ve seen over the past 10-plus years, there are plenty of 19- and 20-year-olds that are able to contribute at the NBA level right away, and it wouldn’t be fair to stall their professional earning potential just because NBA general managers want a better read on any and all potential draftees. And that’s the problem; Stern is focused solely on the NBA and has no reason to worry about the college product or its student-athletes. The differing motives between the NBA and NCAA continue to be a potential long-term concern.

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ACC Weekly Five: 04.30.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on April 30th, 2012

  1. Orlando Sentinel:  Florida State, despite winning the regular season conference title, remains something of an enigma for the coming season. Last year’s run was largely the product of a veteran, senior-laden team. With the graduation of so many players, the Seminoles’ ability to defend their season title is in question. Fortunately for fans in Tallahassee, Leonard Hamilton and his assistants have been hitting the recruiting trail hard. With the recent recruiting coup of 7’3″ Boris Bojanovsky, FSU adds some much needed size to the roster.
  2. CBS Sports: Former Duke wing Michael Gbinije will land at Syracuse. In his single year at Duke, Gbinije was rarely utilized. At Syracuse, the talented but unproven player will get an odd opportunity. ACC bylaws prevent players from transferring to other in-conference schools. Yet, Gbinije will get plenty of chances to go against his former team because of the imminence of conference realignment. Though slated to eventually come to the ACC, Syracuse currently remains a Big East school, and because of the NCAA’s required one year waiting period for transfers, there’s a chance that Gbinije won’t play a game in any conference but the ACC.
  3. Washington Post: After Seth Greenberg’s surprising dismissal earlier this month, the Virginia Tech coaching search has been moving pretty quickly. Despite unrealistic targets like Shaka Smart and Jay Wright, the search now seems to be zeroing in on some more reasonable candidates, most notably North Carolina State associate head coach Bobby Lutz. Lutz has had previous success in a head coaching position, putting together twelve pretty successful seasons at UNC-Charlotte. Interestingly, North Carolina assistant Steve Robinson has also expressed strong interest in the job, though it’s unclear if Virginia Tech reciprocates the interest.
  4. Daily Press:  One serious consequence of Seth Greenberg’s firing is how understaffed it has left Virginia Tech in the interim. With the diaspora of disgruntled former assistants, last season’s video coordinator John Janovsky has been the only Hokie representative currently on the recruiting trail. With a school that has had a tough time landing top recruits in the past, this current lapse stands to set back the Hokies significantly. Virginia Tech needs a coaching staff sooner rather than later.
  5. The Diamondback: Maryland guard Pe’Shon Howard was arrested for disorderly conduct late Saturday night/early Sunday morning. There’s no indication that Howard did more than taunt and “instigate,” but we’re sure Mark Turgeon will be less than pleased to see one of his players making the papers for the wrong reasons.
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Morning Five: 04.30.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on April 30th, 2012

  1. Later today Southern Mississippi will introduce Morehead State‘s Donnie Tyndall as its next head coach. Tyndall, who led Morehead State to two NCAA Tournament appearances (including an upset over Louisville in 2011) in six season, is expected to sign a four-year contract at Southern Mississippi. He will be replacing Larry Eustachy, who took the school to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 20 years this season before leaving to take over at Colorado State. Fortunately for Tyndall, Eustachy did not leave the cupboard bare as the Golden Eagles should have a very good team next season. We have not heard any word on potential replacements for Tyndall at Morehead State, but it seems like it would be a good location for a current assistant coach to step into his first head coaching spot.
  2. With all of the recent news surrounding transfers it was surprising to see that Duke transfer Michael Gbinije had decided to transfer to Syracuse. Although Gbinije, who saw little court time during his freshman year at Duke, will have to sit out a year, but the transfer is notable since he will be staying within the ACC with the Orange joining the ACC. Although we are sure that many of you out there are loath to hear the media heap any more praise on the Blue Devils we have to applaud their program for agreeing to do so or at least without all the fuss that other programs have created when a player tries to transfer.
  3. Wisconsin was one of the programs that found itself in the news over issues with a transfer (Jarrod Uthoff) recently and the person who was the symbol of the impeded transfer was Bo Ryan. While the ordeal was a bit of a public relations disaster for Ryan and Wisconsin and Uthoff will be leaving the school it seems like Ryan will be staying at the school through at least 2017 as the school gave him a five-year extension on Friday. Ryan, who has coached at Wisconsin for 12 seasons, has built the program into one of the premier programs in the Midwest and the entire country (probably a top 5 program if you ask Ken Pomeroy). We are looking forward to see what restrictions there are on Ryan if he wants to move to take another job.
  4. Renaldo Woolridge, best known for being the son of former NBA start Orlando and having produced music that pushed the boundaries of the NCAA rule book, will be transferring to Southern California and playing next season after playing three seasons at Tennessee. Woolridge has garnered quite a bit of attention for his musical exploits and his promotion of that music, but to date his production (never averaging more than 4.3 points and 3.3 rebounds in 13.6 minutes per game in any season) leaves quite a bit to be desired. Woolridge only has one season more at the collegiate level to make his mark on the court.
  5. What would a weekend be without a few idiotic run-ins with the authorities? This weekend’s “winners” are Josiah Turner and Pe’shon Howard. We will start with Turner, who decided to transfer from Arizona after a tumultuous freshman year. Turner was arrested this past week on suspicion of driving under the influence. The reports on the arrest do not provide further details including when the arrest happened, but it goes without saying that this will not help Turner in his search to find a program to transfer to although we suspect with his pedigree there will be plenty of Division I programs waiting with arms open for a player of Turner’s caliber. The details on Howard’s arrest are a little more clear as he was arrested at 2:35 AM on Sunday morning for his involvement in a fight out a restaurant in College Park, Maryland. Howard, who missed the last month of his sophomore season after tearing an ACL, was not directly involved in the physical altercation, but was involved verbally. Given the reports on the issue we doubt that Howard will get much more than a slap on the wrist from the Maryland coaching staff.
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Pac-12 Weekly Five: 04.27.12 Edition

Posted by AMurawa on April 27th, 2012

  1. For the second straight week, the lead story in our Weekly Five is a UCLA recruiting coup, as the Bruins added to their already impressive class by signing 6’9” center Tony Parker – the #20-ranked recruit in the 2012 class – beating out schools like Ohio State, Duke and Parker’s home-state Georgia for his services. After the bizarre 45-minute press conference to announce his choice, ESPNU bumped UCLA’s class up to the top-ranked class in the nation (at least for now, pending other decisions — such as the #7 recruit, Anthony Bennett, possibly choosing Kentucky). One of the controversial parts of Parker’s commitment to the Bruins was his ties to assistant coach Korey McCray, who was hired by head coach Ben Howland last year. That move wound up paying off, as both Parker and former teammate on the Atlanta Celtics, Jordan Adams, wound up committing to UCLA to rejoin McCray. Regardless, the Bruins now feature a deep and talented squad that will not only be on the short list of favorites in the Pac-12, but should be a Top 10 team nationally and a legitimate threat to advance to Howland’s fourth Final Four in his tenure. There are a handful of storm clouds on the horizon though, as Shabazz Muhammad’s eligibility still needs to be sorted out and Kyle Anderson may be on the verge of thumb surgery, a procedure which could keep the point forward sidelined for much of the summer before his freshman season. Elsewhere on the Bruin front, the school announced an agreement for a home-and-home series with Missouri beginning next season at Pauley Pavilion, renewing a matchup that was made famous by an NCAA Tournament classic.
  2. Washington also just announced a new series with an inter-regional rival with whom they’ve had a couple of Tournament classics, agreeing to begin a two-game series with Connecticut next year (starting the series at either Gampel Pavilion or the XL Center). The Huskies of the Big East will repay the favor to the Huskies of the Pac-12, visiting Seattle in 2013-14. Normally, this would seem to be a game to wait for, but given UConn’s ineligibility for next year’s NCAA Tournament and the mass defections that have come along with that, UW could in good position to score an early road win next season.
  3. From the northernmost end of the conference to the southernmost, Arizona had some good news pop up on their radar in their search for a stopgap solution at the point guard position, when it was announced this week that Xavier combo guard Mark Lyons would be transferring out of the program and, provided he completes his coursework in time to graduate this summer, could be eligible to play next season. Given Lyons’ ties to current Arizona head coach and former Xavier head man Sean Miller, Tucson is the early favorite to earn his services although his plans are still up in the air. While Lyons is definitely not a true point guard, he is a capable ballhandler that would give the ‘Cats plenty of scoring punch in the backcourt. There was some uglier news out of the Zona program last weekend when outgoing senior Jesse Perry was arrested and charged with felony domestic violence last weekend. Perry maintains his innocence, but this type of story is never welcome news.
  4. A couple Pac-12 schools landed some other transfers this week, as Arizona State inked Valparaiso forward Richie Edwards and Oregon got a commitment from junior college transfer Coleton Baker. Edwards will have one remaining season of eligibility with the Sun Devils beginning in 2013-14, while Baker will give the Ducks a scoring threat at guard to help replace Devoe Joseph. Meanwhile, we learned the landing spot of outgoing USC transfer Alexis Moore this week, as he announced that he would be heading east to play for Penn, with eligibility starting in 2013-14.
  5. Lastly, in Boulder at the start of the week, Colorado head coach Tad Boyle and athletic director Mike Bohn showed up at a local watering hole to mingle with and congratulate the “OG 50,” a group of 50 students who started a renaissance of the C-Unit – the CU student section – that supported the Buffs from their opening exhibition game against Fort Lewis all the way to their eventual exit against Baylor in Albuquerque in the NCAA round of 32. Bohn promised the group a seat at any Buffaloes home game in the future after the group helped the team outperform expectations all season long, including running through four games in four days in Los Angeles at the Pac-12 Tournament to capture the conference’s automatic bid.
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SEC Weekly Five: 04.27.12 Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on April 27th, 2012

 

  1. Surely you heard that number one recruit and flat top fashionista Nerlens Noel committed to the University of Kentucky, but what you may not know is that Noel and his fellow incoming freshmen are helping to recruit other top talent to Lexington. Noel has led the charge, via Twitter of all places, to recruit Anthony Bennett, another top player in the class of 2012, to join him in the front line in the 2012-13 version of the defending national champions. Bennett is deciding among Kentucky, UNLV and Florida, with many experts believing it is down to the Gators and the Wildcats. Kentucky saw a lot of scoring walk out the proverbial door to the NBA, and another stockpile of freshmen talent is a must for the Wildcats to consider defending its current title.
  2. Noel isn’t the only one recruiting for Kentucky. Wildcat coach John Calipari has hit the recruiting trail and he has been forced to be slightly more creative than he has been in the past. Cal is looking to add depth to the backcourt  with 6’5″ shooting guard Mislav Brzoja. Never heard of Brzoja? I told you Calipari was getting creative. Brzoja is a shooting extraordinaire who helped Croatia defeat the USA in the U-19 FIBA World Championships.
  3. While Kentucky is completely overhauling its roster after losing seven players, Vanderbilt is undergoing a similar process with far from the same results. The Commodores lost their top six scorers, three of whom expect to be drafted, but they haven’t replaced their big three with top talent.  The biggest disappointment for Vanderbilt and coach Kevin Stallings has to be when in-state talent Alex Poythress chose to play at Kentucky after Vanderbilt recruited him for almost four years. “The staff invested an enormous amount of time and effort into recruiting (Poythress)… that was the watershed event,” Nashville-based recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer said. “It’s safe to say it hasn’t been a good recruiting year for Vandy. Exactly why, I don’t know. Sometimes you get unlucky.” Like the Wildcats in Lexington, a lot of scoring leaves Vandy this spring, and it seems to be a much more difficult challenge to envision who will put the ball in the bucket in Nashville with John Jenkins, Jeffery Taylor and Festus Ezeli no longer on campus.
  4. New South Carolina coach Frank Martin insists he didn’t come to the Gamecocks simply to run away from his troubles at Kansas State, but rather because of his excitement to be part of the USC program. “I’m just telling you, (Gamecocks AD) Eric Hyman put his arms around me and it was hard for me not to feel the passion that he had for building the men’s basketball program,” Martin said. “I’ve never been through this before.” Martin inherits a team that finished last in the SEC, but he has taken little talent and done something with it before. Martin took over the Kansas State job on the heels of an NIT appearance and had the Wildcats in the Elite Eight within three years.
  5. Scheduling is always one of the joys of the college basketball offseason, and Indiana coach Tom Crean claims that Kentucky no longer wants to play the Hoosiers in a home-and-home series. Kentucky is pushing to move the series to neutral court sites again, possibly in Indianapolis and Louisville. After the heartbreaker suffered in Bloomington this past December, who can blame the Cats for wanting to change things? But one has to wonder how long top-tier programs can continue to avoid playing difficult games (or really any games) on the road? Kentucky is slowly limiting any true road games from its schedule, joining the likes of arch-nemesis Duke as teams that don’t typically play in hostile environments until conference play. That hasn’t exactly been a recipe for success for the Blue Devils. With Kentucky’s propensity for freshman-heavy rosters, doesn’t it make sense that Calipari would want to challenge his team on a rival’s home court to prepare for the rigors of March rather than take a guaranteed paycheck from an inferior opponent in a blowout win at Rupp?
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Morning Five: 04.27.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on April 27th, 2012

  1. Yesterday we mentioned that Luke Winn had written a piece handing out eight different coaching awards based on efficiency metrics from the entire season. His follow-up article published on Thursday broke down six more awards based on the data from the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Several of the usual suspects populate this list, but you might be surprised at which head coach had the best after-timeout numbers in the Dance this year — he’s widely considered a very good coach, but probably not to the extent he deserves.
  2. Assistant coaches around the country must have thrown up in their mouths Thursday after it was reported that Illinois State head coach Tim Jankovich would leave his position to become a “coach-in-waiting” at SMU under new top man Larry Brown. The reported salary that Jankovich will earn while he waits for the itinerant 71-year old to get bored and retire again is over $700,000 per year, nearly double his pay at ISU. Jankovich went 104-64 (.619) in five seasons as a Redbird but despite four 20-wins seasons, he never broke through to the NCAA Tournament there (settling for four NIT appearances instead). The sound that you now hear murmuring in the background is the collective scrum by the nation’s top assistants clamoring to renegotiate their compensation packages. Wow.
  3. It’s the offseason and although we’re still only about three weeks removed from the national championship game, some of the key questions heading into the 2012-13 season are already apparent. In this piece by Mike DeCourcy, you get a double-dip of the Cincinnati Kid (replete with goatee) through both his writing and a video clip discussion of some of those issues. Will UCLA improve its defense with their additions? Can Louisville find a reliable shot-maker? Can Thad Matta find someone to replace Jared Sullinger in the post? These and a couple other answers await if you click on over to TSN.
  4. Roy Williams did a Q&A with UNC fans in Charlotte on Wednesday night, leading to some interesting comments from the venerable coach who is heading into his 10th full season as the head coach of the Tar Heels. Of note: his team considered cutting down the nets in Cameron Indoor Stadium after winning the ACC regular season title, but thought that such a display “might cause a scene” (ya think?); recruiting the Wear Twins over Mason Plumlee was “one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done” (um…); and he has not completely bought into the 1-and-done methodology for winning a championship, making “some decisions over the last four or five years to not recruit certain kids, because it’s just going to be a one and done” (hey, John Wall).
  5. Finally, we’d be remiss as we close out this week if we didn’t at least mention the strong possibility that the BCS will move away from its incomprehensible system of choosing a football national champion and finally, inexorably, move toward a four-team playoff system beginning in 2014. There aren’t many policy decisions in public life that are complete no-brainers, but this is one of them. A decade from now people will mostly wonder why such an elementary solution to a complex problem took so long to implement. They’ll find the answer in the pocketbooks and vacation homes of bowl executives, but once January Madness takes hold and they realize that the real dollars lie in capturing casual fans (see: Bowl, Super), they too will realize the error of their ways. Congrats to our college football brethren for finally joining the 20th century.
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Who’s Got Next? Tony Parker Commits, Ripple Effect of Greenberg Firing

Posted by Josh Paunil on April 26th, 2012

Who’s Got Next? is a 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. Once 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 at the lower levels of the sport. If you have any suggestions as to areas we are missing or different things you would like to see, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Lead Story: Tony Parker Joins Adams, Anderson and Muhammad at UCLA

Parker Choose UCLA Over Duke, Georgia And Ohio State. (Photo: Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Tony Parker Gives UCLA Top Recruiting Class.  Class of 2012 power forward Tony Parker committed to UCLA Monday over Duke, Georgia and Ohio State, joining point guard Kyle Anderson and small forwards Jordan Adams and Shabazz Muhammad in head coach Ben Howland’s stellar 2012 recruiting class. Parker brings a tremendous inside presence to Westwood and is someone who will be able to rebound as soon as he steps onto campus. He is an elite big man with a great skill set in the low post and has the ability to score through a variety of moves in the paint. He can make a hook over both shoulders and is able to play facing the basket, although he’s at his best with his back to the basket. The biggest knock on Parker has always been the same — that he’s out of shape and lacks stamina. However, the Georgia native has worked hard to dispel that notion and although he can still improve his conditioning, he’s definitely gotten better at running the court and has an improved motor. Once Parker gets to UCLA, he’ll join a crowded frontcourt that already includes sophomore power forwards David and Travis Wear and sophomore center Josh Smith. Every single person in the UCLA’s 2012 recruiting class worked hard on recruiting Parker and Adams even predicted back in December that the Bruins would land him. UCLA fans should remain cautiously optimistic, though, because as we’ve pointed out at RTC, having a highly ranked recruiting class doesn’t necessarily guarantee success, borne out by UCLA’s 2008 recruiting class. Although, there are some differences between this year’s recruiting class and the one four years ago.

What They’re Saying

  • Senior Marshall Wood on asking for a release from Virginia Tech: “I need to get my release so I can review all my options. If somebody gets the job at Tech that recruited me or something and I have a really good relationship with [him], I possibly could still go back. But right now I just want to get the release so I can have more options to look at.” Read the rest of this entry »
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Big 12 Weekly Five: 04.26.12 Edition

Posted by dnspewak on April 26th, 2012

  1. Not long after telling the world he would return to Baylor for his sophomore season, forward Quincy Miller has now officially announced he’s changed his mind. Miller plans to enter the NBA Draft, foregoing three years of eligibility in Waco and leaving Scott Drew without his top four frontcourt players from a year ago. Perry Jones III has already announced his intention to skip his final two years, and both Quincy Acy and Anthony Jones graduated. Luckily, Drew will replace his lost bigs with another banner recruiting class, headlined by Ricardo Gathers and seven-footer Isaiah Austin. Having Miller in the fold would have helped, sure, but this at least means more court time for the freshmen.
  2. Frank Martin told the Associated Press recently that his departure from Kansas State had nothing to do with a rift between he and the athletic department, claiming he “didn’t run away from Kansas State” to take a job at South Carolina. Martin can deny this “rift” all he wants, but it still does not rationalize his decision to leave Manhattan for one of the worst programs traditionally in SEC basketball. Maybe he wanted a new challenge in building up a program. Maybe he liked the weather or the state of South Carolina better, and it actually has nothing to do with the people back in Manhattan. At this point, though, it’s all speculation because Martin has stayed very vague in his reasoning. In the end, who cares? The man did what he had to do for his career, and there’s no point in questioning his life decisions now — he’s a Gamecock for the immediate future.
  3. To replace Martin, Kansas State hired former Illinois coach Bruce Weber. It was an interesting hire after the Illini fired Weber, but it’s more interesting when you consider this: He now joins former Illinois coaches Bill Self (2000-03) and Lon Kruger (1996-2000) in the Big 12. That means the last three coaches from Illinois will all coach against each other next season in Big 12 play. Who’d have thought a Big Ten school would wield so much influence over this league?
  4. When TCU hired Trent Johnson, most praised the decision despite the coach’s rather modest tenure at LSU. Johnson proved he can win at a high level at both Nevada and Stanford, though, and he looks like the right man for the job in the Horned Frogs’ first season in the Big 12. Just down the road, however, a rival school has one-upped TCU. SMU hired the legendary Hall of Famer Larry Brown, a winner at both the NCAA and NBA level. This may have an impact on TCU’s program, but remember, Brown probably won’t last very long at SMU because of his age (72 years old). Johnson isn’t the same sort of immediate splash hit as Brown, but he’s probably a better long-term option.
  5. We’re not sure whether to laugh, cry, scream, or simply roll our eyes after reading this: Apparently Bob Huggins may have been drunk during a coaching clinic last week. And this isn’t just pure speculation or some random blogger making the accusation, either. Deadspin reported that eight different people told its source Huggins was under the influence, and that his speech was audibly slurred, included f-bombs, and all other sorts of alcohol-induced behavior. Several tweeters were on the scene making observations, but this one has to be our favorite.
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Morning Five: 04.26.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on April 26th, 2012

  1. Kermit Davis, the head coach of Middle Tennessee State for the last decade, parlayed an offer to become the new top guy at Southern Miss into an opportunity to secure himself a nice extension at his current school. Proving the old adage that you’re only as valuable as what someone will pay for your services, Davis’ cachet on the MTSU campus increased significantly more in the last 24 hours than it did over the course of all 27 of those wins for the Blue Raiders last year. Middle Tennessee expects to return nine of its top 10 players from a team that won the Sun Belt regular season going away and reached the NIT quarterfinals in the postseason.
  2. In yesterday’s M5 we talked about the possibility of Indiana legend Calbert Cheaney joining Tom Crean’s staff as an associate coach if he decides to take the promotion. On Wednesday another college hoops legend from the early 1990s agreed to a promotion to the coaching ranks, as Wake Forest’s Randolph Childress will become the Demon Deacons’ new Director of Player Development. After a long career in the NBA and Europe that ended in 2011, Childress returned to his alma mater last year to work as AD Ron Wellman’s assistant. Perhaps this move will help head coach Jeff Bzdelik revive a moribund program that has never truly recovered from Skip Prosser’s tragic death in 2007.
  3. One of the hardest luck stories from Louisville’s surprising run to the Final Four last season was that redshirt junior forward Jared Swopshire was clearly nowhere near the player he was prior to groin surgery in early 2011. He played 13.4 minutes per game in all but one of Louisville’s 40 contests last year, but his averages of 3.3 PPG and 2.8 RPG were well off his numbers two years ago when he was a regular starter. With Swopshire due to graduate this year and Louisville choosing to move on, Northwestern formally announced on Wednesday that Swopshire will transfer there for his fourth and final season of eligibility. As the Wildcats make their annual attempt to sneak into the NCAA Tournament in 2012-13, having a still-athletic and experienced forward like Swopshire on the front line to battle Big Ten foes will come in quite handy.
  4. You don’t see many longer-form articles like this piece from Jason King at ESPN.com at this time of year, but his article discussing how coaches such as Brad Stevens, Shaka Smart, Gregg Marshall, Dan Monson and others have found happiness at their mid-major oases is a good one. One of the key differences of course is that those particular programs have made financial and resource commitments that — even if not apples-to-apples with power conference schools — at least make those programs competitive with the big boys. There’s a huge difference between a Butler and a Duke, for example, in terms of basketball facilities, fan base, and the rest; but is there that much of a competitive advantage for a school like Iowa over Butler by virtue of its membership in the Big Ten? Probably not.
  5. While on the subject of coaches in this heavily-themed M5, Luke Winn brings us his first-ever Data-Based Coaching Awards, a compendium of prizes given in a variety of efficiency-based categories. The categories range from such specific metrics as the “After-Timeout Efficiency King” to “Most Success With the Least Experience,” and there is a mishmash of predictable and interesting results. We won’t give it away here, but three of the eight awards listed in this piece went to the same guy and you probably already know who that is. Winn promises us even more data-based coaching awards later today with a focus on the NCAA Tournament alone. Can’t wait.
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Stanford: 2011-12 Post-Mortem

Posted by AMurawa on April 25th, 2012

Over the course of the next two weeks, the Pac-12 Microsite will break down each team’s season: what went well, what didn’t, and a look ahead at the future. Today’s subject: Stanford.

What Went Right

The Cardinal dominated its non-conference schedule, winning 15 of their 17 games outside of the Pac-12. It wasn’t the toughest non-conference schedule in the world, but Johnny Dawkins’ team did wind up with a pair of wins against NCAA Tournament teams (Colorado State and North Carolina State) prior to their conference slate, then ripped through a field of also-rans in the NIT in March. All told, the Cardinal displayed a pretty drastic improvement on the defensive end of the court, finishing in the top 20 nationally in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive efficiency numbers. And for a team that relied heavily on underclassmen (five different freshmen and sophomores played at least 40% of the team’s total minutes), there should still be plenty of room to improve, especially on the offensive end, in the near future.

What Went Wrong

While all that youth should pay off next year, it was the undoing of the Cardinal during the conference season. After getting off to a 5-1 start in Pac-12 play, the Cardinal lost five of their next six and struggled mightily, especially on the offensive end. Between Martin Luther King Day and Valentine’s Day they scored just 0.92 points per possession, highlighted by sophomore Aaron Bright’s 22-of-70 shooting during that stretch, good for just a 37.9% eFG.

In A Solid Year, As Aaron Bright Went, So Did The Cardinal (credit: Zach Sanderson)

MVP

On a squad that was a model of a team effort (11 different players averaged at least eight minutes per game, with six different players averaging somewhere between five points and 13 points per night), it is hard to pick out just one player, but the Cardinal were clearly a team whose fates aligned closely with Bright’s performance. He averaged four more points per game, one more assist and shot the ball nearly 20% better from behind the arc in wins than in losses. When Bright was going good, he was a tough defender, a confident floor general, and a deadly three-point shooter who made opposing defenses pay for collapsing in on interior players like senior Josh Owens. While there is something to be said for Owens’ 11.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 57.1% field goal percentage (not to mention freshman Chasson Randle’s team-leading 13.8 points per game), Bright was really the most important player on this team, as evidenced by his near-perfect run through the NIT when he averaged 16.8 points, 4.2 assists and shot a whopping 79.5% eFG.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Baby Bruins v.2: Comparing UCLA’s Situation Now to Top-Ranked Class of 2008

Posted by EJacoby on April 25th, 2012

Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter.

With the news on Monday that top unsigned big man Tony Parker is headed to UCLA next season, the Bruins now have a super-stacked recruiting class for next year that should give Ben Howland’s squad a great chance to become elite right away. Recall that last week we discussed that bringing in an elite recruiting class doesn’t necessarily result in program success, with one of the highlight examples being Ben Howland’s #1 class of 2008 Bruins. That UCLA team brought in the top recruiting class and also had some returning veteran talent, but the team badly failed to meet expectations (some of the roots of UCLA’s transgressions were recently highlighted in a popular Sports Illustrated article in late February). Fair or unfair, the 2012 class and next year’s team is going to have to deal with comparisons to those 2008 Baby Bruins, at least until it starts to win. This time around, though, their coach’s job is on the line too. Let’s take a quick look at how the two classes and situations match up, and why UCLA fans should have no reason to expect a repeat performance this time around.

Now That Tony Parker Signed with UCLA, the Bruins Have Huge Expectations Again (Photo: Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Back in 2008, UCLA was coming off of three straight Final Four appearances, one of the best runs of team success of the past decade for any program. Bringing in the top recruiting class that offseason was no surprise, and that group of freshmen was expected to continue the long tradition of winning in Westwood. Jrue Holiday, Malcolm Lee, and Drew Gordon were part of a group of five top-50 recruits who were quickly dubbed the Baby Bruins, players who “were famous before they played a game,” as the SI report claims. The freshmen also got to play alongside some returning veterans, most notably senior All-American Darren Collison. But UCLA was unable to win with this group right away that season nor during the next four years. Instead of stacking up Ws and bringing home banners like the previous groups led by Jordan Farmar, Arron Afflalo and Kevin Love, the Baby Bruins never made the Sweet Sixteen in four years and failed to make the NCAA Tournament twice. The disastrous chemistry on the team throughout this period led to players fighting and transferring, and it all ended up in far more losses than anyone expected. UCLA entered this offseason really in need of a talent (and attitude) infusion.

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Big Ten Season Wrap-Up: Michigan

Posted by jnowak on April 25th, 2012

John Beilein continues to bring Michigan basketball back into the upper echelon of the Big Ten, and this past season was another major step forward. The Wolverines had a group that included important upperclassmen (Stu Douglass and Zack Novak), as well as steady, talented young players (Tim Hardaway, Jr., and Trey Burke). Things are only getting better for the Wolverines, who will be lucky enough to have Burke returning for another season (he flirted with the NBA Draft) and established a strong home-floor advantage this year during Big Ten play. A first-round NCAA Tournament exit is a tough pill to swallow given that the Wolverines were Big Ten regular season co-champions, but Ohio proved to be more than a flash in the pan. To take the next step, though, those postseason games have to be victories.  Before looking ahead to next year, here’s an evaluation of the year that was:

Trey Burke has been key in bringing Michigan to the upper echelon of the Big Ten. (AP)

  • In a nutshell: This was a talented Big Ten team that could give opponents inside or outside the conference fits with its style of play. The Wolverines had leadership, scoring and could defend. Their Achilles heel was consistent interior play and their play on the road never matched their performance in Ann Arbor. They didn’t have as difficult a schedule as co-Big Ten champs Michigan State and Ohio State, but the bottom line is that they did everything that was asked of them to share the title and that can not be taken away.
  • Overachievement: Burke was highly touted coming out of high school but few thought he could immediately become an All-Big Ten type of player who could take over late in games. He ran Michigan’s offense well and knew when to take it upon himself to create for himself. The Wolverines should consider themselves lucky he snubbed the NBA Draft, because they could be looking at a contender for Big Ten Player of the Year sometime in the near future.
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