SEC M5: 10.26.12 EditionPosted by DPerry on October 26th, 2012
- As we mentioned yesterday, Kentucky coach John Calipari isn’t one to normally give his team undue praise, and he didn’t change course Thursday at SEC Media Day. “Whoever did that needs to be drug-tested,” Calipari said in response to those who consider his Wildcats the team to beat. “We’re not very good right now. I think we’ll be a good team eventually, hopefully, but right now we’re average.” Calipari won’t ever fall victim to the hype, but he should get used to this line of questioning in the future. When his freshman-dominated team cut down the nets in April, his star-studded squads ceased being the primary example of why the one-and-done strategy isn’t a viable championship method. He’s showing no signs of slowing down in the recruiting arena, meaning that his squads will be perceived as one of the heavy favorites almost every year in the foreseeable future.
- Frank Martin believes that Ole Miss is in for a big season. We were hoping for an outrageous quote out of the new South Carolina coach on Media Day, but some respectful optimism will have to do. When asked about Martin’s comments, Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy responded, “The pieces are in place for us to have a good team. I think when you return your top nine, four starters, and you have the most experienced top line in the SEC, it’s not a bad place to start.” Unfortunately, that experience he’s referencing has only done enough to become an NIT fixture. Each of Kennedy’s teams in Oxford has finished with between seven and nine wins in conference play, and because of another weak non-conference schedule, that number will need to increase for the Rebels to have a chance to go dancing.
- Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy wants you to forget about last year. “I’ve learned a lot about myself and [I’m] really excited about the opportunity to be at Texas A&M and represent a great school and a great league,” the coach told assembled media in Hoover, Alabama, “It’s going to be a lot more fun, I promise you.” The Aggies’ first season after Mark Turgeon bolted for Maryland was disastrous. The projected Tourney team suffered from a rash of injuries and underachievement. The offseason wasn’t much better, with Khris Middleton bolting for the NBA and several contributors graduating or transferring. The cupboard isn’t completely bare, however, as the Turners (Ray and Elston, mistakenly identified in the link as twins) will be expected to provide leadership in addition to on-court production. Says Kennedy: “For us to be good, they have to have great years – not just average years, they’ve got to have great years”.
- Arkansas received some disappointing news last night when the NCAA denied a transfer waiver for forward Alandise Harris. The Little Rock native was hoping to receive immediate eligibility after leaving Houston for family reasons. Harris played two years for the Cougars and averaged 13.3 points and 6.4 boards last season. This development leaves second-year coach Mike Anderson with a depth problem in the frontcourt. Marshawn Powell is the unit’s primary scoring threat, but he’s coming off a season lost to injury. Hunter Mickleson is a defensive specialist hoping that his offensive game will improve. Beyond that exists only unproven commodities. With his high-energy defensive schemes, Anderson has to be worried about fatigue for his thin frontcourt.
- In an entirely unsurprising development, Huntington Prep forward Andrew Wiggins announced his intention to reclassify to his original 2013 recruiting class. The 2014 top prospect immediately unseats Jabari Parker and Julius Randle as the top available talent atop both ESPN’s and Rivals’ rankings. The battle to land Wiggins’ signature on a letter of intent will be fierce, and John Calipari will surely be involved. With top 10 commitments from Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, and James Young (not to mention five-star Marcus Lee) already signed on, landing the swingman would give the Kentucky coach the most highly touted recruiting class in recent memory.