SEC Weekly Five: 07.27.12 Edition

Posted by EMoyer on July 27th, 2012

  1. Florida moved to the top of the early rankings charts as the Gators scored a verbal commitment from Chris Walker (No. 6 on the Rivals 150), joining his AAU teammate, Kasey Hill (No. 7). Walker declared, “Together we will be the best duo in college and we will win a national championship. You heard it here first.” Walker is the highest rated player on the Rivals 150 list to have already given a verbal commitment. Walker picked the Gators over Louisville, Kansas, Syracuse, Ohio State and Baylor.
  2. Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis came out this week in support of an effort to honor the 50-year anniversary of a historic contest between Mississippi State and Loyola (Chicago). The two played at Michigan State’s Jenison Field House in a 1963 NCAA tournament Mideast Regional semifinal game that holds civil rights significance because “Mississippi State’s all-white squad defied a court injunction, sneaking out of the state to East Lansing to face a Loyola team with four black starters.” Hollis said, “The historical significance of that game needs to be recognized. I don’t think a lot of people in Michigan are aware that game was played there and we want to make sure that story is told.”
  3. ESPN’s Summer Shootaround series hit the SEC this week and Doug Gottlieb’s preseason power rankings might raise a few eyebrows. He did not place the defending national champions, Kentucky, atop his list, but rather one of the league’s newbies, Missouri, was there. Among his reasons, “[Phil] Pressey should start the season as the best point guard in the SEC, so his return is huge for Mizzou…Alex Oriakhi should be far better outside of the toxic environment of last season’s Connecticut Huskies club, and he also provides championship experience…and the rabid Missouri fan base shows up consistently, the Tigers will be close to unbeatable at home.”
  4.’s Gary Parrish published a story on Tuesday about how next year’s SEC schedules were changed from what was discussed in early June. In his account, he wrote, “”I got an email from the SEC office, and my four [home-and-home] opponents … were changed,” one SEC coach told “There was no discussion or phone call. I just got an email of our league schedule, and the league schedule wasn’t the league schedule they told me I’d have last month. It’s crazy.” Parrish went on to write, “To help you better understand exactly what happened, consider that Vanderbilt was supposed to have Tennessee as its constant rival and Kentucky, Alabama, Missouri and Ole Miss as its home-and-home opponents, but sources told that Vanderbilt now has Kentucky, South Carolina, Arkansas and Auburn as its home-and-home opponents. Meantime, Ole Miss was supposed to have Mississippi State as its constant rival and Auburn, Florida, Vanderbilt and Arkansas as its home-and-home opponents, but sources told that Ole Miss now has Auburn, Tennessee, Missouri and Texas A&M as its home-and-home opponents. Sources said Georgia’s schedule got harder. Sources said Alabama’s schedule got easier.”
  5. Two SEC Tiger schools were involved in a coaching change recently as Missouri’s Ryan Miller left Frank Haith’s staff after only two months to join Tony Barbee’s staff at Auburn. Miller is the younger brother of Miami Heat forward Mike Miller and worked with Barbee as the video coordinator at Memphis while Barbee was an assistant under John Calipari. According to the report, “Calipari pushed hard for Miller to join Barbee down in Auburn, where he would also receive a significant pay raise.”
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SEC Transition Basketball: Missouri Tigers

Posted by EMoyer on July 16th, 2012

It’s hot out there, and to many of us, college basketball is the last thing on our minds. But here at the SEC Microsite, we’re going to be rolling out mid-summer resets of each of the (now) 14 basketball programs in our league. We’re calling it Transition Basketball, and you can expect we’ll cover three or four teams a week until we’re done. By that time, we’ll actually start to be turning the slight corner into the fall, and from there it’s a smooth slope down to Midnight Madness in mid-October. Today’s update: Missouri.

State of the Program

The Tigers come to the SEC off a 30-5 season and a Big 12 Tournament title. Only two players who saw the court during any of the 2011-12 season return, but this team features a veteran roster  loaded with transfers from high-level Division I programs. Guards Michael Dixon, Jr., and Phil Pressey headline one of the top returning backcourts in all the land. Dixon excelled in a reserve role last season, averaging 13.5 points per game despite never starting. No player in the country, including No.4 NBA Draft selection Dion Waiters, averaged as many points per game off the bench. Pressey experienced no “sophomore slump” as he set the school’s single-season assist record and became a Bob Cousy Award finalist.

Bowers is Back Along With a Host of New Players for Missouri

Senior Laurence Bowers returns to the active roster after sitting out last season because of a torn ACL. In his prior season on the court, he averaged more than 11 points and six rebounds and close to two blocks per game. He ranks fourth on the school’s all-time blocks list and needs just 27 to move in the second spot.

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SEC Weekly Five: 07.13.12 Edition

Posted by EMoyer on July 13th, 2012

  1. On Thursday, former Kentucky star and No. 1 NBA Draft pick Anthony Davis was summoned to Las Vegas to rejoin the US Olympic Team after Blake Griffin twisted his knee. If Davis makes the trip the London, he will give the SEC representation on the men’s basketball team for the fifth time out of the six Olympic teams featuring professionals. Davis faced off against his former college coach, John Calipari, as Team USA played the Dominican Republic in an exhibition game, destroying them. Davis scored nine points in just under 10 minutes of action late in the game.
  2. Also on Thursday, the first ticketing options for Florida’s opening night matchup with Georgetown on the deck of a U.S. Naval aircraft carrier at Mayport was announced. Because military regulations do not allow individual tickets to be sold on active bases, city officials came up with a way to incorporate the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars into the event. From the Florida Times-Union, “Tickets for the basketball game will be coupled with a Jaguars game against the Indianapolis Colts at EverBank Field the previous night and sold as sponsorships, beginning Monday. The sponsorships won’t come cheap. They start at $1,000 and are priced as high as $50,000. The starting price includes a pair of tickets to the basketball game, two to the Jaguars’ Thursday night game, and a donation of four tickets to the Jaguars game for military personnel.”
  3. On Tuesday, reigning national champion Kentucky released its non-conference schedule. While we knew there would be no Indiana, the home schedule features only one BCS opponent, Baylor, in a rematch of last season’s Elite Eight game.’s Gary Parrish found several issues with the slate of games, opening his column with “Public relations is a tough business because it sometimes puts intelligent folks in a position to say or write ridiculous things in defense of, well, ridiculous things. Which brings me to the email that arrived this morning from the University of Kentucky announcing John Calipari’s non-league basketball schedule.It was, in part, headlined as follows: Wildcats face one of nation’s toughest schedules again. Um, no.But they will face Samford again!” He later cites message board posts titled “What a snoozefest for Rupp this year,” and “Probably the worst home [non-conference] schedule in Rupp history.” 
  4. Because of Missouri‘s jump to the SEC, they did not receive this year’s $12.4 million share of revenue from the Big 12, leaving the athletic program in a financial shortfall. According to the Kansas City Star, “the university will cover the debt and the athletic department will pay back the school starting in 2016.” In the same article Athletic Director Mike Alden “likened the situation to a bank providing a customer overdraft protection,” saying “Mizzou knows we’ll have an overdraft this year … and they’ll make sure all the bills are all covered,” he said. “But we’re going to start having to pay them back in three years.”
  5. As part of week-long series on the additions of Missouri and Texas A&M, the Tampa Bay Times analyzed what the Tigers and Aggies will add to the SEC from a basketball perspective. The story quoted multiple established SEC coaches who sang the praises of the two programs. For example, Alabama head coach Anthony Grant said, “I think the potential for this to be the best our league has been in quite a while is there. Certainly, I think if you poll the coaches across the league, you would hear consistently this could be a banner year for our league in terms of teams we get into the postseason.”
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SEC Weekly Five: 06.15.12 Edition

Posted by EMoyer on June 15th, 2012

  1. On Thursday, multiple outlets reported that ACC All-Freshman forward Dorian Finney-Smith would leave Virginia Tech for Florida. Finney-Smith averaged 6.3 points and 7 rebounds for the Hokie, but left after Seth Greenberg was fired. Finney-Smith will be eligible to play for the Gators beginning in 2013-14.
  2. As Missouri winds down its countdown to joining the SEC, a story broke this week surrounding Levi Coolley’s involvement with the team. Coolley “who had previously flown on the team plane and received complimentary tickets from players was arrested by the FBI at the Tigers’ hotel in Omaha, Neb.” as the Tigers were about the Norfolk State in the NCAA Tournament. Following the arrest, Missouri launched an internal investigation and “found Coolley had no improper influence on players and did not give players gifts in exchange for the complimentary tickets.”
  3. Former Kentucky star Terrence Jones passed on turning pro a season ago citing a desire to win a national title. However, in a Monday story in the Louisville Courier-Journal, Wildcats coach John Calipari  said Jones “had a second motive: to refine both his game and attitude, improving his NBA draft position in the process.” Based on how Jones capped his sophomore season, he looks to have to secured his spot in the lottery, possibly as high as seventh.
  4. As more non-conference games get finalized, Tennessee and Xavier announced the start of a home-and-home  series that will begin in Knoxville in December. For the Musketeers, this game represents their second against an SEC foe this upcoming season. They will face Vanderbilt in a return contest following last year’s overtime contest played in Nashville.
  5. With the NBA Draft less than two weeks away, there exists the real possibility that the SEC could have players selected 1-2-3 with Anthony Davis as the presumed top pick followed by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Bradley Beal going to Charlotte and Washington in some order. No league has even boasted the top two picks since 1999 when Elton Brand (Duke) and Steve Francis (Maryland) out of the ACC topped the draft. The ACC was also the last league to have the top three picks of any one draft. In 1986, Brad Daugherty (UNC) went No. 1 to Cleveland; Boston selected Maryland’s Len Bias followed by NC State’s Chris Washburn going to Golden State.
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SEC Weekly Five: 06.01.12 Edition

Posted by EMoyer on June 1st, 2012

  1. A few weeks after it was first reported that Kentucky and Indiana would end their annual rivalry, The Indianapolis Star reported that Indiana athletic director Fred Glass attempted one final time to continue the series. He offered up the idea of playing “the game in 2012 and ’13 at Lucas Oil Stadium, then Rupp Arena in ’14 and Assembly Hall in ‘15[. . .] Tom (Crean) and I had continued to talk after the thing had blew up in early May as to whether there was a way to save the series and at the same time keep our value of having a game at Assembly Hall,’’ Glass said. “That’s when we came up with the idea of going to a four-year rotation. Those ideas had come to us from random people writing in and people I know suggesting that. ’’
  2. As part of the SEC Spring Meetings, The Kansas City Star reported Thursday that Kansas City and the Sprint Center are in the running for a future men’s basketball tournament. The 2017 and 2018 tournaments are the first ones available as Nashville and Atlanta “I’ve had the opportunity to say we have two cities in the state of Missouri that are interested in hosting those championships,” Missouri Athletic Director Mike Alden said. St. Louis is also being considered for those two years. “People are really bidding on those things in a strong fashion, so it will really be important for St. Louis and Kansas City to step up and bring their ‘A’ game to get them.”
  3. Scheduling dominated the meetings earlier in the week. On Wednesday, word leaked of an 18-game conference schedule that would involve each school playing one another once, playing four rotating schools in home-and-home contests and playing one “permanent rival” home-and-home every year. The athletic directors will finalize the schedule on Friday, but the rumored rivals will be Florida-Kentucky, Tennessee-Vanderbilt, Auburn-Alabama, Georgia-South Carolina, Ole Miss-Mississippi State, Texas A&M-LSU and Missouri-Arkansas. The last of those rivals feature a twist of former Tiger head coach Mike Anderson now serving as Razorback head man. “I used to coach at Missouri and all that. Some of the kids I recruited still play there. But with that being said, it adds a little drama to it, especially for the media. I think” the hype is “more from the media than it is from fans.”
  4. Former Kentucky standout Anthony Davis made the media tours on Thursday after the New Orleans Hornets won the NBA Draft lottery. On the Dan Patrick Show, he “called out” Kobe Bryant leading to the following exchange. “You know, Kobe, he’s a monster,” Davis said. “So I want to just go out there and try my hardest. You know, there’s a lot of guys who can’t stop Kobe. So if I stop him, I’ll be one of them guys who can say, ‘I shut Kobe down.'” To which Patrick said, “Be careful what you ask for, Anthony. He listens to the show, and he’s got a great memory.” Davis replied with a laugh, “Tell him I’ll be waiting.”
  5. At long last, Devonta Pollard, ESPN’s highest remaining recruit, will make the college decision at 6 p.m. on Friday. Alabama and Missouri have long been tied to Pollard, but Missouri has no available scholarship. From that account, “According to mom, Devonta signed four national letters of intent on May 16. With the post-dated letters of intent, there’s a window to turn them into the clearinghouse and Pollard’s national letter of intent should bind him to the program of his choosing.”
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SEC Weekly Five: 05.17.12 Edition

Posted by EMoyer on May 17th, 2012

  1. Kentucky missed out on a pair of the blue-chip forwards left in the recruiting period, Anthony Bennett and Amile Jefferson so now it appears that they will attempt to land Montrezl Harrell, who will be leaving Virginia Tech before even playing a game. Harrell committed to the Hokies before they let go of Seth Greenberg. Despite attempts by the school to change Harrell’s mind and keep him with the program, they eventually granted Harrell his release allowing him to explore his options.
  2. Additionally on the Kentucky revolving-door roster situation, earlier in the week, the Wildcats landed one-year transfer Julius Mays from Wright State. May started his career at North Carolina State, where he averaged around five points per game over his two seasons. In one year at Wright State, he averaged 14.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. Mays will be able to play for the Wildcats next season as he is set to graduate from Wright State after the Spring semester and will enroll in a graduate program at Kentucky.
  3. Kentucky maintained its place atop the college basketball attendance figures, leading the nation in average attendance for the seventh straight year (and 16th time in the previous 17 years). From the article on the achievement, “Kentucky also set an single-season record for overall fans-per-game, as the team’s 22,148 number for its 40 games came out to a total of 885,953 fans. The previous record? Held by Syracuse, of course. The Orangemen saw 855,053 fans flock to their games back in 1989.”
  4. Mike Anderson bolstered Arkansas’s non-conference slate as the Razorbacks will be part of the 2012 Las Vegas Invitational. The field includes Wisconsin, Arizona State, and Creighton. While Arizona State probably will still continue to struggle, the other two members of the field will be solid even if they are adjusting to the loss of some significant senior leadership in their backcourt.
  5. With most of the uncommitted recruits making their decisions in the past week, some SEC schools still hold out hope they may land the top available prospect, Devonta Pollard from DeKalb, Mississippi. According to The Sporting News, three SEC schools remain in the mix as “he is believed to be down to Texas and Alabama but hasn’t ruled out Mississippi State, Missouri or Georgetown.”
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SEC Weekly Five: 05.03.12 Edition

Posted by EMoyer on May 3rd, 2012

  1. Due to a rash of injuries that has hit four of Team USA men’s basketball Olympic team original 20 finalists, recent Kentucky Wildcat Anthony Davis is reportedly set to be added as a finalist. He will join another former Wildcat, the Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins, plus Piston center Greg Monroe and Jazz center Al Jefferson. “We’ve said that the strength of the team is going to be athleticism, wing players, the backcourt, but we’ll see,” Jerry Colangelo told on Saturday. “We’re going to have to consider a lot of things. The good news is that so many people wish and desire to play that we will be very deep regardless of what happens here — unless there’s another rash of things happening here. I pray that it’s over.”
  2. Davis and the rest of the national champion Wildcats will meet the most powerful college basketball fan in land on Friday as President Barack Obama invited the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team to the White House to celebrate its 2012 NCAA championship.  “The amazing thing is the first thing that was said when the horn sounded in New Orleans was, ‘We’re going to the White House!'” UK Coach John Calipari said in a statement. “I’m excited about the opportunity for them to meet the President of the United States, the leader of the free world and someone who is trying to make a difference in their lives.”
  3. In the wake of the growing transfer controversy/discussion, Georgia head coach Mark Fox – who has an “open release policy” that allows players to transfer within the SEC – offered his thoughts. Among the highlights: “I think as coaches, as long as there hasn’t been tampering, I don’t see why you should preclude a kid on going somewhere where they can pursue their lifelong goals.” On the perceived injustice that players must sit out a year while coaches can move freely: “That’s not true. Coaches can’t move around freely. Coaches are bound by buyout agreements and everything else. That’s not accurate. If I wanted to leave Georgia, which I don’t and never want to … there’s a buyout in my contract that discourages that from occurring. For those who say coaches go wherever they want to go, that’s not true.”
  4. Among the remaining high-profile transfers is former Xavier guard Mark Lyons. He has three traditional powers on his short list: Kansas, Arizona, and Kentucky. He visited Kentucky on Monday. “I’m looking for a program that wins where I could play a major role,” Lyons said. While Lyons had a tumultuous season last year and Kentucky has no shortage of talented players, picking up a player with the experience and talent of Lyons would be a major boost for another title run in Lexington.
  5. According to a study by Ryan Brewer, an assistant professor of finance at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, that ranked the nation’s college basketball programs by their “intrinsic value” and Kentucky placed only 16th… and more surprisingly, Louisville topped the report. “When you look at the revenue being produced from men’s basketball, the University of Louisville is far outperforming everyone else,” Brewer said. “It’s not just Kentucky. Kentucky spends a lot, too. In my evaluation, that (negatively) impacted their standing.” As you would expect Louisville fans are taking quite a bit of pride in this result. Kentucky fans will have to settle for their national championship trophy.
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Won and Done… Kentucky Roster Undergoes Yearly Overhaul

Posted by EMoyer on April 18th, 2012

On Tuesday evening, the worst kept secret was revealed as Kentucky’s five heralded underclassmen, Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb and Marquis Teague all declared for June’s NBA Draft. The five brings the total to 15 of John Calipari recruits to leave early since 2008.

It Was All Smiles For This Group in Lexington

Eight of the previous 10 went on to become first round picks and two (John Wall and Derrick Rose) went No. 1 overall. Both the mock drafts at and on have all five Wildcats going in the first round. lists four Wildcats going in the first round with Lamb currently an early second-round choice. According to all three sites, Davis will join Wall and Rose as top overall picks. They also agree that Kidd-Gilchrist projects as a top three pick and two ( and put Jones in the lottery.

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SEC Signing Day

Posted by EMoyer on April 11th, 2012

Spring signing day takes place Wednesday and several of the nation’s top prospects have withheld making a decision until the spring. The SEC, notably Kentucky, looks to add some of these blue-chippers. Here now are six of those top-level prospects and the SEC schools pursuing their talents.

Nerlens Noel – 6-10, C, Tilton, N.H. (No. 2 1 – Noel was added to the 2012 class in early February setting off a mad recruiting scramble for this coveted big man. His list is rumored to be down to Syracuse, Georgetown, and Kentucky. All three boast great traditions of shot-blocking big men, but Kentucky certainly featured to most recent with Anthony Davis. When ESPN calls him “An absolutely incredible shot blocker with uncanny defensive instincts” it is not hard to imagine Calipari envisioning a Davis 2.0.

Shabazz Muhammad – 6-6, SG/SF, Las Vegas, Nev. (No.1 2 2 – Kentucky appears locked in a tight three-way battle with fellow blue-bloods Duke and UCLA for the left-handed scorer. Reports had him committing to UCLA last week, but nothing official came from the mouth of Muhammad. Like Noel, he make his announcement on Wednesday on television.

Where Will Shabazz End Up Going?

Anthony Bennett – 6-8, PF, Henderson, Nev. (No. 7 7 7 – Both Kentucky and Florida are in the power forward who is not likely to commit on Wednesday and could possibly delay his decision until May. He said in article earlier this week that “Yeah, it is tough (making a decision). That’s why I haven’t made my decision yet, but hopefully after I take all my visits it won’t be so hard.” In addition to the Gators and Wildcats, he has Oregon, Washington, and UNLV on his final list.

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SEC Morning Five: 03.27.12 Edition

Posted by EMoyer on March 27th, 2012

  1. South Carolina landed its new head coach, luring Frank Martin from Kansas State to come to Columbia. A strained relationship with his AD has been cited as the reason Martin was looking for a chance. “Frank is just looking to be happy,” a source said in a Kansas City Star report. “He wants to work at a place where he has the full support of his athletic director and president. He wants to be left alone so he can do what he does best — coach.” Martin apparently felt he could no longer do that at K-State.
  2. Mississippi State received news on multiple fronts on Monday. On the player front, the Bulldogs lost a pair of players, Renardo Sidney to the NBA Draft, and DeVille Smith to transfer. A third Bulldog, Arnett Moultrie, has decided to delay his decision until Wednesday on whether he too will leave for the NBA. On the coaching front, one of the rumored candidates to take Rick Stansbury’s former job, Murray State’s Steve Prohm, agreed to a new contract that will extend him there through the 2015-16 season.
  3. On Monday afternoon, the Associated Press released its All-America team and one player earned the acclaim as a unanimous selection – and it wasn’t presumptive Player of the Year Anthony Davis of Kentucky. Of the 65 ballots, he appeared on 63 of them. Scott Reid of the Orange County Register and Scott Mansch of the Great Falls (MT) Tribune were the duo who left Davis off their ballots. As CBS Sports‘ Jeff Borzello wrote “To be honest, that’s mind-boggling. There is absolutely no case that can be made against Davis being a first-team All-American. What’s the logic, other than not simply paying attention? If you believe Robinson is the best player in the country, that’s fine. I disagree – as do most of the Player of the Year awards – but that’s not the point. There are still four other spots on the All-American team – and Davis needs to be on there in some form.”
  4. In six postseason games (two SEC Tournament and four NCAA Tournament games) in which he averaged 16.5 points per game and shot 53.1% (42.9% on threes, one Gainesville Sun writer surmised that Florida freshman Bradley Beal boosted his NBA Draft prospects. “Either way it goes, if I leave, I still played a great year of college,” Beal said before the NCAA Tournament. “I enjoyed it. If I stay, it’s only going to make me get better. Either way it goes, I’m gaining something positive out of it.”
  5. In a season recap on Indiana’s season, the possibility of the Indiana-Kentucky rivalry ending because of SEC expansion merited a couple of paragraphs of attention. From Sunday’s Indianapolis Star: “IU athletic director Fred Glass said Friday morning that the sides have had some preliminary discussion, but it will likely be June before a decision is reached.”
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