Carrick Felix Spurns Duke For Arizona State

Posted by nvr1983 on June 7th, 2010

In March Carrick Felix became the first junior college recruit ever to commit to play for Coach K at Duke. Unfortunately for the Blue Devils that commitment from the small forward from Southern Idaho lasted a little over two months as Felix was granted a release by Blue Devils in May and committed to play for Herb Sendek‘s Sun Devils earlier today.  Although there have been rumors floating around the Internet (always a solid source) that Felix de-committed from Duke because he didn’t meet their academic requirements, Felix has denied these allegations. While the loss isn’t a huge blow to the Blue Devils’ chances of repeating — we think they’ll be ok with Nolan Smith, Kyrie Irving, Seth Curry, Andre Dawkins, Tyler Thornton, and Kyle Singler on the perimeter — it is a big boost for Arizona State who also picked up 6’7″ PF Kyle Cain today. The addition of Felix, however, who averaged 14.8 PPG and 4.7 RPG last season at Southern Idaho, will be a nice pick-up for the Sun Devils who should be able to utilize his athleticism (see below) in the Pac-10/16 over the next 3 years.

[Ed. Note: Now that Felix is going to Arizona State instead of Duke he won't be able to get away with that many steps.]

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Holloway Heads Home To South Carolina And Rihanna

Posted by jstevrtc on May 21st, 2010

While he did indeed have a fine year for Mississippi last season, averaging 10.1 points and 7.6 boards a game, sophomore Murphy Holloway’s heart was elsewhere.

Having apparently contemplated a transfer as long ago as the beginning of last season, Holloway announced on Wednesday that he will transfer to South Carolina in order to be closer to his family — specifically, to a mother who has been ill, and his own 5-month-old daughter, Rihanna.

Holloway -- a happy man. (A. Hayworth/TheState.com)

Here’s the rub: Holloway will be paying his own way for at least one year at USC because Mississippi did not officially release him.  UM did approve some other, smaller schools as possible transfer destinations, but they denied his requests that he be able to transfer to either Clemson or South Carolina.  For a year, then, he’ll be paying his own way, or at least accumulating all the grant money and financial aid that he can, to that end.  He’ll also be living at home, which is not even a half-hour away from the campus in Columbia — which was pretty much the point of transferring.  He plans on applying to the NCAA for hardship consideration so he can be immediately eligible, but it looks like he’ll almost certainly have to sit out the 2010-11 season.

We know the Rebels are taking an APR hit because of the transfer, but the UM athletics department doesn’t exactly come away from this looking too good.  If they had “approved” of a transfer to USC, Holloway would have been eligible for a scholarship and wouldn’t have to pay to go to college during his sit-out season, and his hardship request would have a slightly better chance of being approved by the NCAA.  Since he’s leaving the Ole Miss campus anyway, why punish the guy?

Further expanding on his motives — not that he needs to do so — Holloway told Charleston’s Post and Courier, “You really don’t know what love is until you have a child, especially a little girl…you’ve got someone to care about besides just yourself.”

Interestingly, because he would not have been allowed to have contact with any USC coaches while he was playing for Mississippi, Holloway in theory doesn’t know what kind of interest the Gamecock program even has for him.  USC did not offer him a scholarship out of high school. Speaking about that, he told the Post and Courier that he wants “to be a beast on the boards,” and added, “I hope I’m welcome.”  Those 7.6 rebounds per game were good enough to be fifth in the SEC, so we’re pretty sure the Gamecocks will show him some love.

But we’re betting that the biggest and most meaningful welcome will come from a little 5-month-old girl named after a pop star.

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Wear Twins Hear The Highway Calling

Posted by jstevrtc on May 6th, 2010

In a move that’s caught a lot of Tar Heel fans — not to mention teammates and coaches — by surprise, David and Travis Wear are both transferring out of North Carolina.  The two 6’10 Tar Heel forwards finished their exams this week, went back home to Huntington Beach, California, and their father called UNC head coach Roy Williams on Wednesday evening to inform Williams of the transfer.  Having lost Ed Davis to the lure of the NBA and Deon Thompson to graduation, the Wear brothers’ departure leaves UNC with only two returning players taller than 6’6: 7’0 Tyler Zeller and 6’10 John Henson.

There weren't many signs or omens that said they were going.

That size deficit will be mitigated somewhat by the arrival of 6’8  forward Harrison Barnes, the top-ranked high school senior from this past year who announced — or rather, Skyped — several months ago that he’d be attending UNC in the fall of 2010.  The Wears have not publicly commented on their transfer, but it’s doubtful that this was a playing time issue.  Both Travis and David averaged about ten minutes a game last year, and Barnes is the only post player in the Heels’  incoming freshman class.  With Zeller and Henson splitting minutes at center and Barnes at one forward, there were minutes to be had at the other forward spot.

This had been circulating on some message boards for several days, but now that it’s happened, the question arises as to where these fellows will land.  Their California roots suggest the Pac-10 will benefit, and UCLA, Arizona, Stanford and Washington were listed as the other finalists for their services besides UNC when they were high school seniors.  The UCLA option is particularly interesting; the Bruins have 6’9, 320-pound forward Josh Smith arriving on campus for next year, and the addition of the Wear boys after their mandatory transfer sit-out season would make Ben Howland a very happy man.  Of course, there’s always the chance that they’re tired of being called “The Wear Twins” and will each choose their own school in hopes of forging their own unique path.  Wherever they end up, the program(s) that signs them will be getting, by all accounts, a couple of quality kids in terms of character and work ethic as much as basketball potential.

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Mike Rosario Will Fit In Well At Florida

Posted by jstevrtc on April 19th, 2010

This was a done deal late last week, but rising junior Mike Rosario, recently of Rutgers, is transferring to Florida.  He’ll sit out the mandatory transfer year and start his third season of basketball in the fall of 2011.

Rosario can fill it up, and he'll fit in well at UF. (W. Perlman/Star-Ledger)

Rosario was a highly regarded high school star at the legendary St. Anthony High School in Jersey City, listed as the ninth-ranked shooting guard in the nation as a high school senior and a four-star recruit overall. That promise was definitely realized in his freshman year at Rutgers in 2008-09 as Rosario contributed 16.2 PPG and 3.5 RPG.  But he really came to our attention last summer during the FIBA Under-19 World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand.  Rosario averaged 24.0 PPG playing for the team from Puerto Rico, and while his team finished a respectable fifth place out of 16 teams, Rosario was one of the stars of the tournament.  A game-tough, gritty guard with a knack for scoring, he displayed that knack all over the French U19 team, lighting them up for 54 points and leading PR to a come-from-behind one point victory in that game.  His average of 24.0 PPG led the tournament (which was won by the USA, by the way).

Rosario will fit in well at Florida.  Billy Donovan doesn’t have a quick trigger when it comes to yanking players after they take a bad shot, and Rosario occasionally can put up a questionable one.  Consider, though, that Rosario was asked to carry a lot of the load in the impotent Rutgers offense last season, and his 16.7 PPG last year made him the Knights’ leading scorer, over four points higher than second place Gregory Echenique.  Given a year to gain his bearings in Gainesville, practice with the likes of Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker, and learn Donovan’s way of doing things, Rosario could give Donovan one of the top backcourts in the game in 2011-12.

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Lessons in Summer Hype: Olek Czyz

Posted by nvr1983 on December 18th, 2009

One of the allures of the ridiculous summer camp/recruiting season is the promise of seeing a young player rise up the ranks (literally) going from a borderline D1 prospect to a major prospect drawing the attention of some of the nation’s top programs. Olek Czyz was one such case. A ridiculously athletic 6’7″ forward from Poland, Czyz was hardly a big-time prospect throughout most of his prep career. In fact, before the summer of 2007 Czyz was only drawing attention from Arizona State, Colorado State, Washington State, Santa Clara, and Pepperdine. Then with a sensational series of performances at the Las Vegas Easter Classic and Pangos All-America Camp, Czyz shot up the recruiting boards and drew interest from the likes of Duke, Louisville, Kentucky, and Florida. In fact, there were even stories of Czyz dominating DeMarcus Cousins during workouts drawing raves from Kentucky staff and fans. In the end, Czyz opted to go to Durham where he wowed fans in warm-ups, but never made a substantial contribution in any of their games finishing with a career high of 4 points against lowly Presbyterian in his first game of his career. Today, Czyz’s career at Duke officially came to an end as he announced that he would be transferring. While this raises the obvious question as to how Duke could be so wrong (hint: watch the YouTube clip below and try not fall for the athleticism), the bigger issue should be how this makes programs evaluate the recruit du jour when they hand out scholarship offers. Our guess is that it won’t have any effect in the long run, but it should make schools think twice before offering a full scholarship to a guy who manages to put together one or two great weeks when he hasn’t been able to perform at a similar level throughout the rest of his career. Czyz might eventually become a solid player, but it won’t be at the elite college level as other top programs will most likely be scared away by his inability to crack Duke’s “alarmingly unathletic” lineup.

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The Bizarre Exit Strategy of Minnesota’s Royce White

Posted by rtmsf on December 17th, 2009

You guys remember Royce White, the uber-talented freshman power forward from Minnesota who has spent the better part of his first semester in college getting in various forms of trouble — allegedly shoplifting at the Mall of America followed by shoving a security officer onto the ground (twice), and somehow later getting mixed up in a laptop theft on campus where it’s still uncertain how involved (if at all) White may have been in that incident.  Needless to say, he’s been on semi-permanent suspension by Tubby Smith as the team and school awaited to learn how all of this would ultimately shake out.

royce white

Royce White (left) in Better Times

Gopher Nation probably didn’t think it would shake out like this.  Today White released a bizarre, somewhat rambling, six-minute mea culpa explanation buttressed by a couple of interestingly chosen musical montages at each end.  In the opening segment straight out of Eight Mile, he walks around the streets of Minneapolis while Beanie Sigel’s “Feel It In the Air” plays in the background.  After you get past the clear ripoff of the Geto Boys, a quick read of the lyrics of this song reveals a troubled mind given to fits of paranoia and instability.  White then enters the video at around the 3:20 mark as narrator in a Saw-like feed from his couch, where he riffs mostly about how the “wheels of justice” are putting a “stressful burden” on him, his family, Coach Smith and the Gophers.  This crescendoes to a point at the 7:20 mark when White announces that he is “leaving college basketball” but that he will not be transferring to another school, and as for his next steps, that’s “to be decided.”  The clip ends with another song chosen for maximum cinematic effect as photos of his friends, family and playing career cycle through: Timbaland’s “Apologize.”  (keep in mind that the chorus repeatedly states, ‘it’s too late to apologize…”)  But don’t take our word for it – check it out yourself.

There’s a lot here, not least of which involves his apparent resignation from college basketball.  White clearly strikes us as a troubled young man who might need some time away from the stresses of basketball and school to get himself together.  One commentator said this clip reminded him of Ron Artest in his role as emerging impresario, and he’s probably on to something, but we’re a little worried that he also has a bit of Avondre Jones in him as well, the former USC/Fresno State center and rapper who became notorious in 1998 for assaulting someone with a Samarai sword back when Samarai swords were cool (along with Raider hats and do-rags, but we digress).  White is only 18.5 years old, and he wouldn’t be the first kid to feel the weight of the world on his shoulders and think that exiting stage left is the answer to his problems.  But there was one segment of his diatribe that rang completely true, a morsel of wisdom of which we hope that White will heed.  Too many situations like this turn out to be utter train wrecks, so we hope he follows his own advice where he talked about his coach Tubby Smith, who is universally reknowned as a great teacher and man.  It’s very unlikely that Tubby would counsel White to fight the justice system by withdrawing from responsibility; even if White is telling the truth about the laptop incident, he still needs to own up to the shoplifting and assault.  People make mistakes, but character is earned by addressing them and learning from them.  Let’s hope that White’s story on the national level doesn’t end (today?) with people wondering what could have been.

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UCLA Implosion Continues: Drew Gordon Transferring

Posted by rtmsf on December 1st, 2009

The sputtering Ben Howlands took yet another hit today in a season that is quickly turning into a nightmare for the bluebloods from Westwood.  UCLA announced this afternoon during the coach’s regular press conference that starting center Drew Gordon, one of the few bright spots on the team so far this season, will be transferring.  It’s no secret that Gordon and Howland had gone at each other over the last year-plus since the player’s arrival on campus, but this particular decision appears to have been precipitated by a quiet two-game suspension from practice that the coach levied on Gordon earlier this week (Andy Katz states it was for “conduct detrimental to the team“).  According to his father, even though the suspension may have been the proverbial straw, Gordon has different ideas about how to best utilize his talents, citing an “up-and-down” system other than the methodical Bruin offense as a better fit.  To which we say, did Drew Gordon ever watch UCLA play prior to committing there?  An up-and-down system it is not, nor has it ever been, under Howland. As for where he’s headed, other than stating that transfer to another Pac-10 school was out of the question, there is no obvious leader for Gordon’s services (he hails from San Jose in NorCal).

Northridge UCLA Basketball

Gordon was a member of the nation’s deepest and strongest recruiting class in America in 2008, with five players ranked in the Rivals top fifty.  But we honestly have trouble remembering a class that has been a bigger bust than this one.  The reason that UCLA took three losses in the 76 Classic last weekend is directly attributable to the fact that the core of sophomores that remained — Malcolm Lee, Jerime Anderson, J’Mison Morgan, and Gordon — haven’t lived up to their billing.  The fifth member of that class, Jrue Holiday, had a lackluster freshman season (9/4/4 assts) before heading off to NBA riches.  But it has been Gordon among the remaining four who has shown promise as the most efficient player on the UCLA roster this season, averaging 11/5/2 blks and shooting 57% in a little under 25 minutes per game.  With the loss of Gordon, who was one of the only post options at Howland’s disposal, he will have to hope for support from freshman bigs Reeves Nelson (7/5 in 15 MPG) and Brendan Lane (3/2 in 9 MPG) unless J’Mison Morgan (2 pts and 1 reb all season) can find the game that had national powers Kentucky, Louisville and much of the SEC and Big 12 recruiting him two years ago.  Given the obstacles that UCLA is already facing this season, we’re just not convinced that the Bruins can turn things around to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth consecutive year.

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Buzz: Defensive Stalwart Chase Adams Heading to Pitt

Posted by rtmsf on August 10th, 2009

Pitt’s Jamie Dixon picked up some great news today when it was announced that Centenary’s Chase Adams, a 5’10 waterbug point guard originally from Baltimore, is transferring to play for the Panthers and he will be eligible immediately.  With Centenary’s recent decision to move down from D1 to D3, all of its players were given the option to transfer to another school without penalty.  Dixon must be ecstatic because his returning backcourt is relatively inexperienced (Ashton Gibbs was the presumed incumbent), but now he’ll be adding the 2009 Summit League DPOY, a player who was eighth nationally in steals per game (2.7).  This goes along with some nice numbers in scoring (14.6), rebounds (4.2) and assists (4.5) per game.  It sounds as if Adams will fit the Panther ethos of hard work and defense to a T…

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The Greg Paulus World Tour Is Headed To Syracuse

Posted by nvr1983 on May 14th, 2009

After a month of speculation about where he would go, Greg Paulus has announced that he will be heading to Syracuse next year to play football. We are already discussed the situation that Paulus will be walking into next year, but before Paulus can officially put his pads back on he will have to get a NCAA waiver allowing him to play one season of football. We’re not familiar with how the NCAA handles these situations since they don’t usually play out where someone transfers to another school to play a 2nd sport, but it seems pretty likely that they will grant him an exemption since it would be really bad press if they did not grant him the waiver. We can only hope that Paulus somehow leads Syracuse to a bowl game where he plays against Duke, a perennial ACC cellar-dweller (admittedly improved in the past few years) who told the former Gatorade National High School Football Player of the Year that he could play wide receiver.

gregpaulus

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Alex Tyus Follows Billy Donovan’s Lead

Posted by nvr1983 on April 28th, 2009

As we mentioned in today’s Fast Breaks, there was some curious news out of Gainesville today where Alex Tyus, who had announced that he was transferring from Florida on April 17th, changed his mind and has decided to continue his basketball career there. Yes, that would be 11 days between leaving and coming back to the Gators.

Surprisingly, Billy Donovan let  Tyus rejoin the program without any hesitation (at least publicly), which is a change for a coach who has ripped his team publicly on several occasions in the past. However, when you consider Donovan’s past flirtations with leaving Gainesville before returning his acceptance of a change of heart regarding scenery seems to make sense.

The interesting question which we will probably never find out is what made Tyus change his mind. Was it that he thinks UF is the ideal system for him? (Doubtful because they played him out of position and Donovan’s teams have largely underperformed outside of the repeat national champs–a big exception, but a team that seems like more of an aberration if you look closer at Donovan’s tenure.) Was it the co-eds? (Ok. That’s a very valid reason although he could have gone to UCLA, Arizona State, or FSU if that was the issue.) Was it a lack of options? (Doubtful for a guy who averaged 12.5 PPG and 6.2 RPG playing out of position as a sophomore.)

Whatever the case was I’m sure that the Gator fans are happy to have Tyus back as he makes them a NCAA tournament team (possibly SEC champs if Nick Calathes pulls out of the draft) with an incoming class that includes Kenny Boynton and Georgetown transfer Vernon Macklin. Well, that is at least until Tyus changes his mind again. . .

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Seth Curry to Duke

Posted by nvr1983 on March 29th, 2009

When we mentioned that Liberty freshman star Seth Curry was transferring we listed our choices for his potential destination. We thought that Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina State made the most sense if he wanted to stay close to home and in the ACC like his coach suggested he wanted to do.

Credit: ESPN.com

Credit: ESPN.com

It turns out that we were wrong. ESPN just reported that Seth Curry has decided to go to Duke. We thought that they had too many stars and that he would want to avoid a program like Duke or UNC that would be loaded with talent. Seth must have watched the Villanova massacre and decided that he could help out Coach K more than we originially expected. Could this transfer be the thing that turns Duke back into the Duke of 1991-2002? With John Wall reportedly visting Durham this week, we may soon have our answer.

Update: Apparently, Duke did such a great job hosting Seth that he didn’t even bother checking out many of the other schools on his list.

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Breaking News: Curry to Transfer

Posted by nvr1983 on March 24th, 2009

Ok. It’s not that Curry (Stephen). It’s actually his little brother Seth Curry, a freshman at Liberty, who has decided to transfer after bowing out in the CollegeInsider.com tournament to James Madison. After being lightly recruited out of high school (when will scouts and college coaches learn), Curry led all freshman in scoring at 20.2 PPG. Curry has not listed any of his potential choices and college coaches are not allowed to comment on potential transfers so at the very least Seth will keep college basketball message boards abuzz for the next couple of weeks.

Credit: ESPN.com

Credit: ESPN.com

Obviously, Liberty’s coach Ritchie McKay is a little disappointed, but he seems to be handling it in stride (did you hear that Randy Shannon?). Here is Curry’s prepared statement:

Today I am announcing that I will not be returning to Liberty for my sophomore year. This is a difficult decision that I have reached after close consultation with my family and others close to me, and it is based on my desire to develop as an athlete to the fullest of my potential and take advantage of new opportunities that may be available to me in a higher rated conference.

My freshman year at Liberty has been an incredible experience. It has been a time of learning, growth and discovery of my potential as a person, a student and an athlete. For that I am deeply indebted to all of those who have influenced and supported me here – Coach McKay and his staff, my great teammates, my teachers, and my friends.

You have given me memories that will last a lifetime, and for that I cannot find words to express my gratitude.

Thank you,

Seth

Any guesses on where he is headed? There are a couple interesting potential legacy destinations: Davidson (replace his brother) or Virginia Tech (his father’s alma mater–helping Seth Greenberg save some face and get in the NCAA tournament, but that bridge may have been burned). Or will Seth go to another big-name program? There are plenty of other programs that could use a guy who averaged over 20 PPG as a freshman and averaged 25 PPG on 55% FG in 2 games against ACC opponents (Clemson and Virginia) this year. I would think he would want to stay relatively close to home (Charlotte area) and be in a starring role at a place where he could take over in a year so I would think that would exclude a place like UNC or Duke, but I could see him at Wake Forest or NC State (potentially saving Sidney Lowe‘s job) particularly since all of their current stars leaving by then. I don’t think a move west will be as likely, but who knows if a BCS coach promises him an offense that will showcase his skills. . .

Update: I just found a quote from McKay in a Lynchberg, VA newspaper blog that seems to suggest that Curry is ACC-bound:

“They only gave us one,“ McKay said. “He wanted to play in a more high profile league. He said it was nothing against us. I genuinely believe that. Seth and I have a great relationship and I love the kid. He enjoyed playing for us and being a part of our program. I think he was frustrated by the constant schemes to stop him and felt like if he was playing in a conference that starts with an ‘A’ and ends with a ‘C,‘ that one of those schools would have some other guys around him that he wouldn’t bear such a brunt of the scoring load. Seth is a tremendously competitive kid, not afraid of any challenge. I don’t fault him. I want what’s best for Seth. It was tough for us. Kind of a one and done deal. But that’s the risk you take when you recruit a really good player.“

Even though McKay doesn’t spell it out for us (he left a letter out), his statement narrows it down to 12 teams:

  • Boston College: Replaces Tyrese Rice in a major media market, but one where there isn’t a major emphasis on college basketball so he wouldn’t have near as much pressure. He would still get to play with Joe Trapani and Rakim Sanders.
  • Clemson: Would replace K.C. Rivers and be relatively close to home. Oliver Purnell‘s program is right around the level where they are relevant nationally, but by no means a powerhouse (at least after conference play starts).
  • Duke: Nope. Too much talent here to run an offense around a guy who isn’t a sure-fire top 5 pick.
  • FSU: Had a very good team this year and Leonard Hamilton did use a one-man show this year in Toney Douglas, but it still seems like an outside shot.
  • Georgia Tech: Interesting choice, but I’m not sure if they Curry family wants Seth to have to go to a place where he would have to revive a program that has fallen on hard times since Jarrett Jack left.
  • Maryland: The Terrapin fans and Gary Williams would love to land Curry who would take over Grievis Vasquez‘s role (without all the yapping).
  • Miami: Living in Coral Gables with South Beach and taking over Jack McClinton‘s role sounds enticing, but this was a 2-man team last year and both of those guys (Dwayne Collins is a junior) will be gone by the time Curry is able to play there.
  • NC State: This would be fairly close to home and at a big-name program albeit one that has fallen a few notches since they let Herb Sendek go. This would have to be a huge addition for a program that has fallen to the #4 program in the state (possibly lower) and could save Lowe’s job.
  • UNC: See Duke.
  • Virginia: No coach = No shot.
  • Virginia Tech: See above. The logical choice if Greenberg hadn’t ignored Dell’s two kids (Stephen and Seth–the first time around).
  • Wake Forest: I could see this as a solid location. Small school similar to Liberty and Davidson, but one with a passionate fan base. He could also have some support depending on how long the current group stays. I am assuming that Jeff Teague would be gone by then or at worst (for Seth’s FG attempts) would only be there one more year. This is a solid darkhorse.
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