Jelan Kendrick Out Of Memphis And On To. . .

Posted by nvr1983 on November 13th, 2010

We first heard about trouble in Memphis for star small forward Jelan Kendrick when he was temporarily suspended from the team less than a month ago. At the time Josh Pastner and the Tigers staff tried to say that it was not a unilateral decision at the time, but today Pastner and his staff have decided to kick Kendrick off the team for good. According to sources the decision was not the result of a single specific incident, but instead the culmination of months of poor decisions by Kendrick. Clearly for the Tigers this is a big loss as a combination of Kendrick and Will Barton could have been lethal in Conference USA particularly if they had both stuck around for a few years, but on the plus side the Tigers know who they will have relatively early in the season and can adapt instead of having this happen in February or March.

Is the potential reward worth the likely headache?

The more interesting this is what will happen to Kendrick. As we have seen with Tony Woods there will undoubtedly be no shortage of suitors for Kendrick especially since Kendrick is more talented than Woods and has a much less serious charge against him. The question is where he will end up. While any program would love to add a player of Kendrick’s caliber there are probably a select few programs that we would expect to stay above the fray such as Duke, UNC, Syracuse, and several other well-known programs that could probably land a player of Kendrick’s caliber in the next year or two. That leaves the rest of the nation potentially open to Kendrick. While other coaches come to mind such as Bob Huggins particularly during his Cincinnati days as suckers for a reclamation project we suspect that Kendrick will probably be taking a step down in terms of notoriety of the program that he goes to. Our pick? UTEP with Tony Barbee (now Tim Floyd as the former Iowa State/Chicago Bulls/New Orleans Hornets/USC coach) had a modicum of success with Derrick Caracter, a perpetual malcontent, last season and got him to the NBA where is currently on the LA Lakers roster. Caracter may not have had as many altercations with his teammates as Kendrick reportedly has, but he had a well-known reputation for driving his coaches crazy. Having said that there are plenty of other options for Kendrick (and we suspect that he will have no less than 20 offers by the time Monday morning rolls around) and we will be eager to see which coaches would be willing to take a chance on a player with Kendrick’s reputation for a change to work with a player of Kendrick’s ability.

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Wake Forest Releases Tony Woods

Posted by nvr1983 on October 11th, 2010

Earlier today Wake Forest announced that they would release beleaguered center Tony Woods from his scholarship at his request so he could pursue other options for the continuation of his college basketball career and education. Woods had already been suspended by Wake Forest after his arrest on charges that he had assaulted the mother of his 8 month-old son.  Woods subsequently pleaded guilty and was given a 60-day suspended sentence, ordered to complete an anger management course, and perform 100 hours of community service. His departure leaves the Demon Deacons even more thin in the frontcourt even if he only averaged 5 points and 3 rebounds per game last year as they had already lost their top player Al-Farouq Aminu to the NBA Draft. Woods has not mentioned which schools he is looking at, but we expect that there will be plenty of schools in the market for a 6’11” post player with two years of ACC experience.

Where will Tony Woods go next? (Credit: AP/Karl DeBlaker)

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C.J. Henry Leaves Kansas For The NAIA

Posted by nvr1983 on August 27th, 2010

The past six years have been nothing if not an interesting journey for C.J. Henry. The former Yankee prospect/MemphisKansas recruit announced yesterday that he would be transferring to Southern Nazarene, a NAIA school. A year ago Bill Self was being congratulated for adding C.J and his brother Xavier Henry after they had initially committed to Memphis before John Calipari decided to head to Kentucky. Although the subsequent transition to Lawrence were complicated by what appeared at times to be a soap opera the Jayhawks had an exceptional season before being cut down by Ali Farokhmanesh and the brothers performed at the level that everybody expected them too.  Now after just one year Self is left without either Henry as both have become one-and-dones in an unusual fashion. Xavier did it the traditional way by entering the NBA Draft following a solid, but uneven freshman campaign. On the other hand, C.J. was confined primarily to the end of Self’s bench as he played just 5.6 minutes per game in 13 games and only played double figure minutes in three blowouts. Although C.J. had been a fairly highly rated prospect coming out of high school he had spent 4 years (2005-2008) playing minor league baseball and redshirted the 2008-o9 season so most people did not consider his minimal production particularly concerning especially given reports that he had battled injuries all season long.

C.J. in one of his many uniforms (Credit:

However, in a surprising move, Kansas announced last week that Henry had decided to transfer from the school with some speculating that it was due to the amount of competition at the guard position potentially limiting his ability to get playing time. Still many in the Kansas area ripped him apart for his decision (not surprising given the allegiance of many writers/fans in the area). Given Henry’s limited basketball experience in the past 6 years, his injuries last year, and relatively advanced age (24 with 3 years of eligibility remaining) many programs would undoubtedly have reservations about taking on Henry, but we assumed that his basketball pedigree and athleticism would get at least  several major programs interested in his services. Instead Henry has opted to go the NAIA route and not forgo a year of his eligibility, which is not a small thing for a 24 year-old sophomore who still harbors NBA aspirations (unlikely since he would be 27 if he goes straight through college). For their part, the coaches at Southern Nazarene, who won the NAIA title in 1981 and made it to the NAIA championship game in 1998, say that their conference is chock full of Division 1 talents [Ed. Note: We can’t confirm since our knowledge of the Sooner Athletic Conference is limited to this post.] that should give Henry the competition he needs. At the very least he will have someone to text in Taylor King (formerly of Duke/Villanova/USC) who is currently enrolled at Concordia (at least the last time we checked).

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Taylor King Throws Down the Academic Gauntlet

Posted by rtmsf on August 11th, 2010

Jeff Goodman reported today that former-Duke, current-Villanova forward Taylor King is transferring yet again, this time making his way from the cooker known as the East Coast to the balmier weather and lifestyle of Southern California.   And when we say Southern California, we mean it literally.  King will enroll at USC this fall and, after sitting out a second transfer season in 2010-11, he will be eligible to play his senior year in his home area, a little less than an hour’s drive from where he grew up in Huntington Beach.  The 6’6 forward was a key contributor at Villanova last season, averaging 7/5 per game in bench duty, but he’s shown flashes of offensive skill with eight double-figure games in points and a solid three-point stroke (career: 37%).

Right. It's the Academics.

King has had some family issues and after spending a few weeks at home this summer decided that giving up the 3,000-mile commute back to the Main Line was in his best interests.  He considered a couple of local NAIA schools, but ultimately found that sitting out the additional transfer season to play at USC was the best option.  However, it was a quote from King buried at the end of Goodman’s report that really caught our eye.  When asked about his decision-making process:

King said while he would like to continue his playing career beyond college, academics and connections at USC played a role in his decision.  “The education is off the charts at SC. No offense to Duke or Villanova, but they don’t compare.”

All snickering aside, most people reading this site may not be aware that USC is a very strong academic school despite its iconic status relating to babes and football (wonder why they’d ever have that perception?).  The latest US News & World Report ranks Southern Cal as the 26th best national university, holding a 24% acceptance rate and SAT scores that it claims are greater than crosstown rival UCLA’s (by and large considered the more academically-minded school).  But Duke?  A perennially top-10 school by any measure?  Villanova?  The top Masters University in the Northeast for more than a decade?  Questionable.

We figured that the denizens of the two dissed schools would come running to their defense, and it didn’t take long.  Villanova fans seemed to find great hilarity in the comment, while the Duke people hardly even gave his comment much consideration due to its absurdity.  Of course we realize that King is only trying to justify his decision to himself when he made that comment, but it would be fourteen kinds of awesome if USC managed to find itself in a road game at Duke or Villanova two seasons from now.  We’re fairly certain that the lesser-academically-inclined students at those places would find clever ways to make him feel welcome.  Hey, we can always hope, right?

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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/

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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