Five-Star Analysis From the High School Class of 2011

Posted by Sean Moran on November 14th, 2014

RTC recruiting guru Sean Moran takes an in-depth look at the players ranked as five-star recruits from the class of 2011. How many of these players are still in college? How many are already out of the NBA? We also encourage you to check out his contributions at The Intentional Foul dedicated to recruiting coverage and analysis. You can also follow Sean at his Twitter account @Seanmohoops for up-to-date news from the high school and college hoops scene. 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.

Note: Scout.com used for all player rankings.

Rating high school players is an inexact science. Look no further than the 2011 recruiting rankings for evidence of this. That year Scout.com ranked 27 players as five-star prospects, and as we get set to enter the 2014-15 college basketball season, there are only six of those players remaining. Anthony Davis was the No. 1 recruit and he certainly lived up to the billing, leading Kentucky to a National Championship during his only collegiate season. Davis is now an All-Star in the NBA, but several other teams spent high draft picks on members of the class with varying degrees of success: guys like UConn’s Andre Drummond, Florida’s Bradley Beal, Duke’s Austin Rivers and Indiana’s Cody Zeller. A few other five-star players were not so lucky. James Michael McAdoo went undrafted after three years at UNC and Kentucky’s Marquis Teague is now out of the NBA after getting drafted late in the first round in 2012. Three years later, only 11 of those 27 are in the NBA (including Quincy Miller, who was recently waived by the Nuggets) while 10 are out of the league altogether, and six are still in college. For those remaining six collegians, they have one season left to impress the NBA scouts. The entire list of five-star prospects from the Class of 2011 is below.

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2011 Five-Star Prospects Still in College

No. 9 – LeBryan Nash, 6’6”, SF, Oklahoma State. Nash is the highest-rated prospect of the class still in college. The athletic wing expected to be a one-and-done player coming out of high school, but he is now a senior for the Cowboys. He spent part of his freshman season injured but still managed to average 13.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. His field goal attempts have decreased every successive year and, as a result, his efficiency has risen. As a junior Nash averaged 13.9 points and 5.5 rebounds with a 109.5 ORtg. He had some big games in league play, including a 29-point performance against West Virginia, but Nash only managed to score six points in a first round NCAA Tournament loss to Gonzaga last year. Heading into his senior year, Nash was named an Honorable Mention All-Big 12 selection.

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AAC M5: 11.26.13 Edition

Posted by CD Bradley on November 26th, 2013

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  1. Rodney Purvis can’t play this year, but he’s still helping the Huskies get off to a hot start. The former highly-touted recruit who transferred to UConn after a year at NC State has been the star member of the scout team, helping one of the nation’s top backcourts prepare for the likes of Dez Wells and Yogi Ferrell. The full year of practice will be crucial for Purvis, who likely will have to step into the sizeable shoes of Shabazz Napier next season. Of course, it may also be playing a pretty big role in Napier’s blazing start, which will have him in consideration for a number of postseason awards if he can maintain it. Based on the early returns, luring Purvis to Storrs looks to be a pretty major win-win for both he and head coach Kevin Ollie.
  2. Sean Kilpatrick was angry when coach Mick Cronin redshirted him due to a crowded backcourt and a mechanical flaw in his jump shot four years ago. Both he and Cronin have to be pretty pleased with how it worked out, though, as Kilpatrick now ranks #13 on the school’s all-time scoring list as a fifth-year senior. If he keeps up his current pace – he’s averaging nearly 20 PPG through five games – he could end up second on the list to some guy named Oscar Robertson. And while Cronin might have had some inkling that the little-recruited guard would help more down the road than right away, he almost certainly couldn’t have understood just how much. Kilpatrick is posting a ridiculously high 155.2 offensive rating through five games, vital for a mediocre offensive squad like the Bearcats. If he can approach that number during a key three-game swing next month – at New Mexico, then neutral court games with Xavier and Pitt – both he and his team will earn some rightful attention.
  3. Kevin Ware‘s eventful year (life?) continued with a plea deal involving a $268 fine, bringing the latest kerfuffle over a speeding ticket and missed court date to a merciful end. This follows Rick Pitino’s rather pointed press conference on the topic last week after he was apparently blindsided by the news. That all followed on the heels of, shall we say, some colorful tweets from Ware’s Twitter account to Anthony Davis, quickly deleted and attributed to hacking. That followed denials from Ware and Pitino of summer “reports” that Ware had been secretly dismissed from the team. All of that, of course, follows the gruesome injury in last season’s NCAA Tournament which catapulted the quiet reserve to national prominence. That followed an indefinite suspension last spring that lasted one game. Even that followed a recruitment which included a commitment to Tennessee, later withdrawn when Bruce Pearl was fired in the face of an NCAA probe, then a commitment to UCF, later withdrawn in the face of an NCAA probe, then a commitment to Louisville, delayed by a semester due to the NCAA probes. Seems like quite a bit of drama for a junior with a career high of 11 points, no? Whew.
  4. When Louisville went way off the board for the fifth member of its signing class last week, no one knew much of anything about Matz Stockman. He wasn’t ranked by any of the major recruiting watchers, nor had his name been tied to the Cardinals publicly before his papers came through the fax machine. Not even Rick Pitino had seen him play. Now that his team has played a few games on American soil, word has started to trickle out. Jerry Meyer of 247Sports says the seven-foot Norwegian will be a three-star recruit, one who has a good scoring touch near the basket but “will likely need a couple years of development before he is ready to compete at a Louisville type level.” A year ago, Louisville’s thin backcourt ended up with a walk-on as its only reserve in the Final Four, so the recruiting class featured three guards. It’s no coincidence that this year’s Cardinal frontcourt, which got exposed by North Carolina on Sunday, has led to Pitino bringing in three recruits 6’9” and taller.
  5. Another night, another couple of blown opportunities for AAC teams to earn a much-needed yet impossible to find quality win. First, Oklahoma State continued its roll through the conference with a 93-67 win at USF. Then Houston gave Stanford a tough test before falling in Brooklyn. And now the AAC nears the end of November with UConn’s two wins over a mediocre Maryland, and a young, inconsistent Indiana, and that’s about it. This is nice for the Huskies, but less great for the other teams that hoped for a few chances for quality wins in conference play to make up for weak non-conference slates. Now those opportunities might not be there, making it tougher to build an NCAA Tournament-worthy resume.
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SEC M5: 10.23.13 Edition

Posted by Greg Mitchell on October 23rd, 2013

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  1. The uncertainty hanging over Frank Haith from the Nevin Shapiro/Miami scandal has finally reached its end. The NCAA on Tuesday suspended Haith for Missouri’s first five regular season games for failing to “promote an atmosphere of compliance” while head coach at Miami. Haith, while publicly disagreeing with the suspension, has decided not to appeal it. This is a probably a wise decision, as it provides instant closure for himself and the Missouri program. An appeal would have stayed the suspension and kept the issue lingering in the background. If the suspension was then appealed and upheld, Haith could have missed critical late season games. Instead, Haith will miss five games in which Missouri will be a heavy favorite even without his leadership on the sideline (Southeastern Louisiana, Southern Illinois, Hawaii, Gardner-Webb, and IUPUI). The logical bet for his fill-in would be Dave Leitao, who has been the head man at DePaul and Virginia at different points in his career.
  2. Florida got a verbal commitment from 2014 guard Zach Hodskins on Monday, who will join the program as a preferred walk-on. What’s significant about a 6’4″ preferred walk-on? How about that Hodskins was born without the lower half of his left arm. Whether Hodskins ever sees big minutes for the Gators is irrelevant; a player with that kind of perseverance and commitment can only have a positive impact on the team in the long run. And after watching a Hodskins’ highlight reel, it’s not hard to envision him contributing at some point in his Gator career.
  3. Frank Martin isn’t having a relaxing fall. The second year South Carolina coach said the best thing that his team does thus far is “aggravate him.” But he also said his team, with its eight newcomers, is “trying their rear ends off” to learn his system. The Gamecocks return only six players who averaged more than 10 minutes a game last season. Martin built competitive teams at Kansas State with less than ideal talent, and he has a good opportunity to lay that kind of groundwork with so many of his own players early in his tenure in Columbia.
  4. Alabama guard Trevor Releford was named to the Bob Cousy Award watch list for the second consecutive season. This continues a string of recognition for Releford, who was also named to the preseason SEC first team last week. Releford is the active SEC leader in career points and assists, and is arguably the best returning point guard in the league, with Scottie Wilbekin also in the discussion. Freshmen Andrew Harrison and Kasey Hill are expected to vault into that category too this year.
  5. This is a bit dated, but former Kentucky stars Anthony Davis and John Wall returned to Rupp Arena for an NBA preseason game between Davis’ New Orleans Pelicans and Wall’s Washington Wizards last Saturday. The Pelicans won 93-89 in front of 14,000+ fans in attendance. Davis scored 16 points and grabbed four rebounds, while Wall scored 16 points and handed out 11 assists. This is another example of the NBA’s creativity in expanding their brand. Are there are other college heroes returning home possibilities? The Oklahoma City Thunder (Kevin Durant) and Portland Trail Blazers (LaMarcus Aldridge) playing in Austin could work. From the SEC side, perhaps Joakim Noah and the Chicago Bulls could tune up against Al Horford and the Atlanta Hawks in Gainesville next season. But to continue something like this you’d need a relatively large population area, a particularly interested fan base, and multiple guys with accomplished careers at the same school. That seems like a rare mix.
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Big 12 M5: 01.18.13 Edition

Posted by KoryCarpenter on January 18th, 2013

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  1. I said earlier in the week that this article by C.J. Moore of Basketball Prospectus may have changed my mind on Rick Barnes‘ coaching ability. I have never been a fan of Barnes and his seeming ability to do less with more than almost any coach in the country. Moore’s article was a nice rebuttal to opinions like mine. But a lot of Texas fans don’t see it that way, and articles like this one from Mike Finger of MySanAntonio.com highlight those reasons. As Finger points out, Barnes has had no trouble throwing his players under the bus this season, and he’s had no problems doing so since around 2008. And while I’ve never been against a coach calling a player out in public (if they can take the compliments in the press, they should be able to take the criticism, too), there’s always the danger of a team zoning a coach out. Barnes has already had to diffuse those notions this season. Maybe Finger is right. Maybe blasting underclassmen isn’t the best way to get your team to respond.
  2. If you are wondering if Oklahoma has a chance to make its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2009, Jordan Esco over at SBNation.com delves into that topic here. The Sooners have made appearances on most mock brackets as of late, and with the expanded NCAA Tournament field and their 12 wins at the midway part of the regular season, it looks like they will be in the dance barring a collapse in conference play. Esco has them going 9-6 from here on out to finish 12-6 overall in the Big 12. And with three more games against TCU and Texas Tech, West Virginia at home, and Texas at home before Myck Kabongo’s return, it looks like there are nine more wins on that schedule.
  3. I’m sure I’ve said this a few times already, but there are worse people to hire than Bruce Weber if you have an experienced team without a coach. The troubles seem to come when its time for him to start recruiting his own players, but we can discuss that when the time comes. For now, Kansas State is #16 in the country and playing defense as well as almost any team in America right now. They are on a seven-game winning streak and have held their last 10 opponents under 70 points, which includes the 67-61 win over #10 Florida on December 22 in Kansas City. They have a big game against Oklahoma on Saturday, as both teams are 3-0 in the Big 12.
  4. The Big 12 knows about the one-and-done rule as well as any conference, whether conference schools were getting torched by Kevin Durant in 2006-07, Ben McLemore this season, or Kansas losing to the most talented group of one-and-doners ever in last year’s national championship game. If it was up to Shaq, Durant and McLemore would be “three-and-dones” instead. O’Neal recently made the remarks at the NCAA convention in Grapevine, Texas, and had plenty of valid points arguing that players need to stay in school longer. It’s a topic many people feel strongly about, and both sides have their fare share of solid arguments. My take? One year of guys like Durant, Odom, Anthony Davis, McLemore and the rest is better than no years. And while these players staying in school for three years would be fun to watch, if a professional league wants to pay them, let them go earn the money.
  5. Jason King of ESPN.com updated his National Player of the Year ballot, and (rightfully so) Creighton’s Doug McDermott tops his list. McDermott is averaging 24 PPG and 7.2 RPG after being named a First-Team All-American last season. Jeff Withey is fourth on King’s ballot. I can’t help but think of a season ago as Anthony Davis was heralded as one of the best shot-blockers of all-time. A “game-changer” they called him. Davis averaged 14.2 PPG, 10.4 RPG, and 4.7 BPG for Kentucky. Withey is currently averaging 13.1 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and 4.7 BPG this season, just like Davis. I’d still give the award to McDermott this season, but it’s time Withey received more love for possessing the same shot-blocking ability that helped earn a guy the NPOY award last season.
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Night Line: A Productive Kyle Wiltjer is Necessary For Kentucky to Succeed

Posted by BHayes on January 16th, 2013

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Bennet Hayes is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @HoopsTraveler on Twitter. Night Line runs on weeknights during the season, highlighting a major storyline development from that day’s games.

It wasn’t supposed to be this hard. Youth and inexperience weren’t supposed to matter to John Calipari, to Kentucky. After all, there was still a lot of talent in Lexington, and it felt quite natural when nobody doubted the defending national champions in the preseason. But the two and a half months since have created a college basketball specimen that has been as rare in recent years as a senior superstar – the Kentucky skeptic. Their arrival is understandable, as Kentucky has already dropped five games here in 2012-13, the talented youngsters having yet to find the cohesiveness of UK’s past Calipari teams. There’s still plenty of time to get there, and all four of the key freshmen (Archie Goodwin, Nerlens Noel, Alex Poythress, and Willie Cauley-Stein) will surely need to display growth for the wins to roll in, but the player who serves as the finest barometer for UK success is not a newcomer. Kyle Wiltjer has been about as consistent as his team this season (i.e., not very), and his off nights have frequently coincided with Kentucky failures. But when Wiltjer has it going like he did Tuesday night against Tennessee, the Cats looked a lot closer to being a complete team.

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Kentucky Fans Agree That The “Three Goggles” Are A Good Look For Kyle Wiltjer

Wiltjer finished with a team-high 17 points in the 85-75 victory over the Vols, also chipping in with five rebounds and a pair of blocks. Quite a dramatic shift for both sophomore and team from a game ago, when Texas A&M walked into Rupp Arena and knocked off the Cats, holding Wiltjer scoreless in the process. Wiltjer struggling in a UK loss is not a new storyline this year; he is averaging just 5.6 PPG in losses, about half of his season average. He has also only scored seven or fewer points in six of the Cats’ 16 games this season, but four of the five UK losses have also happened to occur on those nights. One final measure of the value of Wiltjer’s involvement: He has gone for 19 and 17 points, respectively, in Kentucky’s sole two victories over top-100 teams (two top-100 wins, yikes!).

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Morning Five: 01.10.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on January 10th, 2013

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  1. Yesterday morning we mentioned the pending imaging studies on Ryan Kelly (foot)and Laurence Bowers (knee). Even though it seems like most of the concern from the public was for Bowers (likely due to the fact that he missed last season with an injury to his other knee) it was Kelly who appears to have suffered the more significant damage as he will be out indefinitely with an undisclosed injury to his right foot. With no additional information on what Kelly’s injury is we will not even bother speculating as to how long he will be out other than to say that we doubt he will be playing at North Carolina State on Saturday. Meanwhile, Bowers will be held out for the next two games and then be reevaluated after an MRI revealed that he had a sprained MCL in his right knee and nothing more serious. While Bowers will miss the next two games he could be back just in time for the Tigers’ showdown in Gainesville with Florida.
  2. Some of you may be a little perplexed by how much time Luke Winn spend on free throws in his power rankings this week, but he also has some interesting non-free throw shooting analysis including some statistics that suggest that Jeff Withey could be having a better defensive season than Anthony Davis did last year and looks at how much worse Phil Pressey is in pick-and-roll situations this season without the type of shooters he had last season. If numbers make your eyes glaze over and you are into more juvenile humor (see his sidenote about J.J. Redick and Adam Morrison for an example), Mark Titus has his own power rankings that provide inside in the way that only The Shark can. Overall, their rankings are fairly similar with the exception of Arizona as Titus, who isn’t just looking at the numbers (just kidding, Luke), considers their game against Colorado to essentially be a loss.
  3. Boise State picked up a huge win yesterday night as they knocked Wyoming from the ranks of the unbeatens, but they may have ended the night as losers after they suspended Derrick MarksMikey ThompsonKenny Buckner, and Darrious Hamilton indefinitely just before their trip to Wyoming. Marks, the team’s leading scorer, is obviously a huge loss, but both Thompson and Buckner both see significant playing time in a rotation that is not particularly deep. While the Broncos escaped with a last second win last night, the loss of these players will make things extremely difficult for them in a challenging Mountain West Conference.
  4. As if things were not bad enough for Illinois State, which has started 0-4 in the Missouri Valley Conference after coming in as a potential threat to Creighton, things appear to be on the way to getting worse before they get better as the team announced yesterday that it had suspended senior guard Tyler Brown indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team. After starting 9-3 with their three loses coming against stiff competition (three-point overtime loss versus Northwestern, three-point loss at Louisville, and a 14-point loss against Montana in which the Redbirds led by three with five minutes left), the team has completely fallen apart. While their first two losses in conference (by two at Indiana State and by seven against Creighton) are excusable their next two losses, which came against Northern Iowa and Missouri State, have raised some serious questions about the team. We are not sure how the loss of their second leading scorer (15.3 points per game) will do anything, but make things worse, but perhaps Brown’s absence will bring the team closer together and get them back on track.
  5. Now that we are about halfway through the season, it is a good time to reevaluate which conference games are worth your attention as there have been some significant surprises both for better and for worse. To that end, Jeff Borzello counts down the 30 best conference games this season. Now this list comes with the caveat that Borzello didn’t want to feature the same teams over and over again or this could have easily turned into a countdown of the best Big Ten games. One thing that is definitely worth pointing out is that several of these games are coming up very soon including three this Saturday.
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The 10 Biggest CBB Stories Of 2012 — #2: Kentucky Gets Over The Hump to Win Its Eighth NCAA Title

Posted by Chris Johnson on December 31st, 2012

Chris Johnson is an RTC Columnist. He can be reached @ChrisDJohnsonn

College basketball gave us plenty of memorable moments and stories in 2012. After sorting through the main headlines, we’ve come up with the 10 most consequential items and, for the sake of maintaining publishing sequence symmetry, releasing two per-day over the next five days to lead into the New Year. It was an excellent year for the sport, though I can’t promise you won’t regret reliving at least one or two of the choices. In any case, here’s to summing up a great year and to hoping that 2013 is better than the 365 days that preceded it.

Over the first two years of John Calipari’s tenure, Kentucky inched closer toward a national championship breakthrough – from an Elite Eight appearance in 2010 to a Final Four berth in 2011. Calipari reeled in the most decorated recruiting class of his career the following season, one built on the backs of center Anthony Davis and supplemented by forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, point guard Marquis Teague, and shooting specialist Kyle Wiltjer. He was locked and loaded for the third go-round of his one-and-done experiment, the yearly cycle of turning over the nation’s best freshmen talent and crafting national title contenders as he marshals players through the Wildcats’ historic program, maximizes their national acclaim and exposure, and ferries them into the NBA Draft.

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Nerlens Noel Isn’t Anthony Davis, But He’s Close Defensively

Posted by Brian Joyce on December 7th, 2012

Blocked shots have become a staple of the Kentucky defense under John Calipari. Last season, the Cats blocked 20.2 percent of its opponents’ shots with Anthony Davis setting the bar high with 4.7 blocks per game. However, when a defensive philosophy relies heavily on blocked shots, defenders tend to leave their feet for the block attempt leaving the defense out of position for defensive rebounds if they miss. Kentucky is again a great shot-blocking team in 2012-13, but it has a lower block rate of 17.6 percent while allowing opponents to grab an almost identical percentage of available rebounds (30.7% in 2012-13 compared to 30.8% in 2011-12). So, UK’s big men often neglect boxing out duties to fly in for the blocked shot, making a clear strategic choice. And it is a strategy that works.

Kentucky’s defensive percentage of shots blocked by shot type. (Source: www.hoop-math.com)

By making that choice, are the Cats dooming themselves to be poor defensive rebounders? Is it possible for a standout low post player to achieve high levels of shot blocking proficiency while also performing with strong defensive rebounding numbers? It is, but the feat is rarely accomplished. We analyzed shot-blocking and defensive rebounding percentage numbers from the end of the 2011-12 season and found just two power conference players who had a block percentage of at least 8.5 percent and a defensive rebounding percentage of at least 23.5 percent (those numbers were selected because that placed the player in roughly the top 50 in both categories).

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Jeff Withey Quietly Putting Up NPOY Numbers, Especially on the Defensive End

Posted by KoryCarpenter on November 30th, 2012

For his first couple of years in a Kansas uniform, senior center Jeff Withey’s game reflected his nonchalant personality to a fault. A California native, Withey transferred from Arizona in December of 2008 and became eligible midway through the 2009-10 season. He was a non-factor for almost two years, averaging 2.3 PPG and 1.8 RPG in 2010-11 as a sophomore. Two years later, his personality is still the same. After the Jayhawks defeated North Carolina last season to advance to the Final Four, Withey was speaking with a few media members on the court of the Edward Jones Dome as players celebrated and people searched for a ladder. “Excuse me,” Withey told the reporters after a few questions. “I have to go cut down the net.”

Jeff Withey is Taking His Defense to a New Level This Season (AP Photo)

Withey knows every team-first cliché in the book. He rarely talks about his numbers or dominant defense, but somebody needs to, because Withey is becoming one of the best defenders college basketball has seen in years. Last season, Withey broke the all-time NCAA Tournament record with 31 blocks in six games. He has only gotten better this year, blocking 37 shots through the season’s first six games. C.J. Moore of CBSSports.com found that if Withey was a team all by himself, he would rank 13th in the country in blocked shots. A year after Anthony Davis won nearly every National Player of the Year Award for his defense and shotblocking ability, Withey is putting up similar numbers this season.

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Twenty-One Weeks of Hoops: RTC Welcomes In A New College Basketball Season

Posted by Chris Johnson on November 9th, 2012

Chris Johnson is an RTC Columnist. He can be reached @ChrisDJohnsonn.

The interminable offseason breeds countless hours of boredom and frustration. With seven months separating the net-cutting ceremony that signals the end of every college hoops campaign and the opening tip that begins it, perusing the internet and conjuring up ideas to write about on a daily basis becomes an exercise in creative determination. This is not the NBA, where free agency bridges the gap between the Finals and training camp. The college basketball season has a definitive start and end. Though that line is beginning to blur with amplified recruiting coverage and limited summer practices, when the field of 68 is finally whittled down to one, and the soft tunes of One Shining Moment set off an emotional carousel unlike any other in American sports – from utter despair and devastation for the losing fan base to extreme delight and exultation for the national champion – the hardwood action that has so thoroughly captivated fans across the nation over the previous five months with nonstop intrigue and resume-building/crashing drama grinds to a screeching halt. It’s why the National Championship game always feels like a foreboding culmination, like the end of an enchanting joyride that closes with equal parts satisfaction and disappointment. The warped sense of reality defined by conference races, argumentative bubble talk and AP Poll hand-wringing is swept away without but a single warning to prepare for the lull. Amidst all the joy of a championship celebration and the highly-anticipated lead up to the Final Four, there stands the harsh reality of a painfully long college hoops drought. We college hoops scribes have grown to accept this dichotomy as one negative in an overwhelmingly enjoyable state of affairs. Because no matter how much we dread the dry offseason, the gloomy days spent panging for loaded campus gyms, and buzzer beaters, and visible fan passion, the torture is justified by the sweet end.

Three shipside games will christen a new college hoops season (Photo credit: Getty Images).

The journey to that end begins tonight, and not a moment too soon. We here at RTC have a date with college hoops, one that’s seven months overdue. She cannot evade us, nor the rest of the hoops viewing public, any longer, because tonight the lovefest commences. If you are a first-time viewer of the sport, consider this a warning: What you are about to see may distort your expectations. Over the next three days, teams will eschew traditional playing grounds to meet on aircraft carriers and foreign military bases. It is a patriotic inauguration of the sport we love, but it is not – however delighted you may be by the gorgeous vistas and military backdrops adorning the proceedings – the norm. It won’t be long before geeked-up student sections and campus hysteria inhabits your nightly viewing experience. And for that, we are thankful. Ecstatic. Tantalized. However you wish to describe it or appreciate it, the message is the same: the wait is over.

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SEC M5: 11.08.12 Edition

Posted by KAlmekinder on November 8th, 2012

  1. The opening game in last year’s season between Michigan State and North Carolina took place on the deck of an aircraft carrier, an unprecedented location for a college basketball game in the history of the sport. Back by popular demand and the opportunities it provides to our military personnel, many more college basketball games (and practices) are taking place at military bases or other aircraft carriers across the world this year. On Friday, Florida will become the first SEC school to take place in one of these military-themed games against Georgetown on the deck of the USS Bataan in the Navy-Marine Corps Classic in Jacksonville. When asked about the specifics, coach Billy Donovan stated that the outdoor temperature, unusual sight lines, and unique atmosphere of the game will not affect the Gators’ game plan at all. The temperatures will be a bit cooler in this year’s game, hopefully avoiding a condensation problem similar to what arose during the game action in San Diego last year.
  2. So what happened Tuesday night at Ole Miss? In non-basketball related news, Twitter conversations in Oxford regarding the presidential election results triggered university police to convene at the student union on campus to disperse an angry group of protesting students, some of whom were shouting racially-charged epithets according to a statement from the school. The result? Two arrests for disorderly conduct, one for public intoxication, and another for failure to comply with police orders were handed out. The university issued a statement stating the campus was ‘a normal day’ on Wednesday and all campus related events will go on as planned. Let’s hope so — Mississippi doesn’t have a history of racial enlightenment to fall back on here.
  3. Can Tennessee make it nine straight wins versus UNC-Asheville next week in Puerto Rico? The Volunteers have history on their side, but the Bulldogs want to schedule a home-and-home series with the Vols and hopefully end the streak that way. Separated by only 117 miles across the Smoky Mountains, both Tennessee and UNC-Asheville ironically will travel 1550 miles to Puerto Rico for their latest game in the series. UNC-Asheville head coach Eddie Biedenbach is hopeful that a new arena on his side of the divide could trigger a local rivalry with the Vols, but there were no comments from Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin on the subject. Also, Volunteers freshman Derek Reese began basketball activities again on Tuesday after tearing his right labrum over the summer. Reese participated in layup drills using only his left hand.
  4. Mark your calendars appropriately: ESPN.com‘s Eamonn Brennan has compiled a list of the must-see non-conference games before New Year’s Day. Which SEC schools frequent the list? Kentucky and Florida, of course. Kentucky and Florida have four games each on the list, followed by Missouri with two games and Arkansas with one. The only two games that are not on campus locations include Missouri’s games in the difficult Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament and Florida’s match-up with Georgetown on the USS Bataan, off the coast of Jacksonville. These games will not only make for great viewing but also good early tests for all clubs before conference play.
  5. What makes Kentucky coach John Calipari so successful? He has proven that he can corral the egos of mega-talented freshmen and mold them into a national championship squad using a style of play that best fits that specific team’s needs. In the 2010-11 season, Calipari used the reliable shooting of Brandon Knight and Doron Lamb to push his team to a surprise Final Four run. The previous team was centered around the play-making of John Wall and the size of DeMarcus Cousins. But how do these recruits end up at Kentucky and why does the Big Blue Nation adore their coach so much? Jason King of ESPN.com dubs the Calipari persona almost ‘gospel-like,’ breaking down Calipari’s unbelievable ways of operating a blue-blooded powerhouse, including recruiting, his relationships with hip-hop moguls such as Jay-Z and Drake, and his uncanny ability to make time (when he has none) to raise a million dollars via a telethon for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.
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Where 2012-13 Happens: Reason #9 We Love College Basketball

Posted by rtmsf on October 31st, 2012

And away we go, headfirst into another season heralded by our 2012-13 edition of Thirty Reasons We Love College Basketball, our annual compendium of YouTube clips from the previous season 100% guaranteed to make you wish games were starting tonight. We’ve captured here what we believe were the most compelling moments from last season, some of which will bring back the goosebumps and others of which will leave you shaking your head. Enjoy!

#9 – Where Didn’t See THAT Coming Happens

We also encourage you to re-visit the entire archive of this feature from the 2008-092009-10, 2010-11, and 2011-12 seasons.

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