The RTC Interview Series: SEC Preview with Dave Baker, Barry Booker and Chris Dortch

Posted by WCarey on November 4th, 2013

Rush The Court is back with another edition of One on One: An Interview Series, which we will bring you periodically throughout the offseason. If you have any specific interview requests or want us to interview you, shoot us an email at

With the college basketball season nearly upon us, we thought it would be a good idea to gather some expert opinions on the nation’s major college basketball conferences. As part of our national preview of the SEC, we recently had the pleasure of speaking with three SEC experts in television analysts Dave Baker and Barry Booker, as well as Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook editor, Chris Dortch. (Ed. note – we spoke to each individual separately, but for the sake of expediency, combining their answers into a round table format made the most sense.)


Booker, Baker and Dortch Shared Their SEC Thoughts With Us This Preseason

Rush the Court: How good is Kentucky and what makes it that good? Do you expect the Wildcats to win both the SEC and the national titles?

Dave Baker: A lot of folks think that Cal can be a little blustery at times. I think he’s actually pretty frank in his assessments. Last year, he thought they were gonna be better than they were. He thought they were gonna be a good team; he didn’t they they could be a great team. But he’s really got that swagger back this year. And this team is an incredibly talented team. People can debate whether, coming into their college careers, this is the best recruiting class of all-time, but I can tell you, just in the couple of practices I’ve seen, there has been a marked difference in terms of talent level, attitude and the way these guys are working together. There are some natural leaders that have come in this class. Based on what I’ve seen, his confidence is well-placed. With what their expectations are, they certainly believe they should be in the mix at the end of the year.

Barry Booker: Kentucky has everything it takes to be extremely good. It has elite talent all over the court. I think Kentucky is the surefire favorite in the SEC and I believe it has to be considered one of the top contenders to win the national title. This 2013 recruiting class is just one of the best we have seen – by all reports. It seems like every year, Kentucky gets some of the best recruits. In a year like this, where Kentucky has an outstanding class and it has players like Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein returning, it would be hard to see the Wildcats not being a top-notch team. It is amazing what John Calipari is doing in bringing in that top flight talent to replace top flight talent every year.

Chris Dortch: This historically great recruiting class gives coach John Calipari his most talented team ever, with at least seven future NBA first-round draft picks. Kentucky is definitely favored in the SEC and will be a title threat come March, but there are a handful of teams with more experience that are capable of executing a game plan and sending the Cats home short of the championship game.

RTC: Florida lost its three leading scorers from last season’s Elite Eight team. Are this season’s Gators a legitimate challenger to Kentucky in the SEC?

Baker: I think Billy and Florida will have another really good team. He’s got a situation down there where he just finds people to replace the players who have moved on. They are just incredibly consistent year-in and year-out. I know that they would have liked to have made some deeper runs in the NCAA Tournaments since their championships, but other than that, they’re just really consistent.

Booker: Absolutely. The Gators have gone to the Elite Eight three straight seasons and they are at that level again this season. I am not sure if you can call them number two – maybe Kentucky is 1A and Florida is 1B. If Kentucky does stumble and does not get things figured out, Florida can come in and take over at the top of the league. Freshman Kasey Hill is a dynamic point guard. Even with the departures from last year, Florida is still very strong on the perimeter with Scottie Wilbekin and Michael Frazier. The Gators also return Patric Young inside – who is the best interior player in the league. This is a very solid team. It just has to stay healthy this season. The injury to Will Yeguete really hurt the team last season. It was never able to get back to the same level that it was at before the Yeguete injury.

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Honoring 25 Years of the Three-Point Shot in the SEC

Posted by EMoyer on January 26th, 2012

Over the past few days, ESPN has taken to looking back at the 25-year history of three-point shot, so it seemed only appropriate to give our own rankings of some of the best shooters from distance the SEC has seen since the introduction of the shot in 1986. So in alphabetical order, here is one man’s list.

You Know the SEC's All-Time Three-Point Marksman Would Be On This List

  • Barry Booker, Vanderbilt, 1986-89 (246 3FG, 46.0%). Booker arrived in Nashville the same year the three-point shot arrived in college basketball. All he did was establish the conference record for three-point proficiency (minimum 300 attempts) and helped start the Commodores’ streak of three-point field goals. Vandy has made a trey in all 816 games they’ve played since 1986-87, joining UNLV and Princeton as the only three schools to make at least one in every game the arc has existed.
  • Pat Bradley, Arkansas, 1996-99 (366 3FG, 40.0%): Bradley arrived on the scene the year after Scotty Thurman departed. Bradley shattered Thurman’s records for makes and attempts and set the SEC record for consecutive games with one three with 60 straight, 13 better than the previous record.
  • Travis Ford, Kentucky, 1991-94 (190 3FG, 44.5%): Paired with Jamal Mashburn, the Missouri transfer helped the Wildcats return to the Final Four in 1993. He established the SEC’s single-season three-point percentage mark that season shooting an incredible 52.9% from the arc (101-for-191).
  • Shan Foster, Vanderbilt, 2005-08 (367 3FG, 42.1%): While Chris Lofton shined as the league’s pre-eminent three-point marksman, within the same state, Foster more than held his own. Entering his senior year as a 39.7% shooter, Foster made an SEC single-season record 134 threes in 2008 en route to earning SEC Player of the Year.
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