Morning Five: 05.08.14 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on May 8th, 2014


  1. We knew that the moment Eron Harris received his release from West Virginia he would be a hot commodity so it should be no surprise that most of the significant programs have already contacted him the same day that he received his release. According to reports, Butler, Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, New Mexico, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and UCLA contacted him within two hours of Harris receiving his release. Harris, who averaged 17.2 points while shooting 42 percent from three-point range as a sophomore, is from Indiana and according to his father being closer to home could be a major driving factor in his selection, but compatibility with a coach would be a bigger factor.
  2. Jamal Jones might not be the same caliber of player as Harris, but his departure from Texas A&M is a big blow for their program. Jones led the Aggies in scoring last season with 13.4 points per game while adding 3.9 rebounds per game. He has not indicated which destinations he is considering, but this is not the first time that he has left a school as he played one year at Mississippi (ok, maybe the word play is overstating it since he only played 25 minutes all year) before moving on to Lee College for a year before moving to College Station. Jones’ production might make him an appealing transfer for some coaches, but we suspect that his tendency to move so frequently will make many coaches weary of pursuing him.
  3. Nick Faust‘s announcement  that he was longer committed to Oregon State after Craig Robinson should hardly be a surprise. What is surprising is that he committed to a school with such an unstable coach and that the school waited this long to fire Robinson with how much a late firing could affect recruiting. While Faust says he is “open to everyone” his most likely destinations would appear to be Richmond, Cleveland State, Siena, UCLA, George Mason, and George Washington, which were the other schools that he considered before committing to Oregon State. Out of those the only one that we would be surprised by him going to is UCLA because we can’t envision a scenario where a player of Faust’s caliber would decide to play at Oregon State instead of UCLA particularly with how poorly the Beavers played under Robinson. Faust also has not closed the door on going to Oregon State in the end depending on who Robinson’s replacement is.
  4. They are not necessarily big-name positions, but two of the few remaining Division I coaching vacancies filled over the past two days. Coppin State took more than a month to find its new head coach before settling on Michael Grant. Although Grant is coming from Division II Stillman College he does have coaching experience at the Division I level going 26-31 in two seasons at Southern between 2003 and 2005. If going from Division II to Division I seems like a big jump that is nothing compared to what Bob Walsh is trying to do at Maine, which hired him from Division III Rhode Island College. Unlike Grant, Walsh has no coaching experience at the Division I level outside of serving as an assistant at Providence.
  5. If you ever wondered why some assistants at top programs did not jump at any head coaching opportunity, we would direct you to the recently released information about the new contracts that Kentucky‘s assistant coaches received. One of the assistants, Kenny Payne,  signed a two-year extension worth $500,000 annually. That figure puts him ahead of almost 1/4 of head coaches who led their team’s to NCAA Tournament bids last year. Coming in just behind Payne are assistants John Robic and Barry Rohrssen, who will be paid $375,000 per year. Those figures my pale in comparison to John Calipari’s annual salary of $5.5 million, but all of them should be quite comfortable and should keep them loyal to Kentucky unless a pretty big program comes after them.
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Big East M5: 11.02.12 Edition

Posted by Will Tucker on November 2nd, 2012

  1. The hardest part is over for Kevin Ollie, who escaped Gampel Pavilion with a win in his first game –– however unofficial –– as UConn’s head coach. The Huskies rallied to beat American International College 78-63 on Thursday, but the final score doesn’t reflect how uncertain the game was for the first 20 minutes. Ollie’s team missed 10 of its first 11 shot attempts and AIC quickly opened up a 12-2 lead, to the dismay of the 5,349 fans on hand. “When you go 1-for-[11], I’m like, ‘Man, this might be my only time out here,’” Ollie joked afterward to the New Haven Register. UConn never led before halftime, but prodigal freshman guard Omar Calhoun keyed a furious comeback after intermission with his 24 points on 8-14 shooting (including 3-6 from beyond the arc). Ryan Boatright woke up in the second half, finishing with 14 points, and Shabazz Napier added 11 from the two-guard spot. The Huskies have an opportunity to regroup and work out some kinks on Sunday against UMass-Lowell, before an abrupt uptick in competition when they face Michigan State in Germany on November 9.
  2. Louisville enjoyed a more emphatic win in its first exhibition of 2012, thumping Pikeville 93-57 in the KFC Yum! Center after hanging the university’s ninth Final Four banner from the rafters. Before the game, former point guard Elisha Justice received a warm welcome from the crowd of 20,277 on hand when Pitino presented him with his Final Four ring. Once things got underway, the ceremonies didn’t seem to pose a distraction for the Cardinals. Sophomores Chane Behanan and Kevin Ware were glued to the bench after being suspended for the game by Rick Pitino, but their absence was undetectable, thanks in part to a breakout debut from freshman forward Montrezl Harrell. Harrell ended with a team-high 19 points and game-high 13 rebounds, and made a variety of unrelentingly energetic plays. His performance was impressive enough that he’ll have an opportunity to compete for the starting power forward position once Behanan returns for the official opener against Manhattan.
  3. Syracuse handled its business by an eerily identical 36-point margin, dismantling an overwhelmed Pace squad, 99-63. It was a concerted effort for the Orange, as eight players logged 17 minutes or more and five ended up scoring double figures. Everything went according to plan for Jim Boeheim, who acknowledged after the game, “I’m not experimenting. We’re going to play nine guys.” Pace’s undersized frontcourt (whose tallest player is 6’6″) was no match for the freakish length of Boeheim’s big men, and it manifested in a Space Jam-esque block fest: the Orange logged six blocks in the first 10 minutes, and finished with 14. Freshman big man Dajuan Coleman got the start at center, and began his college career with 11 points and three blocks. But it was steady anchor James Southerland (18 points) and promising returner Michael Carter-Williams (16 points, seven assists) who keyed the offensive effort. The Orange open the season on the road at San Diego State on November 9, where they’ll get a chance to test their nine-man rotation against stiffer competition.
  4. Friarblog digs up an awesome New York Times piece by Pete Thamel from 2004, which recounts a late-night gas station rendezvous between Ed Cooley, at the time an assistant coach at Boston College, and former Providence assistant Bob Walsh, as their respective teams prepared for the NCAA tournament. While it “looked like a scene from a bad crime movie,” the coaches were exchanging game film on each other’s first round opponents. The PC staff was acutely aware of the difficulty of finding tape for opponents with few televised games: a recording blunder caused Walsh to accidently tape “Body by Jake” on public access in lieu of the Big West championship game. What makes this kind of story so compelling is that it humanizes the two coaches and gives fans a rare glimpse into the more mundane experiences of their profession. Walsh and Cooley will have an opportunity to catch up on Saturday when Walsh’s Rhode Island College squad visits the Dunk for an exhibition game.
  5. Lastly, South Florida blog Voodoo Five put together a very nuanced appraisal of the Bulls’ chances to succeed playing a smaller lineup this year after the departure of Gus Gilchrist and Ron Anderson Jr. Writer Collin Sherwin points out that Stan Heath’s roster lacks the outside shooting to space the floor with three point shooting: USF finished last year ranked 280th in the country in three-point shooting percentage, and facilitator Anthony Collins shot a dreadful 7-24 on the season. It will be interesting to see how Heath tailors his offense to his team’s strengths. We’ll get our first real glimpse on November 10, when USF hosts its I-4 rival, UCF.
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