ACC Team Previews: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Posted by EMann on October 18th, 2012

Throughout the ACC preseason, the ACC microsite will release a preview for each of the 12 ACC teams.  Today’s victim:  Georgia Tech.

Brian Gregory’s first season at the helm of the Yellow Jackets was a struggle in more ways than one, although not all of this was due to things Gregory could control. Because of Georgia Tech’s renovation of the Alexander Memorial Coliseum to the new McCamish Pavilion during the season, Georgia Tech was forced to split its home games between the Atlanta Hawks’ Philips Arena (all ACC games and premier non-conference games) and the Gwinnett Arena in the suburbs (five non-conference games).  Being homeless, however, surely does not account for all of Georgia Tech’s struggles during the 2011-12 season. Paul Hewitt didn’t exactly leave the cupboard full of stars when he was let go after the 2010-11 season, and Georgia Tech’s best returning player, Glen Rice, Jr., battled disciplinary issues all season and was suspended for three games at the beginning of the season and six at the end before being kicked off the team in March.  Tech managed only a 4-12 finish in league play (with its only win of note a victory at NC State), and finished 11-20 overall (beating VCU, but losing to the unholy trinity of Kennesaw State, Mercer, and Fordham), polishing off their season by scoring only 36 points in the ACC Tournament’s first round against Miami.  Fortunately for the Yellow Jackets, things cannot really get much worse, and the team returns all five of its starters.

Brian Gregory searches for answers in his second season in Atlanta.

Newcomers

Georgia Tech adds five new players to its roster this season, and has Scout.com’s 19th-ranked recruiting class coming to Atlanta. Four of these players are freshmen, led by five-star 6’9” center Robert Carter, in addition to four-star 6’6” small forward Marcus Georges-Hunt, three-star 6’3” shooting guard Chris Bolden, and unrated guard Corey Heyward. They are all Georgia natives. Georgia Tech also adds Kentucky transfer Stacey Poole, Jr., who will become eligible after December 17. Carter, a top 25 recruit, should immediately compete for starter’s minutes with returning center Daniel Miller. The other players are likely to add depth and compete with the incumbent starters (none of whom were particularly efficient offensively) for minutes this season. Read the rest of this entry »

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ACC Weekly Five: 08.20.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on August 20th, 2012

  1. Raleigh News & Observer: The ongoing saga of academic fraud at North Carolina continues as more details emerge, and frankly, things are just getting weirder. While Julius Peppers admitted that the transcript that was posted on the UNC website last weekend was his, he also offered a great deal of disgust at the gross breach of his privacy by the university. The university, after admitting that earlier reviews of academic problems at the school weren’t enough, hired an outside consulting and auditing firm to more thoroughly investigate the irregularities in the grades and transcripts of North Carolina’s student athletes. Hopefully, soon we will have some idea of what exactly has been going on with these student-athletes in Chapel Hill and for how long.
  2. Fayetteville Observer: Meanwhile, down the road, North Carolina State is dealing with an even stranger issue of athlete academic eligibility. Star recruit and Raleigh native Rodney Purvis missed his first few classes because he had not yet been cleared by the NCAA, which is still reviewing Purvis’ high school. While the NCAA guidelines don’t preclude a student from attending class, the guidelines mean that if Purvis for some reason was found ineligible, he would be unable to receive an athletic scholarship and would be forced to pay tuition to NC State out of pocket. Remember everyone: The NCAA wants student-athletes to receive a quality college education. Seriously. Stop laughing.
  3. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory is looking forward to this year. In particular he’s excited about the impact of sophomore Julian Royal. Royal played better and better as the season rolled on, and apparently his strength and conditioning has Gregory excited about the potential for the coming year.
  4. ESPN: Make a note to yourself to get excited for the preseason tournaments in 2017. Nike has finalized a truly excellent list of teams for a pair of tournaments designed to honor Nike founder Phil Knight’s 80th birthday. Considering Nike’s clout in the college basketball world, it’s unsurprising that many of the best teams in the country will be competing. The ACC representatives are, unsurprisingly, Duke and North Carolina. The two blue-bloods will find themselves pitted against the likes of Georgetown, Connecticut, Michigan State, Ohio State, and some other school called Kentucky. It might be a set of games. I suppose we will find out in five years.
  5. Boston Globe:  Gene DeFillipo, the athletic director for Boston College over the last 15 years, will be stepping down from his post in September. DeFillipo has been a steadying presence for BC, overseeing the rebuilding of the program after a gambling scandal devastated the football team and helping to oversee the move from the Big East to the Atlantic Coast Conference. During his tenure, BC claimed its fair share of NCAA titles, including an impressive four championships in ice hockey.
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Morning Five: 07.18.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on July 18th, 2012

  1. This offseason has been unique in the sense that a newly promulgated NCAA rule has allowed coaches and their players to have considerably more in-person interaction than in previous years. While students (including new freshman) are on campus attending summer school, coaches can provide two hours per week of instruction and training. It may not sound like much on its face, but 24 hours of focused practice when compared with zero is a substantial difference. CBSSports.com’s Matt Norlander writes that without question, coaches around the country are 100% behind this new rule and are employing it to the best of their abilities. That is, except in the Ivy League. The wrinkle in the Ancient Eight is that Harvard and Princeton — academic titans though they are — do not offer summer school coursework. Without a level playing field among all eight schools, none of them can (or will) take advantage of the rule. And aside from that, summer courses cost money, a bit of a pinch for non-scholarship athletes. It’s an interesting insight into just how different the priorities are from the rest of Division I basketball, even at a successful time when the league is placing competitive teams (Cornell, Princeton and Harvard) into the NCAA Tournament.
  2. While on the subject of summer basketball, one of the great things about unofficial team pick-up games is that it makes for tremendous message board fodder: “Ivan Renko dropped 45 on Anthony Davis in a half! He’s going to be a first-team All-American!” You know how it goes. Players who are career bench-warmers or otherwise unfulfilled talents seemingly become hoops messiahs under the dim lights in the sweaty gyms of July and August. That isn’t to say that there aren’t clues to be found, though, especially in cases where players have never actually been seen in uniform before. One such storyline coming out of Kansas in the past week is that redshirt freshman Ben McLemore is drawing reasonable comparisons to former Jayhawk star Brandon Rush for his jaw-dropping athletic ability and shot-making prowess. Down on Tobacco Road, UNC’s Leslie McDonald and PJ Hairston may not be getting such a lofty comparison from a former player, but they are receiving lessons in how to play the game from former Tar Heel superstar Rasheed Wallace. So there’s that.
  3. While on the subject of the Heels, one of the slowly smoldering stories in the back rooms and dark alleys of the Internet this summer has related to the ongoing academic scandal involving a large number of football players at the school. Armed with the knowledge that some of UNC’s basketball players took the same tainted courses as the football team, Pat Forde in a piece Tuesday mentioned that UNC has not been as forthcoming as some would like with the release of exculpatory information. He doesn’t go as far as to make any accusations of wrongdoing other than to quote a history professor at UNC who remains skeptical, but it does bring up a question of transparency and whether UNC might be willing to throw football under the bus to save the basketball program.
  4. We’ve mentioned Jabari Parker quite a bit in the last week, as the Class of 2013 prospect made news for narrowing his list of schools down to a more manageable 10 suitors and his family’s decision to let him rest for the remainder of the summer camp period. At least one school that you may have heard of on the recruiting trail — it starts with a K and ends with a Y — may, according to an unnamed head coach “who has been involved” with Parker’s recruitment, be the clubhouse leader. Duke has been mentioned as Parker’s leader numerous times by people supposedly in the know, and BYU has always been in the mix because of the LDS connection. All any prognosticator worth his salt can do at this point is await announcements as to where Parker will take his official visits and work backwards from there.
  5. A number of college basketball head coaches are in North Augusta, South Carolina, this week for the Nike Peach Jam, an elite prep basketball event featuring many of the nation’s top uncommitted players. Local news station WJBF-TV interviewed a few of the attendees about the Penn State/Sandusky scandal, and at least Clemson’s Brad Brownell, Minnesota’s Tubby Smith, and Georgia Tech’s Brian Gregory appear to be “using Penn State’s mistakes as a lesson.” For the sake of the next generation of America’s overlooked children, let’s hope so.

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ACC Weekly Five: 07.17.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on July 17th, 2012

  1. ACC Sports Journal: Props to Robbie Harms over at ACC Sports Journal for putting together this exhaustive mass of links on ACC alumni playing in the NBA summer league. Who would’ve thought Miles Plumlee would be named to the Orlando All-Summer League team? A lot of former ACC stars are participating and this page is sure to catch you up on all of the latest.
  2. Winston-Salem Journal: Jeff Bzdelik is adding seven freshman to his roster for this year. The group is already on campus, prepping for the upcoming season, and without question expectations will be high for this bunch. Wake Forest was a major disappointment the last two years, so everyone is expecting some level of progress this year. In news not directly related to basketball, none of the new additions have cars — so they’re getting plenty of off-court bonding time getting rides from Travis McKie — and Codi Miller-McIntyre can bench 300 pounds.
  3. Run the Floor: Michael Rogner is cautiously bullish on the Hurricanes, as they return more talent than anyone else in the ACC. Assuming Reggie Johnson is back to 100% healthy, Shane Larkin makes the leap towards more consistency and Rion Brown continues to develop, the Hurricanes should be an ACC contender this year. To be fair, many writers have been fooled in the past by a good Miami roster (I submit this quote from my article from January 11 as evidence: “Every year I overrate the Hurricanes.”), but this year feels different.
  4. ESPN: Andy Katz recently sat down with Brian Gregory, who’s keeping expectations for next year, his second season at Georgia Tech, realistic. Gregory talked a little about freshman impact and where his team needs to improve this season. Namely, he put the weight on the guards to become better distributors, naming Mfon Udofia, Brandon Reed and Daniel Miller as the guys who need to step up for the Yellow Jackets. Most interestingly, Katz asked Gregory about whether we can expect this year’s team to look more like his old Dayton teams. Gregory responded by saying that this team would be more like those teams, but still not totally there. All three answers from the head coach emphasize that this year as a rebuilding year.
  5. USA Today: Mike Krzyzewski took a lot of flak for supporting Joe Paterno in the days and weeks after he got fired. Not surprisingly, Coach K updated his comments about Joe Pa with the release of the Freeh Report.

EXTRA: Incoming North Carolina freshman JP Tokoto can dunk.

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ACC Summer Recess: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Posted by KCarpenter on July 12th, 2012

Over the next four weeks we’ll be taking a step back and looking at each team in the ACC to assess where each program — and the conference as a whole — stands before we totally turn our attention to the 2013-14 season later this fall. Today’s target: Georgia Tech.

Where They Stand Now

Georgia Tech Head Coach Brian Gregory Has His Work Cut Out In Atlanta

Last season was a season of transition for Georgia Tech. After the firing of longtime coach Paul Hewitt, Brian Gregory took over a program that had spent the last few years slowly slumping to the bottom of the ACC. As the Yellow Jackets prepared a new home court, his team was left without a true home, forced to make use of Phillips Arena along with a few other venues. A new coach, no home court,  and a legitimate talent deficit made it no surprise that Georgia Tech faltered. In a season when their best moments come in December and January, Georgia Tech didn’t have a lot to celebrate as conference play went on. Still, the future seems promising for Georgia Tech: McCammish Pavillion is finally set to open and Gregory will better know what to expect from his team in the second year.

Who’s Leaving?

The nice part about having a young team is that you don’t have to worry about losing a lot of players to graduation. The Yellow Jackets will lose Pierre Jordan and Nick Foreman, a pair of back-up guards who each averaged about 10 minutes a game in the past season, but that’s the only toll from graduation. Sophomore big man Nate Hicks has transferred to Florida Gulf Coast University. Hicks didn’t get a lot of playing time in Atlanta, averaging a paltry 7.7 minutes per game. The biggest departure is the dismissal of Glen Rice, Jr., from the team. The troubled swingman was benched at the end of his freshman season by Paul Hewitt and served a pair of suspensions last season under Gregory. He was finally dismissed from the team after a run-in with the law that featured Rice driving under the influence while one of his passengers discharged a gun.  Rice was the leading scorer and rebounder for Georgia Tech, but his off-the-court troubles certainly seem serious enough to make his departure seem like the best option for Rice and the team.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Who’s Got Next? Top 75 Guard Monte Morris Chooses Iowa State, Zach LaVine To UCLA

Posted by Josh Paunil on June 29th, 2012

Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Josh Paunil, the RTC recruiting guru. We encourage you to check out his website dedicated solely to college basketball recruiting, National Recruiting Spotlight, for more detailed recruiting information. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to who the hot prospects are at the lower levels of the sport. 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.

Lead Story: Class of 2013 Point Guard Monte Morris Commits To Iowa State

Floor General Monte Morris Is Iowa State’s Second Top-100 Guard For the Class of 2013.

Point Guard Gives Cyclones Second Top 100 Guard in Class of 2013. The only person who may have enjoyed Class of 2013 point guard Monte Morris‘ 17th birthday Wednesday more than the Michigan native is Fred Hoiberg as the four-star floor general committed to Iowa State. Morris is Iowa State’s second top 100 guard commitment in the Class of 2013, joining shooting guard Matt Thomas. Morris spurned offers from the likes of Indiana, Georgia Tech and USC to play at a less prestigious school although the Cyclones’ national profile has been improving because of Royce White (who in RTC’s NBA Draft Profile projects as a late first round pick) and Hoiberg’s success in the Class of 2012 with power forward Georges Niang (#52) signing. Morris is a big-time pick-up because of his ability to create scoring opportunities for both himself and his teammates. He is a smooth floor general with a good basketball-IQ and pretty good range beyond the three-point line. He has been improving his mid-range game as well but Hoiberg is turning Iowa State into a legitimate player for top 100 prospects year in and year out.

What They’re Saying

  • Senior Greg McClinton on deciding on Wake Forest: “I grew up a Wake kid and it has always been a dream of mine to play there. It is always great to be in front of friends and family and play close to home.” Read the rest of this entry »
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ACC Weekly Five: 06.18.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on June 18th, 2012

  1. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: In January, when Georgia Tech ended up as the landing place for former Kentucky player Stacey Poole, it was a nice get for the beleaguered Yellow Jackets, but not a game-changer. However, taking on Stacey has paid dividends in the form of a younger brother, Solomon Poole. Stacey’s little brother is a five-star point guard for the Class of 2013 and he is headed to join his older brother in Atlanta. Solomon admits that his brother’s presence was a major factor in his decision to attend Georgia Tech, and I doubt if Brian Gregory could be much happier with this turn of events.
  2. Duke Basketball Report: Though conference schedules have yet to be officially released, tidbits about the schedule have been making their ways into various reports. The good folks at DBR have taken it upon themselves to round up the reports (which are focused on Virginia, Virginia Tech, Boston College, and North Carolina). You can also see the match-ups for Florida State on the school’s athletic department website. Though it’s probably a little early to make assessments about the difficulty of a given schedule, it looks like the Tar Heels may have a rough season ahead.
  3. Durham Herald-Sun: Speaking of rough seasons for North Carolina, the troubles of  2010 and 2011 are still haunting the team, albeit in a fairly minor way. North Carolina’s streak of six years of APR Public Recognition Awards for the men’s basketball team has ended and it’s all UCLA’s fault or something like that. The APR is a simple measure of the academic status of a given collegiate athletic program. Though North Carolina has typically fared pretty well by this measure, transfers count against the school’s retention rate, and the defections of David Wear, Travis Wear, and Larry Drew to UCLA, in addition to the dismissal of Will Graves means that UNC has one really ugly looking APR season on it’s record. While complete APR scores are slated for a Wednesday release,  it bears mentioning that Duke paced the ACC with the most awards, including one for the men’s basketball team.
  4. Kansas City Star: Missouri will continue it’s reign as a landing spot for ACC coaches who enjoyed success and then moved on. Former Miami and current Missouri head coach Frank Haith has hired Dave Leitao as an assistant. Leitao, before a stint leading the Maine Red Claws of the NBDL, was of course the head coach at Virginia and the ACC Coach of the Year in 2007.  It’s a good hire for Missouri and a nice move for a guy who is good enough to be a college head coach just about anywhere.
  5. Washington Post: The situation of recently appointed Virginia Tech coach James Jones is as interesting as it is difficult . Former head coach Seth Greenberg left behind a legacy of confusion and accusations that seemed to undermine the program at every turn, nearly undoing all the building that Greenberg had accomplished during his tenure. This profile takes some time getting to know the ACC’s newest head coach and exploring the major task he faces in rebuilding a  basketball program that took some major blows in Greenberg’s wake.
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ACC Weekly Five: 05.07.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on May 7th, 2012

  1. Washington Post: Barry Svrluga tracked down the members of Maryland‘s national championship team from 10 years ago and put together a slideshow with updates. Some aren’t newsworthy (Gary Williams and Steve Blake), but I had no idea how much Lonny Baxter has bounced around since departing for the NBA. He’s currently in Siberia. Juan Dixon is in Turkey. A few are working with local AAU programs or their old high school teams.
  2. Chapelboro.com: The North Carolina assistant coaching search is finally over. ESPN College Gameday host and analyst Hubert Davis was hired by Roy Williams to replace Jerod Haase, who left to take the head coaching job at UAB. Davis has no coaching experience, but I don’t hate the hire. While I think the opinion that he’ll augment North Carolina’s name recognition in recruiting is misrepresenting things, his notoriety from people seeing him on TV will be an asset on the recruiting trail. He also just seems like a personable guy. On the other side of things, the group attacking the hire because he lacks coaching experience should probably pump the brakes too. Davis played more than a decade in the NBA; he knows basketball. It remains to be seen if he’ll be a go-getter, but I thought this was a decent hire.
  3. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: With all the recent coverage of coaches restricting transfers, the ACC gotten quite a bit of decent press. After Duke didn’t restrict Michael Gbinije at all (he ended up at Syracuse, which will be an ACC school by the time he starts playing), Brian Gregory talked about Georgia Tech’s policy, which restricts transfers from going to Georgia. The ACC has its own policy that forces athletes to sit out two years if they want to transfer to another ACC school. I think all conferences should move to this model and get rid of restrictions altogether (or maybe allow one regional rival which would also carry the two-year penalty). Nate Hicks and Glen Rice, Jr., are both transferring from Georgia Tech.
  4. Hampton Roads Daily Press: It sounds like James Johnson is taking his new responsibilities at Virginia Tech in stride. This comfort is the biggest advantage to hiring an assistant over going outside the program. Who knows how Johnson will be as a head coach, but I think Virginia Tech made the right move bringing him back to take over for Seth Greenberg.
  5. Raleigh News & Observer: Debbie Yow isn’t stopping at basketball relevance. She wants to put the rest of the NC State athletic department on the map and compete for the Director’s Cup — an award that tracks the top 25 schools across all sports. I also like that Yow prefers “Olympic sports” to “non-revenue sports” because it’s “more respectful.”

EXTRA: Unfortunately, there have been more rumblings about schools jumping ship from the ACC. I agree that the tipping point is Florida State. The Seminoles are a relatively recent addition to the conference and have the most to offer a prospective conference. I still believe that Florida and South Carolina have enough clout with the SEC that Florida State and Clemson have a long way to go before being invited to join the SEC. However, the author raises a very good point about the SEC not wanting to allow the Big 12 into the southeastern recruiting footprint (namely, Florida).

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ACC Morning Five: 03.21.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on March 21st, 2012

  1. Fox Sports Carolinas: Andrew Jones does a solid job breaking down Duke‘s struggles this year. The article is specifically relevant on the end of the season, as I think the “lack of spirit” only settled in after the North Carolina game at Duke. But the issues are definitely there. I’d probably order my list like this (in order of greatest to least importance): (1) lack of a leader, (2) defense, (3) reliance on one player, (4) reliance on the three, (5) point guard issues. Some things are interconnected. The depressing thing for Duke fans is things may get worse before they get better depending on who stays and who goes this year.
  2. Duke Basketball Report: Barry Jacobs took a look at the scoring decline in the ACC. Since 2001 when the league peaked–averaging 79.3 points a game–the scoring has been steadily dropping to this year’s low of 68.5. In 2001 the league’s lowest scorer (Florida State) actually averaged higher scoring than this year’s league average. Part of the recent drop can be associated with coaching turnover and conference expansion creating diluted talent and new styles (see: Boston College and Virginia, respectively). The rest is probably a part of the national trend of offenses getting more efficient while slowing down. I hope someone analyzes the roots of this phenomenon.
  3. Raleigh News & Observer: Want to know one reason NC State looks a lot better as of late? Richard Howell is seeing more playing time. Howell and fellow frontmen CJ Leslie and DeShawn Painter all improved significantly, but Howell’s tendency to pick up quick fouls kept him off the court during the regular season. Howell’s presence is going to be extra-critical this weekend against Kansas, as he’s a significantly better rebounder than Painter. The Wolfpack will need his presence on the glass to help limit the Jayhawks to one shot.
  4. Testudo Times: Ben Broman over at Testudo Times took a look at Nick Faust‘s season and very promising prognosis. Faust started the year horrendously on offense–largely because he was forced to take too large a role on an offense with too few weapons–but his talent has always been evident. Multiple people have said this throughout the year (especially down the stretch when things started clicking for the freshman): next year Faust could easily find himself on an All-ACC team. Frankly, he should probably find himself on two if his defense continues to improve and he gets his offensive mojo back.
  5. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: This is a very interesting interview with Brian Gregory. Probably the most insightful comment is on one thing he learned about the ACC, which was the physical nature of the conference. For a long time the Big East and Big Ten were known as the tough leagues (they still are), but the ACC is definitely becoming a tougher conference (Duke, Florida State, Miami and Virginia are very physical teams). I also thought Gregory’s reflection on his team was interesting even after taking it with a grain of “coach speak” salt.
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ACC Afternoon Five: 03.07.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on March 7th, 2012

Technical difficulties kept us from getting this up this morning. So here goes… an Afternoon Five.

  1. Tallahassee Democrat: Deividas Dulkys got a pretty special family night surprise when his family from Lithuania surprised him the day before the game by showing up at his girlfriend’s apartment. Dulkys had quite the showing at the game including aunts from Chicago and his host family from Nevada, but no one told him that his parents and sisters were going to make the trip across the globe to see him play at Florida State for the first time. Stepping back a little, the Seminoles are also looking at their best chance to win the ACC Championship in program history.
  2. Wilmington Star News: Speaking of special senior nights, Ty Walker‘s was supposed to be one of redemption. After three years of falling short of expectations and an indefinite suspension that kept him out for the first semester, his senior night was supposed to represent the new leaf he turned over this year. On the basketball court he was more active than ever, blocking shots with reckless abandon and fitting in surprisingly well for his first few games back. “I know people aren’t always going to be satisfied [...] but at least I gave them something,” Walker noted. His mom even surprised him by flying across the country for his senior night last week. This article from Brett Friedlander gets at Walker’s side of the story.
  3. Culpepper Star-Exponent: On the heels of the New York Times look at one of college basketball’s vaguest advantages, Whitelaw Reid finds a specific case. Now without seeing more data, I’m a little skeptical. The variable is what brand of basketball teams use. The home teams choose the ball. Virginia uses Nike basketballs; Sammy Zeglinski likes Wilson. The evidence (besides Zeglinski saying it has a “spongy feel”) is that two of the senior’s best games came against Maryland, a team that uses Wilson balls. As Reid points out, the NCAA Tournament also uses Wilson balls, so we should get at least one more data point to evaluate Zeglinski’s claim.
  4. Raleigh New & Observer: It’s a speculation time of year: March Madness, the NFL Draft and that sports purgatory before the NBA Playoffs and baseball season’s starts. It’s also about time to start talking about who is leaving college for the NBA. As Caulton Tudor points out, 13 of 15 All-ACC selections were underclassmen. I don’t really agree with Tudor’s rankings. Maybe I’m naive, but I think Terrell Stoglin will stick it out at least one more year in College Park. He’s far from a sure bet, and needs to show a wider range of skills to attract first round eyes. The same would apply for Glen Rice, Jr., but his indefinite suspension will definitely be a factor. I think the sure-fire departures are Harrison Barnes, John Henson and CJ Leslie. Who knows with Austin Rivers? If he gets a lottery promise, I expect him to leave (which seems likely considering the dearth of good guards this year). Still, this is something that will become very important in a few weeks.
  5. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Congratulations Brian Gregory, Mark Turgeon, Jim Larranaga and Mark Gottfried. You finished your rookie year in the ACC. For many coaches, the second year is the toughest, but Turgeon and Gregory were trying to build up programs left in disarray after Gary Williams and Paul Hewitt’s respective departures. Larranaga has plenty of talent, but he only should lose DeQuan Jones and Malcolm Grant from an already talented team; Gottfried’s team will return plenty of firepower and boasts the top recruiting class in the conference. Factor in an extra year of experience against the league titans, and we should expect more success from the conference as a whole next year.
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Morning Five: 02.20.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on February 20th, 2012

  1. Western Kentucky announced yesterday that its new head coach was its current head coach. Despite starting his career at 4-7 since taking over for Ken McDonald, the school has opted to retain the services of Ray Harper. Citing the difficult circumstances that Harper inherited with taking over the team in early January, the school claimed it had “total confidence his ability to return our program to prominence”. Based on his record at the Division II level where he was named national coach of the year four times in nine season while winning two national titles and claiming four runner-up finishes (one was later vacated) the Hilltoppers might be moving in the right direction very soon.
  2. Critics of the NCAA will have one less thing to rail against at schools opposing the previously accepted proposal allowing schools to award mulityear scholarships failed to reach the veto threshold. When the rule was passed in August 2011 it was hailed as a small, but important concession for athletes, whose scholarships and academic/career goals can swing with a coaching change or an injury. However, a few months later, a large number of schools petitioned the NCAA asking for a repeal of the rule leading to Friday’s vote. Needing 62.5% (more than 206) of the 330 institutions to vote against it for a repeal, the schools were only able to get 62.12% (205 votes) so when the NCAA parades around its new multiyear scholarships remember that it was two votes away from having it repealed and not everybody voted (the NCAA would only say more than 90% voted).
  3. There are a lot of way to have your bubble burst and Purdue appears to have taken the most publicly embarrassing one. On Friday, the team suspended starting point guard D.J. Byrd and dismissed starting guard Kelsey Barlow following an incident that morning where Byrd was arrested for public intoxication while Barlow, who had been thrown out of the bar earlier that night apparently came back with several teammates including Robbie Hummel where Barlow reported hit a bouncer and was arrested. Even though they are still technically in contention for a NCAA Tournament bid with every other team bubble team falling apart this seriously damages their chances of making any kind of run.
  4. It will be an eventful few days for several members of the 1988-89 North Carolina State team. On Saturday, in one of the more bizarre interactions between an official and the crowd that we have seen, veteran official had Chris Corchiani and Tom Gugliotta removed from the stands in a game between NC State and Florida State even though they did not appear to do anything that you typically see fans get ejected for and afterwards did not offer any explanation for his actions. Yesterday, the school announced that tomorrow it would honor that Wolfpack team that Corchiani and Gugliotta were on in a tribute to the team before Tuesday’s game against North Carolina as part of its inaugural “Wolfpack Unlimited” award that honors the spirit of Jim Valvano. According to Debbie Yow, the school’s Athletic Director, the 1988-89 team was up for consideration before Saturday’s events although she did not specify how those events impacted her choice.
  5. “A season with few bright lights grew even dimmer Friday.” That opening sentence from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution sums up our thoughts on Georgia Tech dismissing Glen Rice Jr. from its team. Normally, the loss of a player who leads your team in scoring, rebounds, and steals is crippling, but when you had already lost 12 of your last 14 you cannot get much worse. This suspension is Rice’s second of the season as he was also suspended for three games earlier this year for violating unspecified team rules and while the school would not go into detail about what led to the dismissal they did say that it was not basketball-related. Fortunately for the Yellow Jackets their last four games are against four of the teams they are competing against to stay out of the ACC’s cellar. With three of those games at home perhaps they can avoid finishing dead last in the conference.
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ACC Morning Five: 02.13.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 13th, 2012

Apologies for the late posting. 

  1. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Brian Gregory is trying to make Georgia Tech tougher, scrappier. To start he has a list of “non-negotiables,” which grows as the year continues. Gregory started with attending class and turning in assignments. Now he’s added boxing out, closing out and helping on defense. The punishments for failing to do so? Having to execute a box out on the sidelines three times, having to close out the full length of the court in proper form and having to take three charges from teammates. It’s always interesting to get a look, however brief, behind the scenes.
  2. Raleigh News & Observer: Duke’s win over Maryland looked more dominant than it was. The Blue Devils struggled to keep the heat on all game, but ended on a 13-2 run that obscured just how competitive the game was. One constant was Miles Plumlee, who absolutely destroyed the boards. The eldest Plumlee finished with a Mike Krzyzewski-era record 22 rebounds in the win. After the game he cited Brian Zoubek as inspiration for his play this season.
  3. Searching For Billy Edelin: Terrell Stoglin wasn’t happy about the loss to Duke. He was even less happy about riding the pine for parts of the finish. Unfortunately, he displayed that frustration to the world fairly explicitly on Twitter following the game. Stoglin is owning the tweets though. He never said his account was hacked and never deleted them. To me that’s a good sign, but keep an eye on his attitude. He wouldn’t be the first or the last disgruntled player to depart early, but his loss would put the Terrapins back at least a year.
  4. Charlotte Observer: Here are four somewhat random thoughts on basketball. The second could be the most important, as we’re already seeing a very down attendance year. Moving the conference tournament to Atlanta won’t help, especially in Georgia Tech’s rebuilding season. Another interesting point is that the NCAA tournament won’t have any sites in North Carolina in 2013.
  5. Washington Post: Speaking of down attendance, Mark Giannotto takes a look at Virginia Tech‘s issues specifically. First, the Hokies have struggled a lot since knocking off Duke last season. Second, they raised the prices on the tickets. Combine the two with a middling economy and more games being televised, and that probably covers most of the issue. The question remains whether the problem is–like the athletic department thinks–a one year issue, or a long-term battle.
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