ACC M5: 11.26.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on November 26th, 2012

  1. CBS Sports: In the wake of Maryland‘s defection to the Big Ten, the main focus of speculation is what the ACC’s counterstroke will be. According to those in the know, the vote to pick a replacement for the departing Terps could happen as early as this week. The two leading candidates for replacement are Louisville and Connecticut. Both schools offer a few distinct advantages over the other. Louisville’s reasonable success in football is a big draw when football is the raison d’etre of realignment, while UConn’s academic profile more closely aligns with the Atlantic Coast Conference. A successful football program is a powerful draw, but considering that membership is decided by a vote of university presidents, the importance of academics as a deciding factor should not be overlooked.
  2. NBC Sports: There are embarrassing losses and then there are embarrassing losses, and sadly, Boston College has not been a stranger to either variety in recent years. Sunday’s loss to Bryant University, a school enjoying its very first year as a full Division I member, falls into the latter category. BC is only 2-4 to start the season, although the Eagles have admittedly played a more challenging schedule than many of their conference peers. That said, a home loss to Bryant is a troubling sign.  Head Coach Tim O’Shea accidentally backhanded the Eagles with his postgame comments: “Five years ago, the biggest game on Bryant’s schedule was Bentley. Five years later, we’ve just beaten Boston College on the road. It’s a big deal.”
  3. Testudo Times: A Maryland team that was decimated by defections found some extra depth in a recent win over Georgia Southern. The sterling play of freshman Charles Mitchell continued as he contributed a double-double off the bench with fellow freshman Shaquille Cleare adding a double-figure scoring effort. An additional double-figure scoring effort by transfer guard Logan Aronhalt – who went 4-4 from beyond the arc — demonstrated that the Terrapins have more firepower on the bench than expected. With Mark Turgeon happy to keep his starters on the bench while the reserves performed, it’s easy to wonder if the starting lineup may undergo some revisions over the course of the next few games.
  4. Duke Basketball Report: The ACC / Big Ten Challenge kicks off Tuesday evening and this year, the event has a little extra spice. Between the still-open wound of Maryland leaving one conference for the other, the allure of a top-five showdown between Duke and Ohio State is appealing, as is a chance for a perplexing North Carolina team to take a shot at an increasingly vulnerable looking Indiana squad. After a 10-year run of victories, the ACC has lost the past three years. Say what you will about realignment, but it sure makes these interconference events feel a little more exciting.
  5.  Basketball Prospectus: One more item on the topic of conference realignment: Why does it happen? Well, as Maryland so ably and honestly demonstrated: it’s the money. Using a clever analogy with pro sports, John Gasaway proposes a novel (or at least freshly recycled) idea on how to make conferences significantly more stable: revenue sharing across all of the major conferences. It’s an interesting thought, and one that merits some additional examination.
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Alex Len’s Coming Out Party Nearly Spoils Kentucky’s Title Defense Debut

Posted by EJacoby on November 9th, 2012

Evan Jacoby is a correspondent for RTC and a regular contributor. He filed this report from the Kentucky-Maryland game tonight in Brooklyn. You can find him @EJacobyRTC on Twitter. 

We assumed it was nearly impossible for Kentucky to repeat the kind of immediate, dominant success it had last season with a brand new crop of young players this year. For the first half of their season-opening game against Maryland on Friday night, though, the Wildcats came out on fire and efficient on both ends en route to opening a 15-point lead just minutes into the second half in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. But it didn’t take long for the inconsistency, poor decision-making, and defensive mistakes that are typical of freshmen players to crop up for John Calipari’s team, which opened the door for Maryland to make a run in front of a very pro-Terrapin crowd. Led by emerging sophomore center Alex Len, the Terps went on a 15-0 second half run and eventually took the lead before seesawing to a tough, 72-69 loss. Len was the catalyst on both ends for Maryland’s near-upset, as the sophomore seven-footer finished with 23 points, 12 rebounds, and four blocks — all game-highs. He shot 10-18 from the field and committed zero turnovers. Despite failing to capitalize with a monster non-conference victory, Maryland and its fans must feel confident about this season’s outlook on the heels of Len’s dominant opening performance.

Alex Len nearly led his Maryland team to a big-time upset win over Kentucky on Friday night (Maryland 247 Sports photo)

The big sophomore showed flashes of greatness last season for Maryland, but he did not put together any dominant performances that could propel Mark Turgeon’s team to big wins. The center from the Ukraine recorded six total games in double-figure scoring last year, and none after February 4. He averaged 4.1 points per game in his final 10 games and amassed just one double-double all season. Tonight was a completely different story, as Len looked much more polished in the paint with offensive moves, finishes at the rim, rebounding prowess, and strong defensive positioning. Len turned national consensus #1 recruit Nerlens Noel of Kentucky into an afterthought, dominating the freshman in the paint as well as beating him down the floor in transition on multiple occasions. Noel had just four points on 2-6 shooting to match his nine rebounds and three blocks. If not for the unlikely late-game heroics of former Kentucky walk-on Jarrod Polson, who scored 10 points tonight after recording a total of seven previous points in his career, the Terps could have left Barclays Center with a defining victory.

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ACC M5: 11.05.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on November 5th, 2012

  1. Fayetteville Observer: The paper has unveiled a nice collection of articles and stories previewing the coming basketball season in the ACC, but my favorite is this listing of “under the radar” players. The list includes those who may not have the fame or star power (yet) of some of their contemporaries, but will nonetheless make a difference this season. The list is a blend of freshmen and players coming off seasons spent on the bench due to injury (Olivier Hanlan of Boston College is an example of the former and Julian Gamble at Miami illustrates the latter), but also highlights a few players who may be poised to grab your attention, notably Malcolm Brogdon of Virginia and K.J. McDaniels from Clemson.
  2. CBS Sports: No list of coaches on the hot seat would be complete without Jeff Bzdelik, the coach of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. While Bzdelik’s tenure in Winston-Salem has been filled with all sorts of complicating factors and problems, the fact remains that Wake Forest fans ultimately expect their team to win. After two miserable years of life at the bottom of the conference, this is a pivotal year for the program. Though Bzdelik will rely heavily on freshmen this season, Wake’s record needs to improve if the coach wants to keep his job.
  3. Testudo Times: Exhibition games are often fairly meaningless, but that doesn’t stop college basketball fans from trying to see if they can learn something about their team from them. Ben Broman looks at how Maryland performed in an exhibition against Indiana University (PA) and walks away with some interesting observations. Notably, the strong performances by freshmen Seth Allen and Charles Mitchell were unexpected and clear highlights, while mediocre performances by Alex Len and James Padgett offered reasons for concern. Clearly Terrapin fans were hoping for more polished and refined play from their returning frontcourt, but Mitchell’s voraciousness on the glass (15 rebounds in only 18 minutes) and Allen’s poise, ball-handling, and playmaking suggest that the incoming freshman class might make a big difference for Maryland.
  4. Wilmington Star News: Mason Plumlee is once again ready to be a featured part of this year’s Duke team. The ultra-athletic power forward come to Durham as a clear NBA lottery pick filled with talent, yet over the course of a mostly excellent college career he has failed to string together consistent performances, often vanishing at key moments. Now a senior, Plumlee is looking at a final chance to take a leading role on a team that has been largely perimeter-oriented in recent years. While there is some mention of how Duke’s lack of a featured true point guard in recent years has relegated the forward to supporting role status, Plumlee is optimistic about Tyler Thornton and Quinn Cook playing a more traditional distribution role.
  5. Raleigh News & Observer: Down Tobacco Road, North Carolina has it’s eye on not a senior but a freshman big man. Joel James, however, is not the typical UNC freshman post player. While recent seasons have showcased the acumen of UNC’s strength and training staff in turning post players who look more like “posts” than “players” into more muscular athletes ready to bang down low (see: Ed Davis, Tyler Zeller, John Henson and yes this year’s version, Brice Johnson), James arrived at Chapel Hill as big as any freshman in recent memory.  At 6’10″ and somewhere around 265 pounds, James offers true center size and muscle. Though relatively inexperienced as a basketball player, the coaches seem to be bullish on James and it looks like he may start his career as, well, a starter.
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ACC M5: 10.15.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on October 15th, 2012

  1. CBS Sports: Florida State‘s next recruiting class is getting better and better by the day. Jarquez Smith, a 6’9″ forward with perimeter skills, will join Xavier Rathan-Mayes as the early crown jewels of the Seminoles’ next recruiting class. While Smith doesn’t quite have the reputation of Rathan-Mayes, as a rangy forward with serious defensive and shot-blocking chops, he is in many ways the prototypical Leonard Hamilton player. An excellent fit and an even better get for Florida State.
  2. Daily Press: Though it isn’t as splashy as the Seminoles’ move, the Hokies have quietly been putting together a solid class of their own. On Sunday, Ben Emelogu, a scoring wing with excellent size, committed to Virginia Tech. Emelogu joins Maurice Kirby, a slender center who committed on Friday. While both players don’t quite have the prestige of highly-ranked recruits, they both figure to help a Virginia Tech team that will be trying to find a new identity after the departure of former coach Seth Greenberg.
  3. Fayetteville Observer:  “Primetime With The Pack,” the appropriately titled event that marks the beginning of North Carolina State‘s basketball season, came to an abrupt close when Scott Wood‘s grandfather collapsed and had to be carried out on a stretcher. The scrimmage was cut short with a few minutes left. According to a message on Scott Wood’s Twitter account, his grandfather appears to be doing better after receiving some fluids. A strange end to an event that had an even stranger beginning with coach Mark Gottfried being somewhat inexplicably lowered from the ceiling.
  4. Washington Post: The renaming of the beginning of basketball season is surely complete when the inventors of Midnight Madness abandon the name. They are calling it Maryland Madness in the place where Lefty Driesell once invented Midnight Madness. Still, despite the change in name, the event had plenty of highlights, including some new looks by a few of the big men. Shaquille Cleare and Charles Mitchell showed off the weight loss that will make the big men a little more agile. Of course, not to be undone, the giant bruiser Alex Len showed off his newfound range by draining a step-back three-pointer. If that wasn’t an incredible enough sight, the event also featured the team dancing to Gangnam Style. There is apparently a lot of that going around.
  5. Raleigh News & Observer: At Chapel Hill, the evening practice kick-off went as it usually does, but the event had a different tone as most of the gathered fans reserved their loudest cheers for coach Roy Williams, who is still recovering from the surgical removal of a benign kidney tumor. Earlier Friday, Williams, along with George Karl and a few other North Carolina legends held a fundraising breakfast for cancer research, an annual tradition since Williams’ return to Chapel Hill.   The event, a more somber precursor to the antics that were to come later that evening, raised around $150,000 to fight this disease.
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ACC M5: 10.11.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on October 11th, 2012

  1. Fredericksburg Star: Virginia didn’t wow anyone last season with its athleticism. However, incoming freshman Justin Anderson may. The 6’6″, 226 pound freshman has all of the physical tools to be a great player in the ACC. Anderson, along fellow freshmen Evan Nolte and Mike Tobey will have to master Tony Bennett’s pack-line defensive strategy if they hope to see much time on the court this season. Bennett’s strategy is good at hiding athletic disadvantages, but the more athletic lockdown defenders he puts on the wing, the more effective Virginia’s already stifling defense will be.
  2. Washington Post: Alex Prewitt jotted down some “nuggets” from Maryland‘s media day that are pretty revealing. Literally speaking Prewitt noted the offseason weight changes for most of the Terrapin roster. Notably, Nick Faust and Alex Len both added much needed bulk (30 pounds!) which should help both be more effective on the boards. James Padgett also bulked up pretty substantially. On the other side of the scale, Pe’Shon Howard, Shaquille Cleare and Charles Mitchell all lost significant weight. More figuratively, Prewitt’s anecdotes painted a picture of a team with a lot more chemistry than Maryland seemed to have last season. Maybe Cleare and Seth Allen are just more outgoing, but it certainly sounds much more comfortable than the team did last year.
  3. Raleigh News & Observer: Speaking of newcomers, Wake Forest has a boatload. There are seven self-proclaimed “Baby Deacs” joining Jeff Bzdelik in Winston-Salem this year. Bzdelik is putting some real pressure on the newcomers, saying, “I need them to perform now. I don’t want [youth] to be an excuse or a crutch for our young guys.” Part of his urgency may be a his seat heating up after two incredibly lackluster seasons (to be kind). With Travis McKie and CJ Harris back and the strong incoming class, the Demon Deacons will be much more talented across the board this season. However, despite Bzdelik’s insistence, nothing makes up for experience.
  4. Associated Press (via ACC Sports Journal): Clemson lost top scorers Andre Young and Tanner Smith to graduation. Last season the story read the same way, with Jerai Grant and Demontez Stitt leaving. This year, Brad Brownell needs Devin Booker (ACC phenom Trevor Booker’s younger brother) to increase his consistency and Milton Jennings to tap into his McDonald’s All-American potential. Both players have the talent, but neither has shown the ability to lead night in and night out. That consistency has to improve for Clemson to have a successful season.
  5. ESPN.com: Dave Telep reported that Caleb and Cody Martin, twins out of Mocksville, North Carolina, will be joining NC State in 2014. The twins are just another example of Mark Gottfried working hard to get as much in-state talent as possible. This strategy certainly has a history of success, as North Carolina is one of the richest states in terms of its homegrown basketball talent. If Gottfried’s team has a good year this year and CJ Leslie goes in the lottery, look for the Wolfpack to have continued recruiting significance. Gottfried is a very talented recruiter and success breeds more success.
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ACC Summer Recess: Maryland Terrapins

Posted by mpatton on July 19th, 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: Maryland.

Where They Stand Now

Mark Turgeon’s Second Year Doesn’t Look Any Easier Than His First.

Unfortunately it appears to be “two steps forward, two steps back” for Mark Turgeon’s Terrapins. Last season Maryland became a darkhorse contender on the backs of a solid coach, Terrell Stoglin, Alex Len‘s improvement, and a very good recruiting class. Then Stoglin was suspended for violating team rules, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the sophomore guard who had many public confrontations with Turgeon last season went pro rather than sit out next year. Maryland also suspended Mychal Parker, who took his talents to Loyola though he probably won’t be academically eligible there. With a disappointing 17-15 season in the rearview mirror, Turgeon’s Terrapins need immediate improvement to keep the suits in College Park from getting nervous. Speaking of suits in College Park, keep an eye on athletic director Kevin Anderson, who was reportedly headed to Stanford before everyone denied the claim and leading to this tepid retraction.

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ACC Weekly Five: 07.11.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on July 11th, 2012

  1. ESPN: Things aren’t getting any easier in Atlanta. Georgia Tech has already lost an incoming player to injury for the coming season. Corey Heyward, a local standout who recently spent a year at Hargrave Military Academy, suffered an ACL tear in his left knee that will likely keep him out of action for the 2012-13 season. Though Heyward expects to have surgery in the coming weeks, the standard recovery period for an ACL injury can be as long as a year – it’s doubtful that Tech will take a chance and bring him back too early.
  2. News & Observer: Continuing to win the prize for “best summer job,” coach Mike Krzyzewski has gone to Las Vegas to coach Team USA and prepare his ridiculously talented incarnation for the Olympic games in London. The Duke coach’s adaptable approach seems to be well-suited for a team that has lost many of the stars from the 2008 gold medalist from the Olympic Games. Whether drawn from his own philosophy or inspired by the positional revolution underway in the NBA, Coach K seems ready to put his best players on the court, regardless of position, and let the rest of the world worry about how to defend that.
  3. Fayetteville Observer: In jumping to quick conclusions months before any of the teams even start practicing, Bret Strelow may win the week’s big prize. Of course, barring any big surprises, he’s probably right on the money. Strelow predicts a three-team race for the top of the ACC, with traditional powers Duke and North Carolina trying to fend off an upstart North Carolina State team that is bringing in highest-ranked freshman class in the conference. Of course, the sad part about this prediction is that it’s not particularly predicated on the strength of any of these three teams, but rather on the weakness of the rest of the conference. As it stands, many perennial contenders such as Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, and Maryland have fallen on hard times with no easy fix or game-changing recruits on the horizon. Until this changes, it seems like a lot of the hoops power in the conference will be centered almost exclusively on a very small triangle in the Piedmont region of North Carolina.
  4. News & Record: Let’s keep our eyes on the future and keep our eyes on the spring of 2013. Who will be on next years All-Freshman Team? Well, the News & Record has you covered. Looking at several years’ worth of high school scouting data and past All-Freshmen Teams, the Greensboro paper puts forth a few predictions with the caveat that this is a very silly exercise. On paper, picking Rodney Purvis, Rasheed Sulaimon,  and Robert Carter to have big years seems like a fairly safe prediction. I’m a little more intrigued by the presence of Maryland’s incoming big man, Charles Mitchell. By all accounts, Mitchell is a fine player, but he might only be the third best freshman center for Maryland next season, behind Shaquille Cleare (a top 50 player while Mitchell doesn’t crack the top 100) and potentially Damonte Dodd. Daring choices are to be applauded, however, and I’m anxious to see how Mitchell plays in the coming year.
  5. CBS Sports: You know what our problem is? Not looking far enough ahead into the future. The 2012-13 season will surely be interesting, but only thinking about that seems a little short-sighted, no? Of course. So logically, let’s turn our eyes to the ranked recruiting class of 2013-14. A quick look at the top 10 has North Carolina on top of the whole nation, largely by virtue of already two players already committed to play when most players that age have yet to make a firm decision. Still, I suppose this is a good sign for the (admittedly distant) future of the conference.
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Who’s Got Next? Tony Parker Commits, Ripple Effect of Greenberg Firing

Posted by Josh Paunil on April 26th, 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: Tony Parker Joins Adams, Anderson and Muhammad at UCLA

Parker Choose UCLA Over Duke, Georgia And Ohio State. (Photo: Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Tony Parker Gives UCLA Top Recruiting Class.  Class of 2012 power forward Tony Parker committed to UCLA Monday over Duke, Georgia and Ohio State, joining point guard Kyle Anderson and small forwards Jordan Adams and Shabazz Muhammad in head coach Ben Howland’s stellar 2012 recruiting class. Parker brings a tremendous inside presence to Westwood and is someone who will be able to rebound as soon as he steps onto campus. He is an elite big man with a great skill set in the low post and has the ability to score through a variety of moves in the paint. He can make a hook over both shoulders and is able to play facing the basket, although he’s at his best with his back to the basket. The biggest knock on Parker has always been the same — that he’s out of shape and lacks stamina. However, the Georgia native has worked hard to dispel that notion and although he can still improve his conditioning, he’s definitely gotten better at running the court and has an improved motor. Once Parker gets to UCLA, he’ll join a crowded frontcourt that already includes sophomore power forwards David and Travis Wear and sophomore center Josh Smith. Every single person in the UCLA’s 2012 recruiting class worked hard on recruiting Parker and Adams even predicted back in December that the Bruins would land him. UCLA fans should remain cautiously optimistic, though, because as we’ve pointed out at RTC, having a highly ranked recruiting class doesn’t necessarily guarantee success, borne out by UCLA’s 2008 recruiting class. Although, there are some differences between this year’s recruiting class and the one four years ago.

What They’re Saying

  • Senior Marshall Wood on asking for a release from Virginia Tech: “I need to get my release so I can review all my options. If somebody gets the job at Tech that recruited me or something and I have a really good relationship with [him], I possibly could still go back. But right now I just want to get the release so I can have more options to look at.” Read the rest of this entry »
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ACC Afternoon Five: ACC Tournament Friday Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on March 9th, 2012

After a chalky Thursday (outside of Virginia Tech’s big win over Clemson), we get to the good stuff. Friday is when the stakes get higher and the going gets good. Today is critical for NC State and Miami, with Maryland and Virginia Tech hanging around to play spoiler, and everyone else with their eye on the big prize: the championship.

  1. New York Times: Karl Hess drama continues with the story of how Hess, infamous for ejecting two NC State legends from an RBC Center crowd against conference protocol, turned down a chance to referee the ACC Tournament. Though while Hess may be absent, his presence is still being felt. The three referees who officiated the first game of the tournament wore pieces of masking tape on their shoes with the initials “KH.”
  2. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Virginia, a team that had been decimated early in the season by defections has seen it’s depth take a few more hits this week. Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia’s freshman sixth man, underwent surgery for a broken foot on Wednesday and is out for the rest of the season. The Cavaliers had been hoping that Assane Sene, their senior center might be able to return for the tournament, but such hopes were dashed earlier this week when Tony Bennett suspended him for the rest of the season for a violation of team rules. The already shallow Cavaliers may have a tough time sustaining a tournament run with this further blow to bench depth.
  3. Washington Post: While Seth Greenberg‘s Hokies managed the only upset of the day against Clemson, Greenberg’s heart seems to be divided. Post writer John Feinstein details the troubles that have beset Greenberg’s brother, Brad. After NCAA infractions as coach at Radford, Brad Greenberg was unceremoniously drummed out of college coaching, thanks to the dreaded show-cause clause. Now in effective exile coaching in the Venezuelan league, Seth can’t help but feel for his beloved brother.
  4. News and Observer: Leonard Hamilton won a much deserved award for ACC Coach of the Year, but how did he end up rebuilding a dying a program? A system based on sound defensive principles as well as time and luck seem to be the simple recipe that led to slow but sure rise of Florida State. Leonard Hamilton seems like a good coach and even better person. It’s hard not to root for his continued success.
  5. CBS Sports: Though most of the action in the conference is in the tournament, Maryland made some waves on the recruiting trail yesterday. Securing the services of Charles Mitchell, the Terrapins look to greatly shore up their front line with a recruiting class that now features three top-100 recruits. Mitchell joins fellow forwards Shaq Cleare and Jake Layman in the wave of young men that should be descending on College Park to bolster the Terps’ front line.
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Welcoming The Big East Newcomers: Memphis Tigers

Posted by mlemaire on February 24th, 2012

After adding a flurry of new members in December, The Big East apparently wasn’t done. Recently Memphis announced they had accepted an invitation to become the Big East’s 12th member and join the conference in all sports in 2013. We rolled out the red carpet of analysis for the other three new members, so we will do the same for Memphis. As always, keep in mind, it is far too early to tell what sort of impact these teams will have in their new conference, but that won’t stop us from pontificating.

The Past

In a contest of basketball history with the other new members, no one can touch the Tigers. They also have a troubled history. Eugene Lambert led the program to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1955 and since then Memphis has played in 22 NCAA Tournaments, has gone to 11 Sweet Sixteens, six Elite Eights, two Final Fours, and two National Championship games. They have been the stomping grounds for great players like Larry Finch, Keith Lee, Elliot Perry, Anfernee Hardaway, Lorenzen Wright, and most recently, Derrick Rose.

Hey, Remember These Guys?

Of course it also true that a whole host of those appearances and wins have been vacated by the NCAA thanks to widespread rules violations. Everybody remembers the most recent snafu where John Calipari and the program dealt with infractions like providing travel money to Rose’s brother as well as playing Derrick Rose under suspicion of a fraudulent SAT score that caused the NCAA to remove its Final Four appearance and record 38-win season. But only older Tiger fans will also remember former coach Dana Kirk and the parade of allegations against him that led to his ouster and the vacation of all the team’s wins from 1982-86.

Regardless of the less-than-shiny past, the school’s football program is in tatters, so it is safe to assume that the Big East had an eye towards retaining some of their luster and reputation on the basketball court, and Memphis is an excellent fit in that regard.

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Who’s Got Next? Jarnell Stokes Thinking College, Andrew White To Kansas & More…

Posted by Josh Paunil on December 8th, 2011

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’re missing or different things you’d like to see, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Lead Story: Jarnell Stokes Going To College In January ‘Definitely An Option’

Jarnell Stokes Has A Lot On His Mind. (Nation of Blue)

Stokes Exploring His Options. Class of 2012 power forward Jarnell Stokes saw his chances of playing high school basketball for Southwind High School (TN) disappear last week, and this week he’s strongly considering graduating high school early and enrolling in college in January. Remember, Stokes has yet to commit and has a top six of Kentucky, Memphis, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida and Connecticut so he’d have to commit very soon. The 6’8″, 250-pounder says he’s been preparing to attend college next semester and that he has other options available to him that he doesn’t want to reveal just yet. Four of the schools Stokes is considering — Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida and Tennessee — have athletic scholarships available for Stokes if he were to enroll in January and he could also qualify for an academic scholarship at Memphis, leaving Kentucky as the only school that he’d have to pay for. Stokes says he has no timetable right now and doesn’t know when he’s going to commit, but he’s going to have to make a decision in the next few weeks regardless of what he wants to do.

What They’re Saying

  • Senior Andrew White on committing to Kansas: “I think it was a huge opportunity there to play. I have a great relationship with the staff. They’ve been good to me.”

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Who’s Got Next? Poythress Picks, Carter Commits and More…

Posted by Josh Paunil on November 17th, 2011

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’re missing or different things you’d like to see, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Lead Story: Poythress Picks Kentucky, UK Still Able To Nab Number One Recruiting Class

Poythress Gave UK Fans Hope To Have the Best Recruiting Class In the Country... Again (Daryl Paunil/NRS)

Big Blue Nation Has Reason To Rejoice. Don’t lie Kentucky fans, you were worried about not getting the number one recruiting class for the fourth straight year. You tweeted about it, you posted on message boards about it, you wrote on Facebook about it. But when Class of 2012 small forward Alex Poythress decided to join Big Blue Nation last Thursday, head coach John Calipari kept his 2012 class in the running to be rated as the top collection of talent in the country. The 6’7″, 220-pound wing joins shooting guard Archie Goodwin and center Willie Cauley as Coach Cal’s commitments so far with top senior targets small forward Shabazz Muhammad and power forwards Anthony Bennett and Jarnell Stokes still out there. Poythress had a terrific summer and showed the ability to consistently get to the bucket, finish in traffic and an improved perimeter shot. At times, he’s simply unstoppable when he attacks the rim and he’s able to impact the game in a number of ways whether it’s defense, rebounding or running the floor. He fits in well with Calipari’s system and will thrive with Goodwin and Cauley running the floor with him. At this point, the Wildcats have the second-best recruiting class in the country only behind Arizona’s ridiculous haul of talent but with another commitment or two they could reign supreme for the fourth straight year.

What They’re Saying:

  • Senior standout Robert Upshaw‘s mother, Ceylon Sherman, on her son choosing Kansas State: “It was a close run, he had a lot of great schools, but when it came down to it, him and all of us family just all had Kansas State. For Robert, it was about how much he liked the guys out there. He had chemistry with them.”

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