SEC M5: 10.30.12 Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on October 30th, 2012

  1. 2013 Missouri point guard recruit Travis Jorgenson de-commited over the weekend. “I just think that he wanted to open it back up because he wasn’t comfortable signing right away,” his summer coach L.J. Goolsby told Rivals.com. “It’s nothing against Missouri, he loves Missouri, he grew up there. He committed so early that he wanted to go through the process and be sure that he made the right decision.” Missouri already holds a commitment from another point guard in the  2013 class, Wesley Clark. There could be a mass exodus in the Tiger backcourt after this season, so Frank Haith may need as many guards as he can accumulate to feel comfortable with the depth chart.
  2. Speaking of Missouri’s backcourt depth, Haith suspended starting guard Mike Dixon and freshman Dominique Bull indefinitely for what he is calling a violation of team rules. While Dixon had struggled academically, Haith refused to go into depth on the reasoning of the suspension. He also wouldn’t commit to a timetable on a possible return. “The time frame will also depend on the player and their response to adversity,” said Haith. “It’s more about the everyday choices we make and the cumulative impact it has on the ability to be good stewards on the Mizzou brand.” Dixon is expected to start for the Tigers alongside preseason All-American Phil Pressey. In his absence, transfer Keion Bell will see extended minutes.
  3. On Monday, we ran through Coach John Calipari’s practice report observations, and now we get his opinion on the Wildcats’ intra-squad scrimmage. Just as in practice, Calipari continues to experiment with different lineups and using off guard Archie Goodwin at the point position. Goodwin is excelling with the ball in his hands, possibly insinuating that the speedy freshman could be the leading scorer for the Wildcats this season. Calipari has been impressed with Goodwin’s ability to score with his quick first step and ability to create off the dribble. The 6’3″ guard scored 16 points in a 20-minute scrimmage yesterday after impressing with a game high 32 points in the Blue/White scrimmage last week.
  4. Tennessee played in one of the well publicized “secret scrimmages” against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets this past weekend, coming away with a 20+ point victory. Cuonzo Martin left the game with an observation that even my wife could pick up on after watching a couple of minutes of UT. “We have to get the ball to Jarnell,” Martin said. “He can’t get the ball enough. We have to overload and let the offense play through him. Really, he can’t get enough touches. We’ve got to get it to him.” Jarnell is of course, Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee’s 6’7″ power forward who is ready for a breakout year in the post. Stokes played in just 17 games for the Vols last season but looked incredibly polished even after missing the first half of the year because he was still in high school. If only Martin can figure out a strategy to get him the ball.
  5. After forward Cody Larson made the decision to leave the Florida Gators to focus on his academics and personal life, Billy Donovan extended an opportunity to welcome Larson back to the team. “If there’s anyone who knows about changing his mind, it’s me,” said Donovan, poking fun at his own indecision regarding an offer from the Orlando Magic in 2007. “I think right now for Cody if he legitimately felt like you know what, a week, two weeks from now, I miss this, I made a huge mistake, we’re not bringing anyone in right now, he could come back to our team.” Larson had his scholarship revoked by Donovan last spring, but his 6’9″ frame would provide the Gators with a much needed commodity — size. While he was not a major contributor last season, Donovan could use more depth in the low post knowing center Patric Young’s affinity for fouling.

Brian Joyce is a writer for the SEC microsite and regular contributor for Rush The Court. Follow him on Twitter for more about SEC basketball at bjoyce_hoops.

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NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 03.20.12 Edition

Posted by Brian Goodman on March 20th, 2012

The NCAA Tournament is here and there’s more news, commentary and analysis than any of us can possibly keep up with. To make things a little easier, we’ll bring you a list of daily links gathered about teams in each of the four regions all the way through the Final Four.

South Region

Midwest Region

  • Fans and media aren’t the only ones caught up in great performances by major talent among the mid-major ranks. It was recently revealed that in 2010, Baylor coach Scott Drew and then-Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl allegedly contacted Ohio‘s D.J. Cooper about transferring, which would constitute NCAA violations if the allegations are true. It will be interesting to see whether the subject is raised during Baylor’s media session this week.
  • Yahoo! Sports’ Pat Forde opines that even if North Carolina guard Kendall Marshall returns to the fold for a potential regional final, the odds are stacked heavily against the Heels.
  • The Tar Heels’ aren’t the only team from the state recovering from some health concerns. N.C. State will face Kansas Friday, and C.J. Williams and C.J. Leslie are recovering from fatigue. The severity isn’t even comparable to North Carolina’s situation, but a few days of rest will be especially helpful to the Wolfpack.
  • Basketball Prospectus’ C.J. Moore breaks down how Kansas topped Purdue on Sunday, from Elijah Johnson‘s fortitude to Bill Self‘s halftime adjustments.
  • There are already two coaching vacancies in the Big Ten, and Ohio coach John Groce could fit the bill at either Nebraska or Illinois after the season. Groce’s Big Ten connections, when combined with his team’s head-turning performance this postseason, make him appealing to the Cornhuskers. Nebraska is a tough job, but with a heavy commitment to hoops, Athletic Director Tom Osborne could find a catch.
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ACC in the NCAAs: Scouting Virginia vs. Florida

Posted by KCarpenter on March 16th, 2012

This is a tough draw for Virginia. Florida is a very good team for a #7 seed, and that more than offsets the advantage Virginia could have theoretically gained as an unusually good #10 seed. In this match-up the NCAA did something that fans of contrasting styles love: pitting an elite offensive team against an elite defensive team. By Ken Pomeroy’s offensive efficiency rankings, Florida has the second best offense in the country after Missouri while Virginia has the 104th. On defense, Virginia ranks 5th in efficiency while Florida ranks 121st. Virginia’s star is an elite post player in Mike Scott, while Florida relies on it’s triumvirate of guards (Bradley Beal, Kenny Bonyton, and Erving Walker) to rain down threes from the perimeter. Polar opposites of each other in terms of focus, both teams share an affinity for slow pace and play their starters heavy minutes. So what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? Well, in this case, the news doesn’t look particularly good for Virginia.

How Will Donovan Contain Mike Scott?

Of all the teams in the country, few match the statistical profile of Virginia as well as Florida’s SEC brother, Alabama. Like Virginia, Alabama is a defensive-minded team that struggles to score efficiently with a post-centered attack. The Gators played Alabama twice this year, once in the regular season and once in the conference tournament and walked away with the victory both times. It’s tempting to attribute these victories, like many of Florida’s victories, to hot three-point shooting, but the Crimson Tide actually did a pretty good job against the Gators, holding them to only 28.6% and 33.3% from behind the arc. Yet Florida won, by making enough threes, getting enough offensive rebounds, and forcing enough turnovers to get the win. Does the same fate await Virginia?

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SEC Morning Five: 02.24.12 Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on February 24th, 2012

  1. Florida received bad news with the report that forward Will Yeguete is likely out for the remainder of the season with a broken foot. Yeguete was sidelined twice already this season, both for concussions. Billy Donovan confirmed the news that the foot is indeed broken and that Yeguete will miss a minimum of four to six weeks. Yeguete was averaging 6.3 rebounds and 4.5 points so far this season. Donovan will likely attempt to replace the defensive stopper with a committee of younger players. Freshman Cody Larson will probably see increased minutes, and Donovan has the option of playing additional guards in that forward slot to go with a smaller lineup.
  2. Florida failed to impress Donovan with Yeguete out of the lineup. In Tuesday’s matchup with Auburn, the Gators trailed 30-27 at halftime. Donovan had a spirited address in the locker room to spark an eventual 63-47 win. What did Donovan say? “My thing to them was, if Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem and Matt Bonner and Kenyan Weeks and Brett Nelson and Joakim Noah and Al Horford are watching right now, what’s their feeling like,” Donovan asked. ” Those guys gave their heart and soul to this program and that’s the way you’re representing our program right now with your effort, your focus and everything else? Beyond that, what do your families think right now?” The players obviously responded, and some even felt it was needed. “He needed to get on us, and I think it helped us,” guard Kenny Boynton said. One can only hope for the players sake that Donovan doesn’t have to get on them again.
  3. Coaches always preach the importance of free throws, but the discrepancy in Thursday night’s matchup between South Carolina and Vanderbilt definitely made the difference in the game. Vanderbilt made 25 of 28 free throws while the Gamecocks went four for four. “You’re not winning any games when the other team shoots 28 free throws and you shoot four,” South Carolina coach Darrin Horn said. “It’s just not going to happen.” The other reason for Vanderbilt’s win was its team defense. The Gamecocks were the third SEC opponent that the Commodores held under 50 points.
  4. A big question surrounding the SEC right now pertains to the number of teams that will end up making it into the NCAA Tournament. Florida coach Billy Donovan thinks more thanjust Kentucky, Florida, and Vanderbilt should make it in.”The league is definitely stronger, and you can tell that from the fact that there aren’t a lot of games separating us,” said Donovan. “Other than Kentucky, which is undefeated, all of us are within a game or two of each other. So, certainly there are more than three teams that deserve to be in this tournament.” However, while Alabama and Mississippi State continue on a downward spiral, it will be difficult to make the case that more than four or five should make it in comfortably. Not everyone agrees though.”Look at Tennessee; look at Arkansas. Those are teams that could get on a tear and win our tournament,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “At that point, we’ve got six teams in. And it’s six teams that can advance. It’s not like having seven teams in and only two advance past the first round. We have six teams that could win some games.”
  5. Kentucky senior Darius Miller took a major leadership role in the final minutes of a close game against Mississippi State. Miller didn’t make a single shot in the first 32 minutes of play, but scored 12 points in the final eight minutes with a slight nudge from his coach. “I’m saying, ‘You’re out, next guy, I’m not going to play you,'” coach John Calipari said of the Miller benching. “Then he went back in, and he’s bombing balls. That’s what I said, ‘You’re that senior. You’re that glue to this team. They count on you to make those shots.'” Miller was key down the stretch last year in the Wildcats run to an SEC tournament title and NCAA Final Four run.
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SEC Morning Five: 02.14.12 Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on February 14th, 2012

  1. He may not be the next John Wall or Brandon Knight, but freshman Marquis Teague is transforming into the type of point guard coach John Calipari is looking for to run his Kentucky Wildcats. “He’s transformed into what one of our typical point guards plays like,” Calipari said. “I’ve been really pleased. But it took a while to get where he is right now.” Over the last six games, Teague has 36 assists and just 11 turnovers. While many headlines focus on the other star-studded freshmen on the Wildcats roster, one needs to look no further than Teague to see the key to a deep run in March.
  2. Speaking of Kentucky’s chances in March, the Eye on College Basketball blog sees the Wildcats going into the tournament without another loss. Matt Norlander and Jeff Borzello write, “the Wildcats only have incalculable Miss State and flaky Florida left to play on the road. Then comes the SEC tournament, where Kentucky fans will smother the joint. The chances this team gets to the NCAA tournament 33-1 are better than not, even if Ken Pomeroy is telling us otherwise.” Calipari has taken teams into the NCAA Tournament with one loss twice in his career. Once with Massachusetts in 1996, and once with Memphis in 2008. You may remember both teams advanced to at least a Final Four. Well, at least I thought they did, but I can’t seem to find any evidence to prove those claims.
  3. Mississippi State has struggled on the road this season in the SEC. The Bulldogs are 1-3 away from home after losing to the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday. “If you go on the road and that team wasn’t very good, hey, the crowd wouldn’t be a factor but the one constant when you go on the road is everybody is good,” Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said. “It’s just the way it is. There’s a fine line, a very, very fine line in this league — home or away.” The Bulldogs play at LSU on Tuesday night in what will be an imporant game for both teams. Luckily for Mississippi State, it won’t be playing on the road in the NCAA Tournament in a couple of weeks.
  4. LSU is still hoping to make the NCAA Tournament after a win over an incomplete Alabama team. And The Valley Shook says, “20 wins would definitely put LSU in the NIT, and if they could somehow creep higher than that the NCAA’s remain a possibility if other teams drop some games.” The aforementioned game against Mississippi State in Baton Rouge is shaping up to be an imprtant game for both teams.
  5. Will Yeguete’s injury was mentioned in Monday’s Morning Five, and now both Yeguete and guard Mike Rosario are out for the the Gators’ game on Tuesday night. Yeguete is out with a concussion sustained on Saturday, and Rosario is sidelined by a hip pointer. The Gators also played without Cody Larson on Saturday because of the flu. Florida has lost back to back games for the first time this season, and looks to regain its momentum against Alabama, a team with issues of its own.
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SEC Morning Five: 1.20.12 Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on January 20th, 2012

  1. Head coach Anthony Grant questioned the team mentality of his Alabama squad after a 56-52 loss to Mississippi State on Saturday. “There’s a point in time when winning needs to take a priority over any individual things,” Grant said, “and I don’t think we understand that all the time.” If the Tide’s head man had questions over teamwork on Saturday, then he’s really going to ponder his club’s commitment following a 69-59 loss to Vanderbilt. Alabama trailed by as many as 23 in the second half, were outrebounded by 10, and shot just 33% as a team from the field. Rather than a lack of teamwork, maybe it’s a lack of shooting ability that has done the Crimson Tide in this season. Alabama is last in the SEC in made three-point field goals with under three per game.
  2. Forward Reginald Buckner was a huge factor in Mississippi’s first win over rival Mississippi State since January 31, 2009. Buckner pulled down 15 rebounds, blocked three shots, and scored a career-high 19 points. That’s a lot of production from the junior who averages 8.7 rebounds and just 6.8 points per game. “I thought he was tremendous,” Rebels coach Andy Kennedy said. “Obviously the difference in the game.” And not just any game — a much needed win for the up and down Rebels. “It was a statement game,” Buckner said. “We’re back in it. We’re back in the race.” Which race exactly is yet to be determined.
  3. Mississippi State point guard Dee Bost is an emotionally driven player who can trash talk with the best of them, but usually backs up his talk with positive play on the court. Bost made plenty of noise before the game, but came up short in the Bulldogs loss on Wednesday night. Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy set out to frustrate Bost by defending him with the length of 6’10” forward Terrance Henry. And it worked. Bost was four of 15 from the field for 15 points, but scored a flurry of eight points in the final 42 seconds of the game after the final outcome was already decided. “We thought the length would bother him, which it did a little bit,” Kennedy said. Bost has been the key to Mississippi State’s five-game winning streak against Ole Miss prior to this loss. In the 69-64 win in Oxford last season, Bost came up huge for the Bulldogs with 25 points, six rebounds, and eight assists.
  4. Kentucky forward Terrence Jones credits a new attitude for his recent 13-point, nine-rebound performance against Arkansas. “I’m just not thinking as much,” Jones said. “Just being less conscious about my hand. Worrying about messing up because I wasn’t playing like I was as a freshman. Just thinking too much about every little play.” Jones refuses to use his finger injury as an excuse for his poor play, which is appropriate considering his struggles started well before the December 17th setback. The 6’8″ power forward has yet to record a double-double this season, despite reaching that mark thirteen times as a freshman.
  5. Billy Donovan is looking to his bench to fill the void left by the ankle injury of center Patric Young. “Pat is obviously a big part of our team,” Florida forward Erik Murphy said. “He’s going through a little bit of an injury, and we have got to pick up the slack, step up. All of us collectively as a group need to.” Young is expected to play on Saturday against LSU, but how much and how effective he is remains to be seen. If Young is unable to play significant minutes, Donovan could turn to freshman Cody Larson. “I’m gaining more and more confidence and trust in Cody,” Donovan said. “I’ve put him in now the last several games, and he’s given us some good minutes.” Young was limited to just 13 minutes in the Gators’ last game against South Carolina.
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SEC Morning Five: 12.21.11 Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on December 21st, 2011

  1. “The Breakfast Club” has started at the University of Kentucky, and this version has nothing to do with Molly Ringwald. Without class or other obligations to worry about over the holiday break, several players have taken it upon themselves to lift weights, eat breakfast together, and practice for the remainder of the morning. “Michael Jordan did that Breakfast Club,” head coach John Calipari said. “They met at 6 a.m., they trained, they stretched, they had a personal trainer and then they ate breakfast and then they went to practice. They did it every day, including game day. So we have four guys doing it right now. Hopefully, a couple more guys will step up and start doing the breakfast club.” While Calipari declined at first to say who the four were, he did say, “It is a good group of guys and the guys that you expect to be in it are in it. Hopefully, the other guys will join in and do it.” Kentucky beat Samford on Tuesday night and will play again on Thursday night against Loyola (Md). The Wildcats are hoping the hard work and extra effort will pay off before next week’s showdown against Louisville on New Year’s Eve.
  2. Florida freshman Bradley Beal is becoming more comfortable on the court, and that is a bad sign for opposing defenses that felt Beal has scored points at ease 11 games into his college career. “I’m not as nervous as I was,” Beal said. “Basically, it’s starting to come natural and I’m playing within the flow of the game, not really forcing anything. Just relaxing and enjoying the flow of the game.” Beal is averaging 15 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, but is only shooting 33.9% from beyond the arc. If Beal settles into the college game, and improves his shooting averages (45.8 FG% and 69.4 FT%), he could be a superstar in the Gators’ backcourt. Beal has plenty of competition for shots as guards Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker average 18.7 and 14.5 points per game respectively.
  3. After starting out as one of the hottest teams in the country, Alabama has lost three of its last four games. However, a tough non-conference schedule will benefit the Tide in the long run. “I don’t think it can do anything but help us,” head coach Anthony Grant said. “We’ve been faced with a lot of different styles of play, a lot of different challenges in terms of matchups and things that we’ve had to go against both offensively and defensively. Any time you play against quality competition, it can’t do anything but help you.” But the Tide’s three-point shooting won’t improve simply from playing better competition. The Tide are shooting a dismal 24.4% from beyond the arc, only making an average of three long distance shots per game. Its three-point shooting has to get better for Alabama to move past this losing streak.
  4. Florida may be a little under-manned in its game with Florida State on Thursday. Mike Rosario and Cody Larson, both of whom missed the Gators’ victory over Mississippi Valley State, are doubtful. “I would say that probably both those guys are doubtful. Could that change? Yes,” head coach Billy Donovan said. “I’m not ready to say that they’re not playing, but Mike’s back has flared up and Cody’s got strep throat so we’re probably not going to find anymore out, probably until see what happens in practice on Wednesday.” Rosario is averaging 9.4 points per game while Larson is scoring 1.3 per game. The Gators won last year’s match-up with FSU 55-51 in Tallahassee. Florida hasn’t lost a home game in the O’Connell Center since a 72-69 loss to South Carolina on January 15, 2011.
  5. Kentucky’s freshman walk-on Sam Malone suffered a torn ACL in the team’s win over UT Chattanooga on Saturday. Calipari tweeted Tuesday afternoon with his thoughts on the guard. “Losing Sam Malone to an ACL injury is heartbreaking,” Calipari said. “He has been a great teammate and an even better person. You never want to hear someone is injured, but for Sam to go through his fourth knee injury is especially tough because he’s worked so hard to get where he is. He has become a valuable member of our team and quickly became a fan favorite. We look forward to Sam making a full recovery.” Malone has quickly become a fan favorite in Lexington for his fearlessness in firing up shots late in blowout wins. There is no word yet on when or if Malone will be able to return.
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Morning Five: 09.14.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on September 14th, 2011

  1. The NCAA has been getting a lot of criticism lately. Ok, they always get a lot of criticism. Despite what some people thinks sometimes the NCAA gets things right. The case of Lionel Gomis is one example of that. Gomis, who is starting his freshman year at Siena, grew up in Senegal moving from house to house after his mother died when he was 14 and unable to go to school for two years due to financial hardship before he was brought to the US as sports development program enrolling in a school in the United States. Gomis was able to overcome his rough beginnings and receive a scholarship at Siena. However, a NCAA rule that was recently adopted that stated a student-athlete had to complete his or her core curriculum in a five-year period.  Due to the two years that Gomis was not in school in Senegal he failed to meet these requirements so the NCAA said that he would have his eligibility reduced by three years (two years for the time he was not in school in Senegal and one year when he came to the United States and had to be reclassified due to his limited English proficiency). If the decision was upheld, Gomis would have only been able to play one year of college basketball. However, the NCAA ruled yesterday that Gomis would get two years of eligibility back for the time he missed in Senegal although they were sticking with their earlier ruling regarding his reclassification so as of right now he would not be eligible to play until next season. Siena is appealing that part of the ruling, but it looks like the NCAA may have gotten one right (at least partially)
  2. Last week, Billy Donovan welcomed Erik Murphy back to the Florida basketball team without having to miss any playing time after his involvement in an incident in April where he was arrested with two others (Cody Larson and team manager Josh Adel) for breaking into a car outside a bar after getting into an argument with staff about a lost wallet. Larson’s status is a little less certain as he was previously arrested for sharing hydrocodone pills (his account of the story). Larson appears to have gotten a bit of good news as he has avoided any jail time for now after accepting a plea agreement of 200 hours of community service, submitting to a substance abuse evaluation and potential treatment, paying the victim $240 and writing him a letter of apology, paying $200 for costs related to the case, serving one year of supervised probation, and not consuming any alcohol or other controlled substances during that year. The next step is whether or not the agreement will affect his previous case in South Dakota. If a court there decides that it does, Larson may face additional penalties including potential jail time as a condition of his suspended sentence in his home state. Neither UF nor Donovan have released a statement on Larson yet.
  3. Yesterday, we mentioned that the proposal to name the court after Gary Williams at the Comcast Center was facing significant resistance. It looks like it wasn’t that significant as Maryland announced yesterday that it was going to name the court after Williams. We all know what Williams has accomplished and his resume at Maryland stacks up well with any ACC coach of recent vintage outside of Mike Krzyzewski, Dean Smith, and Roy Williams. Even though naming the court after Williams will cost the school the potential revenue for naming rights for the court it does open up a myriad of advertising opportunities for antiperspirant deodorant.
  4. Normally, the hiring of a Division II coach without a major track record or a history of scandal wouldn’t merit an inclusion in our exclusive Morning Five. However, when the coach is Mark Prosser, the son of the late Skip Prosser, it qualifies. Yesterday, Prosser was named head coach of Brevard College after working as an assistant at Wofford since 2008. For Prosser, who had spent five years as an assistant at Bucknell before going to Wofford, this will be his first college head coaching position. Prosser has a tough task ahead of him as Brevard went 13-14 last year and only his predecessor, Mike Jones, had spent more than four seasons as a head coach at the school.
  5. USC guard Jio Fontan underwent ACL surgery yesterday at a Los Angeles orthopedic center that deemed “successful” although we are not that certain about a claim this early well before many complications can occur. For his part, Fontan appeared upbeat heading into surgery and looking forward to rehab as he sent this tweet prior to his surgery and apparently responding to well-wishers after his surgery via his Twitter account. We wish Fontan the best in his rehab and hope to finally see him playing in a Trojan uniform in the near future.
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Erik Murphy Reinstated At Florida

Posted by jstevrtc on September 8th, 2011

According to the Gainesville Sun, earlier today Florida head coach Billy Donovan announced that junior forward Erik Murphy had been reinstated to the basketball team. Along with teammate Cody Larson and a team manager, Murphy was arrested back on April 12 because the young men felt the need to try and break into a car in St. Augustine. After pleading the charges down, Murphy paid some cash, did his community service, and completed a substance abuse evaluation program, according the the linked article. Murphy is also not allowed to partake of alcohol or any other controlled substance for the next ten months. The completion of the assigned legal punishments facilitated Murphy’s reinstatement to the team, according to Donovan.

Murphy Is Back, Having Fulfilled All His Legal Obligations

Because this is indeed the off-season and we’re several weeks away from the official start of team practices, one wonders how much team activity Murphy actually missed in serving the suspension from his squad. Nevertheless, if you’re a head coach, you have to do that sort of thing no matter the time of year. We’ll give credit to Murphy for completing his obligations without pushing the envelope on the beginning of practices in October and before individual workouts really heat up. Even considering the team’s Elite Eight showing last year, Gator fans expect nothing less in the upcoming, so we’re sure Murphy (4.3 PPG, 2.3 RPG in an average 10.7 MPG last season) is glad to have this behind him so he can concentrate on the obligations that come with being the only returning UF player taller than 6’9”. And yes, because his name is Erik Murphy, you’d probably expect an update on Vince, Drama, Ari and Turtle, as well, but because Entourage has been floundering for some time, we’ll let this opportunity for a joke pass without further comment.

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RTC Summer Updates: Southeastern Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on August 1st, 2011

With the completion of the NBA Draft and the annual coaching and transfer carousels nearing their ends, RTC is rolling out a new series, RTC Summer Updates, to give you a crash course on each Division I conference during the summer months. Our latest update comes courtesy of our SEC correspondent, Gerald Smith.  This season he will be covering the NCAA Basketball with zeal, nerd-culture references and a fistful of silliness at halftimeadjustment.com. You can also follow him on Twitter (@fakegimel).

Reader’s Take

Summer Storylines

  • One Big, Mostly-Happy Conference: After several years of divisional lopsidedness in conference scheduling and tournament seeding – to the dismay of programs like Alabama — the SEC has merged the West and East divisions for basketball. A 16-game conference schedule, consisting of the same pairings within and across old divisions, remains for the 2011-12 season. Starting with this year’s SEC Tournament, teams will be seeded and awarded first-round byes by their overall conference record. The most vocal dissenter against peace, conference unity and love was Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury. He argued unsuccessfully that divisional championships create excitement for the fans. MSU athletics must have sold some awesome merchandise for Coach Stansbury’s six SEC West Division championships.
  • Too Much of a Good Thing? - Stansbury also argued that a united 12-team conference won’t produce a true champion unless each team plays a full 22-game home and away conference schedule. In July’s coaches’ conference call, some SEC coaches (South Carolina’s Darrin Horn & LSU’s Trent Johnson) agreed, but wonder if such a schedule is feasible. Other coaches (Kentucky’s John Calipari & Alabama’s Anthony Grant) believe that teams should worry more about strengthening their non-conference scheduling and RPI ratings. Increasing the schedule to at least 18 games would placate athletic directors and the SEC’s broadcast partners, but would add further scheduling imbalance and hysteria. In meetings, the decision to increase the number of conference games was postponed until after the 2011-12 season. The SEC coaches will meet again later in August to debate their options.
  • Missouri Newbies - Two coaches previously employed in the Show-Me State join the SEC during this period of conference remodeling. As an assistant under former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson, new Arkansas coach Mike Anderson became very familiar with the “40 Minutes of Hell” system (and Coach Richardson’s snakeskin boot collection). After stops with UAB and Missouri, Anderson returned to Fayetteville to replace John Pelphrey.
  • Caught lying to cover-up his impermissible BBQ — mmmm… impermissible BBQ… *gurgle noise* — Tennessee was forced to fire Bruce Pearl. Missouri State’s Cuonzo Martin was hired to fill Pearl’s vacated orange blazer. With his athletic director resigning and additional NCAA penalties applied to his program, Martin may long for his past days in Springfield.

A major growth spurt led to a similar shoot up the 2011 high school rankings for Kentucky's Anthony Davis. (Sam Forencich/USA Basketball)

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Around The Blogosphere: May 11, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on May 11th, 2011

If you are interested in participating, send your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com as we will be updating these posts throughout the day.

News

  • Erik Murphy, Cody Larson Have Charges Reduced From Felonies To Misdemeanors: “That’s likely very good news for both young men’s futures, especially Murphy’s. Though there’s still some expense and punishment involved in dealing with misdemeanor charges — and, though this isn’t a court of law, I think most of us suspect there is a good chance Murphy and Larson are guilty — it is a far better scenario than a felony charge.” (Alligator Army)
  • Ralph Sampson III Stays: “After much debate and drama it is official that Ralph Sampson III will return for his senior season as a Minnesota Golden Gopher.” (The Daily Gopher)
  • Guerrero Officially Surrenders to Bruin Nation, Restores UCLA Students’ Sideline Seats at Pauley: After a lot of fighting the students were able to get their spot on the sidelines back. (Bruins Nation)

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Florida Players Arrested & Inadvertently Provide Police With Confessions

Posted by nvr1983 on April 11th, 2011

We mentioned the story of Florida forwards Erik Murphy and Cody Larson in our Morning Five post earlier today, but a new detail has emerged that makes the story even more ridiculous. As we noted before the two players were involved in an argument at a St. Augustine bar where they claimed to have lost a wallet. When they confronted an employee working at the bar who was counting money at the end of the night they were thrown out of the bar. According to reports, the two players along with Josh Adel, a student-manager on the basketball team, were seen trying to break into the car of a bar employee in the nearby parking lot. When employees confronted them, the three ran away, but Adel was caught about about a block later. According to police officers, they convinced Adel, who used to have a Twitter account and was apparently planning to have a wild weekend, to call Murphy and convince him to turn himself in. Murphy agreed and walked back to where the police were to turn himself in. This is the part where it gets interesting…

Larson, still on the loose, then called Murphy seven or eight times while Murphy was in the back of the police car and they began to discuss how they would get out of the charges while on speaker phone. That’s right. They were discussing how to get out of an arrest on speaker phone in the back of a police car with officers present and a tape recorder in the car. Eventually Larson was convinced by the other two to turn himself in. Murphy and Larson were charged with one felony count of third-degree burglary while Adel was charged with principal to burglary (as the lookout). All three were released after posting bond.

Things are not looking good for Larson (L) and Murphy (R)

The University of Florida has not released a statement on the matter yet, but we can’t imagine that this will end well for the three particularly Larson, who already had received a 120-day suspended jail sentence and 2 years probation on charges of illegal use and possession of Hydrocodone while he was still in high school and he is still within that 2 year window now. Billy Donovan was aware of the charges when he was recruiting Larson, but decided to offer him a scholarship anyway. The arrests could be a big blow to the Gators next season as the two 6’10” forwards were expected to fill some of the massive void created by the departure of Alex Tyus, Vernon Macklin, and Chandler Parsons. Murphy averaged 4.3 PPG and 2.3 RPG in just 10.8 minutes per game as a sophomore and was expected to complement Patric Young on the inside as the Gators transitioned to a very different team. Larson, who redshirted this past season, but was a highly touted recruit even with his legal problems, was also expected to contribute significantly. Now, it appears that Donovan will have to scramble to find additional help for Young on the inside unless he decides to keep either one or both of these two on the team despite the arrest.

Update: Audio from the time around the arrest where, in an attempt to get Larson to turn himself in, Adel says, “We’re not in f-ing Gainesville. They [St. Augustine Police] don’t give a f-.” Later on Murphy tries to come up with ways to get out of the arrest before Adel talks him out of it.


“We’re Not In Gainesville, They Don’t Give a F—“ by sportsxbrooks

(Video clip with the audio from the arrest available here via SportsByBrooks)

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