SEC Morning Five: 11.02.11 Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on November 2nd, 2011

  1. Rumors are circulating in Lexington that guard Stacey Poole, Jr., is frustrated and considering transferring from the University of Kentucky. Stacey’s father got involved saying, “I can’t confirm the rumor at this time.” Poole didn’t receive much playing time last year for the Cats, and with star recruit after star recruit committing to John Calipari’s team, it’s not likely that his court time will increase in the future. Reports indicate that Poole has not impressed coach John Calipari in practice thus far this year, and the player has become increasingly disappointed with his role.
  2. Reports out of Vanderbilt’s practices are that freshman guard Dai Jon Parker is going to help tremendously with the Commodores’ shaky perimeter defense. Vanderbilt struggled mightily last year in that area, especially with the defensive liability of starting point guard Brad Tinsley. Kevin Stallings’ team ranked ninth in points allowed last year in the SEC. If Parker can provide shutdown defense on the speedy backcourts populating the SEC, he could see significant playing time in his first year with the ‘Dores.
  3. Speaking of the Commodores, Vandy coach Kevin Stallings feels somewhat fortunate that injured center Festus Ezeli wasn’t out longer than the expected six to eight weeks on his sprained MCL. “Anytime a guy (gets hurt) in the knee area, the first thing you think of is he done for the season?” Stallings said. “Fortunately that was not the case.” Stallings knows that not having Ezeli manning in the post for a while will have a huge effect on his team’s play. Anticipating early season tests against Louisville, Xavier, and several other ranked teams, Stallings said, “we’re not the team that’s picked in the Top 10 without him.”
  4. We mentioned this yesterday, but Chris Herren’s inspiring documentary, UnGuardable, aired on ESPN on Tuesday night chronicling his ugly battle with drug addiction. The story hits very close to home for Florida Gators forward Erik Murphy, according to the Gainesville Sun. Murphy’s father asked Herren to mentor his son after Murphy had some troubles of his own last season. Murphy learned a lot from Herren both on and off the court, and here’s hoping the lessons will leave a lasting positive impression to keep him out of trouble and playing basketball.
  5. Speaking of trouble, Auburn announced that head coach Tony Barbee has suspended a pair of players for a violation of team rules. There is no word yet on the rules broken by guards Tony Neysmith and Josh Langford, nor is there information about how long the suspension will run. Neysmith averaged 2.4 points and 1.3 assists per game while Langford averaged 4.6 points and 2.6 rebounds per game last season. Auburn, a team rebuilding after a 4-12 SEC record in Barbee’s first season on the Plains, really just needs as many live bodies as it can suit up at this point, so this is rather unfortunate news for Tiger fans.
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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 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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Conference Report Card: SEC

Posted by Brian Goodman on April 18th, 2011

Jared Quillen is the RTC correspondent for the SEC conference. We will be publishing a series of conference report cards over the next week for conferences that got multiple NCAA bids to recap the conference, grade the teams, and look at the future for the conference.

Conference Recap

  • It was a good year for the Southeastern Conference. After a weak showing in the NCAA Tournament last year, the SEC was the only conference with multiple teams (Kentucky and Florida) in the Elite Eight. The SEC also got five teams into the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three years. It was a major improvement over the sad slump that was 2009 when the SEC only qualified LSU, Tennessee, and Mississippi State at 8, 9, and 13 seeds, respectively.
  • When the season started, I predicted the conference could get five and possibly six teams in the tournament and I still contend that Alabama was snubbed.  But regardless of that, five teams is a good showing and a sign of improvement for a conference that lost a little respect as an elite conference in the past few years.
  • Florida was consistent all year, winning close games by playing calmly even when trailing late, but the biggest turning point for the conference came when Kentucky finally was able to win those same close games.  The Wildcats were sitting at 7-9 in conference play and likely facing a first-round game in the SEC when they won close games against Florida, Vanderbilt, and Tennessee finishing the regular season 10-6 and easily marching through the conference tournament.  Kentucky was the favorite at the Final Four in Houston, but poor shooting likely cost the Wildcats their eighth national championship.  And the debate about John Calipari’s ability to win it all with young teams goes on.
Brandon Knight came up big for John Calipari when he needed the star freshman guard the most.

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Recruiting Rumor Mill: 11.08.10 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on November 8th, 2010

Just when you figured that the Recruiting Rumor Mill would start to slow down one teenager start makes news by changing his mind about having previously changed his mind while another does so by deciding to go to college early.

  • The biggest news of the week was of course Myck Kabongo deciding that he did want to go to Texas after all. We are going to wait until he signs on the dotted line before we go ahead and write it down in ink. Fool us once. . .
  • Rutgers commit Kadeem Jack, who has already graduated from high school, but opted to take a prep year, has decided that he wants to go to Rutgers sooner rather than later and will reportedly enroll there in January. He tried talking the coaches into letting him play this year, but they talked him out of it and he will play for Scarlet Knights in the fall of 2011 as previously anticipated.
  • Tyler Adams, who made news by backing out of his commitment to Duke, has committed to Georgetown, which shouldn’t be that surprising since Adams attended Georgetown’s Midnight Madness even when he was still committed to Duke.

    Tyler Adams: The Player Who Turned Down Coach K

  • Speaking of Duke they landed a commitment from Quinn Cook, one of the top point guards in this year’s class. Normally this would be bigger next except Duke already has a commitment from Austin Rivers, the top guard in the class. And they also have Kyrie Irving, Andre Dawkins, and Seth Curry, all of whom will have eligibility left after this season although Irving could be gone after this year.
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