AAC M5: 02.14.14 Edition

Posted by Mike Lemaire on February 14th, 2014

AAC_morning5_header

  1. It has been a roller-coaster freshman campaign for talented Memphis big man Dominic Woodson. The 6-foot-10 and 300-pound center has a lot of talent and moves extremely well for a man his size, but there have been plenty of not-so-subtle hints that Woodson hasn’t quite figured out the whole maturity thing and still has a lot to learn. Yesterday, coach Josh Pastner let it be known that Woodson has been suspended from the team indefinitely for cussing from the bench during the team’s win over Central Florida. Pastner kicked him off the bench during the second half of the game and while it seems petty to suspend a player for curse words, it’s not hard to understand that cussing is just part of the problem for Woodson. It seems unlikely that Woodson will be suspended for the rest of the season, although he doesn’t play a lot to begin with, but it does sound like Pastner is sending a serious message for his big man to clean up his act. Hopefully Woodson receives the message loud and clear because if his behavior doesn’t show marked improvement Pastner probably won’t put up with much more.
  2. In contrast, Tigers’ freshman Kuran Iverson is handling the transition to college basketball much better than Woodson. Iverson might have been even more highly touted than Woodson coming out of high school in Hartford, Connecticut and yet he is playing less than 10 minutes per game and has yet to make a real difference for the team this season. Iverson gets a chance to return home this weekend as Memphis travels to player UConn and he said that he will have plenty of family in attendance, which is understandable since the XL Center is apparently just “two minutes from his house”. Unfortunately (primarily for sportswriters), the traditional storyline about a hometown player returning to wreak havoc on the nearby team that spurned him doesn’t quite fit in this situation as Iverson didn’t really want to go to UConn and the Huskies never seemed seriously interested in Iverson either. Hopefully he does get a chance to play in front of his friends and family and his attitude seems positive, so hopefully the playing time will come down the road as well.
  3. Four players from the conference — Memphis’ Joe Jackson, UConn’s Shabazz Napier, Louisville’s Russ Smith, and Cincinnati’s Sean Kilpatrick — were named to the Naismith Trophy Midseason Top 30 list yesterday. The folks picking this list got it right, at least in regards to the AAC, as those four have easily been the conference’s four best players and it’s not really close. When I first started to think of anyone who got snubbed, I was quickly surprised to realize just how far these four have separated themselves from the rest of the pack. Jackson’s statistics don’t quite measure up to the other three’s numbers, but he has arguably meant more to his team than anyone other than Kilpatrick and so he deserves to be on the list just as much as the other guys. That said, when you look at the combination of value to the team and all-around numbers, it is clear that Kilpatrick has the best chance of any of these players to actually win the award. He probably won’t, because there are far more high-profile candidates having fantastic seasons, but he is the only one with a real shot at winning the award.
  4. Louisville wanted to play Thursday’s game against Temple in Philadelphia. But the Owls, hoping to maximize fan turnout against one of the conference’s best teams, decided to postpone the game until Friday evening due to weather conditions. Cardinals’ coach Rick Pitino is anxious to get back on the court because his team hasn’t played in nearly 10 days and a Courier-Journal reporter didn’t help matters when he told Pitino that teams coming off a six-day layoff or more in the American Athletic Conference are 0-8 in their first game back. Pitino did point out that the extra day would help guard Wayne Blackshear shake the cobwebs from his concussion, but it’s still obvious that the Cardinals aren’t pumped to spend another full day in Philly. Both sides have a point in the matter, but it’s Temple’s home game so ultimately it’s their call. And frankly, it all seems to be much ado about nothing because the Owls are terrible and will need more than help from the weather to beat the Cardinals.
  5. Now that CBSSports.com has caught on, am I allowed to pat myself on the back for mentioning that the best AAC teams feasting on the terrible AAC teams is a big reason why the conference has as many ranked teams as any other conference in the country? Parrish deserves more credit since I just mentioned it in passing and he actually fleshed out the argument and used numbers to back it up but he illustrates the point well — the bottom half of the American is awful and it’s helping the other teams in the conference. Parrish does give credit where credit is due by pointing out that SMU and Cincinnati are much better than anyone expected and that is another reason why so many of the conference’s teams are ranked. But folks picking NCAA Tournament winners should be wary of pumping up the AAC because the teams that will make the tournament will undeniably have inflated win totals thanks to consistently dominating the conference’s worst teams.
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Is Rick Barnes a Dead Man Walking at Texas?

Posted by Chris Johnson on October 10th, 2013

Chris Johnson is an RTC Columnist. He can be reached @ChrisDJohnsonn.

By the start of next college football season, two of the sport’s most high-profile jobs will have new coaches. One of them (USC) already fired its former coach, Lane Kiffin, and has presumably begun searching for a replacement. The other (Texas) has yet to dump longtime coach Mack Brown, but unless the Longhorns can engineer a miraculous midseason turnaround and win the Big 12 – and even that may not be enough to save Brown’s job – it’s all but guaranteed he too will be gone by the end of the season. That seems even more likely after former Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds, a longtime supporter of Brown, resigned last week. Both of these job searches will be fascinating to observe; it’s been a long time since two true titans of the sport have undergone head coaching changes. We’re more concerned about the college hoops side of things here, but that doesn’t mean we need to stop talking about coaching turnover. USC hired a new head coach, Dunk City orchestrator Andy Enfield, in April, and Texas enters the season with Rick Barnes’ coaching hot seat simmering. That was the general consensus following Texas’ 16-18 finish (and NCAA Tournament miss) last season, but the possibility seems even greater after comments published in Sports Illustrated reporter Pete Thamel’s recent article on the Texas athletic department shined a critical light on Barnes and Longhorns basketball. One damning assessment came from an unnamed high-ranking Texas official: “I can’t imagine [Barnes] turning it around.”

Will Rick Barnes last beyond this season? (Getty Images)

Will Rick Barnes last beyond this season? (Getty Images)

There were other harsh statements regarding Barnes included in Thamel’s piece (along with a number of unquoted characterizations from Thamel himself), and taken together, they seemed to paint a picture of a program in desperate need of a coaching change. Over 15 seasons at the school, Barnes has led the Longhorns to three Big 12 regular season championships, made four Sweet Sixteens, two Elite Eights and one Final Four. He has brought in elite high school players like Kevin Durant, Avery Bradley, Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph and Damion James. His teams almost always – even last season, when it ranked sixth in effective field goal percentage defense – play some of the toughest defense in the country. As C.J. Moore of Basketball Prospectus points out, Texas has finished in the top 10 of Ken Pomeroy’s defensive efficiency rankings in 10 of the last 11 seasons. If that’s all true, why have the Longhorns struggled so much lately?

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Morning Five: 08.01.13 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on August 1st, 2013

morning5

  1. See that date up there at the top of the post? Yeah, August 1. Also known as the downswing of the summer, and the corresponding slow, gradual ramp-up to the next college basketball season. It’s not yet time to get excited, but it’s definitely worth a nod to the notion of a season getting here sooner rather than later. With that said, how about some super-duper-early preview materials to get the month started? SI.com‘s Andy Glockner gets things going with a look at the new Big East, featuring three new schools and an interesting existential question on whether a basketball-centric conference can survive and even thrive in major college athletics. And in case you missed it from a few days ago, Glockner also did a review of the remnants of that conference — the AAC — with a heavy emphasis on the defending national champions. 
  2. While on the subject of these two non-BCS leagues, Mike DeCourcy examines how a proposed $2,000 “living expenses” stipend that the top football conferences are hoping to add (especially if they pack up for a Divison 4 entity) would impact the likes of these conferences. It’s not an easy question to tackle, nor is it something that the “high-resource” schools populating the Big East and AAC necessarily want to see happen. That said, as DeCourcy notes, there is no realistic scenario where huge basketball schools like Connecticut, Cincinnati or Georgetown would allow regional and national rivals in the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12 to offer recruitsan additional and legal financial incentive without also doing so on their own. Those schools would simply have to rework their financial sheets to make it happen, which may require some level of creativity among their accountants and senior management, but let’s not pretend that college athletics isn’t awash in money. The issue at most relevant schools is on the expenditures side, not the revenue one.
  3. And what about those revenues? It’s time for your near-daily Ed O’Bannon lawsuit update, and this one is a good one. In a 2-1 appellate decision involving a different case but one that will be instructive to the O’Bannon group’s decision, the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled on Wednesday that video game maker EA must face claims against it for the usage of college players’ likenesses. The video game company had argued that it was protected by artistic license under the First Amendment, but the court rejected that argument. EA, of course, was notorious for using college football and basketball player likenesses to the point of absurdity in its video games, yet still claiming player anonymity because the names were removed from their virtual jerseys. It sounds ridiculous, and it is. As the court stated: the video game likeness had the “same height, weight, skin tone, hair color, hairstyle, handedness, home state, play style (pocket passer), visor preference, facial features, and school year” as the defendant (former Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller). What does this mean for O’Bannon? SI.com sports law expert Michael McCann believes that it means EA will settle its case with that group, leaving its co-defendants the NCAA and Collegiate Licensing Corporation to twist in the wind for the major payouts. Either way, this is another signal that big change is on the horizon.
  4. Stipends, Division 4, huge-dollar lawsuits… the NCAA is taking hits on all sides right now. Still, the prevailing wisdom is that no matter what transmogrified shape major college athletics eventually assumes, everyone’s beloved NCAA Tournament will not be messed with. The positive cash flow of over $700 million per year to the NCAA (and eventually parsed out to the schools) is just too valuable to destroy — so goes the thinking, at least. But, as Gary Parrish notes in one of his best columns in a long while, the potential of the monied schools choosing the nuclear option is at least worth our consideration. If there’s a dollar to be made, this cabal has proven that they’ll pursue it, time and time again, and often in the face of public sentiment. If, as we’ve also argued in this very space, the big-time schools decide that they can run their own version of March Madness resulting in a larger piece of the pie than they currently receive, then, as Parrish says, “smarter people [have done] dumber things.” We cannot disagree.
  5. In the meantime, America is stuck with the Texases and Ohio States of the world sharing postseason basketball space with the likes of VCU and Gonzaga. Arizona, as a member of the burgeoning Pac-12, is closer to the former group than the latter. And with Sean Miller at the helm, the Wildcats are poised to dominate west coast basketball and stay as a national powerhouse for the next decade or longer. This SBNation.com report from Scott Coleman notes that only two schools have ripped off top 10 recruiting classes in each of the last three years: Kentucky, obviously, but also Miller’s Wildcats. This year’s recruiting class will join a strong returning group from last season to potentially vault Arizona to the top of the Pac-12 standings, and if the reports about Aaron Gordon’s performances over the summer are any indication, he may just find himself standing as the best prospect in the country not named Andrew Wiggins this time next year.
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Big 12 M5: 12.19.12 Edition

Posted by Nate Kotisso on December 19th, 2012

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  1. Yesterday I talked about the success Oklahoma had in Saturday’s win over Texas A&M when the Sooners went on a important 8-0 second half run using a four-guard lineup. Well, they probably could have used some of that last night. The Sooners fell to Stephen F. Austin by a score of 56-55, making this OU’s first non-conference loss in Norman since 2007 (coincidentally enough to these same Lumberjacks). OU led 30-26 at halftime but SFA came out on a 19-4 run to start the second half and led by as many as 11 points. The Sooners then countered with an 18-6 spurt to take a brief 52-51 lead, but OU’s Buddy Hield had a chance to possibly force overtime with four seconds left but obviously he didn’t. I don’t think we’ll see a whole lot of OU-SFA games again in the future.
  2. The struggles of Rodney McGruder in Bruce Weber’s brand-new motion offense are well documented, which makes last night’s performance against Texas Southern all the more encouraging. K-State won the game but McGruder lit up the Tigers for 26 points on 12-of-17 shooting. If the Cats want to do anything in March, much less Big 12 play, the senior McGruder needs to be at the top of his game this season. One fun note from this game: Former Oklahoma State and current Texas Southern guard Ray Penn made the most of his return to a Big 12 arena, pouring in 24 points and dishing out five assists in the defeat.
  3. If you’re a fan of Big 12 basketball as a whole, there hasn’t been much to stick your chest out about this year. But I found something to be proud of: all the über-talented freshmen. CBSSports.com ranked the top five freshmen in college basketball and two of them hail from the Big 12. Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart has arguably become the most versatile freshman point guard in the country, or maybe just point guard, period, in America by putting together averages of 13 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals per contest. The newbie on this week’s list at number three is Ben McLemore from Kansas. The St. Louis native has had an impressive three game stretch against Oregon State, Colorado and Belmont by averaging 20.7 points per game which includes 9-of-15 shooting from behind the arc. Freshmen — this is our silver lining.
  4. “I don’t know about my teammates but I play at the level of the competition.” That quote is the last thing you want to hear if you’re a coach or fan but it comes from Oklahoma State’s LeBryan Nash. If I may play Devil’s Advocate, can you blame him? The Cowboys are 8-1, with quality wins, a Top 25 ranking, and talent everywhere. But if there’s a time to not slack off, it’s now. They have UT-Arlington and Tennessee Tech on the schedule before playing Gonzaga on New Year’s Eve prior to Big 12 play. Nash said that he wants to change his attitude of playing down to teams, though. The first step in dealing with a problem is acknowledging that there is one to begin with. Now prove it.
  5. Here’s a weekly favorite of mine — and it should be yours too. Gary Parrish’s Poll Attacks spotlights the horrible mistakes writers and coaches make on their Top 25 ballots. This week, there’s some confusion as to why a certain Big 12 team received two votes from coaches that didn’t even deserve one. If there’s just one vote, it probably looks like a mistake. But a second vote makes you think otherwise.
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A Contrarian Viewpoint: Back Off Gillispie Until He Gives His Side of the Story

Posted by dnspewak on September 7th, 2012

Danny Spewak is a Big 12 microsite staffer and an RTC correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter @dspewak.

Billy Gillispie, the gruff, divisive dictator in charge of Texas Tech’s basketball program, suddenly finds himself as helpless and powerless as ever. Stuck in a hospital in Lubbock, current and former Red Raider players have turned on him publicly, telling CBS Sports he violated NCAA rules, punished them in practice and made their lives a living hell for an entire season. They’re saying nasty things — things that could all but end Gillispie’s coaching career, which already needed saving on one occasion after that messy divorce with Kentucky. They’re saying he forced a player with a stress fracture to practice despite needing serious medical attention, and they’re saying he routinely held practices for hours and hours at a time during the season, much longer than the 20 hours per week allotted by the NCAA. After Jeff Goodman’s investigative work blew the door off the situation, CBS colleague Gary Parrish then penned his own piece.

If the allegations against Gillispie are true — and there’s no reason to believe they aren’t — then he’s a man who didn’t learn from his downfall at Kentucky and probably shouldn’t be coaching college basketball anyway.

Goodman and Parrish cite several sources, one of which confirmed a tale of Kader Tapsoba running stairs with a stress fracture as he sobbed from the pain. We’re hearing about Bear Bryant kind of shenanigans, outdated tactics used by tyrants in the 1952, not 2012. Put it all together, and Parrish, quite matter-of-factly, says the following: “Gillispie must go.” ESPN’s Andy Katz and Jason King spoke to several unnamed current players, and the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal managed to actually speak to Gillispie and get a no comment: “There will be an appropriate time to talk about that,” Gillispie told reporter Nick Kosmider. “Right now I’m trying to get better.”

Billy Gillispie Finds Himself in Trouble

Problem is, his superiors may not wait until his health recovers to make a decision on his employment. With the public now united against him, there’s almost no way Gillispie can overcome this sort of PR hit. It’s a shame we’ve come to this conclusion so early. It’s a shame we’re essentially ending his career before he even gets out of the hospital. Like Parrish alluded to, it’s hard to believe that all of these players would simply fabricate stories about Gillispie out of thin air, but that’s not the point here. The man at the center of this whole fiasco needs to have the opportunity to defend himself. It doesn’t matter how many sources CBS Sports cites or how many times it tries to text him. He’s in the freaking hospital. That’d be like Woodward and Bernstein taking information from Deep Throat and then texting Richard Nixon’s staffers, only to give up and still write the Watergate story for The Washington Post when they did not respond. Ridiculous, right? Billy Gillispie may not be Richard Nixon, and his alleged transgressions may not be a matter of national security, but the consequences are serious nonetheless.

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Morning Five: 04.12.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on April 12th, 2012

  1. Last night the college basketball world was hijacked by announcements from Shabazz Muhammad and Nerlens Noel about where they would he headed next season. The news from Muhammad’s camp leaked before he could announce that he was headed to UCLA while the news out of the Noel camp was a little bit of misdirection as initial reports suggested he was headed to Georgetown when in fact he was headed to Kentucky. While the decision by Noel may help decide next year’s national championship, Muhammad’s arrival in Westwood could help save Ben Howland’s job as he should make the Bruins one of the best teams out west the moment he steps foot on campus. Of course, if they are not…
  2. Let’s give it up for Gary Parrish, a voice of supreme reason. When Muhammad announced for UCLA last night, many college basketball fans around the country had trouble understanding why a top prospect would choose a program coming off a rough season where fan support is lukewarm at best rather than one of the more rabidly supported programs located in Lexington or Durham. But, as Parrish notes (and notwithstanding that two of the top 10 or so players in the NBA are Howland guys), the answer at least partially lies in the powerful influence that the major shoe companies have on elite prospects behind the scenes. Muhammad is an adidas guy and UCLA is an adidas program. But before anyone starts singing sour notes about this obvious example of subtle coercion, Parrish notes that it happens every single year with a number of top prospects. There’s perhaps no greater an example than NPOY and Final Four MOP Anthony Davis — a Nike kid who ended up at a Nike school just one recruiting season ago. If Parrish is reading this, we’d love to see a list of these ‘coincidences,’ from say, the last decade or so.
  3. We wrote Tuesday that Baylor had successfully played a compelling game of risk/reward in building its men’s basketball program to an elite level. The assumption underlying that thesis was that the NCAA would accept Baylor’s self-imposed penalties for exceeding mandated limits on phone calls and text messages to recruits from 2007-10 — the standard “probation” of recruiting restrictions as to time/place, loss of scholarships, etc. Sure enough, the NCAA did just that on Wednesday, accepting Baylor’s penalties and tacitly agreeing with our contention that the ends (recruiting enough studs to achieve two Elite Eights in three seasons) more than justify the means.
  4. So let’s get this straight… Colorado State reportedly offered its open head coaching job to former Oregon head man Ernie Kent earlier this week, but it was nixed by an unknown high-ranking school administrator. So the back-up plan became to hire the guy who was once photographed partying with students while at Iowa State? We don’t know what the real story is here, and no disrespect at all is intended to Larry Eustachy (who has clearly turned his life around by doing well at Southern Miss), but goodness, something doesn’t smell right in Fort Collins. For what it’s worth, Kent says he was never offered the job by CSU and therefore it could not have been rescinded, but he also clearly wants to get back into coaching and it wouldn’t help his prospects to cause a ruckus over this situation.
  5. Not every Pac-12 schools got good news on Wednesday. Well, Arizona got both good and bad news, with Sean Miller’s program announcing that two players were transferring in and two others were leaving after the semester. The headliner is that Josiah Turner, a former top 10 recruit from the class of 2011, is leaving Tucson for a destination unknown — his freshman season was marred by suspensions and inconsistent play at the point guard slot. Junior center Kyryl Natyazhko is also leaving Arizona, choosing to head back to Europe to pursue professional opportunities there. The good news it that the Wildcats will welcome Duquesne transfer TJ McConnell, a rising junior who averaged 11 points, six assists and four rebounds per game last season, and Matt Corcheck, a junior college transfer who will have three years of eligibility remaining. With Turner, Alex Oriakhi, Trey Ziegler and several others transferring this offseason, it’s a good year to have an extra scholarship lying around unused.
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CBSSports.com Ranks 16 Best Teams of All-Time — Let the Debate Begin

Posted by EJacoby on February 22nd, 2012

Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter.

With an upcoming four-part show coming on the CBS Sports Network that will highlight the 16 greatest teams in college basketball history, the guys at CBSSports.com decided to put together their own lists for fans to see. You can see their full ballots laid out here, as voted by Jeff Goodman, Gary Parrish, Matt Norlander, and Jeff Borzello. The show is still a month away from broadcasting, but the discussion has already begun. To make things easier for you, we’ll give a rundown of the consensus rankings they chose, along with some trend analysis about their selections.

See above for a readable spreadsheet of the CBS rankings. By consensus, the guys rated the 1968 and 1973 UCLA teams as the two greatest teams ever. Hard to go wrong there, as both teams were National Champions as part of the Bruins’ streak of seven consecutive titles. The ’73 team went undefeated in Bill Walton’s junior year, while the ’68 team lost just one game in Lew Alcindor’s junior year, a game midway through the regular season against Houston at the AstroDome in which Alcindor was recovering from an injury. The Bruins got their revenge that season by blowing out Houston in the Final Four by over 30 points en route to the title.

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Morning Five: 08.23.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on August 23rd, 2011

  1. Forgive West Tennessee residents if they feel like their beloved Memphis Tigers have taken on a colorful desert hue lately.  Head coach Josh Pastner announced on Monday that his open third assistant coaching position will go to former Arizona star and currently locked-out Los Angeles Laker, Luke Walton.  Walton continues the Wildcat theme on the banks of the Mississippi River, as Pastner and his two other assistants, Jack Murphy and Damon Stoudamire, are also UA graduates having come from the coaching tree of Lute Olson.  Walton will be responsible for big man instruction as well as some recruiting at Memphis, and the 31-year old who has only played intermittently because of nagging injuries the last two seasons, is probably looking for a comfortable landing spot once his playing career ends.  If you’re interested in more information on this, Pastner discusses the hiring of Walton in this clip.
  2. New Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers received great news with the completion of transfer paperwork for Southern Mississippi guard DJ Newbill on Monday.  Newbill, a native of Philadelphia where he was the Pennsylvania Class AA player of the year in 2009-10, had a fantastic freshman season in Hattiesburg.  He was selected as an all-CUSA frosh after a year where he contributed 9.2 PPG and 6.2 RPG while shooting 53.5% from the field.  His rebounding numbers are what sets him apart, though; at only 6’4″, 195 lbs, the lithe Newbill finished in the top 200 players nationally in offensive rebounding percentage (11.3%) and had six games of double-figure boards.  When he becomes eligible with three years remaining in 2012-13, Penn State fans are going to fall in love with the heart, effort and desire of this guy.
  3. It’s been a week since the Nevin Shapiro/Miami fiasco hit the media, and in the interim, Gary Parrish writes that Missouri brass have done exactly the wrong thing in leaving their new head coach (and subject of allegations) Frank Haith dangling in the wind.  By stating on the record that they are “waiting for the NCAA process to carry itself out,” they’re essentially cutting the legs out from under Haith’s ability to compete on the recruiting trail against schools that are without question using that uncertainty against him.  Of course, what Parrish argues makes complete sense here: Either you come out with full public support of your coach, or you don’t, but to leave him in a purgatory of pending is to effectively emasculate your own program.
  4. We talk a lot about the difficulties that mid-majors have in developing good schedules to improve their RPIs and, by proxy, their chances at the NCAA Tournament or the NIT.  But we rarely discuss the quandary that lower-level power conference teams face when setting their non-conference schedules.  As this piece by Brian Rosenthal at the Lincoln Journal-Star shows, Nebraska assistant coach Chris Croft called nearly every major basketball school in America in an effort to improve the Huskers’ schedule in 2011-12.  Most had no interest in a game with Doc Sadler’s team anywhere, and even fewer were inclined to travel to Lincoln during the winter.  Eventually they confirmed games against USC, Wake Forest and Oregon, but other schools, like Notre Dame (“stop calling”) and Duke (“only in Durham”) were considerably less interested.  Furthermore, with Nebraska’s recent move to the Big Ten and a less-than-amicable split from the Big 12 still fresh on everyone’s minds, the Huskers got a full Heisman from their old league — not a single school would play them next year, anywhere.  Go figure.
  5. Staying in the Big 12, Kansas announced on Monday that it would be holding an alumni game called “Legends of the Phog” on September 24 in Lawrence.  The NBA lockout has created a situation where NBA players have more available time for games like these (Kentucky, as you recall, had something similar in Lexington and Louisville last week).  The Boston Celtics’ Paul Pierce has already committed to the game, and you can bet that many of Bill Self’s recent Jayhawk stars such as Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich, Darrell Arthur, Mario Chalmers and others will be in attendance.  Some of the proceeds will go to charity, and tickets will go on sale the week after Labor Day.
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Who’s Got Next? DeAndre Daniels Commits, Duke Spotlight, Rodney Purvis and More…

Posted by Josh Paunil on June 10th, 2011

Who’s Got Next? is a bi-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. Twice 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 in the lower levels of the sport. If you have any suggestions as to areas we’re missing, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Introduction

The DeAndre Daniels saga is finally over. After committing and then de-committing and then setting up different decision dates and not following through on them, Daniels let everyone know where he will play college basketball. Where, you may ask? Well, that may be the most surprising thing that’s happened is his whole recruitment. Class of 2012 shooting guard Rodney Purvis (#7) also spoke out on a couple of his recent visits and many other top prospects talked about their new lists. And speaking of Purvis, why will he be attending the same camp as North Carolina star Harrison Barnes this weekend?  You can find out that and more in this edition of Who’s Got Next?

What They’re Saying

You Have to Think Calhoun Will Be Back Now

  • Senior DeAndre Daniels on why he committed to Connecticut: “I chose UConn because I thought it was the best fit for me, just their style of play, and just how they develop their wing guys. And just how he makes his guys better.” On head coach Jim Calhoun possibly returning: “[Calhoun said] I don’t have to worry about him not being there. He said he’ll be there.”
  • Junior Archie Goodwin (#19) on his list and when he will commit: “Kentucky, Baylor, Arkansas, Memphis, Tennessee, UConn, Missouri along with a lot of others including Louisville and Georgia. I’m definitely going to [sign] later.”
  • Junior Devonta Pollard (#40) on his offers and what he’s looking for: “Mississippi State, Georgetown, Ole Miss, North Carolina State, LSU, Alabama and Kentucky… a place where I can go and be comfortable, where I can play and be successful.”
  • Junior Perry Ellis (#10) on who he’s considering: “I still am considering all six teams (Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky, Memphis, Oklahoma, and Wichita State), as well as Duke now.”
  • Sophomore Malcolm Hill on his Indiana visit and the schools who are recruiting him: “They have a nice campus, it’s a good environment and I saw that they have good study habits. I really like the practice facility a lot. The other schools that are looking at me are Ohio State, Xavier, UCLA, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Providence and Tennessee.”
  • Sophomore standout Isaiah Lewis on what he’s looking for in a school: “The fan base… academics, that’s an important part. I want to see where coaches play me. I really want to go to college playing point guard.”
  • Freshman shooting guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes on his list: “Arizona, North Carolina State, Texas, Oregon and a couple of other schools.”

What Rodney Purvis is Saying

Rodney Purvis talked a lot about recent visits. (Credit: HighSchoolHoop)

Class of 2012 shooting guard Rodney Purvis (#7) recently wrote a player blog for ESPN RISE in which he said some interesting things. Take a look below.

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Morning Five: 02.09.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on February 9th, 2011

  1. Bruce Pearl returned to the sidelines last night in a game against Kentucky in Lexington, having served his eight-game SEC suspension.  Gary Parrish believes that the Big Orange head coach will be nailed with a full one-year suspension by the NCAA when it finally metes out its punishment for lying to the governing body (among other things).  This would be a reasonable punishment considering the NCAA simply cannot let one of its star head coaches get over on it like that.  Still, Tony Jones as the interim coach would be a good replacement (he was 5-3 with two close OT losses while Pearl was out), giving him a chance to move on to another top coaching job the following year while keeping a fair amount of continuity within the UT basketball program.
  2. Luke Winn uses more graphs than you can shake a frosh at in comparing the offensive progress of nine of the best collegiate rookies in the country this year.  You should read the whole thing, but here’s a synopsis:  Steadily rising – Jared Sullinger, Perry Jones, Harrison Barnes, Will Barton; Marginally Rising – Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph, Brandon Knight; Decreasing: Terrence Jones, Joe Jackson.
  3. And articles like these are why NC State continues to be the laughingstock of ACC basketball.  Not only does the author lose all credibility when he states that Herb Sendek is on the hot seat at Arizona State this season — the same Sendek who won 22, 25 and 21 games in Tempe the last three seasons — but he fails to understand that the key difference between the first five seasons of Sidney Lowe vs. Sendek is that the latter clearly was building toward something.  Lowe only appears to be building toward a stigma of perpetual ACC bottom-dweller.  The other significant fact that he fails to recognize is that the ACC has been a pathetic shell of its former self the last five years — if there was ever an opportunity for a non-Duke/non-UNC team to step into the top tier, it’s been during this period.
  4. Georgia Tech’s Brian Oliver will miss up to three weeks with a broken left thumb that will require surgery.  The 6’6 sophomore guard is the team’s third-leading scorer and fourth-leading rebounder for a team that is going nowhere in the ACC and nationally, but the expectation is that he will be back in time for the postseason.
  5. Pete Thamel at the NYT gives casual fans just tuning into college basketball a primer as to what the season has been so far.  His argument is that the lack of stars — from the injured Kyrie Irving to the gone-pro Wesley Johnson and Greg Monroe, has led to a wide-open season of parity.  We agree with the last part of the statement — the field is wide open this year.  But wasn’t it wide open last year as well?  Duke wasn’t an extremely popular pick to win it all, but they did anyway.  The two other teams considered most likely to do so — Kansas and Kentucky — never even got to Indianapolis.  As for the lack of star power, well, again, this happens just about every year — guys like Johnson and Monroe go league, while the next generation of stars, the Fredettes and Sullingers, take their place.  This wasn’t Thamel’s best work.
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Morning Five: 02.04.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on February 4th, 2011

  1. As the season moves into the final month, players are starting to wear down.  There have been quite a few injuries lately, and yesterday was no different.  Northern Iowa’s heart and soul, Lucas O’Rear, an undersized senior “center” who was averaging a team-high 5.7 rebounds this season, will miss the remainder of the season with a broken ankle.  This comes at a tough time for UNI, as the Panthers are on an eight-game winning streak in the Missouri Valley and are only one game behind leader Wichita State.  O’Rear ends his college basketball career, but he has a promising professional baseball career ahead of him as a pitcher in the Cincinnati Reds organization, so we’re happy to see that he will be able to continue with that dream.
  2. As always, Luke Winn’s Power Rankings are chock full of goodies, from how Jared Sullinger receives the ball in the post to how Texas shuts down the opposing team’s best scorers to a new statistic created by HSAC to track free throw efficiency.  Get on over there.
  3. Everybody has an opinion on what’s wrong with the Michigan State Spartans after their horrendous 20-point loss to Iowa on Wednesday night.  Here are two of the better ones we’ve read:  Gary Parrish, who thinks that MSU simply can’t be fixed at this point; and Dave Dye’s piece that calls out Izzo’s two seniors, Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers, as having tuned him out this season.  Games coming up at Wisconsin and later at Ohio State are not a recipe for getting better, and at this point we’re not counting on it, but if there is anybody in this business who can turn this thing around, it’s certainly Izzo.  For a contrarian opinion on MSU hitting “rock bottom,” check out Mike Miller at Beyond the Arc.
  4. As Virginia head coach Tony Bennett can attest, it’s a strong incentive to play for your dad.  That’s why UVA freshman Billy Baron will transfer back to Rhode Island to play for his father, Jim Baron, next season.  Billy had a strong start to the season this year, scoring 19 against William & Mary and 14 against USC-Upstate, but he’s gone scoreless in ten of the last twelve games as his time has diminished.  Hopefully in a couple of years, we’ll be talking about the Barons in much the same way we do the Drews and Valpo.
  5. Much has been made about UConn guard Kemba Walker’s shooting slump, but the fortunes of the Huskies seem to rise and fall with the play of his peers, and the most important sidekick he has is Alex Oriakhi.  After a strong couple of weeks where the UConn big man averaged a double-double, he’s fallen off again in the last three.  In the two losses against Louisville and Syracuse, he’s contributed fifteen points and thirteen rebounds, solid enough numbers but well short of what UConn needs from him on a consistent basis to beat teams in the rugged Big East (and also less than what he’s capable of).
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Morning Five: 11.17.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on November 17th, 2010

  1. Wow.  We know of quite a few writers, bloggers, television personalities, gadflies and ne’er-do-wells who are hurting in a big way this morning.  After a 24 Hours of Hoops Marathon that once again did not fail to disappoint, the hangover is here.  We’re guessing that #cbb on Twitter won’t be this quiet again until sometime in May, as everyone around the country comes off their hoops-gasm and starts calculating the actuarial ratios of all-nighters to lost months of life.  Still, seeing all the different schools and fans and courts and cheerleaders and announcers and studio hosts and analysts around the country all day yesterday was pretty awesome, wouldn’t you agree?  As much as we’ve ripped apart the opening week’s haphazard trickle-out of games, this made-for-television event is brilliant and is quickly becoming one of the best regular season must-sees that the sport has to offer.  God help us all during the random future year when the 24HoH mimics a day of the NCAA Tournament and 75% of the games come down to the last possession — the WWL suits had better already have ESPN Legal working on its tort defenses.  Oh, and our guy John Stevens?  Over 11,000 words and untold hallucinations in 25+ hours of BGTDing, without a single drop of caffeine in his system (perhaps crystal meth, but certainly no coffee/soda).
  2. The biggest non-ESPN 24HoH news from the day came from Turner Sports, as the cable network announced that it will provide some of its wildly popular NBA on-air talent such as play-by-play announcer Marv Albert and the brash-but-hilarious Charles Barkley as part of its joint coverage of the NCAA Tournament with CBS.  The general consensus is that this is going to be a very good thing, and given that we are intimately familiar with the chemistry of Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Barkley on Inside the NBA (the best sports show on television by far), we think that they’ll pull it off.  Our only reservation — and admittedly, it’s a small one — is that we’ve watched (and listened) in horror to Fox when NFL announcers with their play-on-Sunday focus call college football games during the BCS bowls and it’s obvious they don’t even know or understand the key rule differences between the two sports.  We found this experience exceptionally painful.  Since none of the Turner channels (TBS, TNT, TruTV) are covering college hoops during the regular season, we’re a little concerned that even knowledgeable folks such as those listed above might have trouble making the transition.
  3. And this article is why NBA fans are different in many ways from college basketball fans.  Mr. Jeff Miller of the Orange County Register: in our sport, it actually IS about the names on the front of the jerseys.  Carolina fans will go crazy for their team whether they have a future lottery pick like Harrison Barnes or a four-year guy like Tyler Hansbrough leading the way; Kentucky fans showed as much passion for one-year man John Wall in the blue and white as they did for Tayshaun Prince; Michigan State fans loved consistently-tough guy Charlie Bell as much or more than Zach Randolph.  Here’s our suggestion.  Get out of the suburban and basketball wasteland known as the OC and high-tail it to a Missouri or K-State game at Phog Allen Fieldhouse.  While you’re in the Midwest, catch a game at Hinkle before heading over to Rupp for a Louisville or Florida game.  Detour down through Tobacco Road and venture into Cameron Indoor Stadium before your soul goes completely cold; then, since you’re on the east coast, head up to the Palestra for an epic Big Five battle.  Report back to us afterward if you gave a damn whether you actually knew the names of the players who you were watching — that is, assuming you actually enjoy the sport of basketball and not some bastardized version of star-watching.
  4. Gary Parrish takes a look at the oft-bizarre world of AP/Coaches poll ballots in his weekly column, The Poll Attacks.  Every time we read a column like this one, we thank our lucky stars that these flawed polls that reflect current perception are for entertainment purposes only.  Teams will get a chance to settle their real rankings on the court.  What some sportswriter in Eugene thinks about Villanova is about as important as what a Floridian believes concerning a local dogcatcher race in Wyoming — it’s irrelevant.  And we love it that way.
  5. Gregg Doyel examines the case of Enes Kanter and his eligibility through the prism of the NCAA rulebook and asks the question of when a pro is (or isn’t) a pro?  As he correctly points out, the NCAA has drawn a bright line with the apples/oranges comparison between sports, as in the cases of Josh Booty, Chris Weinke and current Clemson QB Kyle Parker, all of whom played professional baseball prior to becoming amateur NCAA football players.  But why have they drawn a distinction — what is the fundamental difference here?  It would be interesting to review the NCAA legislative history on this issue to see what the thinking was.
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