Morning Five: 04.28.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on April 28th, 2011

  1. We didn’t get to this on Wednesday, but Seth Davis checked in this week with a piece analyzing the offseason coaching carousel thus far.  There’s not much there to quibble with, as it’s been a relatively quiet year in this regard.  We completely agree with his take that Tennessee hiring Cuonzo Martin was a very smart play, while Missouri going after (and getting) Frank Haith was perhaps the most questionable.  At the mid-major level, Richmond’s Chris Mooney and VCU’s Shaka Smart choosing to stick on the banks of the James River was the most surprising (how often will runs like theirs at those schools happen?).  Jim Larranaga to Miami (FL) (with Kenny Anderson?) and Sydney Johnson to Fairfield?  Those two situations were just weird.  As of this writing, there are only five jobs left open — Mason, George Washington, UC Davis, Alabama A&M, and Florida A&M.  The Patriots have an excellent team returning next season; that opening left by Larranaga is clearly the true remaining plum of the group.
  2. Perhaps mad about John Calipari’s possible gig with the Dominican Republic (joking), Louisville head coach Rick Pitino has canceled his dalliance with Puerto Rico to coach their national team.  Citing conflicts with trying to manage both head coaching duties as the primary reason for his withdrawal, what was left unsaid in his statement on Wednesday was that he was trying to use the summer period to get some great practice time and competition for his Louisville squad against legitimate international competition.  The NCAA allows international summer trips for college teams once every four years, but they’re often against vastly inferior competition and, in this case, the governing body told UL that Puerto Rico, as a US territory, wasn’t “foreign” enough.
  3. Just prepare yourself for roughly one or two of these stories per month until we hit October — it never fails.  Two Winthrop players, including its leading scorer and a key reserve, have been accused of criminal sexual misconduct involving a 19-year old former student.  Sophomore guard Robbie Dreher and freshman center Julius Francis, according to the police report on the matter, allegedly assaulted the woman by restraining her in Francis’ room as the two performed sexual acts on her despite her claim of repeatedly saying, “no.”  Dreher is the team’s top returning scorer at 12.7 PPG in over 31 minutes per contest last season, while Francis played much more sparingly but has great size and considerable promise.  Needless to say, the two have been suspended from the team indefinitely.
  4. It was Huskies Day in Hartford, as the UConn men’s basketball national champs, the women’s Final Four team, and the Orange Bowl football team all visited the Connecticut State Capitol on Wednesday in a combined celebration of their successes.  Kemba Walker took the opportunity to address his comment made last week about only reading one book “cover to cover,” clarifying his academic prowess at the school (graduating in three years) fby stating that he was referring specifically to loving a book so much that he sat down to read it in one sitting.  Jim Calhoun said that he’s still considering retirement, but there’s no timetable on a final decision — we have a feeling he’ll be back on the sideline next year.
  5. All Jimmer, all the time.  That’s what we might have coming soon with the report that a television show production company named Tupelo-Honey Productions will be creating a reality show involving The Jimmer and his family in the weeks leading up to the NBA Draft on June 25.  They plan on shooting over 100 hours of film over 30 days, and the question on everyone’s mind is whether anything Jimmer does or says when he’s not making 28-footers will be, you know, interesting.  Not to go too far down this path, but he’s Mormon — we shouldn’t expect anything resembling baby-mama drama or wild forays to the clubs with his agent.  Drinking a caffeinated soda might be the biggest taboo we’ll see from the guy.  It’ll be interesting to see how this company finds a storyline within its footage to make this something that the general public will want to see.
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Morning Five: 07.01.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on June 30th, 2010

Happy Fiscal New Year, everyone.  We hope that your 2010-11 is filled with great financial security and hoops hysteria.

  1. Here’s some somewhat dated news, but it didn’t seem to get much attention until this week, which is that Mississippi State’s Renardo Sidney evidently sees himself as a 1-and-doner when he finally gets to play this coming season.  Sidney tweeted during last week’s draft the following: “NYC #2011  Believe dat.”  The big man who sat out the entire 2009-10 season over concerns with his eligibility certainly has the ability to become a top prospect, but he may want to check next year’s draft location before he makes his reservations.
  2. It was an odd summer day for comings and goings yesterday, but Michigan dismissed junior guard Laval Lucas-Perry from its team for an undisclosed violation of team rules, while Oregon forward Jamil Wilson is transferring back east to Marquette for his final three years of eligibility.  Lucas-Perry was a sometime starter for John Beilein’s team, now facing a huge rebuild after losing his two stars and another key contributor in LLP.  Wilson was a starter at Oregon, averaging 5/3 in just under 17 minutes per game — nice coup for Buzz Williams to grab the talented forward from nearby Racine.
  3. Insert New Jersey chemical plant joke here…  Rutgers will offer naming rights to its football and basketball stadiums (“the RAC”) as a way to offset some of the expense of a recent renovations.  Some RTC ideas: The Honeywell Hive?  The Prudential RAC?  Toys R Us Arena?  Campbell Soup Bowl?  We could go on…
  4. An interesting discussion over at Fanhouse as to whether, with John Wooden’s passing, if Coach K is the best coach alive.  He’s certainly on the short list, but it’s hard to believe that he’s above Phil Jackson or Scotty Bowman, much less Pat Summit or Geno Auriemma in his own sport.
  5. At the Under-19 World Championships, Team USA led by Duke’s Kyrie Irving (21 pts) and rising prep senior Austin Rivers (19 pts) won the gold medal when Quincy Miller (another rising senior) hit a three with 25 seconds remaining to give the Americans a three-point lead that stuck.  Good job, fellas.
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Morning Five: 11.16.09 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on November 16th, 2009

morning5

  1. Northwestern head coach Bill Carmody said today that his star Kevin Coble’s foot bones are “out of alignment” due to an awkward landing last week and, barring an unforeseen diagnosis today, he will need surgery and have to miss the 2009-10 season.  When it rains it pours, we guess, as Carmody also confirmed that senior guard Jeff Ryan was also done for the season after tearing his ACL in the Wildcats’ home opener on Friday night.  Although Ryan isn’t a scorer, he provides necessary depth in the backcourt.  Carmody isn’t taking the ‘blessing in disguise’ approach even though Northwestern will presumably bring back all but two players in 2010-11, stating that this year’s team will keep the same goals and move forward.
  2. Mike DeCourcy wonders if UNC really needed to sign Harrison Barnes given the glut of talent Roy Williams will have on his perimeter the next few years.  Is there something to the idea that Roy went after him in order to keep him out of rival Duke’s clutches?
  3. There will be no criminal charges filed stemming from the brawls between the Kansas football and basketball teams on September 22 and 23 of this year, but it would have been nice if Bill Self had shown the public a peek inside the looking glass in punishing those responsible.
  4. Gary Parrish makes a reasonable argument that blue-chippers should wait until the late signing period (next April) to decide where to sign.  Of course, the official RTC stance is that they shouldn’t sign a binding LOI with the schools at all.  The scholarships for the top players will be there regardless, and by signing a LOI, the player gives up some of his rights (e.g., to transfer to another school w/o losing eligibility if the coach leaves) while the school gives up very little in return.
  5. We had to give this a mention in this space.  Brandon Jennings’ double-nickel performance on Saturday night was phenomenal to see, especially when you consider that he’s the youngest player and only the seventh rookie to ever drop 50+ in a game.  But the question is how is this possible?  Jennings was a surefire top five pick coming out of high school, but after his mostly disappointing year playing overseas (averaging 6-7 ppg in two different leagues) instead of Arizona, he dropped to  the #10 pick and there were serious questions about his decisionmaking and jump shot.  So of course, he’s now averaging 26 ppg  against professional defenses and dropping twenty-nine points in a single quarter of an NBA game.  That makes complete sense.  Can anyone explain this?

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Budding Star in New Zealand: Rutgers’ Mike Rosario

Posted by rtmsf on July 6th, 2009

We’ve been keeping a lazy eye on Team USA’s performance at the Under-19 World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand, this week, and so far, so good.  It’s a nice opportunity to see how some of our better young collegians perform at the international level, in addition to allowing us to evaluate some names to keep an eye on next season.  Several of Team USA’s players – Howard Thompkins from Georgia, Ashton Gibbs from Pitt, Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack from Butler, Seth Curry from Duke, Tyshawn Taylor from Kansas – are known commodities for the average RTC reader, but they haven’t yet gotten the national recognition they’ll receive as they take greater roles on their teams next season (except Curry, of course, who will sit out his transfer year at Duke). 
Learn These Names and Faces for 2009-10

Learn These Names and Faces for 2009-10

As it stands, the Under-19 lads are 4-0 with blowout wins over Iran, France, Egypt and Greece thus far.  Georgia’s 6’9 Howard Thompkins has been a beast on the blocks, averaging 13/5 on 64% shooting in just under 15 mpg, including a 22-pt outburst against the Greeks.  Butler’s Hayward has also been impressive, contributing 10/5 with a well-rounded number of assists, steals and blocks while he’s been on the floor.  In the backcourt, Gibbs, Curry and Mack have logged the most minutes, each adding timely scoring and floor leadership to the team despite not shooting the ball all that well (Gibbs excluded).  The Americans have yet to be tested, and will likely have to wait until its Wednesday game against Lithuania to face some serious competition. 

mike rosario 2

Tuesday, however, presents an interesting storyline in that Team USA will face Puerto Rico and the hottest player in the tournament, Rutgers guard and rising sophomore Mike Rosario.  Rosario, a gifted scorer who averaged 16 ppg in college last season, exploded for 54 points in his most recent game against France, scoring 17 in the final quarter as he led his team to a come-from-behind victory, 90-89.  He’s leading the tournament with a 31.8 ppg scoring average, and is shooting a lights-0ut 51% from the field.  It will be interesting to see how Team USA defends him, and whether Rosario will be able to get the same looks he’s gotten throughout this tournament.  His success in New Zealand comes on the heels of a successful trip to France where Puerto Rico finished second in the World Juniors Tournament there and Rosario was named to the all-tournament team.  At Rutgers, Rosario tended to have a gunner’s mentality last season, often shooting his team out of Big East games as quickly as into them, but if his summer shooting percentages are any indication of improved shot selection, head coach Fred Hill has a budding star on his hands in Piscataway. 

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08.03.07 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on August 3rd, 2007

Heading into the weekend…

  • Joakim Noah’s sister can dunk!  Actually, we’re not convinced that this video shows a girl, but if it is, the third dunk (two-hand chin-up) is pretty sick.  We’ve never seen a girl dunk like that before. 
  • UNLV coach Lon Kruger is resting comfortably after a six-bypass open heart surgery procedure yesterday.  Best wishes on a speedy recovery to another one of the good guys in the coaching world. 
  • Bruce Pearl’s Tennessee squad is heading to eastern Europe for 11 days starting next Wednesday.  Often these trips help experienced teams get a leg up on their competition.
  • And the winner for Best College Sports Town is Gainesville, Florida…  In other news, having sex is considered fun
  • Lorenzo Romar signed a nine-year extension that could keep him at UW through 2016. 
  • Our gridiron brethren have released their preseason Coaches Poll – USC is #1, but who is the jokester that gave Duke a top 25 vote – Steve Spurrier?    
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PAN shAM Team Thoughts

Posted by rtmsf on July 31st, 2007

As we mentioned yesterday, Team USA’s Pan Am squad got off the plane in Rio and promptly found itself down 0-2 with losses to Uruguay and Panama, which effectively ended any chance for a medal at the tournament. Let’s say that again – Uruguay… and… Panama. If you thought losing to Serbia was bad… Uruguay? This small nation of 3.3M people stuck somewhere in South America between Brazil and Argentina is best known in hoops circles for putting only one player in its history, Ernesto Batista (Atlanta Hawks), into the NBA. As for losing to Panama, what else can be said? They’re known for a corrupt former dictator and an important canal – not exactly backdoor cuts and alley-oops.

Uruguay

This is All We Care to Know About Uruguay

At least Team USA rallied to win their next three games vs. Argentina, the US Virgin Islands and Panama (revenge is ours, Noriega!) to take 5th place at the tournament. (FYI – Brazil was the champion.) The more things change, the more they stay the same… Sigh… Doug Gottlieb writes today that “we stink” when it comes to international basketball, and he’s absolutely, positively, most definitely and completely right on that count:

We are Team USA, and we can not win the gold in any competition. The Pan Am team has not won gold since 1983. The Under-19 team has not won gold since 1991. The men’s national team has not won the world championship since 1994. The last Olympics gold came in 2000. We are the standard bearers for hoops across the globe, but in comparing our own image of how good we are to our overall performance, we stink.

He blames our international woes on the different styles of play and officiating, and no doubt that explains some of it. But from the non-player side of things, we still believe that our AAU-bred emphasis on 1-on-1 play over basic fundamentals such as passing, shooting and help defense is a more significant factor. When we were winning every international competition 20+ years ago, we were still more athletic than everyone else – that part hasn’t changed. What has changed is that the world has gotten significantly better (obviously), but more importantly, the US players have not. More athletic – definitely. More talented at one-and-one play – assuredly. More talented at team basketball – not even close. As Gottlieb suggests and we agree, this problem isn’t going away.

Doug Gottlieb

Gottlieb is a Doppelganger for an Intl. Hoopster

With that tirade over, we wanted to take a moment to look at the stats from the players on this Pan Am team to get some idea of whether any might have breakout seasons in college next year.

Pan Am Stats 3

According to the numbers and coach Jay Wright:

  • DJ White (Indiana) was the class of this team, nearly averaging a dub-dub, shooting 59% and leading the team in steals in only 24 minutes per game. If Eric Gordon is worth half of his hype next year, IU could really turn some heads in the Big Ten and nationally.
  • Wright slurped Roy Hibbert (Georgetown) for his mobility, but we were a little surprised he only managed eight blocks in five games.
  • And what the hell happened to Scottie Reynolds (Villanova)? We could be looking at a second coming of the Human Cannon (aka Dion Glover) here – 21% (8-37 FG; 4-19 3FG) shooting and a boatload of turnovers to boot. Memo to Reynolds – you had a nice freshman year, but just b/c the coach of your school coaches the team does not mean you have the green light on every possession.
  • Speaking of shooting, Drew Neitzel (Michigan St.) and Shan Foster (Vanderbilt) both shot poorly in the tournament, which is unsurprising considering neither is a pure shooter.
  • A pair of Pac-10 players, Derrick Low (Washington St.) and Maarty Leunen (Oregon) seemed to act as solid versatile “glue guys” that are so important for any team, according to Wright.
  • Joey Dorsey (Memphis) made a name for himself when he called out a Uruguayan center named Gregorio Odento and was summarily dunked on (or maybe we’re getting that confused with something else).
  • Guards Wayne Ellington (UNC) and Eric Maynor (VCU) both got hurt early, so we never really got to see what they could do.

DJ White

DJ White Ponders His Senior Year

All in all, it sounds like another uninspiring performance from Team USA. We’re definitely going to be keeping a closer eye on DJ White this upcoming season, though.

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International Incidents

Posted by rtmsf on July 17th, 2007

The real dog days of summer are here, and that can only mean one thing to hoopheads – international basketball.  Yes, we know that you’ve all missed the trapezoidal lane and goofy emblazoned unitards preferred by our international friends.  Harkening back to the days of our youth when we trotted amateurs out there and still actually won these events, we should take solace in the knowledge that, even though the world has indeed caught us in team basketball, we still own the patent on And1-style showmanship.  If only there was an international competition that allows four steps after picking up your dribble followed by random acts of dancing with the crowd.

Skip to my Lou

A Team USA Led by S2ML Could Win This Competition

The Senior Men’s National Team will get most of the hype this summer (will Kobe play?  will Team USA qualify for the Beijing Olympics?), but there are two other international teams filled with collegians that we’re keeping an eye on – the Pan Am team and the Under-19 World Championships team (see rosters below).   

Pan Am Team USA Roster

 Pam Am Team USA

The Pan Am team (coached by Villanova’s Jay Wright) begins play in Rio de Janeiro on July 25, and at least half of the roster is filled with players who will be NCAA All-Americans next season.  What’s most interesting about this roster is the names of some of the players who were left off the squad.  Preseason first-teamer Chris Lofton apparently counterbalanced global warming all by himself as he froze up the gym with his shooting stroke during the trials and was left home, as were Kansas guards Sherron Collins and Mario Chalmers and Duke sharpshooter Jon Scheyer.  It was also peculiar that Wisky’s Brian Butch was left off the team, as it leaves Roy Hibbert as the only true center available – let’s hope he stays out of foul trouble.  Jay Wright realizes that the four-guard offense that he employed at Villanova was out of necessity, yes?  Nobody asked us, but this team seems heavy on shooters and wings and extremely light in the middle.  That’s probably not a strong recipe to win in international competition against stronger, older and more experienced players.  We’ll see…

Seth Davis gave his insights after watching the trials here.      

Under-19 World Championships Roster

U19 Team USA Roster

The Under-19 Worlds team, coached by the Undertaker, has already won its first five games in pool play heading into a showdown with 4-1 France tomorrow.  K-State’s incoming freshman Michael Beasley (14 ppg; 6 rpg; 70% fg in only 17 mpg) and Davidson guard Stephen Curry (11 ppg; 3 apg; 61% fg) have led a balanced attack for the high-scoring (99 ppg) American squad.  Arkansas guard Patrick Beverly is the only Team USA member earning more than 25 mpg thus far, while Donte’ Green and Damian Hollis appear to be the only two Americans not getting substantial minutes.  From what we’ve seen so far, it appears that Beverly, David Lighty and Deon Thompson are poised for breakout years at their respective schools, while Big 12 fans should just hang on for the one-year ride watching Beasley and DeAndre Jordan perform.  The eight-team medal round begins on Friday in lovely (especially as compared to Rio) Novi Sad, Serbia.

Beasley Team USA

Michael BEASTley

We’ll be checking back in periodically with these teams to see how they finish in their respective competitions and, more importantly, whether any particular player(s) shows what to expect next season. 

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