Morning Five: 06.04.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on June 4th, 2012

  1. The big news over the weekend was the announcement by Devonta Pollard that he would be heading to Alabama next season. The addition of a McDonald’s All-American is a big deal for any program (ok, they might not go nuts over someone who is “just” a McDonald’s All-American in Lexington these days), but it is an even bigger deal for a Crimson Tide program that did not have a single player signed for the class of 2012. Pollard, who is already 6’7″ and 200 pounds, joins a team that was talented, but erratic last year will be missing two key pieces in the form of JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell. We do not expect Pollard to jump into that role right away, but in a few years could help them become a similar caliber team.
  2. It seems like the media loves to talk about all the incoming McDonald’s All-Americans and the impact that they will have in college. Occasionally we like to talk about the players who are “embodying” the college spirit by eschewing the lure of NBA millions to come back for their sophomore or junior year. We very rarely talk about seniors like that and for good reason as most of the players talented enough to play in the NBA are already there by this point. However, as Andy Glockner points out that does not mean that there are not some seniors who are expected to have a significant impact next season. These guys will not win any national player of the year awards, but they could decide a few conference championships and maybe even the national championship.
  3. There are always rumors floating around illegal recruiting at top programs across the country and when those rumors come out we are usually surprised, but never shocked. When the rumors come out of Idaho State we are shocked. According to reports, the school was reported by former interim head coach Deane Martin after he got passed over for the full-time job. Martin reportedly sent a letter to the school’s athletic director informing him of a booster who was willing to pay to bring players into the program. The investigation, which was prompted when the school and Martin reported the allegations, is still ongoing so it is difficult to assess the validity of these statements although it seems strange that the former coach would falsely report violations that occurred under his watch, but we have seen stranger things that have happened.
  4. ESPN released a list of its highest rated college basketball metro markets for the past college basketball season. As with all surveys it is important to look for any flaws in the methodology including the fact that it does not include markets like Lexington, which would probably win in a landslide if it were included. Leaving that shortcoming aside for a moment, the list is fairly instructive in that the vast majority of college basketball that is broadcast at a national level flows through ESPN. The top of the list is about what you would expect with the most interesting rankings being the relative order of some of these cities, but the one that sticks out the most is Knoxville particularly with the relatively weak team that they fielded there this season.
  5. Some sad news from late last week as two prominent names in basketball yore passed away from complications related to illnesses — Jack Twyman, at age 78, and Orlando Woolridge, at age 52. Twyman isn’t very well-known these days, having played largely in the pre-television era of athletics, but he is a Hall of Famer who once scored 59 points in an NBA game and became in the 1959-60 season the first player in history to average over 30 PPG for a season (31.2). He played at Cincinnati from 1951-55 and became an All-American during his senior season when he averaged 24.6 PPG and 16.5 RPG — to this day, he remains one of only three Bearcats whose jerseys have been retired at Cincinnati, but his contributions beyond basketball may have been his more lasting legacy. Woolridge is better known as both a Los Angeles Laker (where he helped Magic and Kareem’s Showtime Lakers win their last title in 1988) and as a member of Digger Phelps’ Notre Dame Fighting Irish teams (where he helped Phelps make his only Final Four in 1978). He was an All-American in 1981 for the Irish, and became a part of the school’s giant-killing lore by hitting a jumper that year to knock off then-#1, riding a 28-game winning streak, Virginia Cavaliers, in what appers to be one of the earlier RTCs we’ve yet seen. RIP to both basketball legends.
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