Who’s Got Next? More Eligibility Issues, Prospects Discuss Midnight Madness, Big Men Make Big Commitments

Posted by Josh Paunil on October 19th, 2011

 

Who’s Got Next? is a 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. Once 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 at the lower levels of the sport. If you have any suggestions as to areas we’re missing or different things you’d like to see, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Lead Story: Trio of Class of 2011 Prospects Experiencing Eligibility Issues

This Is Probably How Bill Self Reacted When His Two Top Freshmen Were Ruled Ineligible.

Kansas Duo Out For 2011-12 Season, Louisville’s Blackshear In Danger. Kansas freshmen small forward Ben McLemore  and power forward Jamari Traylor were ruled ineligible by the NCAA, head coach Bill Self announced Friday. The pair of forwards were declared partial qualifiers meaning they can’t take part in any team activities until the beginning of the second semester and can’t participate in any games in the upcoming basketball season. This comes as a shocker since the Jayhawks’ coaching staff thought the duo would indubitably qualify although this isn’t the first time Kansas has had trouble with freshman qualifying. Just last month, the NCAA deemed freshman power forward Braeden Anderson a partial qualifier who can’t accept a scholarship for the 2011-12 school year. Louisville freshman shooting guard Wayne Blackshear is also undergoing eligibility issues. Although Cardinal head coach Rick Pitino remains optimistic regarding Blackshear’s chances of being cleared, this isn’t the first time a Louisville freshman faced eligibility issues either. Last month, shooting guard Kevin Ware (yes, that Kevin Ware) was ruled ineligible for the year although he could play games in the spring semester if his SAT scores increase (which he’ll be re-taking next week).

What They’re Saying [About Midnight Madness]

We’ve had a lot of coverage here at RTC on Midnight Madness from the best events to the best dunks and the best stories via Twitter, but now we get to take a look at what the best prospects in the country had to say about the celebrations to kick off the college basketball year.

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Big 12 Morning Five: 10.18.11 Edition

Posted by cwilliams on October 18th, 2011

  1. What’s that? You were worried there wouldn’t be a conference realignment article in today’s Morning Five? Well, never fret. The New York Times is reporting that a Missouri move to the SEC is imminent. Yes, this is news, but I’m not ready to call it fact quite yet. If conference realignment was based strictly off media reports, Texas and Oklahoma would be battling it out for Pac-16 supremacy, and Missouri coach Frank Haith would be studying Purdue and Michigan State film.
  2. Billy Kennedy, the new coach of Texas A&M basketball, missed the team’s first practice due to an “unspecified medical condition”.  Kennedy has been directed to sit out by his doctor and will undergo numerous medical tests before returning to Reed Arena. While obviously upset over missing his team’s initial practice, Kennedy said, “don’t worry, I’ll be back soon”. We hope so, Coach. RTC wishes you a speedy recovery.
  3. Andy Glockner from SI.com has an article up, reviewing the off-season for every conference in twitter format (140 characters or less). The Big 12 section is humorous and relevant, and actually has a bit of good information peppered in.
  4. The Public Policy Polling organization conducted a survey for Nebraska residents, and one of the questions was how they currently felt about their University of Nebraska’s move from the Big 12 to the Big 10. Cornhusker fans aren’t living in the past,a s 65% of residents are glad they bolted to the Big 10, and only 12% wished they still remained in the Big 12.
  5. Kansas has been dealt a blow, as the NCAA declared two Jayhawk players partially ineligible for this season. Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor will not be allowed to suit up for the Jayhawks until second semester. I wouldn’t write off the Jayhawks quite yet, however. Every time events occur that appear to lead to a Jayhawk rebuilding season, they win the Big 12.
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Morning Five: 10.17.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 17th, 2011

  1. And so begins the shortest ‘preseason’ in all of sports, the 24 days between the start of official practice — as celebrated by Midnight Madness all across the country on Friday night — and the opening games of the 2kSports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, on November 7.  It’s an astonishingly short window, but all that means is that we’re that much closer to seeing bona fide college basketball on our televisions and in our local arenas very soon.  Let’s get you caught up.  On Friday night we put together a Storytelling piece capturing some of the excitement around the land as MM tipped off everywhere.  Yesterday we put together a list of the 13 best dunks from this year’s proceedings, several of which will have you drooling in anticipation for more.  Immediately following this post, we’ll publish the most interesting Friday night clips from several of the blue-blooded programs like Duke, Kentucky, Connecticut, Kansas, North Carolina and several others.  Midnight Madness weekend is great because it represents a new beginning — every team is still unblemished and ostensibly has an equal shot at doing something special.  Welcome to next year.
  2. During ESPNU’s Midnight Madness coverage Friday night, Andy Katz spent as much time talking football through the lens of conference realignment scenarios as he did discussing his favored sport.  Word leaked during the broadcast that the Big East had reportedly offered five schools membership to the conference — Houston, SMU and Central Florida in all sports, and Boise State and Air Force in football only.  The goal, of course, is to keep the conference’s automatic BCS bid, but each step ‘forward’ appears increasingly desperate for a league that built its reputation on basketball three decades ago and has never really been that significant on the gridiron.  As Lenn Robbins writes in the NY Post, the conference doesn’t expect to announce any movement until after the Big East’s basketball media day this week, but we truly feel that grabbing schools without regard for regional ties and rivalries is a shortsighted strategy doomed to ultimately fail.  The non-BCS Big East schools very seriously considered walking away from the rest of this madness, and who would blame them at this point?
  3. Aaron Torres writes that this will be a “golden season” in college basketball, and he makes a compelling case for his argument.  As everyone here already knows, the number of elite players who returned to college rather than face an NBA lockout, when combined with an exceptional class of incoming freshmen, could produce a quality of depth in the sport that we haven’t seen in a number of years.  Torres contends that the last time college basketball was this talented was in 1995-96, at the cusp of the preps-to-pros trend (Kevin Garnett skipped college that year) and featuring upperclassman stars such as Allen Iverson, Marcus Camby, Tim Duncan, Steve Nash, Ray Allen, among others.  Let’s hope that the NBA’s eventual collective bargaining agreement makes seasons like this the future norm with a two-and-done rule allowing us to enjoy players for a couple of years prior to moving on to the professional ranks.
  4. Seth Davis gives us answers to his ten burning questions as we head into the 2011-12 season.  Starting today, we plan on rolling out our own list of 20 questions over the next several weeks, but we can guarantee you that none of ours will involve Utah State senior superfan, Bill Sproat.  We’re honestly not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but the one answer he gives that we can completely get on board with is #7 — which underachieving big man will make a giant leap?  The answer to that question is legitimately the difference between his team being a borderline Top 10 to 15 squad and the overall best team in America.  Tell us what you think.
  5. Kansas released some disappointing news on Friday afternoon just before its Late Night in the Phog celebration.  Two more members of its freshman class, Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor, will join Braeden Anderson as ineligible to play this season because of high school transcript issues (all three attended three different high schools).  For a team suffering considerable losses of key personnel from last season’s Elite Eight squad, this is another blow to Bill Self’s aspiration to win an eighth straight Big 12 regular season title in 2011-12.  He worked to temper expectations on Friday, especially now that his Jayhawks are down to eight legitimate players and in need of significant improvements from returnees such as Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson.  If Self can outlast Baylor, Missouri and Texas A&M again this year in the Big 12 race, he’ll certainly deserve any postseason COY accolades he gets.
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Who’s Got Next? Commitments, Misspellings and More…

Posted by Josh Paunil on May 20th, 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 top unsigned prospects committing and a new section unveiling is just a couple of the highlights on the first ever Friday edition of the Who’s Got Next? column. We take an inside look at why the guys committed and the impact on the class rankings as well as what it means for the Class of 2012 and how prospects are affected by the coaching carousel in college basketball. We also analyze a top ten 2011 recruiting class and take an in-depth look at how a school that made the Elite Eight last year will try to replace the potential number one draft pick.

What They’re Saying

NCAA President Mark Emmert speaks out on the issue of one-and-dones.

  • NCAA President Mark Emmert on one-and-dones: “I think it creates difficult problems inside universities when we’re trying to promote an emphasis on (players being) students as well as athletes.”
  • Senior Trevor Lacey (#37) on committing to Alabama: “My relationship and trust with [Alabama coach Anthony Grant] set the Crimson Tide apart. I also feel the University of Alabama will provide the best opportunity for me when basketball is over. I love the people in Alabama.”
  • Senior Nick Faust (#38) on why he stuck with Maryland: “Coach [Mark] Turgeon’s goal is to win a national championship and I would play a big part in that immediately.”
  • Senior Jamari Traylor on committing to the Jayhawks: “It’s a good fit for me. I really like Coach [Bill] Self and coach [Kurtis] Townsend. I really like the players. On my visit I saw the campus and everything I knew it would be a good place for me.”
  • Senior Sidiki Johnson on Arizona’s incoming recruiting class (which he is apart of): “We are a good class, every player brings something valuable to Arizona next year.”
  • Senior P.J. Hairston (#12) on his reaction to Duke not spelling his name correctly: “I’m like, ‘OK. How can I go here? You can’t even spell my name right.’”
  • Junior Devonta Pollard (#40) on climbing the rankings: “It makes me feel good. First of all it shows me that I’m not just working hard to be working hard. The work is paying off and I’m improving and I can see that.”

What You Missed

The top unsigned prospect left, shooting guard Trevor Lacey (#37), committed to Alabama Wednesday.

Lacey Stays In-State, Commits to Alabama. Class of 2011 shooting guard Trevor Lacey (#37) committed to the Crimson Tide Wednesday (to see why, check out the “What They’re Saying” section above) over Kansas and Kentucky which gives Alabama its second top 50 shooting guard along with Levi Randolph (#31). He has said all along that playing time and the school’s fan base would be two factors in his decision and it seemed like he really warmed up to the Crimson Tide crowd when they chanted his name at the Alabama vs. Miami (FL) NIT game, just one of multiple visits he made there. Lacey, who was the top unsigned prospect left on the board, will be joining small forward Rodney Cooper, power forward Nick Jacobs and center Moussa Gueye in addition to Randolph in Tuscaloosa. Alabama head coach Anthony Grant has done an excellent job reeling in top in-state talent as Lacey, Randolph and Cooper are all Alabama natives. The addition of Lacey also gives the Crimson Tide the #9 class in 2011 because of how well he will fit into their system. Lacey is a great shooter who has outstanding range and consistency and can both catch and shoot and shoot off the dribble at a high level. He can also shoot coming off a pick and with guys in his face. The bottom line about him is he won’t wow you with his athleticism but he does have good size and strength for the two-guard and he can put up big-time numbers.

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