Over the weekend it was reported that former Pittsburgh freshman Khem Birch was going to announce on Sunday night, but after giving it a little more thought he decided to postpone his decision until today. According to reports, Birch is deciding between Florida and UNLV. Both programs would appear to be a good fit for Birch as he could potentially pair up with either Patric Young or Mike Moser for the next two seasons. We are not sure what the real reason was for Birch’s decision to leave Pittsburgh, but either school would be just about as good of a landing spot as you could hope for when you are a transfer.
After initially suspending Keala King for its games at USC and UCLA, Arizona Statedismissed King, its starting point guard and leading scorer. Playing out of position due to Jahii Carson being academically ineligible, King averaged 13.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game, but as Doug Haller points out he had not fully adapted to running the team as he averaged 3.9 turnovers per game and often held the ball too long. We are assuming that was not the reason for his dismissal and the fact that the other two players (Kyle Cain and Chris Corvin) who were suspended with King remain on the team suggests that King did something in addition to his prior “unacceptable conduct” that led to his dismissal. Like Birch, King should have no shortage of suitors as he was a top-50 recruit coming out of college and plenty of Division I schools would be interested in a high-level point guard who can score and will have at least two years of eligibility remaining.
Less than two years after transferring from Illinois (he left the team once before deciding to rejoin them then finally leaving the school), Jeffrey Jordan has decided to transfer from UCF citing “personal reasons”. Neither Jordan nor anyone affiliated with the school has gone into further detail about what those reasons are, but this appears to be the end of his college basketball career as this was his senior year and we doubt that the NCAA would grant him another year of eligibility. It appears that his younger brother Marcus, who is the more talented of the two and leads the team with 17.2 points per game, will remain with the team. As for Jeffrey we assume he will continue working on his website along with his brother and some friends called Heir-Jordan.com and whatever other business possibilities are open to an heir.
Since the Crosstown Shootout Brawl Xavier has been in a freefall going from a Final Four pick by some to out of the top 25. While many people have been perplexed by the precipitous drop, Luke Winn thinks the Musketeers need to embrace their old mentality. We are sure that some people are going to take this the wrong way like they do with some of Winn’s statistical work, but in essence what he is saying that the team may have become too passive after all the criticism it received. As usual, we tend to agree with Winn on this and it reminds us of how the old Miami Hurricane football teams used to talk about playing with swagger. Playing with too much gets you in trouble by picking up fouls or penalties (or having brawls), but playing without it makes you vulnerable especially if you have grown accustomed to playing that way.
Looking for football analysis after the Wildcard Round of the NFL Playoffs? Well you came to the wrong place. If you were trying to get it this weekend at the Siena–Niagara game you were also out of luck. After Siena initially told fans that they would simulcast the New York Giants game on the scoreboard during their game against Niagara to enable them to follow their favorite college team and favorite NFL team and getting the green light from the local FOX affiliate, Siena was informed by the NFL that doing so would violate the league’s copyright interest so they had to cancel the promotion. As for the actual game, the Saints won 72-60 while the Giants won 24-2. Unfortunately, this could be an issue again next week as the Giants game, which starts at 4:30 PM on Saturday, will probably run into Siena’s next game, which is at Manhattan and starts at 7 PM.
Less than a month ago Michael Jordan warned sportswriters at the Basketball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony that they shouldn’t be surprised if he decides to return to the court when he turns 50. Most people laughed it off (ok, maybe it was more nervous laughter after MJ had just eviscerated the entire room).
It turns out that there may be something behind that comment as the news coming out of Illinois today suggests that Jordan may lace them up again. Before you start going on a rant about how he is going to ruin his legacy by the returning to the court (an argument that I never bought into), there’s one important thing to consider–the Jordan who is returning is not Michael Jeffrey Jordan (career average 30.1 PPG), but instead it is his son Jeff Jordan (career average 1 PPG) who has expressed interest in returning.
What’s this? Two days in a row with FBs? Indeed. There’s a lot to get caught up on…
Duke Downer. The biggest news today was the news that Duke point guard Elliot Williams (he of the happy, happy feet) will be leaving the Duke program so that he can move closer to Memphis, his hometown. Reportedly his mother is facing a life-threatening illness there and Williams wants to be nearby for support as she battles her disease. He plans on petitioning the NCAA to waive the one-year transfer obligation so that he will be able to play immediately at his new school (presumably Memphis). This is undoubtedly a major blow to Coach K’s backcourt in 2009-10, as he’ll now be left with only Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith to log minutes there. Big things were expected of Williams based on his insertion into the starting lineup at midseason and his excellent all-around play down the stretch. Duke fans are largely crushed by this news, given the unfortunate circumstances causing it as well as the huge, gaping hole in the backcourt it leaves (while, ironically, the perfect fix named Seth Curry can only wait and watch next season). In other Duke news that came out today, Coach K is the highest paid Duke employee by far ($3.6M last year) – no surprise there.
Like Father, Not Like Son. A bit of a surprise today is that Jeffrey Jordan (you know, that Mike guy’s son) is ending his basketball career at Illinois to focus on his studies. This comes on the heels of news from earlier this year that Jordan’s hard work and commitment to the program had resulted in a scholarship for the rest of his time at the school. Guess he’d had enough. Actually, we can totally understand this. Jordan was undeniably under more pressure to perform than any walk-on turned scholarship player in the history of college basketball, and although it made for nice copy, it’s safe to say that Jordan probably didn’t love the sport anywhere near the same as his famous dad. He probably reached a personal epiphany of some kind that included a heart-to-heart with pops, and once MJ gave him the blessing, he’s now free to pursue the activities he truly enjoys. Good for him. And good for him for working his tail off in his two years at Illinois to go from walk-on to scholarship to expected contributor, despite limited talent.
Vegas, Baby. The WAC has followed its mid-major brethren WCC and Mountain West Conferences by moving its postseason tournament to Las Vegas, where the Orleans Arena will host beginning in 2011. This comes on the heels of a very successful WCC Tournament at the Orleans last year, where a sold-out, raucous arena was shown on national television for St. Mary’s vs. Gonzaga. The MWC already holds its conference tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center down the street, and this move by the WAC means that Vegas will become the basketball destination for every legitimate conference (save the Pac-10) west of the Rockies every March. Sounds like a really fun environment for fans of these leagues.
No, No, No. Everyone got this wrong. Derrick Rose wasn’t flashing a gang sign in the below pic, he was practicing universal remote hand signals for the letter “B” on the SAT exam.
Lost in the news of his dad’s alma mater UNC winning the national title was another piece of interesting news from the Jordan family. Yesterday, Marcus Jordan, the younger son of Michael Jordan, committed to play for UCF in Orlando, FL. According to recruiting services, the youngest Jordan isn’t quite the same caliber of player his father was (obviously), but is still a solid recruit (ESPN Insider/Scouts (Insider access required) rates him as an 87 while Rivals rates him as a 3-star recruit).
According to reports, Jordan was also considering Toledo, Iowa, and Davidson (imagine what the Wildcat fans would have been like with MJ and Dell Curry in the crowd if Stephen Curry decided to come back). In the end, he chose the Knights in part because he could play early and make an impact (unlike his brother Jeffrey Jordan who just got a scholarship from Illinois as a sophomore) along with the fact that his high school teammate A.J. Rompza had a very good freshman year (All-Freshman team in Conference USA) and likely had good things to say about the program.
As for impact this will have on UCF (17-14 overall and 7-9 in Conference USA), it certainly won’t have as big of an impact as John Calipari ditching Memphis and leaving them for dead, but he may give them some much needed depth (leading scorer Jermaine Taylor is a senior and averaged 26.2 PPG with the next highest scorer only averaging 9.8 PPG).
Well it’s finally here. The month of March is upon us. Here at RTC, we’ll be coming up with a ridiculous number of posts (I’m not sure how we will be able to do it with our other “lives”) so be sure to check back throughout the month as we will have posts for conference recaps, our unique bubble watch, frequent bracket updates by our resident bracketologist Zach, our favorite NCAA tournament memories, and the most comprehensive NCAA tournament preview anywhere. Ever.
11:00 AM: Just to set the table for today (and before I run out to grab some lunch before the games start), we’ll be following all three of the major games today, which will all be on CBS. At noon, Dominic James-less #10 Marquette will travel to #6 Louisville. Then at 2 PM, #8 Missouri will travel to Lawrence to take on the defending national champs, #15 Kansas. (CBS will also be airing the Tennessee-Florida game at 2. We will be very unhappy if we end up with that game instead.) The last time these teams met, Missouri shocked the Jayhawks with a Zaire Taylor 10-footer to hand Kansas its only loss in their last 13 games. A win here for Kansas would essentially seal the Big 12 regular season title for Kansas since they own the tie-breaker over Oklahoma (thanks to Blake Griffin‘s absence). Finally at 4 PM, #9 Michigan State will go to #20 Illinois. Like the preceding game, a win here would essentially clinch the Big 10 regular season title for the Spartans. In addition, we will be following the aforementioned UT-UF game (hopefully online instead of on our TVs) as well as a handful of bubble match-ups (Providence at Rutgers, Cincinnati at Syracuse, Michigan at Wisconsin, and West Virginia at South Florida).
11:50 AM: If any of you are wondering if I might decide to ditch this and go outside to enjoy the beautiful March weather, here’s your answer. On a side note, I just saw myself on ESPN for the second time this season (thanks to the miracle of HD).
11:55 AM: Wow. I just saw the Blake Griffin play from yesterday where we went over the scorer’s table. Pretty impressive after his concussion against Texas.
Noon: CBS just announced they will be have an interview with Jamie Dixon at halftime. So the Pittsburgh fans might want to tune in for that if a top 10 match-up in their own conference wasn’t enough.
12:05 PM: Rick Pitino is wearing his Colonel Sanders suit for the white out. As the CBS guys mentioned, last year he had to switch at halftime. Let’s see if it is more effective this year.
We’re back today with another edition of BGTD. Today’s edition won’t be a long as yesterday’s BGTD because today’s games aren’t nearly as good as yesterday, but there are several worth watching. For a quick run-down of the games we’ll be focusing in on today, check out today’s Set Your Tivos. As always, you’re invited to join in on the comment section to tell me if something interesting is happen elsewhere or to correct my mistakes.
12:15 PM: Not much is going on yet. Just a couple of games featuring teams near the bottom of the Big East and MAAC. In the Big East contest, Seton Hall leads Rutgers by 2 with 11:49 left in the first half. Meanwhile, in the MAAC, Canisius is beating St. Peter’s 31-19 with 4:02 left in the first half. And that’s the last time you will hear any of those programs mentioned today (and for probably quite a while) unless something crazy happens (like a brother walking out on the court). I’ll be back around 1 PM when the real games start.
1:00 PM: Ok. We finally have some decent games getting underway pretty soon. Purdue at Illinois on CBS and Alabama at LSU on ESPN360. We’ll be following these games on BGTD.
1:20 PM: Pretty entertaining start with Illinois up 11-7 on Purdue with 15:41 left in the first half. It looks like we might have an entertaining Big Ten game today.
1:30 PM: Illinois is holding onto a 6-point lead with less 9:53 left. Matt Painter needs E’Twaun Moore to step it up (0 points so far) if he wants to steal one on the road. In other news, the CBS guys just made a joke about Jeffrey Jordan getting a scholarship.
1:45 PM: Illinois has opened up a 10-point lead with 4 minutes left. If the Boilermakers aren’t careful, they could get run out of the gym by halftime. In the SEC, LSU has a 13-point lead on Alabama with less than 4 minutes left in the half.
1:55 PM: Nice little run by Purdue to cut it to 3, but Demetri McCamey just converted a 3-point play to slow some of their momentum. Purdue responds with a basket to make it a 4-point game at half. Moore has just 2 points at half. Purdue has to be happy to go into half only down by 4 with Moore’s low output.
2:00 PM: Louisville and St. John’s are playing a close game midway through the first half. LSU is up by a dozen at half. We’ll be back in a bit when something interesting happens. I’ll probably be following the Purdue-Illinois game, but will be keeping an eye on the Louisville game.
2:05 PM: Seth Davis says Alabama is willing to pay north of $2 million per year for a head coach. He calls it “Tubby money”. The two guys he mentioned were Jeff Capel and Mike Davis.
2:15 PM: They just played “American Boy” by Estelle. I know it’s a promo/lead-in to a Grammy Awards mention, but couldn’t they have picked something a little better for a men’s college basketball game?
2:20 PM: Illinois has opened up a 9-point lead as Purdue calls a timeout. The Boilermakers have been lucky to stay in this game without Moore’s scoring and Robbie Hummel‘s continued absence.
2:30 PM: Purdue has cut it back to 4, but has not been able to take the lead as Illinois has led the entire way. Thanks to Scott for pointing out the awful Louisville-St. John’s game, which St. John’s leads 22-19. I’ll keep an eye on the 2nd half on ESPN360.com.
2:45 PM: Quick run-down of the scores. Illinois is up 51-40 on Purdue with less than 9 minutes left in the game. Charlotte is up 55-49 on Dayton with 7:56 left (potential upset there). NC State is up by 14 at half on Virginia Tech. Louisville is down by 1 at St. John’s early in the 2nd half. LSU is crushing Alabama.
We’re counting down – just over one week until the first tipoffs…
Didn’t Coach K wait a couple of years after winning B2B titles before using the back excuse? Whatsup Billy D, we realize your team is young, but come on!
Georgia’s Dennis Felton is officially screwed – he just kicked leading scorer Takais Brown off the team. AOL Fanhouse wonders why UGa players are being charged $10 cashmoney for missing classes – we wonder the same thing.
More news and notes from a busy first week of practice.
Everyone is piling on Kelvin Sampson for his phone indiscretions. AOL Fanhouse looks into the poor cell phone service excuse, while DeCourcy takes shots at IU’s compliance office. One blogger wrote an open letter to Kelvin Sampson asking him to just go away. Yesterday Sampson resisted talking about the issue at his press conference.
Speaking of Indiana coaches causing trouble, the NCAA instituted a point of emphasis this year on abusive behavior by coaches on the sideline. M2M has the definitive take on this.
More IU-related content: Bob Knight felt the need to talk about the MLB playoffs during his presser this week.
MJ expects to watch his son sit the bench play at least once this year in Champaign.
On Monday it was official that Mike Hopkins would succeed Jim Boeheim at Syracuse upon his retirement; by Tuesday, it wasn’t official anymore.
So what really went down in practice between OJ Mayo and Daniel Hackett? Was it an errant ‘bow or a flat-out haymaker to the schnozz?
One of the underrated coaches at an underrated program, Randy Bennett at St. Mary’s got a two-year extension (through 2013).
Katz dissects the budding UCLA-USC rivalry, comparing it to UNC-Duke. What he fails to mention is that SoCallers don’t care about college hoops nearly as much as the NCers. That’s a Laker area, through and through.
Injuries, Suspensions, etc.
Is Brook Lopez planning on playing this year? He’s already out for the first nine games – now he’s indefinitely suspended for breaking team rules, which means he can’t even practice.
Wisconsin starter Michael Flowers is going on a leave of absence for the cryptic reason of “medical problems.”
Notre Dame super-soph Luke Harongody will miss 3-6 weeks with damage to his thumb ligaments.
Mizzou senior forward Darryl Butterfield was arrested for domestic assault and suspended indefinitely by the team.
Remember our pal Frank Tolbert? The good state of Alabama did not agree with local prosecutors that Tolbert was drunk while stealing driving his SUV away from the towing lot. He is not expected to miss any games.
A bunch of UK players are injured in various ways. Oh, and Alex Legion isn’t hurt, but his mom is some kind of prophet.
SEC:TGTBTD has it’s all-SEC teams ready – 3d Team, 2d Team, 1st Team (Chris Lofton, Jamont Gordon, Patrick Beverly, Richard Hendrix, Shan Foster).
Gary Parrish has his all-american teams + 10 ready (we like his balls to put Derrick Rose on the first team).
Big 12 talk – apparently K-State is loading up on players, while KU is striking out on recruiting. Yahoo asks if the Big 12 will ever win a title again, and oh yeah, Tom Osborne is the new AD at Nebraska.
Will Florida even make the NCAA Tourney this year? Billy D. isn’t sure.
Can UConn’s AJ Price stay away from the computer lab this year? Jim Calhoun thinks he can.
Midnight Madness went off at several venues around the country tonight, and as a result the message boards and blogs have been buzzing all night long with news about how players looked and speculation on what to expect this season. Since ESPN was typically worthlessno help whatsoever in letting us see how some of these teams looked, we decided to try to piece together some fan commentary and photos (and in a couple cases, video footage) of opening night impressions.
We start with Indiana, where expectations are sky high with the unveiling of uber-frosh Eric Gordon in a Hoosier uniform. From The Hoosier Scoop blog:
Kelvin Sampson walked out to the middle of the court, microphone in hand. It took a minute, at least, for him to actually be able to say anything. The fans kept chanting his name.
Sampson is thanking the fans for being here, and telling them how excited they are to start a new season.
He’s called Holman out to the middle of the court, and has congratulated him on being eligible. Crowd loves that.
Now DeAndre Thomas has been called out to mid-court. Sampson is discussing his weight, opening with the line “I don’t want to make a big deal of his weight . . .” I think it’s already become a big deal, with 14,000 people watching. Thomas has gone from 356 to 299.
Now Sampson is talking football, saying that he’s looking forward to watching the Hoosiers beat the Spartans tomorrow. And he’s saying “Why not a BCS bowl?”
What will happen when Gordon faces a little adversity? When his shot doesn’t fall, or he’s fouled four times in a row by a team trying rattle him?
Well, Gordon missed his first dunk attempt during this drill — which is nothing more than the guys running up and down dunking. But then he came back with a behind-the-head slam that was so utterly resounding I only hope somebody got it on video.
After the dunk practice, Indiana ran a transition drills, with three players breaking down the court against two defenders and then, following a possession, those two defenders breaking the other way again one player. Sampson has stated that this team will score more in transition, and here’s early proof.
Oh, and the passes made by Eric Gordon in this video sequence are pretty sick.
What about Billy G. over at Kentucky? 23,000+ filled Rupp Arena to greet the new coach and rooks Patrick Patterson and Alex Legion. Gary Parrish has the take:
We’re Diggin the New Nike Warmups, Mr. Meeks
And then the curtains dropped.
And right there behind them, there he was, the person who made this always wild atmosphere even wilder than normal. Standing and waving and flashing that big old goofy smile, Billy Gillispie received an ovation fit for, well, fit for the new basketball coach at Kentucky. And when the chant died down and the clapping finally ceased, this Texas man who was an assistant at Illinois just six years ago was handed the microphone and asked for his first impressions.
“I can’t talk,” Gillispie said.
Ahhh, (Wild)cat got your tongue, Billy?
But in all seriousness, it’s difficult to blame Gillispie for being totally overwhelmed. Because regardless of all the games he’s won and lost in his still relatively young career (featuring stops at UTEP and Texas A&M), there’s nothing in Gillispie’s 47 years on this planet that happened before Friday night that could’ve possibly prepared him for what it’s like to stand in the middle of Rupp Arena and give other humans goosebumps.
No, I’m not exaggerating.
Over in Lawrence, RTC’s preseason #1 Kansas Jayhawks put on a show in the Phog.
Sherron Collins led all scorers with 13 points coming on 6-of-13 shooting. He hit only one of his six three-point attempts, but that’s no big deal because, well, no one ever looks all that sharp in Late Night scrimmages.
More important on Collins is that he looks like he did in mid-season as a freshman. He drove to the basket in a smart manner, only recorded one of the game’s 14 turnovers and looked noticeably lighter and bouncier.
He put on a display of mid-air acrobatics before the game in layup lines. When asked after the game if he could have done all that a year ago, his answer, with a smile, was simple: “Absolutely not.”
He was also a pretty good dancer, to boot.
Jeremy Case led the Red team with 12 points on 5-for-5 shooting, including a pair of threes. Now, of course, nothing concrete in terms of Bill Self’s rotation can come from tonight’s scrimmage, but Case looked at ease on the Fieldhouse floor. That, too, could be because he’s entering his fifth season as a Jayhawk.
Case said he’s playing right now with no pressure on him, which could do nothing but help his basketball endeavors. It’ll be interesting to see how having his degree out of the way already helps Case as he tries to work himself into the rotation. He could be this year’s feel-good story, I would predict if solely based on what we saw tonight.
Elswewhere… Sasha Kaun had a workmanlike nine points and six rebounds for the Red team, though should probably stay away from wearing top hats, which he donned as a backup dancer during Russell Robinson’s ‘New York, New York’ performance. With his fledgling afro, it wasn’t the greatest of looks…Darrell Arthur was third on the red squad with eight points, while Mario Chalmers paced the offense up and down the floor repeatedly, notching five points, five assists and two steasl in 15 minutes on the floor…Conner Teahan, Brady Morningstar and Darnell Jackson each had six points for the Blue team. Jackson also registered six rebounds, three assists and three steals, giving him the most balanced line of any Jayhawk on the night.
An enterprising and informative Memphis Tiger fan had this to say about his Blogpoll #1 squad:
Rose: Looked confident running the team. You can just tell that this kid has “it.” He showed freakish athleticism on his one dunk in the dunk contest. He is very fast and seems to play under control. He probably will get lost during the season as most freshman do, but once he figures it out. Dorsey: Just a physical freak. He dunked anything he could get his hands on. Douglas-Roberts: CDR always looks uncoordinated, then he just puts the ball in the basket. His upper body looked bigger. He had a sweet stroke on one three pointer. If he improves from behind the line, how do you defend him. Anderson: Didn’t really notice Antonio much, but he always does the dirty work that doesn’t get noticed anyway. Dozier: Definitely looked bigger. Rob showed some fire when dunking the ball, which seemed to be lacking last year. Maybe going up against Taggart every day will turn Dozier’s potential into improved stats. Kemp: Willie looked good. He shot the ball well from behind the line. I think he will do well backing up Rose at the point this year. Probably will play some two guard with the way he can shoot. Mack: I think Doneal hit 12 or 13 three pointers in the three point contest. His shot looked really good. I liked how he dunked the ball during the scrimmage. He has the hops to turn drives into highlight dunks. It is incredible the amount of talent on this roster. No offense to guys on past teams, but it amazes me that we used to start guys like Chad Allen and Michael Brittain in the post.
JTIII and friends had a roaring time in McDonough Gym on the campus of Georgetown, as one fan who got a coveted seat (only 2000 available) reports:
I think it was well received by the recruits, at least the couple I was sitting upstairs with. They were into it and yelling along. I thought the crowd inside was great, loud and much better behaved than last year and Athletics did a great job getting folks in the gym. Some quick hits:
Step team’s routine was 5 minutes too long and way longer than any other performance (wife-beaters, really?). Dance team … well, I’m gonna leave it at that. Groove Theory awesome as usual. Two new male cheerleaders, so now a total of three. Cheerleaders still look as though they are in Junior High. A lot of Soulja Boy, and extended dancing this year (more dancing then anything else): each of the players as they were introduced; men’s vs women’s team; and both teams with AKD’s little brother.
Coach’s dance moves were old school smooth. The appearance of Jeff Green’s mom and dad was great (the unveiled his jersey). The seniors unveiled the 2007 Final Four banner … in fact, they now have new Final Four banners along with a Championship banner on the opposite wall of the jerseys (main entrance side).
Lay-up line turned dunkfest (Tyler Crawford is gonna be a beast this year, you already see the aggressiveness … him, Wallace and Sapp had some solid dunks). A nasty scoop behind the back dunk by Ewing Jr was best dunk of the night. Coach said they probably dance better, so he stopped the drill and they started dancing again: both teams together; both teams vs the crowd; and Ewing Jr. tutoring Mr. Rice for the Soulja Boy.
They did the five man weave full-court drill as well. But it seemed that the program was running long and the team seemed to tucker out a bit towards the end. Gotta say, it was a shame not to see the women’s team get a little bit of time to run drills (they basically sat around and watched the men, was kinda awkward). I know ESPNU was covering the men’s team but some time would have been nice.
Overall I thought the event inside the gym was great and the teams represented Georgetown in a great light for the recruits (recruits busted up at some of the dancing on the women’s team and a few of the guys as well).
We have to go to Yahoo for a report on USC and OJ Mayo:
Southern California has got Mayo, as in O.J. Mayo, and the Trojans showed off their star recruit when he and the rest of the team scrimmaged for fans Friday night.
The Midnight Madness session kicked off the start of practice for the Trojans, who open the season Nov. 10, at home against Mercer.
Introduced next-to-last, Mayo jogged onto the court with the index and middle fingers on both hands signaling the Trojans’ V-for-victory sign. He wore a No. 32 jersey in tribute to his favorite player, Magic Johnson.
Mayo teamed with a female fan in a 2-ball game, with each of them trying to make as many shots as possible in 60 seconds. He tossed up an air ball on his first attempt and smiled as he chased after the ball.
Mayo made four of nine shots, mostly from the perimeter, capped by a miss on a half-court attempt.
Late Night with Roy in Chapel Hill was another exercise in weirdness, but the Heels fans were generally pleased with what they saw, as a fan reports:
I was very pleased with Graves. I believe that we did not look quite as explosive as last year. I will kind of run down the players for you. I will put them in order as to the way that I thought that each player played with an emphasis on expectations.
1. Tywon A+ I thought that he looked a little winded/slow to start, then he settled down, and he was slap awesome!!!! I think this will be his last year.
2. Tyler A+ His usual self!
3. Graves A+ I was very pleasantly surprised. I will preface the rest of my reports to say that I was in the nose bleed section, and much of my view was heavily obstructed by everyone leaving. It seemed that halfway through the scrimmage, half of the audience was gone. It seemed that 1/4 left at the beginning of the scrimmage, and they just kept filing out one by one. I was most surprised at his intensity and tenacity on the defensive effort that he put out there. Then he was equally effective on the offensive side of the ball. Some one needs to tell him that he is not McCants. He even guarded Bobby pretty well.
4. Danny A I will bet that we play a lot of small ball this year. Danny did very well rebounding, and he played under control. His shot was also falling.
5. Marcus A Great job did very well.
6. Bobby A steady, ran the team, knocked down a few shots.
7. Wayne B It was very obvious, he is intent at taking it to the rim, but not great at it yet, and probably to the detriment to his shot. I don’t think he hit any jumpers. I was pretty disappointed with him. I would say that he def. looked like a 4 year player. I hope that his shot returns. His will to drive might well pay off if he can get his shot back on.
8. Alex B about what I expected. I think that he was trying to tear the rims off. He will be a defensive force!! He bobbled the ball some on offense.
9. Deon B- He was kind of transparent in that I did not notice him do very much, except one steal and ran the break. Other than that, I am not sure he was even on the court. He ties with Wayne as the two biggest disappointments of the night.
Over all, I think that we will have a slightly worse regular season, but may actually make it to the final four, because we should have last year. I think that we will def. play small ball a lot. From what I could tell tonight, Deon and Alex were not ready. Of course it was pick up style, and one bad game does not a season make, unless it is in March.
We conclude with Illinois for two reasons – 1) we really wanted to show this pic of Jeffrey Jordan wearing his dad’s jersey rising for a monster flush; and 2) it was kinda neat that everyone in the crowd wore pink as a show of solidarity to fight cancer. Two Illini fans gives their takes on Weber’s squad:
1. shaun pruitt is GOOD. i mean GOOD. ive always been hard on the guy but he brought the ball down the court once and was doing all this ball handling and i thought it was one of our guards at first til he stood up, i was like, what the heck! looks much more mobile and better handles.
2. jeff jordan jumps OUT OF THE GYM. hes short, but good lord can he jump. he did a 360 in warm ups.
3. as someone mentioned in another thread, carlwell wearing jamars jersey was good to see. i think in the end, believe it or not, jamar will be a better person from all this.
4. besides the outside threat, we could be a very solid team. alexander and davis are both very very athletic and seem to have decent shots. mccamey has mad ball handling skills and i thought holdren looked very well too.
5 things i noticed:
1) Mike Davis is a freak of an athlete. He can jump high and far and in control.
2) I agree with Quadcities that Jeffrey Jordan inherited his father’s ability to jump.
3) I also agree with Quadcities that McCamey had some really really impressive ball handling skills
4) Rodney Alexander looks very fluid, smooth, and an overall great package
5) This team is going to be better and more athletic than last years team. I really believe that.
If you seek even more info, Andy Katz gave this report on several other places, including Texas A&M and Washington St. Also, CSTV live blogged several events tonight, although the depth of detail is a little lacking. We guess they get ESPNU on their package.
In the somehow-this-missed-us category, there were two separate articles over the weekend about an unsigned Class of 2007 prospect who otherwise would be fighting for recognition with all the other mid-major wannabes. This player is a little different, though, as he just happens to be the eldest son of Basketball Messiah, aka Michael Jordan. Jeffrey Jordan is a 6’1 guard from Deerfield (IL) Loyola Academy, who if you listen to the experts’ opinions, is the kind of player who takes his Valparaiso scholarship offer and considers himself lucky.
Nevertheless, it isn’t exactly normal that your dad hosts an annual all-star game at MSG involving the nation’s top prospects – the Jordan Classic – where you are one of the invitees. Unless your name is Saul Smith we haven’t seen this level of nepotism since Jim Harrick, Jr., was giving exams at Georgia. Honestly, we wish no ill will on the kid – he’s undoubtedly worked hard for everything he’s got. And after all, recruiting maestro Bruce Weber clearly sees something in him, offering him “preferred walk-on” status at Illinois next year, whatever that means.
But don’t take our word for it, check out the MJ-esque hops here.