Morning Five: 06.17.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on June 17th, 2013

morning5

  1. We are not sure what to make of Jerome Seagers and his decision to transfer from Rutgers to Auburn then back to Rutgers in less than two months in the wake of the Mike Rice scandal and claims that he left Auburn because he wanted to be closer to his family in Maryland while recovering from his time at Rutgers. Basically the entire thing does not make any sense, which is how we often feel about many of these transfers. As you would expect Seagers will be eligible to play next season for Rutgers since he never played for Auburn although with the way the NCAA enforces rules we would not have been shocked if they made him sit out a year for his indecisiveness.
  2. With Ricky Ledo having sat out last season we had almost forgotten about him, but it appears that NBA scouts have not as the Providence freshman is getting plenty of workouts from NBA teams. Ledo, who was a partial qualifier, worked out with the Providence team last season and according to Providence coach Ed Cooley often played the role of the best player on the opposing team thanks to his skill set, which was certainly well above any of the Providence non-starters. We don’t think that Ledo’s presence last season would have made them a NCAA Tournament team last season, but if he performs well in the NBA you can be sure that more than a few Providence fans will be asking themselves what might have been if he had been able to wear a Friar uniform.
  3. We are never sure what to make of how college players perform at the international level or even in tryouts. Many times they can be an indication of a player making a leap to another level, but there have been many cases where players do not carry over that solid play to their college teams. The same can be said of poor performances. Still the decision by the USA U-19 National Team to cut Rodney Purvis and Shaq Goodwin from the team that they made last summer is an interesting one. As Mike DeCourcy notes both omissions were surprising given the way that Purvis performed in workouts and the lack of interior depth the team had that should have assured Goodwin a spot on the roster. While the team lacks a big college star outside of Marcus Smart it does contain an intriguing mix of players who would seem poised to become stars on their teams next season.
  4. The recruitment of Michael Chandler will be interesting because it was just two years ago that he was a top-50 recruit and a top-five center in the class of 2011. Of course, that was before he was declared academically ineligible and had to go to junior college ending up at Northwest Florida State where he averaged 4.6 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. Even though some players particularly centers take a while to develop those are pretty uninspiring numbers from a player at that level trying to play Division I basketball. Still it appears Chandler has plenty of suitors including Purdue. Given Chandler’s output at the junior college level we would be surprised if he ended up being much more than a marginal contributor at the high-major level.
  5. On the other end of the spectrum we have Kadeem Allen, a first-team JUCO All-American, who has drawn interest from Arizona, Kansas, and Oklahoma State. Last week, Arizona formally extended Allen a scholarship offer. We don’t pretend to follow the JUCO scene that closely (our comments on Chandler were reflective of his low production not his actual game), but the people we follow who know the JUCO scene seem to believe that he is a high-major player and his first-team status suggests that is at least a reasonable possibility. Allen will spend another year at the JUCO level before heading to Division I, but he could be an interesting addition to whatever team he winds up playing for.
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Morning Five: 06.11.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on June 11th, 2013

morning5

  1. Coming into this season Scottie Wilbekin‘s starting job was in peril with the arrival of talented freshman Kasey Hill at Florida, but you might have reasonably expected that the rising senior could bank on his experience and maturity to give him an edge in playing time. That is until Wilbekin was suspended indefinitely for an unspecified violation of team rules. This is not the first time that Wilbekin has been suspended indefinitely in the off-season as he faced a similar suspension last year and ended up missing the first three games of last season. We have no idea what Wilbekin was suspended for and if it is related to his suspension last year, but it places Billy Donovan in a difficult situation on both what to do with Wilbekin as well as how to ease Hill into the starting point guard job as we would expect Wilbekin to miss at least a few games at the start of the season if the infraction was significant enough to warrant the team disclosing it in June.
  2. It should not come as too much of a surprise but Andrew Wiggins will not be playing for the Canadian national team this summer. Wiggins like many of his American contemporaries is passing on the opportunity to play for his country’s U19 team at the FIBA World Championships. Like them Wiggins will be trying to get an early start on his college experience and given how brief Wiggins’ stay is expected to be that makes sense. Of course we do not expect this will have any long-term repercussions for Wiggins in terms of being named to future Canadian national teams as he is essentially viewed as the future of the sport in the country.
  3. Even in the crazed world of college transfers the decision by Jerome Seagers to back out of his transfer to Auburn is a curious move. Seagers, who averaged 6.5 points and 2.6 assists per game last season, announced his transfer from Rutgers to Auburn in the wake of the Mike Rice scandal. Now a month later Seagers has decided that Auburn is not the ideal destination for him. We will probably never be sure of the reason why Seagers decided to back out of the transfer, but according to Auburn the stated reason is that  ”he hadn’t truly recovered emotionally from his time at Rutgers.” Whatever the reason is for his decision it will be interesting to see where Seagers ends up, but from the school’s statement it would appear that he wants to be closer to his family in Silver Springs, Maryland.
  4. Speaking of transfers The New York Times took a look at increasingly onerous transfer restrictions with a focus on a couple of particularly notable cases. The article does not take a look at some notable cases in college basketball where player transfers were blocked although the ones we have seen do not block nearly as many universities (see Todd O’Brien) so we know the problem extends beyond just college football. The big question of what drives these type of tactics is one that the article cannot get to bottom of because coaches will never talk about it, but it is likely one of asserting their power over the athletes to try to prevent future transfers by making the transfer process as difficult as possible.
  5. There are a lot of crazy stories happening with conference realignment, but one that will probably be largely overlooked is how moving conferences will change the finances for schools even in areas that are not the school’s primary focus. Take the move of Kenya Hunter for example. Normally we would not highlight the move of an assistant particularly one who has not been rumored as a top candidate for significant head coaching positions, but Hunter’s lateral move from Georgetown to Nebraska speaks to the changing finances of the two schools. This is not to suggest that Georgetown is falling apart, but instead should highlight how TV contracts can alter how an athletic program is built because five years ago we could not even fathom someone leaving Georgetown for a similar position at Nebraska (frankly, we are still having trouble comprehending it).
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Conference Report Card: Big East

Posted by Brian Goodman on April 19th, 2011

Brian Otskey is an RTC contributor. We will be publishing a series of conference report cards over the next week for conferences that got multiple NCAA bids to recap the conference, grade the teams, and look at the future for the conference.

Conference Recap

  • College basketball has never witnessed a season like this year’s Big East. The conference destroyed its own record of eight NCAA bids by placing 11 clubs in the Big Dance this year and also claimed the national champion with Connecticut, which spent most of the season in the middle of the pack in the Big East. The Huskies also gave the conference its first title since the Huskies last did the trick in 2004. While there was not a truly great team in the Big East (including Connecticut), the league was better than any other from top to bottom. Of the five teams that failed to make the NCAA Tournament, only South Florida and DePaul were truly uncompetitive. Rutgers showed signs of improvement while Seton Hall managed to win seven league games and gave some good teams a major scare in the process. Even Providence, which finished 4-14, knocked off Louisville and Villanova in consecutive games back in January. Despite the lackluster NCAA showing by most Big East members, it says here the conference boasted the best player in the nation (sorry, Jimmer) and a deserving national champion. Additionally, ten Big East teams were ranked in the AP Top 25 at some point this season. Say what you want about its postseason performance (it’s certainly fair to bash the league in that regard), but this was by far the best conference in the nation this year.

Jim Calhoun (left) and Kemba Walker will be inextricably linked to UConn's memorable NCAA Tournament run. (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)

Team-by-Team (teams are in order of finish, but grades are based on performance vs. expectations):

  1. Pittsburgh (28-6, 15-3): The regular season was terrific once again for Jamie Dixon and the Panthers but, as has become common over the years, they fell short of their goal–getting to the Final Four. Pittsburgh lost four of their final eight games after starting the season 24-2. A mid-season injury to Ashton Gibbs was thought to bring them down a peg, but Pitt responded with wins at West Virginia and Villanova without him to quiet any doubters. That turned out to be their peak. Dixon did not really test his team out of conference except for two games at Madison Square Garden against Maryland and Texas back in November as part of the 2K Sports Coaches vs. Cancer event and a “home” game (in Pittsburgh) against Tennessee, which they lost. Looking back, one theory could be that an average non-conference schedule did not adequately prepare this team for the NCAA Tournament which is all about match-ups and teams you haven’t seen before from other leagues. While Big East coaches love to use the strength of the league as a crutch when questioned about a lack of non-conference heft to their schedule, I think this is a theory that has to be taken into consideration. Big East play is obviously rough and tumble every night but that can actually be a detriment come tournament time when games are officiated tighter and you don’t have as much time to prepare for an opponent who you likely don’t know very well, if at all. Pitt will lose Gilbert Brown, Brad Wanamaker, and Gary McGhee to graduation while Gibbs tests the NBA waters. I expect Gibbs to come back to join a very good recruiting class led by five-star forward Khem Birch. Despite the loss of three senior leaders, look for Pitt to be in the thick of the Big East race yet again next season. Dixon has established a culture of winning and I have learned never to doubt him after witnessing the 2009-10 campaign, a season that certified Dixon as one of the best basketball minds in the country. While this year was a great success during the regular season, Pitt’s inability to get to the Sweet Sixteen and eventually the Final Four renders this year a disappointment. GRADE: B- Read the rest of this entry »
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Recruiting Rumor Mill: 09.13.10 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on September 13th, 2010

Which way will Quincy Miller go?

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