ACC Morning Five: 11.07.11 Edition

Posted by mpatton on November 7th, 2011

  1. Fox Sports Carolinas: Fox Sports‘ Andrew Jones offers a throwback list of the top ten players “capable of significantly enhancing their team’s fortunes.” I only call the list throwback because Jones ignores the two extreme geographic points of the ACC (Boston College and Miami) when constructing his list. In general I agree with all of his selections, though I possibly would’ve substituted Miles Plumlee for Ryan Kelly based on recent reports. For Boston College, I would’ve chosen Danny Rubin (the most productive of the Eagles’ only three returning players), and I would choose sophomore Rion Brown for Miami.
  2. Boston Globe: Speaking of Boston College, Patrick Heckmann is hoping to make an impact on the Eagles this year, coming by way of Germany. This Globe piece gives a little insight into the recruiting world for international prospects, and Heckmann is a frosh out of Germany with a pretty unique story. He’s also a 6’6″ slasher who will get plenty of playing time for a young team. The story offers an especially interesting look at Heckmann’s decision in choosing Boston College over playing for a club team in Germany.
  3. Fayetteville Observer: Looking for more lists? Bret Strelow and Sammy Batten compiled a pretty interesting list of superlatives for ACC basketball that will definitelybe good for starting debates. Sure, Milton Jennings is a great breakout candidate and Staats Battle definitely has the coolest name in the conference, but is Andre Dawkins really the most underrated dunker? He dunks almost rarely, which makes each time feel special, but we need to see more frequency in order to garner a superlative. Also, I wonder why they chose to ask a freshman (Wake Forest’s Travis McKie) about the toughest arena. For the record he chose Clemson’s Littlejohn Coliseum, though this coming year will be McKie’s first trip to the unfriendly confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium.
  4. North Carolina and NBA legend James Worthy will be elected into the college hoops hall of fame alongside of Virginia’s Ralph Sampson. Worthy was the first overall pick of the 1982 NBA Draft, led the Tar Heels to Dean Smith’s first NCAA Championship that same year (scoring 28 points on 13-17 shooting in the championship game), and is already a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
  5. Searching For Billy Edelin and Fayetteville Observer: A couple of ACC previews and predictions with more “controversial” picks. For Nick Fasulo at Searching For Billy Edelin, the conference is down. Fasulo’s most interesting predictions come in his individual accolades, where he picked Jim Larranaga as Coach of the Year and Tyler Zeller as Player of the Year. Personally, I see Zeller as more of a complement (as he was at the end of last season), but “everything is in place for this guy. Assuming he stays healthy, there should be no […] unexpected things to limit his production,” Fasulo tweeted. The Fayetteville Observer‘s contrary nature shows up in its projected finish: Unlike the media, the newspaper projects Virginia to finish eighth in the conference (NIT-bound), while Miami takes the fourth place spot and earns an eight-seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Around the greater world of college sports, one of the most sickening alleged scandals in the history of college athletics came to light over the weekend. In a story that will turn your stomach, former Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky has been accused of 40 crimes (21 felonies and 19 misdemeanors) involving eight sexual abuse victims who were minors at the time. The worst part is that the PSU athletic department reportedly knew about some of the crimes and never reported them to the proper authorities despite extensive discussions internally. While the article is tough to read, Sara Ganim of The Patriot News does a great job breaking down the details of the case. As of today, Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley has been placed on administrative leave and Senior Vice President for business and finance Gary Schultz has stepped down (both have been accused of perjury), but I’d be surprised if the punishments end here based on the heinous nature of these allegations.

Picture of the Day:

Len Bias Posts Up Michael Jordan in 1984. (Manny Millan/SI) h/t SI Photo Blog

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ACC Morning Five: 11.04.11 Edition

Posted by mpatton on November 4th, 2011

  1. USA Today: Another year and another season-crippling injury for Seth Greenberg and the Hokies. Last year it was Dorenzo Hudson and JT Thompson. This year Thompson tore his other ACL and will miss his second straight season. You have to feel for Thompson, but Greenberg pointed out the silver lining: “Our main focus right now is his health and preparing him for his graduation this December. […] Now is not the time to discuss a sixth year.” Thompson’s injury is a big blow for Virginia Tech, where Thompson was expected to be a major leader and contributor this season. In 2009-10 he averaged 7.3 PPG and 4.6 RPG in just over 20 minutes a game.
  2. Miami Herald: Jim Larranaga got his first official (exhibition) win on the Miami sideline last night against Florida Southern, 88-78, but it wasn’t easy. The Hurricanes trailed by five at the half and by ten halfway through the second half. Garrius Adams caught fire late, aiding a late 28-6 run with three treys in two minutes. Malcolm Grant led the way for Miami with 26 points on a fantastic 8-12 shooting performance, but Durand Scott wasn’t far behind with 23 points and seven rebounds (that rebounding will be crucial while Reggie Johnson is out). The bad news was the Hurricanes finished with significantly more turnovers (17) than assists (10).
  3. United States Navy: The host of the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic, the USS Carl Vinson, is getting ready for the Veterans’ Day game. Construction crews started building the court on Tuesday that is expected to seat 7,000 people. It should be finished by November 9 to allow both teams to practice on the new court the day before the game. In the case of inclement weather (quite unlikely in San Diego), the crew is also constructing a smaller court in the ship’s hangar bay though it has far less seating for spectators.
  4. Detroit Free Press: Duke target Mitch McGary has opted for John Beilein and Michigan over Duke and Florida. McGary will be the Wolverines’ first McDonalds All-American in ten years (the last was Daniel Horton in 2002). My guess is this means that Duke will really turn up the heat on Tony Parker, another incredibly talented class of 2012 power forward. It is starting to look like NC State may sport the best 2012 recruiting class in the conference.
  5. Ryan Davis caught up with new Maryland coach Mark Turgeon to talk about the upcoming season. It sounds like Nick Faust will be called on from day one, and Turgeon expects Sean Mosley to live up to the expectations people set for him last year. One interesting question was comparing this year’s Maryland team to last year’s Boston College team. I’d tend to agree with Turgeon that the teams are very different (namely, the Eagles were lights out from beyond the arc, while Maryland should make its money on defense), but I hadn’t thought about the other comparisons (very shallow benches, new coaches, and solid returners). Although I don’t think the comparison is apples to apples, I think it should be heartening for Terrapin fans that Boston College saw the success it did facing similar problems.
Finally, it is NC StateNorth Carolina week (in football)! For those readers not familiar with ACC football (I don’t blame you), this is the nationally-irrelevant Tobacco Road rivalry of the gridiron. The two coaches celebrated the occasion by swapping insults before the schools’ chancellors ended the feud by calling each other to apologize.
  • Everett Withers (UNC): “I think the kids in this state need to know, you know, the flagship school in this state. […] They need to know it academically. I think if you look at our graduation rates as opposed to our opponent’s this week graduation rates for academics or football, I think you’ll see a difference. I think if you look at the educational environment here, I think you’ll see a difference.”
  • Tom O’Brien (NC State): “As far as the flagship, here is a guy that’s on a football staff that ends up in Indianapolis. If you take three things you can’t do in college football, you have an agent on your staff, you’re paying your players and you have academic fraud. I mean, that’s a triple play as far as the NCAA goes. […] Our guys go to school, they’re not given grades and they graduate […] It’s a little tougher here if you have to go to school and you’re expected to have a syllabus and go to class. I think our guys earn everything they get here. And certainly all our graduates earn everything they get at this university.”
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ACC Team Previews: Miami

Posted by mpatton on October 21st, 2011

Remember when we said Wake Forest had a rough season last year? I’m pretty sure Miami would be willing to trade. Compared to a few losses and off-the-court struggles for the Demon Deacons, the Hurricanes etched their names on Tablet Historical of NCAA Infractions after former booster (and current Ponzi scheme felon) Nevin Shapiro unleashed a barrage of NCAA violations that made Butch Davis and Jim Tressel cringe.

I’m not sure “impermissible” is a strong enough word to cover cash payments, hookers, and everything in-between. Now factor in the disappointment of an underachieving (and extremely unlucky) basketball team, the departure of the basketball coach, and a star player going down for the first half of this season with an injury, and you’re on a level to empathize with Hurricane fans.

Reggie Johnson is Out with a Knee Injury: Can Miami still Reach Its Potential?

Moving the focus back to basketball, last year was a disaster for the Hurricanes. No, they weren’t totally non-competitive, but in some ways that just makes things worse. The team was primed for success with a down conference and returning star power, but a hideous 1-6 start to conference play saw preseason expectations evaporate quickly. Looking back at the roster and season they had, I have to wonder if Frank Haith wasn’t on the hot seat anyway: he had only made the NCAA Tournament once in the last seven years despite several talented teams. His last four seasons were better, with Miami averaging over 20 wins and I’d be remiss not to mention the relative apathy for basketball south Florida has, but still.

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ACC Morning Five: 10.19.11 Edition

Posted by mpatton on October 19th, 2011

  1. ESPN – Grantland: Grantland‘s “Why ____ Will Win the National Championship” series continues with Duke, the weakest team of the five profiles. But don’t let the title keep you from reading the post, which does a great job at assessing the outlook for this year’s team. To sum things up, no one really knows how good Duke can be this year (though he projects a Sweet Sixteen). The one point I disagree on is that Coach K should not have played Kyrie Irving during the NCAA Tournament. Yes, Nolan Smith carried Duke on his back for most of the season; and yes, Nolan Smith played terribly once Irving came back. But if you look at Smith’s progression (minus the ACC Tournament championship game), he began struggling in March. I think Krzyzewski knew that to win he had to put the best team on the floor, and Kyrie Irving was a part of the best team he had. Not to mention if Arizona plays that  second half against any college team, it wins by a lot. But read the article: it’s funny, informative and insightful.
  2. Charlotte Observer: Mark Gottfried had his old boss, former UCLA coach Jim Harrick, at practice with him yesterday. Harrick is a somewhat controversial figure, as he’s seen NCAA trouble nearly everywhere he’s been. NC State athletic director Debbie Yow was quick to point out that Harrick is serving as a “mentor” and “personal adviser,” and not a “university employee” to avoid any rumor or innuendo. But Harrick’s presence was also a reminder of Gottfried’s former success: in addition to a solid head coaching career, Gottfried was an assistant on UCLA’s 1995 National Championship team.
  3. Miami Herald: New Miami coach Jim Larranaga isn’t playing games. Durand Scott earned 20 minutes on a stationary bike after showing up to practice with his shoelaces untied in a motivational statement that appears to be along similar lines to Mark Gottfried referring to CJ Leslie as “Calvin.” While FrankHaith comes across as a player’s coach, Larranaga is decidedly old school: he’s stressing discipline and fundamentals. I for one am very interested to see how his system works, as he’s inherited a talented team from his predecessor. Look out for the Hurricanes come January with Reggie Johnson back in the line-up.
  4. ESPN Boston: In case you haven’t seen Boston College‘s updated roster, they’ve added a lot of guys since Steve Donahue took over a little over a year ago. The team has nine freshmen slated for next year. His monster class is headlined by ESPNU Top 100 recruit Ryan Anderson, but a lot of the other players were more under the recruiting radar. In an interview with ESPN Boston, Donahue expressed his excitement at being able to offer scholarships for the first time, but also made things clear: “Down the road maybe we redshirt one or two of those guys, but we’ve got guys that are high-character, skilled and can play, and in a couple of years they’re gonna be really good.” This is raising a couple of red flags for me personally, as NCAA scholarships are renewable on a year-by-year basis. It makes sense that Donahue would seek to fill up his roster, but what happens if there’s another top 100 recruit up for grabs next season?
  5. Winston-Salem Journal: Wake Forest recruit Devin Thomas wants to be an instant impact player when he suits up as a Demon Deacon next season. Thomas is joining a large 2012 class that looks to be Jeff Bzdelik’s best bid to right the ship. According to his coach Thomas has matured considerably over the last year, and should be a solid rebounder from the start. Based on Wake’s rebounding percentages last season (they ranked an absolutely abysmal #283 in defensive rebounding and #321 in offensive rebounding, according to Ken Pomeroy), and their increased off-the-court troubles, Bzdelik should be thrilled with both.
And now for the image of the day:

Awesome Image of Muggsy Bogues and the Wake Forest Basketball Team (credit: SI Vault)

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