Morning Five: 10.08.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on October 8th, 2013


  1. Jahlil Okafor is not quite ready to cut his list, but according to his father there are four schools–Baylor, Duke, Kansas, and Kentucky–that have emerged as the favorites. Normally the list of the top senior in the country is notable by itself, but this year it takes on increased importance as Okafor and Tyus Jones, another top-5 senior, have repeatedly stated their plan to play together in college. Four other schools–Arizona, Illinois, Michigan State, and Ohio State–remain on the list of eight schools that Okafor previously said he was considering, but the favorites for now appear to be Baylor, which the pair has already visited, and Duke and Kansas, which they plan on visiting later this month. That obviously leaves Kentucky, which is not on Jones’ list, and although we have not heard of any scheduled visit they are Kentucky so we wouldn’t count them out with any recruit.
  2. Cliff Alexander is not much behind Okafor in the rankings and is also reportedly involved in his own package deal with JaQuan Lyle. Yesterday he also released an updated list of his finalists narrowing it down to five schools: Illinois, DePaul, Michigan State, Kansas, and Memphis. Alexander is a Chicago native so we wouldn’t completely rule out DePaul and Illinois for Alexander, but if he and Lyle are actually a package deal then Kansas would be the favorite as they are the only school in both Alexander’s final five and Lyle’s final four choices. When comparing this pair’s list with that of Okafor/Jones the one common thread is Kansas so there is a chance that Bill Self could either have an unbelievably loaded class next year or a very hard choice to make when it comes to these pairs.
  3. Yesterday, CBS released its TV schedule for the coming season for games that will be broadcast on CBS and CBS Sports Network. As you would expect the marquee games are on CBS while CBS Sports Network manages to get a handful of interesting games that are not quite as interesting on a national level. The two biggest games are clearly Louisville at Kentucky on December 28 and Oklahoma State at Kansas on January 18 that are at or above the level of anything that ESPN GameDay will cover. After that it is a slight drop-off, but there are plenty of other intriguing games–Arizona at Michigan (December 14), Michigan at Indiana (February 2), Michigan State at Wisconsin (February 9), and Kentucky at Florida (March 8)–that we will have marked on our calendar.
  4. It seems like the North Carolina athletic department and the NCAA are not the only group to not be overly concerned with the fraudulent courses offered in their African and Afro-American Studies department. According to a report from the school, only one of 46 students who are at risk of not graduating because they took a fraudulent course has enrolled in a make-up course. If the number 46 sounds small compared to the size of scandal, it is because of the 384 students who enrolled in the 39 fraudulent classes between 1997 and 2009, 304 are alumni and their transcripts are supposedly “sealed” while another 34 are not affected because they do not need to the credit to graduate, did not get credit for the course, or transferred to another school. For its part, UNC has agreed to offer the make-up course for free to any of the 46 students who are at risk of not graduating because of the fraudulent courses.
  5. Josh Pastner might have issues winning on the court, but he continues to show his strength on the recruiting trail and in particular in the state of Tennessee. His latest pick-up is K.J. Lawson, the #21 junior in the country, who committed to Memphis yesterday. The Tigers are still in the hunt for other top prospects including Cliff Alexander (see point #2 above), but perhaps the biggest part of this commitment is K.J.’s younger brother (Dedric) is the #4 ranked sophomore in the country. Tennessee is not traditionally known as a major college basketball hotbed, but if Pastner can continue to lock down his home state it should eventually pay dividends.
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