Anthony Davis Named a Finalist for USA Olympic Team: Should He Make It?

Posted by EJacoby on May 3rd, 2012

Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter.

As international basketball continues to gain steam, so does widespread intrigue in the Summer Olympic Games. The upcoming 2012 London Olympics will include some tremendous competition for the heavily favored United States, such as a Spanish team that can boast a monster front line of Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, and Serge Ibaka. To counter that front line, and as a side effect of several unfortunate injuries, the Americans are in need of some serious size of their own. As a result, college basketball’s reigning National Player of the Year and projected No. 1 NBA draft pick Anthony Davis has already been named as one of the 20 finalists for Team USA this summer. Would Davis be a good fit for this team, and could “The Unibrow” possibly make the cut? Historical precedent says it could happen, and a roster breakdown shows that Davis might just be the big man inside that Team USA is missing.

Anthony Davis is now Shooting for a Spot on Team USA (AP Photo)

The USA Basketball Committee, led by chairman Jerry Colangelo and head coach Mike Krzyzewski, already selected the 20 finalists for the team back in January but several significant injuries has left Team USA in need of more bodies to compete for the final 12-man roster by the June 18 deadline. Specifically, there is a glaring lack of healthy size on the roster given injury troubles to Dwight Howard (back) and LaMarcus Aldridge (hip). The only true center currently on the roster is Tyson Chandler, with power forwards Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Chris Bosh, and Lamar Odom in the fold as well. But there are issues with all of these forwards — Odom was released by the Dallas Mavericks after a terrible season, Griffin brings more ‘flash’ than production as an interior player, and Love and Bosh both thrive offensively on the perimeter. There is an absolute need for an interior presence to back up Chandler.

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Who’s Got Next? Parker Will Decide Monday, Upshaw to Fresno State

Posted by Josh Paunil on April 19th, 2012

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 are missing or different things you would like to see, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Lead Story: Top-20 Power Forward Tony Parker To Announce His Decision Monday

Class of 2012 Power Forward Tony Parker Will Commit Monday.

Second-Best Undecided Senior Will Decide Between Five. Class of 2012 power forward Tony Parker has had one of the most secretive recruitments in the Class of 2012. The 6’9″, 273-pound big man has kept all of the recruiting analysts guessing since the beginning and many popular guesses have come and gone ranging from Ohio State and Duke to more recently UCLA and his hometown team, Georgia. But Monday at around 3:30 or 4 PM, according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Parker will finally announce his college intentions. His final five consists of Duke, Georgia, Kansas, Ohio State, and UCLA. I doubt he will go to Kansas or Georgia so that leaves Duke, Ohio State, and UCLA. It seems to me that the two schools with the best shot at him are Ohio State and UCLA and if I had to bet on where he goes I would pick UCLA, but honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if he choose any of the five schools except for Kansas. So, in order, I think the schools that have the best shot with him are UCLA, Ohio State, Duke, Georgia, and then Kansas. If he does indeed choose UCLA, that would give them arguably the best recruiting class in the country between their class of Parker, point guard Kyle Anderson, and small forwards Shabazz Muhammad and Jordan Adams.

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Shabazz Muhammad and “The Decision”

Posted by AMurawa on April 10th, 2012

Andrew Murawa is an RTC columnist.

Two summers ago, Lebron James held the attention of basketball fans as he pondered the big “decision” about where he would continue his career. After playing his first seven seasons in his hometown of Cleveland, James was a free agent and being pursued by numerous NBA teams who had spent years freeing up space under the salary cap in order to be able to make a pitch for his services. As we all now know, after much deliberation, James opted to turn his back on the Cavaliers and other suitors in favor of taking his “talents to South Beach” to play alongside superstar Dwyane Wade as well as all-star forward Chris Bosh.

On Wednesday, college hoops fans get “The Decision” times two, as the nation’s two biggest recruits – Nerlens Noel and Shabazz Muhammad – will both announce which college campus they will be taking their talents to next season. Noel is considering Syracuse, Georgetown and Kentucky, while Muhammad garners the attention of fans across the country as he considers UCLA as well as Kentucky and Duke, already having eliminated schools like UNLV, Arizona, Kansas and others from consideration. At this point, depending on whom you ask, either the Bruins or the defending champion Wildcats are the favorite, with the Blue Devils seemingly a distant dark horse, but until his name adorns a National Letter of Intent to one of those schools, it is all guesswork.

Shabazz Muhammad

Shabazz Muhammad's Decision On Wednesday Night Will Have A Big Impact on the 2012-13 Season (Jonathan Daniels, Getty Images)

To avoid rehashing the guesses of those with partial information, we’ll compare the choices in Muhammad’s hand to the teams that “King James” considered when he made his fateful decision in July 2010.

Lebron : Cleveland Cavaliers :: Shabazz : UNLV

Why this analogy works: When James signed with Miami, he crushed the hopes of Cleveland fans who had hoped that the hometown kid would stick around to continue trying to build the Cavaliers into a long term winner. James grew up in Akron, just 45 minutes south of Cleveland, while Muhammad will graduate from Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman High School this spring. But, just like James and Cleveland, Muhammad will forsake his hometown to ply his trade elsewhere at a bigger and historically more successful program. And, in both cases, if either player had landed with either one of these teams, those teams (the Cavs and the Rebels) would have been very good teams but not quite the favorite to take down the championship.

Why this analogy is flawed: The Cavs were apparently a significant possibility in James’ decision until very late in the process, while the Rebels faded from consideration some time ago.

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Who’s Got Next? Noel Re-Classifies to 2012, Jefferson Close To Deciding And More…

Posted by Josh Paunil on February 2nd, 2012

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 are missing or different things you would like to see, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Lead Story: Nerlens Noel Re-classifies To Class of 2012

Nerlens Noel Is Now One Of the Top Seniors In the Country. (Daryl Paunil/NRS)

Elite Junior Will Graduate A Year Early. There’s been ongoing speculation for a long time that center Nerlens Noel might re-classify from the Class of 2013 to the Class of 2012, but he didn’t gave much of an indication that he was going to. However, late Wednesday night the best shot-blocker in the prep ranks in the country confirmed that he was indeed going to graduate a year early and move to the Class of 2012. What does that mean? Well, other than getting to see him in college a year early, it means that he will have to decide which school he’s going to commit to in the next couple of months. Syracuse and Kentucky have long been the favorites for Noel and while a couple sources have told RTC that they think he will pick the Orange, it’s going to be a close race between the two. Other than John Calipari and Jim Boeheim‘s squads, Noel is considering multiple other schools and has already visited Providence and Connecticut while he plans on visiting Syracuse (February 11), Kentucky, Florida, Georgetown and North Carolina soon. He doesn’t have a timetable for committing but keep in mind that the regular signing period is April 13-May 18. We will be interviewing Noel some time in the next several days so if you’re interested in his recruitment, make sure you check back next week to see what he has to say about the schools on his list.

What They’re Saying

  • Senior star Rodney Purvis on why he’s happy he made the Jordan Brand Classic: “Being from the same city and with John [Wall] being like my big brother, I wanted to do all the things he did. I didn’t tell a lot of people, but I really, really wanted to play in the Jordan Brand Classic. Like a whole lot.”
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What is Miami’s Problem?

Posted by KCarpenter on October 28th, 2011

Jim Larranaga is facing a harsh reality check. At George Mason, the coach was adored. The school’s students, band, and fans are a lively bunch who really love basketball, and a great deal of credit for that goes to Larranaga for building up the school’s program. At the University of Miami, however, things are different. Well, in Miami, things are different.

Can Larranaga Get Apathetic Miami Fans to Support His Program?

As Larranaga has pointed out several times in the preseason, Miami was the focal point of one of the most publicized basketball seasons in recent history: The debut of LeBron James and Chris Bosh with Dwyane Wade’s Miami Heat. With the NBA players currently locked out and the professional season in jeopardy of partial or even full cancellation, assuming that Miami’s passion (?) for basketball would transfer to the Hurricanes seems like a fairly reasonable idea. In the right light, it seems reasonable when Larranaga says things like:

I heard that Miami loves star power, that if stars come and sit courtside then fans will think it’s a worthwhile event and show up, so we’re reaching out to those guys, and we’ll be inviting LeBron and Dwyane Wade to our games.

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ACC Morning Five: 10.27.11 Edition

Posted by mpatton on October 27th, 2011

  1. ESPN (Insider): I normally avoid Insider posts, but North Carolina resident Dave Telep gives us a peek under the bleachers at the uglier side of high major recruiting in college basketball that’s really a must-read for college basketball fans. Telep cites Lebron James as the first player who really took advantage of his worth and marketed himself during high school. Without giving too much away, Telep names three types of elite prospects: the clean, the agent/runner-influenced, and the bold, who just directly asks for money. The rest of the post almost reads like a how-to guide for cheating, but the one thing I wish Telep had offered was a solution. It’s no secret that there’s plenty of dirt behind high major basketball recruiting, but informed solutions are hard to come by.
  2. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: In case you haven’t noticed, there’s been quite a bit of turnover as far as ACC basketball coaches go. So much that Georgia Tech junior Mfon Udofia only managed to name five and a half (he knew Mark Gottfried was “the guy from Alabama”) conference coaches, not counting his own. Four ACC coaches are entering their first years and three are on their second. Mike Krzyzewski compared the recent influx of coaches to the early 1980s when he, Bobby Cremins and Jim Valvano joined over the course of two years. Those shoes are pretty big ones to fill (six NCAA Championships, myriad Final Fours and countless ACC titles clutter the three resumes).
  3. Huffington Post: Syracuse professor Boyce Watkins takes on the NCAA’s “funny math.” Watkins points out that while 96% of NCAA revenue does go back to the schools, the NCAA fails to calculate the incredibly high salaries of coaches. Watkins also points out the hypocrisy of paying college basketball players the same as their soccer brethren without factoring in the huge discrepancy between the coaches’ respective salaries. He also lays out policies that would more fairly represent the current NCAA system: for example, no games on school nights (ironic side note: the Ivy League actually adheres to this in conference play for basketball but not for Olympic sports), and coaches shouldn’t be able to sign endorsement deals. The anti-NCAA side of things has really gained momentum over the last six months, and I don’t think this trend will stop at partial cost of attendance stipends.
  4. Searching for Billy Edelin: Nick Fasulo got credentialed to see ESPN Film’s newest documentary, Unguardable. The movie covers Boston College (and later Fresno State) guard Chris Herren, who fell from the top of recruiting rankings to truly rock bottom. If this is anywhere near as good as Without Bias, it’ll be must-see TV. And from Fasulo’s review, it might be even better. Hennen managed to survive his bout with drugs and serves as the storyteller, leaving no middleman narration to distance the audience from the subject. Unguarded airs next Tuesday at 8PM on ESPN.
  5. CBSSports.com: Kyrie Irving is using his NBA lockout time off to help keep a promise to his family and get a degree. The first pick in last year’s NBA Draft is apparently back on Duke’s campus taking courses. This isn’t to say Irving is the only one: According to CBS, 52 current locked-out players (15% of players without college degrees) are using this time to pursue degrees they left for the greener pastures (and paychecks) of the NBA.

EXTRA: This story isn’t basketball related, but Sports Illustrated‘s Andy Staples hits the ball out of the park with his interview with former North Carolina assistant football coach John Blake. Blake’s side of the story has remained largely offstage, so it’s interesting to hear it from the man himself. The Tar Heels’ date with the NCAA Committee of Infractions is scheduled for this Friday. This just goes to show, not all stories are as black and white as they seem.

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Morning Five: 07.26.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on July 26th, 2011

  1. Amidst reports that the University of Connecticut was working on a buyout of embattled athletic director Jeff Hathaway, the school’s new president, Susan Herbst, confirmed that she has initiated a comprehensive evaluation of the school’s athletic department.  The evaluation, performed by an outside consulting firm, is clearly meant to provide cover for the ouster of Hathaway, or even better, just cause for an outright firing.  But as Hartford Courant columnist Jeff Jacobs writes in a scathing piece about the politics behind this situation, Hathaway never had a chance to survive at UConn with Jim Calhoun remaining “bitter Hathaway didn’t defend him vigorously enough in the Nate Miles case” with the NCAA.  According to Jacobs, the three-time national championship coach felt he did nothing wrong (even though the NCAA found him guilty of failure to monitor his program).  Interesting stuff, but assuming Hathaway is done at UConn, what is the back-up plan for the 2012 NCAA Selection Committee chair?
  2. We did this in  yesterday’s M5, right?  From Connecticut to Tennessee again with the release Monday of UT’s 190-page response to the NCAA’s notice of allegations on various violations including the infamous cookout photograph of Bruce Pearl at his home with Aaron Craft.  If you’re a fan of legalese and you have a couple hours to kill, feel free to read the entire thing, but if not, the key takeaway from our view of the world is that the Vol program is kidding itself if it believes that its remedial measures of firing the coaching staff responsible will somehow insulate the program from future restrictions.  There’s simply too much to account for here.
  3. Summer is high time for prep basketball camps around the country, with events like the adidas Super 64 in Las Vegas this week becoming the epicenter of elite high school talent for college coaches to do their one-stop shopping for the stars of tomorrow.  But today’s desert hoops, or the LeBron James Skills Academy, or the Peach Jam, weren’t always the shining stars of the summer circuit.  For much of the 1990s and 2000s, it was instead a tiny gymnasium on the campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey, and the Newark Star-Ledger over the weekend took a look back at those halcyon days.  The ABCD Camp, founded and run by the inimitable Sonny Vaccaro, had a certain panache that the others to this date still haven’t been able to live up to.  It was a place where the top stars from all around the country played against each other, and where reputations were made.  From Tracy McGrady exploding onto the scene in 1996 to LeBron James’ destruction of Lenny Cooke’s psyche in 2001, it all happened there.  Great stroll down memory lane.
  4. Regardless of  where the elite players play during the summer, people will watch and report on it.  Mike DeCourcy checked in with an interesting story about one of the most intriguing players in Las Vegas this week.  Andre Drummond might be listed as a member of the Class of 2012, but the 6’11” center in the mold of Dwight Howard, has several options after the summer circuit ends which makes his situation particularly compelling.  Since his high school class graduated this year, he could potentially spend next season at prep school for a year, head off to college at the last minute, or even consider offers to play in Europe as he awaits the NBA’s lockout decision over the winter (to determine if he’ll be eligible to decleare in the summer of 2012 or 2013).  Personally, we’re rooting for him to just show up on a random campus on the first day of classes and walk into the head coach’s office with a declaration, “I’m ready to play.”
  5. We’ve been waiting to link this, but now that Basketball Prospectus‘ Drew Cannon has finished his list of the Top 100 returning players in college basketball, it’s ready for prime time.  Believe it or not, the SEC ended up with four players in the top nine of the list, and the only team with two guys in the top ten was none other than Vanderbilt.  And we’re betting dollars to doughnuts that you’ll be surprised at the Commodores player chosen who is not named John Jenkins.  An added bonus to this list: all-conference teams for each of the six major leagues and a preseason POY the top mid-major conferences.  Great stuff.
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Morning Five: 07.14.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on July 14th, 2011

  1. How about a smidge of conference realignment in your summertime news feed?  The WAC is expected to add Texas-Arlington as its tenth school later this week, compensating for its recent loss of Boise State and its pending loss of Nevada.  Well, maybe compensating is a bit of an overstatement given the power of those two programs, especially the Broncos on the gridiron, but UTA has one thing that the schools located in Boise and Reno do not — an insanely deep and talented local recruiting pool.  The football and basketball talent in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area dwarfs the entire states of Idaho and Nevada in a given year, so the WAC is clearly hoping that Arlington is a sleeping giant for the next decade.  [ed. note: didn’t mean to imply that UTA has a football program currently, because they don’t; but that’s clearly something the WAC and UTA are considering with this invitation]
  2. The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Selection Committee will have a new chairman, Xavier athletic director Mike Bobinski.  He will not take over for current chairman, UConn AD Jeff Hathaway, until next summer, whereupon he’ll take control of the committee for the 2012-13 season.  As we’re all aware, the chairman’s biggest role is to step in front of the television cameras minutes after the release of the NCAA Tournament field and defend his committee’s selections.  Some have performed well in this role, while others, including last year’s chairman, Ohio State AD Gene Smith, failed miserably in clearly explaining the differences between teams chosen versus those who were left out.
  3. Yesterday we mentioned the LeBron James Skills Academy when referring to Darius Johnson-Odom’s team defeating the camp namesake’s team twice over the course of the week.  DJO wasn’t the only collegian to have made waves last week, though, as  Connecticut’s Shabazz Napier,  Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger, Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, Kansas’ Thomas Robinson and many others were evaluated by NBADraft.net during the event.  Also of interest was some of the discussion involving high school superstars in the next two years of classes, particularly Jabari Parker, a rising junior who many believe is a future #1 overall pick in the mold of Carmelo Anthony.
  4. News that Michigan recruit Austin Hatch — the high schooler in the Class of 2013 who lost his father and stepmother in a plane crash on June 24 — is recovering from said accident is music to our ears.  According to a blog post by his extended family, Hatch is “healing with the loving care of medical experts!  Austin even has his blue “Kobe” shoes on (size 15) and looks ready to work.”  We’ll certainly forgive the Kobe footwear so long as he makes a full recovery, and that would without question be one of the best stories of this entire offseason.  Queue up the most inspiring player award for next year’s ESPYs.  Speaking of which…
  5. This is getting ridiculous.  One day after we noted that everybody’s favorite Mormon, Jimmer Fredette, had a horse named after him, the consensus 2010-11 NPOY walked out with an ESPY for the Best Male College Athlete of the year.  Connecticut’s Kemba Walker, Auburn’s Cam Newton, Miami (OH)’s Andy Miele (hockey), and Cornell’s Rob Pannell (lacrosse) were the other nominees.  Of course, we’re just teasing… we loved The Jimmer as much as anyone else throughout his prolific career.  The only other college basketball-related winner was in the Upset category, where the VCU Rams took home the ESPY for their unforgettable five-game run to the Final Four last season.
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Morning Five: 07.13.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on July 13th, 2011

  1. It’s one thing to win a national player of the year award, but it’s quite another to parlay (trifecta?) your fame into having a race horse named after you.  JimmerMania has now officially jumped the shark with the news out of Saratoga (NY) that a two-year old colt owned by Elliott Walden and WinStar Farms was named “Jimmer.”  What… no The?  The connection is that the wife of Glens Falls (NY) HS head coach, Tony Hammel, works on the barn staff at WinStar and suggested the name to the owners.  We may have to wait a while to see The Jimmer on the game’s greatest stage, but if you have some free time this summer, you can always take the New York State Thruway up a bit past Albany to see his equine namesake eating some oats, trotting around a track, and whatever else it is that these elegant animals do.  (h/t Larry Brown Sports)
  2. An otherwise mundane story by Gary Parrish about Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis‘ presence in Lexington and the allegations surrounding his recruitment last summer that suggested the player’s family took $200,000 caused a bit of a firestorm Tuesday night on Twitter.  The article rehashed last August’s report from Chicago Sun-Times writer Michael O’Brien that Davis’ father negotiated a deal to send his son to UK, but Parrish was careful to articulate that there have been no further allegations to that effect and that the support for it was “thin.”  UK’s sports information director DeWayne Peevy later tweeted out about “one media seat that will be available at Rupp this year,” a clear shot across the bow of Parrish for daring to write about the Davis situation.  Quite a few in the twitterati (including ourselves, a group who have collectively had nothing but good experiences with the Kentucky administrator) were surprised about the reaction, and an hour later Peevy tweeted that he may feel differently tomorrow, but he is always going to “protect [his] kids.”  Protect them from what, exactly, we’re not certain.  Having now carefully read Parrish’s article several times, we fail to see much to get excited about, but we’ll presume that everyone will come to their clearer senses today and this thing will be soon forgotten.
  3. Speaking of UK, A Sea of Blue did an interesting recent analysis of the value per win among the ten highest-paid coaches in college basketball over the last two seasons.  Forgiving the standard disclaimers that the sample size is very small and ASoB’s assumptions of valuation are mere estimates, the data shows that from 2009-11, at least, Connecticut’s Jim Calhoun and Ohio State’s Thad Matta provide the most bang for the buck.  Add Calhoun’s 2011 national title to the mix, and it’s quite clear that the irascible New Englander has been well worth the money, despite what Ken Krayeske has to say about it these days.  Interestingly, Louisville’s Rick Pitino finishes tenth on this list, making the second-most money (tied with John Calipari, but behind Mike Krzyzewski) but earning the fewest overall wins and zero NCAA wins in this two-year period.
  4. The most hated man in basketball apparently has trouble even impressing collegiate stars these days.  Marquette’s rising senior guard Darius Johnson-Odom is coming off some time spent at the LeBron James’ Skills Academy this summer, and to hear him tell it, his team defeated the world’s greatest runner-up twice while he was there.  When queried as to playing with James, DJO said, “he’s a solid player” with a straight face before elaborating about the “King’s” passing skills.  Realizing that the game has changed an awful lot in the intervening years, we still have to wonder what might have happened if some young guy circa 1989 had beaten Michael Jordan’s team in pick-up ball.  And then said in an interview that he was “solid.”  Is there any question, really?
  5. Ken Pomeroy is nothing if not creative.  In a blog post yesterday, he brought to light what he calls ScheduleMatic, a new algorithm that attempts to solve the problem of worthless early season mismatches by pitting two similarly-talented local teams in competitive games.  Call it KenPom Fantasy Camp, if you like, but what he suggests makes sense.  One of the particularly annoying problems we’ve derided for long on this site is that the college basketball season begins with a whimper.  For the past couple of years, a random early November Monday has served as “Opening Night,” and nobody outside of our insular community much cared.   As Pomeroy puts it, “with ScheduleMatic, 344 compelling games [each team plays a home and road game] are added to the first week of play, each with some doubt surrounding the outcome. Exciting finishes would be frequent and every team would have a significant test or two on which to be judged early.”  Even he recognizes that the NCAA and its participating schools would never go for something like this, but perhaps his creative thinking on the topic will help the suits in Indianapolis and Bristol continue to think through more interesting ways to start the regular season.  [note: both the Veterans Day aircraft carrier game and the 24 Hours of Hoops are examples of this kind of thinking; we just need more if it.]
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Morning Five: 06.30.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on June 30th, 2011

  1. Ohio State welcomed home one of its own yesterday by hiring Chris Jent as an assistant coach. Jent has been an assistant for the Cleveland Cavaliers for the last couple of years and even served as a personal shooting coach for some guy who took his talents to South Beach last year. Jent was a solid swingman for the Buckeyes from 1988-92, and, if anyone had actually kept a crowd-dives or floorburns stat, Jent would have been on top with no real challengers. Good to have him back in the college game.
  2. Remember Chuck Culpepper? He’s written for Newsday, the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Los Angeles Times, he wrote a book about how he discovered and came to love English soccer, and now he writes for The National — not the former daily sports newspaper from 1990-91, or the utterly freaking phenomenal rock band from Cincinnati/New York, but an English-language paper published in the United Arab Emirates. In yesterday’s edition, he had a go at explaining John Calipari’s new $36.5 million deal to his readers in Abu Dhabi. It’s fun reading how he tries to explain to folks in the UAE that, yes, this does happen at the college level, and it does happen in Kentucky.
  3. Nice writeup here by Steve Walentik of the Columbia (MO) Daily Tribune about the recent group of coaches who turned down big names and big bucks to stay at their smaller programs, and how athletic directors are having (and will continue to have) a tougher time convincing these guys to stick around, what with the offered salaries getting ever larger, conferences that have TV networks attached to them, etc. We love that gentlemen like Brad Stevens, Chris Mack, Shaka Smart, et al, stayed at their respective current locales, but let us say now that if/when they leave for so-called “bigger” jobs, how unfair it would be to say they left just for the money. One of the things that makes great athletes and coaches great is their competetive drive, and if any of those fellows decides someday to move to a Big Six conference position, it will be for that reason more than it will be for the cash.
  4. We’ve loved seeing all the articles and tributes to Lorenzo Charles. It’s hard to go wrong with something like that, you know…paying respects to an obviously widely-beloved man who happens to be responsible for the most famous highlight in the history of our game, especially when he leaves us at such a young age. On Tuesday night, a Greensboro television station brought in former Terp Keith Gatlin to talk a little about Charles, since the two were friends and played together for the CBA’s Quad City Thunder. Gatlin offered a few quick comments, which were nice, and left us wanting more. Then, oddly, Gatlin (who at this point had to be thinking, “Someone please tell me why we’re doing this…”) and the anchor running the segment attempt an ill-conceived recreation of Charles’ iconic highlight. You can see how it went (video in that link). Bizarre.
  5. Is the knee-jerk impulse of players to transfer from one school to another a reflection of a problem within the current generation of kids? Evidently, Arizona State’s Herb Sendek and a fellow named Buddy Hobart (who helped Sendek write his book) think so. Sendek/Hobart describe Generation Y — of which today’s student-athletes are all members — as a group “not willing to pay their dues” and “impatient” because they feel today’s players would rather cut and run from an unpleasant situation than stick it out and see what happens. Um…don’t coaches do the same thing all the time? Sendek admits this, at least, but the author of the article conveniently forgets that point. It’s remarkable how every generation always bemoans the one that follows as unquestionably inferior in every way, the sentiment itself a mere rite of passage.
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Morning Five: 06.17.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on June 17th, 2011

  1. Earlier this year Washington‘s Venoy Overton was involved in a salacious case where he was accused of statutory rape before local police decided not to pursue the case further. Now it appears that Overton has found himself in trouble again as he was arrested yesterday afternoon for promoting prostitution. According to police reports, an 18 year-old female was questioned for “prostitution activity” and told police that her boyfriend, Overton, brought her there and told her to engage in prostitution. According to the female, Overton gave her specific instructions on what acts to perform, what to charge, and what percentage he took. Lorenzo Romar, who took quite a bit of heat this season after letting Overton return to the Huskies after his prior run-in with law, issued the following statement: “I have been informed of the arrest of Venoy Overton and I am extremely disappointed.  My staff and I spent an extraordinary amount of time and energy attempting to mentor Venoy prior to his recent graduation, so this news is especially troubling.” Overton, who graduated on Saturday with a degree in American Ethnic studies, is expected to appear before a judge today.
  2. The guys at Lost Letterman caught up with former prep star Lenny Cooke recently. For those of you who not aware Cooke was one of the premier high school players in the country in the Class of 2002 and considered by many to be at the same level as two more well-known players in his class–Amar’e Stoudamire and Carmelo Anthony. Through a series of bad decisions and unfortunate events Cooke never played a minute in college or the NBA. Today, Cooke’s legacy will probably come from the 2001 ABCD Camp where Cooke, a rising senior, was matched up against a hyped rising junior named LeBron James in what was supposed to be a match-up for the ages. Unfortunately for Cooke, LeBron, who was already demonstrating his knack for coming up big in big moments (wait, what?), destroyed Cooke on both ends of the floor to start the LeBron hype machine going full force while Cooke began his rapid fall.
  3. It appears that Virginia coach Tony Bennett may almost be ready to turn the Cavalier program around with a solid group of recruits. Virginia, which had been one of the better programs in the ACC during the 1990s, has only made the NCAA Tournament once in the past decade. After a 7-9 record in an admittedly weak year for the ACC, Bennett could have the Cavaliers primed to be a sleeper in the conference and could challenge the second tier of teams (the ones not named Duke or UNC) in the very near future.
  4. Earlier this week we linked to a column by Dana O’Neil talking about the difficult jobs of college basketball assistant coaches. Yesterday, Ohio State‘s Brandon Miller, considered by many to be one of the top assistant coaches in college basketball, stepped down citing a need to spend more time with his family. Although it isn’t an ideal time to try to find a new assistant coach with the summer recruiting season about to heat up, the Buckeyes recruiting should not suffer too much as Thad Matta already has two experienced assistants in Jeff Boals and Dave Dickerson and could potentially promote newly hired video coordinator Greg Paulus to take Miller’s place.
  5. When Oliver Purnell took over at DePaul last year it was widely considered one of the tougher rebuilding projects in America, but had some potential with the ability to recruit local Chicago high school players. While Purnell did have some success in his first year (winning the school’s first Big East game after a 24-game losing streak and its first road conference win since 2008) it was a very difficult year again for the Blue Demons. Things may get even tougher for Purnell as he will have to replace both Devin Hill and Eric Wallace who have decided to leave the program with Hill leaving for Loyola and Wallace leaving for Ohio State.
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Morning Five: 06.13.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on June 13th, 2011

  1. One of the main topics of discussion that has come out of the NBA Finals has been the continuing confounding play of LeBron James. There have been several theories proposed about why James has apparently failed to live up to the hype on the NBA’s biggest stage. Some of the theories are personal (founded on such flimsy rumors that we won’t even reprint them here) while others are about his willingness to assert himself as the dominant presence on the team. One of the more controversial (yet non-libelous) theories from this weekend was that LeBron’s failures are due to not having learned under the crucible of the NCAA Tournament. The theory, which was proposed by Mike DeCourcy, sparked a minor firestorm on Twitter over the weekend. Although another editor on the RTC Twitter feed appears to have agreed with DeCourcy, the opinion is not universal among the RTC chiefs. While I can agree that James and some other prep-to-pros might have had improved areas of their game playing at the college level I have a hard time using a sweeping statement that says that everybody (or even James) would necessarily have been better off having experienced college basketball (yes, it hurts to say that as a college basketball site). For every flaw in LeBron’s game that we can see (there aren’t many) we can point to twice as many in most four-year college players who played under some of the finest coaching minds that college basketball has seen. While DeCourcy’s argument will spark some debates it is too simplistic to really capture the difference between the prep-to-pros and the 4-year players.
  2. Speaking of college players making the transition to the pros, it appears that several of the biggest names in college basketball last season are having difficulty adjusting to the rigors of the NBA Draft work-out sessions. We have heard many reports of prospects dropping out of workouts followed by reports that the prospect had already been given a guarantee at a higher spot. Unless those prospects are Kyrie Irving or Derrick Williams don’t buy into any reports of a guarantee this year. The post also has some interesting notes on Kawhi Leonard and Brandon Knight as well as a few other players.
  3. The saga of Tony Woods seems like it won’t end. The former Wake Forest forward who was dismissed from the team after a domestic violence charge has been drawing a lot of attention from some big names like Kentucky, Louisville, and Texas. However, some analysts (Rick Bozich in particular) think that the hype for Woods has been way overblown and some teams will be lucky to have not signed him. Any team would welcome some with the talent of Woods, but the question becomes is whether the potential off-court trouble is worth it. That is a question the various coaching staffs will need to answer themselves.
  4. Tennessee went before the NCAA over the weekend and one of the people called to speak was former coach Bruce Pearl. The testimony, which is essentially sealed for now, will be the only meeting between the two sides before the NCAA hands down its penalties later this summer. This was important not only for the entire Tennessee athletic department, but also Pearl, who many expect will receive the show-cause penalty, which has served as the death knell for many promising coaching careers.
  5. Just when you thought all of the recruiting for the class of 2011 was done it turns out that yet another previously committed player has reopened his commitment. This time is was Merv Lindsay, who had orally committed to Texas Tech back in April before Pat Knight was fired. Lindsay visited Kansas on Friday and reportedly enjoyed his visit there. Although Lindsay doesn’t have the typical pedigree for a Jayhawk recruit (wasn’t even in the Rivals top 150) Bill Self has an open scholarship after DeAndre Daniels decided to go to UConn so Lindsay may end up playing in Lawrence if he decides the place is right for him.
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