ACC M5: 10.08.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on October 8th, 2012

  1. Baltimore Sun: In the wake of the Harrison twins choosing Kentucky over Maryland, Don Markus caught up with Lefty Driesell to talk recruiting. Driesell recounts stealing Tom McMillen from Dean Smith and losing Moses Malone to the ABA because of a promise with God and a million dollars. Here’s to hoping a writer eventually sits down with Driesell and some other prominent former coaches (Jerry Tarkanian anyone?) and takes the time to write a book with all of the recruiting legends.
  2. Shelby StarDavid Thompson was elected to the first class of the NC State University Sports Hall of Fame. This is a terrific profile of the Wolfpack great, who is on the short list of best college basketball players ever. Local high school coach Larry Sipe said, “The ACC hadn’t seen a player of his caliber before […] I was in grad school at Chapel Hill when he was a freshman at N.C. State. In those days, the freshman games the night before would be a sellout.”
  3. Raleigh News & Observer: The newest piece of the puzzle in the North Carolina academic scandal fell last week when Dan Kane and company discovered a course called Naval Weapons Systems, which was comprised by nearly 80% athletes. The class had no quizzes, tests, or major papers. The newspaper discovered the athletic support staff was recommending the course to athletes. It’s certainly not news that universities push student-athletes to take less demanding classes, but it’s interesting that the relative enrollment of athletes spiked the one year the class had the loosest requirements.
  4. Florida Times-Union: Florida State owns the title of defending ACC champion for the first time since it joined the conference in 1991. This year the Seminoles shouldn’t surprise anyone. Or, as Michael Snaer said, “They’re going to play us hard because they know we’re going to bring it, the hard-nosed basketball. People will be looking to beat us.” The only question is whether the Seminoles will be able to overcome losing the likes of Deividas Dulkys, Luke Loucks and Bernard James.
  5. Charlotte Observer: Tallahassee isn’t the only place where heightened expectations can be found. Duke, North Carolina and NC State have never all been ranked in the top 15 of the AP poll going into the season. This year, the Wolfpack will join their Tobacco Road brethren amongst the best teams in the country for the first time since all three teams went to the Sweet Sixteen in 2005.

Video of the Day: Maryland Trains with Navy Seals

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ACC Morning Five: 02.07.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 7th, 2012

  1. ESPN: First, I wanted to start off with one of the more insane statistics I’ve heard in a while. According to the ACC office, the cumulative score of the last 75 DukeNorth Carolina games is 5,858 to 5,857 in favor of the Blue Devils. One point separates them. The series is just as tight over that same stretch with the Tar Heels holding onto a slim 38-37 lead. Basically, this rivalry is insanely competitive and played at a very high level (the last time one of the two schools wasn’t on the top seed line at the Big Dance was in 2003).
  2. Washington Post: Alex Len is coming around to ACC play after strong games against Miami and North Carolina. He struggled early in conference play, largely because of poor defense and lackluster conditioning. But Mark Turgeon’s strategy to try to make Len more confident (along with his workouts) has definitely paid off. Maryland may not be a very good ACC team this year, but it’s impossible to argue that the Terrapins aren’t competitive.
  3. ACC Sports Journal: No one questions Tony Bennett‘s coaching. But partially due to his style of play, partially due to local recruiting rivals (Georgetown, Maryland, and Virginia Tech) and partially due to the program’s relative lack of prestige, there’s a very legitimate question about whether Bennett will be able to recruit and keep top area talent. It doesn’t help that four of his “Six Shooters” (Bennett’s first class) departed early. That said, if Bennett can bring talent to his system, the Cavaliers should be able to become a perennial ACC contender.
  4. Oxford Public Ledger: I thought this article best captured the Blue Devils’ struggles against Miami. That game also reactivated my Reggie Johnson man-crush. Seriously, why did the basketball gods have to hurt his knees and keep him from getting in better shape? Back to the article, what’s especially interesting is Duke’s performance on the road versus at Cameron Indoor. Basically, the Blue Devils are playing significantly better on the road (they didn’t play Florida State and Virginia, two of the best defensive teams in the country on the road, but still). Duke needs a leader to step up and motivate this team to fight through every possession. It was abundantly clear that Duke was the better team on both ends of the floor in the second half against Miami, but it ran out of gas down the stretch.
  5. Raleigh Telegram: Lefty Driesell is back in the news. This time it’s to dispute an account (which has since been corrected) in Sam Walker’s ACC Basketball. The book described a scene after Dean Smith convinced one of Driesell’s recruits to attend North Carolina instead of Davidson. Walker wrote that Smith offered his hand and Driesell spit in it. Driesell is emphatic that he did not spit. The other interesting anecdote from the book DG Martin brings up is about the South Carolina – Maryland blowout, which was called off because of a bench-clearing brawl with five minutes left to play. Interesting stuff.

EXTRA: Drew Cannon of Basketball Prospectus developed a fool-proof system for filling out the NCAA Tournament bubble with RPI and KenPom rankings: Add them together. It’s so simple it’s beautiful. It’s also quite accurate, never missing more than three teams.

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ACC Morning Five: 01.31.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on January 31st, 2012

  1. Washington Post: Remember how Lefty Driesell complained about Maryland naming its court after Gary Williams? Well, he’s still talking. I’ll just pick out some choice quotes:

    “Everybody’s gonna think well Gary Williams’s players are the ones that put Maryland on the map. You know, Maryland was on the map before Gary got there.
    [On Georgia State’s court being named after him] Yeah, it sure is. Well, you know, they never had a successful program before I got there. Never.
    I think Mark Turgeon’s gonna win a couple of national championships.
    [On how Williams should have been honored] Well, I don’t know. You know, he got banners up there for winning the national championship. Maybe like the Orioles do, put a statue out back.”

    The moral of the story is Driesell isn’t happy and isn’t hiding his opinions.

  2. Beyond the Arc: Mike Miller sat down with Adam Rowe of Duke Hoop Blog to talk about the Blue Devils. One thing I really wish Rowe had mentioned is the lack of a versatile wing on the perimeter defensively. Kyle Singler was a big part of Duke’s defense the last four years. Combine his versatility with Nolan Smith’s on-ball pressure and you got a top defensive team despite not having ludicrous athleticism (as Arizona exposed in the NCAA Tournament). This year’s team doesn’t have that versatility and only Tyler Thornton applies great on-ball pressure. One of the more interesting points Rowe made was that Thornton is often credited as a great defensive stopper when he really is just good at playing physical defense and getting into passing lanes (though I think stopping, outside of shot-blockers, is generally a team stat on defense).
  3. ACC Sports Journal: Frank Haith had a reputation in the ACC “as a nice guy who recruited good players and did a middling job molding them into competitive teams.” Frankly, that’s probably generous. Haith was frequently panned, especially following last season when he brought back an experienced and talented squad but did little with it. But Haith’s success at Missouri stands in stark contrast with perceptions at Miami. Is it the perfect storm of the right players? I don’t know. What I do know is that Haith put on a miniature coaching clinic last night against Rick Barnes (another ACC coaching alum) when he went zone against Texas, shutting down J’Covan Brown entirely on the final possession of Missouri’s one-point win over the Longhorns in Austin.
  4. The State: Bad news coming out of Clemson, as Milton Jennings will be suspended because of  “‘failure to comply’ with the team’s academic standards.” Failure to comply is an interesting word choice — maybe just a slip of the keys, but that doesn’t sound like a grade issue. It sounds like a cheating, class cutting or missed assignment issue. The last of those options seems the most likely as Jeff Borzello tweeted yesterday that Jennings “should be back soon.” It hasn’t been a great season for Jennings off the court between this and getting into it with Brad Brownell.
  5. Washington Post: I always love it when coaches talk some trash. And Shaka Smart fired some shots across the Commonwealth of Virginia, saying “the reality is if you go by the numbers, if you go by postseason, if you go by even guys going to the NBA, the best programs in the state are in the CAA. It’s really not even close.” My guess is Tony Bennett has something to say about that. Most years Seth Greenberg would probably be a little more outspoken too.

Fun Fact: Richard Howell is on pace to break NC State’s foul record of 110 (set by Ilian Evtimov). He already has 73 in the books and doesn’t appear to be slowing down.

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ACC Morning Five: 01.27.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on January 27th, 2012

  1. Virginian-Pilot: Lefty Driesell wasn’t the only one annoyed by Maryland naming its court after Gary Williams. Apparently, some boosters also came forward to express their dismay and there are rumors “that somebody with very deep pockets might have influenced the decision.” Some of the complaints seemed focused on the Driesell being overlooked (and ultimately, I think that’s the reason for almost all of the complaints), but others focus on Williams’ abysmal graduation rate (barely 1/5 of his players graduated his last 15 years). In my opinion (regardless of deep pockets), Maryland made the right move naming the court after Williams.
  2. Charlotte Observer: Karl Hicks is the man behind the ACC scheduling. His job is to make sure the unbalanced schedules are as balanced as possible. Basically, he is supposed to tell the future and try to keep teams from getting front- or rear-loaded schedules. Currently, the extreme could be seen with NC State, who played cellar-dwellers until running into a buzz saw in Chapel Hill. Florida State had the opposite issue, as it played a nasty early conference schedule with only a home game against Duke and two games against Virginia looking like real challenges after a brutal early stretch.
  3. Grantland: First, for the record, there are some years I would agree with Shane Ryan that Duke’s game at Maryland was the most emotional of the season. In general, those years left with Greivis Vasquez. This year I think home against North Carolina will be Duke’s biggest emotional game though their game at Florida State will be another big one. This isn’t to understate Duke-Maryland as a rivalry (which happens most of the time), but it’s not turned up to eleven like in years past. The most valuable tidbit from the article is the YouTube video, which breaks down Andre Dawkins‘ defensive struggles.
  4. Virginia Tech Collegiate Times: The Hokie student newspaper checks in on the recent debate over Seth Greenberg‘s job stability with a piece looking at the major arguments for and against him. Unfortunately, the pro-Greenberg slant left off the most important stat: before Greenberg showed up, Virginia Tech had faced six out of seven losing seasons and won six games in two years in the Big East. Greenberg brought the program to a level its never been to. He also just landed a top-25 recruiting class last year that should prove its worth over the next few years. I understand it’s frustrating to perennially be on the bubble, but don’t let that wipe out past struggles.
  5. ESPN: The Worldwide Leader checks in on how to fix Duke‘s attendance issue point-by-point. I’m pretty sure this article is supposed to be ironic, but the suggestions aren’t very witty. To the first point (about conflicting with rush events), I’ll also point out that Wake Forest is not good this year. Is that an excuse for a top-10 team not filling its stands? No, but it’s a lot harder to get fraternities and sororities out for what’s expected to be a blowout. I’ll let you read the rest.

EXTRA: The legendary NC State player David “Skywalker” Thompson who led NC State to an undefeated season in 1973 and a national championship in 1974 is helping his community as a motivational speaker. College basketball robbed its fans of seeing his 48-inch vertical (five inches higher than Vince Carter) in all its majesty because of a dunk ban at the time. Thompson himself struggled with substance abuse during his professional career, robbing himself and the fans of what should have been one of the top careers ever. Thompson’s goal is to share his mistakes, so kids today don’t make the same ones.

“But he did make one dunk in his college career — a thunderous jam in his final regular-season home game that showed fans what they had been missing.

‘They gave me a technical (foul), and I got a standing ovation,’ he said, laughing. ‘You don’t usually have your coach (Norman Sloan) smiling and your fans cheering when you get a T.'”

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Morning Five: 01.25.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on January 25th, 2012

  1. Kansas State received good news on Tuesday when center Jordan Henriquez was reinstated to the team after a brief suspension for “conduct detrimental to the team.” Frank Martin’s comments about Henriquez were particularly interesting, stating that the junior is “a big-time kid” who “lost sight of what he needed to do.” According to the coach, this was only the second time in his 27 years of coaching that he’d suspended a player, which makes us wonder if all the yelling and histrionics scares the kids so much that they generally toe the line. Regardless, K-State will have Henriquez back in the lineup for tonight’s game against Texas Tech in Lubbock.
  2. Connecticut is not as lucky today as it continues to await the decision on the eligibility of one of its key players, Ryan Boatright. His 12th day in limbo passed on Tuesday as the NCAA investigated banking records from his mother’s accounts, allegedly as a result of a felon ex-boyfriend of hers dropping dime about cash deposits made to her bank on behalf of Boatright. Whether true or not, the New York Times‘ Joey Nocera has taken the opportunity to skewer the NCAA in a two-part piece that published in the last several days. Part One focused on the impermissible benefit in the form of a plane ticket that Boatright’s mother received during her son’s recruitment from none other than Reggie Rose (what IS it with this guy and NCAA violations involving planes?) — this violation cost Boatright the first six games of the season. Part Two discusses the most recent possible violation, several cash deposits that Boatright’s mother claims were from friends so that she could buy Christmas presents for her family last year. In the meantime, Boatright has not been able to suit up for the Huskies in its last three games, two of which ended up as losses (vs. Cincinnati; @ Tennessee). Jim Calhoun’s team really needs the offensive and ball-handling duties that the freshman guard provides, but for now all they can do is wait.
  3. Minnesota’s Trevor Mbakwe has had a difficult college career filled with injuries, suspensions and even criminal charges filed against him. His latest disappointment came earlier this season when, only seven games into his senior year, he injured his knee and was forced to call it quits. The problem is that even though he was a freshman at Marquette in 2007-08, he’s only played one full season of college basketball — 2010-11 at Minnesota. His freshman year in Milwaukee was cut short because of another knee injury, and the next year was his mandatory redshirt year as a transfer to play for Tubby Smith. In 2009-10, he spent the entire season suspended as a result of assualt charges he faced in Miami, and of course this year he only played seven games. As a result of all this, Mbakwe is considering petitioning to the NCAA for a rare sixth season of eligiblity in 2012-13. His argument will revolve around his suspension year at Minnesota, which the NCAA will need to determine was a set of circumstances “beyond his control.” The Florida case against Mbakwe may be three years old now, but its adjudication is actually still pending, so if he can successfully beat the rap in the next few months, maybe he’ll be able to sell that factor on the NCAA when he asks for another year to play college basketball.
  4. As we wrote about on the ACC microsite yesterday, Gary Williams was commemorated by dedicating the floor of Maryland’s Comcast Center with his name on Monday night. But, as the Baltimore Sun‘s Jeff Barker writes, there was at least one other former Maryland coach very miffed by such a public display of affection. Lefty Driesell may not have won a national title in College Park, but he built the Terrapins program to heights not seen again until Williams’ arrival in the late 1980s, and he believes that such an honor is “a disservice to players such as Tom McMillen, John Lucas, Len Elmore, Brad Davis, Greg Manning, Adrian Branch and Steve Sheppard” and that he doesn’t believe any coach’s name should be on the floor at Maryland. For what it’s worth, the school is reportedly considering some kind of honor for Driesell, but it’s unknown what, if any, form that will take.
  5. Pat Forde and his Forde Minutes were back yesterday with more drops of knowledge than you could shake a Dragon at. He finds a way to tailor a column that examines in-conference strength of schedule (thanks, @kenpomeroy), the best programs to have never reached a Final Four (left unsaid: avoid playing Connecticut), and a re-examination of the three schools that he thought had potential for greatness this season (agree with one choice, still thinking on another, disagree on the third). As always, it’s a fun and enlightening read, and one well worth the time but shouldn’t take you nearly as long as the column name suggests.
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ACC Morning Five: 01.18.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on January 18th, 2012

  1. Morganton News Herald: It’s time for the second installment of the “Birth of ACC Hoops” from Roy Waters. This week’s edition looks at basketball success mainly outside the “Big Four” from North Carolina. Lefty Driesell had a lot to do with it. He put Maryland on the map, but things never quite came together with his best team in 1974 being left out of the NCAA Tournament after a 103-100 overtime loss to eventual national champion NC State in the ACC Tournament championship game.
  2. Charlotte Observer: Who wants to talk about Roy Williams and the Tar Heels’ early exit at Florida State again? Well, before passing too much judgment, you should know that Luke DeCock talked with the NCAA’s national officiating coordinator, John Adams, to discuss the end of that game. From the sound of things, Williams and FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton may have tried to call the game, but both lacked the authority to do so. Why that wasn’t abundantly clear (I think an official was nearby both of them during the timeout), I don’t know. I do think the precedent makes sense. For one, a forfeit goes down in the record books as a 2-0 loss, but more importantly, all sporting events should be played till the buzzer. There’s no mercy rule in college athletics; nor should there be one. It’s one thing in a situation like the Cincinnati-Xavier brawl; it’s another because of an impending court rush. I said it yesterday: if you’re worried about your players, have them sit on the bench. The worst thing that could happen is a drunk, belligerent fan could spill beer on someone. Anyway, hopefully this article puts the story to rest for good.
  3. Roanoke Times: Mark Berman thinks Virginia Tech needs a spark plug. I think it needs a win. We’re probably talking about the same thing. This team has talent, but Seth Greenberg attributes its early league struggles to the “absence of a ‘high energy player'” (for the record, I think Dorian Finney-Smith could totally be an energy guy, but the question is whether he can do it his freshman year). I think the team will get some more energy if they put together a win. Unfortunately, the Hokies’ next game is at North Carolina, who is still reeling after the beatdown administered from Leonard Hamilton’s squad. Don’t be surprised if Virginia Tech plays better though (and Erick Green should be back in action).
  4. Fox Sports South: Andrew Jones takes a quick look at the top four point guards in the ACC. The members probably won’t surprise you, but I guarantee the top slot will catch a lot of people off guard. Durand Scott, Erick Green, Kendall Marshall and Lorenzo Brown make up the list in descending order. That’s right, Brown gets the top spot because Jones based his criteria on play-making, scoring and defense. The two matchups I’m most excited about looking forward: Brown vs. Marshall and Dexter Strickland vs. Austin Rivers.
  5. Daily Press: The ACC is in chaos. Florida State seems to have turned things on after a 20-point drubbing from Clemson, but like the rest of the league there’s a lot of variance in the Seminole performances. Same goes for Virginia Tech, Boston College, Clemson, NC State and even North Carolina. The league may not be anywhere close to the best conference in basketball, but it sure is interesting from night to night.
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After the Madness: Highlights From The First ACC Practices

Posted by KCarpenter on October 17th, 2011

The University of Maryland invented Midnight Madness in 1971 under legendary coach Lefty Driesell. That makes last Friday the 40th anniversary of the very first Madness. Terrapin fans turned out in droves for the event, but, sadly, the history of the event and the Maryland program seemed to overshadow the future. The highlight of the event was an alumni game that included many members of the 2002 National Championship squad as well as other famous basketball alumni, like Grievis Vasquez. Fans were happy to see Steve Blake, Chris Wilcox, and Steve Francis, but the largest ovation was for legendary coach and recent retiree Gary Williams. It’s nice that Maryland was able to celebrate and savor it’s proud basketball tradition, but the fact that new head coach Mark Turgeon and the current Maryland squad were overshadowed by the looming legends of the past doesn’t bode well for this season.

Lefty Driesell Invented Midnight Madness 40 Years Ago at Maryland

Meanwhile, at Duke, the focus was squarely on the new guys,  specifically, the highly-touted Austin Rivers. Rivers showed off his range and touch by sinking his first three three-pointers in the intra-squad scrimmage before he began struggling in the second half. Despite this slight letdown, Blue Devils fans have no cause for sadness: Rivers looks like he will be fine. Other highlights of the night? Seth Curry. He absolutely dominated the game, scoring 28 points in 24 minutes to go along with a pair of steals and four assists. Besides the scrimmage, there was also a dunk contest judged by J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams, which was won by Miles Plumlee. That said I think Jim Sumner at Duke Basketball Report summed it up best:

The evening concluded with a dunk contest that demonstrated conclusively that seven-footers can dunk a basketball if no one is guarding them and they don’t actually have to dribble the basketball.

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George Washington Shows Everyone How to Start the Season or Something Like That…

Posted by nvr1983 on October 17th, 2011

Midnight Madness is a somewhat strange tradition to begin with. Last year we spoke with Lefty Driesell about its humble origins around the track at Maryland. Over the past 40 years the tenor of the event has changed drastically (we have already documented our misgivings about the current state of it previously). Today, the event has become less about practice and more about an event to hype up the students and draw in recruits. Schools have tried to turn the event into a hybrid between a basketball exhibition and a concert as schools have drawn in artists such as Drake, but schools are continually trying to find ways to entertain the fans and entice talented recruits to play for them. To that end George Washington attempted something on Friday night that we have never seen before at a Midnight Madness or at least not that was recorded and allowed to see the light of day.

It is at once both mesmerizing and stupefying. While this may not have the news appeal of Roy Williams dancing at UNC, to us this is so much more interesting and leads to so many more questions. Who thought this was a good idea? What did the recruits think? Didn’t the school have something/anything that they thought would appeal more to the 16-22 year-old demographic?

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Midnight Madness Has Lost Its Way: How to Fix It

Posted by rtmsf on October 14th, 2011

Ed. Note: this column originally ran on October 15, 2010.  We received such a positive response from it that we’re running it again this year, and quite possibly every year until changes are made. 

Blasphemer.  Defiler.  Hater.

These are the words you’re going to use to describe us after you read this column.  In fact, you may already be using them simply by scanning the title.  What’s wrong with this joint, you might say?  Isn’t Midnight Madness day a ritualistic celebration of the return of college hoops — a singularly original basketball-only event that juices up the masses of fans from coast to coast yearning for the shortened fall days where the lonely bounce of an orange ball in a far-away gym represents that all is right with the world again?

To this we respond: well, yeah… it was.

Charlie Brown Represents a Bygone Era of Midnight Madnesses

Forgive us for going all Charlie Brown Christmas on you, as we’re definitely going to sound like our dad when we say these things, but the “good old days” of Midnight Madness were simply better.  What was once a localized phenomenon driven by student interest and an excuse to go crazy on a random Tuesday night has become an over-the-top, over-produced, over-compensated can-you-top-this Lady Gaga show filled with indoor fireworks, race cars, people dangling from the rafters and the rest of it.

This isn’t a Kanye concert or Cirque du Soleil, folks; it’s a basketball practice.

Give us Lefty Driesell and his car headlights illuminating a track at 12:01 am or hell, even Dick Vitale losing his mind after drinking so much coffee that his very DNA was jittery.  Give us a countdown clock that actually counts down to something and a student body that’s had enough down time to get, shall we say, socially lubricated.  Give us a grand introduction without all the peripherals followed by a high-wire dunk contest and a spirited scrimmage.  Give us hope that we’re going to be in for a special year as we leave the arena at 1:30 am on a cool fall night, because hope always wears a little better with a group of buddies heading back to the dorms in the wee hours of the morning.

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Morning Five: 09.13.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on September 13th, 2011

  1. A report by the National College Players Association and Drexel University professor Ellen J. Staurowsky is set to be released today that claims that the average Division I men’s basketball player is “worth” nearly $265,000 per year and Duke players come in at nearly four times that (approximately $1 million). We had a brief recap of the information that was released yesterday and plenty of pundits and fans weighed in yesterday across the Internet claiming that this as yet unreleased study was clear evidence that the players were being cheated out of small fortunes. We are reserving judgement until we have time to review the data and how the extrapolated the players reported values. As Homer Simpson once said, “People can come up with statistics to prove anything. 14% of people know that.”
  2. Another story that was all over the place yesterday was John Thompson Jr. revealing that he was scheduled to be on American Airlines Flight 77 that was deliberately crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 before a producer from The Jim Rome Show persuaded him to take a flight a day later. According to the report, the Georgetown legend was planning on flying to Los Angeles to make an appearance and wanted to fly there on September 11th so he could make it to a friend’s birthday party in Las Vegas on the 13th, but when the schedule for the interview did not work out Danny Swartz, the show’s prodcuer, insisted that he fly to Los Angeles on the 12th and he would make sure that Thompson made it to Las Vegas for the party on the 13th. Thompson noted that at the time he was quite harsh with Swartz, but after learning that he would have been on the doomed flight if not for Swartz’s persistence he now thanks him for saving his life.
  3. An earlier proposal name the court at Maryland‘s Comcast Center after Gary Williams appears to have run into some significant roadblocks. While support for the proposal still seems strong there appears to be an influential minority that is against the idea because of their belief that it would be a slight to Lefty Driesell and women’s coach Brenda Frease as well as a potential loss of revenue by passing up on having a commercial entity sponsor the court because apparently having the arena named after a corporate entity isn’t enough. [Ed. Note: Seriously though we think Rush the Court sponsored by Apple has a nice ring to it and we know that Tim Cooke has the money for it.] On some level we can appreciate wanting to honor Driesell, who was an accomplished coach during his run at Maryland, and Frease, who also won a national title, but neither of them is associated with the university’s reputation at this point to the degree that Williams is. We also understand the sentiment to “make amends” with Driesell, whom some feel was wrongly fired after the death of Len Bias, but based on our brief interaction with him we don’t think that Driesell harbors any major grudge against what the university did based on the situation although we do think he might still be upset with how the media reported the situation.
  4. It looks like Arizona might be on its way to locking up another major recruit as Kaleb Tarczewski, one of the top high school players in the class of 2012, has narrowed his choices to Arizona and Kansas and scheduled visits to both schools. Tarczewski also still has North Carolina on his list, but did not schedule a visit there so we are guessing at this point crossing off the Tar Heels from his list is just a formality. As for the two remaining schools, Tarczewski is scheduled to visit Kansas this weekend and Arizona next weekend, which will coincide with their football game against Oregon. Although it is possible that the visit to Lawrence could blow him away and he could commit to play for the Jayhawks after some Blue Chips-like scene at Allen Fieldhouse (the scene involving Bob Cousy not the ones involving bags of cash, a tractor, a Lexus, or a new house for mom), but we tend to lean towards the team with the last shot at a player. If that is the case, Sean Miller may be adding another big piece to a class that will be a consensus top 5 class even if he does not add another player after Tarczewski.
  5. As we mentioned only half-jokingly yesterday, we are going to be having a conference realignment item pretty much every day here and we are not going to disappoint you today. Ok, maybe the fact that this continues to make news will be disappointing to many of you. In the latest twist, a group from Texas traveled to Oklahoma on Sunday in an attempt to convince the Sooners not to leave the Big 12 for the new Pac-12 in anticipation of their reported formal application to become the Pac-12’s thirteenth member. Chalk it up to schadenfreude, but the fact that officials from Texas are going up to Oklahoma essentially on their hands and knees begging a school to stay in the conference is hilarious after the Longhorn essentially spit in the face of every other school in the conference by signing a 15-year, $300 million contract with ESPN to create the Longhorn Network in what was a power play to separate themselves from the rest of the conference.
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Best Dressed: 1995-2004 Maryland Terrapins

Posted by rtmsf on May 31st, 2011

John Gorman is an RTC contributor.  Every week throughout the long, hot summer, he will highlight one of the iconic uniforms from the great history of the game.  We plan on rolling out 24 of these babies, so tweet your favorites at us @rushthecourt or email us directly at This week, we recall the great Maryland uniforms from the mid-90s through the early 2000s.  To see the entire list to date, click here.

Fear the turtle. A phrase that elicits smiles from same mouth which speaks its words, but before 1932, would have never seen the light of day without the help of an inquisitive school paper and a Maryland man named “Curley.”  The campus daily, The Diamondback, called out for a school nickname to replace the “Old-Liners,” a reference to the state nickname. Harry Clifton Byrd, the school football coach affectionately known as “Curley”, answered the call. Curley proposed “Terrapins,” a nod to the Diamondback Terrapin turtle endemic to his Chesapeake Bay hometown of Crisfield. As Byrd moved up to the ranks from football coach to athletic director to university president, the Terrapin was minted, popularized and given an identity.

Maryland Was At Its Hoops Peak in These Uniforms (UM Athletics)

The Diamondback Terrapin is green, gray and white, but the school’s red, white, black and gold model is colored after the alternating Calvert and Crossland emblems that appear on the Maryland state flag. You’ll note if you look closely, this same pattern also provides the inspiration for the mid-field Baltimore Ravens’ crest (which doubles as the team’s secondary logo).  The logo and mascot which appears on the threads, “Testudo,” draws its moniker from an old Roman warfare formation where soldiers would pack together closely, and flank all sides with shields, to protect the formation from incoming arrow attacks. Testudo, fittingly, is Latin for “Tortoise.”

Always an aesthetic pleaser and a huge draw at the box office (former Terps coach Lefty Driesell is commonly credited for starting Midnight Madness), the school’s profile rose considerably in the 1990s, as coach Gary Williams built a consistently competitive program. It was at this time Nike stepped in and did what Nike does: Doctored up the athletic wear to entice the locals to buy.  Nike gave the home whites some pop: A big, bold MARYLAND on the front with even bigger, bolder red numbers, and – the perfect touch – black and gold diamondback trim along the edges, crafting that quintessential snapping-turtle look. Never before has something so slow looked so fast streaking up and down the hardwood.

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Morning Five: 05.26.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on May 26th, 2011

  1. By Michigan State standards, last year was a tough one to say the least. They could use some good fortune, but they’ll have to wait a little longer. Yesterday they learned that Russell Byrd, a 6’7 freshman guard with reliable three-point range who missed last season with a left foot injury, will have surgery on that same foot tomorrow. He should be back and ready in time for the start of practice in October, but MSU had hoped to have Byrd healthy and up to speed by now.
  2. Penn State has hired former South Carolina and Vanderbilt head coach Eddie Fogler to assist with their coaching search. You know, ’cause he helped with previous coaching searches at…Auburn and Georgia Tech. Yeah. Can you imagine this call from PSU AD Tim Curley to former coach Fogler? Curley: “Hey, Eddie, you know we have a coaching vacancy here, right?” Fogler: “Yeeeees…” Curley: “Well, we were wondering if…” Fogler (smiling in anticipation): “YEEEESSSS??” Curley: “Do you know anyone who might be interested?”
  3. “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” Couldn’t agree more with the great Lefty Driesell, who was inducted into the Southern Conference Hall of Fame this past Tuesday. Before moving on to Maryland, Driesell posted a 176-65 record at Davidson over nine seasons, went to the Sweet 16 three times and the Elite Eight twice, won five regular season titles and three conference tournament crowns. He hasn’t totally removed that coaching hat — he regularly advises his son Chuck, head coach at The Citadel. Chuck’s choice for the most important piece of advice his father has given him: “Recruit daily or perish.”
  4. Ryan Harrow decided to leave North Carolina State after his freshman year and the ouster of Sidney Lowe, and late last night he decided that he’ll head to Lexington and play for Kentucky. The 6’0 and 160-pound point guard was rated as the 39th-best overall player on the ESPNU 100 for 2010, and the eighth-best point guard. He averaged 9.3 PPG and 3.3 APG for the Wolfpack in his only season there, and led the team with a 1.9 assist-to-turnover ratio. He’ll sit out the 2011-12 season while learning to guard the likes of Marquis Teague and Doron Lamb in practice every day, and will eligible to play in 2012-13.
  5. Four years ago, North Carolina mascot Jason Ray was hit by a car and killed right in front of the team hotel in New Jersey before his team’s NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 game. He was an organ donor. Because of that, he helped save the lives of four people. One of them was Ronald Griffin of Franklin Township, New Jersey, who received Ray’s heart. Griffin lived for four more years. That’s four more birthdays, four more NCAA Tournaments, four more anniversaries, four more whatevers — and everything in between. 1,461 more days he got to enjoy the privilege of breathing, walking, perceiving. Mr. Griffin, who became a big Tar Heel fan after learning whose heart he received, died this week, aged 62. We have nothing to add to this, other than to express our condolences to Mr. Griffin’s family, and our respect to Jason Ray.
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