In Their Words: Life at the Mid-Major Level

Posted by rtmsf on September 21st, 2010

Andrew Murawa is the RTC correspondent for the Pac-10 and Mountain West Conferences and an occasional contributor.


Over the summer, we’ve spent time hearing about some of the next big-name recruits on their way to college basketball: Jared Sullinger and Harrison Barnes, Anthony Davis and Michael Gilchrist. We’ve heard the big-time schools announce their high profile games on their upcoming schedules: Kentucky going to the Maui Invitational and visiting North Carolina, Michigan State hosting Texas and going to Duke. But for the vast majority of Division I programs, they’ve been flying under the radar. There are at present 73 teams that participate in basketball in the six BCS conferences, but there are 347 total programs in Division I. Of those other 274 programs, there are certainly quite a few big-name programs: last year’s national runner-up Butler comes to mind immediately, as does Gonzaga, Memphis and a handful of other schools in conferences like the Atlantic 10 and the Mountain West. But, we were also interested in how the other half (or really, how the other three-quarters) lives, so we spent some time talking to coaches, athletic directors and other people around the country affiliated with some of those other schools — those non-BCS schools, those “mid-majors” — and we asked them about how they recruit, how they create a schedule, how they market their programs, and quite a few other things. Over the next eight weeks, we’ll let them tell you their story, in their own words.

To begin, let me introduce and thank this week’s cast of characters:

  • Murry Bartow, Head Coach, East Tennessee State – Bartow is entering his eighth season as the Buccaneers head coach, after having previously succeeded his father Gene Bartow as the head coach at UAB. Bartow has posted a 118-72 record in his years at ETSU and has racked up 241 total wins and four NCAA appearances in his 13 seasons as a head coach.
  • George Ivory, Head Coach, Arkansas-Pine Bluff – Ivory enters his third season in Pine Bluff, where he has turned the Golden Lions into winners. UAPB turned around an 0-11 start last season by finishing 18-5 over their last 23 games, winning UAPB’s first SWAC tournament title in 43 years and advancing to the NCAA tournament before losing to eventual national-champion Duke.
  • Chris Caputo, Assistant Coach, George Mason – Caputo is entering his sixth season as an assistant coach for the Patriots after spending the previous three seasons as an administrative assistant and video coordinator under head coach Jim Larranaga.
  • Tommy Dempsey, Head Coach, Rider – Dempsey enters his fifth season as the head man at Rider, following two seasons as an assistant. He has compiled an 83-75 record over that time and coached NBA lottery pick Jason Thompson during his time there.
  • Eric Reveno, Head Coach, Portland – Reveno heads into his fifth season at Portland having turned around a program from a team that was 18-45 in his first two seasons to a team on the rise with a 40-24 record over the last two seasons. Reveno spent his previous nine seasons as an assistant at Stanford, his alma mater where he was a Pac-10 Conference All-Academic Team selection as a senior.
  • Eric Brown, Assistant Coach, Long Beach State – Brown enters his fifth year as an assistant on head coach Dan Monson’s staff, after previously having spent time on coaching staffs at Cal-State Northridge, USC and Iowa State.
  • Jason James, Head Coach, Tennessee-Martin – James enters his second season as the head coach at UT-Martin following eight seasons as an assistant coach there. His first season was rough, to the tune of 4-25, after he was appointed head coach in the wake of scandal with the previous head coach. But James, the recruiter who brought Lester Hudson to UT-Martin, has plans to begin to turn things around this season.
  • Dale Layer, Head Coach, Liberty – Layer enters his second season at Liberty after having spent a season as an assistant at the university in 2007-08. In between, he spent a year at Marquette and previously he spent seven seasons as the head coach at Colorado State. He has compiled a 118-122 record in his eight seasons as a Division I head coach.
  • Gregg Bach, Assistant Athletics Director for Communications, Akron – Bach was named to his current position this past summer after having spent the previous eight years on the media relations staff in the Akron athletic department. His new job makes him the spokesperson of the athletic department.

First up: recruiting. This is the biggest, most pressure-packed area in college athletics. No matter how good coaches are at the X’s-and-O’s, they need players to execute their plans. At the mid-major level, the likelihood of a coach winding up with a ready-made pro is minuscule, so coaches have to find diamonds-in-the-rough, and, perhaps more importantly, develop their players over the course of their careers. Not only do schools at this level have to compete with other schools of similar size, if they find themselves competing with  a higher-level school for the same prospect, they may have to make a decision as to whether or not continuing to recruit the player is a worthwhile use of time. And the schools have to make the most of every advantage they can find in order to land the best student-athletes for their institution.

Recruiting Players Takes on Many Forms

Murry Bartow, Head Coach, East Tennessee State: Obviously, if you’re a college basketball coach, the most important part of your job is making sure that you’ve got good players.

George Ivory, Head Coach, Arkansas-Pine Bluff: There are a lot of things that go into recruiting. It comes down to what that kid is really looking for and what that kid wants out of college.

Bartow: There are so many things that go into it. There is no question that the relationship is critical, whether that’s with the head coach or an assistant coach. But that is very pivotal in the decision, building the relationship with not only the prospect, but a mom or a dad or whoever is going to be helping them make that decision. And certainly the product you’re trying to show them is important. Fortunately, I think I’m in a situation where I think we’ve got a good product, but there are a lot of things that are important: the school, the community, the housing, the fan’s support of your program, how many times you’re potentially going to be on TV and what conference you’re in, your history, the success you’ve had and how many times you’ve been to the NCAA tournament recently. So there are a lot of things and certainly different things are important to different players. For instance, we’ve been to the NCAA Tournament the last two years, and for some prospects that is very, very critical and important, and for others that might not be so important. So there are different things for different prospects.

When George Mason broke through to the Final Four in 2006, they were the first big mid-major success story in the NCAA Tournament since, arguably, Larry Bird’s Indiana State team made it there in 1979. Sure, there have been other non-BCS schools to get to the Final Four (Memphis ’08, Louisville ’05 and Marquette ’03 all came out of Conference USA, and Utah ’98 out of the WAC are all examples of non-BCS teams advancing to the Final Four, but none of those teams can really be considered a mid-major given their substantial basketball budgets), but Mason, an 11-seed and one of the last teams into the tournament that season, is clearly the first “modern” mid-major Cinderella story. While their success opened some doors recruiting-wise, new challenges arose as well.

Chris Caputo, Assistant Coach, George Mason: I don’t think anything has gotten easier since the Final Four, but it has been different for sure. I think we’ve gotten some good players, but you’ve got to caution yourself against those with superficial interest, people who will put you on their list because it sounds good, but they’re really not considering you because they are too far from home or whatever. You still want to make sure you’re getting guys that really want to be there and they’re hungry. Sometimes when you have success there are certain kids who are really attracted to the success and maybe not as attracted to working, almost like they’re feeling, “hey, if I get a scholarship over at George Mason, that’s it, I don’t have to work anymore.” But the guys that helped us get there, they signed with George Mason when it wasn’t as fashionable and they were driven to succeed. The one thing that the Final Four appearance has done for us is that it has helped us get involved with guys who maybe we previously couldn’t have gotten involved with. It helps us get into homes in different areas. You know, our school is much more of a household name nationally, and we’ve become a stronger name in our area as well. I think it has been good, but you also have to be careful with it too.

For mid-majors, a lot of the big-name recruits (McDonald’s All-Americans), are out of the question in all but the rarest of circumstances. This season, point guard Ray McCallum, Jr. chose Detroit over BCS schools like Arizona, Florida and UCLA, a decision which would have been startling were it not for the fact that his dad is the head coach there. For most mid-major programs, these players aren’t even in consideration. To make up for that, mid-majors have to find players that fly under the radar of some of the bigger schools and guys who are willing to put in the hard work to improve.

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Is Michael Gilchrist Waffling on His Commitment to Kentucky?

Posted by rtmsf on August 27th, 2010

Update: Coach Calipari must have taken our advice, as Gilchrist’s follow-up tweet later this evening said, “Just had a long talk to Coach Cal.. Ill be on campus next weekend.”  If Calipari knows one thing, he knows how to protect his assets.  That didn’t take very long at all.  Still, it doesn’t settle the issue of if or why Gilchrist wants to take three official visits.

Perhaps superstar recruit Mike Gilchrist is just playing with us on a late summer Friday evening, or perhaps he’s having some second thoughts about his early commitment to play his college ball at Kentucky.  Either way, the below tweet (now deleted), sent at around 9 pm ET tonight, is sure to set the recruiting world afire short of a strong statement to the contrary by the consensus top five player in the class of 2011.

Kyle Anderson, a star forward from North Bergen (St. Anthony’s), NJ, in the class of 2012, asked Gilchrist directly on Twitter whether he had de-committed from UK, to which Gilchrist responded with a simple “no.”  But there are hints that the rising senior may be having some cold feet, given the above quote referring to taking three official visits (we have to assume he’s not talking about Kentucky, Transylvania and Lexington Community College) in addition to some other chatter on his Twitter page about not leaving his mother by herself [presumably in New Jersey].

Paging Coach Calipari… coach John Calipari.  You may want to keep Gilchrist handy on your speed-dial.  Stay tuned on this one…

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Morning Five: 08.25.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on August 25th, 2010

  1. Despite a unanimous (16-0) vote by league coaches to dump the double-bye format for the four top seeds, the Big East decided yesterday to not make the change to the Big East Tournament as league officials and ADs felt uncomfortable with the change for a number of reasons including financial and logistical  considerations.   Last year three of the four double-bye teams (Syracuse, Villanova and Pittsburgh) lost their initial tournament games, so coaches were pushing for a traditional sixteen-team bracket in part so that they can load up on some easy wins prior to playing the tougher teams in the later rounds, and in part so that everyone could plan on the same start date.  Won’t happen, at least not this coming year.
  2. Gary Parrish has a good read on former summer basketball camp organizer Sonny Vaccaro, the Godfather of AAU basketball, who has been out of the game the last three summers but apparently has the pieces in place to make another run at world domination of elite schoolboy prospects, just like the good old days.
  3. We mentioned last week the possibility that class of 2011 top twenty prospect DeAndre Daniels may attempt to move up his entrance into college by a year, Scottie Wilbekin-style, but he has made the decision to attend prep school next year and will graduate with his class.  He originally committed to Texas, but has re-opened his recruitment, with Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis, Tennessee and the Longhorns on his current list.
  4. We found this interesting nugget in an article about something completely different (Jenn Brown’s possible beer ad career), but did you know that the average age of ESPN’s college basketball-watching audience is 48 (!!!) years old?!?!?  For some reason, this is a lot higher than the NBA audience (39), and a year older than that of college football (47).  For some reason, we’re stunned by this — maybe we’ve just been deluded by the much-younger internet audience, but wow.
  5. We hope to have a post on this up later today, but both Scout and Rivals have updated their post-summer recruiting rankings.  Their previous lists both had 6’6 wing Michael Gilchrist from Elizabeth, NJ, as the top player in the class of 2011, but both services have downgraded him coming out of the summer as a result of concerns over his shooting touch.  The new #1s?  Austin Rivers (Rivals) and Anthony Davis (Scout).  Let the debates commence.
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Morning Five: 08.23.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on August 23rd, 2010

  1. Our correspondent Andrew Murawa put the Mountain West/WAC situation into understandable terms over the weekend, but we wanted to highlight one area of particular concern.  It certainly appears that BYU will now remain a member of the MWC, while the WAC’s Fresno State and Nevada will join up with its new league as soon as possible; but the real wildcard in all of this is Utah State.  If the Mountain West is able to recruit it’s twelfth school USU over to its side, that would leave the WAC with a mere five teams, less than the requisite six needed (for five consecutive years) to retain its automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.  The current mixture of automatic/at-large bids in the Big Dance exists at 31/37.  If the WAC implodes, another at-large team could be getting a bid as soon as the 2012 Tourney.  Somewhere in southwest Virginia Seth Greenberg just danced a jig.
  2. Jason King at Yahoo! Sports takes a look at one of the most unappreciated aspects of college basketball recruiting, the top assistant coaches who get the job done in the trenches so that the head coach can later take all the credit and glory of those hotshot players.  It should be no surprise to you that the names of assistants at Ohio State, Kentucky, Memphis, Texas, Kansas and Michigan State are all represented on this list.   What is odd is that nobody from Duke or UNC are here — perhaps Coach K and Roy Williams are simply all that is needed to get the job done at those schools.
  3. Chris Allen, the Michigan State guard who did not meet the standards required of him by head coach Tom Izzo, will re-surface at Iowa State in the 2011-12 season.  His decision to transfer to ISU over UTEP and St. John’s is a major boon for Fred Hoiberg’s rebuilding project in Ames.  Allen, a full-time starter on the 2009-10 Spartans, will bring a toughness and solid three-point stroke to the Cyclone program for his senior campaign.  Let’s hope, though, that whatever it was that put him in the doghouse in East Lansing will be left behind among the unused moving boxes.
  4. MaxPreps has released its post-summer top 100 recruits for the Class of 2011, and Michael Gilchrist (Elizabeth, NJ) remains at the top despite strong summers from several competitors.  Kentucky’s John Calipari has already received verbals from three of the top nine — Gilchrist, Anthony Davis (Chicago, IL), and Marquis Teague (Indianapolis, IN).  Interesting note: if you want to see great HS talent in person next season, the Commonwealth of Virginia, with nine players, is where you should be.
  5. This is a must-read every summer, as Luke Winn gives us his 2010-11 Breakout Five players.  He uses Pomeroy statistics to make educated determinations as to the players most likely to have impact sophomore campaigns, and his findings are worth the time.  The biggest surprise name on the list?  Miami (FL)’s Reggie Johnson.
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Is Calipari’s Three-Year Recruiting Run the Best Ever?

Posted by rtmsf on August 16th, 2010

An interesting question came up among the Twitterati over the weekend when it was learned that Rivals #8 (and rising) recruit in the Class of 2011, Anthony Davishad formally committed to Kentucky.  Davis’ commitment marks the third top ten recruit in that class to have committed to John Calipari’s Wildcats, and the seventh in the 2009-11 recruiting cycles, a ridiculous feat. 

  • John Wall (#2, 2009)
  • DeMarcus Cousins (#3 , 2009)
  • Brandon Knight (#4, 2010)
  • Enes Kanter (#7, 2010)
  • Michael Gilchrist (#1, 2011)
  • Marquis Teague (#5, 2011)
  • Anthony Davis (#8, 2011)

Throw in a few other high-level recruits such as Daniel Orton (#19, 2009), Eric Bledsoe (#52, 2009), Terrence Jones (#11, 2010), Doron Lamb (#26, 2010), and an unnamed superstar or two to be named later (Quincy MillerLeBryan Nash?), and suddenly there is a realization that we could be in the midst of the single greatest run of recruiting prowess since the Wizard of Westwood had every blue-chipper from coast to coast lining up to play for him.

Calipari Continues to Rack Up Blue-Chippers (LHL/M. Cornelison)

This is what Calipari was referring to when he infamously said on draft night in June that having five UK players selected was the greatest night in the program’s history.  It’s all marketing.  As Kentucky blog A Sea of Blue notes when referring to Anthony Davis’ quotes about the commitment, Calipari isn’t selling the Wildcat program of all hoops-all the time as much as the dream; the dream, of course, being a fast-track to the League. 

But notice what is not mentioned — Kentucky tradition, the facilities at UK, playing in front of 24,000 every game, being on TV all the time — none of these things are mentioned.  Recruiting has changed.  Calipari has taken the NBA one-and-done rule and used it like the Pied Piper, tempting players to Kentucky not with cash to families or under-the-table deals, but with a short path to all the riches they desire.

Whether you believe the last sentence or not, the truth remains that players are beelining for Lexington, which brings us to the point of this article.  We have to dig pretty deep in our memory banks to remember a recruiting run that even begins to approach this concentration of elite talent.  Granted, there’s a bit of an apples/oranges confounder here — much of the reason that Calipari can load up on talent every single year is because there’s a reasonable expectation that the previous year’s competition for minutes will be gone (see: Wall begets Knight begets Teague, for example).  Still, we’ve come up with one strong comparison in the modern era (we hope you add your own in the comments below): Duke 1997-99.  As a brief aside, UNC from 1990-93, Michigan from 1991-94 and Duke from 1999-2002 were also very strong periods of recruiting at those schools, but over four recruiting cycles rather than three. 

Duke 1997-99 (recruited by Mike Krzyzewski)

  • Elton Brand (#1, 1997)
  • Chris Burgess (#7, 1997)
  • Shane Battier (#8, 1997)
  • William Avery (#14, 1997)
  • Corey Maggette (#16, 1998)
  • Jason Williams (#3, 1999)
  • Carlos Boozer (#8, 1999)
  • Casey Sanders (#16, 1999)
  • Mike Dunleavy, Jr. (#26, 1999)

The recruiting rankings alone are nasty, but when you consider the actual accomplishments of this group, it takes on a whole new meaning.  Six lottery picks, three NPOYs, two title game appearances and a national championship (2001).  In two of the years where they didn’t cut the nets down, (1999 and 2002), Duke was the prohibitive favorite to win the title (finishing #1 in the final AP poll every year from 1999-2002) in large part because they had more talent than anybody else.  They actually won it all in 2001, but we’re still trying to figure out how Jim Calhoun’s vastly underrated (but also undermanned) Huskies were able to slay the Duke dragon in 1999 (oh, right, Trajan Langdon).  It was an amazing run of talent acquisition, and we haven’t seen anything like it for at least a decade.

Duke Had Three NPOYs in Four Seasons (SI)

Therein lies the rub.  With boatloads of talent comes expectations, and winning the press conference is great for tone-setting, but getting to and winning Final Fours is what matters most in Lexington.  Again, the Duke era was different in that with the exception of Corey Maggette in 1999, Coach K did not lose any players as 1-and-dones; but that won’t deter the vultures from ripping Calipari if he continues to sign elite talent without bringing back the accompanying hardware to support it.  The biggest case in point of this thinking is how Michigan’s Fab Five class of 1991 is often considered a failure for merely going to two straight NCAA championship games and losing.  It remains to be seen how this era of Kentucky basketball will play out (so far, one Elite Eight appearance), but we already know that the level of recruiting enjoyed by Calipari in his first three classes there rivals anything experienced in the modern era.  Coach K’s classes from 1997-99 set the bar very high — it’s now up to the individual players — from Knight/Kanter/Jones to Gilchrist/Teague/Davis — to match or exceed their accomplishments.   

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Davis To Kentucky Gives UK (At Worst) Three In 2011’s Top 12

Posted by jstevrtc on August 13th, 2010 has reported in the last few moments that class of 2011 star Anthony Davis has verbally committed to the University of Kentucky.  According to the story by writer Cavan Walsh, Davis’ father, Anthony Sr., said “I am glad the process is finally over,” and added that they regarded Kentucky as “the right fit for Anthony academically, athletically, and socially.”

Davis Adds to an Unbelievable UK Class in 2011.

Recruiting guru Evan Daniels also tweeted news of the commitment moments ago.

Using the ESPN-U 100 rankings, Davis joins top-ranked Michael Gilchrist, third-ranked Marquis Teague in the 2011 class for John Calipari and Kentucky.  Davis is ranked 12th.  On Rivals’ list, the trio of Gilchrist, Teague, and Davis would rank first, fifth, and eighth, respectively.  No matter which list you prefer, it’s a legendary class for the Wildcats, and it probably isn’t even complete.

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Recruiting Rumor Mill: 08.02.10 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on August 2nd, 2010

It was a relatively quiet week for recruiting after the crazy week last week in Las Vegas, but we should start to get more news over the next few weeks as recruits start narrowing down their list or even committing to schools.

  • Austin Rivers got the headlines in Orlando this week, but we hope that everyone paid attention to a solid performance from Trevor Lacey, who had 22 points to Rivers’ 24 points, as they combined to lead their team to victory. The game was supposed to be a showdown between Rivers and Michael Gilchrist that was scrapped when Gilchrist’s mom shut him down for the summer, but there was still plenty of star power as Rivers and Lacey knocked off Ben McLemore and Bradley Beal.
  • Speaking of Rivers…by now you have probably already read it, but for those of you who haven’t, FanHouse has a pretty lengthy profile on Rivers, his dad’s influence on his game, and the schools he is looking at.
  • It seems like a weekly thing now, but we have another update for Anthony Davis. The talented power forward has apparently expanded his list to include DePaul. Even though that is his hometown team I’m sure the Illinois faithful are wondering why Bruce Weber can’t elicit any interest from an in-state recruit like Davis.
  • Maurice Harkless is starting to turn some heads especially after his solid performance at the Fab 48 and after beating out a number of big names for MVP honors at the Desert Duel. Harkless, who had previously committed to UConn, will be releasing his list later this month and if the names of the coaches watching him this summer are any indication the list should be full of big names.
  • Dayton received a commitment from Percy Gibson, a 6’8 big man from Detroit who the Flyers reportedly had as their #1 big man target. [Ed. Note: Does a school ever pick up a player who wasn’t their #1 target?]
  • Meanwhile, Rutgers added its own big man in Derrick Randall, who has stated that he will try to bring his AAU point guard (and St. Anthony’s recruit) Myles Mack with him.
  • With so few highly rated big men in this year’s class, every solid interior player is drawing a lot of interest and Johnny O’Bryant is no exception, as he is drawing interest from big names like Kansas, Kentucky, and Louisville.
  • Nick Kerr, son of former NBA sharpshooter Steve Kerr, won’t be following in his father’s footsteps at Arizona, opting to stay in California (where the family resides now) and committing to play at San Diego. Like his father, Nick possesses a sweet jump shot (41% from 3-point range and 85% from the free throw line as a junior) and has not been heavily recruited out of high school.
  • Although this isn’t what you normally think about when you consider recruiting, Andy Glockner brings us an analysis of incoming transfers who are basically new recruits. Teams are unlikely to get game-changers like a star freshman, but some of these transfers could give their teams just the little bit extra they need to get over the hump whether it is into the NCAA Tournament, into the Sweet 16, or cutting down the nets in San Antonio in April.
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Recruiting Makes For Strange Bedfellows: Kentucky v. Washington

Posted by rtmsf on July 26th, 2010

You’d be hard pressed to find two major state research universities with as little in common as the Seattle-based University of Washington and the Lexington-based University of Kentucky.  UW is an urban university located in the gorgeous setting of the wet and wild Pacific Northwest, filled with faculty and students who intravenously inject java into their arms and generally fall on the crunchier side of the political spectrum.  UK, on the other hand, is a suburban school located in the heart of America’s unparalleled horse country, just as proud of its southern hospitality and bourbon as its staid conservativism.  To call these two schools separated by 2,450 miles burgeoning rivals on the basketball court seems as weird as offering Florida v. Minnesota or Arizona v. Rutgers as reasonable comparisons.

A New Rivalry on the Horizon?

Yet over the last few months, the two basketball programs have made up for their lack of on-court rivalry (Kentucky leads the all-time series 1-0) with one in the hideaway gyms and family rooms of blue-chip prospects.  The long arm of UK coach John Calipari’s recruiting prowess has collided squarely with the growing hotbed of talent residing in the upper left corner of the country, resulting in several high-profile head-to-head battles over recruits and most notably impacting Lorenzo Romar’s UW program.    The latest in that string of faceoffs has come in recent weeks over the services of Seattle guard Tony Wroten, Jr., a 6’5 lefty guard and rising senior who missed all of last year due to a football-related knee injury, yet whom most scouts believe has top ten talent

Wroten (@ToneTone13) is a Twitter phenomenon, playing up his ongoing recruitment with re-tweets of others’ speculation, but despite a recent statement that all the schools on his list have an equal chance for his services, the smart money suggests that he’s down to his hometown school and the lure of the bluegrass.  Part of the reason for this is that he’s good friends with two other UK commitments in the Class of 2011 — top ten prospects Michael Gilchrist and Marquis Teague — but seeing John Wall and Eric Bledsoe coexist and excel in UK’s dribble-drive offense last season is another big carrot.  Nevertheless, the pressure is on Romar to hang onto a local product who grew up playing pickup ball on the Washington campus and who is the second cousin of former Husky star Nate Robinson, especially in light of the fact that only a few months ago Calipari recruited two players to Kentucky — Enes Kanter and Terrence Jones — after both had verbally committed to play in Seattle.  In many UW circles, Wroten is a must-get for Romar. 

After losing out on two big-time prospects and potentially a third to Kentucky, Washington fans are in no mood for another sucker-punch to the gut from Calipari on the recruiting trail, but there could be an opportunity for Husky supporters to exact revenge where it really counts — on the basketball court.  Both teams are participants in the 2010 Maui Invitational this coming November, and although the brackets are not yet set, we have to believe that ESPN and the Maui officials will bend over backwards to make a UK-UW game happen.  Washington guard Isaiah Thomas is apparently ready for it, as he has already gotten snippy with his comment over the weekend that Kentucky fans (along with regional rival Oregon) are “both kinda stupid.”  Regardless of whether Wroten eventually commits to UK or UW later this summer or fall, the heat in this bizarre intersectional rivalry stands to increase and we as the impartial onlookers will just sit back and enjoy it. 

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Recruiting Rumor Mill: 07.26.10 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on July 26th, 2010

This week’s action was mostly centered around Las Vegas (and we will certainly talk about Vegas), but there as always there was news from across the rest of the nation. Based on the way that these AAU tournaments run most of our “news” comes from tweets from courtside observers, but we do have a few articles sprinkled in here. If you have a hot recruiting tip or news that you want to share with us, e-mail us at

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Anthony Davis Narrows It Down To 3 Schools

Posted by nvr1983 on July 23rd, 2010

Earlier this week we brought you a short feature on Anthony Davis, the star power forward recruit out of Chicago who has been lighting up the AAU summer circuit. With his rise up the recruiting rankings we expected the number of offers for Davis to be rising by the day. Instead, as Adam Zagoria reported earlier today, Davis has been narrowing down his list and after eliminating UNC from consideration the list stands at just three schools: Syracuse, Ohio State, and Kentucky. Although his father Anthony Davis Sr. states that his son “should have a decision hopefully soon” he adds that the family “doesn’t have a timetable.” So at this point we don’t know if Davis will commit before his senior season starts (Davis will reportedly take “a couple looks” at each of the three schools so don’t expect an announcement in the next week or two) or this could drag on to be another Terrence Jones situation. In any event, this announcement will only make college basketball fans salivate even more over the potential for Davis playing alongside Fab Melo, Kris Joseph, Scoop Jardine, and Dion Waiters at Syracuse or alongside Jared Sullinger, William Buford, and Deshaun Thomas at Ohio State or alongside Enes Kanter, Brandon Knight, Michael Gilchrist, Marquis Teague, and Terrence Jones at Kentucky when the 2011 NBA lockout happens.

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