SEC M5: 10.30.12 Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on October 30th, 2012

  1. 2013 Missouri point guard recruit Travis Jorgenson de-commited over the weekend. “I just think that he wanted to open it back up because he wasn’t comfortable signing right away,” his summer coach L.J. Goolsby told Rivals.com. “It’s nothing against Missouri, he loves Missouri, he grew up there. He committed so early that he wanted to go through the process and be sure that he made the right decision.” Missouri already holds a commitment from another point guard in the  2013 class, Wesley Clark. There could be a mass exodus in the Tiger backcourt after this season, so Frank Haith may need as many guards as he can accumulate to feel comfortable with the depth chart.
  2. Speaking of Missouri’s backcourt depth, Haith suspended starting guard Mike Dixon and freshman Dominique Bull indefinitely for what he is calling a violation of team rules. While Dixon had struggled academically, Haith refused to go into depth on the reasoning of the suspension. He also wouldn’t commit to a timetable on a possible return. “The time frame will also depend on the player and their response to adversity,” said Haith. “It’s more about the everyday choices we make and the cumulative impact it has on the ability to be good stewards on the Mizzou brand.” Dixon is expected to start for the Tigers alongside preseason All-American Phil Pressey. In his absence, transfer Keion Bell will see extended minutes.
  3. On Monday, we ran through Coach John Calipari’s practice report observations, and now we get his opinion on the Wildcats’ intra-squad scrimmage. Just as in practice, Calipari continues to experiment with different lineups and using off guard Archie Goodwin at the point position. Goodwin is excelling with the ball in his hands, possibly insinuating that the speedy freshman could be the leading scorer for the Wildcats this season. Calipari has been impressed with Goodwin’s ability to score with his quick first step and ability to create off the dribble. The 6’3″ guard scored 16 points in a 20-minute scrimmage yesterday after impressing with a game high 32 points in the Blue/White scrimmage last week.
  4. Tennessee played in one of the well publicized “secret scrimmages” against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets this past weekend, coming away with a 20+ point victory. Cuonzo Martin left the game with an observation that even my wife could pick up on after watching a couple of minutes of UT. “We have to get the ball to Jarnell,” Martin said. “He can’t get the ball enough. We have to overload and let the offense play through him. Really, he can’t get enough touches. We’ve got to get it to him.” Jarnell is of course, Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee’s 6’7″ power forward who is ready for a breakout year in the post. Stokes played in just 17 games for the Vols last season but looked incredibly polished even after missing the first half of the year because he was still in high school. If only Martin can figure out a strategy to get him the ball.
  5. After forward Cody Larson made the decision to leave the Florida Gators to focus on his academics and personal life, Billy Donovan extended an opportunity to welcome Larson back to the team. “If there’s anyone who knows about changing his mind, it’s me,” said Donovan, poking fun at his own indecision regarding an offer from the Orlando Magic in 2007. “I think right now for Cody if he legitimately felt like you know what, a week, two weeks from now, I miss this, I made a huge mistake, we’re not bringing anyone in right now, he could come back to our team.” Larson had his scholarship revoked by Donovan last spring, but his 6’9″ frame would provide the Gators with a much needed commodity — size. While he was not a major contributor last season, Donovan could use more depth in the low post knowing center Patric Young’s affinity for fouling.

Brian Joyce is a writer for the SEC microsite and regular contributor for Rush The Court. Follow him on Twitter for more about SEC basketball at bjoyce_hoops.

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The Big 12′s New Faces: Missouri’s Frank Haith

Posted by dnspewak on October 21st, 2011

Frank Haith: The Essentials

  • Previous coaching stop: Miami (FL)
  • Career overview: Assistant coach (1985-2004); head coach at Miami (2004-11)
  • Playing experience: N/A
  • Accolades: ACC Coach of the Year finalist (2007-08)

The Breakdown

Frank Haith isn’t exactly the most popular person in Columbia, Missouri, right now — and he knows it. In his introductory press conference, the new Missouri coach admitted he wasn’t the school’s first choice after finishing 43-69 in ACC play during his six years at Miami.  To make matters worse, he’s now embroiled in the NCAA’s investigation of the Hurricanes. Booster Nevin Shapiro accused him of having knowledge of a $10,000 payment to DeQuan Jones, and he’s pictured at social events with Shapiro.  So that’s been the theme of the 2011 off-season: damage control. Plus, in addition to suffering through a PR nightmare this summer, Haith also just found out this month that his senior forward Laurence Bowers will miss the entire season with an ACL injury.

Frank Haith Walked into a Great Situation at Missouri (Christie Megura)

Welcome to Columbia, coach. Luckily, even without Bowers, Haith has an experienced squad with a real shot at a Big 12 title. Before he cuts down the nets, though, Haith has some work to do. His biggest challenge will be finding a way to adjust Mike Anderson’s players to play a more traditional style. Haith has said he will continue to push the tempo offensively, but he also said he will back off on the all-out pressure defense and will introduce more of a pick-and-roll, inside-oriented offense.  Haith’s personnel could thrive under his system. Point guards Phil Pressey and Mike Dixon might benefit in this offense, and senior Ricardo Ratliffe might be primed for a big year if his guards get him more involved. And with Marcus Denmon and Kim English back in the fold, this is a team that could take off in Haith’s first season.

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Five Teams Nobody Can Quite Get a Handle On…

Posted by rtmsf on October 21st, 2010

Zach Hayes is an RTC editor, contributor and bracketologist.

As the pre-Midnight Madness polls trickled out last Friday, it became glaringly obvious to us that consensus was more the exception than the rule. Aside from Duke at the top, teams like Butler and Kentucky somewhere in the middle and a precipitous decline for Purdue following Robbie Hummel re-tearing his ACL, agreement was about as prevalent as a British parliament session. Examining polls from a handful of websites that compiled a top 25 to prepare for the start of practice — ESPN’s Andy Katz, TSN’s Mike DeCourcy, CBS’ Gary Parrish, Fox’s Jeff Goodman and yours truly here at RTC – we found five teams with a noticeable amount of dissent attached to their name in the preseason. Let’s examine those schools and break down what they need to do to match optimistic projections and how they can avoid sinking to the depths of other predictions.

Team #1: Syracuse (Preseason Rankings: #7, #10, #13, #19, #20)

Overrated at #7 if: the Orange are unable to replace the leadership, chemistry and production provided by fifth year seniors Andy Rautins, Arinze Onuaku and fourth year junior Wes Johnson. At times last season, Syracuse was a well-oiled machine on both ends of the floor. Players embraced their roles offensively and Jim Boeheim had the perfect roster at his disposal to stymie opponents with his patented 2-3 zone. The jury’s still out on whether Kris Joseph will be able to step into Johnson’s shoes and replace that versatility on the wing. Scoop Jardine was that sparkplug off the bench last season — will he be able to channel that effort for 35 minutes per night rather than 21.3 MPG? As many accolades as Fab Melo and Dion Waiters achieved in the high school ranks, depending on freshmen can be risky business. Asking them to drop just three spots in the polls after losing that considerable amount of production seems unreasonable and unrealistic.

When Boeheim Speaks, We Should Listen (TSN/B. Leverone)

Underrated at #20 if: Remember last summer when Boeheim hyped up that transfer from Iowa State named Wes Johnson? He’s been doing the same with Fab Melo, telling SI.com’s Seth Davis that his seven-foot freshman will be “a strong contender for national rookie of the year.” Plus, let’s face it: storied, winning programs like Syracuse prefer to reload than rebuild. Last October, we were wondering how the Orange would replace Jonny Flynn, Eric Devendorf and Paul Harris (in hindsight, that looks foolish, but it was true at the time). Why should we believe any differently this time around? NBA scouts have tabbed Joseph as a future lottery pick, Jardine and Brandon Triche shot well enough in 2009-10 to believe they can pick up Rautins’ slack, and Melo is an immediate upgrade offensively over Onuaku. In a conference that lost personnel across the board, Boeheim has a shot to put together back-to-back Big East title squads.

Team #2: Missouri (Preseason Rankings: #8, #12, #13, #16, #16)

Overrated at #8 if: Missouri’s returning talent isn’t that good in the first place. The Tigers return their top three scorers from a season ago, but it’s not as though Missouri lit the world on fire in 2009-10: they lost games to Oral Roberts, Oklahoma and Nebraska before garnering a #10 seed in the NCAA Tournament. There’s also concern about the Tigers frontcourt — Laurence Bowers, Ricardo Ratcliffe, Justin Safford and Steve Moore -- regarding their ability to contain the behemoths that face them in the Big 12. Any team that takes care of the basketball, keeps the action in the halfcourt and boasts legitimate scoring big men can negate Mike Anderson’s chaotic full-court press and take the Tigers out of their comfort zone. The prized recruit of Anderson’s class, 6’8 power forward Tony Mitchell out of Texas, is dealing with eligibility concerns and hopes to join Missouri in time for the bulk of Big 12 play, but that proposition is in serious jeopardy.

Underrated at #16 if: people underestimate the ability of Anderson to get the most out of his team. He’s positively giddy about the prospects of this year’s roster. There’s scoring punch on the outside with Kim English and Marcus Denmon, a dynamic point guard duo with Mike Dixon and Paul Pressey and plenty of candidates to thrust themselves into stardom in the frontcourt, especially Ratcliffe, the ultra-talent top junior college recruit. The Tigers full-court press keeps them in any game against any opponent if they’re able to force turnovers and impose their will. Anderson has the speed, versatility and athleticism to pressure opponents into oblivion. English is a phenomenal scorer and potential all-conference performer. If he develops more of a well-rounded game and improves efficiency, Anderson also boasts a go-to scorer when the Tigers need a clutch bucket.

Team #3: North Carolina (Preseason Rankings: #6, #9, #12, #14, #14)

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