Morning Five: 06.26.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on June 26th, 2012

  1. It’s NBA Draft week around the basketball world, the last blast of hoops hysteria of the year before we all wander off as wayward and lost souls into the hot summer months. We have a number of draft-related posts scheduled this week to supplement our ongoing series of draft profiles, but we started things off yesterday with a quick analysis of the unpredictability of the draft through the exercise of re-picking a few select drafts from the last decade. The moral to the story here is basically that it’s very difficult to project the careers of “can’t miss” prospects 10 years out, much less the marginal ones. A few of the notable names that scouts never saw coming were Stephen Jackson, Isaiah Thomas, DeAndre Jordan and Monta Ellis — CNNSI‘s Sam Amick takes a look at five collegians now projected as second rounders who he believes could exceed expectations in the long run. Stay tuned for a lot more NBA Draft coverage here on RTC this week.
  2. While on the subject of shaking hands with David Stern Thursday night, the presumptive #1 overall pick, Anthony Davis, is already making good use of his professional status. CNBC‘s Darren Rovell reported on Monday that The Unibrow has already trademarked the phrases “Fear the Brow” and “Raise the Brow,” ensuring that you’ll see brow-related t-shirts and other New Orleans Hornets attire on Bourbon Street in very short order. Davis said, “Me and my family decided to trademark it because it’s very unique,” and well, we can’t really argue with that.
  3. While on the subject of the Wildcats, Kentucky head coach John Calipari said on Monday during an SEC teleconference that he believes the additions of Missouri and Texas A&M to the league next season will result in the strongest SEC ever. Notwithstanding this classic bit of coachspeak — and several other head men, including Alabama’s Anthony Grant and Auburn’s Tony Barbee, were equally guilty of the hyperbole — SEC basketball has a long way to go before it becomes a top-level conference again. Adding Mizzou, a basketball-centric school coming off a great season, helps; adding Texas A&M could go either way depending on how things turn out with Billy Kennedy at the helm. The problem with the SEC is that the traditional football powers (outside of Florida) have too many years where they’re simply not competitive — we’re looking at you, LSU, Auburn, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee… Until a couple more programs beyond UK, UF, and Vanderbilt improve to a consistent Top 25 level, the league will remain behind the Big Ten, Big 12, the Big East (for now), and the future ACC in terms of basketball prowess.
  4. Not every amateur basketball player in America is prepping for the draft this week, although it may seem like it. At least one former collegian, FIU’s Nick Taylor, has been working out at the Minnesota Vikings mini-camp recently in an effort to earn a cornerback slot on the final 53-man roster. Taylor had a nondescript basketball career, averaging just under two points and two assists per game in three seasons with the Panthers, but the 5’9″, 165-pound waterbug who can run a sub-4.3 forty spent the last two years playing for the Fort Lauderdale Barracudas of the Stars Football League. After an All-Star year and a tryout where he exhibited his blazing speed in front of a gaggle of scouts, the Vikings signed Taylor to a non-guaranteed contract and brought him up north. He’s still a long shot to make the final roster, but Taylor is certainly undressing the concept that basketball players can only successfully transition to professional football as big and powerful tight ends.
  5. We’ll finish off with a thud, as another player nobody has ever heard of — former Baylor walk-on Richard Hurdis facing a federal extortion charge for allegedly threatening Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin, III, with “derogatory information.” We have no idea what dirt Hurd might have had (or thought he had) on the #2 overall pick in the NFL Draft, but unless it involved murder and mayhem… OK, we’ll stop right there. The larger point is that some of these things are completely out of Baylor’s control, but is there another school in the nation that has such strangely weird criminal enterprises attach to its athletes? It’s got to be some kind of karmic influence for making Ken Starr it’s president, right? Let’s go with that.
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Morning Five: 09.15.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on September 15th, 2011

  1.’s Andy Glockner (one of RTC’s favorites) has summarized the prospects of no less than 46 teams for the upcoming season…Twitter-style. Or, as he says in his intro, heh heh, “We’re going to do it quickly, @AndyGlockner-style.” A fun read, this, and a darn good follow if you’re not already among his legion of almost 6,000. This kind of thing isn’t easy, since the 140-character limit forces you to take what you’re trying to say and distill it down to the smallest thimbleful of demi-glace of your original point, and so many teams (Georgetown, this means you) have had extremely interesting summers. Shameless self-promotion: for the past couple of seasons we’ve tweeted a preview (a series we cleverly call “Tweeting the Preview”) every hour on the hour for every Division I team in the 344 hours leading up to the tipoff of the season’s first game, and we’ll be doing it again this October.
  2. Florida State AD Randy Spetman remarked yesterday that while his school was keeping a sharp eye on all the conference realignment happenings and an ear tuned into the latest gossip, FSU is “comfortable in the ACC.” There’s certainly no reason to doubt that, but…it’s that word. “Comfortable.” We’ve known a lot of relationships in our day in which each partner felt comfortable but one of them bolted as quickly as they could when a more exciting option came along. And in the conference realignment game, excitement comes in the form of TV network dollars. With the kind of cash that’s being thrown around these days in the SEC (and Pac-12), which now needs a 14th member, we wouldn’t be surprised if FSU’s seat at the ACC table started to feel a little less comfortable and more on the lumpy side in the near future.
  3. Dan Wiederer has covered the ACC for the past seven seasons for the Fayetteville Observer and, because of both his insight and his humor, has been a required read for any college basketball lover — especially those territorial Tobacco Road types — over that time span. He’s soon leaving his post there to cover something called the Minnesota Vikings (anyone?) for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and he hasn’t much time left. In one of his last articles for the FO, he recalls his five greatest moments during his seven-year run of chronicling ACC basketball. RTC is sorry to see this defection, another example of college basketball suffering at the hands of a football-related decision. Good luck at the new gig, Mr. W, and tell Tubby we said “‘Sup.” He’ll probably play that game, you know, where he acts like he doesn’t know us…
  4. Right now we’re in one of those stretches on the calendar in which one usually sees an increase in the rate of stories about ballers getting into some mischief and ending up suspended for, say, an exhibition game and the season opener. Hey, it happens — these guys are back at school, they’re going to parties, the season is still weeks away, coaches are off recruiting, and all that. Hope we’re not jinxing it, but there hasn’t been much of that so far this year. Not that they’re particularly trouble-prone, but Lorenzo Romar has his charges at Washington occupying their time by helping out at various charities in the community. That alone would merit a link here, but the article also has a small photo of Desmond Simmons, Scott Suggs, and Darnell Gant wearing high heels. It was for a good cause, but we’re sorry, fellas. We couldn’t resist. You can probably expect to see enlarged versions of it at some road games this year, but because it was part of a charity appearance, you gents should be proud.
  5. Even though the NCAA has asked him not to discuss the matter, Missouri head coach Frank Haith told that he “did nothing wrong at the University of Miami.” This is noteworthy because it’s the first public denial that we’ve heard from Haith regarding the allegation that he helped grease the rails for a $10,000 payment from the infamous Nevin Shapiro to then-recruit DeQuan Jones (now a senior) to secure the latter’s commitment to the basketball team. That is, it’s the first public direct denial; his few previous denials have been of the “non-denying” type. In the short linked article, Haith also mentions the effect it’s having on his recruiting efforts. Even though it’s not hard to predict what he said, there’s a pretty somber tone to his comments, as they’re written. If you’re a Mizzou fan, you should probably just skip this one.
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