Mark Lyons Could Be the Missing Piece For Arizona

Posted by AMurawa on May 8th, 2012

Despite the fact that Sean Miller had inked a top-three recruiting class, his roster at Arizona was lacking in one key area: point guard. However, this weekend’s news that Xavier transfer Mark Lyons had committed to Miller (for the second time – it was Miller who had originally recruited Lyons to the Musketeers) goes a long way toward not only clearing up the picture in the Wildcat backcourt, but putting the Pac-12 back on the map for the 2012-13 season.

With elite recruits along the frontline like Kaleb Tarczewski, Grant Jerrett, and Brandon Ashley and a group of talented returnees, there was already plenty of reason for Cat fans to be excited going into next year, but the huge hole at point guard left by consecutive offseasons during which the incumbent point guard transferred out of the program (Momo Jones last summer, then Josiah Turner this season) threatened to limit the upside of the roster. But, despite the fact that Lyons is by no means a true point guard, and he butted heads with Chris Mack (resulting in Lyons’ decision to leave the program) the graduating senior could be the missing piece for a season as the program waits on Duquesne transfer T.J. McConnell to gain his eligibility in 2013-14.

Mark Lyons

Mark Lyons Gives The Wildcats A Much-Needed Option At Point (Cincinnati Enquirer)

Lyons is a scoring combo guard who spent most of his three seasons at Xavier playing off of the ball. However, he’s got the handle and presence to man the point full-time for the Wildcats and, for a team with a lot of nice pieces but no real go-to scorer, he will be able to fill that need as well. Lyons’ junior season at Xavier was marred by his involvement in the infamous on-court brawl with Cincinnati early in the year, but all told, it was by far his best season. He averaged 15 points, shot nearly 40% from deep and posted the best offensive efficiency rating of his career while taking a higher percentage of his team’s shots than ever before. He excels at getting into the lane and scoring on offense, while he is a pestering on-ball defender. At Arizona, however, he will need to prove that he can play with the ball in his hands on a regular basis and get his new teammates involved. He will have plenty of help in the ballhandling area from guards like sophomore Nick Johnson (who had appeared to be the frontrunner to take over the point guard spot despite his struggles in his handful of chances at that position in his rookie campaign) and Jordin Mayes, as well as point forward Solomon Hill, who led the Wildcats in assists last season, but Lyons has an ability to create for himself and his teammates that those others do not have.

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It’s A Love/Hate Relationship: Volume III

Posted by jbaumgartner on December 5th, 2011

Jesse Baumgartner is an RTC columnist. His Love/Hate column will publish on Mondays throughout the season. In this weekly piece he’ll review the five things he loved and hated about the previous seven days of college basketball.

Five Things I Loved This Week

I LOVED….a game so good that you’re left wondering if you just saw the National Championship preview. There was plenty of hype involved with Kentucky-North Carolina, and it would have been easy to see the game devolve into a sloppy, up-and-down affair. But instead we got everything we asked for and more. Fans and scouts alike were able to salivate over matchups like John Henson-Terrence Jones, and while lightning fast, the pace was still in control. One point on a non-neutral court certainly doesn’t give us any lasting conclusions, other than we’d all be happy to see these two powers square off again in April.

I LOVED….seeing something new. Every year we witness moments that are absurdly unthinkable, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen one like this shot from Detroit’s Ray McCallum, Jr. When in doubt, use the bounce.

I LOVED….seeing a well-balanced attack this early in the year. It’s not shocking that I’m talking about Ohio State, with how much experience and chemistry they have on the court. But still, their dismantling of Duke last Tuesday was a clinic on offensive balance. They may have arguably the best player in the nation in Jared Sullinger, but the Buckeyes spread the ball around so well that it even overshadowed Sullinger’s brilliance on the block.

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Checking In On… the MAAC

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 20th, 2011

Ray Floriani is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.

Nonconference play is the norm and story around the country, but especially in the MAAC. Iona’s near-takedown of Purdue raised eyes and caught attention. The Gaels rebounded to defeat Western Michigan in the consolation round in that tournament in Puerto Rico, though, so not all is lost. On Thanksgiving, naturally Macy’s Parade and turkey are the order of the day, but the Old Spice Classic tips off as well with MAAC representative Fairfield entering the eight-team field as a viable threat.

Iona Was Very Close But Hummel Saved Purdue

MAAC Honors

  • Player of the Week : Maurice Barrow, 6’5″ So. F, Fairfield. Barrow scored 19 points while grabbing six rebounds in the Stags’ win over Quinnipiac.
  • Newcomer of the WeekDonovan Kates, 6’6″ Fr. G, Manhattan. Kates scored ten points, including two late threes to help the Jaspers edge NJIT at Draddy Gymnasium.

Power Rankings

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Morning Five: 10.21.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on October 21st, 2011

  1. Iona got some great news yesterday when the NCAA announced that it would grant a hardship waiver to Arizona transfer Lamon “Momo” Jones making him eligible to play for the Gaels during the upcoming season. Jones, who reportedly left Arizona to be closer to his sick grandmother, averaged 9.7 PPG and 2.7 APG as the starting guard for the Wildcats. Interestingly, he joins a team that is talented enough that he may not even be the starting point guard as the team has all-MAAC senior Scott Machado (13.2 PPG and 7.6 APG) returning. Gaels coach Tim Cluess does not appear to be worried about his embarrassment of riches at point guard as may play the two together. The addition of Jones makes an already potent offense even more terrifying. It also make the Gaels an even heavier favorite in the MAAC and arguably the best team in the New York City area.
  2. We missed this last night, but we have to congratulate the ACC for calling out Notre Dame and essentially telling them that the Fighting Irish either join the ACC in all sports (including football where they have a ridiculous contract with NBC and a BCS loophole) or they can forget about joining the conference for any other sports. We have nothing against Notre Dame as an institution and particularly as a basketball team, but their bizarre relationship with the Big East always seemed strange to us and has adversely affected the Big East. Now the conference is on the verge of falling apart and Notre Dame like other schools is grovelling at the feet of other conferences. In the current climate, it is unrealistic for Notre Dame or any other school to expect a conference particularly one in a position of power to have terms dictated to it. While some Irish fans may have a difficult time accepting the new reality, it appears that some local writers are urging them to think about the future and stop living in the past.
  3. California basketball coach Mike Montgomery underwent surgery for an undisclosed condition yesterday. Neither the school nor Montgomery disclosed any information about the surgery or condition other than to say the surgery was “successful”. There is no definitive time table for Montgomery’s return, but he hopes to be to return by November 1 for the team’s exhibition opener. In the interim, assistant coaches Jay John and Travis DeCuire will assume Montgomery’s responsibilities. We wish Montgomery a speedy recovery and hope to see him on the sidelines in the next few weeks.
  4. The US Basketball Writers Association issued its preseason list for the Wayman Tisdale Award, which is given annually to the top freshman in the country. This year’s list features 12 freshman, who if you have followed recruiting at all you are familiar with even before the season starts. We cannot argue with any of the names included, but we do find it interesting that three Kentucky players made the list. In our eyes, the favorite are (in alphabetical order) Bradley Beal, Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond, and Austin Rivers. Having seen the rest of these guys play and knowing what we know about the situations they will be playing in we have a hard time seeing any of the other players making a serious run at this unless their games improved significantly over the summer.
  5. It seems like every day a new violation gets reported. Most of the time they are relatively minor, but like the one that Bob Knight apparently committed they are violations and deserve a reprimand at the very least. Of course, there are the violations that some fans try to come up with like this one that we received in our inbox yesterday. The author bases his premise that Kentucky has committed a violation on the idea that a random fan who bought a ticket to a Kentucky game has made a donation to the school and thus is a representative of the school. We are all for punishing schools if and when the break the rules, but we don’t need to be stretching the interpretation of rules to find violations.
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RTC Summer Updates: MAAC

Posted by Brian Goodman on August 15th, 2011

With the completion of the NBA Draft and the annual coaching and transfer carousels nearing their ends, RTC is rolling out a new series, RTC Summer Updates, to give you a crash course on each Division I conference during the summer months. Our latest update comes courtesy of our MAAC correspondent, Ray Floriani.

Reader’s Take

Summer Storylines

The MAAC should provide another interesting race for the top. Two of last year’s best programs, Iona and Fairfield, will slug it out. The Gaels were tournament runners-up to St. Peter’s while Fairfield was the conference regular season champion. Off the floor, the wheels are already in motion as the conference plans the move to Springfield, Massachusetts, where the men’s and women’s championships will be contested at the MassMutual Center.

  • A Busy MAAC HQ: The headline for a good part of August concerns the conference postseason tournament. ‘The Road to MAAC-achusetts‘ began on August 3, with marketing representatives from each MAAC institution meeting at Siena College. Reps from the MassMutual Center, the host site, were also in attendance. Among the presentations and objectives were league-wide advertising of the championships on ad pages and in media guides, in game promotions allowing fans the chance to win tickets to the tournament and grassroots marketing efforts in the communities of each school. Ticketmaster also outlined social media opportunities which will allow fans to follow the MAAC schools and see who may be attending a particular session of the tournament. “There are great synergies developing between the championship marketing team and the MAAC,” said Marissa Skibbe, Global Spectrum’s Director of Marketing at the MassMutual Center. “Together, we have created an extensive and fun plan that is moving like a well-oiled machine. We can’t wait to see the creative elements come to fruition.” The tournament isn’t the only place where the conference’s administration is making waves, however. MAAC Commissioner Rich Ensor was recently named to the WCBA board of directors. One of the most highly-respected administrators in college basketball, Ensor recently completed a five-year term on the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee.
  • Dunne rewarded at St. Peter’s - Fresh off the school’s first 20-win season in two decades and first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1995, St. Peter’s awarded coach John Dunne with a new contract extending through 2015-16. Dunne’s first two teams at St. Peter’s recorded just eleven wins total, but the win total over the past three seasons is 47, including 30 victories in MAAC play. The Peacocks finished this season 20-14 and captured the MAAC Tournament crown at Harbor Yards. They appeared in the NCAA Tournament, but were defeated by Purdue in the opening round. Dunne’s name was starting to surface as a few openings arose in the spring. The financial details of his new contract were not reported, but the extension marks a notable increase in pay over his former contract. “Throughout his [Dunne’s] tenure, he has guided our student-athletes to success both on the court and in the classroom, St. Peter’s AD Pat Elliott said. “We are excited about the future of St. Peter’s basketball with Coach Dunne leading the way.”
  • New Faces: Steve Masiello took over at Manhattan, replacing Barry Rohrssen. Masiello mostly recently was on Rick Pitino’s staff at Louisville. He knows the conference, however, having served as an assistant on Bobby Gonzalez’s Jaspers staff before heading south. After turning around the program at Fairfield, Ed Cooley was summoned to do the same at Providence in the Big East. Replacing Cooley is highly-regarded Sydney Johnson, formerly of Princeton. Last season, Johnson led Princeton to the Ivy title and NCAA Tournament, where they lost to eventual Final Four participant Kentucky by just two points. Johnson will inherit a strong group of returnees at defending regular season champion Fairfield. On the court, Lamont Momo” Jones decided he was ready for a different role after playing a supporting part with Derrick Williams in the Arizona Wildcats’ head-turning NCAA Tournament run and transferred to Iona (more after the jump).

Momo Jones' Transfer To Iona Will Spell Trouble For Gaels Opponents. (Charlie Riedel/AP)

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RTC Summer Updates: Pac-12 Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on July 25th, 2011

With the the NBA Draft concluded and the annual coaching and transfer carousels nearing their ends, RTC is rolling out a new series, RTC Summer Updates, to give you a crash course on each Division I conference during the summer months. The latest update comes courtesy of our Pac-12 correspondent, Andrew Murawa.

Reader’s Take #1

Summer Storylines

  • The More, The Merrier: The Pac-10 is dead. Long live the Pac-12. The conference welcomes in Colorado and Utah for their first season in the conference, the first expansion in the West Coast’s premier conference since Arizona and Arizona State were added 33 years ago. Along with the new teams comes a new schedule – gone is the full home-and-away round robin. While there won’t be divisions in basketball like there are in football, each team will play an 18-game schedule with home and away games against its traditional rival, with six other rotating home-and-away series and four additional single games against the remaining teams. For instance, Colorado and Utah will only play the Southern California schools and the Washington schools once each, while they will play the remainder of the conference twice. While neither of the new schools are expected to make a big splash immediately in the conference, their arrival, coupled with other changes around the conference, such as the huge new $3 billion TV deal with ESPN and Fox that begins in the fall of 2012, makes it an exciting time to be a Pac-12 fan.
  • Is There A Draft In Here?: Last summer, a big story around the conference was the dearth of Pac-10 players picked in the NBA Draft, as just two players from the conference were selected by NBA teams in 2010. After the 21 players that were picked in the conference between the 2008 and 2009 drafts, that was a precipitous fall. And, back before the season started, there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of future high draft picks on the horizon. However, the conference had six players picked in the NBA draft, including three first-rounders and two lottery picks. Derrick Williams, the 2010-11 conference player of the year, led the way, getting snapped up by Minnesota with the #2 overall pick. Unfortunately for teams around the conference, 12 seasons of eligibility were left on the table between those six picks and the two early entries who went undrafted: Stanford’s Jeremy Green and Washington State’s DeAngelo Casto. And as a result, what had looked like a potential big-time bounce-back season for the conference now sees somewhat diminished expectations. Perhaps no team was hit harder by early defections than UCLA, who had Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee leave a total of three years of eligibility behind to go get second-round NBA draft picks (and the absence of guaranteed contracts that goes with them) at a time when the NBA labor situation is highly in doubt, but Washington State’s loss of Casto and lottery pick Klay Thompson also leaves the Cougars’ situation fuzzy at best.
  • Replacing Production: Between the early entries to the NBA Draft and departed seniors, the Pac-12 loses its top seven scorers from last season, and 11 of its top 20. Likewise, ten of the top 20 rebounders are gone. However, as always, a new batch of youngsters is ready to show up on campuses this fall and begin contributing immediately. While the Pac-10 inked only nine of the ESPNU top 100 recruits, seven of those players are exciting young guards, all ranked in the top 60 on that list. Arizona leads the way, signing point guard Josiah Turner (#14 overall, according to ESPNU) and Nick Johnson (#21), to go with a couple solid frontcourt signees (Angelo Chol and Sidiki Johnson, #60 and #91, respectively). But Washington (Tony Wroten, Jr., #16), Oregon (Jabari Brown, #25), Arizona State (Jahii Carson, #49), UCLA (Norman Powell, #51) and Stanford (Chasson Randle, #59) all have their own big backcourt recruits ready to provide a burst of energy.

Derrick Williams' performances were one of the highlights of the 2010-11 season.

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Around The Blogosphere: May 25, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on May 25th, 2011

If you are interested in participating, send your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com as we will be updating these posts throughout the day.

General News

  • Ed DeChellis Leaves Penn State for Navy: In one of the more shocking moves of the offseason DeChellis decided to leave the Big East to take over at Navy. (The Daily Gopher)
  • Big East Tournament Changes?: “Among the topics up for discussion at the Big East meetings this week is how to handle a 17-team tournament. It is easily one of the biggest issues of contention for the basketball coaches to discuss. The 16 team tournament has it’s own drawbacks, of course, but has been a favorite of coaches, to whom it allows a late-seas0n redemption.” (VU Hoops)
  • Big East’s NCAA APR multiyear scores for men’s basketball: A look at the APR for all 16 teams. (Rumble in the Garden)
  • Mark Turgeon Meets with Media: May Not Add Another Player, Wants to Play Up-Tempo: Some notes from Turgeon’s press conference. (Testudo Times)
  • Olu Ashaolu Picks Oregon Over Texas: “In another cruel twist of fate for Texas basketball fans, UT lost on on Louisiana Tech transfer Olu Ashaolu when he decided on Oregon late this morning.” (Burnt Orange Nation)
  • Washington State Football, Basketball Post Improved APR Scores: “In what was an actual welcome piece of off-the-field news for Washington State University athletics, the football and men’s basketball teams both posted improved scores Tuesday in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate, with the WSU football team meeting the NCAA’s minimum score of 925 for the first time in four years.” (Coug Center)
  • Brandon Bender: “I’m telling everything”: “Everyone’s favorite…I don’t even know what noun to use here….anyway, Brandon Bender has thrust himself back into the summer news by stating that he plans to “tell the whole story about Rick Pitino” tomorrow evening on a radio station in Orlando.” (Card Chronicle)
  • The Momo saga continues: The rumors of Momo Jones heading to St. John’s may not be true due to a NCAA rule that may prevent him from being recruited by the school. (Rumble in the Garden)
  • More Details on Villanova’s European Preseason Tour: A look at Villanova’s summer trip to Europe. (VU Hoops)

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Morning Five: 05.20.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on May 20th, 2011

  1. Less than a week after he announced that he would be leaving Arizona, Lamont “Momo” Jones announced that he would be transferring to St. John’s. The move is not particularly surprising, as Jones had stated that he intended to move closer to home and the options in the New York metro area for a player of Momo’s pedigree are pretty limited. He could potentially play for Steve Lavin next year if the NCAA grants him a hardship waiver, since he reportedly transferred to be closer to his family due to his grandmother being sick. With Jones joining a very talented incoming freshman class, Lavin may have a team that could compete for the Big East championship in the next two or three years.
  2. Earlier this week we took some shots at the ACC/Big Ten Challenge based on the fact that there were only two compelling match-ups. Yesterday the match-ups for the Big East/SEC Challenge were announced and we have to say that we were pleasantly surprised. The top match-ups in our eyes are St. John’s at Kentucky, Vanderbilt at Louisville, Florida at Syracuse, Arkansas at Connecticut, and West Virginia at Mississippi State. A few of the other games are also worth watching, but you can bet that all of these will be featured as “must watch” type games on our Set Your Tivo feature when the games come around.
  3. Yesterday was one bad day for Wake Forest, as the female student who accused Gary Clark of sexually assaulting her while Jeff Teague guarded the door went on NBC’s Today Show to discuss the incident as part of a feature about how universities respond to sexual assault charges. The more damning accusation for Wake Forest was that officials at the school did not take her claim seriously and urged her not to press charges with the Miami Police Department, and instead let the school handle the matter internally. Wake Forest and the lawyers for the players have issued statements saying that the facts of the case are being misrepresented. We imagine that this is a story that will continue to develop during the summer and probably get uglier.
  4. In an article yesterday in the New York Times about the Cleveland Cavaliers landing the #1 pick (likely Kyrie Irving), Harvey Araton discussed Irving’s family and how much they stress the importance of education. That isn’t a particularly big deal until he writes this: “Everybody in my family has gotten our degrees, our master’s,” said the elder Irving, a Wall Street financial broker who left a job at Cantor Fitzgerald in the World Trade Center six months before 9/11. “We value the education aspect of it with Kyrie.” Had they not, Kyrie would have been with John Calipari at Kentucky last season, where the godfather, Strickland, works as an assistant coach.” We are not going to pretend that Kentucky is considered on par with Duke as an academic institution, but you don’t necessarily have to be a Wildcat fan to take issue with that passage.
  5. Now that nearly all of the top recruits have committed to a school (any time you’re ready, DeAndre Daniels…) the recruiting analysts at ESPN put together a series of posts looking  back at this year’s class of recruits. They break them down by instant impact players, biggest surprises, and predictions for the class. We recommend keeping those bookmarked (or better yet, keep this post bookmarked) to look back at in a few years to see how accurate the recruiting analysts were.
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Around The Blogosphere: May 18, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on May 18th, 2011

If you are interested in participating, send your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com as we will be updating these posts throughout the day.

General News

  • Momo Jones will leave Arizona Wildcats, destination unknown: “So Jones will likely head back home, and might avoid sitting out a year by filling out a waiver due to a sick family member, Goodman says. An easy to guess destination for Jones is St. John’s, which is close to home and has former Rice High School coach Moe Hicks acting as director of basketball operations. With the news, Arizona now stands on par as far as scholarships go, making for no screwy situations in Miller’s over-recruiting.” (Arizona Desert Swarm)
  • Lamont Momo Jones to transfer to St. John’s? (possibly): “Jeff Goodman tweeted earlier this evening that Arizona Wildcats starting point guard Lamont Jones – better known as Momo – will be transferring from the Wildcats program. AND that Momo Jones might seek a waiver to play immediately due to family illness… and he’d look to play for the St. John’s Red Storm. That’s just a rumor from sources, but in college ball, sources often know what they are talking about. Adding credence to the rumor: Jones is from New York, and played under current St. John’s Director of Basketball Operations Moe Hicks when Hicks was the coach at Rice High School in the Bronx.” (Rumble in the Garden)
  • Report: Maryland Hires Dalonte Hill: “InsideMDSports is reporting that Kansas State assistant Dalonte Hill has accepted a job as an assistant coach on Mark Turgeon’s staff. No official word yet from MD, but you’d think they have to announce the full staff soon.” (Testudo Times)
  • Star Baltimore Guard Nick Faust Recommitts to Maryland: “It’s Faustival 2011, everybody! Maryland’s star recruit, Nick Faust, had asked out of his LOI with the Terrapins’ two other recruits after Gary Williams retired. But now it appears he’s back in the fold.” (Testudo Times)
  • Sterling Gibbs to Texas Provides Another 2011 Point Guard: “It’s been a long time since there was any good news coming out of the Texas basketball program. Well, if you aren’t Rick Barnes, that is, who received a recent $200k raise. Since late in the second-round tournament game against Arizona, everything has seemingly been downhill, culminating in the losses of Tristan Thompson, Jordan Hamilton, and the unexpected departure of Cory Joseph to the NBA draft. Monday evening, former Maryland commit and Rivals three-star prospect Sterlilng Gibbs gave suffering Longhorn roundball fans something to feel good about after a difficult two months.” (Burnt Orange Nation)
  • George Washington Wants To Play Georgetown: “First it was Maryland AD Kevin Anderson clamoring for a piece of Hoyas action, and now, incoming George Washington AD Patrick Nero wants the Hoyas to face off against our friendly yet not as intelligent neighbor in Foggy Bottom. According to the DC Sports Bog, GW would like Georgetown to get involved in the BB&T Classic Basketball Tournament so that DC could have its own version of the “Big 5″” in Philadelphia.” (Casual Hoya)
  • Cal Introduced as Dominican Coach: Coverage of John Calipari’s conference where he was announced as the coach of the Dominican Republic national team. (Kentucky Sports Radio)
  • Vee Sanford is visiting Dayton today: “Former Lexington Catholic guard and Billy Gillispie recruit Vee Sanford is visiting Dayton today. He also plans to visit Loyola-Chicago and Marshall. Sanford spent last season at Georgetown University where he averaged 2.4 points in 6.6 minutes per game. Sanford decided to transfer because of the lack of playing time and the lack of opportunities to earn more.” (Kentucky Sports Radio)

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Morning Five: 05.17.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on May 17th, 2011

  1. Late last night news broke that Arizona point guard Lamont “Momo” Jones had decided to transfer and was likely headed back to the New York City area. Although Jones has not issued a statement about his transfer, Arizona coach Sean Miller has confirmed the reports that was indeed transferring. There has been plenty of speculation about why he was transferring, but much of it has centered around either his desire to go home to be near a sick family relative (reportedly his grandmother) or the logjam in a Arizona backcourt that will be loaded even without Jones, who averaged 9.7 PPG and 2.4 APG as a sophomore. We will have more on this story throughout the day as it develops.
  2. Later today Valparaiso is expected to name Bryce Drew as the successor to his father Homer Drew as the next coach of the program that he helped make famous. This is not the first time that Homer has stepped aside to let his son take over the program. In 2002, Homer stepped aside to let Scott Drew take over as coach at VU, but he stayed there just one year before leaving to take over at Baylor following the Dave Bliss era. Homer stepped back into his previous position where he has remained despite failing to make the NCAA Tournament for the past seven seasons. Bryce has served as an assistant at the school since 2005, but is best known for his miraculous shot against Mississippi in the 1st round of the 1998 NCAA Tournament and leading them to the school to its only Sweet 16 appearance.
  3. Last summer UNLV had to deal with domestic violence charges against its top returning scorer (Tre’Von Willis) and it appears that this summer it will have to deal with DUI charges against its top returning scorer (Chace Stanback). Stanback was arrested early on Friday near the Thomas & Mack Center on suspicion of driving under the influence. He is out of custody and is expected to appear in court on August 11. It will be interesting to see how new coach Dave Rice deals with the arrest both before and after the court appearance. Rice comes from a strict program at BYU (remember Brandon Davies), but he was also on the Jerry Tarkanian teams of the early 90s that had a more laissez-faire approach to punishment.
  4. One of the bigger stories in the college basketball world yesterday was Dana O’Neill’s story about former Villanova guard Will Sheridan publicly announcing that he was a homosexual. While we understand that this will be a big story and undoubtedly generate a lot of page views for ESPN, we are looking forward to the day when this isn’t even a story. The column itself is pretty interesting and takes an in-depth look at Sheridan’s life after Villanova, but the most interesting thing to us is that his teammates knew about it and didn’t seem to care. In our mind, that seems to be the biggest obstacle for a player “coming out” while they are still active. The fear of being ostracized seems to be within the realm of possibility and we have to applaud the Villanova players who were aware of it for how they handled “the news” and never let it get out or seem to bother them as we have seen with the recent Kobe Bryant controversy that there are still many ingrained attitudes about homosexuality that may be difficult to break in the world of sports.
  5. President Obama welcomed the national champion UConn Huskies to the White House. Unlike some recent championship ceremonies this one was without controversy although Kemba Walker apparently had a tough time getting there as he missed one flight and had another flight delayed before eventually finding his way to Washington, DC. The ceremony itself was fairly mundane except for a few jokes that Obama made about how UConn reminded him of his busted bracket (he picked Kansas to win) and his difficulty with the name of Adolph Rupp.
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Storytelling: Momo Jones Leaves Arizona

Posted by rtmsf on May 16th, 2011

Storytelling is a feature we’re going to experiment with, starting tonight.  As you’ve heard by now, Arizona point guard Lamont “Momo” Jones is heading back east to be closer to his family next season.  Here are some of the reactions from around the country about tonight’s news.


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Conference Report Card: Pac-10

Posted by Brian Goodman on April 13th, 2011

Andrew Murawa is the RTC correspondent for the Pac-10 and Mountain West conferences. We will be publishing a series of conference report cards over the next week for conferences that received multiple NCAA bids to recap the conference, grade the teams, and look at the future for the conference.

Conference Recap:

After an awful 2009-10 season in which the Pac-10 had to limp into a second NCAA Tournament bid when Washington hit the gas pedal down the stretch, the four tournament bids the conference received this year was a huge improvement. With Arizona advancing to the Elite Eight, the Pac-10 advanced a team beyond the Sweet 16 for the first time in three seasons, and the conference was a much deeper collection of teams than last year. And without a doubt, that came as a result of the enhanced talent level across the conference. Coming into the season, there were just 17 seniors on rosters across the conference, and the youngsters showed vast  improvement this year, notably Derrick Williams (an All-American and national player of the year candidate), Isaiah Thomas, Tyler Honeycutt, and Klay Thompson with several other players making big strides in their games. While the Pac-10 still struggled to gain national respect, it was clear to fans that the level of play is on the rebound from its 2009-2010 nadir.

The Pac-10 was Derrick Williams' personal playground in 2011, and the Wildcats displayed perhaps the most impressive performance of the NCAA Tournament in their dismantling of Duke. (AZ Daily Star/M. Popat)

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