Morning Five: Christmas Day Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on December 25th, 2012

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  1. After a week’s break while we “recuperated” in Rio de Janeiro (don’t worry we kept up with college basketball happenings) the Morning Five is back. Fortunately, the news in the world of college basketball has been relatively light in the past few days as when news happens during breaks it is usually negative news. We hope that all of you are enjoying the holidays with your family and if you are working (like some of us) we hope you get out of work early.
  2. Although most teams played a relatively light schedule last week with many students finishing their final exams there were some very interesting results. If you were busy with other obligations and missed out on some of the action, Seth Davis’ weekly “Fast Breaks” column is a great refresher. In this week’s column he goes over the usual themes including best teams/players/games, but also takes time to talk to Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey, who made national headlines for his impassioned speech against the violence in Newtown, Connecticut. As usual, the column is well worth your time and also points out a rather big game tonight that you might miss if you are focused on things like putting together toys or trying to figure out how to return those ugly clothes that someone gave you.
  3. If you are looking for a more numbers-based approach to last week, Ken Pomeroy might be more like what you are looking for. Pomeroy employs a slightly different method than Davis does (or at least from what Davis says he does), but their results are fairly similar as you can see from Pomeroy’s top games and upsets. Assuming that Davis isn’t relying solely on Pomeroy’s work/post (and we doubt it) this is what look for in good advanced metrics–the data is in agreement with what we see with our eyes.
  4. We are getting near the end of the year and of course that means everybody will be churning out end of the year columns, but Seth Davis is certainly among the first to do so with his look at the biggest moments of the year. We are not going to argue for the exclusion of any these moments (ok, we could have done without any memories of the ridiculous First Four), but we are a little surprised that he could not find a space in there for Kentucky since that team and specifically Anthony Davis will be the defining memory of 2012 for us. Not to be outdone, Mike DeCourcy takes a look at the naughty and nice of college basketball [Ed. Note: We think this is the first time we have linked to a video in the Morning Five.], which could probably double as a year-end feature given the fact that he goes back into last season to dig out some of his choices. As he notes, we could really just give the naughty “award” to the NCAA all the time for this.
  5. Speaking of naughty (or at least Grinch-like), Gary Parrish was not willing to share in the holiday spirit and let Christmas week pass without his weekly Poll Attacks column. This week, Gary has a couple of targets: a writer who has been frequently called out and is taking issue with it now and another whom he thinks values North Carolina too highly. As always it is an entertaining column and we can only hope that more writers respond to Gary either directly or indirectly if for nothing more than our amusement.
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The RTC Interview Series: One on One with Dave Telep

Posted by rtmsf on October 29th, 2010

Rush The Court is back with another edition of One on One: An Interview Series, which we will bring you periodically throughout the year. If you have any specific interview requests or want us to interview you, shoot us an email at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Scouting high school basketball players is a task that probably ranks just above weather prediction and winning trifectas at the track in terms of its certainty, but there are several folks out there who are among the best in the profession.  Dave Telep, former National Recruiting Director for Scout.com and current Senior Basketball Recruiting Analyst for ESPN, is one of those guys.  As a young college graduate in the mid-90s, he helped launch PrepStars before quickly rising up the ladder and developing his name at both Rivals and Scout, two of the pre-eminent recruiting services in existence today.  In the intervening decade, Telep built a sterling reputation for his workhorse approach to scouting, going from game to game in state after state to see players with his own eyes so as to fairly evaluate them.  He also founded Dave Telep’s Carolina Challenge in 2007, a one-day camp for 80 hand-picked North Carolina high school players in who want to learn what it takes to become a top college basketball player.  Some of the recruits who have attended this camp have been Duke’s Mason Plumlee and former Kentucky star John Wall.  The recruiting aficianado was in fact driving to a game in Virginia at the time of this interview — he never stops moving when there are players to be evaluated.  You can find Telep on both Facebook and Twitter — we’d recommend you friend/follow him to stay on top of all of the latest recruiting and scouting news.

Telep is a Scouting Mastermind

Rush the Court: Let’s start with the most newsworthy item in your life right now, the move from Scout.com to ESPN. Can you tell us a little bit about how this all came about and what the plan is for the immediate future there?

Dave Telep: Yeah, you know, I could not be more thankful and more grateful for the nine years I spent with Scout.com and Fox. My contract came up for renewal this summer and ESPN presented a really unique opportunity to do some things in the recruiting world on a bunch of different media platforms. It’s something where, to be honest, I’ve always wanted to work for ESPN. When I realized that I wasn’t going to be a professional athlete around the age of twelve, I realized one of the things I wanted to do with my life was to eventually work for ESPN. It’s really been a fun time for me and my family, and we’re having a great time with it. We have such a really neat team of guys there from the scouts to the guys who operate the database, that it’s really exciting to have so much support of a bunch of guys who are really woven into the fabric of college basketball. It’s awesome!

RTC: To many in this business, getting the call from ESPN is a dream come true. Is this the Dave Telep equivalent of seeing your name at the top of a recruiting list?

DT: The cool thing for me as the father of two boys is that I can someday look at those guys and say “if there’s something in your life that you really want to do, and you have the ability to, through hard work and luck and people helping you out, you can make that happen.” That’s been the neat thing for me with ESPN so far, just sharing and talking about it with my parents. You set these goals when you’re younger, and to see one of them come to fruition on a personal level is really cool. It’s not just a job for me. This is something I’ve always kinda had my eye on. I never knew what I would ever do at ESPN someday; I just knew that I always wanted to be around people who were excellent in their field. I knew from a young age that I would love to do that someday. This is definitely a dream come true for me.

RTC: Let’s move into some scouting questions.  Everyone has predictions from their career they’re proud of and a few they’re not quite as ready to shout from the hilltops. What are some of your most notable ones both ways?

DT: Great question. I was very excited the first time I saw Chris Paul, and I was happy to be one of the first people who spearheaded that charge. That worked out really well for me. You know, recently a couple of years ago we had DeJuan Blair in the top twenty, and the reason why I ranked Blair in the top twenty was because six or seven years before that I totally whiffed on Emeka Okafor by ranking him in the 80s. I was bound and determined that if a guy averaged as many rebounds as Blair did to not make the same mistake that we made with Okafor. I screwed up with Okafor but I’d like to think I learned something from it. Some others – I’ll never forget the day I saw Adam Morrison go for 30+ in a packed gym in Las Vegas, and I totally whiffed on that one. I learned a lot from the evaluation of Stephen Curry. I watched him all through high school. I evaluated him as a low-major player, a mid-major player, and at the end of his HS career, I rated him the highest level mid-major player possible. But if I could have stuck him into the top 100, that would probably be one of my bigger regrets in not doing so. My real job is to learn from all these mistakes and try to avoid them [in the future]. You see a situation like Emeka Okafor – he averaged 18-19 RPG in high school – that is a freaky number, to be frank. Then to see Blair come around and be that same kind of a rebounding force… they’re two different players, but although we screwed up Okafor it taught me a little more on the back end with Blair. When you see a guy with such a freakish skill set and such a knack for doing something extraordinary, your radar definitely goes up.

Telep Was Onto Chris Paul Before Anybody Else

RTC: You’ve talked in the past about ‘balancing potential with production’ when evaluating prospects. Which is harder – figuring out where a prospect can top out or figuring out where he will top out?

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