Pac-12 M5: 02.15.13 Edition

Posted by Connor Pelton on February 15th, 2013


  1. Colorado got a big win last night against Arizona, avenging its controversial loss against the Wildcats earlier in the season by cruising to a 71-58 victory. The C-Unit reacted in joyous celebration, pouring onto the court as the final buzzer sounded to celebrate the top ten win with the Bufffalo players. In his post game press conference, head coach Tad Boyle said, “This is the last time we storm the court at home. We expect to win.” And while there is certainly no problem having confidence in your team, this is just the latest instance of coaches, players, and media personalities trying to limit court rushes and set parameters on how and when to do it. This needs to stop. Rushing the court is a spontaneous event in which you are just so happy that you have to share it with thousands of other students and the players that made you that way. WHO CARES IF IT’S UNWARRANTED? It doesn’t ruin court-rushes in the future, or take the specialness out of it. If one’s favorite team is about to pull a huge late-season upset, no one is going to stop and think in the final seconds whether Maryland’s storming after beating NC State was warranted. That’s because they’re ready to celebrate and have some fun. So please people, stop dictating and start rushing. Life will be a lot more fun.
  2. The rosters for the 2013 McDonald’s All-American game were released yesterday, and three Pac-12 signees/commitments will be taking part in the festivities. Rondae Jefferson, Jabari Bird, and Nigel Williams-Goss (signed or committed to Arizona, California, and Washington, respectively) are the three that will be playing Pac-12 ball season. Archbishop Mitty power forward Aaron Gordon will also play in the game. Gordon’s athleticism and ability to get to the rim make him one of the most sought after undecided prospects in the nation. He has narrowed his list down to Washington, Arizona, Kentucky, and Oregon.
  3. There is no doubt about it, Oregon basketball is back and relevant on a national level. It’s huge win at Washington on Wednesday clinched the Ducks third straight season with at least 20 wins, the first time that’s happened in Eugene since the 1935-1939 campaigns. Oregon’s gotten to this point by playing some incredible, in-your-face defense while starting point guard Dominic Artis has been out. Keeping the games low-scoring have keyed the current two-game streak the Ducks are on, and they have a pretty good chance to extend it to three on Saturday against Washington State.
  4. Is mediocre the right word to describe the Pac-12 this season? I don’t think so. It’s more of a case that anyone can beat anyone on any given night, resulting in some not-too-stellar conference records. In the Big Ten, the nation calls that great basketball. In the Pac-12, they use it as an excuse to put us down with the SEC in ranking of power conferences. Even the bottom of the league isn’t terrible. Washington State only lost by two to Gonzaga earlier in the season, Utah has dropped road games at BYU, Arizona State, and Arizona by a combined seven points, and Oregon State is probably the most talented tenth place team in the nation. Mediocre implies that this conferences boasts no good, just average teams. And while the Pac is far from their glory days, that’s just not true.
  5. Wednesday’s 60-55 upset over Arizona State was a big one psychologically for Utah, who may have been ready to call it a season if yet another second half lead was lost. The resilient Utes managed to knock down some key shots in the final two minutes, and mixed with some stellar defense and a loud student section, the Utes sent Arizona State to Boulder with a crushing blow to its tournament résumé. The key was staying calm and being patient, as too many times this season the Utes have gotten ahead of themselves and taken bad late shots. If they can continue this type of execution on Sunday against a reeling Arizona team, it might be time to start talking postseason.
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Who’s Got Next? Wainright Opts For Baylor; Missouri Adds Two…

Posted by CLykins on October 25th, 2012

Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Chad Lykins, the RTC recruiting guru. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to discussing the recruitments of the top uncommitted players in the country. We also encourage you to check out his contributions dedicated solely to Duke Basketball at Duke Hoop Blog. You can also follow Chad at his Twitter account @CLykinsBlog for up-to-date breaking news from the high school and college hoops scene. If you have any suggestions as to areas we are missing or different things you would like to see, please let us know at

Scott Drew Hauls in Wainright

After making an official visit to the Baylor campus for their “Midnight Madness” festivities nearly two weeks ago, small forward prospect Ishmail Wainright made it official last Thursday evening by verbally committing to the Bears. Wainright, the No. 26 ranked prospect in the ESPN 100, picked Baylor over Ohio State, St. John’s and Texas.

Scott Drew Continues to Pile Up the Top Recruits at Baylor

A Missouri native, the 6’6″ Wainright was formerly a Missouri commitment back in May 2011. At the conclusion of that summer, he decided to reopen his recruitment after a successful AAU campaign. As Wainright began the recruiting process all over again, over 30 of the top schools in the country reached out to the Missouri small forward. With his recent commitment to Baylor, Wainright will join power forward Jonathan Motley as the only two commitments for the Bears from the class of 2013.

When describing Wainright’s overall game, he is a tremendous athlete and one of the most physically imposing small forwards at the high school level. On the offensive end, Wainright does most of his damage scoring around the rim, either in transition or driving to the basket when creating for himself off the bounce. He is also a great passer with even better court vision. He has a knack for making the right play at the right time when creating opportunities for his teammates to make plays. A glaring weakness of his offensive game, however, has been his shooting. Prior to the summer, Wainright was not a good shooter. Most defenses took note of that fact by playing him loosely, forcing him into taking shots from the outside. As exhibited during the early recruiting period in the summer, though, Wainright showed an ever improving jump shot. To round out his game, Wainright needs to make it a point to continue working on his shooting touch before ending up on the Baylor campus. On the defensive end, Wainright is as good as they come. With great length, strength and athleticism, Wainright is arguably one of the best defenders from the class of 2013. He can guard multiple positions on the floor in part due to his great frame. He is a nightmare for the opposition and will continue to be well into his college career.

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Pac-12 Weekly Five: 09.14.12 Edition

Posted by Connor Pelton on September 14th, 2012

  1. Class of 2013 power forward Aaron Gordon has narrowed his list of schools down to five, with Washington, Arizona and Oregon making the cut. Gordon had a home visit with the Wildcat coaching staff on Monday and Washington will take a home visit this coming Tuesday. Gordon will also take official visits to the schools, with Oregon’s on September 21, Washington on September 28, and Arizona on October 19. His tremendous athleticism and force inside makes him a player that will be ready to produce results immediately at whatever school he chooses. The Archbishop Mitty prospect is also considering Kansas and Kentucky.
  2. Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson received a one-year contract extension Thursday, meaning Robinson will be in Corvallis through at least the 2016-17 season. While the decision may seem a little odd (Robinson has led the Beavers to no other postseason tournament than the CBI in his first four years), it is obvious athletic director Bob De Carolis wants to Robinson to have a public show of confidence and knows that the road back to national prominence is indeed a long and winding one. “Coach Robinson has done a remarkable job in building our men’s basketball program into something all of Beaver Nation can be proud of,” De Carolis said. “I’m thrilled to have him on our sidelines for many seasons to come, and to help him achieve the goals he has set for the program.” The key for Robinson to stay through that 2015-16 campaign will be developing the good recruits that he has produced year after year. He did that with guard Jared Cunningham, now playing with the Dallas Mavericks, but two huge prospects in forward/center Joe Burton and guard Roberto Nelson have unimpressed in their Oregon State careers. This is coach’s second extension in his tenure with Oregon State.
  3. Sean Miller continued his blistering recruiting pace on Thursday, landing five-star small forward Rondae Jefferson, the second piece in Arizona’s 2013 class. Jefferson is regarded as the #14 player in the class, according to ESPNU, and the third-best small forward in the class. The lefty is a lights-out athlete who excels on the break, hits the glass, handles well for his position and has a monster first step. His perimeter jumper remains lacking, but if he can dial that in, he’s a star in the making, capable of potentially stepping into that point forward role that Solomon Hill has manned in recent years. After landing three big men in the 2012 class, the Wildcats’ 2013 class looks to be adding pieces on the perimeter, as Jefferson joins Elliott Pitts – a 6’5” shooting guard out of De La Salle High School in northern California – in Miller’s third full recruiting class.
  4. The future of USC’s roster underwent a bit of a shakeup this week as, on the same day that news broke that Maurice Jones intends to transfer out of the program, Kevin O’Neill received a commitment from 7’2” Rice transfer Omar Oraby. Jones, last year’s leading scorer, was ruled academically ineligible back at the start of the month, but had initially been expected to return to the program in 2013-14. However, O’Neill confirmed to ESPN that Jones intends to transfer, although he is leaving the door open for a change of heart. As for the newcomer, Oraby, a junior from Egypt, was a solid, if under-utilized player for the Owls in 2011-12. In just over 10 minutes a game, he averaged six points and almost four rebounds, grabbing a quarter of his defensive rebound opportunities and nearly one in 10 offensive rebound opportunities, all while shooting better than 62% from the field and 71% from the charity stripe. USC will petition for immediate eligibility for the transfer, and if granted, Oraby could have a major impact right away for the Trojans.
  5. Lastly, it’s that time of year again where Drew and I get to exchange our weekly football picks. Last week I took advantage of a pair of home upsets (Utah State over Utah and UCLA over Nebraska) to extend my lead. Neither of us correctly picked Oregon State to beat Wisconsin, however. So, as it is I’ve got as four-game lead heading into week three. Drew hopes to ride the Sun Devils, Cardinal, and Utes to get right back in the thick of things, while I played the more conservative approach. It’s another typical September week in the Pac-12, as we have a few games of intrigue (WSU-UNLV, Cal-tOSU, USC-Stan) and more than enough snoozers to cancel them out. Picks below, with our game of the week prediction in bold:
Game Connor’s Pick (18-5) Drew’s Pick (14-9)
Washington State at UNLV Washington State Washington State
California at Ohio State Ohio State Ohio State
Tennessee Tech at Oregon Oregon Oregon
Portland State at Washington Washington Washington
Arizona State at Missouri Missouri Arizona State
USC at Stanford USC 35-24 Stanford 23-21
Colorado at Fresno State Fresno State Fresno State
BYU at Utah BYU Utah
South Carolina State at Arizona Arizona Arizona
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Who’s Got Next? NCAA Investigates Noel, Bennett Down To Two And More…

Posted by Josh Paunil on May 10th, 2012

Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Josh Paunil, the RTC recruiting guru. We encourage you to check out his website dedicated solely to college basketball recruiting, National Recruiting Spotlight, for more detailed recruiting information. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to who the hot prospects are at the lower levels of the sport. If you have any suggestions as to areas we are missing or different things you would like to see, please let us know at

Lead Story: NCAA Investigating Top Big Man Nerlens Noel

Nerlens Noel Is Being Investigated By the NCAA.

Big Blue Nation Has Little To Worry About. According to a New York Times article yesterday, the NCAA sent two members of its enforcement staff to Massachusetts this week to inquire about Class of 2012 star center Nerlens Noel. The members went to Everett High School Tuesday, where Noel spent his first two years of high school before transferring to the Tilton School, to meet with school officials about Noel. According to Everett High School principal Louis Baldi, the meeting lasted an hour and 15 minutes and centered on “concerns we had as adults” for Noel. In case you missed Pete Thamel‘s earlier article on Noel in March, he wrote about all of the influences surrounding Noel, which may or may not have brought on this “inquiry.” Here’s the thing, even though Kentucky haters will latch on to this story as just another scandal linked to head coach John Calipari, this whole story really isn’t that big of a deal. It’s nothing new that the NCAA is investigating a top recruit with many people trying to influence his every decision and honestly, if it wasn’t Kentucky, the New York Times probably wouldn’t have even reported about it. Drawing on all of the information that has been published, neither Noel nor Kentucky has done anything wrong and I doubt anything will result from this. Kentucky fans should just be happy about their National Championship and look forward to making flat top t-shirts next year in honor of the top big man in the Class of 2012.

What They’re Saying

Junior star Troy Williams on a timetable, adding schools to his list and his favorite coaching staff: “We’ll probably let two more schools back in, just to see what else is out there… it will probably be Georgetown and Florida. That’s the deciding factor, which head coach I like more. It (my favorite coaching staff) would be the Kentucky coaches because before the dead period I stayed in touch with [Kentucky assistant] coach Orlando [Antigua] the most.”

Troy Williams Revealed A Lot Of New Information About His Recruitment.

Junior stud Allerik Freeman on his final five schools: “My final five is Kansas, Ohio State, Duke, Villanova and UCLA,” Freeman said. “They’ve been recruiting me the hardest, all of them are good programs, I can see myself fitting in at all of those schools and those are the five schools that I can see myself playing at for all four years.”

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Big East Recruiting Round-Up: Volume Two

Posted by Patrick Prendergast on December 2nd, 2011

Big East Recruiting Round-up is a recurring feature that will focus on, well, recruiting.  Rumors, buzz, rankings…..everything potentially shiny and new. 

Nerlens Noel Poll Results!

Nerlens Noel, Heavily Desired by Providence Fans...

When last we met on the recruiting trail, super class of 2013 center Nerlens Noel was a hot topic of discussion.  He had semi-revealed a short list of five schools, four of which reside in the Big East.  So we did what any red-blooded American college basketball site would do and took it to the voters.  The turnout was great and all of the hanging chads have been counted.  They apparently voted early and often in the Ocean State because, as you can see below, the results were overwhelmingly in favor of Providence.  Perhaps we should rename ‘Friartown’ to ‘Nerlenstown.’  If you’d like to get a late vote in, the polls will remain open so go for it!

Will the Bernie Fine Controversy Hurt Syracuse’s Recruiting Efforts?

Syracuse recruits comment on whether or not Bernie Fine allegations impact their decision. It is important to note that this check-in occurred on November 23 which was before the Laurie Fine telephone call recording broke.  Further, with head coach Jim Boeheim now being called into question it is reasonable to believe some recruits will take a wait-and-see approach.  As noted in our previous round-up, Syracuse has signed two highly-rated recruits out of the class of 2012 in DaJuan Coleman (6’10″ center – Jamesville DeWitt – NY – Ranks: Rivals: 27, ESPN: 14) and Jerami Grant 6’7″ – forward – DeMatha – MD – Ranks: Rivals: 60 , ESPN: 43)

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