SEC M5: 12.21.12 Edition

Posted by DPerry on December 21st, 2012


  1. Jabari Parker’s commitment was the lead story in college basketball yesterday, and to the chagrin of almost everyone, the Chicago product chose to attend Duke. He had narrowed down his choices to five schools before his announcement, with Florida serving as the SEC’s only representative. Any program would benefit greatly by adding a talent like Parker, but the Gators will still have one of the nation’s best incoming classes. Billy Donovan will bring in Chris Walker and Kasey Hill, both consensus top 10 recruits, in addition to South Carolina transfer Damontre Harris and Virginia Tech transfer Dorian Finney-Smith. Of all the spurned schools on Parker’s final list, Florida is probably in the best position going forward.
  2. Tennessee has gotten back on track with wins over Wichita State and Presbyterian, but after a miserable start to the season, Volunteer fans are still counting the days until they see Jeronne Maymon back on the floor. Unfortunately, it may be a while. Maymon’s rehabilitation from knee surgery hasn’t gone as smoothly as the Vols had hoped. The ambitious diagnosis had the senior forward returning to action as early as this month, but as Maymon continues to limp around Tennessee’s training facility, the possibility of a medical redshirt has been explored. “He’s open to everything,” coach Cuonzo Martin said. “One thing about Jeronne, he’s a coachable guy. He wants to do what’s best for the team. If that means coming back (for a redshirt season), he’ll come back. We’re trying to figure out what’s best for Jeronne Maymon first and foremost, then our team.” Coming back for only a few games surely isn’t the smart move, but in a season filled with high expectations in Knoxville, getting Maymon back on the court is absolutely essential in Tennessee’s efforts to meet those goals.
  3. Texas A&M has had an especially unremarkable season. Outside of a slight upset of Washington State on a neutral court (maybe?), the Aggies have beaten every inferior team and lost in both games against superior competition. This is progress, however, for second-year coach Billy Kennedy, who struggled mightily in his first season, posting a 4-14 record in the Big 12. He’ll hope that the SEC schedule is kinder as he enters a new conference, and he may be in luck. The middle of the SEC is weak, and A&M has the talent to take advantage. Senior Elston Turner has improved on his shooting percentages, and at 16.1 points per game, he’s the type of player who can make a difference as the Aggies take on the SEC’s many mediocre teams.
  4. In the wake of the Michael Dixon situation, off-the-court news hasn’t been especially kind to Missouri this season. That changed on Thursday, however, as the Tigers revealed that the basketball team had achieved their highest collective GPA (over a 3.0) in over a decade. “I’m so proud of our guys and their efforts in the classroom,” coach Frank Haith said. “We demand a lot from them throughout the year and they delivered in a big way, which deserves recognition.” Tigers’ leading scorer Laurence Bowers is one of the stars in the classroom as well. The senior forward has already finished his undergraduate degree, and is a semester away from a master’s in Health Education and Promotion.
  5. “Going Big”, the ESPN Films documentary about former Kentucky great, Sam Bowie, premiered on ESPNU last night. Every basketball fan knows the basics of Bowie’s tale, but director Tom Friend utilizes an unfamiliar perspective to tell his story: the perspective of Sam Bowie. It’s impossible to ignore the Michael Jordan factor with this subject, but any true connection between Jordan’s success and Bowie’s struggles with injury are the product of a fabricated narrative (a compelling one, to be fair). For the former Kentucky center, getting over the Jordan comparisons was tough, but the support of the Lexington community made it possible. “I always knew when the [NBA] season was over that I was immediately going to go back to Kentucky, because that was a safe haven for me to get away from the Michael Jordans, from the critics,” Bowie said. “And that’s a beautiful thing, because when you’re getting beat up like I was getting beat up, you run for cover. And my cover was getting back to Lexington.”
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Morning Five: 07.09.10 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on July 9th, 2010

Now that we’re done with the ridiculous LeBron ego-fest the sports media can get back on people who actually care about sport rather than just making themselves into even bigger celebrities.

  1. The CBE Classic (not Tournament) has announced that Duke, Kansas State, Gonzaga, and Marquette will host the regional games against Princeton and Miami (OH); James Madison and Presbyterian; Bucknell and Wisconsin-Green Bay; and IUPUI and San Diego State, respectively. The hosts will automatically advance to the semifinals in Kansas City regardless of whether they win or lose the regional games.
  2. The US National Team announced the practice squad of college players that will scrimmage against the NBA players prior to the lead-up to the World Championships later this summer. While the National Team won’t be that loaded this summer don’t expect these college players to beat the National Team in any of these scrimmages like the 1992 team did against “The Dream Team” in the first scrimmage (where Michael Jordan only played 3 minutes).
  3. Some sad news about the health of Dean Smith during his retirement. Although we could speculate about the causes and prognosis much like we could have with the recently departed John Wooden we won’t out of respect to both the coach and his family and instead wish them the best in what is undoubtedly a difficult situation.
  4. And more sad news out, but this time out of Lexington as we noted  former Kentucky All-American Mel Turpin committed suicide at his home yesterday. A dominant player in college (scroll down), Turpin was less successful in the NBA where he was drafted #6 in the 1984 NBA Draft where his teammate Sam Bowie was drafted 2nd above some guy named Jordan. Still Turpin seemed to keep things in perspective once telling Sports Illustrated, “In my day, they thought the big man was supposed to be thin. They didn’t know too much. It was medieval.”
  5. ESPN and the ACC have reached a 12-year TV deal worth $1.86 billion for both basketball and football. We can only hope this means that ESPN will broadcast more games during the season instead of all of their non-entertaining entertainment shows that they have filled air time with in recent years.
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Former Kentucky Star Melvin Turpin Has Committed Suicide

Posted by jstevrtc on July 8th, 2010

Former Kentucky center Melvin Turpin, aged 49, has died by his own hand at his home in Lexington earlier today.

Known popularly as “Dinner Bell Mel” because of his size, and “The Dipper” because of his mass and his combination of strength and finesse around the basket, Turpin played four seasons at Kentucky from 1980-84 and comprised half of the  famed Twin Towers duo, along with Sam Bowie.  His play during his senior year earned him first-team all-SEC honors and spots on many 2nd- and 3rd-team all-America lists.  He was drafted sixth overall by the Washington Bullets in the 1984 NBA draft and was traded almost immediately to the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Due to his weight struggles, Turpin only played five seasons in the NBA, his best season coming in his second year, averaging 13.7 PPG and 7.0 RPG for the Cavs in 1985-86.

Lexington police responded to a “personal injury call” at Turpin’s home late on Thursday afternoon, and local news outlets began reporting and tweeting more grave concerns as the coroner arrived on the scene.  The suicide was unfortunately confirmed soon after.

Turpin was a visible figure around Lexington and occupied a special place in the hearts of Kentucky faithful because of his often self-deprecating sense of humor and his friendliness toward his fans.  Our prayers go out to Mr. Turpin’s family and friends at this confusing and awful time.

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SharkBlog: Lute Olson is a Snivelling Two-Faced Scumbag*

Posted by rtmsf on October 16th, 2008

* not a direct quote

Did you know that Tark the Shark now has a blog called SharkBytes with the Las Vegas Sun?  We mentioned this earlier today in Fast Breaks, and a couple of other blogs (notably, Fanhouse and The Dagger) talked about how interesting this development not only is, but could be will be over the course of a season, especially given Tark’s penchant for outspokenness and rabble-rousing. 

Tark Is Not Friendly With Arizona (photo credit: AP)

But both of those blogs focused on what Tark wrote about recruiting against Kentucky in the good old days, regaling readers with a tale involving all-world prep prospect Sam Bowie and a Rodeway Inn in Pennsylvania.  A funny and interesting story, no doubt, but not nearly as compelling as what we found when we dug a little deeper into the post.  Consider, Tark wrote:

Other programs, like Arizona, would rip us behind our backs, telling recruits’ mothers that hookers would get her son or the mob would get them.  Mothers would call me and I’d have to fly back a second time to talk with her.  I’d tell parents, if a coach comes in and bad-mouths another program, I’d eliminate that coach right away. If your son gets hurt, you and your son will be bad-mouthed.  Once, the father of a kid in San Diego asked me what I thought of Arizona. I said, they have a good program. The dad pounds a folder on his coffee table. Coach, let me show you what they said.  The folder was filled with every bad article ever written about UNLV. Arizona had sent it to the father.

Now, Tark’s been around the west coast a long time – starting as head coach with Long Beach St. in 1968, and continuing at UNLV from 1973-92, but Arizona only became a real force in college basketball upon Lute Olson’s arrival in 1984.  UNLV and Arizona would have probably been recruiting the same caliber of player only after his landing in the desert.  So, who else other than Lute Olson could Tark be referring to here? 

We find it really interesting that, considering how long Tark’s been around, and all the things he’s seen in the game, that he decided to focus on and throw Lute Olson under the bus for playing dirty.  And yes, we realize the irony of Tark calling anyone, anyone at all, dirty.  Still, this is just another feather in the cap of Lute Olson’s 2008 Award Tour.   

Keep it coming, Shark!

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