Morning Five: 04.24.13 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on April 24th, 2013


  1.  As we approach the only NBA Draft early entry deadline that actually matters — in other words, the Association’s draft deadline on Sunday, April 28 — several prominent underclassmen have yet to make their final decisions. With a couple of announcements expected later today, USA Today‘s Scott Gleeson gives a nice rundown of the pros and cons for five notable players — Louisville’s Russ Smith, Creighton’s Doug McDermott, Michigan State’s Adreian Payne, Miami’s Shane Larkin, and Baylor’s Isaiah Austin. Smith, who met with his head coach to discuss his decision on Tuesday, says that he has been losing sleep over the choice to stay or leave Louisville, and that he’s been riding the fence on the topic for the two weeks since the Cardinals won the national title. None of this group is a certain lottery pick, so the question of improvement next season versus a deeper draft is surely weighing heavily on all of their minds. 
  2. There’s been quite a bit of chatter this week about shortening the length of the collegiate shot clock as a mechanism to improve the offensive ineptness that has infected the game in recent seasons — those oft-derided 39-38 games and such. Andy Katz polled a number of high-major Division I coaches and found widespread support for a 30-second shot clock, which makes sense at a certain level. Coaches with generally more talent on their rosters are always going to argue for a faster pace — when things break down, pure talent and athleticism take over (similar arguments were made when the clock was reduced from 45 seconds to its current 35 in 1993). As Mike DeCourcy correctly notes, scoring has plummeted to its current level as a result of numerous factors (Louisville coach Rick Pitino has his own ideas) but the shot clock likely isn’t one of them. In fact, when you mix inexperienced and, frankly, less talented players with improved defensive strategies as a result of advanced scouting techniques (Synergy and the like), what you’re likely to be left with is a devil’s concoction of even more sloppy play as college teams rush to get a shot at the basket. Reducing the shot clock to improve scoring sounds great in theory, but what the NCAA Rules Committee should be discussing are ways to clean up the same game that once regularly produced average team scoring in the 70s (1964-81 with no shot clock; 1987-2003 with a 45- and 35-second shot clock) rather than the 60s (2004-present).
  3. As everyone knows, it’s transfer season, and a few notable names came across the wires yesterday.Marshall’s DeAndre Kane is expected to finish his degree this summer and will use the one-year graduate transfer rule to find (presumably) a higher-major program to showcase his wares for a year. Whoever gets him will receive a high-volume shooter (26.3% of all possessions) who also brings a solid assist (42.0%) and steals (2.8%) rates to bear — quite the free agent pick-up if you ask us. Alabama’s Trevor Lacey, a two-year starter at the point guard position who led the Tide in assists and was second in scoring last year, is also moving on to another as-yet-undetermined program. And then there’s this story about Purdue’s Sandi Marcius, who planned to graduate this summer and himself take advantage of the graduate transfer rule — that is, before he realized that the school wasn’t going to pay for the $7,000 he’d need to actually finish that degree. Stay tuned on this one — it’s likely to get weird.
  4. Let’s all take a moment to welcome new Rutgers head coach Eddie Jordan back to college basketball. The longtime NBA coach hasn’t really been around the sport in over two decades, but at least the former Scarlet Knight (Class of 1977) actually wants to be there in the wake of the Mike Rice fiasco. He was introduced at a news conference yesterday and seemed very excited to get started on his new five-year, $6.25 million contract. He’s going to need to earn every penny of it. With massive player defections, substandard facilities, a move to the best basketball conference in America, and the stink of an amateur hour coaching fiasco still fresh on everyone’s minds, the rebuild at Rutgers will be monumental.
  5. This is a neat story by Eric Prisbell at USA Today about recruiting wunderkind Alex Kline, the now-18-year old who goes by the handle @therecruitscoop on Twitter and who those of us who follow such things have known about for a few years now. As it turns out, Kline is now finishing up his freshman year at Syracuse and his life has become a whirlwind of tips, networking, writing, and homework assignments mixed in with a little bit of fun now and again. Perhaps the most compelling part of his story, though, is his founding of the Mary Kline Classic, a prep all-star event each spring that raises money for cancer research and honors the life of his mother, who passed away from a brain tumor when he was only 10 years old. Keep on keepin’ on, Alex, you’re already doing great things, but it’s obvious much, much more is coming.
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Big Ten Team Previews: Purdue Boilermakers

Posted by jnowak on November 2nd, 2012

Throughout the preseason, the Big Ten microsite will be rolling out the featured breakdowns of each of the 12 league schools. Today’s release is the Purdue Boilermakers.

Where We Left Off: The last time we saw Purdue, one of the program’s most accomplished players — Robbie Hummel — was riding off into the sunset, marking the end of the “Baby Boiler” era that began when that class began its West Lafayette career in 2007. Purdue also loses fellow co-captains Ryne Smith and Lewis Jackson, leaving Matt Painter without three of the Boilers’ best scoring options from the last few seasons. So the cupboard is relatively bare, with a lot resting on the shoulders of senior D.J. Byrd and the Johnson Trio — Terone, Ronnie and Anthony. None of those four have much experience in leading the team, so scoring could be at a premium. It’s safe to call it a rebuilding year for the Boilermakers, but if they can build on the foundation the Baby Boilers set forth, Painter could have this team back contending soon enough.

With Robbie Hummel and Lewis Jackson gone, much of the scoring and leadership responsibility will rest on D.J. Byrd’s shoulders at Purdue.

Positives: After a pretty significant drop-off in recruiting since the stellar class of Hummel, JaJuan Johnson, Scott Martin (who eventually transferred) and E’Twaun Moore, Painter seems to finally have gotten it back with this incoming freshman class. Rivals has this group ranked No. 20 in the country, which also places the Boilermakers fourth in the Big Ten (Indiana clocks in at No. 5, Michigan at No. 7, Michigan State at No. 13). None of the newcomers — A.J. Hammons, Ronnie Johnson, Raphael Davis and Jay Simpson — were ranked higher than No. 77 (Hammons), but it’s a solid core and a diverse group, with each player listed by Rivals at a different position. All four should get significant playing time this season, giving Purdue fans a glimpse at what could be a very promising future.

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Morning Five: 06.09.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on June 9th, 2011

  1. Patrick Bade played in 24 of Purdue’s 34 games last year, averaging 0.8 PPG in 6.5 MPG. There’s an opportunity for him to play tight end for the Boilermaker football squad next year, since the team lacks depth at that position, so he’s changing sports even though he didn’t play football as a high school senior. Now, the basketball team has only two returning forwards in rising sophomores Travis Carroll and Sandi Marcius, neither of whom played more than 10 minutes a game last year as freshmen. There are minutes available there for returning junior D. J. Byrd (who played some forward last season) and the incoming freshmen.
  2. MoMo Jones will land at Iona. You hate that a kid has to transfer because he wants to be closer to an ailing relative (his grandmother, in this case), but this is one heck of a get for the Gaels. We felt that Jones, by both word and deed, really grew into a leadership role for Arizona last season. If Jones’ hardship waiver is approved by the NCAA, he’ll play next year for an Iona squad that went 25-12 (13-5 Metro Atlantic) last year and also returns three double-figure scorers. Considering the sense of humor and history of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee, we wonder if someone hasn’t already penciled this in as a second (or possible third) round game next year.
  3. Luke Winn’s statistical treatises and breakdowns for are so good they’ve been known to show up unattributed during television broadcasts of college basketball games on certain channels (we’re not naming any names). His latest one reveals to the world who the most versatile player is in the upcoming NBA Draft, as well as the biggest sleeper. The case for the latter is particularly compelling, and surprising.
  4. Seems like we’ve had a lot of stuff on here recently about big-time prospects and current college players having multiple-sport opportunities…and here’s another. Mickey McConnell has been busy playing excellent basketball for St. Mary’s for the last four years — especially last season, one in which he led SMC in nine statistical categories. Despite being a standout baseball prospect in high school, he hasn’t played the game in four years. The Los Angeles Dodgers don’t seem to mind. They took McConnell in the 31st round of the 2011 MLB First Year Player Draft that concluded yesterday. It looks like the plan is to see how he does in the several workouts he has lined up with NBA teams before considering a move to the diamond.
  5. If you’re not planning to make the trip to the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on June 23 for the NBA Draft and you don’t feel like watching it on TV by yourself, The Glens Falls Civic Center in Glens Falls, New York might be the next best place to be. To celebrate the fulfillment of that contract that a certain James T. Fredette made with himself (copy available in the linked article) over four years ago to commit fully to his dream of someday playing in the NBA, Jimmer’s hometown of Glens Falls is hosting Jimmer Jam, a community celebration in honor of their favorite son being drafted. We’re talking food and drink, a silent auction and the chance to buy some swag, games for the kids — and all the proceeds from the event go to local charities.
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