Posted by rtmsf on April 24th, 2013
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Posted by rtmsf on August 29th, 2012
- North Carolina’s title hopes were quite clearly derailed last season when point guard Kendall Marshall broke his wrist on a drive during the Heels’ Round of 32 game against Creighton. Not many people remember, though, that Marshall’s injury was actually the second devastating injury among UNC guards last year. Shooting guard (and, most importantly, the backup point to Marshall) Dexter Strickland went down with an ACL injury in a mid-January game against Virginia Tech, leaving Roy Williams’ team particularly vulnerable when its All-American lead guard suffered another season-ending injury two months later. Enough about the bad memories for Tar Heel fans, though — the good news is that the rising senior Strickland announced on Twitter Monday that he has been physically cleared to play basketball again. It will certainly take the talented and experienced shooter some time to get his game legs and on-court confidence back, but with six weeks left until Midnight Madness, he’ll have sufficient time to do so.
- Last week we mentioned that Xavier’s Dez Wells was expelled from school for some unnamed violation of university rules. Speculation was rampant as to Wells’ alleged transgression at the time, but news released on Tuesday cleared up that matter while also offering an astonishing contrast in information. Local prosecutors in Cincinnati presented information to a grand jury involving allegations of sexual assault against Wells, but — keeping in mind the old adage that a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich — the group of citizens hearing the evidence refused to charge the former Xavier star with any criminal offense. The burden of proof on a grand jury to bring an indictment is much, much lower than on a criminal jury to convict someone, so the fact that XU was so quick and final in its decision to expel Wells is somewhat surprising. So surprising, in fact, that the Hamilton County (OH) prosecutor Joe Deters suggested that the university would do well for itself to “revisit the situation.” A Xavier spokesperson reiterated that the school’s decision is final, but as we alluded to last week, short of a criminal charge, much less a conviction, there will be a number of high-major schools lining up for a shot to woo the all-A-10 rookie — it appears that Louisville, Texas, and Memphis currently top his list.
- For some reason or another, a debate about the 35-second college shot clock was ignited on Tuesday because of ESPN.com’s back-and-forth post between writers Eamonn Brennan and Myron Medcalf. While we’re not going to lose any sleep over this particular issue, we see the merits on both sides of the debate (proponents of the change want a quicker paced game, while supporters of the current clock enjoy the diversity of styles that it engenders). From our point of view, the 24-second clock at the professional level has always seemed a bit too fast — if a team’s initial offensive set doesn’t work, then there’s barely enough time for a simple reset to find another good shot. All too often in the pro game, the 24-second shot clock conspires to eliminate good ball movement in favor of just getting something up on the rim. That additional 11 seconds afforded teams in the college game — largely filled with less talented and less athletic players than in the NBA, mind you — grants players a better chance to work the ball into a good situation that can result in a score. Our biggest fear of a 24-second clock in college is that the game would become incredibly sloppy as teams regularly scramble to find a single halfway-reasonable shot before time expires. Our take is that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it — let’s keep the 35-second clock and work on some of the more pressing problems facing the game today.
- We don’t officially allow ourselves to get excited about the coming season until after Labor Day, but one of the fundamental truths about this dry period bridging the start of school and the beginning of practice is the annual release of a number of team profile pieces. They’re somewhat formulaic in content, but they’re always informative and worth your time if you’re starving like we are for meaningful basketball. SI.com‘s Dan Greene took a recent look at the much-maligned Connecticut program, concluding that the remaining talent in Storrs is not likely to stand by and watch the program go down the tubes without a fight. Meanwhile, over at CBSSports.com, Matt Norlander writes that Arkansas’ Mike Anderson is busily putting his own stamp on the Program That Nolan Built. Anderson clearly believes that his Hawgs should be considerably better than last year’s 18-14 squad that crumbled to a 2-9 finish down the stretch.
- Finally, we mentioned in yesterday’s M5 that former Duke NPOY Art Heyman passed away. Our description of his contributions to Duke basketball couldn’t do the man justice, so we thought it would be worthwhile to link to a couple of the best obituaries about the man. The Charlotte Observer dug deeper into the notorious fight in which Heyman and Larry Brown engaged during a 1961 ACC game between Duke and North Carolina that, as Andrew Carter argues, “ignited what became college basketball’s greatest rivalry.” The story also delves into a period in the 90s when Heyman claimed to have cut all ties from his alma mater, but that feud appears to have cooled in recent years. Meanwhile, the Fayetteville Observer took the time to patch together a number of good quotes and memories about one of the greatest collegians that the ACC has ever seen.