Top Incoming Freshmen Battling For Under-18 USA Team

Posted by EJacoby on June 8th, 2012

Who are some of the most college-ready freshmen players heading to school next season? Gain insight into that answer by following the USA Men’s Under-18 National Team tryouts, whose roster was announced this week. Twenty-three of the country’s top young players, comprised mostly of recent high school graduates, are fighting for 12 spots to compete at the FIBA Americas U-18 Championship. It’s a short tryout, as the team will fly out for competition on June 12. While there are plenty of factors that go into the team’s selection, the final cut could give us some insight as to which players’ games are most developed at this point. Of the group of participants, 15 are recent high school graduates. There are also seven high schoolers from the class of 2013, and the final player is Jarnell Stokes, already at Tennessee after reclassifying up last year to join the Volunteers in the second semester. Our biggest interest involves which of the 15 high school graduates will make the squad, perhaps proving that their college teams can expect big things next season after outperforming their peers and gaining some international experience.

Rasheed Sulaimon Has a Strong Chance to Play on the U-18 Team USA (AP Photo)

The 15 high school Class of 2012 participants are as follows:

  • Ryan Arcidiacono, Villanova
  • Robert Carter, Georgia Tech
  • Sam Dekker, Wisconsin
  • Kris Dunn, Providence
  • Shaq Goodwin, Memphis
  • Jerami Grant, Syracuse
  • Montrezl Harrell, Louisville
  • Joel James, North Carolina
  • Jake Layman, Maryland
  • Rodney Purvis, NC State
  • James Robinson, Pittsburgh
  • Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke
  • Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State
  • Robert Upshaw, Fresno State
  • Adam Woodbury, Iowa

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Morning Five: 05.17.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on May 17th, 2012

  1. Keep moving along. Nothing to see here. That was the stance of ACC commissioner John Swofford on Wednesday in reference to the earth-rumblings regarding Florida State’s rather public dalliance with the Big 12. Taking part in the ACC spring meetings in Amelia Island, Florida, this week, Swofford said that he had spoken with FSU president Eric Barron there and had enjoyed several “positive” conversations which clearly leads him to believe that the Tallahassee school is sticking around. Public statements from officials in positions of power are virtually meaningless these days — especially when it comes to this topic — but we really don’t see Florida State leaving the ACC for a few million dollars when they’d be ceding so much of their existing power to Texas as a result.
  2. Better late than never, but the NCAA announced yesterday that Washington, DC, would become the site of the 2013 East Regional during next year’s NCAA Tournament. Usually the regionals are well settled at this point in time, but reports suggest that the NCAA ran into contractual issues trying to lock up Madison Square Garden (or another NYC-area site) for next year’s tournament. The Verizon Center in downtown DC has served as an NCAA Tournament site several times in the previous decade, and its convenient location built on top of a Metro station makes getting to and from the venue a snap. The other three regional sites in 2013, which have been settled for some time now, are the Staples Center in Los Angeles (West), Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas (South), and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis (Midwest). Where are you headed?
  3. How much is an elite college basketball head coach worth? USA Today reported on Wednesday that Duke legend Mike Krzyzewski was paid $7.2 million by the university for his work in the calendar year 2010. According to their research, Coach K’s total compensation that year represents the second-highest total by a head coach (basketball or football) since the publication started tracking the figures in 2006 (Rick Pitino earned $8.9 million in 2010-11). K’s total in 2010, where he no doubt met a number of incentives for winning the national championship, blew his $2.0 million base salary up to nearly four times that amount. When you add in Krzyzewski’s corporate sponsorships to that total, you begin to see that the Duke head coach is competitive with some of the sport’s best-paid athletes in terms of compensation.
  4. While on the subject of Krzyzewski, he announced earlier this week that this summer’s Olympic Games in London would be his last as the head coach of Team USA. There’s no question that Coach K has accomplished a couple of important things as the CEO of the men’s national team. First and foremost, he used his otherworldly player management and motivational skills to encourage (at the time) very young players like LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Paul to play together and win a gold medal as a selfless unit (both in the Beijing Olympics and the 2010 World Championships). This was no easy task, as the 2008 Redeem Team earned its name after the disastrous bronze medal performance in Athens from the 2004 team. The second thing he was able to do was to satisfy his appetite for coaching the very best players in the world, something that he had flirted with a couple of times previously. This allowed him to stay in his rightful place in college basketball at Duke where he belongs, rather than moving to the NBA for a certainly less-fulfilling experience. Gregg Doyel writes that Coach K was able to do something that not even NCAA/NBA champion Larry Brown could do — keep world-class professional athletes hungry and motivated — and he questions whether the next guy is likely to do the same in 2016.
  5. Former Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine’s wife, Laurie Fine, announced at a press conference on Wednesday that she will sue ESPN for libel based on the organization’s reporting that (she claims) made her appear as a monster who allowed her husband to molest children. Fine said during the presser that her life has been “ruined” by these allegations to the point where she can no longer go out in public anywhere in central New York. ESPN came out with a response immediately afterward stating that they stand by their reporting. One of the interesting questions that will help define the course of this claim is whether Fine is considered a “public” personality as the wife of the former SU assistant coach. Public figures face a much more difficult threshold to prove libelous claims against them, whereas private figures stand a much better chance. We won’t speculate on how this case might turn out, but the validity of her entire claim may turn on that argument.
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Anthony Davis Named a Finalist for USA Olympic Team: Should He Make It?

Posted by EJacoby on May 3rd, 2012

Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter.

As international basketball continues to gain steam, so does widespread intrigue in the Summer Olympic Games. The upcoming 2012 London Olympics will include some tremendous competition for the heavily favored United States, such as a Spanish team that can boast a monster front line of Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, and Serge Ibaka. To counter that front line, and as a side effect of several unfortunate injuries, the Americans are in need of some serious size of their own. As a result, college basketball’s reigning National Player of the Year and projected No. 1 NBA draft pick Anthony Davis has already been named as one of the 20 finalists for Team USA this summer. Would Davis be a good fit for this team, and could “The Unibrow” possibly make the cut? Historical precedent says it could happen, and a roster breakdown shows that Davis might just be the big man inside that Team USA is missing.

Anthony Davis is now Shooting for a Spot on Team USA (AP Photo)

The USA Basketball Committee, led by chairman Jerry Colangelo and head coach Mike Krzyzewski, already selected the 20 finalists for the team back in January but several significant injuries has left Team USA in need of more bodies to compete for the final 12-man roster by the June 18 deadline. Specifically, there is a glaring lack of healthy size on the roster given injury troubles to Dwight Howard (back) and LaMarcus Aldridge (hip). The only true center currently on the roster is Tyson Chandler, with power forwards Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Chris Bosh, and Lamar Odom in the fold as well. But there are issues with all of these forwards — Odom was released by the Dallas Mavericks after a terrible season, Griffin brings more ‘flash’ than production as an interior player, and Love and Bosh both thrive offensively on the perimeter. There is an absolute need for an interior presence to back up Chandler.

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Morning Five: 06.20.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on June 20th, 2011

  1. From the In Case You Missed It file, late last week we published a piece analyzing the weird NCAA/Kentucky/John Calipari love triangle that occurred as a result of the school honoring Cal’s 500th win last season.  If you were on vacation or otherwise pre-occupied last week, the synopsis goes like this: Everyone is aware that the NCAA has vacated  42  of Calipari’s wins at UMass and Memphis because of the use of ineligible players (Marcus Camby and Derrick Rose).  Recently,  though, the NCAA learned from a “rival fan” that Kentucky’s official media materials still included the 42 wins as a part of Calipari’s aggregate total, thereby resulting in a “500th win” celebration that occurred late last season after a game against Florida.  The NCAA requested that Kentucky make good on reconciling its win total with their own, and, after some lawyerly back-and-forth over the issue, Kentucky eventually acceded to the governing body’s request rather than face a hearing in front of the Committee of Infractions.  As we stated on Friday, this is all fine and well — the win total should be the one recognized by the NCAA — but we’re not sure that the NCAA recognized the bag of worms centipedes it was opening with this very issue.  In our analysis, we found three examples of active coaches who “boast” vacated wins themselves — Steve Fisher at San Diego State, Todd Bozeman at Morgan State, and Mike Jarvis at Florida Atlantic — as but three more situations where their schools’ media guides represent a picture different than one warranted by the NCAA.  Will the NCAA begin knocking on those schools’ virtual doors in coming weeks as well?  We can’t imagine that the NCAA really wanted to waste its scarce and valuable resources on something so fundamentally trivial, but if the organization doesn’t step up and take responsibility for the mess it’s created here, then what little credibility it might have had pertaining to accusations of selective enforcement will be completely lost amidst a pile of balloons and confetti.
  2. They all come home eventually.  Former Indiana superstar Calbert Cheaney, still the Big Ten’s all-time leading scorer nearly two decades after his graduation, will return to Bloomington to become Tom Crean’s Director of Basketball Operations next season.  Arguably the last great player Bob Knight coached, Cheaney was a three-time All-American at IU, culminating in becoming the consensus NPOY during the 1992-93 season.  When the old-timers talk about “Indiana Basketball,” Cheaney’s Hoosier teams are the most recent version of what they have in mind — during his junior and senior seasons at IU, Indiana went 58-11 while making a Final Four (1992) and Elite Eight (1993) under his on-floor direction.  Cheaney spent 13 seasons playing in the NBA and the last couple of years working as a special assistant in player development to the Golden State Warriors, but with a strong sense that the Tom Crean era in Bloomington is reaching a now-or-never point, Cheaney may be well-positioned to move up the ladder there quickly if he shows any coaching acumen at all.
  3. Bill Self picked up an impact player over the weekend who should be able to contribute to his Jayhawks immediately next season in the form of 6’7 Kevin Young, a former Loyola Marymount wing who spent last year getting his grades in order as a volunteer assistant coach at Barstow (KS) Community College.  The bouncy swingman is a great last-minute addition for Kansas, who even with its prolific depth of talent will still have some trouble absorbing the loss of seven players next season.  Young presumably could step right into a starting role next year, having performed at a high level (10/6 in two seasons) at LMU and possessing more experience than anyone else on the 2011-12 roster at his position.  KU fans are likely feeling considerably better today about their upcoming squad than they did just a few short days ago.
  4. We mentioned a little over a week ago that USA Basketball’s World University Games training camp roster included 22 current collegians in the hopes that next year’s NPOY wouldn’t end up riding the pine as former Ohio State superstar Evan Turner did on 2009’s team.   We’re still waiting to hear how those selections turn out, but the USA Under-19 three-day training camp concluded this weekend, and a lucky 13 rising freshmen and sophomores will represent the United States in international competition beginning in June 30 in Latvia.  The roster includes:  Keith Appling (Michigan State), James Bell (Villanova), Anthony Brown (Stanford), Jahii Carson (Arizona State), Tim Hardaway, Jr. (Michigan), Joe Jackson (Memphis), Jeremy Lamb (UConn), Meyers Leonard (Illinois), Khyle Marshall (Butler), Javon McCrea (Buffalo), Doug McDermott (Creighton), Tony Mitchell (North Texas), and Patric Young (Florida).  The two biggest surprise omissions were the reigning Pac-10 ROY, Allen Crabbe (California) and all-ACC rookie Travis McKi (Wake Forest).
  5. It now appears all but certain that the November 11 Veteran’s Day game between Michigan State and North Carolina will take place on the USS Carl Vinson, the same aircraft carrier that — how should we put this? — disposed of Osama bin Laden’s body a little over a month ago.  The game will take place on the flight deck, and since it’s usually 70 degrees and clear in San Diego regardless of the time of year, the odds are that this thing will go off without a weather hitch.  Still, it would be amusing if a few light breezes blew in during the second half to make the shooters adjust on the fly, a little like this.  We can always dream.
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Morning Five: 09.10.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on September 10th, 2010

  1. We’d already heard rumors about the NCAA sniffing into Tennessee’s recruitment of Kansas point guard Josh Selby, and it now appears that there is some fire behind the smoke.  According to several reports, the NCAA is investigating allegations of excessive phone calls and the use of unauthorized phones by UT staff, which could potentially land the Vol program in just as much hot water as its current football team faces.  Is it just us, or could it be that the long-awaited cleansing of college basketball’s seamy side appears to be taking hold?  We know that the NCAA has hired a considerable amount of new personnel for basketball investigations in recent years…could those investments actually begin paying off soon?
  2. Speaking of NCAA brass, ever wonder what top NCAA execs make for running the governing body of the sportThe Chronicle of Higher Education revealed the top fourteen NCAA earners in 2009, a group who collectively made over $6M during that time period.  Given the huge dollars that the NCAA brings in (through television rights for the NCAA Tournament and ticket sales for its championships, mostly), we don’t have a problem with these salaries, but we have two additional thoughts on this matter: 1) let’s keep investing that money to catch and punish the wrongdoers in the sport; and 2) where and to whom do we send our application?
  3. John R. Wooden Drive will be dedicated on Saturday afternoon to commemorate the legend’s nearly-100 years of teaching basketball and touching lives.  But it won’t be located in Westwood, and in fact, not even in the city of Los Angeles at all.  Rather, Purdue University — Wooden’s alma mater, where he was a three-time all-American and NPOY in 1932 — will be doing the honors.  This is great to see.  In fact, we’d be the top blogging evangelist if the NCAA decided to dedicate the entire 2011 regular season and/or NCAA Tournament to the Wizard of Westwood (hint, hint).  His legacy deserves it.
  4. Tough news from WVU yesterday, as incoming freshman Darrious Curry was determined too medically risky to play basketball anymore.  The 6’7 forward’s issue was not disclosed, but all indications point toward a heart condition.  You hate to see this, but you hate even more to see the scary alternative.
  5. The FIBA world championships are moving into the semifinal round, and Team USA is set to play Lithuania on Saturday with a medal (at least a bronze) on the line.  Luke Winn takes a look at the NCAA players who have been involved in the WCs and determines that only Rice’s Arsalan Kazemi (Iran) has had a summer to remember, averaging 12/7/3 SPG for his team.  A few of the other notables involved in this year’s tournament are Gonzaga’s Elias Harris (Germany), Robert Sacre (Canada) and Cal’s Max Zhang (China).
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September 15th Will Be “Mike Krzyzewski Day”

Posted by nvr1983 on August 24th, 2010

The past two years have been very good for Mike Krzyzewski. In addition to taking Duke back to the top of the college basketball world last April, he also led Team USA back to the top of the international basketball world (not that there was any doubt as long as we brought the “A team”) in Beijing. An inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001, he has won almost every title (four NCAA championships, 12 ACC championships in both the regular season and conference tournament, and an Olympic gold medal) and received almost every award (three Naismith College Cach of the Year Awards, two Basketball Times National Coach of the Year Awards, a NABC National Coach of the Year Award, and five ACC Coach of the Year Awards) that he could be expected to win.

K: Best in the Business

To add to that, earlier today the city of Chicago announced that it would make this September 15th into “Mike Krzyzewski Day” (over/under on misspelled signs and posters: 130) on the same day that he will be inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame and receive the Ray Meyer College Coach of the Year Award. [Ed. Note: We aren’t expecting Chicago great and Duke-hater Michael Jordan to be in attendance.] Coach K, a native of Chicago, graduated from Archbishop Weber High School before matriculating to the Army where he played under a fairly decent coach named Bob Knight. A solid but unspectacular guard at Army, he served in the Army for three years and coached at a prep school for two years before joining Knight as an assistant at Indiana where he left just before the 1975-76 season (the last undefeated Division I team) to take over as the head coach at Army. Although he compiled a 73-59 record at Army, he went 9-17 in his last season before getting an offer from Duke to become their head coach (a classic case of failing upwards). His first three years at Duke were not much more successful as after a merely mediocre rookie campaign he went a combined 21-34 over his second and third seasons. At that point many critics suspected Krzyzewski’s days in Durham were numbered, but little did they know that the freshman class that season (Johnny DawkinsMark AlarieDavid Henderson, and Jay Bilas) would wind up being one of the greatest classes in the school’s history. After that group made it to the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament in their sophomore and junior campaigns they took off as seniors in what is widely considered one of the finest seasons in college basketball history. That group entered the championship game with a 37-2 record against a Denny Crum-led Louisville team before falling by three points to freshman sensation “Never Nervous” Pervis Ellison and the Cardinals.

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Morning Five: 07.22.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on July 22nd, 2010

  1. It’s not every day you wake up to a Twitter argument about John Wall’s grades (Eric Bledsoe’s were notably not discussed), but that’s what happened to Mike DeCourcy yesterday after writing the following tweet before bed Tuesday night:  Tsnmike: So all the people squawking about one-and-dones not going to class in spring — how does that reconcile with John Wall on SEC honor roll? DeCourcy was attacked on several fronts but the most compelling line of inquiry was whether Wall academically represents the ‘typical’ one-and-doner.  Those guys get up way too early for us to have joined the conversation in real time, but our uneducated sense is that Wall is an exception and the one-and-doners are probably no different than any other athlete who decides to leave school early.
  2. The best piece on Dean Smith’s current condition that we have seen is by Joe Posnanski over at SI.  The piece about Brian Reese potentially blowing a trip to the Final Four by not following Smith’s precise orders is phenomenal.  Read it.
  3. While we’re discussing Tobacco Road legends, we should mention this article by Dan Wiederer who discusses all the Duke fingerprints that are on the US national teams this summer.  A great point by Coach K when he notes that many of the top high school prospects chose to play for the national teams rather than AAU ball, a development that will undoubtedly mature their games in ways they could not imagine on the summer circuit.
  4. Former Seton Hall head coach Bobby Gonzalez pleaded not guilty to the charge that he shoplifted a $1,395 Ralph Lauren bag from the Mall at Short Hills in Essex County, New Jersey.  We’d like to say that at least he has good taste, but, uh, well…
  5. Andy Katz reports that the NCAA’s top official, John Adams, has spent much of the last month meeting with the four Final Four head coaches and listening to feedback as to how to improve his teams of zebras.  We think Katz hits on the correct point in his piece when he points out that Adams only has limited control of officials, more specifically only during the NCAA Tournament.  If any real change is to occur, he needs to get the leagues on board with it so that a foul in the Big Ten is the same thing as one in the ACC.
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Morning Five: 06.29.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on June 28th, 2010

  1. Coach K is showing no signs of slowing down as he prepares for his summer stint leading the US Men’s National Team again.  The FIBA World Championships take place in Turkey in mid-September, and the team will be chosen from a pool of 27 players next month.  We’re guessing that the names might include the following: Kobe, LeBron, Dwight, Melo and Kevin.  As for Duke, even though K has to replace three starters, his team next year is probably more talented.
  2. In this report, Big 12 coaches talk about their feelings as it appeared their league was going to dismantle last month as a result of the almighty football dollar.  Mark Turgeon and Frank Martin’s comments about how NCAA Tournament revenue finances the rest of the NCAA’s championships is the salient point here.  The NCAA needs to figure a way to get in front of the next round of massive expansion or face the ugly specter of eventually getting crowded out completely.
  3. Former Memphis guard Roburt Sallie, a player who averaged just under six PPG yet famously dropped ten threes and 35 total points in the 2009 NCAA first round against Cal State Northridge, is transferring to Louisville for his senior season.  If he finishes his undergraduate degree this summer, as expected, he will be eligible to play immediately for Rick Pitino’s team.  His 11/4 averages and 44% three-point shooting will help UL immediately, a team reeling from losing its top four scorers from last year.
  4. If you had to guess the game with the largest online viewing in history (subject to change annually, we’re sure), would you choose the US-Algeria World Cup game (during work hours on a Thursday morning) or… Florida-BYU from last year’s NCAA Tournament (incidentally, also on a Thursday during work hours).  Each game had over 1.1M online viewers, but the hoops game had slightly more.
  5. Speaking of World Cup, this is great.  We have a rule around here that any and all Freddy Brown (Georgetown ’84) references will make it onto the site in some capacity, so we couldn’t resist when a comparison was made between Mexico’s Ricardo Osorio’s boneheaded pass to blow the game on Sunday and Brown’s gift to North Carolina’s James Worthy some twenty-eight years ago.

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Coach K to Coach Team USA in the 2012 Olympics

Posted by nvr1983 on July 21st, 2009

We have already laid out our thoughts on the possibility of this occurring earlier, but it’s worth bringing up again because USA Basketball made it official today that Mike Krzyzewski was returning to lead Team USA in the 2012 Olympics in London. For as much hate as he gets as the coach of Duke, we have to say that he has done a great job of rebuilding USA Basketball with Jerry Colangelo although that it can be argued that his best attribute was that he didn’t bench his best player (see George Karl in 2002) or select a squad that was horribly put together/too young and act like an insufferable jerk while coach that team (see Larry Brown in 2004). Perhaps the biggest impact Coach K’s return will have is convincing the team’s stars (LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Dwayne Wade) to return for another run at the gold medal. Team USA version 2012 could potentially field a team that is legitimately as dominant as The Dream Team (none of this ridiculous “Redeem Team” junk from this year) as the  2008 team’s core players will be entering their primes with the exception of Kobe. Here’s a quick look at a potential roster for London:

PG = Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo, and Derrick Rose

SG =  Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, and Brandon Roy

SF = LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Kevin Durant

PF/C = Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin, Al Jefferson, and Chris Bosh

Obviously that’s more people than could suit up, but they would probably lose at least one guy to age/injuries (candidates: Kobe, Wade, and Jefferson) or might drop one of the potential PGs (likely Rondo or Williams). Griffin is also the other wild-card here since we’re forecasting his success in the NBA, but Team USA’s weakness is inside and it seems like he would be perfect in the international setting with the up-tempo pace that Team USA would likely employ even if Malcolm Gladwell thinks that style of play is a recipe for an upset. In any case, this team would be enormous favorites in London and would highlight a talent–recruiting–that was once considered Coach K’s greatest asset back when he used to simply coach Duke.

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Coach K Considering a Return to Team USA Sideline

Posted by nvr1983 on June 10th, 2009

After bringing back the gold from Beijing and watching his Duke teams slide back to the pack, it was widely assumed that Coach K would hand over the reigns to Team USA so he could focus on his Blue Devils. However, Krzyzewski announced late last week that he was interested in coaching Team USA in London in 2012. Although he did not say definitively whether or not he would be pursuing the position, it seems unlikely that he would need to do much campaigning to keep his spot as head coach with the success of the team and the apparent lack of disharmony on the team despite several big names playing sparingly. For us, there are two big questions about the situation:

(1) How will this affect the Duke program?

It will probably hurt them. I don’t really buy the notion that coaching Team USA gets Coach K’s face out there in front of more 5-star guys. I can’t imagine any high school basketball players not knowing about Duke and Coach K. Coaching Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James will certainly give you more street cred than coaching Greg Paulus and Josh McRoberts, but I’m assuming most recruits are aware of the fact that Carmelo and LeBron were really, really, really good before Coach K decided how to tinker with the rotation and their minutes. The bigger impact on Duke will be the absence of Coach K from the recruiting trail. Committing to Team USA will mean that Coach K won’t be on the summer circuit and the guys at ABCD and every other crazy camp out there won’t see him in the stands. While Coach K and the Duke name are still able to land highly touted recruits like Paulus, McRoberts, and Shavlik Randolph (yes, they were all projected to be stars coming out of high school) in recent years he has been unable to land some major targets that he used to land (John Wall comes to mind although it could be argued that it is that he is simply against having one-and-dones).

(2) If Krzyzewski does not seek the position, which coach would be the most likely to replace him on the sideline?

Our top choices would be Tom Izzo, Rick Pitino, Jim Boeheim, John Calipari (no entrance exams required here), Mike D’Antoni and Gregg Popovich. Other than D’Antoni and Popovich, I can’t think of another suitable NBA coach who would be willing to give up his summers to coach a bunch of players that he might be coaching against during the regular season. If Coach K turns down a chance to repeat in London, the question is who Team USA would target as its top choice. Given the standardized test fiasco at Memphis it’s unlikely that Team USA would go with Calipari if other comparable coaches were available. Boeheim is probably the logical choice after serving as an assistant under Coach K, but personally I would like to see Pitino employ a pressing defense with the athletes and depth Team USA could field that would destroy international teams (despite what Malcolm Gladwell thinks).

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05.12.09 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on May 12th, 2009

While there’s not a ton of things happening, what has happened the last few days has been mildy interesting…

  • Everyone in the state of Kentucky wants to know what this “unspecified 2003 encounter” is all about.  For what it’s worth, Rick Pitino denied any interest in the Sacto Queens job that he was rumored to have wanted over the weekend.   Jeff Goodman likes this.
  • Luke Winn says that John Wall, Jeff Teague and Jodie Meeks are the three players still in limbo that will impact next season.  Our take is that both Wall and Meeks end up in Lexington and Teague returns to the Dash.
  • Lance Stephenson – “like a supermodel with herpes.”  Well done.
  • Pauley Pavilion is getting a long-overdue $185M renovation that will displace the home UCLA Bruins for the 2011-12 season.
  • It appears that the Toledo gamblers didn’t exactly front for a slick gaming syndicate – they probably lost money on the deal.  Here’s a breakdown of each of the games they bet on with the results against the spread.
  • Maybe the SEC won’t suck again next year – MSU’s Jarvis Varnado is returning to the Bulldog program for his senior season, joining super-frosh Renardo Sidney (assuming he’s eligible).  The nation’s two-time defending blocks leader will have a good shot at setting the record next season – he needs 142 to do so.  Kentucky’s Patrick Patterson will also return, meaning that the Cats are Jodie Meeks and possibly John Wall away from giving Kansas a run for its money as preseason #1 next season.
  • Suckers only need play in Delaware, as sports betting will be legal there very soon (only parlays, though).
  • Well, if you’re loaded and your ride got collard so you’re walking alongside a road in Maine of all places, why not add a sexual assault charge to the evening’s events?
  • Purdue head coach Matt Painter will join Pitt’s Jamie Dixon and S. Illinois’ Chris Lowery as the trio of coaches for the Team USA Under-19 team that will play in New Zealand this summer.
  • Utah’s Jim Boylen received a nice raise to $850k per year after his NCAA Tournament appearance this season.
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Is Patty Mills Next Year’s Stephen Curry?

Posted by rtmsf on August 25th, 2008

Quick…  see if you can name the only NCAA college basketball player to perform in the 2008 Olympics.  There’s obviously nobody on Team USA’s Redeem Team, and the rest of the world’s best players tend to move into their own pro leagues before coming stateside for the NBA, but if you said speedy Patty Mills from tiny St. Mary’s College in Moraga, CA, by way of Australia, you’d be correct.

 

Mills is arguably already the best college player you’ve never heard of, or if you’ve heard of, you’ve never actually seen play.  In a quarterfinal game where Team USA obliterated Australia 116-85, the 20-year old Mills established himself as one of the best players on the floor among perennial NBA all-stars.  How do we know this?  Well, ask Chris Paul

“He’s good.  Man, he’s fast. I read something that says he’s faster than me. They’re probably right.  He can move.”

Or Redeem Team head man Coach K:

“I’m glad my Duke team doesn’t play St. Mary’s.  He’s a great guard. He’ll be an NBA guard. I’m very, very impressed. He really has great quickness. And I love him defensively.  I’ve been a defensive coach my whole life and there aren’t very many people who stay with the guard, like right on him, when he has the ball, and if he’s beaten, he doesn’t retreat, he continues to play the play.  He’s got to be an extremely tough-minded kid. But as good as he is offensively, he’s got a chance to be a great defender. I think the kid has got a big-time future, quite frankly.”

For the tournament, the rising Gael sophomore averaged 14/2/2 on 52% shooting, including the eye-opening 20 pt, 2 asst, 3 steal performance against the Americans.  This comes on the heels of a mid-major all-american 15/3/4 rookie campaign that was largely ignored outside of the tiny bandboxes of the WCC.  St. Mary’s had its chance at a Davidson-like run, leading Miami (FL) at halftime of its opening round game, but quickly disintegrated in the second half under a barrage of threes by Miami’s Jack McClintock. 

With four of its top five players returning from a 25-6 team, Patty Mills and St. Mary’s could become the west-coast version of a name everyone will be paying attention to in next March’s brackets.  Channelling Stephen Curry and Davidson…

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