Pac-12 Morning Five: 11.14.11 Edition

Posted by AMurawa on November 14th, 2011

  1. The biggest result of the opening weekend was clearly UCLA’s upset loss to Loyola Marymount on Friday evening, a game in which UCLA looked awful, showing an inability to get their talented bigs involved offensively as a result of poor guard play and non-threatening perimeter shooting. Former Bruin and current Fox Sports analyst Marques Johnson broke down the loss frankly with the Los Angeles Times, perhaps summing it up by saying, “if you have good big guys and average to adequate guard play, you’re going to struggle.” Luckily for Bruin fans, next year’s big recruit, Kyle Anderson, didn’t overreact to the loss, reaffirming his commitment to the school, but one has to wonder how the loss affected UCLA’s chances at its other big recruiting target, Shabazz Muhammad. And then there was Josh Smith’s unfortunate reaction to the loss on Twitter afterwards, making those coaches who ban their players from tweeting seem like they’re on to something.
  2. Just before Washington’s 17-point opening win over Georgia State on Saturday, freshman forward Jernard Jarreau decided that he would be joining fellow freshman Andrew Andrews in taking a redshirt season this year. With five other players on the roster 6’7” or taller, head coach Lorenzo Romar agreed with his decision, noting that the year off would allow the 6’10”, 195-pound forward to add strength and likely earn playing time next year. As for the opener itself, the Huskies were led by five three-pointers from junior wing C.J. Wilcox (one of only three players to redshirt for Romar prior to this season) on the way to a game-high 22 points. Freshman guard Tony Wroten, Jr., also impressed in his debut with 18 points, seven rebounds and three assists in 26 minutes off the bench.
  3. There was some great news on the court this weekend for Pac-12 fans as Arizona junior wing Kevin Parrom returned to practice for the first time on Friday since being shot on September 24. Then, he surprised fans by returning to game action on Sunday in the Wildcats’ 73-63 victory over Ball State, entering the game off the bench to a standing ovation and playing 18 minutes, hitting a crucial three, taking a charge and grabbing four rebounds to go with six points. Teammate Alex Jacobson, a senior center, also participated in the full practice on Friday after having missed most other preseason practices due to a back injury, but still has yet to appear in a game this season. Also of note in the Ball State game was the absence of freshman point guard Josiah Turner from the box score. Head coach Sean Miller indicated after the game that his DNP was not a suspension, but was some sort of punishment for off the court actions.
  4. Colorado kicked off its first season as a Pac-12 member with a 28-point domination of Division II Fort Lewis, and sophomore forward Andre Roberson began his charge for potential All-Pac-12 honors, leading the way with a 13-point and 15-rebound performance. Roberson had 13 points and nine rebounds at the half before a relatively quiet second half in the blowout. Senior forward Austin Dufault also added a double-double for CU (18/10), but the Buffaloes will get a much stiffer test in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off this week, starting with Wichita State on Thursday. The Pac-12’s other new institution, Utah, gets its season underway tonight with a visit from San Diego Christan College.
  5. Finally, we wanted to check in with USC and Dewayne Dedmon’s debut for the Trojans on Friday night. The 7’0” sophomore center who didn’t begin playing basketball until his senior year in high school backed up head coach Kevin O’Neill’s glowing offseason comments about Dedmon’s potential by scoring 16 points (for the record, that’s 14 points more than he scored in his entire high school career) on 7-8 shooting, grabbing eight rebounds, and blocking three shots despite being limited to 25 minutes by leg cramps in SC’s seven-point victory over CS Northridge. However, it was sophomore point guard Maurice Jones who saved the day for the Trojans, leading them back from a four-point deficit with under five minutes to play by scoring eight of the final 12 points for USC on his way to 16 points, despite hitting just two of 13 field goal attempts. Dedmon, however, was back on the court making plays at the end of the game as well, slamming home one of his three dunks on the night and grabbing a couple of rebounds in the final 24 seconds. Iowa-transfer Aaron Fuller was also big in his USC debut, as he was the third Trojan to score 16 points in the game, also grabbing nine rebounds.
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Predicting the Pac-12 All-Newcomer Team

Posted by AMurawa on November 7th, 2011

With eight of the ten players on last year’s all-Pac-10 first team having moved on to greener pastures, there will be a lot of pressure on new players in the league to step into the shoes of their team’s departed stars. While it is always the case in any sport, and especially at the college level, that old players go and new players arrive, the Pac-12 in 2011-12 seems especially reliant on newcomers. At Washington, UCLA and Arizona – three of the four teams generally regarded in the top tier of the conference – players left those teams with eligibility to spare, as Isaiah Thomas, Malcolm Lee, Tyler Honeycutt and Derrick Williams left early for a chance at the NBA. And at each of those schools, newcomers will be asked to chip in right away to pick up the slack for the departed stars. Elsewhere around the league, at places like Oregon and Stanford, teams that had gone through down periods in terms of talent are restocking their cupboards with new faces. And while many of the newcomers are highly touted freshmen who’ve been on the recruiting radar for years (the Pac-12 has nine incoming freshman that were ranked in the ESPNU top 100), there are also Division I transfers and even junior college transfers who can be impact players immediately in this conference. While it remains to be seen exactly how these players will fit in new environments, here is our best guess as to the Pac-12 All-Newcomer team.

G Tony Wroten, Jr., Fr, Washington – An exciting lefty, Wroten steps into a good situation in Seattle. Alongside veteran point guard Abdul Gaddy, Wroten will have plenty of help in the backcourt with the Huskies. And, with a group of talented athletes around him, Wroten figures to get frequent opportunities to showcase his amazing passing abilities. More of a power guard than a flashy speed merchant, Wroten can post up smaller defenders or slash to the basket and score in the lane, but he’ll eventually need to tighten up his jumper in order to fulfill his potential.

Tony Wroten Jr.

Wroten, The Talented Freshman From Seattle, Doesn't Lack For Confidence

G Josiah Turner, Fr, Arizona – Turner is going to be a major part of Sean Miller’s plans in Tucson. A high-energy, athletic lead guard who excels in the open court, Turner will need to show that he is capable of playing under control and facilitating the Wildcat halfcourt offense. Furthermore, without a proven scorer on the squad, he will need to help shoulder the scoring burden in the wake of Derrick Williams and Momo Jones’ departures. While he figures to suffer some growing pains early in the season (pains already seen in Arizona’s two exhibition games), Turner should be a serious difference-maker by the time conference play rolls around. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pac-12 Morning Five: 11.04.11 Edition

Posted by Connor Pelton on November 4th, 2011

  1. Arizona came into the season with big expectations. The Wildcats ranked in the preseason Top 25 with Kyle Fogg and Solomon Hill returning and Josiah Turner and Nick Johnson coming to Tucson. Then Seattle Pacific happened. The Falcons came into the McKale Center last Thursday and shocked the Wildcats, 69-68. On Tuesday, Humboldt State made its way into Tucson and battled the Wildcats for the first 30 minutes before falling, 60-51. The two exhibition games shocked Wildcat fans and sent them into states of confusion and panic, but in reality, the games may have provided a wake-up call for the team. With its regular-season opener coming on Monday against Valparaiso, the coaches are reevaluating the starting lineups and rotation, which most likely would not have happened if not for the exhibition surprises.
  2. A new era is set to begin in Salt Lake City and with it comes a new attitude. “Defense,” says senior Josh Watkins, Utah‘s point guard. “We’re playing way more defense, we pressure the ball.” The team is looking for an identity, and the defensive side is a great place to start considering the Utes were second-to-last in the Mountain West in scoring defense last year. Utah will also be looking to senior center David Foster to plug the middle after averaging 3.2 BPG last season.
  3. Washington guard Terrence Ross didn’t put up outrageous numbers in his freshman year, but all of that changed in the Pac-10 Tournament. Ross averaged 15.3 PPG that week and was named to the all-tournament team. That performance combined with the praise he received over the summer on the progress he made with his jumper has fans expecting big things from him, so much so that he was the number one player in the “Counting Down the Huskies” features that Percy Allen has been rolling out the past couple of weeks. Ross will man the backcourt for the Huskies along with junior Abdul Gaddy and freshman Tony Wroten, Jr.
  4. Earlier this week the Oregon got a commitment from four-star point guard Dominic Artis. Artis comes by way of Findlay College Prep (NV) and is rated as the number eight point guard in the nation in this year’s class. For a team that is looking mighty bare at the point for next season, this was a huge pickup for coach Dana Altman. Bruce Barron and Johnathan Loyd are the only true point guards on the team this season, but while both are solid players, Artis has the talent to come in and take their jobs quickly.
  5. Last week Drew and I began our Pac-12 football predictions and I promptly went 6-0. Drew went 4-2 on the week, so I have a two-game lead already. (It should be noted that Drew changed two of his picks so we wouldn’t both have the same, but whatever… scoreboard, baby). This week there are plenty of interesting games, ranging from Utah-Arizona to Oregon-Washington. Our “predict the score” game will be Stanford-Oregon State, for the pure fun of seeing how many points the Cardinal offense can pin on the depleted Beaver D. Here are our picks for this week:
Game Connor (6-0) Drew (4-2)
USC at Colorado USC USC
Stanford at Oregon State Stanford 49, Oregon State 10 Stanford 31, Oregon State 17
Washington State at California Washington State Washington State
Utah at Arizona Arizona Arizona
Arizona State at UCLA Arizona State UCLA
Oregon at Washington Oregon Oregon
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Pac-12 Morning Five: 10.31.11 Edition

Posted by Connor Pelton on October 31st, 2011

  1. Washington point guard Abdul Gaddy was one of the top recruits in the country when he came aboard in 2009, but after a disappointing freshman season and a torn ACL midway through his sophomore year, Gaddy has since fallen off the radar. But while the preseason focus is on guards Tony Wroten, Jr., and Terrence Ross, Gaddy will also be looked at to lead this team because of his experience. Percy Allen has a great feature on Gaddy, which includes some background and an interview with the point guard. The best part of the interview is when Gaddy talks about his summer shootarounds with former Husky Isaiah Thomas where the junior guard says he shot 18,000 jumpers in 22 days.
  2. Hopes are high in Corvallis this season, as coach Craig Robinson says he finally has the talent to “compete in every game this season.” However, no one seems to be asking the question, “Craig, you do realize that you don’t have any new talent in this year’s starting lineup?”, but I guess that’s besides the point. This team does have talent, but the top two newcomers (Challe Barton and C.J. Mitchell) will be lucky if they see any meaningful minutes. The fact of the matter is, Robinson needs to do a better job coaching the players he has if the Beavers are to have a good year.
  3. Fresh and new talent is the name of the game at Oregon this year, as the Ducks welcome in nine new players. Some of them are high school standouts, some of them are transfers, but all of them have Pac-12 talent. From freshman Jabari Brown to Devoe Joseph, the transfer from Minnesota, Oregon has the talent to pull an NCAA Tournament bid if things go well. There are also freshmen Brett Kingma and and Bruce Barron joining Brown and Jospeh as newcomers in the backcourt, both of which were highly-touted recruits in their own right. Barron did miss miss Oregon’s summer exhibition tour, but he is expected to be game-ready by Oregon’s Nov. 11 opener against Vanderbilt. “Bruce is probably just coming into his own” coach Dana Altman said about Barron after his arthroscopic knee surgery. Joseph D’Hippolito breaks down all of the new players here.
  4. California head coach Mike Montgomery is cancer-free after his Oct. 19 surgery. Montgomery was diagnosed a month ago with “high-grade bladder cancer,” he told members of the Pac-12 media on Friday. He said that he will have no physical limitations while coaching, and senior guard Jorge Gutierrez added that the player-coach relationship between them has grown more personal since he learned of the situation. “We didn’t really have much of a connection outside of basketball, but he opened up a little bit more, so I think that helped us to relate with him more,” Gutierrez said.
  5. USC guard Maurice Jones was thought of by many as the nation’s most underrated freshman in the nation last season. Jones averaged 9.9 PPG along with 3.2 APG and is being looked at to lead a USC team that is lacking in the talent department. Seth Rubinroit has a nice feature story on the sophomore standout, the only one in his class to represent a team at Pac-12 Media Day. Jones, the only returning starter from last year’s team, will be asked to carry the load at guard all year long after the season-injury to Jio Fontan. Coach Kevin O’Neill went as far as to tell fans, “Don’t come to the games, it’ll be ugly. Don’t show up. If we don’t have this guy, it’ll be very difficult for us to be competitive in major college games.”
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Pac-12 Morning Five: 10.27.11 Edition

Posted by AMurawa on October 27th, 2011

  1. While this part of the season is largely hidden to the eyes of the normal basketball fan, it can be very important to the success of a basketball team. During practice, coaches get newcomers on the same page as veterans, build chemistry, install offensive sets and defensive principles, and work on conditioning, all while trying to figure out who can best play which roles on a team. All around the conference these days, coaches are finding out more and more about what their teams will look like this season. At Arizona, for instance, head coach Sean Miller is still trying to figure out who his starters are.  While returning starters Kyle Fogg, Solomon Hill and Jesse Perry are penciled in at the two through four positions, Jordin Mayes and Josiah Turner continue to battle it out for the point guard spot. Miller will need to decide between Sidiki Johnson and Kyryl Natyazhko in the middle, saying that for now, he will not move a forward such as Jesse Perry over to play center. With four new freshmen expected to get more comfortable as the season goes on, Miller’s starting lineup may change a bit, but with ten or more players likely to see significant time, it doesn’t matter as much who starts so much as who finishes.
  2. Up in Tempe, head coach Herb Sendek is playing around with the idea of getting both of his seven-footers on the court at the same time. At the end of the Maroon-Gold game on Saturday, both 7’0” Ruslan Pateev and 7’2” Jordan Bachynski found themselves on the same team, a roster move that ASU has worked on a bit in the offseason. While neither player is anywhere near a finished product (Pateev averaged 3.0 PPG in 12.3 MPG last year, while Bachynski went for 2.8 PPG in 10 MPG), the hope is that one of the two can exploit a size mismatch when they are paired together. Bachynski, in particular, is athletic for his size and has expanded his offensive repertoire a bit since last year. Normally putting two big lumbering centers on the court at the same time could hurt a team’s ability to guard, but Sendek seems pretty confident that “both of [these] guys move pretty well.”
  3. Some teams have a tougher time getting all of their game plan installed, and at Washington a roster featuring seven freshmen has caused some growing pains, reports Percy Allen at The Seattle Times. Husky head coach Lorenzo Romar has been unable to install all of his defensive schemes yet, a process no doubt impeded not only by all the youngsters but by the absence of veteran guard Scott Suggs, who is recovering from a stress fracture in his right foot. Adding to the trouble, freshman guard Tony Wroten, Jr., has missed more than a week of practice after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery last week, but due to the miracle of modern medicine, is expected back next week.
  4. Kevin O’Neill’s case is a little different than the above. In the middle of the summer he had a pretty good idea what USC’s offense would look like this year. But, when point guard Jio Fontan tore an ACL on a team trip to Brazil, it was back to the drawing board. Now, instead of pairing Fontan with sophomore Maurice Jones in the back court, Jones has to take over lead guard duties with freshman Alexis Moore as his running mate. Not only will the Trojan offense look different than it was expected to look, but the expectations on Jones are entirely different. Never one to worry about giving his players too much time, O’Neill expects Jones to play almost every minute in a competitive game.
  5. At Oregon State, head coach Craig Robinson has less turnover than most everywhere else in the conference. While he is missing two players who averaged over 20 minutes last year in Calvin Haynes and Omari Johnson, just about everyone else returns. And, for the first time in his stay at Corvallis, everybody on Robinson’s roster is somebody that he recruited. With a young and athletic bunch, Robinson expects to play more man-to-man defense than his customary zone, and he hopes to play at a bit higher pace. But for the most part, while other coaches are putting in new plays and adjusting to newcomers, the Beavers are just tweaking a style of play that most of their players are already familiar with. Perhaps that little extra familiarity can be the difference between the type of results the Beavers have gotten used to and a postseason appearance.
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Pac-12 Team Previews: Washington

Posted by Connor Pelton on October 25th, 2011

Over the next two weeks, we’ll be previewing each of the Pac-12 teams as we head into the season.

Washington Huskies

Strengths.  The main thing that jumps off the page is the Huskies’ talent and depth at guard. In order to get all of the talent on the floor at the same time, Lorenzo Romar could go with the rarely used four-guard lineup since both Tony Wroten, Jr., and Terrence Ross have the size to play down low. Watch out for the other freshmen as well. Romar has a stellar recruiting class coming in, led by the aforementioned Wroten Jr., guard Hakeem Stewart, and forward Martin Breunig. All three appeared on the Rivals150 list, while Wroten was considered the fourth-ranked point guard and No. 14 overall player in the country for the class of 2011.

Weaknesses.  In the past six years, the Huskies have always had some sort of leader or go-to guy to build the team around. They don’t have a “set” leader going into this season, so that will be a huge thing to work out in preseason practice. They also need to find a go-to scorer that they can count on late in games as they lose their top three scorers from last season (Isaiah Thomas, Matthew Bryan-Amaning, and Justin Holiday).

Terrence Ross Could be the Key to UW's Season

Nonconference Tests.  The Huskies should fly through their non-conference slate with the exception of two games: Dec. 6 vs Marquette and Dec. 10 vs Duke. There is no break in between for Washington, as they will just stay in the Big Apple for six days and take on a pair of top twenty teams. I’m predicting an 0-2 record in those, but if they can even earn just a split, the Huskies will start to receive national attention.
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RTC Summer Updates: Pac-12 Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on July 25th, 2011

With the the NBA Draft concluded and the annual coaching and transfer carousels nearing their ends, RTC is rolling out a new series, RTC Summer Updates, to give you a crash course on each Division I conference during the summer months. The latest update comes courtesy of our Pac-12 correspondent, Andrew Murawa.

Reader’s Take #1

Summer Storylines

  • The More, The Merrier: The Pac-10 is dead. Long live the Pac-12. The conference welcomes in Colorado and Utah for their first season in the conference, the first expansion in the West Coast’s premier conference since Arizona and Arizona State were added 33 years ago. Along with the new teams comes a new schedule – gone is the full home-and-away round robin. While there won’t be divisions in basketball like there are in football, each team will play an 18-game schedule with home and away games against its traditional rival, with six other rotating home-and-away series and four additional single games against the remaining teams. For instance, Colorado and Utah will only play the Southern California schools and the Washington schools once each, while they will play the remainder of the conference twice. While neither of the new schools are expected to make a big splash immediately in the conference, their arrival, coupled with other changes around the conference, such as the huge new $3 billion TV deal with ESPN and Fox that begins in the fall of 2012, makes it an exciting time to be a Pac-12 fan.
  • Is There A Draft In Here?: Last summer, a big story around the conference was the dearth of Pac-10 players picked in the NBA Draft, as just two players from the conference were selected by NBA teams in 2010. After the 21 players that were picked in the conference between the 2008 and 2009 drafts, that was a precipitous fall. And, back before the season started, there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of future high draft picks on the horizon. However, the conference had six players picked in the NBA draft, including three first-rounders and two lottery picks. Derrick Williams, the 2010-11 conference player of the year, led the way, getting snapped up by Minnesota with the #2 overall pick. Unfortunately for teams around the conference, 12 seasons of eligibility were left on the table between those six picks and the two early entries who went undrafted: Stanford’s Jeremy Green and Washington State’s DeAngelo Casto. And as a result, what had looked like a potential big-time bounce-back season for the conference now sees somewhat diminished expectations. Perhaps no team was hit harder by early defections than UCLA, who had Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee leave a total of three years of eligibility behind to go get second-round NBA draft picks (and the absence of guaranteed contracts that goes with them) at a time when the NBA labor situation is highly in doubt, but Washington State’s loss of Casto and lottery pick Klay Thompson also leaves the Cougars’ situation fuzzy at best.
  • Replacing Production: Between the early entries to the NBA Draft and departed seniors, the Pac-12 loses its top seven scorers from last season, and 11 of its top 20. Likewise, ten of the top 20 rebounders are gone. However, as always, a new batch of youngsters is ready to show up on campuses this fall and begin contributing immediately. While the Pac-10 inked only nine of the ESPNU top 100 recruits, seven of those players are exciting young guards, all ranked in the top 60 on that list. Arizona leads the way, signing point guard Josiah Turner (#14 overall, according to ESPNU) and Nick Johnson (#21), to go with a couple solid frontcourt signees (Angelo Chol and Sidiki Johnson, #60 and #91, respectively). But Washington (Tony Wroten, Jr., #16), Oregon (Jabari Brown, #25), Arizona State (Jahii Carson, #49), UCLA (Norman Powell, #51) and Stanford (Chasson Randle, #59) all have their own big backcourt recruits ready to provide a burst of energy.

Derrick Williams' performances were one of the highlights of the 2010-11 season.

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Who’s Got Next? Illegal Benefits, Kentucky Spotlight, Shabazz Muhammad and More…

Posted by Josh Paunil on May 27th, 2011

Who’s Got Next? is a bi-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. Twice 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 in the lower levels of the sport. If you have any suggestions as to areas we’re missing, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Introduction

Well, if you haven’t learned yet after the Kevin Ware situation or the Tony Wroten, Jr., drama, the world of college basketball recruiting is nothing without another scandal to fill headlines. It’s also nothing without a big-time commitment happening soon after a de-commitment and the recruiting world certainly can’t live without more news about top five prospects and the rippling affect of other commitments. If you haven’t been able to tell yet, a lot happened in just the past few days in the recruiting world… and we haven’t even started previewing one of the most significant AAU events that will happen all summer.

What They’re Saying

Rodney Purvis tweeted about Ryan Harrow's transfer.

  • Junior Rodney Purvis (#6) on Ryan Harrow’s transfer to Kentucky: “Harrow’s decision doesn’t change my outlook on UK at all. Unless coach tells me otherwise!”
  • Junior Kyle Anderson (#22) on Harrow transferring to the Wildcats: “Ryan Harrow not going to St. John’s keeps them on my list.”
  • Mauricio Ducuara, the head of a basketball foundation in Bogotá, on Hanner Mosquera-Perea (#23) receiving illegal benefits: “People with whom I have spoken said he has received lots of gifts [and] things. If you knew how Hanner grew up the people don’t even have shoes. Hanner came home at Christmas with iPods, iPhones, [Bose] headphones digital cameras. Things that for a kid are impossible.”
  • Baylor assistant coach Mark Morefield : “I guarantee u if he (Perea) does [commit to another school] he will be in Colombia for the spring and summer and next year. Don’t forget it.”
  • Junior Justin Anderson (#45) on why he committed to Virginia: “The Cavaliers were always my second choice behind Maryland. Also, my family lives in Virginia. After the departure of Coach [Gary] Williams and Coach [Robert] Ehsan, it just feels like the right fit.”
  • Junior Archie Goodwin (#19) on other top prospects’ effect on his recruitment: “My friends that are top players are: Rasheed Sulaimon; Shabazz Muhammad; Isaiah AustinRicardo Ledo… [and] Rodney Purvis. When it comes to colleges, we’ll talk about what the coaches told us and see if anything was said different by each other. We’ll compare them that way, but I don’t think it’ll make us decide then and there what we’re gonna do with that school.”
  • Omar Calhoun Sr., junior Omar Calhoun Jr.’s father, on Jim Calhoun potentially retiring: “We believe in UConn and it’s still going to be UConn. We still feel like Coach Calhoun is still going to have a major part still in the development in the program even if he’s not the head coach.”
  • Junior Ricardo Ledo (#9) on the current state of his recruitment: “I don’t have a list, it’s not down to four, I am wide open.”
  • Sophomore Isaiah Lewis on Kentucky and his list: “I really like Kentucky a lot. I think I can play at UK under Coach [John] Calipari and the rest of the coaching staff. I think they can do a great job of coaching me up and getting me to the next level; but I also like other schools, like UConn, Arizona, Kansas, West Virginia, Florida and Florida State right now.”

What Shabazz Muhammad is Saying

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Who’s Got Next? Recruiting Scandals, Updated Player Interests and More…

Posted by Josh Paunil on May 10th, 2011

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. Each 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 in the lower levels of the sport. If you have any suggestions as to areas we’re missing, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com. 

Introduction

From another recruiting scandal to new developments on an old recruiting scandal, this week has been full of news and headlines in the high school basketball world and also includes the best class of 2012 guard in the country de-committing. There have been several updates as well on top prospects from sophomores to seniors regarding their favorite schools and numerous guys have continued to step up their performances throughout the AAU circuit.  Let’s take a deeper look…

What We Learned 

Rodney Purvis (#7) is considering Duke, Kentucky, Louisville and North Carolina State after de-committing.

Louisville Loses Purvis. In a somewhat expected move, the best Class of 2012 guard in the country, shooting guard Rodney Purvis (#7), backed out of his commitment to Louisville after assistant coach Tim Fuller left to take a job at Missouri. However, Louisville has brought in a new assistant coach, Kevin Keatts, who has coached many guys from Purvis’ AAU team and has done well recruiting in the Raleigh area, Purvis’ hometown. Before he chose the Cardinals, Purvis considered Duke, Kentucky, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and Xavier, among others, but has already come out with a new list featuring Duke and Kentucky (again), Louisville (still), and North Carolina State. North Carolina and Missouri are also expected to jump in because Purvis is an RTP native and has obvious ties with the Tigers since their new assistant coach is the reason he chose the Cardinals orginally. Purvis said he’ll be looking for a stable coaching situation and a strong relationship with a staff going forward (to see the rest of Purvis’ comments, check out the “What They’re Saying” section below) and that he hasn’t ruled out Louisville. Another thing to note is that he hasn’t yet talked to new NC State head coach Mark Gottfried

High School Powerhouse Oak Hill Adds Elite Shooting Guard. In a surprising move, Class of 2012 shooting guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (#32) will be transferring from North Central High School (IN) to powerhouse Oak Hill Academy (VA) for his senior season. Smith-Rivera will be joining an already talented squad that has junior wings Jordan Adams (#50) and Damien Wilson as well as center A.J. Hammons (#48). The news was confirmed Saturday night by his mother, Kelana Rivera, but shocked North Central head coach Doug Mitchell (see the “What They’re Saying” section below). Smith-Rivera was a three-year starter and played a key role in North Central’s 2010 state championship. He committed to Xavier last year but later de-committed and told us that Texas, Baylor, UCLA and Georgetown are his favorites right now. He also hasn’t made any public statements about this transfer but Rivera cited playing for Oak Hill head coach Steve Smith and the good opportunity to prepare for college as to why he’s doing so.

Tony Wroten, Jr., Involved In Academic Scandal. Just one week after the Kevin Ware and UCF recruiting scandal, the Seattle Times discovered that the Garfield High School (WA) athletic director in 2010, Jim Valiere, had given Class of 2011 point guard Tony Wroten Jr. (#14 – Washington) and another star athlete passing grades in a Spanish class that never existed. Wroten, Jr., and the other student, Valentino Coleman, told an investigator that Valiere did little more than occasionally quiz them in the hallway last year. The UW commitment needed the class since it requires two years of foreign language credits to enroll. Now you would think that after an investigation discovered this incident, the Athletic Director would try to keep his hands clean, but right after this he created a tiny three-person remedial Spanish class taught by a substitute teachers specifically for Wroten, Jr. This class was district-approved but keep in mind that Garfield High School is already overcrowded and is cutting teachers due to the economy like everyone else. Despite all of this controversy and scandal, if Wroten, Jr., passes his final semester of Spanish this school year, the situation will not affect his UW eligibility, school officials said.

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Around The Blogosphere: May 7, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on May 6th, 2011

If you are interested in participating, send your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com as we will be updating these posts throughout the day.

News

  • Brandon Knight to Stay in Draft: “As expected, star point guard Brandon Knight stated at a press conference today that he will remain in the 2011 NBA Draft and forgo his remaining three years of college eligibility. Knight will almost certainly be drafted in the lottery, and currently signs point to him being drafted somewhere in the 5-7 range.” (A Sea of Blue)
  • Maryland Basketball Clamoring For Series With Georgetown: “A Maryland-Georgetown series is something that has been discussed countless times by many publications, but this is the first time in recent memory that a school official has publicly acknowledged a desire to play the other program.” (Casual Hoya)
  • Former UK Recruit At Center Of Academic Scandal: Washington recruit Tony Wroten Jr. is at the center of an academic scandal. (A Sea of Blue)
  • Terrence Jones Announced His Return On Twitter: The announcement came today, setting up UNC and Kentucky as the twin spires of the 2011-12 hype machine. (A Sea of Blue)
  • A Crushing & Historic Victory for UCLA Students on Behalf of the Bruin Nation: “The result was a smashing victory for current Bruin students, who won it for the entire Bruin Nation. For 37 days we had been subjected to relentless propaganda from UCLA athletic department officials and its sympathizers that the decision to banish our students behind the baseline was done with the support of current students. We have been relentless on our pushback methodically making the point how they were full of lies and contradictions. Now we have a crushing mandate from our student body.” (Bruins Nation)

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Conference Report Card: Pac-10

Posted by Brian Goodman on April 13th, 2011

Andrew Murawa is the RTC correspondent for the Pac-10 and Mountain West conferences. We will be publishing a series of conference report cards over the next week for conferences that received multiple NCAA bids to recap the conference, grade the teams, and look at the future for the conference.

Conference Recap:

After an awful 2009-10 season in which the Pac-10 had to limp into a second NCAA Tournament bid when Washington hit the gas pedal down the stretch, the four tournament bids the conference received this year was a huge improvement. With Arizona advancing to the Elite Eight, the Pac-10 advanced a team beyond the Sweet 16 for the first time in three seasons, and the conference was a much deeper collection of teams than last year. And without a doubt, that came as a result of the enhanced talent level across the conference. Coming into the season, there were just 17 seniors on rosters across the conference, and the youngsters showed vast  improvement this year, notably Derrick Williams (an All-American and national player of the year candidate), Isaiah Thomas, Tyler Honeycutt, and Klay Thompson with several other players making big strides in their games. While the Pac-10 still struggled to gain national respect, it was clear to fans that the level of play is on the rebound from its 2009-2010 nadir.

The Pac-10 was Derrick Williams' personal playground in 2011, and the Wildcats displayed perhaps the most impressive performance of the NCAA Tournament in their dismantling of Duke. (AZ Daily Star/M. Popat)

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Who’s Got Next? A Recruiting Notebook…

Posted by Josh Paunil on April 11th, 2011

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.  Each 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 in the lower levels of the sport.  If you have any suggestions as to areas we’re missing, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Introduction

With this past week full of events such as the All-American Championship, Nike Hoop Summit and Nike EYBL that displayed top high school talent, there were a lot of chances to watch, analyze and talk to some of the best high school basketball players in the country of all grade levels. We were able to watch more than half of the top-50 prospects in both the classes of 2011 and 2012, and saw great match-ups such as the two best guards in the class of 2012 in Rodney Purvis (#9 – Louisville) and Ricardo Ledo (#10) going at it in the EYBL. We also saw Anthony Davis (#4 – Kentucky) go up against one of the top international big men in Bismack Biyombo (Fuenlabrada, Spain) in the Hoop Summit and two class of 2011 top-five point guards in Josiah Turner (#10 – Arizona) and B.J. Young (#22 – Arkansas).

What We Learned

Rodney Purvis, the #9 overall prospect in the class of 2012, was the best player at the Nike EYBL this past weekend in Virginia, and often required two defenders. (Credit: National Recruiting Spotlight)

Rodney Purvis Elevates to Top Guard. Purvis clearly established himself as the best guard in his class during the EYBL as he out-played the second-best guard in Ledo, hit clutch shots and scored prolifically from everywhere on the court. He is a big-time scorer who can shoot the lights out from behind the arc or take it to the rim where he can finish through contact. He is also a good ballhandler and applies great pressure defense at times which results in turnovers for his opponents. Purvis is able to keep his opponents in front of him as well on defense and has good anticipation which results in steals and easy transition baskets on the other end. Expect him to move even further up the rankings since he has started to consistently get into the lane where he can finish or dump it off to a big man. Purvis is an elite level talent who will make an immediate impact for Louisville in a couple of years.

Anthony Davis Rises to #1 Player (coming soon).  Like Purvis, Davis staked his claim as the best player at his position during the Hoop Summit. However, he went one step further and seized the title as the number one prospect in the country (our new rankings will be out next week). Saying Anthony Davis is versatile at 6’11 is an understatement. The former guard is a force down low as a tremendous shot-blocker and rebounder and is very good at guarding the perimeter against smaller players. He can also handle the ball well and is a deft passer.  Additionally, he can score off the dribble and can play either with his back or facing the basket. He is a very tough match-up due to his versatility. His shooting is respectable and he is a dominant offensive rebounder which allows him to get a lot of easy putbacks. Davis’ potential is unlimited and the sky is the limit for him, which is why he is the best player in his class. Look for Davis to dominate at Kentucky next year and to be an impact player in the NBA down the road.

A Duke Version of the Fab Five? The Fab Five documentary got a lot of press and media attention due to Jalen Rose’s remarks and Grant Hill’s response, but Duke-commit Rasheed Sulaimon took something else away from it. “I saw it and thought it would be a cool idea and I know Duke is recruiting [#5] Shabazz [Muhammad], [#19] L.J. [Rose] and [#15] Tony [Parker] hard so I thought why not put another one together,” Sulaimon said when I asked him about it. L.J. Rose also had some remarks about Sulaimon’s idea, “Him and Alex Murphy have been recruiting me, Shabazz [Muhammad] and Tony Parker hard. It would be fun, it would be a lot of fun.” Parker also smiled at the thought of the idea, “It would be fun,” he added.

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