Morning Five: 04.02.14 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on April 2nd, 2014


  1. The biggest name on the coaching carousel (or at least the longest) is off the market as Marquette hired longtime Duke assistant Steve Wojciechowski to be its next head coach. It is pointless to go in-depth about Wojciehowski because he was possibly the most well-known college basketball assistant coach in the country, but he will have a tough task in front of him in replacing Buzz Williams at Marquette. We hesitate to put too much stock into the Krzyzewski coaching tree just because of Chris Collins’ (relative) success in his first season at Northwestern, but it would appear that Wojciehowski would have a good chance of being successful at Marquette given his experience.
  2. With the Marquette vacancy filled, the most prominent remaining opening is at Wake Forest. Yesterday, the school met with Tulsa coach Danny Manning to discuss the opening. Even without Manning’s background in the state of North Carolina, this would be a tremendous hire for Wake Forest and the position is certainly a step-up for Manning assuming that he is confident that he can make the team a winner in the ACC, which would be much harder to do than build a consistent winner at Tulsa. Given the difficulty of winning at Wake Forest and Manning’s name recognition, the smart move would probably be to parlay Wake Forest’s interest into a better contract at Tulsa and then try to move on to a much bigger job when Tulsa makes a NCAA Tournament run.
  3. We usually don’t discuss women’s college basketball on this site (particularly at this time of the year), but we are intrigued by the decision of Louisiana Tech to hire Tyler Summitt as its next women’s basketball coach. Tyler, is of course the son of the legendary Pat Summitt (the all-time NCAA Division I wins leader), so the fact that he followed in his mother’s footsteps should not be that shocking. What is surprising is that Tyler is only 23 years-old and Louisiana Tech has one of the more storied traditions in women’s college basketball so it is hardly the typical starting job although the team has fallen on tough times recently. Tyler will be replacing Teresa Weatherspoon, another women’s college basketball legend, at Louisiana Tech.
  4. Along with the coaching carousel the next few weeks will be full of NBA Draft decisions. Yesterday, Johnny O’Bryant announced that he would be entering the NBA Draft. O’Bryant, who averaged 15.4 points and 7.7 rebounds per game this season, is predicted to be a mid-second round pick. Two other significant players–Gary Harris and Spencer Dinwiddie (and his glorious mustache)–are reportedly still deciding although rumors indicate that they are leaning towards entering the NBA Draft. For Harris the decision would appear to make sense as he is expected to be a borderline lottery pick. Dinwiddie is a more questionable case as he is coming off a season-ending knee injury and is most likely a second-round pick.
  5. Matt Carlino, who stepped in for Kyle Collinsowrth in the NCAA Tournament, is transferring from BYU with one more year of eligibility left. Carlino averaged 13.7 points, 4.3 assists, and 3.4 rebounds per game this season and will be eligible play immediately as he is scheduled to graduate from BYU this summer so he would appear to be an almost ideal transfer target. This will be Carlino’s second transfer as he left midway through his freshman year at UCLA.
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Morning Five: 01.03.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on January 3rd, 2013


  1. After a disappointing two-plus seasons at UCLA ended in his decision to leave the team a little over a month ago Josh Smith has decided to transfer to Georgetown. As we mentioned yesterday Smith could be a huge asset for the Hoyas if he can get his act together and lose the weight he needs to in order to become the player that many expected him to become after an outstanding freshman season. We still are not sure how Smith will fit into Georgetown’s Princeton offense, but Smith is talented enough that if he gets in shape John Thompson III will have to adjust the offense to utilize his unique skills. We are not optimistic that Smith will be able to turn his career around, but a change of scenery is probably the best thing that Smith could have if he wants to succeed.
  2. Michigan and Wisconsin are starting Big Ten play tonight, but both teams may be without key pieces in their backcourt. Michigan may be without the services of Tim Hardaway Jr., who is recovering from an ankle injury that forced him to miss the Wolverines’ game last Saturday against Central Michigan and he remains a game-time decision for their game at Northwestern. The status of Wisconsin guard Ben Brust for the Badgers’ home Big Ten opener against Penn State is also unknown after he sustained a lower leg injury during Wednesday’s practice. Very few details have been released about the extent of Brust’s injury, but the general sense that we get from what has been reported is that is not particularly severe, but more information should become available later today.
  3. In this week’s installment of Luke Winn’s Power Rankings, he takes a look at a variety of interesting statistics for his top 16 teams including our personal favorites this week–free throws per turnover for team’s that force the greatest percentage of turnover and Michael Carter-Williams’ assist distribution. The Carter-Williams graphic is something that we have seen before in various forms including last season when Winn employed it to look at how North Carolina functioned with Kendall Marshall at the point. The free throws per turnover ratio, which Winn used to point out just how effective Louisville is on defense is something we have not seen before, but at first glance appears to be an interesting stat especially when you are looking at teams that apply similar levels of pressure. As we have said before this is not a widely used stat, but don’t be surprised to see it used in March when we are trying to pick an upset where a great defensive team is facing a young point guard.
  4. Hardcore Tennessee fans may remember Tyler Summitt as a seldom used guard on Volunteer teams the past two seasons, but they most likely remember him from being around his mother, the legendary Pat Summitt (the subject of an awesome last sentence in the “Personal” section of his Tennessee player profile). After graduating from Tennessee,  Summitt headed straight into coaching as many would expect a player of his caliber, but with his coaching genes to do. What is slightly more surprising is that he went straight into coaching women’s basketball, which he is coaching at Marquette as an assistant in his first year out of college. Mechelle Voepel of ESPN has a great piece on Summitt and his life’s path that has led him to become a women’s basketball coach. It is unlikely that Tyler will ever approach the success of his mother, but if the Tennessee women’s job becomes open in a couple of years the school’s athletic director could have a very interesting decision to make.
  5. And now for our daily legal update… As we mentioned on Monday, the state of Pennsylvania has decided to file a lawsuit against the NCAA challenging the organization’s legal right to impose such severe sanctions against Penn State. Plenty of solid pieces have been written about, but the best summary we have seen comes from Michael McCann, who provides a solid breakdown of the key issues. We have already stated our issues with the NCAA in this case on Twitter and in this space before (essentially that the NCAA is overstepping its authority in dealing with these issues). Meanwhile, the Big East is attempting to move the lawsuit by Rutgers, which is attempting to get out of paying the $10 million exit fee it owes the conference on the basis that the fee has been applied unevenly. The Big East is trying to move the case from a New Jersey state Superior Court, which would presumably be sympathetic to Rutgers, to a US District Court. Rutgers can challenge the move, but the Big East’s motion seems like a perfectly reasonable request to us although that has not stopped lawyers from contesting issues in the past.
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Morning Five: 07.14.10 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on July 13th, 2010

  1. Of course the biggest news of the summer to date was Monday’s announcement that the NCAA Tournament “First Four” would include four auto-bids along with the last four at-large bids.  Mike DeCourcy got some immediate reactions on the configuration from head coaches Gary Williams, Trent Johnson and Scott Sutton.  Whether politically correct, a compromise, much ado about nothing, or a punt, the two decisions that the NCAA made in the past three months regarding the best thing this sport has to offer shows that they’re listening to the public.  For such a staid institution that has been heavily criticized over the years, this is not a bad thing.
  2. Next year’s DeMarcus Cousins could come in the form of Mississippi State’s Renardo Sidney, so circle your calendars for the December 18 debut of the talented big man in the Atlantis Paradise Island Invitational, where the Bulldogs seek to beef up their RPI standing with a possible game (contract pending) against fellow eternal bubbler Virginia Tech.
  3. New England high school basketball talent no longer an oxymoron?  According to this report by Bostonian Jeff Goodman, the long-underwhelming area of talent may be moving forward in much the same way that the Pacific Northwest has over the last five years.  We’ll have to remain watchful on this one.
  4. Wow, this description by John Feinstein on the book he hoped to do about legendary former UNC coach Dean Smith is stifling in its austerity.  Smith’s memory loss problems were publicly broken last week by the Fayetteville Observer, but it was Feinstein’s tales of trying to discuss past events with Smith for his book that really put things into focus.  Sad, sad story.
  5. Tennessee treasure and women’s head coach Pat Summitt’s son, Tyler, will walk on for UT beginning next season.  He had opportunities to play at the Division III level, but he will use his experience as a member of the men’s team to develop what he hopes will one day turn into a coaching opportunity.  The only question we have is whether he’ll try to coach men’s or women’s ball?
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