Big Ten M5: 12.12.12 Edition

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on December 12th, 2012

  1. The timing couldn’t be more perfect for Tom Crean. As the Hoosiers lose sophomore forward Austin Etheringon to a season ending injury, they gain back two of their incoming freshmen – Hanner Perea and Peter Jurkin – back from suspensions to add depth to the roster. Both of the forwards will be eligible to play on Saturday against Butler. Crean said that he would “ease the players” into his lineup but they should add some additional depth to the frontcourt. The addition of the forwards will also allow Cody Zeller (27.6 MPG) to get some rest during some of the lighter competition at home. Perea seems to have recovered from his foot injury over the summer and has been practicing with the team during the suspension.
  2. Former Michigan State coaching legend Jud Heathcote will not participate in this weekend’s reunion game festivities at the Jenison Field House. Heathcote was supposed to coach alongside Spartans football coach Mike Dantonio, basketball legend Magic Johnson, and former coach Gus Ganakas, but he had to cancel because he slipped on the ice and fell on the pavement over the weekend. He has a replaced hip which will prevent him from traveling due to the incident and the MSU athletic department has not announced his replacement for the game yet. The former coaching legend was in East Lansing from 1976-95 and ended up with a 336-221 record to go alongside his 1979 national title. Tom Izzo was an assistant on his coaching staff upon his retirement and Heathcote strongly urged the school to name Izzo as his replacement.
  3. Minnesota’s backup point guard, Maverick Ahanmisi, has earned his playing time this season under Tubby Smith. Last season, there was speculation that he might transfer out of the program, but with all of the rumors put aside, he has provided valuable minutes to the Gophers. He has averaged 4.9 PPG in just 11.1 MPG to back up Andre Hollins as the primary ball-handler in the Gophers’ half-court sets. Smith has been very impressed with his defensive effort and his composure on the court. The junior guard may not average more than 15 MPG this season because of the depth on the roster but his 52% shooting from the field has been extremely efficient and lets Smith rotate in guards frequently to keep them fresh on the defensive end.
  4. We are over a month into the season and Ohio State head coach Thad Matta is still challenging his team to step up its intensity. Matta discussed Shannon Scott and Sam Thompson as the Buckeyes prepare for their upcoming match-up against Savannah State. Thompson was described as the “ultimate team guy” by his head coach, and Matta wishes that he was a bit more “selfish” on the offensive end — Thompson has been averaging 7.1 PPG and 4.7 RPG at the small forward position so far. Scott, on the other hand, has dished out 4.7 dimes per game in just 19.6 MPG as a backup to Aaron Craft. The sophomore guard said that he is “seeing the court a lot better” this season and provides a good spark off the bench. Matta has depth at the guard position this year, but believes that his players can raise their production another notch, and that’s a good problem to have for a top 10 team.
  5. There is no such thing as too much news about the high school phenom Jabari Parker. The Chicago native is going for his fourth prep state title and has recovered quickly from a foot injury over the summer. ESPN’s Scoop Jackson talks about Parker’s toughness and maturity as he prepares for his senior season. Parker is still pondering over his decision about which college to attend between Florida, Duke, Michigan State and BYU, and when asked about his important decision, Parker said, “the pressure doesn’t affect me.” The forward supposedly added 20 pounds of muscle during the offseason which has drawn some comparisons to former Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger rather than a “more athletic Tim Duncan,” but Parker is so talented that he will form his own identity and shed any comparisons aside once he steps foot on a college campus.
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Ten Tuesday Scribbles: On Indiana, Georgetown, Duke and More…

Posted by Brian Otskey on November 27th, 2012

Brian Otskey is an RTC columnist. Every Tuesday during the regular season he’ll be giving his 10 thoughts on the previous week’s action. You can find him on Twitter @botskey

  1. I was extremely lucky to be sitting courtside for the first truly great game of this young college basketball season last Tuesday night in Brooklyn where Indiana defeated Georgetown in overtime to win the Legends Classic. IU head coach Tom Crean called it an “epic November battle” and boy, was it ever. The level of play displayed by both teams was incredible for this early in the season, something media row couldn’t stop buzzing about. It was as well-played a game I have seen in quite some time and the atmosphere in the building made it all the more special. Most folks thought we’d be seeing Indiana against UCLA in the championship game but it’s funny how fate works out. The Hoyas proved to be a much better opponent than UCLA and gave IU all it could handle. I’ll give you some of my thoughts on each of the four Legends Classic teams, starting with Indiana: You could call me a skeptic because I didn’t have Indiana pegged as a sure-fire Final Four team but the Hoosiers proved they’ll be in the thick of it come March. Indiana’s offensive attack is second-to-none in college basketball and I love the balance this team has. Jordan Hulls is as pure of a shooter as you’ll find but his leadership and defensive improvement are two things that can take Indiana to the next level. Hulls was all over the floor on both ends and Indiana’s best player in the two games at the Barclays Center. Crean has so many weapons to choose from including Hulls, Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo, Christian Watford and more. Oladipo’s athleticism is terrific while Zeller is Mr. Steady. Even Will Sheehey adds a spark off the bench with his leadership and intensity. Where does IU have to improve? Two areas stood out to me.

    Georgetown Players Had No Reason to Hang Their Heads (Washington Post)

    One, Zeller needs to get more touches. Part of that comes from him needing to work harder for position and demand the ball but it wouldn’t hurt if Indiana’s guards looked to him some more. Second is tightening up their defense. The Hoosiers showed a zone for a large part of the game and Georgetown took advantage with spectacular ball movement. Indiana is a better defensive team this year but it’ll have to tighten that up some more in order to win a national championship. I was overwhelmed by Georgetown’s ability to move the ball and get good shots. This shouldn’t be a surprise given past Hoyas teams but this may be John Thompson III’s best unit not in terms of talent but in terms of basketball IQ. The Hoyas probed Indiana’s defense with precision and overcame a talent disadvantage to the point of almost knocking off the top team in the land. Markel Starks is the most improved Hoya but Otto Porter is their undisputed leader and star player. Porter worked the high post all night against IU’s zone to rave reviews and was a strong presence on defense as well. Even in a loss, Georgetown established itself as a Big East contender. UCLA and Georgia rounded out the Legends Classic. The Bruins are an absolute mess defensively and the lack of hustle and intensity is a major red flag. Shabazz Muhammad made his debut and scored a lot of points but didn’t “wow” anyone. Kyle Anderson seems lost offensively and isn’t having the impact many thought he would. Jordan Adams looks like a future star but this team needs to start defending and playing with a purpose if it has any intention of saving Ben Howland’s job. Things are not pretty in Westwood, especially after Sunday night’s stunning collapse and defeat at the hands of Cal Poly. As for Georgia, it was clearly the worst of the teams in this event. That doesn’t mean the Bulldogs are a terrible team but I would be surprised to see them in NCAA contention. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a very good scorer but his shot selection leaves a lot to be desired. I don’t think Georgia is as bad as early losses to Southern Miss and Youngstown State would seem to indicate but I don’t see this team winning more than seven or eight games in the SEC. They do play hard and didn’t back down against two blue-blood opponents.

  2. Two of the 10,000+ people in the seats at the Barclays Center last Tuesday night were Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin, two Indiana freshmen currently serving out a nine game NCAA suspension for receiving impermissible benefits. Both players lost their appeal to have the suspension shortened and will not be eligible until Indiana’s game against Butler on December 15. This all stems from $6,000 to $8,000 in impermissible benefits received via Indiana Elite AAU coach Mark Adams, an individual deemed an Indiana donor because of a total of $185 in donations he gave to the university over 20 years ago, ironically before either of these two players was born. On this surface this seems like a severe miscarriage of justice, especially in light of Shabazz Muhammad’s outcome after a shady recruitment. Muhammad only had to sit out three games for UCLA while Mosquera-Perea, a four-star forward who is expected to contribute off the bench for IU, and Jurkin, a 7’0” center, have to sit out nine games (roughly 29% of Indiana’s regular season). Maybe it is. But look a little deeper and the situation gets murkier. Adams has a VERY close relationship with Indiana, so much so that the NCAA deemed it “unique access and continuous involvement.” As a result, Indiana has suspended its relationship with Adams until next July. Adams lived with Mosquera-Perea and Jurkin in Bloomington on multiple occasions according to published reports and has been involved with some former Indiana basketball players as well. Benefits provided to the players include, among other things, plane tickets, housing, a laptop and a cell phone according to a report in USA Today. It’s hard to make a decision when you look at the facts of the case but my hunch is the NCAA has more on these two players that it isn’t willing to make public. If that’s the case, it’s a shame. Transparency is not the NCAA’s forte and further feeds the criticism of the organization. The bottom line, from my perspective, is that I believe a suspension is warranted. Should that suspension be nine games based on the available facts? I don’t think so. Something more along the lines of what Muhammad received seems appropriate in this case. Read the rest of this entry »
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Big Ten M5: 11.26.12 Edition

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on November 26th, 2012

  1. The Wolverines have won their first five games comfortably on their way to the Preseason NIT crown. Part of the reason for that comfort level is that John Beilein is very satisfied with junior Tim Hardaway Jr‘s performance after the first two weeks of basketball. Hardaway’s offense, despite averaging over 14 PPG last season, was a question for the Wolverines coming into the year because of his poor shot selection. He shot only 28% from beyond the arc last year and was notorious for bad shot selection during certain games during the conference season. But he has shot 47% from deep this year and more importantly has averaged 6.8 RPG to exhibit an overall improvement to his game. Hardaway’s diversified skill set on the floor combined with the emergence of Glenn Robinson III provides the Wolverines multiple good scoring options on the offensive end.
  2. While John Beilein has several offensive options at his disposal, Ohio State head coach Thad Matta is still trying to find some consistency after the Buckeyes’ first four games. Matta is hoping that his team can be more consistent, specifically sophomores Amir Williams and Laquinton Ross — both have averaged double-figure minutes but need to step up if the Buckeyes hope to compete with the likes of Indiana and Michigan in the Big Ten. Ross in particular might be on the “verge” of breaking out per Matta and he is often compared to DeShaun Thomas’ tendencies during his freshman season. Matta has been pushing Williams to practice harder and improve his defensive intensity as well. Both of the sophomores will have an opportunity to crack the starting lineup if they can continue to improve with every game.
  3. Coaches are looking beyond offensive contributions during the first few games of the season. Illinois head coach John Groce is not just happy about his team’s offensive production in Maui (the Illini averaged over 70 points in each game), but he knows that his team can have an off night but still come back to win in different ways. For example, the Illini came back from a 13-point deficit against Hawaii on the road to win in overtime prior to the Maui Invitational run. Traveling though multiple time zones and playing in a hostile environment is not an easy task in itself but his senior guards, Brandon Paul and D.J.Richardson, showed a tremendous amount of toughness in a gutsy win. After the Maui invitational, Illinois clearly experienced a bit of a hangover against Gardner-Webb but found a way to beat them by a point on Sunday night. Groce understands that it will take some time for his team to become more consistent but pulling out close wins proves to him that these Illini are a confident and gritty bunch.
  4. Speaking of gritty and tough players, Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo always expects those qualities in his team captains. According to the head coach, captain Russell Byrd is struggling offensively which makes it tougher for him to lead. Byrd is shooting just 22% from the field and has only made two of his fifteen attempts from beyond the arc. Without star freshman Gary Harris in the lineup, the Spartans dodged a big upset at home over the weekend against UL-Lafayette as they won, 63-60, in East Lansing. Byrd was responsible for four of the Spartans’ 20 turnovers during the nailbiter, but his contributions will be very important over the next few games until Harris can return to the lineup.
  5. Indiana’s appeal to the NCAA about the suspensions of freshmen forwards Hanner Perea and Peter Jurkin were unsuccessful. Their original suspension of nine games has been upheld and the forwards will not be eligible to play until December 15 against Butler in the Crossroads Classic. The Hoosiers, despite not having Derek Elston available due to an injury, have not had any trouble rebounding so far with Cody Zeller dominating the paint. They outrebounded Georgetown 30-21 and have not missed either of the freshmen forwards at this early point of the season. But Tom Crean will need some depth in the frontcourt during Big Ten play and the sooner Perea and Jurkin see some minutes on the court, the better for his Hoosiers.
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Morning Five: 11.26.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on November 26th, 2012

  1. The ongoing suspension of Michael Dixon remains one of the most confusing elements of the season so far. When Missouri coach Frank Haith initially reported the indefinite suspension the decision on when Dixon would return was supposedly in Haith’s hands, but now reports are coming out that it might not be in Haith’s hands and the inciting incident may not be as benign as Haith and the Missouri basketball program initially reported. Based on a series of tweets from former Tiger star Kim English the case that Dixon is involved in is in front of the school’s Student Conduct Committee indicating that it is a fairly significant issue. We have heard several rumors about the case, but without confirmation it would be reckless (and unprofessional) to post them, but they are out there if you want to find them. If the rumors are true, we should be hearing about this case (officially) in the near future.
  2. One of the great things about getting talented recruits is that you get the talented recruits. The downside is that it often pushes your older players down the bench or in some cases out the door. The latter is the case for UCLA as Tyler Lamb has decided to transfer from the school. Lamb, a junior who averaged 5.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game as a Bruin, saw his minutes shrink after returning from arthroscopic knee surgery and seeing the incoming freshmen–Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams, and Shabazz Muhammad–take away many of his minutes. Lamb has not revealed any of his potential destinations, but it is worth noting that his last four before he decided on UCLA were Arizona, USC, San Diego, and UC Santa Barbara. With the first two almost definitely out because of restrictions against transfers within the same conference that leave just San Diego and UC Santa Barbara unless Lamb decides he wants to continue to play at the BCS conference level.
  3. You will not being seeing Morehead State coach Sean Woods tonight when his team plays against Norfolk State as Woods was given a one-game suspension for his treatment toward Devon Atkinson late in the team’s loss at Kentucky last week. The suspension shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given the media’s reaction to it, but it is refreshing to see a school take action when a coach behaves badly instead of always seeing the athlete punished (obviously the athlete wasn’t going to be punished here, but you usually see the coach get away without anything more than a slap on the wrist). As we said last week, the bigger issue for Woods and Morehead State should be how recruits view Woods’ actions and whether they will want to play for him.
  4. We have to give the NCAA credit for sticking by its guns no matter how misguided they may be as it upheld its ridiculous nine-game suspension for Indiana freshmen Hanner Perea and Peter Jurkin. We already have discussed our thoughts on this case (their sponsor was technically a booster based on an old $185 donation) so we won’t go into too much detail here about why this is so ridiculous, but it is unfortunate that “the kids” have to be punished here because of the NCAA’s disapproval of a certain AAU program. However, now that it is known this should be a warning to all players and programs that the NCAA will treat these interactions in this manner so we won’t feel bad for the next player that gets stuck in this situation.
  5. We have seen plenty of amusing attempts to lure a recruit to a school, but we have to tip our hats to a pair of students at BYU who printed 6,300 shirts saying “Chicago to Provo” in hopes of convincing Jabari Parker, considered by many to be the top recruit in this year’s class, to come to BYU. The shirts were a small part in a campaign that has gone viral (see the attached video in the above link) in hopes of getting Parker, who would be by far the biggest recruit to ever end up in Provo. Parker isn’t expected to announce for another month or two at earliest and he hasn’t commented on the campaign, but we doubt that it hurt BYU’s chances.

Bonus: Just after we completed the Morning Five the news came out that Louisville center Gorgui Dieng would be out indefinitely with a fractured scaphoid in his left wrist. This is a big blow to the Cardinals, who depend on Dieng’s interior defense as they lack an adequate back-up for his interior presence and solid if unspectacular inside game. The school should release more information about how long Dieng is expected to be out after he meets with an orthopedic surgeon later today.

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Big Ten M5: 11.20.12 Edition

Posted by jnowak on November 20th, 2012

  1. The news of the day in Big Ten land was the formal announcement that Maryland would be leaving the ACC and joining the conference for the start of the 2014-15 school year, and that Rutgers was expected to announce a similar move to the Big Ten from the Big East on Tuesday. Such realignment would have a profound impact on the state of basketball in the conference, with the Terrapins known as the perennial No. 3 team in the ACC (Rutgers is a Big East bottom-feeder). Michigan State coach Tom Izzo admitted he enjoys the tradition-rich Big Ten and worries about the increase in travel (New Jersey to Nebraska, anyone?) but says he’s pleased about the proactive approach Jim Delaney and the conference presidents/chancellors have taken during realignment. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said the location of the two schools opens the conference to a new market and a new world of recruiting that can help not only those additional two schools, but also the universities already positioned in the Big Ten.
  2. Here’s an unfamiliar and somewhat odd concept to come out of basketball camp in Lincoln: High expectations. That’s what coach Tim Miles has for center Andre Almeida, who certainly has a physically imposing presence in the post as he clocks in at 6’11″, 310 pounds. As for what Miles expects? “19 and 7,”he said, according to the Lincoln Journal Star. “Realistically, we need somebody to step up, so it might as well be him,” Miles said. “Why not? Seriously, why not? Because he hasn’t done it in the past, right? That’s why not. But why live that self-fulfilling prophecy? Let’s get him the dang ball where he deserves it and see what he can do with it.” Almeida averaged 5.2 PPG and 3.3 RPG last season as a junior, but his 19/7 against Nebraska-Omaha was exactly what Miles hopes to see out of the big man this season.
  3. One of the most concerning aspects for Wisconsin in last week’s blowout loss at Florida was how the Badgers were handled on the defensive end, allowing the Gators to dictate the pace of the game nearly throughout. That was a point of emphasis in the Badgers’ bounce-back win against Cornell, as Wisconsin provided suffocating defense while holding Cornell to 26.2 percent shooting from the field and 13.3 percent from long range. The win not only helped put to bed the Florida loss, but also a previous Cornell upset. In the second round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament, the Big Red shot 61.1 percent overall and 53.3 percent from three to end the Badgers’ season, 87-69.
  4. The absence of true freshmen Peter Jurkin and Hanner Mosquera-Perea was noticeable in Indiana‘s win against Georgia on Monday night in Brooklyn as the Hoosiers found themselves in a bit of early foul trouble before rallying to avoid the upset. But Indiana may not be without the duo as long as originally expected — the NCAA suspended the two for nine games, meaning they wouldn’t be eligible until the December 15 game against Butler, but that suspension could be reduced on Tuesday, ESPN‘s Andy Katz first reported. The two were suspended right before the Hoosiers’ first regular-season game for receiving improper benefits as AAU players for Indiana Elite.
  5. For a cupcake game — a 69-41 win over Texas Southern — there was a bit of drama in Michigan State‘s home opener, concerning both a big man who was on the floor and one who was not. Derrick Nix did not start after opening Michigan State’s first two games, and Matt Costello made his season debut in a bit of a lineup shakeup for Tom Izzo’s group. The freshman had four points and three rebounds in 11 minutes after returning from a tailbone bruise, while fellow big man Alex Gauna got the nod in favor of Nix. Izzo had hinted at the idea earlier in the month that he might like to switch up the starting lineup and a lesser opponent may have given him just the opportunity to do so. He likes to experiment with his rotation early on and whittle it down later into the year, but a deep frontcourt that also includes Adreian Payne and potentially Branden Dawson and Russell Byrd at the four gives Izzo and the Spartans a wealth of options down low.
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Big Ten M5: Opening Day Edition

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on November 9th, 2012

  1. The preseason top 50 players for the Wooden Award has been announced and nine Big Ten players were included on the list. The full list can be found here but clearly the B1G dominates the list which should come as no surprise because there are five teams ranked in the Top 25 from the league. Michigan, Indiana and Ohio State have two players each on the team, while Michigan State’s Keith Appling, Illinois’ Brandon Paul and Penn State’s Tim Frazier round the up the rest of the nine. Paul and Frazier might not lead their teams to the NCAA Tournament but both of them are expected to stuff the stat sheets and should average at least 15 PPG this season.
  2. Speaking of Indiana, Tom Crean is hoping that the suspensions of Hanner Perea and Peter Jurkin will be reduced after the NCAA hears their appeals. Both freshmen were suspended for nine games for accepting benefits from a booster. After losing Derek Elston for a few weeks due to an injury, Crean needs their help in the frontcourt to protect and complement Cody Zeller. The Hoosiers won’t struggle too badly without them but a long suspension will derail their plans to improve by conference season with a full rotation of players. Indiana’s game against North Carolina in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, for example, will be tough but they have enough talent to overcome the Tar Heels without these two freshmen.
  3. The college hoops season tips off today with Michigan State battling Connecticut at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany. This is a big game for Tom Izzo not just professionally but also at a personal level. One of Izzo’s relatives, Michael Izzo, works at the commissary office and will meet the head coach along with his family. Izzo is also happy that the troops overseas will get to see an exciting match-up between two historic programs in college hoops. As for the game itself, Michigan State’s Gary Harris will showcase his talents for the first time on the national stage and the Spartans will look to lock down the Connecticut backcourt of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright if they want to pull of an opening win today.
  4. Ohio State is considered a top 10 team in the country mainly due to the talents of Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft. Not only do the Buckeyes have two potential All-Americans on their roster but they also have great depth at the wing position. Thad Matta will wait until tonight’s tipoff to decide who starts at the small forward position for the season opener against Marquette. Sam Thompson and Laquinton Ross are the finalists for that spot and both are great choices due to their gifted athleticism. Ross was highly ranked out of high school and is supposed to have great offensive skills while Thompson is a very tough defender. Lenzelle Smith Jr. will play at the scoring guard position alongside Aaron Craft in the backcourt.
  5. Minnesota’s Tubby Smith has to be glad that the season is finally here after all of the off-court troubles he’s had to deal with over the last couple of months. But on the flip side, he will also be under intense scrutiny to perfrom and the fans will expect him to show some results on the court. He is owed $2 million this season and needs to prove that he is worth such a big paycheck. Trevor Mbakwe is definitely confident that the Gophers will prove their worth on the court and he has a great supporting cast as well. Rodney Williams can get to the basket in several different ways and Andre Hollins will be great on the perimeter. Smith needs to win consistently over the next two months to divert all of the negative attention back to winning actual basketball games and prove that he has control of the program.
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Indiana Will Open the Season Without Two Freshmen Available

Posted by jnowak on November 7th, 2012

No. 1 will start the year down two. As silly as the rule may be, the top-ranked Hoosiers will open their regular season on Friday without heralded freshmen Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin. The two have been suspended by the NCAA for the first nine games of the year after it was discovered that their former AAU coach, Mark Adams, provided them with thousands of dollars in plane tickets, meals, housing and personal items. The NCAA said in a statement that the two players were indeed allowed to accept those benefits from Adams’ non-profit organization that was formed to help international players obtain travel documents and to help cover costs to travel to the U.S (Mosquera-Perea is a native of Colombia, and Jurkin the Sudan). But Adams was considered an Indiana booster at the time, because he donated $185 to the school from 1986-92. Boosters can not provide benefits to players. Mosquera-Perea must pay back $1,590 and Jurkin will have to repay $250 (both to a charity of their choice), according to the Associated Press.

IU’s Freshmen Class Took an Early Hit Today (credit: scottphotography.com)

The two freshmen — part of Tom Crean’s No. 5-ranked class, according to Rivals.com — were expected to contribute immediately, although unlikely to start. Mosquera-Perea was Rivals’ No. 43 overall recruit in this year’s class, and Jurkin was unranked. The latter scored four points in 11 minutes in the Hoosiers’ exhibition win against Indiana-Wesleyan on November 1, while Mosquera-Perea was in uniform but did not play due to left foot injury that has been bothering him for most of the summer and fall.

Tom Crean was asked about the situation following the exhibition victory and said this: “What I can say about that is that we go through a lot in a program,” he told Insidethehall.com. “There’s situations that are always going to arise and every one of them has got a process to it. And we’re in the middle of that process. We just are. That’s the extent of it. They’re two great kids that are trying to get better every day and it’s not like it’s anything that we’re dealing with that just came up. It’s been a process for some time. And that’s really where we’re at with it.”

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Morning Five: 11.07.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on November 7th, 2012

  1. The NCAA came down hard on one of this year’s national title favorites and it probably isn’t the one that you expected. Yesterday, the NCAA announced that it was suspending two of Indiana‘s top incoming freshmen – Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin – for nine games each because they received benefits in high school from a man the NCAA deemed an Indiana booster. Pretty simple case, right? Not exactly, since the booster obtained his status by giving Indiana $185 over 20 years ago. As you can imagine, quite a few people are up in arms over this including at least one notable Kentucky fan who has been known to use the #iulol Twitter hashtag on more than one occasion, but who now is willing to wield a pitchfork alongside his Indiana brothers. For what it is worth, Indiana will appeal the ruling and perhaps the suspensions could be reduced but there’s no telling what to expect with such a strange case.
  2. According to a report from The Los Angeles TimesUCLA may be getting a special opening night surprise on Friday with the possible return of Shabazz Muhammad from a right shoulder strain and a temporary reprieve from the NCAA’s investigation into his family’s financial dealings. The recovery from the right shoulder strain should not need any explanation (when he is healthy, he is ready to come back), but the NCAA issue is a little more tricky as the rules allow a player to practice and play with a team for 45 days while the NCAA goes through its investigation. Muhammad started working out with the Bruins approximately a month ago so he would have about two more weeks to play with the team before his window runs out. While this is a possibility we don’t think it would be wise for the UCLA coaching staff to introduce a player who they know may not be eligible for some early season games given the chance that he may not be playing with them again for quite a while.
  3. Apparently the weather in San Diego isn’t perfect all the time as a chance of rain has led the the promoters of the Battle of Midway to postpone the game between Syracuse and San Diego State from Friday night to Sunday. While the decision to move the event back two days was made to keep the event outdoors rather than forcing it into a more mundane indoor environment, it will likely create a variety of issues for individuals who were travelling to the game and for the networks intending to broadcast the game. Early reports indicate that a variety of cable networks will still show the game, but likely to a much smaller audience (competing against the NFL). Given the events of the past few weeks we have become accustomed to sporting events getting postponed due to inclement weather, just usually not a basketball game to the risk of a shower.
  4. We usually don’t comment on injuries to players who averaged 1.6 points and 0.8 rebounds per game last year, but most players are not named Shawn Kemp Jr.  either (passing on the easy paternity jokes). The Washington sophomore forward was expected to have a greatly expanded role this season, but a torn right patella tendon is expected to keep him out for the next six to eight weeks. That timetable should allow him to return for most of Pac-12 play, but until then the Huskies will have to rely on several other players whom Kemp was expected to split minutes with this season. If Kemp returns and becomes an offensive force down low for the Huskies it could be a big boost for a team that lacks much of a consistent inside offensive presence.
  5. George Mason suspended a pair of sophomores – Erik Copes and Vaughn Gray – for three games each because of “student-athlete conduct violations.” Losing a pair of players who averaged a combined 7.1 points per game last season for a few games is not a significant setback, but it could cost the Patriots later in the season from an RPI perspective as the duo will miss games against Virginia, Bucknell, and Mercer. The latter two games should be relatively comfortable wins even without the extra depth that Copes and Gray provide, but the season opener against in-state rival Virginia is another story, and if the Patriots lose the game and wind up on the bubble on Selection Sunday it may be a game that their fans look back on ruefully.
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How Will Derek Elston’s Injury Impact The Hoosiers?

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on October 25th, 2012

Every prediction about the upcoming college basketball season ought to be made with a disclaimer: “assuming they are healthy.” This disclaimer definitely applies to the Indiana Hoosiers this year. Just a few days after being ranked as the best team in the country by the coaches, Tom Crean’s squad already has experienced its first major obstacle of the season. Forward Derek Elston will be sidelined with a knee injury for 6-8 weeks according to several sources. No team is immune to injuries and Elston’s absence for possibly the first 10-12 games will certainly impact the Hoosiers.

Elston’s knee injury will open up some minutes to the younger Hoosiers’ forwards.

Even though Elston only played 12.3 MPG last season, he was expected to provide an important role off the bench for Crean’s group this year. Averaging 2.4 RPG is definitely not all-conference worthy but he brings several intangibles to the team with his size (6’9, 216 lbs) and experience (senior). Elston, Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls have been around Bloomington for a few seasons now, and their experience will help younger guys like Yogi Ferrell get up to pace very quickly amidst the intense media spotlight on the Hoosiers. Elston is another key body in the paint and would have taken the bulk of the defensive load to help keep All-America candidate Cody Zeller out of potential foul trouble. Senior forwards who have been around the Big Ten for four seasons know a thing or two about defending the paint and he will be definitely be missed during the non-conference season. Elston’s injury obviously means some shuffling within the Indiana rotation but that could also have a positive impact on the younger players in the long run.

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Around The Blogosphere: September 20, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on September 20th, 2011

If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com. We will add to this post throughout the day as the submissions come in so keep on sending them.

News

  • Calhoun on expansion: UConn needs to do what’s best for UConn:  Jim Calhoun offers his thoughts on what UConn should do. (The UConn Blog)
  • Jim Boeheim Grinning & Bearing It, Barely…: “Obviously, Jim Boeheim hates the idea of Syracuse going to the ACC. You can give me all the official statements you want. We all know they’re B.S. and the idea of SU playing Clemson & Florida State instead of Georgetown and Villanova makes him vomit.” (Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician)
  • Jerime Anderson Reinstated: The senior guard was suspended two games for stealing a laptop. (Bruins Nation)
  • Maryland (and Duke?) Wants the ACC to Keep Expanding: “Per the Jeff Barker at the Baltimore Sun, the Terrapins’ athletic department is partnering with – get this – Duke, in privately pushing for the addition of two more teams, thereby making the ACC the first conference to go to 16.” (Testudo Times)
  • UM Hoops to Host Crisler Arena Open House: “The University of Michigan men’s and women’s basketball programs will host an open house on Friday (Sept. 23) from 5-8 p.m. at Crisler Arena.” (UM Hoops)
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Around The Blogosphere: July 5, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on July 5th, 2011

If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com. We will add to this post throughout the day as the submissions come in so keep on sending them.

General News

  • Tony Delk officially named NMSU assistant: “New Mexico State University said that Tony Delk would be leaving Kentucky and joining Marvin Menzies’ staff as an assistant for the Aggies.” (Kentucky Sports Radio)
  • Updated 2011-2012 basketball schedule: A look at what we have of Louisville’s schedule so far. (Card Chronicle)
  • Doron Lamb makes Yahoo!’s All-Firecracker Team: The Kentucky sophomore is one of the players that is expected to have a break-out season next year. (Kentucky Sports Radio)
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Around The Blogosphere: May 16, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on May 16th, 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

  • Mark Turgeon Lands First Commitment at Maryland, 2012 Sleeper Guard Seth Allen: “Say what you want to say about Mark Turgeon, but he works fast. Just days after being hired, he’s already landed his first commitment of the 2012 class: Fredericksburg Christian (VA) 6-2 guard Seth Allen. Allen joins fellow Virginian Justin Anderson as the Maryland commitments in the 2012 class; the Terrapins will likely have at least five open scholarships in the class, thanks to the recent defections of Jordan Williams, Sterling Gibbs, Martin Breunig, and possibly Nick Faust.” (Testudo Times)
  • Maryland Meeting with Dalonte Hill: Who He Is and Why He Matters: Some background information on the Kansas State assistant and why Maryland is pushing to add him to their new staff. (Testudo Times)
  • Incoming ‘Cats Shun Team USA For Leg Up On Next Season: Michael Gilchrist, Marquis Teague, and Anthony Davis were among a group of 27 players that turned down an offer to play for the under-19 US National team in order to get ready to play college basketball. (A Sea of Blue)
  • Florida Releases Assistant Basketball Coaches’ Salaries: The three assistants will be making between $100,000 and $235,000 in salary along with various extra incentives. (Alligator Army)

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