“Boom Goes the Dynamite!”: 01.10.09 Late Edition

January 10, 2009

As we mentioned in our BGTD Early Edition today, we’re still tinkering around with a workable format for this feature.  So with the West Coast Office taking over as you easterners hunker down for the night, we’re going to try it a little differently this evening.  Let us know in the comments if you have any feedback, constructive, destructive or otherwise.

Sidenote:  is there a better value than the Fox College Sports package on your cable or dish system?  Seriously, for $5/month, you get access to dozens more college games, and at least on ours, the Big 10 Network and the CBS College Sports Network.  Great deal, and this comes from we who typically despise our cable company.

Comments Heading into the Darkness.

  • The only significant upset so far today has been spastic UMass (5-8 ) spanking Dayton (14-1) in Springfield, 75-62.
  • Staying in the A10, that St. Joe’s – Rhodie triple-OT thriller (92-86 St. Joe’s) at the Palestra must have been something.

3pm/4pm/5pm Games.

  • There was a mild upset in Lincoln as Nebraska ran out to a big first half lead and held off Mizzou down the stretch.  From what we saw, Missouri didn’t look all that interested.
  • Life on the road in the Big 10 is not going to be pleasant for the Hoosiers this year.  The Illini were only up 45-20 at the half.

6pm/7pm/8pm Games.

  • We caught a good bit of the UConn-Cincy game and continue to wonder when (if?) the Huskies will reach their lofty potential.  They seemed to do just enough to make sure that they won the game – nothing more, nothing less.  As an example, nine-footer Hasheem Thabeet had three rebounds in 29 minutes.
  • UCF might just have the ugliest home court in America.  Memphis probably isn’t going 18-0 in CUSA this year.
  • It’s amazing how much harder Cal is playing on the defensive end this year vs. last year.  The Bears pulled off the mild upset in Washington and now stand at 4-0 in the Pac-10.  The two starting backcourts combined for 120 pts in this triple-OT game.
  • We caught a bit of the Florida-Ole Miss game and the Gators looked tough (for a half).  Still don’t think the SEC has much to show this year.
  • Also caught some of the Miami-BC game, and well, let’s just say that we have no idea how BC managed to beat Carolina last weekend.
  • Ugh.  Also noticed Illinois St. lost its second in a row (after a 14-0) start to Indiana St. tonight, a 4-12 team.

9pm and Later Games.

  • Um, Arkansas can beat top 10 teams at home, but not Mississippi St.  Nice.
  • Stanford blew a lead at Wazzu, but neither of these teams look very impressive.  NIT for both.

What We Learned Today. Not a lot, actually, other than to not assume Arkansas will roll through its home schedule.  Today’s slate of games was rather uninspiring, and it doesn’t get terribly better tomorrow until 8pm, when Wake-Carolina tips off.  We love the way the Deacs have been playing lately, and they are at home, so that one could be very interesting.  ESPN should have started Gameday this weekend and made that game the focal point instead of the worthless Miami (FL) at UNC game next weekend.


Seeking Correspondents Who Like Southern Fried Hoops

January 3, 2009

As you know if you read this blog, we take pride in providing our readers with the most comprehensive coverage of all 31 Division I conferences available in the so-called alt-media.  But given our pitiful pay scale, sometimes perfectly good correspondents lose interest in providing their usual excellent coverage, and we need to find some new reliable bloggers/writers who are willing to step in and take over for certain leagues.  This is especially important as we move into conference season and start thinking about bubbles and brackets over the next ten weeks until Selection Sunday.  So please, if you have any interest in becoming an RTC correspondent for one or more of the below conferences, or if you know of someone who would, please drop us a comment below or send us an email.

Conferences Needing Correspondents

  • Atlantic Sun
  • Southern
  • Southland
  • SEC

Email us at rushthecourtATyahooDOTcom if you think you can help…


ATB: Holiday Weekend Wrap

December 28, 2008

afterbuzzer1

Let’s start with some news & notes…

  • Which of the ten (now nine) unbeaten teams are frauds and which are legit?  Not sure we agree about Minnesota, Goodman.
  • On Jan. 7th, ESPN will have its announcers switch roles, using its NBA team of Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson and Mike Tirico to call the Duke-Davidson game, and its college team of Dan Shulman and Dick Vitale to call the Heat-Nuggets game.  One can only hope that Van Gundy and Jackson will get into an argument over how to best defend Stephen Curry.
  • Just tuning in to college hoops?  Here’s a season recap.  And here’s Jeff Goodman’s Xmas gift column.

Weekend Wrap. The weekend was generally light, with only a few really good matchups.  So we’ll just hit the highlight games in short order tonight.

Saturday Games.

  • LSU 64, Washington St. 52. Is LSU a team to watch in the SEC West?   Well, the Tigers are 10-0 at home and 0-1 on the road against the nation’s 300th toughest schedule.  You tell us.
  • Kentucky 76, Florida Atlantic 69. The Cats struggled in this one as a team, but Patrick Patterson (27/14/3 blks) is entering himself into first-team all-american consideration with his consistently superb numbers.  Consider that PP is averaging 20/10 on 71% shooting and is the second most efficient player in America (behind only Blake Griffin).
  • Louisville 82, UAB 62. Rick Pitino benched Earl Clark and Andre McGee and the Cards responded with the new lineup by pulling away from an overmatched UAB team with little depth.  T-Will nearly had a trip-dub with 21/10/7 assts.
  • West Virginia 76, Ohio St. 48. Unbeaten no more.  WVU put the smack down on the Buckeyes in their house, ending a 14-game winning streak and giving Bob Huggins sweet vindication given his previous snubs by the flagship university of the state of Ohio.   A 27-4 run in the mid to late-second half did the trick.
  • Michigan St. 82, Oakland 66. This game is only notable because Goran Suton started, contributing 16/9 in the process.  A healthy and effective Suton is key to MSU’s season.

Sunday Games.

  • St. Mary’s 87, San Jose St. 78 (Sat.) and St. Mary’s 76, Morgan St. 60.  Don’t look now, but SMC has now won nine in a row against a top 60 schedule.
  • Wagner 68, NJIT 58. That’s 45 Ls in a row now.  The next best chance for a win – try 1/21 against Bryant University.
  • UCLA 78, Lousiana Tech 55. It’s hard to tell whether UCLA is actually improving, but they’ve won their last six by an average of 25+ pts.  Jrue Holiday had 12/10/5 assts/3 stls today.
  • Illinois St. 72, Missouri St. 69 (OT). In a key early-season MVC matchup, ISU stayed unbeaten.  Down 15 in the mid-second half, the Redbirds used a 22-2 run to take the lead and held on in OT.
  • Florida St. 82, W. Kentucky 69. FSU pulled away late against the most schizophrenic team in America behind Toney Douglas’ 27/5/5 assts.
  • USC 66, Oral Roberts 56. Demar DeRozan had his third consecutive solid game (18/5) as the Trojans held off ORU.
  • Virginia 88, Georgia Tech 84 (OT). In an entertaining battle of two teams going nowhere this season, the Wahoos were able to steal a conference road win behind super frosh Sylvan Landesberg’s 26/6/5 assts.  We still can’t figure out why Ga Tech isn’t better than they are with the talent they have on that roster.
  • Lipscomb 74, Indiana 69. This is what we were afraid of with this IU squad.  With 5 minutes to go in the first half, IU led 37-16.  They were outscored 58-32 the rest of the way.  A four-win Big 10 slate should be considered a huge success this year.
  • Florida 74, Winthrop 45. Winthrop (1-10) is an abomination these days.   Halftime score – Florida 53, Winthrop 11.
  • Minnesota 82, High Point 56. Minny is now 12-0, its best start in sixty years.  That Tubby hire looks good right now, doesn’t it?
  • Siena 75, St. Joseph’s 74. Siena rallied from eighteen down to get this win, and in turn, may have saved its season.
  • UNC 97, Rutgers 75. Another methodical blowout win for the Heels.  Hansbrough had 26/10.  Up next for Rutgers…  #3 Pitt, then #2 UConn.
  • Stanford 111, Texas Tech 66.  This was the most shocking score of the weekend.  Certainly right now Johnny Dawkins is looking like a national COY candidate – he’s never lost a game!

On tap Monday (all times EST). Big Monday gets a jump before the new year with a blockbuster game – Georgetown at UConn.  The nightcap – Cincy at Memphis – isn’t half-bad either.

  • Connecticut v. Georgetown (ESPN2) – 7pm
  • Villanova v. Temple (ESPNU) – 7pm
  • Baylor v. Portland St. – 8pm
  • Davidson @ Charleston (ESPNU) – 9pm
  • Memphis v. Cincinnati (ESPN2) – 9pm

A Little Preseason Bracketology…

November 10, 2008

rtc-08-09-preview

As you know, over the course of the last month and with the invaluable assistance of our correspondent brigade, we’ve rolled out 31 conference primers.  For each conference primer, we made a conscious attempt to provide a postseason seed for each and every NCAA team.  Now that we’ve finished, we thought it would be interesting to slot each team into a bracket taking into consideration the standard rules of seeding that the NCAA uses, and taking it one step further, play out the games as we would currently pick them.  Our results are below, so here is the first annual RTC Preseason Bracket(sorry for the small size, but if you click the image, you can see our predictions)

rtc-2008-09-preseason-bracket

Just some brief additional information on conference affiliation (avg. seed):

  • Big East – 9 teams  (4.8)
  • Big 12 – 7 teams  (6.3)
  • SEC – 6 teams  (7.2)
  • ACC – 5 teams  (5.4)
  • Big 10 – 4 teams  (6.3) 
  • Pac-10 – 4 teams (5.8)
  • A10, CUSA, Mtn West, Missouri Valley, WCC – 2 teams each  (7.9)
  • All Other Conferences (20) – 1 team each  (13.8)

Tell us how stupid we are below in the comments.  (trust us, we know this bracket isn’t perfect)


10.30.08 Fast Breaks

October 30, 2008

What are you going as for Halloween this year?  We hear the Kelvin Sampson costumes are boss in Bloomington…


This is a Good Idea. Thanks, ESPN.

September 24, 2008

It’s no secret that we’ve had our issues with the WWL over the last few years, but if you remove its Disneyfied cross-promotional garbage and the regrettably unwatchable Sportscenter, there’s still no better existing production value when it comes to the actual broadcast of games.  And lots of them.  A fair argument can be made that ESPN has done more for the popularity of college basketball since its inception than any other entity, media or otherwise.  Most everyone we know grew up watching Big East or ACC games on ESPN in the 80s and 90s, and as we all know, prior to ESPN’s existence, the NCAA Tournament was largely shown on tape-delay. 

What we’re getting at is that ESPN and college hoops have a long and prosperous history together, and it’s nice to see that continue in the modern era of sports specialization.  With that said, we wanted to point out that ESPN’s decision released today to have an “Opening Day” extravaganza of college basketball is nothing short of brilliant.  We’ve also often bemoaned the fact that, unlike nearly every other major American sport, college hoops really doesn’t have a “start” date.  The season begins when teams start playing in random tournaments sometime in November, and most people are surprised to learn that college hoops has started when they see a Purdue-Florida Intl. score on a random Tuesday night along the bottom line scroll. 

ESPN’s big day of hoops on Nov. 18 (which, interestingly, is a Tuesday and will have no competition with football) will at least make certain that the general sports nation is aware that college basketball is back and people should start taking notice.  Some of the very best nonconference matchups occur in late November and early December while most folks are still paying attention to a handful of teams on the college gridiron, so from a marketing perpective, the initiation of a huge day of solid to good basketball games to “kick off” the season’s coverage is a winner.  We also love how they’re making use of all the time zones to approximate a full 24 hours of coverage.  The schedule is below. 

The hoops bonanza scheduled for ESPN networks on Nov. 18 (all times ET).

• Midnight: UMass at Memphis (ESPN)
• 2 a.m.: Fresno St. at St. Mary’s (ESPN)
• 4 a.m.: Idaho St. at Hawaii (ESPN)
• 6 a.m.: College Hoops Tip-Off Special (ESPN)
• 10 a.m.: Penn at Drexel (ESPN)
• Noon: Liberty at UNC-Asheville (ESPN)
• 2 p.m.: Iowa at Kansas (women) (ESPN)
• 4 p.m.: Centenary at Baylor (ESPN)
• 6 p.m.: Richmond at Syracuse (ESPN)
• 7 p.m.: NIT Regional Final-Purdue (ESPNU)
• 7:30 p.m.: NIT Regional Final-Boston College (ESPN2)
• 8 p.m.: College GameDay-Chapel Hill (ESPN)
• 9 p.m.: Kentucky at North Carolina (ESPN)
• 9 p.m.: Florida Gulf Coast at Kansas (ESPNU)
• 9:30 p.m.: NIT Regional Final-Oklahoma (ESPN2)
• 11:30 p.m.: NIT Regional Final-Arizona (ESPN2)


The First and Only Mississippi Valley St. Post You’ll Ever See

August 25, 2008

Patrick Marshall of Bluejay Basketball is RTC’s Big 12 correspondent and occasional contributor.

During the off season for college basketball, about the only real exciting thing to look forward to is speculation on the schedule for next year–like will a large conference team go on the road to play at a smaller team home court or will teams be playing RPI killers that will hurt them come Selection Sunday?  College basketball scheduling is a little different than college football scheduling in that it is almost an up to the last minute thing to develop a schedule.  Most college football fans have a pretty good idea who is on the schedule up to four years or more in advance.  Most college basketball fans have to wait until a month or two before the current season to find out that season’s schedule.  This probably is more exciting for a small college fan to speculate and wait for, but nonetheless interesting. 
 

Being a fan of the Creighton Bluejays, I was perusing some schedules that have been posted on CollegeHoopsNet.com to see if there were any teams having Creighton on the schedule that we as fans did not know were there yet.  But as I looked a little closer, there was a schedule developing that caught my eye—Mississippi Valley State.

The AD or coach or whoever does the scheduling for the Delta Devils must either dislike the basketball program as a whole or just want to throw the team on the floor because they know they are getting a lot of guaranteed money.  Check out this schedule so far for their month of November:

·         November 17th–@Oklahoma in the first round of the Preseason NIT

·         November 18th–@Oklahoma to play either James Madison or Davidson in winner or loser round of Preseason NIT

·         November 20th–@Montana

·         November 22nd–@Arkansas State

·         November 23rd–@Washington State

Are you serious?  I know SWAC teams are notorious for lining up all of these guaranteed games at schools to help fund other sports and things at their schools, but this makes no sense and you are creating a team that will definitely be tired.  Going from Mississippi to Oklahoma, then three days later go to Missoula, Montana, back towards home to Jonesburg, Arkansas and then back the other way again to Pullman, Washington in the next three days.  Now mapping out it would made a heck of a lot of sense to actually go to Missoula, take the bus ride to Pullman and then fly back to Jonesburg.  But, to cover both coasts back and forth over a couple day period and logging over 6000 miles doesn’t really make sense to me.  Doesn’t that destroy your profit margin? That is absolutely ridiculous.  BTW, the Delta Devils come into Omaha to play the Jays on December 2nd.  They should be a tired team.   

I am also excited to mention that I am taking the challenge of a conference correspondent with Rush the Court this winter.   Though I am a Creighton fan and would love to cover the Valley, I am right smack in the middle (well sort of) of Big 12 territory.  This season should be an intriguing one as we have several questions to answer.   Can Kansas reload and vie for a championship repeat?  Will Texas finally answer the hype machine and be in contention for a run in March to the Final Four?  Will Pat Knight be able to step out of his dad’s shadow to lead Texas Tech to the tourney?  And will Doc “Slingblade” Sadler be able to get Nebraska to the NCAA and notch that first tournament win in program history?  This will be a fun year and an exciting time to be a college basketball fan.

 

 


Gus Gilchrist At It Again

June 4, 2008

Remember Gus Gilchrist?  He’s the 6’9 forward who we took to task last year around this time for backing out of his commitment to Virginia Tech based on the tragic school shootings there last April.  He said that he was “mentally unprepared” to deal with the fallout of that situation, and instead decided to sit out his first year.  We wondered aloud at the time whether Gilchrist wasn’t using his newfound status as a highly-rated recruit to leverage the Va Tech shootings into a better landing spot for himself, and last fall he re-committed to Gary Williams’ Maryland Terrapins, enrolling in January.

Fast forward to the current spring, and Hot Wing Gary’s program appears to be crumbling like the steps of Rome.  Super-juco Tyree Evans backed out of his commitment over the Memorial Day weekend, and Bobby Maze (another recruit) won’t be making it to College Park either.  One of Gary’s expected returnees, freshman forward Shane Walker, already transferred out of the program in April.  The rats appear to be jumping ship, and despite “Once I commit to something, I’m committed,” (yeah!  irony!) Gilchrist has proven that he’s not one to hang around in the face of adversity.  From the Baltimore Sun:

Gus Gilchrist, a talented 6-foot-9, 235-pound forward who was expected to play a major role next season, asked for his release so he could possibly play immediately at another school outside the Atlantic Coast Conference. Because of ACC rules, Gilchrist had to sit out the first semester of games because he had initially signed to play at Virginia Tech.  “Gus has asked for a release to explore other options which may allow him to play more games at another university outside the ACC, pending an NCAA waiver,” Maryland coach Gary Williams said in a prepared statement released by the university.

Once again with Gilchrist, rumors are surfacing that West Virginia is a possible destination.  Joe Alexander appears to be headed to the L, and Gilchrist would likely be eligible to play right away.  That is, until Gilchrist decides that he finds mountaineers distasteful and he wants to play somewhere else after the first semester.  Next stop – back to Virginia Tech (it’s safe there now)!    


DJ Augustin Has Little Wee Arms

June 3, 2008

Apologies in advance for the small text on the table below.  You can see the entire cache of numbers here on a document we saved at Google Docs (fully sortable).  Alternatively, check the list (also sortable) over at DraftExpress, who we owe our eternal thanks to for providing these initial numbers.   

So what we’ve done here is color code highlight the best five (light green) and worst five (beige) performances in each category.  For basketball purposes, we’re assuming that height, weight and length are good things, body fat is a bad thing, and athletic ability in terms of vertical jump, agility and sprint times are valued.  For example, Brook Lopez was one of the tallest, heaviest and longest players at the camp (as expected), but his lane agility time of 12.77 seconds makes Shaq look like a gazelle (ok, maybe not that bad…). 

Anyway, for now we wanted to throw the numbers up and start digesting them.  We’ll have our thoughts on some of the surprises at the bottom later this afternoon.  Enjoy. 

Draft Combine Numbers

Thoughts:

The Lonny Baxter Award.  The biggest surprise that we saw this year was that Michael Beasley stands only 6’7 in socks (6’8 with shoes).  How is this possible?  How can the most dominant big man in the history of freshmen all-time only stand at 6’8 in his Nikes????  Can Beasley play 3 at the next level?  Chicago must be asking itself the same question.

 

Yes, Baxter Really Is Two Feet Tall

Well, it’s a good thing they’ve got the option of the next Jason Kidd in Derrick Rose then, right?  Oh wait, Rose is only 6’1.5 in socks ( 6’2.5 with shoes), a solid couple of inches shorter than Kidd, and more on par with Isiah Thomas and Chris Paul as comparisons.  The good news is that Rose can fly outta the gym with his 40″ vertical leap and his 3.05 3/4 court time, both third best in the camp this year.

One more player suffering from shrinkage this year is Joey Dorsey (6’6).  The Mouth of the South is lucky that he has such an unbelievable plastic-man wingspan (7’11) for his size, or he wouldn’t even be getting a sniff from the professional ranks. 

Legit BigsBrook Lopez and Javale McGee are legitimately 6’11 in socks, David Padgett isn’t far off (6’10.25), while DeAndre Jordan is just shy of 6’10.  McGee, Lopez and Jordan all have wingspans of 7’6 (Lopez is a half-inch shy) and utterly ridiculous reaches of over 9’5.  The most intriguing big man is John Riek, the postgraduate high school student who certifiably stunk up the camp, but comes in at 6’10.5 with a nearly 7’9 wingspan and a reach reported (but unverified) at 9’10.  Ummm… ok. 

Feeling a Little DoughyKevin Love said that he’s dropped fifteen pounds since the F4, but his body fat percentage (12.9%) belies a ways to go.  His size was a little shorter than expected (nearly 6’8), but his vertical leap was better than expected (35″), so he may end up being ok at the next level, given his already skilled face-up game.  The Tubbiest Player Award goes to Kentrell Gransberry, who clocked in at 17.4% body fat.  It showed in his ups as well, as his at 27.5″ was one of the lowest five of the camp. 

Best All-Around Athlete.  This is a tough call, but we’re going with Eric Gordon.  He has a top five vertical leap of 40″, which is simply eyepopping, he was also in the top five in the 3/4 court sprint (3.1 seconds), and he managed to bench the 185-lb bar fifteen times, which is significantly more than some other young guards (OJ Mayo – 7; DJ Augustin – 2).  Derrick Rose is also a consideration, as he can also get way up and is speedy all over the court.  But We’ll give second place to DeMarcus Nelson, who finished in the top five in both the lane agility drill (10.54 seconds) and the 3/4 court sprint (3.13 seconds), in addition to having a 38.5″ vertical leap and benching the bar nineteen times.  We give the nod, though, to Gordon based on his relative youth and the possibility of those numbers getting significantly better.

     

E-Giddy Is All Kinds of Athleticized

Other Minutiae.   Jerryd Bayless is a great athlete, but his wingspan is astonishingly short (6’3.5) for a 6’2 guy.  Don’t expect Bayless to ever become a tremendous on-the-ball defender with those arms.  Sonny Weems and Joe Alexander are two more players who tested well athletically, as Weems finished in the top five in the agility and sprint drills, while Alexander finished in the top five in the bench press and sprint drills.   This combine was not good to DJ Augustin – he appeared small and weak based on the numbers.  Shouldn’t a 5’10 sophomore be able to do more than two bench presses at that weight by now?


2008 NBA Draft Profile: Michael Beasley

May 31, 2008

Over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to be rolling out our profiles of several of the top expected prospects in the 2008 NBA Draft. Figuring that we’re not the only ones who’ve thought of this, we decided to enlist some help by asking several of the best school-specific bloggers in the land to give us the up-close-and-personal profile of the players they’ve spent all year watching. For example, we probably watched Michael Beasley play 10 times this year, but we were limited by his games that were on national television and other competing games at the same time. These bloggers know these players – their strengths, their weaknesses, whether they become Black Mamba or channel C-Webb in the clutch, and what kind of team they would best fit with at the next level.

With that said, our first submission is from the most excellent Kansas State blog, Bring on the Cats. TB over there does a great job keeping up with all things Wildcat (even finding time to throw in timely 90s references to pop culture – mmm… mmm… mmm… mmm…). Here is his post on Michael Beasley.

Although there probably isn’t much you can say about Michael Beasley that hasn’t already been said, I’ll go ahead and try.

For all of you who are fans of either the Chicago Bulls or Miami Heat, I don’t think you can go wrong with drafting B-Easy. I know we as K-State fans consider ourselves fortunate to have seen him play this year. He counts size, agility, rebounding, ball-handling, shooting, and defense among his attributes, and last I checked that’s a pretty solid skill set.

On offense, Beasley is a threat from anywhere on the court, either facing or posting up. He shot nearly 40 percent from three-point range on 95 attempts in 33 games. That included a four-for-four effort in the biggest game of the year, a home win over KU. B-Easy has a lethal turnaround jumper that is just about indefensible unless he has an athletic version of Manute Bol in his face. When he wants to bang in the paint, his solid 240-pound frame gets him position and his soft hands ensure favorable bounces on the rim.

While he is a prolific scorer, as his 26.2 points per game as a true freshman in the Big 12 conference suggests, rebounding is undoubtedly Beasley’s ace card. He led the nation in boards this year with 12.4 per game. Part of that is due to his strength and athleticism, but part of it is just a knack for being in the right place. He has a sense of where a shot is going to miss, and he gets to that spot.

Defensively, B-Easy is a bit overlooked. His numbers weren’t stellar, but he did average more than 1.0 blocks and steals per game. I don’t project him as much of a shot-blocker at the next level, but his nose for the ball and humongous hands at the end of long arms make him a threat to tip a lot of passes.

Of course I’m biased, but Beasley doesn’t have a lot of weaknesses. Probably his biggest weakness, in my perception, is something that is overall a strength. He hates to lose, and sometimes he demonstrates his distaste for losing through frustration with his teammates’ mistakes. Sometimes he probably just needs to let the coaches take care of the mistakes of others, but to me it demonstrates a desire to win. Also, on occasion he has a tendency to get frustrated when things aren’t going his way (bad calls, shots not falling, etc.) and he might jog back on defense. This was not a common occurrence.

Finally, a quick word about a common misperception somebody has perpetuated about Beasley. I’m speaking, of course, about his alleged attitude issues. To put is simply, I don’t see it. I’m sure it all stemmed from this Washington Post article. First of all, what happened in that article is high school stuff. In his one year at K-State, he was universally considered an incredibly pleasant individual. Secondly, his antics are hardly the stuff of a hardened criminal. Frankly, his high school principal should have gotten the stick out of his arse and stowed the signed bumper for future sale on eBay.

I watched Derrick Rose in person at the NCAA championship game. He is a a very good player and will probably have a good NBA career. But I think Beasley is going to be great, and hope to hear him called as the No. 1 pick. No matter who he goes to, I will be the proud owner of that team’s No. 30 jersey.

Coming Next: the always-controversial OJ Mayo


Orlando Predraft Camp Days 3 & 4

May 31, 2008

We’re running a little late today on updating the news from the Orlando Predraft Camp (Day 1 and Day 2 reviews archived), so we’ll make amends by combining a report from both Thursday and Friday’s games and workouts. In short, Carolina fans had best hope Bobby Frasor’s injury is 100% healed next year because Ty Lawson now appears a lock for the first round, and NBDL star Mike Taylor (who?) may have played his way into the draft during the course of this week.

We’ll start first with some of the impressions given by DraftExpress on the fifteen ‘elite’ prospects who held workouts today but did not participate in games.

  • Derrick Rose, Memphis
    • Clearly the most impressive workout of any of the 15 players belonged to Derrick Rose. Not so much for what he showed, but mostly just for what he is. He got up and down the floor fluidly and smoothly, covering tons of ground with each and every stride, and looked excellent changing speeds and operating skillfully with both hands in the ball-handling drills. His athleticism is nothing short of stunning, starting with his phenomenal first step, his ability to change gears, and his incredible explosiveness finishing around the basket. He came out with a business-like approach, and left no doubt about just how unique his talent-level and physical tools are. A nice bonus was the way he shot the ball, hitting more than one NBA 3-pointer and looking solid from mid-range as well.
  • Russell Westbrook, UCLA

    • Also catching our eye was Russell Westbrook, who came out very seriously and didn’t seem to be taking anything for granted. He was fantastic in the transition drills, flying up and down the court with his terrific athleticism, and also shot the ball fairly well after starting off slowly. His ball-handling skills are just OK at this point.
  • OJ Mayo, USC
    • O.J. Mayo was very smooth and very confident in everything he did, barely missing in the perimeter shooting drills. He’s clearly not on the same level athletically as Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook for example, but already has the looks of an NBA player with the way his body looks and how he conducts himself out on the floor.
  • Michael Beasley, Kansas St.

    • Michael Beasley looked super fluid and athletic getting up and down the court, finishing with either hand and looking to be in pretty good shape. He attacked the drills with a lot of competitive fire, but most definitely was clowning around way too much throughout the day right underneath the noses of the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls. There were a few people that expressed concern with some of his antics over the past few days.
  • Darrell Arthur, Kansas

    • Darrell Arthur looks like someone who is going to impress mightily in workouts based off what we saw here. He passes the eye test and then some on first glance, and then showed really nice athleticism to go along with a fairly high skill level in the drills, although oddly attempting to bank every 3-pointer he took. He struggled a little bit remembering what to do in some of the drills, though.
  • Brook Lopez, Stanford

    • Speaking of lukewarm impressions, Brook Lopez didn’t do a whole lot to ease the concerns NBA people have about him, not moving all that well up and down the floor and showing a very average skill-level in most of the drills.

Among the rest of the players who were actually playing games, here are a few of the high (and low) lights (h/t to the usual suspects, DraftExpress, NBADraft.net, Goodman & Katz):

  • Ty Lawson, UNC
    • Goodman – The speedy North Carolina point guard made the most intelligent move of the camp, coming up with a mysterious hip injury and bowing out of the rest of the camp after a terrific performance in his only game. Lawson displayed his athleticism and, according to NBA executives, should have solidified a place in the first round.
  • Wayne Ellington, UNC
    • DraftExpress – Wayne Ellington bounced back in a big way after his disastrous performance yesterday, starting off extremely hot on his way to a 7-13, 17 point outing in 20 minutes. His shot simply fell for him at a much better clip, as he did a great job moving off screens and being aggressive using fakes and utilizing his strong one-dribble pull-up. On the negative side, he again did not look very good putting the ball on the floor and making his way to the rim, not standing out that much in terms of his size, quickness, toughness at the rim or ball-handling skills. He still needs to have a strong showing in the last day of the camp if he’s truly serious about making a run at the late first round.
  • Joe Crawford, Kentucky

    • DraftExpress – Last, but certainly not least, Joe Crawford again had another very strong game (15 points, 6-11 FG) as the go-to scoring option for his team. He got to the rim very effectively, shot the ball well from mid-range and long-range, was excellent coming off screens and played fairly well in transition. His defensive effort was good, particularly in terms of pressuring the ball, and he showed absolutely no hesitation in anything he does, which people here have to like. He needs to become a little bit more efficient with his ball-handling (he pounds the ball a little too much), but it’s hard not to like what he brought to the floor today.
  • Mike Taylor, Iowa St./NBDL
    • Goodman – The athletic ex-Iowa State guard, who spent this past season in the NBDL, appeared to have the easiest adjustment of anyone in the camp and rightfully so. He’s been playing against older players and is also accustomed to the NBA game. Taylor was aggressive in getting to the basket and also proved he can make shots. He had 24 points on Thursday night.
  • Gary Forbes, UMass
    • NBADraft.net If there was to be a player of the day award, then without a doubt it would have to be given to Gary Forbes (30pts, 15-16ft, 2stl). Even though his team lost, it was no fault of Forbes, who almost singlehandedly brought his team back from a large deficit. Although he was very impressive scoring, he may have been just as good on the defensive end, where he chased Richard Roby (3-9fg) off screens and forced him to put the ball on the floor and settle for difficult shots.
  • Josh Duncan, Xavier (OH)

    • DraftExpress – Josh Duncan continued the trend of Portsmouth Invitational Tournament standouts who were able to translate their excellent performance from the all-senior pre-draft camp in April to this setting as well—scoring 20 points (5-8 FG, 9-10 FT) and pulling down 6 rebounds. Duncan knocked down a number of open shots from the perimeter, scored a bit in the post off good feeds from his guards.
  • Davon Jefferson, USC
    • DraftExpress – Davon Jefferson continued not to show the type of effort or fire you would expect to see from a player who is currently fighting for his professional future, after having prematurely hired an agent following an average freshman season. His conditioning looks poor, he’s dribbling the ball excessively, and he’s yet to make use of the terrific athletic ability that made him a prospect to start with. This is turning into a very disappointing pre-draft camp for him.
  • Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, UCLA

    • Katz – UCLA junior Luc Richard Mbah a Moute hasn’t stood out enough to warrant staying in the draft. He still may, but there doesn’t seem to be any kind of buzz around him.
  • Ronald Steele, Alabama
    • Goodman – He still doesn’t look like himself — and for good reason. The Alabama junior point guard hasn’t played competitively in more than a year and needs to return to school.
  • Jeremy Pargo, Gonzaga
    • DraftExpress – Jeremy Pargo had a game-high 20 points (7-16 FG, 5-7 FT) to go along with 4 assists. Unfortunately, he also had 6 turnovers and missed three of his four 3-pointers. He pushed the ball up the floor extremely well, showed terrific explosiveness getting by his man and giving himself options in the half-court, and also flashed some glimpses of solid court-vision, but his poor decision making led to way too many turnovers, which has typically been his problem. Going back to school and improving his decision making skills looks like a very good option at this point.

Final thought – we’re very excited to see how the height/weight and strength tests look when they come out.


05.30.08 Fast Breaks

May 30, 2008

Taking a break from NBA Predraft Camp news…

  • Notre Dame got another major transfer pickup to go along with Ben Hansbrough (from Mississippi St.) – Scott Martin – a freshman forward who averaged 8/4 for the Boilers will be heading north on US 31 to ND.  Suddenly the Golden Domers are looking really good for the 2009-10 season.
  • UConn coach Jim Calhoun is reportedly facing skin cancer on his neck for the second time, and will undergo six weeks of radiation therapy this summer to remove it. 
  • Syracuse’s Donte Greene has decided that he’s a 1-and-done player, as he recently signed with an agent and will not be eligible to return to the Orange next season.
  • Joey Dorsey made the claim in Orlando this week that he has the inside track on who the Bulls will select as the #1 overall draft pick, and he says Michael Beasley.  Jeff Goodman writes about the maddening mind that is Dorsey.
  • Clemson’s head man Oliver Purnell got an extension to 2014 and a raise to $1M per annum.  Still significantly below Tommy Bowden ($1.8M), but hey, who’s counting. 
  • Luke Winn has a nice piece on Chris Lofton’s tumultuous senior campaign, as he is now finally starting to get his legs back after beating testicular cancer. 
  • In his first public interview since the Rodney Guillory scandal hit, OJ Mayo was more upset that the news hit on Mother’s Day than the fact it made him look like a cheat and a liar. 
  • In some sad news, Louisville center Clarence Holloway was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, which has effectively ended his basketball career.  We wish him all the best fighting this disease. 

Orlando Pre-Draft Camp Day 2

May 29, 2008

So Wednesday was Day 2 of the Orlando Pre-Draft Camp (Day 1’s notes are here), and once again we’ll try to synthesize some of the reports coming from various sources who are actually attending the camp. Hopefully we’ll start to get a sense as to who is improving or shatting all over decreasing their stock. Our sources today are DraftExpress, NBADraft.net, Jeff Goodman and Doug Gottlieb.

Players Doing Well So Far:

Lawson Really Must Not Want to Return to UNC (photo credit: USA Today)

  • Ty Lawson, UNC
    • DraftExpressTy Lawson was a cut above everyone else on the floor here, showing incredible quickness taking an outlet pass and getting his team out in transition, and fantastic court vision finding open teammates on the move. He made the game very simple for all of his teammates, as all they had to do was run with him and make sure their hands were ready for the pass.
    • GottliebBest point guard here so far – UNC’s Ty Lawson, trailed closely by Sean Singletary. While Singletary is more refined than Lawson and seems to be using his experience from being here last year to his benefit, Lawson has an extra step that you just cannot teach.
    • NBADraft.net – (10pts, 5ast, 3stl) From the moment he came on the floor he changed the tempo of the game. Pushing the ball in transition, he made some nice decisions finding open teammates or getting to the hoop and finishing. The highlight for him may have been the fact that he completely outplayed Lester Hudson, the man he was matched up with. Not only did he get by Hudson at will of the dribble, but he held him scoreless for the longer part of the game.
    • Gary Parrish also wrote an article yesterday explaining how shocked Ty Lawson has been by UNC fans’ reactions to his attempts to enter the NBA Draft. Many of the same people who congratulated him as a Tar Heel are now trashing him through this process. Maybe that’s why he’s playing so well?
  • Joe Crawford, Kentucky
    • DraftExpressJoe Crawford had a very strong game with 19 points on 6-11 shooting, thanks to an extremely hot and aggressive start that kept his team in the game. He took the ball to the rack extremely well, showing smoothing body control, solid ball-handling skills and impressive overall scoring instincts, and also knocked down a number of shots from outside.
    • GottliebKentucky’s Joe Crawford and UAB’s Robert Vaden both looked very much at ease with the added 3-point range needed for this level of basketball. Crawford looks smaller that the 6-5 he has always been listed at, but he was explosive in terms of scoring in the first half of his first game.
    • NBADraft.netJoe Crawford was one of the big surprises of Day One. His 19 points were the high point total on the day. Crawford was able to use his quick first step to get by his man and to the rim. He also knocked down 2-3 from 3 showing the ability to pull up off the dribble from distance. Crawford appears on his way to claiming a spot in the second round if he can keep up his quality play.
  • Pat Calathes, St. Joseph’s
    • DraftExpress – Pat Calathes only got to play 15 minutes (sitting an extensive amount of time between stints), but really made the most of his time out on the floor, scoring 10 points and dishing off 5 assists (compared to just one turnover), many of the spectacular variety. His ball-handling skills, vision and all-around creativity were on full display throughout, looking aggressive and intelligent while not forcing the issue in the least bit. He would have had even more assists playing with some more skilled big man. He seems like a lock to get drafted at this point, and may be able to work himself considerably up the board if he continues to play like this in the next two days.
    • NBADraft.net (10pts, 5ast) Showed some nice moves off the dribble and in transition, he was able to use his quickness to get by the defense. He seems to have put on some weight since Portsmouth, but still looks extremely skinny. He can knock down the mid-range shot, but with his unorthodox release he seems to lack range out to the NBA 3.
  • JR Giddens, New Mexico
    • Gottlieb – Giddens looked like, well, J.R. Giddens of old. He can still shoot the deep 3, runs like a deer, had a nice two dribble pull-up jumpers and generally looked good in trying to score. He did pout and not run back on defense a couple of times, he struggles to handle the ball on pick-and-roll situations, and he is not a pure guard by any stretch of the imagination. The consensus is Round 2.
    • DraftExpress(not the most skilled with the ball, but capable as a spot-up shooter and constantly making plays offensively and especially defensively thanks to his trademark length and explosiveness)

Players Hurting Themselves:

Can Shan Foster Do Anything Other Than Shoot? (photo credit: vanderbilt.edu)

  • Davon Jefferson, USC
    • GottliebDavon Jefferson will be taken in this draft. He moves well offensively off screens and looks like he will become a solid pro shooter. But he has no left hand and seems lost defensively. Jefferson will knock heads will Walker both in workouts and maybe the D-League.
    • NBADraft.net(7pts, 6rebs, 3ast) In the early going it seemed as if Jefferson may have made a mistake showing up this week, as he was almost non-existent. Although his performance was still not spectacular, he was able to salvage the day as he put up a decent 10 minutes together to finish the game off. His offensive skill is still in need of much work, but one cannot deny his terrific frame, and explosiveness.
    • DraftExpressWho hurt himself the worst? Most likely Davon Jefferson. He came here out of shape, and has barely been hustling at all for the past two days. Although he was able to use his freakish athleticism to make some plays on the glass and in transition, NBA types can’t be crazy about what they are seeing here. He needs to realize the urgency of the situation quickly if he wants to avoid destroying what otherwise might be a very promising future. At this point it looks very obvious that the 21-year old freshman is not ready to be in this draft, and definitely made a hasty decision hiring an agent
  • Wayne Ellington, UNC
    • DraftExpressThe most intriguing story might have been the incredibly poor play of North Carolina shooting guard Wayne Ellington—projected by some as a first round pick, but looking like anything but one from what we’ve seen in the first two days so far. Ellington was 1 of 8 from the field until the game was pretty much over with two minutes left and he managed to make his boxscore look somewhat respectable with two garbage-time baskets. He forced a number of shots badly, dribbled the ball off his foot on his way to 6 painful turnovers, played poor defense and did not grab even a single rebound in 27 minutes. He finished the game with 8 points, and is looking like he’ll be on the first plane back to Chapel Hill to kick off his junior season once this camp is over unless he can turn things around in a major way.
    • NBADraft.netWayne Ellington was one of the day’s big disappointments. He scored a couple buckets late to salvage his stats to a degree but in reality he was thoroughly outplayed by Gary Forbes who appears to have strength, size and experience over Ellington.
    • GottliebIf UNC gets Wayne Ellington back, which they should, Roy Williams should thank Deron Washington. Washington played picture-perfect defense on the UNC sophomore the entire first half of their matchup. Ellington got just two contested looks and struggled to separate himself from Washington’s long arms and great lateral quickness.
  • Shan Foster, Vanderbilt
    • DraftExpressShan Foster was a big disappointment once again, continuing the same trend we saw in the morning and the day before. He looks completely out of his element mentally, forcing bad shots and even air-balling one 3-pointer by about five feet, which is completely uncharacteristic of the player widely considered the top shooter in this draft class. He got chased off the 3-point line way too easily, getting caught into the trap of being forced to use his ball-handling skills, which he is much less effective at than just spotting up from behind the arc. He looks like he’s putting way too much pressure on himself, and will need to settle down a bit and remember what got him here.
    • NBADraft.netShan Foster struggled to get on track with just 7 points on 2-7 shooting. His lack of a great handle and ability to get by opponents appears to be getting exposed some. He’s a great shooter, but still must show a more diverse offensive game.
  • Danny Green, UNC
    • DraftExpressAlso on the negative side of the spectrum we found Danny Green (forcing the issue way too much, especially from behind the arc [0-4], and looking clearly hobbled by his sprained left ankle).
    • GottliebGreen is dribbling too much and seems stuck between wanting to be a 2 guard and playing more like his natural 3 position. He has plenty of upside since he is only 20, but family concerns may keep him in this draft.
    • GoodmanHe said he felt somewhere between 75 and 90 percent. Green also sounded upset that Roy Williams didn’t initially include him among the Big Three (Tyler Hanbsrough, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington), when he was getting early reports from NBA executives on where his players were projected

More takes on some of the other players at the Pre-Draft Camp:

  • GottliebRichard Hendrix looks leaner (he said he has lost 15 pounds and wants to lose more), and he was much more agile because of it. Hendrix, Maryland’s James Gist and Memphis’ Joey Dorsey are three very different, yet very draftable big men who give teams in the late first round and the early second round interesting options. Hendrix, who looks like the only one who could go in Round 1, is a skilled wide body who can face up and beat you with a catch and shoot off the pick-and-pop, and he is a good rebounder/outlet passer. Gist is the lean athlete who can block shots, has streamlined his jumper to 18 feet and runs the floor very well. Dorsey is a beast. He caught two alley-oops that counted, he is a pretty solid passer both on the outlets and in the offense, and his long arms make up for his lack of great height.
  • NBADraft.net – LR Mbah Moute (9pts, 5rebs) He seemed to have tweaked his ankle in the early going, but showed some character fighting through and still put up a decent performance. With his length and athleticism, he is always able to alter plays defensively, and convert on hustle baskets offensively. Devon Hardin had three thunderous dunks but struggled to display any touch or post skills. As impressive a physical specimen as he is, he appears to be a big tease, a player who gives the impression that he can become a force, but lacking the focus and direction to get there. Patrick Ewing (14pts, 5-7fg) With Ewing Sr. in attendance, the younger Ewing put in a decent game. He was able to convert on a number of open jumpers and showed some nice athleticism, but his overall skill set has glaring holes and he does not have a natural position on the floor. James Gist displayed his tremendous athleticism with a reverse jam in which he was fouled and missed, followed by a nearly identical reverse dunk in which he was able to covert. He also showed a mid range game knocking down a number of 12-15 foot jumpers. And while he still needs to add consistency to his shot, there’s some reason for optimism about his offensive game.
  • DraftExpress Richard Hendrix had a solid outing with 12 points and 5 rebounds in 20 minutes. He was extremely unselfish and did a great job crashing the glass, showing a good feel for the game but also struggling a bit defensively on the perimeter and not being very effective finishing around the rim in traffic. Malik Hairston’s stat-line might not have been that impressive on paper (8 points, 4 assists, 3-4 FG), but he did a very nice job finding teammates within the flow of the offense and playing with and off of Pat Calathes, who he seems to have nice chemistry with. His athleticism looked better than advertised getting off the floor and elevating for dunks. DeMarcus Nelson was intense and aggressive, but looked a bit out of control at times too with some of his drives. Trent Plaisted had some flashes with his ridiculous athleticism, but was a bit too quiet in stretches, not making his presence felt enough.

Update: See our summary of Days 3 & 4 of the Orlando Pre-Draft Camp here.


Orlando Pre-Draft Camp Day 1

May 28, 2008

This week (Tues-Fri) is the all-important Orlando Pre-Draft Camp, the place where marginal second-round picks can become late first-rounders overnight, and all the other garbage players who weren’t going to get drafted anyway can prove their unworthiness in front of a collection of NBA types in attendance. Still, there’s always at least a handful of players who benefit from this event – last year Jared Dudley and Daequan Cook probably wouldn’t have gone in the first round but for strong showings, and Ramon Sessions, Stephane Lasme and Demetris Nichols may not have been drafted at all. Not to mention we always get to learn who can’t do a bench press to save his life (yes, that means you, KD).

Since we’re not there, we’ll have to rely on updates from the various NBA draftniks who are doing yeoman’s work sitting through these glorified pickup games this week. But first, let’s get educated on who is there, who isn’t there and what they’ll be doing.

Will Trent Plaisted or Sasha Kaun Parlay Orlando into the First Round? (photo credit: Orlando Sentinel)

The 15 players selected by NBA scouts for the “elite” list will only go through physicals and measurements, as they are expected to be high first-round picks. Expect to see our analysis of these players’ physical numbers later this week. These players are:

  • Joe Alexander, WVU
  • Darrell Arthur, Kansas
  • Jerryd Bayless, Arizona
  • Michael Beasley, Kansas St.
  • Eric Gordon, Indiana
  • Donte Greene, Syracuse
  • DeAndre Jordan, Texas A&M
  • Brook Lopez, Stanford
  • Kevin Love, UCLA
  • OJ Mayo, USC
  • Javale McGee, Nevada
  • Anthony Randolph, LSU
  • Derrick Rose, Memphis
  • Russell Westbrook, UCLA

Several players took offense at not being placed on the ‘elite’ list and will bypass the camp altogether. These players are:

  • Chase Budinger, Arizona
  • Mario Chalmers, Kansas
  • Chris Douglas-Roberts, Memphis
  • Jamont Gordon, Mississippi St.
  • Roy Hibbert, Georgetown
  • JJ Hickson, NC State
  • Kosta Koufos, Ohio St.
  • Robin Lopez, Stanford
  • Marreese Speights, Florida
  • Bill Walker, Kansas St.
  • Kyle Weaver, Washington St.
  • DJ White, Indiana

Finally, there are 64 additional players who will actually participate in the camp, led by the following notables (if you’re interested in the Orlando rosters, check here):

  • Brian Butch, Wisconsin
  • Pat Calathes, St. Joseph’s
  • Joe Crawford, Kentucky
  • Joey Dorsey, Memphis
  • Josh Duncan, Texas A&M
  • Wayne Ellington, UNC
  • Shan Foster, Vanderbilt
  • JR Giddens, New Mexico
  • Kentrell Gransberry, S. Florida
  • Malik Hairston, Oregon
  • George Hill, IUPUI
  • Davon Jefferson, USC
  • Sasha Kaun, Kansas
  • Ty Lawson, UNC
  • Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, UCLA
  • Drew Neitzel, Michigan St.
  • DeMarcus Nelson, Duke
  • David Padgett, Louisville
  • Jeremy Pargo, Gonzaga
  • Trent Plaisted, BYU
  • Sean Singletary, Virginia
  • Ronald Steele, Alabama
  • Deron Washington, Virginia Tech

Sean Singletary & Ramel Bradley Mix It Up (photo credit: Orlando Sentinel)

Finally, to the action. Here are some tidbits from Tuesday night, which consisted entirely of drills (Wed-Fri will have game action).

  • Jeff Goodman reports that Alabama guard Ronald Steele is still favoring his bum reconstructed knee, and looks to have no chance at getting drafted this year. He also says that New Mexico forward and former Jayhawk JR Giddens looks fantastic and is ready to show off his eye-popping athleticism this week.
  • Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress (via Yahoo) reports that players generally looked nervous on Tuesday night – Wayne Ellington and Shan Foster had trouble finding their strokes, and there were a boatload of mishandled passes. Brian Roberts of Dayton appears to have had the best overall night, exhibiting quick hands and an ability to initiate an offense as a poing guard (his position at the next level).
  • Carolina fans can’t like hearing this – Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green all scoff at the idea of ‘testing the waters.’ According to Andy Katz, each player is at the camp to get drafted, not just to see how they stack up with their peers. Great quote from Green: “I’m not in Tyler [Hansbrough’s] situation,” Green said. “He’s breaking records, and he has money. I’m not broke-poor, but my family doesn’t have as much as Tyler. He’s more fortunate, and I’m trying to do what’s best for my family.”
  • One thing to remember throughout all of this scouting – it’s often more art than science, according to Chris Ekstrand, publisher of the NBA Draft Guide. Ten years from now, “there’s going to be some kid who went with pick No. 37 who turns out to be a big-time player, and somebody who gets picked between 10 and 15 who doesn’t play two years.”

Reports from Day 2 are already coming in… we’ll post more tidbits soon.

Update:  See our summary of Day 2 here and Days 3 & 4 of the Orlando Pre-Draft Camp here.


05.27.08 Fast Breaks

May 27, 2008

Some post-Memorial Day items of interest…

  • Former Georgetown guard Jeremiah Rivers will transfer to Indiana (perhaps he sees immediate PT awaiting in 2009-10?).
  • Who’s coming back? Memphis guard Antonio Anderson, Marquette guard Jerel McNeal and Alabama guard Alonzo Gee declared their intentions to return to school, ensuring that Memphis will have at least one starter back from its national runner-up team. One intriguing name who is still undecided, WVU’s Joe Alexander, described his daily routine in Vegas getting ready for the pre-draft camp.
  • Speaking of which, the Orlando Pre-Draft Camp begins tomorrow. Here is the list of players invited.
  • Frank Burlison at Scout.com has an interesting rumors/tidbits report on where players are likely to land in the NBA Draft – his most interesting takes were questioning Michael Beasley’s true size (6’8ish?) and Robin Lopez getting selected before his more accomplished brother, Brook.
  • It’s official – Mike Jarvis will take over as the head man at Florida Atlantic.
  • There will be no payout for Bill Duffy Associates, the agency allegedly supplying OJ Mayo with money through street agent urchin Rodney Guillory, as Mayo has “restructured” his inner circle by parting ways with his BDA agent, Calvin Andrews.
  • Will the Class of 2008 produce far fewer 1-and-dones than the last two years?
  • We always thought there was something bizarre about the NCAA F4 ticket-request process. Looks like we weren’t the only ones.
  • We’ll end with Joakim Noah’s completely unsurprising evening in Gainesville Saturday night.