Just a Minute: May 16

16 May

Former Louisiana Tech forward Olu Ashaolu is on the visit tour.

By Justin Young
National Hoops Report


The offseason is in full swing yet the news around college hoops isn’t slowing down.


Billy Kennedy is the new head coach at Texas A&M. Good hire. Smart hire. The right hire. But what now at Murray State?

The first option should be Murray State assistant coach Steve Prohm. Dan Muller of Vanderbilt is a great option, too. So are SEC assistants John Brannen of Alabama and Phillip Pearson of Georgia. Matthew Graves of Butler has certainly proven his worth as a top flight assistant coach.

Former Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey landed on his feet as an assistant at Florida but he should also be in the mix, giving his ties to the state.

Bret Campbell, the long time UT-Martin head coach, was the Director of Basketball Operations at Murray State a year ago. He’s currently at Austin Peay. Scott Davenport of Bellarmine is also a name to keep an eye on.


Olu Ashaolu, one of the top transfers in the country, is the process of three visits that should ultimately help decide the school he will spend his fifth year of college at. The former Louisiana Tech star visited Oregon over the weekend. He will visit Texas on Monday and Tuesday and San Diego State on Wednesday and Thursday.

Ashaolu, a Toronto native, will likely decide sometime next week. Oregon and Texas are both appealing due to the Canadian connections at both schools. Cory Joseph, a Minnesota transfer, will suit up for the Ducks at midseason. Texas, of course, is mining Canadians left and right.

The playing time at San Diego State will play a big factor for Ashaolu, too, according to sources close to the situation.

Ashaolu averaged 14.2 points and 9.4 rebounds a game last season at Louisiana Tech.


So Kentucky’s DeAndre Liggins is staying in the draft. Okay, fine. No big deal. Seriously, it isn’t. There are two trains of thought with his decision to stay in the crowded yet underwhelming talent pool for the draft.

  1. Liggins is not a good pro prospect. He’s isn’t a scorer and he’s far from a shooter. He’s a defender, a facilitator and a glue guy. The depth in this draft is lacking. Big time. At best, Liggins becomes Boris Diaw.
  2. Kentucky will miss his experience. The team won’t miss much else thanks to Michael Gilchrist, who is 10 times the player that Liggins is. Gilchrist is a better defender, better athlete, better play maker, better slasher and a better rebounder. Liggins was good when it mattered, yes, but his role will be easy to replace. Better yet, his role will be upgraded with Gilchrist on board.


Looking at my class of 2011 rankings, I realized I made a mistake, a big mistake. Ohio State bound wing LaQuinton Ross needs to be in the top 50. Therefore, he’s in the top 50. The 6-foot-8 native of Mississippi was a much-hyped player coming up the ranks. He hit a plateau and many, including myself, jumped off the train. If his effort level can stay above the just do what you gotta do line for a year in Columbus, he’ll right his bad habits. On his good days, he’s a pro.


Paul Hewitt hired Roland Houston, formerly of George Washington. The hiring is notable because Houston is the uncle and lead recruiter for Erik Copes, a top 60 player nationally. Copes was just granted a release from his Letter of Intent to George Washington. He pledged to Mason over the weekend.

Interestingly enough Copes, a 6-foot-8, 230-pound center, didn’t post big numbers as a senior at Philadelphia (Pa.) Imhotep Institute. He averaged less than eight points and 10 rebounds a game. Copes blew up in Vegas last July and became an instant darling with the .coms but a sub-par senior year may reveal the long term prospects of his game. Food for thought.


  • The NBA Draft lottery is tomorrow (Tuesday, June 17). There are a number of scenarios that could play out for that top spot. Will it be Kyrie Irving? Derrick Williams? Even Enes Kanter?
  • Print this story on Kevin Durant. Read it at lunch. Re-read it before you go to bed. Well worth it.
  • Very interesting story in Sports Illustrated this week. The author, Bruce Schoenfeld, quotes Washington assistant Ralphael Chillious, Wyoming assistant Scott Duncan (who was at UCLA during the time of the story) and West Virginia assistant Larry Harrison about high school prospects. That’s a no-no in the eyes of the NCAA. It will be interesting to see if any minor violations are sought out by the over sensitive and protective NCAA. These types of conversations happen all the time between college coaches and media members. The conversations just aren’t printed. Take the time to read the piece. It is a good read.
  • I’m surprised the news of Belmont leaving the Atlantic Sun Conference for the Ohio Valley Conference didn’t strike a bigger chord with basketball fans. Belmont has locked down the A-Sun and has been a staple in the NCAA as the automatic bid. Rick Byrd and his club will join the league next season, playing this final year out in the A-Sun. My pick to take over the top is Jacksonville.
  • Tubby Smith was recently found to be cancer free. He fought through prostate cancer. Steve Lavin was recently diagnosed with low-grade prostate cancer.  Over the course of the weekend, several head coaches are participating in the 22nd Annual Cable Car Golf Tournament in the Bay Area in California. Duggar Baucom (VMI), Joe Callero (Cal Poly), Tyler Geving (Portland State), Max Good (Loyola Marymount), Jim Hayford (Eastern Washington), Kerry Keating (Santa Clara) and Steve Payne (Tennessee Tech) are all participating in a three-day event where all of the proceeds go to the American Cancer Society.


Kansas State head coach Frank Martin joined Twitter this week and so far he’s been nothing but positive and very rah-rah, not that there is anything wrong with that. Just curious, what is the hashtag for the actual Frank Martin stare down?


That’s courtesy of Sacramento King Pooh Jeter. He was undrafted and overlooked coming out of the University of Portland. Hard to argue with his train of thought. There are plenty of guys in his position that want to make the NBA.

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