Archive | September, 2011

Big Visit Weekend & Commit Signal Harvard’s Arrival as a National Recruiting Player

27 Sep

By Brian Flinn
National Hoops Report

When you think of programs that can recruit consistently at a national level while bringing in talented players a few schools come to mind. Kentucky, Syracuse, Duke, North Carolina, UCLA, Arizona, and more recently St.Johns, Florida, and Ohio State have all been able to draw top talent from all around the country to their programs.

While they aren’t going after quite the same talent level, schools such as Xavier, Virginia Commonwealth, George Mason, Butler and Gonzaga have been quietly expanding their recruiting territory to a more national stage over the past decade or so, causing the line between mid and high major to become more blurred than ever.

There is a new program that is attempting to join the elite mid-majors and take the next step towards becoming a top non-BCS program in their own right – Harvard. Continue reading

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Inside the SEC: Sept. 27

27 Sep

By Matt Fultz
National Hoops Report

Texas A&M To Join SEC July 1, 2012

When the Southeastern Conference Presidents voted unanimously to accept Texas A&M several weeks ago, there was one condition, that the conference would not be sued by the Big XII or any of its member schools.

With the announcement Sunday night that the Aggies would officially join the conference on July 1, 2012, it appears that that condition has been met, although not explicitly stated

“On behalf of our presidents, chancellors, athletics directors, students and fans, I welcome Texas A&M University to the SEC family,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said. “Texas A&M is a nationally-prominent institution on and off the field and a great fit for the SEC tradition of excellence—athletically, academically and culturally.”

Texas A&M President R. Bowen Lofton offered up part of the schools reasoning for joining the SEC.

“The Southeastern Conference provides Texas A&M the national visibility that our great university and our student-athletes deserve,” he said in a statement released by the conference.  “We are excited to begin competition in the nation’s premier athletic conference.  This is a 100-year decision that we have addressed carefully and methodically, and I believe the Southeastern Conference gives the Aggies the best situation of any conference in the country.”

When the idea of adding a fourteenth team was brought up at Texas A&M’s press conference Monday, Commissioner Mike Slive said, “We anticipate being a 13-team league.” He did acknowledge that scheduling would be a challenge with the odd number.

“Clearly scheduling with 13 is not easy, and we’ll work through that,” he said. “But we will remain very thoughtful and very strategic about what we do in terms of further expansion.”

Georgia Signee Gets Go Ahead

Georgia’s top recruit Kentavios Caldwell-Pope has been cleared by the NCAA to suit up for the Bulldogs.

“The University of Georgia compliance office was notified by the NCAA on Tuesday that freshman basketball player Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been cleared to compete in the 2011-12 season,” the school said in a statement released on Tuesday.

Caldwell-Pope’s eligibility was in question because his mother’s cell phone bill was paid for by Tony Adams out of an unauthorized bank account. Adams coached the Georgia Blazers AAU team, which was sponsored by the Columbus, Georgia Parks and Recreation Department and apart of the EYBL.  Adams used the unauthorized account to pay for the phone bill as well as plane tickets for former USC linebacker and current Georgia player Jarvis Jones. Jones was declared eligible earlier this month.

“I am pleased that the situation regarding Kentavious’ eligibility has been resolved,” Georgia head coach Mark Fox said in the statement. “Kentavious can now put these issues behind him and focus on becoming a better student-athlete.  We can all move forward in our preparations for the coming season.”

Earlier in the summer it was unclear whether or not the 5-star shooting guard would qualify academically, but the issue was resolved in early June.

Goodwin Gives Wildcats First 2012 Commitment

Archie Goodwin’s plan had always been to wait things out and sign in the spring, but after some deliberation the 6-foot-4 guard knew there was no reason to wait any longer.

The consensus top-15 player in the county gave Coach Calipari and the University of Kentucky his verbal commitment late last Tuesday night, becoming the first commitment of the 2012 class for the school.

“If you don’t know by now I’m a Wildcat,” he announced on Twitter.

The Little Rock native chose Kentucky over Arkansas and Memphis.

Not everyone in Arkansas was happy with Goodwin’s decision to head out of state, so he tried to explain his rationale to ESPN’s Dave Telep.

“That’s one thing that is the toughest. Growing up here and with so many expectations to go there, it’s been a lot of pressure,” he told Telep “Arkansas is a great school and I love Coach [Mike] Anderson and his staff. I love my state but it’s a business decision and this is best for my career and my family.”

It wasn’t playing time that Coach Cal promised the shooting guard; actually it was quite the opposite.

“Coach Cal already told me that it’s not going to be easy. I don’t want anyone to give me anything. I’ve worked for stuff my whole life,” Goodwin said. “I’m going to compete and that’s going to make me and my teammates better. I want to go work every day. From a competitive standpoint, it’s the best decision for me.”

The competition could be very still at the guard spot by the time Kentucky’s recruiting class is done. The Wildcats will we hosting the number one player in the country Shabazz Muhammad on October 14th for Big Blue Madness, and they have recently increased their recruitment of Gary Harris, another highly ranker shooter. That doesn’t even take into account the possibility of Doron Lamb, returning to Lexington for his junior season, either.

Goodwin has already spoken to several top recruits, including Harris, about joining him in Lexington. Coach Calipari and staff have quite the list of visitors headed to Big Blue Madness and there is no doubt Goodwin will be in the ear of all of them.

Poythress Down to Four; Walker Sets Date

One of the top forwards in the 2012 class, Alex Poythress, has narrowed his list of college suitors to Vanderbilt, Memphis, Florida, and Kentucky.

The 6-foot-8 native of Clarksville, Tennessee eliminated the Duke Blue Devils from consideration.

Another recruit who severeal SEC schools are hot on the trail of is 2013 forward Chris Walker. Walker announced on Twitter he would be announcing his college decision on November 15th.

The native of Holmes, Florida will choose from Florida, Connecticut, Kentucky, Florida State, Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, and Memphis.

The Big 12’s future in hoops

22 Sep

By Sam Duren
National Hoops Report

Just a few days ago, the Big 12’s future was bleak. Texas A&M was officially out the door to the SEC, Missouri seemed likely to follow. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech looked ready to help form a mega conference, the PAC 16.

Late Tuesday night that all changed, as the PAC 12 announced there would be no expansion for the time being. Also, it was found out that the rumors that Missouri’s held an offer from the SEC were just that, rumors.

A&M is still out the door but the nine remaining Big 12 teams look ready to give it ready one more go and stay together. The two most important pillars, Oklahoma and Texas, are now committed to the Big 12 after being rejected by the PAC 12.

With the league at nine teams now, following back to back years of defections, the conference is now looking to expand. The Big East looks vulnerable after already losing two teams to the ACC (Pittsburgh and Syracuse) with the possibility of more to leave as well. There are also a few mid majors that look ready for the jump to a major conference. Continue reading

Inside the SEC: Sept. 20

20 Sep

By Matt Fultz
National Hoops Report

Calipari Commits Violation Unheralded Recruit

Other than conference realignment, it has been a relatively quiet few months on the college hoops scene, and a least one college coach has an explanation  telling  Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com that Kentucky coach John Calipari was out of the country.

 http://twitter.com/#!/GoodmanCBS/status/114136832752619521

Calipari, who spent spent several weeks in Argentina coaching the Dominican Republic’s national team, is back in the United States and once again creating news.

Late last week, Yahoo!’s Prep Rally reported that Calipari had committed a “bump” violation on July 15th when he shook hands with Austin Kyles after a game at the ScoutsFocus Super 60 Sowcase.

A “bump” which characterized by any face-to-face contact between a Division 1 coach and player during the non-contact period, is considered a seconday violation by the NCAA and rarely has sever ramifications.

“After the game, Calipari shook his hand and said, ‘Great game,'” Dr. Kyles told Prep Rally. “I think he was just acknowledging, ‘Hey, this kid is holding down my senior.’”

The act is not all that of an uncommon occurrence in July, what makes this interaction between Kyles and Calipari interesting is the fact Kentucky is not recruiting the 6-foot-7 forward, who attends high school in South Carolina. Calipari was at the game to watch Devonta Pollard, who the Wildcats are heavily involved with.

Calipari declined comment Friday night to ESPN’s Andy Katz.

Arkansas, Kentucky Recruit Changes Mind Not Once But Twice

Super shooting guard Archie Goodwin caught both college coaches and recruiting analysts off guard last Wednesday, when he tweeted his decision may come in the next week or so.

http://twitter.com/#!/A1Laflare10/status/114119856453992448

But after just a several hours the 6-foot-4 Little Rock native tweeted that he had decided he was going to go with original plan of signing in the spring.

http://twitter.com/#!/A1Laflare10/status/114190979917029377

In an interview with National Hoops Report in mid-June, Goodwin’s AAU coach Ron Crawford said the plan for the number 12 overall player by Rivals.com was to sign in the late period.

Goodwin announced on Twitter Monday that he will not consider Kansas or Connecticut as college options, and while Memphis is still in the mix most believe it will come down to either Arkansas or Kentucky. Goodwin played this summer with the Arkansas Wings, a program that produced three member Mike Anderson’s first recruiting class in Fayetteville. Although, Hunter said that will not play into Goodwin’s decision.

“He told us even though he has played with current Razorback signees Aaron Ross, Hunter Mickelson, and Ky Madden with our Arkansas Wings Elite Team that will not be a part of the decision making process, he respected their decision and knows they will respect his.”

The timing of the tweets has led some to believe that they have been in reaction to Kentucky’s in-home visit with consensus number Shabazz Muhammed. After the visit, Muhammed said the Calipari had told him he was the Wildcats number one priority and they wanted him to play shooting guard, his preferred position, in college.

Could the tide be shifting be shifting once again with Mr. Goodwin, Monday night he tweeted “It’s getting close to decision time.”

Florida’s Larson Makes Plea Deal

Florida’s Cody Larson now knows the outcome form his criminal trespassing charges, however his status on the Gators basketball team is still to be determined.

According to the Florida Time-Union part of the 6-foot-9 forward’s agreement will be to complete 200 hours of community service, attend any recommended drug treatment and go through drug evaluation program, pay the victim $240 and write them a letter of apology, pay an addition $200 in prosecution and other charges, and not consume alcohol of any other drug.

Larson may still have to server jail time however, for violating his probation of a previous arrest in South Dakota.

Erik Murphy, who was arrested with Larson on April 2, was reinstated to the men’s basketball team last week, but Billy Donovan has not spoken about Larson’s status since suspending him indefinitely following the arrest.

Ellis Set to Make Decision

One of the most sought after prospects in the county, Perry Ellis, will be making his college decision this week.

Ellis, a 6-foot-8 forward from Wichita, Kansas will be making his decision at 3:45 eastern time on Wednesday.

The three-time Gatorade Player of the Year in Kansas has his list narrowed down to Kentucky and three in-state schools: Kansas, Kansas State, and Wichita State.

Kentucky coach John Calipari was the last coach to conduct an in-home visit with Ellis last week.

Both Kentucky and Kansas both were in attendance for nearly every single game Ellis played in during July.

He is rated #24 by Rivals, #33 by Scout, and #37 by ESPN.

Best case/Worst case for St. John’s

20 Sep

By Bobby Bancroft
National Hoops Report

It’s been nothing but good times in Queens, N.Y. since Steve Lavin arrived last May.  On the court he led St. John’s to a surprising fifth place finish in the Big East which resulted in the Red Storm’s first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since way back in 2002 when Mike Jarvis was still in charge.  Off the court he signed nine players – seven freshmen, one sophomore, and one junior – that resulted in the third best recruiting class in the country according to Rivals.  After so many years in the college basketball wilderness, St. John’s is finally back in the spotlight.  The extra media attention continued this week but for all of the wrong reasons. Continue reading

PG flying under the radar?

12 Sep

By Brian Flinn
National Hoops Report

As you know, not every great player who has come out of high school  is highly touted. There have been under the radar players like Steph Curry and Andrew Goudelock. Heck even Derrick Williams wasn’t one of the top players in his class. Another under the radar could be Indiana area point guard Adonis Filer. Continue reading

Making weight

8 Sep

Do not deny Santa Clara freshman Robert Garrett a chance to zip line in Canada.

He went into wrestler mode to make the cut and tried to drop weight at the snap of a finger. As funny as the story is, the big man earned the respect of his team to be a part of the team building exercise.

Ah, college.

And ah, 6-foot-8 dudes that can squeeze into a safety harness and hang in the air by a tiny line.

NHR Top 100: #61 Ray McCalllum, PG, Detroit

7 Sep

By Justin Young
National Hoops Report

Number 61 – Ray McCallum, PG, Soph., Detroit

Norris Cole is gone and Shelvin Mack moved on. The Horizon League is left looking for a star. Those that follow the league closely, or heck, college basketball closely know that McCallum is the star in waiting. Continue reading

NHR Top 100: #62 LeBryan Nash, SF, Oklahoma State

6 Sep

By Justin Young
National Hoops Report

Number 62 – LeBryan Nash, SF, Fr., Oklahoma State

The Big 12 has been home to some of the nation’s most impactful freshman in the country over the last five years. Texas has had one. Oklahoma has had one. Kansas State has had one. Baylor has one on campus this season.

But Oklahoma State? This year is their year. LeBryan Nash is coming to Stillwater with high praises, big hopes and raw talent. Continue reading

Inside the SEC: September 6

6 Sep

By Matt Fultz
National Hoops Report

Hart Named UT Athletic Director

After nearly a three month search, Tennessee has a new Athletic Director. Chancellor Jimmy Cheek announced that the school had hired Dave Hart to replace Mike Hamilton, Monday afternoon.

“I am very pleased to have Dave as our new vice chancellor and director of athletics,” Cheek said. “He has extensive experience as an athletics director, and he has the passion and drive to lead our great athletics program”

Hart, who worked under Alabama Athletic Director Mal Moore the past several years, was the AD at Florida State from 1995 to 2007, a time when the Seminoles athletic budget more than doubled.

“I want to thank Chancellor Cheek, and all of those involved in this process for their confidence and commitment” Hart said. “I am anxious to demonstrate my passion for Tennessee and the Volunteer Nation.”

Not only will Hart inherit a basketball team on probation and a football team still recovering from the Lane Kiffin era, but he will also be the first AD to be over both men’s and women’s sports at UT.

Interim AD Joan Cronan was over the women’s department before taking over for Hamilton, but is stepping away from those duties next June to become an advisor to the chancellor for two years before retiring.

Hopson Signs with to Play in Greece

Ever since not being taken in the NBA Draft, Scotty Hopson has been waiting on the right opportunity to continue his basketball career.

The former All-SEC selection from Tennessee thinks he has found just that with Kolossos Rhodes, a top level Greek team.

“This deal gives me an opportunity to jump-start my career in a great place,” Hopson said in an interview with GoVolsXtra. “I’ve had a few offers over the past month, but I wanted to wait for the right one. I’ve been getting feedback from my agent and other guys who have played overseas, as far as what would be good for me.”

Hopson averaged 17 points and 3.3 rebounds in his final year with the Volunteers.

Tennessee Gets First Commitment of 2012

Some recruits fear competition, some look at it as an opportunity to get better. Derek Reese is definitely the latter.

The 6-foot-7 forward from Orlando, Florida verbally committed to play for the Volunteers last week, saying he wanted to be play at the highest level.

“Every kid when they first start playing basketball wants to play at the best level. That’s what Tennessee does,” Reese told the Orlando-Sentinel last week. . “They play against the best teams.”

The fact that Tennessee was not facing any other penalties than those self-imposed by the University eased Reese’s mind about the decision.

“That bothered me a little bit because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen,” the Olympia senior said. “As I found out, they’re just going to be on probation, they’re going to be okay. It was the other coaching staff that was really in trouble, not this coaching staff. It doesn’t bother me at all now.”

While the Volunteers were the only SEC school to have offered Reese a scholarship, his AAU teammate Reggie Tucker has no doubts he will succeed.

“He’ll blossom in the SEC under Coach (Cuonzo) Martin; he fits into that philosophy and system well,” Tucker told GoVolsXtra.com.

Rated a 3-star prospect by Rivals.com, Reese had trimmed his list to the Volunteers, Georgia Southern, James Madison, and UCF.

Kentucky Has BIG Recruiting Weekend on Tap

Coach John Calipari and the Wildcats have no verbal commitments for the 2012 class or any class for that matter, but don’t think Kentucky’s recruiting prowess has diminished just yet.

When college basketball officially kicks off on October 15th , Coach Cal and staff will have quite the list of visitors on Lexington for Big Blue Madness.

As of now there are 10 confirmed visitors, but Scout.com’s Evan Daniels thinks a few more names might join the group, that already includes: Shabazz Mohammed (2012), Dejuan Coleman (2012), Archie Goodwin (2012), Willie Cauley (2012), T.J. Warren (2012), Alex Poythress (2012), Andrew Harrison (2013), Aaron Harrison (2013), Chris Walker (2013), and Dakari Johnson (2014).

“They’re not done yet, either,” Daniels told Kyle Tucker of the Louisville Courier-Journal. “There’s a couple names that I’m not allowed to put out there yet, but I’ve talked to some AAU coaches for guys who want to be there.”

None of the ten players listed are ranked lower than 28th in their respective class, leading Daniels to call the gathering of the best he can remember for a Madness event.

“It’s shaping up to be arguably the best list of Midnight Madness visitors that I’ve ever seen. Anybody that they’re recruiting, it appears they’re getting in for Midnight Madness,” he said “Kentucky fans are going to sell (Madness) out and it’s always a big-time atmosphere. Calipari seems to do everything big, and this is huge. This is classic Calipari.”