Tag Archives: Florida

NHR Top 100: #40 Kenny Boynton, SG, Florida

29 Oct

By Justin Young
National Hoops Report

Number 40 – Kenny Boynton, SG, Jr., Florida

People can knock Boynton for his shot selection. I have too. Hard not to sometimes. But I’ll say this again: Boynton has one of the best killer instincts of any player I’ve ever covered.

I’m not kidding.

Boynton has made big shots, tough shots, unthinkable shots, throughout his young career. The problem is, according to most, is when he misses those big shots. Continue reading

NHR Top 100: #44 Erving Walker, PG, Florida

27 Oct

PHOTO: Getty Images

By Justin Young
National Hoops Report

Number 44 – Erving Walker, PG, Sr., Florida

Like him, love him, don’t enjoy him or cringe when watching him, you know what you are going to get from the mini-magician for the Gators. Walker wants to be the go-to guy when it is time to look for someone to go to. And sometimes, he may not be the right shot but he’s going to take it any way.

That’s what you get with Walker. Continue reading

Questions, questions, so many SEC questions

25 Oct

Is this the year where Vanderbilt makes it to the Final Four? (PHOTO: Getty Images)

By Matt Fultz
National Hoops Report

With the talent abound in the SEC this year and high expectations for teams involved, there are bound to be questions surrounding the league. What are they? Well, we dive into them. Continue reading

Inside the SEC: Oct. 25

25 Oct

By Matt Fultz
National Hoops Report

This week a look at the preseason media awards, where SEC schools fell in the coaches poll, four freshmen on Wayman Tisdale award list and more. Continue reading

Projecting the SEC

24 Oct

By Matt Fultz
National Hoops Report

The SEC is heavy at the top, solid in the middle and the bottom has a number of teams that could fit the sleeper mode. So what does that mean exactly? A fun and unpredictable year in the league. Here’s the National Hoops Report crack at how we think the league will finish up. Continue reading

Inside the SEC: Oct. 18

18 Oct

By Matt Fultz
National Hoops Report

Vanderbilt’s Ezeli Suspended 6 Games

One of the SEC’s premiere big men, Vanderbilt’s Festus Ezeli, has been suspended six games by the NCAA for receiving improper benefits.

The 6-foot-11 Ezeli had his dinner and hotel room paid for by a Commodore alumnus, which is deemed a violation by the NCAA. The school self-reported the incident to the NCAA and SEC in August, and the verdict was handed down on Monday. Continue reading

Inside the SEC: Oct. 11

11 Oct

By Matt Fultz
National Hoops Report

“Madness” Festivities Kick-Off Season on Friday

The start of the college basketball season is nearly here, and teams can officially start practice this Friday. Nine teams from the SEC will get straight to work on Friday, while three schools Kentucky, Auburn, and Mississippi State have opted to have one more night of fun before getting down to business.

The three schools will all have some sort of “Madness” event on Friday night, giving their fans of preview of what to expect in the upcoming season.

Kentucky’s annual “Big Blue Madness”, which sold out Rupp Arena in just over ten minutes, will highlight both the men’s and women’s basketball teams. Both teams will go throw drills and finish up with an intra-squad scrimmage.

Auburn’s “Tiger Hoops Madness” will include everything from an autograph session to a dunk contest. Both the men’s and women’s teams will also play an intra-squad scrimmage.

“It’s a great way to welcome back the guys and meet the new players,” Auburn coach Tony Barbee said. “Get there early for a seat.”

While Kentucky and Auburn will focus solely on basketball, Mississippi State’s “Maroon Madness” will be an evening long affair.

The first activity will be the annual “Pumkinapalooza,” which is the football’s annual pep rally before playing South Carolina, in downtown Starkville. After the pep rally is over, Bulldog fans will be encouraged to attend the volleyball team’s match against Kentucky, in an attempt to set a new SEC attendance record. At the conclusion of the volleyball game, the basketball teams will get their shot on the floor of Humphrey Coliseum.

“There’s a lot of hype going into the basketball season,” the Director of Athletic Marketing, Chris Thomas said. “It’s the 100th year of basketball, so we really want to do something to kick off the season in true-maroon fashion.”

In an attempt to make sure The Hump is rocking Friday night, Mississippi State is giving away and iPad 2, courtside seats to a non-conference game, and $500 book scholarship.

Alabama’s Grant Talks New Faces; Gueye Injury Update

Not many coaches have the luxury of having JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell playing in the same frontcourt, but it isn’t all going to be easy for Alabama coach Athony Grant, who  will have to bring six newcomers into the mix as well.

Alabama’s high profile recruiting class featured shooting guards Trevor Lacey, Levi Randolph, and Rodney Cooper, point guard Retin Ojomoh, and centers Nick Jacobs and Moussa Gueye.

“We have got a lot of new faces. We have six new guys that need to learn the system, expectations, and each other,” Grant told Don Kausler Jr. last week before a speaking engagement. “We have to be able to blend the guys, who are returning, with the newcomers in a very quick order. But that is no different than any other college team is facing right now.”

Once practice starts on Friday, the Crimson Tide will have just over three weeks before their first exhibition game against Alabama-Huntsville. The first regular season game will be just four days later against North Florida.

Gueye, a 7-footer from Lake Land College, tore his ACL just after arriving in Tuscaloosa is a pickup game.

“I’m not a doctor, so it is really hard for me to judge where his is at, but I think he is progressing as expected,” Grant said. “And for his sake I hope he is able to continue on that path to a full recovery.”

Grant hope that the Gueye will be able to play later in the season, but he said it is too early to tell if that will be the case.

“It is way premature for me to even talk anything about that,” he said. “The biggest issue is getting him healthy, where he needs to be from a physical standpoint.”

Calipari Thinks Kentucky Is One Program State

Ever since arriving in Lexington, Kentucky coach John Calipari has not wasted a chance to throw a shot at the University of Louisville or Rick Pitino, but his latest jab may be the biggest yet.

While visiting the fans waiting in line for “Big Blue Madness” tickets, Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports TV caught up with Calipari to talk about how unique Kentucky basketball is.

“It’s a unique thing,” Calipari said. “There’s no other state, none, that’s as connected to their basketball program as this one. Because those other states have other programs. Michigan has Michigan State, California has UCLA, North Carolina has Duke. It’s Kentucky throughout this whole state, and that’s what makes us unique.”

Louisville coach Rick Pitino obviously didn’t like the statement and offered a not-so-subtle jab at Calipari in return.

“Four things I have learned about people in my 59 years about people. I ignore the jealous, I ignore the malicious, I ignore the ignorant, and I ignore the paranoid,” Pitino told Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com. “If the shoe fits anyone. Wear it.”

The two sides will play their annual meeting on December 31st at Rupp Arena.

Gamecocks’ Harris Out Four Weeks

South Carolina sophomore forward Demontre Harris is out four weeks after suffering a right big two sprain a little over a week ago.

The 6-foot-9 forward sustained the injury in a pickup game on September 30th.

Like the rest of the college basketball, the Gamecocks will begin practice on Friday, but their first regular season game is not until November 15th against Elon, so it doesn’t appear that Harris will miss any games. He could, however, miss the team’s two exhibition games against Kentucky Wesleyan and Western Carolina.

No Jail For Florida’s Larson

It appears as if Cody Larson is one step closer to rejoining the Florida men’s basketball team.

Larson will not have to serve any jail time for a violating his probation, when he and fellow Gator Erik Murphy were arrested in April. Instead he will face two more years of probation and his license is suspended for 120 days. He is also not allowed to consume alcohol or any other controlled substance.

Murphy was reinstated to the team last month, but Florida coach Billy Donovan refused to comment at that time.

Sina Opens Up recruitment

Jaren Sina, one of the better point guards in the class of 2013, is back on the market after de-committing from Alabama.

“Yes, I de-committed,” the 6-foot-1 guard from New Jersey told Zagsblog.com

According to reports, Sina was just not sure about his decision to join the Crimson Tide and wanted to check out his other options.

“I visited the campus a couple times and I still have a good relationship with the coaches and everything. I want to have the opportunity to get a better look at some other schools and some other options just to compare it to.”

While Alabama is still among his list of suitors, that list now also includes Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. Johns, and Cincinnati, among others.

Inside the SEC: August 30

30 Aug

By Matt Fultz
National Hoops Report

Mississippi State Freshman Gardner Dismissed

While some coaches are banning their teams from using Twitter, others are bypassing that step all together and just kicking off players for popping off on the social media site.

It was just six months ago that Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury banned his players from using Twitter after Ravern Johnson fired off tweet criticizing the coaching staff, but the Bulldog head man decided to lift the ban after the season ended.

However, after last Thursday night on thing is almost guaranteed, the Twitter ban is back in full effect.

Incoming freshman D.J. Gardner sent out this rated-R tweet after feeling that the coaching staff lied to him during the recruiting process, leading to him being red-shirted.

“These b***es tried to f**k me over.. That’s y I red shirted .. But I wish my homies a great as* season.. I don’t even know y I’m still here”

The 6-foot-6 shooting guard did have to wonder about his future much longer, as Stansbury made that decision for the former four-star recruit deciding to dismiss him from the Bulldog program for what was termed “repeated action deemed detrimental to the team”

Gardner had talked to the coaching staff about possibly wanting to red-shirt the upcoming season before the teams trip to Europe, after learning he was not likely to play as much as the coach had promised during his recruitment.

“It’s like they sold him a dream,” said Angela Gardner, D.J.’s mother said.

Gardner’s mother was not exactly thrilled with the timing of the decision, since she had planned to talk to the coaching staff this week about her son’s future.

“I was told no decision would be made until November about D.J. being redshirted,” she told Brandon Marcello of The Clarion-Ledger “Imagine my surprise when I saw it come across Channel 9 news.”

Thursday night’s tweet was not the first time that Gardner lashed out on the social site, back in June he tweeted the following:

“Call em and tell more… I can’t stand liars and that’s all they did since I started being recruited.. R.I.p. To that contract I signed.”

From day one in Starkville, Gardner was not happy and was considering a transfer after his freshman season according to his mother.

“He got there and realized what he was told was a lie,” she said. “I told him to tough it out, play hard and we had entertained the idea of staying there his freshman year and transferring. We had entertained the idea because he was not happy at State.”

While a final destination is not known at this time, Angela did say that her son would enroll at another school this fall.

NCAA Lenient on Tennessee; Hammers Pearl

The Tennessee Basketball program escaped any further punishment from the NCAA last Wednesday, but former Volunteer coach Bruce Pearl was not so lucky.

New coach Cuonzo Martin will only have to deal with the schools self-imposed penalties of two years probation, set to start Wednesday, and some minor recruiting restrictions.

Pearl, on the other hand, was handed a stiff 3 year show-cause penalty. The show-cause does not make it impossible for Pearl to get a job with another NCAA institution during the three year period, but it hinders his chances severely.

During the three year period, Pearl is banned from recruiting, and if another institution wanted to hire him they would have to go before the NCAA and tell them what their reasoning for wanting to hire the embattled coach.

While pleased that Tennessee would not face any further punishment, Pearl wasn’t as happy about his own fate.

“I am pleased and relieved the University of Tennessee received no further penalties,” he said. “I accept responsibility for my actions, but I am disappointed with the length of the show-cause penalty.”

Tony Jones, Steve Forbes, and Jason Shay, Pearl’s assistants, were also hit with a show-cause penalty, but theirs is much less severe lasting only one year.

One thing that remained out of the 21 page infraction report was the supposed major violation committed by Pearl and Tony Jones, when they were accused of having  incidental contact, known as a bump, with a recruit at Oak Hill Academy. The accusation, which was in the Letter of Allegations sent to the school, played a key role in the staff being fired.

“The final straw for our coaching staff, according to UT chancellor Jimmy Cheek, was the alleged bump (violation) heard around the world, and it wasn’t even in the report and the Committee on Infractions deemed it not to be a violation at all,” said an unhappy Jones, who is now the head coach at Alcoa High School. “I’m sure that makes the Vol Nation have a lot of confidence in Chancellor Cheek, who never even bothered to meet with our coaching staff.”

Kentucky’s Vargas Cut From Dominican National Team

New Dominican National Team coach John Calipari said it is never easy to cut players from a roster, but his latest decision must have been one of the toughest for the coach.

Calipari was forced to cut one of his players from the University of Kentucky, Eloy Vargas, last week when the Dominican roster had to be trimmed from 15 to 12.

“I’ve talked with Eloy and he fully understands the decision. He will be coming home this weekend to prepare for his senior season with his teammates at Kentucky. Eloy has enjoyed a great experience with this Dominican team. He was a really a great teammate and gained valuable experience during his three weeks,”  Calipari said in a statement released on his website CoachCal.com “Eloy was going against veterans like Al Horford and Charlie Villanueva and Jack Michael Martinez. He held his own, but these guys have been playing in the pro leagues for years. When everybody is so close, you’ve got to look at it as we need three big men, we need three point guards and we need to fill out the roster from there. Eloy understands the decision, and what I think he’s done and what I told him is he’s probably cemented his spot on the national team for years to come.”

Vargas averaged 1.5 points and 2.0 rebounds a contest in his junior campaign at Kentucky.

Gamecocks Score Florida Pair

Ian Baker and Carlos “Squirrel” Morris have already played together on two different teams, Wednesday night they decided to make it three.

The pair who attend Arlington County Day in Jacksonville, Florida and run with the Dwight Howard Warriors AAU program committed to play for coach Darrin Horn and South Carolina in 2012.

While the two made the call to the Gamecock coaching staff together, it was Baker that pulled the trigger first.

“It was down to Providence and South Carolina — and Kris Dunn committed to Providence this morning — and I felt like I was South Carolina’s guy,” Baker told GamecockAnthem.com “So I just went ahead and did it.

The news that Baker, a 6-foot-1 point guard, had decided on South Carolina, was all the convincing that Morris needed.

“It just felt like it was time for it so I called Squirrel and asked him if he was ready to do this and he said he was and the rest was history,” Baker told the BigSpur.com

Morris is a 6-foot-5 shooting guard who has a knack for getting to the rim and scoring the ball, while Baker thinks brings toughness to the table.

“I think I do a great job of scoring the ball,” Morris said. “I will do whatever they want me to do though. If they want me to rebound, that is what I will do, if they want me scorer, I can do that. I will be a team player and do what it takes to make this a winning program.”

“My winning ways,” Baker said. “I just want to win so I am going to do my best to bring that attitude to the program. I also think my toughness takes me a long way. You can’t teach toughness so that is an area that can benefit the program.”

Graham Goes with Gators

Dillion Graham has always dreamed of donning the blue and orange and playing for Florida, Tuesday the 6-foot-4 guard made his dream a reality.

“I told Coach Donovan it’s my dream school,” Graham told The Orlando Sentinel “It’s the place where I’ve always wanted to play college basketball.”

The Orlando native, who held offers from the likes of SMU, Liberty, and Jacksonville as well as others, exploded on the national scene this summer due to his play on the Florida Rams. It was not long after the summer evaluation period began that the high-major offers began to roll in, and by the end of the summer Graham had quite the list of suitors, including Louisville, Florida State, Kansas State, as well as the Gators.

All it took for Graham to make his decision was a trip to Gainesville, which occurred last Thursday.

“I wanted to see them work out and get to know the players a little bit,” he said. “I pretty much committed that day. I just needed to come back home and talk it over with my parents.”

Florida, Kentucky Recruit Shatters Backboard

Mitch McGary didn’t walk away from the Boost Mobile Elite 24 game with the MVP trophy, in fact he didn’t even play in the game, but he didn’t walk away from the game empty handed.

The 6-foot-10 power forward, rated the number three prospect in the 2012 class by Rivals.com, displayed some of his raw power Saturday night, destroying one the backboards. The show of strength not only earned McGary a spot on almost every college basketball website in the country, but a new nickname and a trip to the hospital.

In an interview with ESPN’s Dave Telep following the incident, McGary said the rest of the players at the event had given him the nickname “White Chocolate” because “I’m the only white kid here” but changed it to “White Thunder” after breaking the backboard.

After delaying his trip to the hospital so he could watch the game, the Brewster Academy senior received 37 stitches to close a cut in his left shoulder.

McGary recently cut his list to six which includes Kentucky and Florida. Michigan, Maryland, Duke, and North Carolina round out the list.  He already visited Florida, and plans to take a trip to Lexington in the near future.


August 30th is national signing day?

30 Aug

By Brian Flinn
National Hoops Report

Most everyone that follows college basketball recruiting looks forward to two dates: November 10th (start of the early signing period) and April 13th (start of the late signing period). Well everyone, Christmas has come early. Continue reading

NHR Top 100: #63 Patric Young, PF, Florida

26 Aug

By Justin Young
National Hoops Report

Number 63 – Patric Young, PF, Soph., Florida

If you were to walk into a gym in Gainesville and Udonis Haslem, Al Horford, Joakim Noah and Patric Young were in it, playing a game of pick-up and if someone asked you who the NBA player was, you might start with Young first. Continue reading