Tag Archives: South Carolina

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: Oct. 4

4 Oct

By Matt Fultz
National Hoops Report

Two Former Tennessee Assistants Unhappy with Pearl

When Tennessee decided to fire Bruce Pearl and the rest of the men’s basketball staff, Pearl was awarded a $1 million buyout, his assistants on the other hand were not so lucky.

The embattled coach spent the summer vacationing, before landing a high-paying job with a wholesaler in Knoxville.

It’s not the money that has former assistants Steve Forbes and Jason Shay upset, it the way they have been treated by Pearl.

The Volunteer’s former assistants Tony Jones, Forbes, and Shay were all able to find jobs, but none to the caliber of their posts at Tennessee. Jones is the boy’s high school basketball coach and physical education teacher at Alcoa High School. Forbes is the head coach at Northwest Florida State, where Shay is his assistant.

When they were relieved of their duties, they were awarded four months pay.

“Bruce Pearl is a friend of mine,” Jones told GoVolsXtra.com “I felt he took care of the staff when we worked together, and he did the best he could in giving us a fair severance.”

Jana Shay, the wife of Jason, had a differing view of the situation.

“From his end, it’s business. That was a lesson I had to learn, I guess,” she told Gary Parrish of CBSSpoints.com, who some time with Shay and Forbes in Florida. “I think Bruce tells people he did the best he could for us, and those who don’t know him probably believe that. I just don’t know that I believe that totally.”

“At one point in the discussion, they weren’t going to get any severance; I had to fight for it. I wasn’t happy with the settlements, either, but it was the best I could do,” Pearl told GoVolsXtra. “When families break up, it’s sad that sometimes these things can happen,’’ Pearl said Wednesday. “Jason and Jana expected more from the university and they expected more from me, and obviously they are disappointed.’’

Steve Forbes, who earns a salary of $60,000 at his new position, is facing financial issues as well as having to deal with his family being split.

Forbes, who has been unable to sell or rent his home in Knoxville, is facing foreclosure.

“My family is split up for the first time ever,” he told CBSSports.com. “My daughter is a senior at Tennessee. She lived at home with us. But now we don’t have her because we don’t live there anymore.”

Both Forbes and Shay have expressed the idea that they had no choice by to tell the whole truth to the NCAA about the now infamous Aaron Craft barbeque photo, for fear of losing their job and more importantly their career.

“You do that in this business and you are done,” Forbes to CBSSports.com. “Blackballed. You’re not loyal.”

Jones, Forbes, and Shay will all be able to try to get back into the division one ranks in the 2012-2013 season, when their one-year show cause penalty expires.

Vanderbilt’s Tinsley, Ezeli, and Tchiengang Talk Progress On and Off the Court

Three of Vanderbilt’s key returning players from last year’s NCAA Tournament team, Brad Tinsley, Festus Ezeli, and Steve Tchiengang have all had offseason injury issues. The three seniors all gave Jeff Lockridge of Vanderbilt Insider an update on their status.

Tinsley, who averaged just over ten points a contest a year ago, suffered a broken bone in his right hand in August during a pickup game.

“It was the first Friday we were here (back at school in August). I had just flown in from home. We were playing our first pickup games, and it was on a play where me and Jeff jumped and I tried to make a drop pass and my hand hit his thigh.”

Tinsley is positive that the setback has actually helped his development.

“It’s actually been a blessing in disguise because my left hand is now a hundred times better. I’ve been doing a lot of dribbling, a lot of passing left-handed … I’ve been screwing around shooting lefty, too … but a lot of core stuff and running. My left-handed dribbling has come a long way. I wouldn’t say it was a weakness, but it was definitely something I needed to get better at. Anytime you can strengthen your off hand, it’s a lot better than not. If you can go both ways just as strong, it makes you a better player.”

Ezeli, who is coming off and All-SEC season, had surgery on his right knee over the summer to repair a ruptured patella tendon.

“The surgery went well. The (rehab) now, it’s just normal stuff that you go through after you have surgery to try to get your explosion back,” he said. Adding his knee is “almost back” to 100 percent.

Ezeli, who averaged 13 points and 6.3 rebounds as a junior, said he is working hard on in the post area as well as trying to expand his game.

“People know I’m going to be in the post, so I’ve been working on that, trying to refine that a little more. I’ve been working on a little bit of a jump shot to give more opportunities for other players to drive in there and have more diversity on the team – more of a variety of offense for the team.”

Tchiengang, a reserve forward, is still recovering ankle surgery he underwent in July. He hopes to return by the beginning of the season, but he unsure if that will be the case.
“I don’t know. I don’t want to put a number on it, but I have awhile to go. My goal is to be ready (when the season starts). That’s the goal of the whole training staff to try to get me there right on time so I can get some practices in before the season. I haven’t done much with the team aside from lifting (weights) and meetings, so I need to be on the court and work with the guys.”

Andy Kennedy Talks Team with Jon Rothstein

College basketball insider Jon Rothstein recently caught up with Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy to talk about the 2011-2012 version of the Rebels. Rothstein posted a portion of the interview on his Twitter account.

The first major challenge that the Bulldogs will have to overcome is dealing with the loss of Chris Warren. Warren was the team’s leading scorer a season ago at 19 points per game.

So far Kennedy thinks the process is going smoothly.

“I’ve seen a noticeable change in our demeanor because we don’t have one guy who is so dominant with the ball,” he said. “People are recognizing that they all have to be involved on every possession. It’s encouraging to see.”

With Warren and second leading scorer Zach Graham gone the Rebels will have to rely heavily on the frontcourt for production. Reginald Buckner and Terrance Henry will be the “backbone” of the team according to Kennedy.

Buckner, a junior, racked up a team-best 50 blocks as a sophomore. He also averaged better than six points and six rebounds per contest.

“He is the leading shot blocker in the history of our program,” Kennedy said. “He stops things for us at the rim.”

Kennedy can already see a difference in the attitude of senior Henry, saying he has “a sense of urgency.”

Mississippi’s front court could be getting even stronger if the NCAA clears Murphy Holloway. Kennedy said that the NCAA is yet to rule on his eligibility, but should do so by October 14th.  Holloway, who played for the Rebels as a freshman and sophomore, decided to leave the program and transfer to South Carolina. However, after just one season in Columbia Holloway decided he wanted to once again be a Rebel. He last played in the 2009-2010 season, when he tallied more than 10 points a contest, while grabbing 7.6 rebounds.

Talented freshman Jalen Kendrick, who left Memphis before ever playing a game, will be able to suit up at the end of the first semester.

Dundrecous Nelson, who help take over for Warren at the guard spot, role will be greatly expanded form his freshman season.

“His talent has never been in question,” Kennedy said. “Now that he has the opportunity, he just has to maximize it.”

Kentucky “would be UCLA” if No One-and-Done rule, According to Calipari

While speaking at a coach’s clinic at Rutgers University Friday, Kentucky coach John Calipari expressed in words what all Wildcat fans have been daydreaming about since his arrival in Lexington.

“Could you imagine if I had these guys three and four years? It would be UCLA,” Calipari said, at the clinic was to help raise money for In Brayden’s Eyes, The Brayden Carr Foudation, which is in honor of Rutgers’ assistant coach Jim Carr’s son, who lost his battle against cancer.

The Big Blue Nation could only dream about the possibility of John Wall and Brandon Knight in the backcourt, or how last year’s Final Four matchup with Connecticut would have ended if DeMarcus Cousin was still patrolling the paint.

In his first two seasons Calipari has had five so called “one-and-dones”, including Wall, Knight, Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, and Daniel Orton. The number would be six if you include Turkish center Enes Kanter, who enrolled at Kentucky but was never ruled eligible.

While bringing in another stellar recruiting class that could feature several more players that could leave after one season in a Wildcat uniform, Calipari once again stated he is not a fan of the rule.

“People that say, ‘Well, he likes one-and-done.’ I hate one-and-done. Why would I want one-and-done?” he said. “I’m getting guys, I’d like to have them four years. We’d win a whole lot of games. But that’s not the rule so now we end up losing three and four and five and maybe six this year to the NBA.  If you’re happy for the kids, you just try to figure it out later.”

SEC Well Represented On Pre-Season Wooden Award List

The John Wooden Award watch list was announced on Monday and seven players from the conference have made the list of 50.

Vanderbilt lead the way with three players in John Jenkins, Festus Ezeli, and Jeffrey Taylor. Mississippi State’s Dee Bost, Florida’s Patric Young, Kentucky’s Terrence Jones, and Alabama’s JaMychal Green also made the list, that does not include freshman or transfers.

ESPN’s Andy Katz had opposing coaches break down every player on the list, here is what was said about the players from the SEC.

John Jenkins-“He is the best shooter in the SEC and maybe the nation. He puts it down some, too, but is just deadly when he has a good look.”

Festus Ezeli-“He might have the best chance at a long career of anyone in the league. He is older and a legit NBA center.”

Jeffrey Taylor-“He benefits from being surrounded by great players. But he also suffers because he is talented enough to be a lead role player.”

Dee Bost-“He has terrific physical skills. He probably should have stayed in the draft two years ago, because he would have made a team.”

Patric Young-“He was as physical of a freshman as this league has seen. He is going to be in a bigger role this season.”

Terrence Jones-“Jones is a dynamic player who does his damage in a lot of ways. The added year of experience will make him a player of the year candidate.”

JaMychal Green-“Green is an athletic, front-line player who likely will get more touches this year. He has always been very versatile.”

Auburn’s Barbee Hires Former Teammate

Auburn head coach Tony Barbee announced that Harper Williams has been added to the program as an administrative assistant.

“I am very excited about Harper joining our Auburn basketball program,” Barbee said in a statement. “My relationship with Harper goes back to when he was a college teammate of mine at UMass. Harper comes to Auburn with a wealth of basketball knowledge having played and coached professionally for 17 seasons.”

The two played together at UMass for four years, in one of those years, 1992, Williams was names Atlantic 10 player of the year. He was inducted to UMass Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006.

His professional career came to an end in 2010 after one year in France.

USC’s Harris Injures Foot

South Carolina’s Demontre Harris became the just the latest player from the SEC to suffer an offseason injury.

Harris, who sustained an undisclosed foot injury according to reports, joins Kentucky’s Jon Hood and Vanderbilt’s Brad Tinsley as players to get injured during workouts. Hood tore his ACL, while Tinsely broke a bone in his right hand.

The 6-foot-9 Harris, who averaged 3.7 points and 36 rebounds as a freshman, is expected to be reevaluated my doctors next week to determine the extent of the damage.

McGary Cancels UK, Updates Recruitment

Mitch McGary, the number one ranked power forward in the 2012 class, was scheduled to attend Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness later this month, but that is not the case any longer, according to his blog post on ESPN.com.

“As far as more visits, I don’t think I’ll be making any. I’m not gonna go to Kentucky’s Midnight Madness, I feel like I have all the information that I need to start to think about a decision,” he wrote. “Within the next month I hope to have a decision made.”

Most recruiting analysts believe Michigan is in the lead for the big man, but he said he has no leaders at this point.

“I know there are a lot of rumors out there that I’ve already committed to certain schools, but I can honestly tell you guys that I don’t know where I want to go. I have not committed anywhere so that’s just not true.”

While he mostly discussed what he like about Duke, Michigan, and North Carolina extensively, McGary did say he like what Florida coach Billy Donovan was saying.

“Also, Coach (Billy) Donovan was up here a couple weeks ago and he’s done a really good job showing me what he’s done in the last few years developing talent. I really like what he’s been saying.”

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.


The future: SEC

21 Jul

Can the four-headed monster of recruits keep Kentucky at the top of the game in 2011-2012?

By Justin Young
National Hoops Report

Once again, some of the nation’s top players are coming to the Southeastern Conference thanks to John Calipari. For the third straight year, the Wildcats have one of the nation’s most impressive collection of rookies coming to Lexington. The rest of the league is trying to keep up but UK seems to have a strong hold on impact rookies. Here’s a look at who to watch this season. Continue reading

Inside the SEC: July 12

12 Jul

By Matt Fultz
National Hoops Report

College coaches are bouncing around the country recruiting this month. Where did coaches from the SEC go and who did they watch? We know. A big transfer, a coaching move, a big injury and a new name all highlight this week’s Inside the SEC. Continue reading

Inside the SEC: July 5

5 Jul

By Matt Fultz
National Hoops Report

The storylines continue in July for the SEC. Find out what the latest and greatest is from the conference. Continue reading

Ranking the SEC frontcourts

29 Jun

Terrence Jones anchors a strong frontline for Kentucky next year. (Getty Images)

By Matt Fultz
National Hoops Report

The SEC has a strong base of guards for the upcoming 2011-2012 season. The frontcourts could be even stronger. Continue reading

Ranking the SEC backcourts

24 Jun

Florida's backcourt of Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton anchor the best returning bunch of guards in the SEC. (Getty Images)

By Matt Fultz
National Hoops Report

The SEC is stocked deep with talent in the backcourts for the 2010-2011. How do the teams rank in terms of overall guard play? The National Hoops Report dives into the backcourts. Continue reading