Wednesday, July 16, 2008

7/16 - Some Links, Some News

-So now that it is official that Brandon Jennings is going to Europe, the question is where will he end up? Luis Fernandez over at Draft Express tells you everything you need to know about where he is looking and where he should be looking. Picking the correct league to suit his needs and abilities is so important for Jennings. As Fernandez puts it:

Europe is a huge mass of different basketball competitions, with some of them hardly resembling each other. This is not like playing in the NBA, where there are 30 defined teams and a comparable level between them. Overseas, there are some incredibly competitive leagues and some easier ones, balanced and unbalanced, defensive oriented and scoring happy, with an intense tactical approach and more free styled, better leagues and worse leagues, with a huge gap between them.

It would likely be a big mistake for Jennings to put himself into an excessively demanding environment. A high profile team (like Euroleague outfit Rome- who are rumored to be strongly in the picture) usually enjoy a deep roster and a very structured game on both ends of the court. There are no one-man shows here, the ball needs to flow and the team works united for a purpose. A player like Jennings, who loves to jack up shots and to dribble looking for the final definitive pass, probably doesn’t enjoy the experience and maturity to adjust quickly enough. Playing in a top league, you need to be extremely mature and consistently effective in order to enjoy significant freedom within the system, certainly not the easiest task for such a young kid playing the point guard position.
This is definitely worth the read, as Fernandez takes an in depth and interesting look at European basketball and how Jennings would fit in each league.

-Originally called an injured hamstring tendon, it now appears Gonzaga forward Austin Daye partially tore his ACL at the LeBron James Skills Academy summer camp. This is a huge blow to the 'Zags Final Four hopes, especially since they play in the mid-major West Coast Conference. It took 5 1/2 months for Brandon Rush to come back off of this same injury last off-season, and he returned from the injury early. If Daye has surgery, it means he will be out until at least January, missing all of Gonzaga's non-conference schedule - the most important time for tournament seeding for a mid-major.

-In 2003, the last time that Kansas made the NCAA final, the Jayhawks faced the very same situation they did in the 2008 final - down three with the ball, only seconds left on the clock. In 2003, Kirk Hinrich found Michael Lee in the corner for what seemed like a wide open three, until Hakim Warrick took off from what seemed like the block to swat the shot out of bounds (Note: if anyone knows where I can find a video of this play, let me know. As much as I hate the 'Cuse, this was one of the most memorable and out-of-this-world athletic plays I've ever seen live). Dana O'Neill of ESPN, who I love as a writer, caught up with Lee who, in a cruel? ironic? interesting twist of fate, was at the Alamo Dome when Chalmers hit the game-tying three.

-Speaking of Kansas, the outlook for their season just got a whole lot more promising. Remember back in June when reports surfaced that Sherron Collins had skipped a court date and was looking at serious legal trouble and a $75,000 fine? Well, the district attorney has decided not to file charges against the Jayhawk.

-While were on the topic of sexual assaults (my segues are impeccable today), former Florida Gators shooting guard Teddy Dupay was in court Monday facing rape and kidnapping charges stemming from a June 19th incident in Park City, Utah. This isn't the first time Dupay has been in trouble with the law. He was kicked off the Florida team after it was discovered that he gambled on college sports. The accusations are pretty disturbing, so I'm going to leave them off of this post, but take a look at his mug shot. He's fallen a long way from the 2000 National Title game.

-Now, one last piece of recruiting news. Pitt has landed top 25 recruit Dante Taylor, a 6'9", athletic combo forward. Already a top 5 team, the addition of more front court athleticism only solidifies the Panthers as a Big East and Final Four favorite.

-More Big East news. It looked like Derrick Caracter had burned all of his bridges at Louisville, but apparently Rick Pitino has told him that if he can keep his nose clean for a year, then Caracter can return to the Cardinal team for the 2009-2010 season. For all the hype and talent that Caracter has, is it really worth having the constant distraction around your team? I guess Pitino is just hedging his bets in case Samardo Samuels and Earl Clark both leave for the draft this year.

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