Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Renardo Sidney's case to Congress?

Today is September 30th, which means that on Friday, we will officially be two weeks from the start of college basketball practice.

Do a little math, and you realize that Don Jackson, the lawyer representing Renardo Sidney, has all of 16 days to get his client eligible if Sidney wants to participate in pre-season practices with Mississippi State.

Having already played the race card, Jackson does what any reasonable lawyer does when he is trying to speed up a case: threatens to take it in front of Congress...?

No, seriously.

He really is.


Well, once you peal back the legalese mumbo jumbo, Jackson's basic argument is that the NCAA disproportionately targets black student-athletes when dealing with eligibility issues.

Personally, I could care less whether or not this is a valid point (which I don't think it is - do you think Jackson realizes that there is a disproportionate of student-athletes playing the sports people care about, i.e. football and basketball, are black?). The real question is whether or not this is the best route for Sidney's representation to take if they want him to play college hoops this season. From John Gasaway over at Basketball Prospectus:

Jackson has loudly and repeatedly vowed to take legal action to get his client on the court for the Bulldogs this season. Call me naive, but I had rather assumed the legal action would consist of finding a sympathetic judge to issue an injunction, court order, or anything else that would create the needed five-month window to get this kid through his one-and-done year. After all, judges issue questionable orders all the time. Many of them are overturned later, but that process takes time–weeks and months during which Sidney could be dominating the SEC West. I thought Jackson was headed down this road.

Silly me. Jackson instead thinks the wise course here is to haul the NCAA before Congress on charges of "selectively harsh treatment against African American student athletes." I have no doubt Jackson can round up some sympathetic ears on the Hill and hold some rollicking good press conferences. But let’s be frank: The chances of Jackson securing from Congress the needed "legislative intervention" (Jackson's words) on behalf of Renardo Sidney are exactly zero. Or should be. If our nation’s elected officials actually table discussion on Afghanistan, our health care system, reforms in financial regulation, and Iran's nuclear capability to spend time pondering whether or not Renardo Sidney should be allowed to play college basketball, they will have one angry constituent on their hands, regardless of whether they mandate or prohibit Sidney’s presence on the floor.
The way I see it, Jackson is probably doing the best job he can. In my mind, corruption in amateur basketball and college basketball recruiting has reached a level almost on par with steroids in baseball; I don't necessarily believe everyone is dirty, but given the number of scandals that have come to light over the past year, I'm at a point where any rumor equals truth.

In fewer words, I think Sidney probably did something illegal. Jackson knows this. And he also knows that, if he were to turn over the documents that the NCAA is requesting, they would find out about these illegal deeds, rendering Sidney ineligible to play.

If this theory of mine is, in fact, true, then Jackson is probably throwing around the race card and this notion that he is taking Sidney's case in front of Congress because he is trying to get people - the media, the fans, the NCAA - to focus on those things instead of the fact that Sidney should be ineligible.

Could this be a sign of how dire Renardo Sidney's straits actually are?

Continue reading...

Is anyone else sick of hearing about Binghamton?

First, Emanuel Mayben was kicked out of school. Then, five more of his teammates got the boot. And yesterday, news came out that the Binghamton Zoo was offended by the comments made by AD Joel Thirer referring to the basketball team as a "zoo".

And now, it seems as if the university is not yet done cleaning house.

Sally Dear, an adjunct lecturer who has taught Human Development at the school for 11 years, was fired Tuesday. The school says she was let go due to “uncertain fiscal environment” and “strategic reprioritization of resources across the university.”

As you might imagine, Dear disagrees. From The Quad:

"I'm being fired for being ethical," Dear said. "I have no doubt about that whatsoever."

Seven Binghamton men's basketball players majored in human development last year, and Dear said she believed some of them received preferential treatment.

"They know that people have been covering up for the athletes and not holding them to the same standard for other students," Dear said. "They know that athletes who are not passing classes have been given independent studies to carry them through.
Not making sense to you?

Take a look at this article by Pete Thamel of the NYT from back in February in which Dear provided some pretty inflammatory accusations:
Sally Dear, an adjunct lecturer at Binghamton, said that her experience last semester with three men's basketball players in her Human Development 304 class had frustrated her to tears. They were a continual nuisance, she said, missing classes and appointments, or arriving late and leaving early. Dear, who has a strict attendance policy, also said Broadus once showed up to check that the players were in class, something that had never happened in her 10 years of teaching.

Dear said she stopped teaching numerous times because of their disruptive behavior. When she caught one player text-messaging during class, she recalled, he said he was receiving a message from his coach.

"All I know is the aptitude and the attitude that are displayed in the classroom," Dear said. "I would have preferred to see a more academically prepared and serious student."

Dear would not reveal the players' names or grades, citing privacy rules. Under Dear's policy, students are dropped a full grade after three absences. After the players missed three of her classes, Ed Scott, the associate athletic director for student services, questioned her right to drop their grades.

Dear was unhappy that their playing schedule had not been made available to her at the start of the semester so they could plan for the absences.

"I felt pressure to cut them breaks that weren't available to other students," she said, adding that Scott sent e-mail messages and called relentlessly to question her grading policy.

"That was uncomfortable and inappropriate," she said. "My expectations were called into question, and I was being essentially asked to bend the rules or overlook them or not apply things equally."
That's not the end of it. Binghamton AD Joel Thirer resigned today. As Pat Forde tweeted, maybe Thamel should help Thirer pack up the things in his office.

Players putting students into comas and selling coke, AD's resigning, ex-professors lashing out at the school, and zookeepers writing letters to the press trashing the university? And this is supposed to be the cream of the SUNY system?

Could head coach Kevin Broadus be next?

Continue reading...

Wednesday Morning Dump

The bathroom floor (NSFW) at the new Cowboys Stadium sounds like a great place; DMX is an MMA fighter?; the delivery girl must have been hot; machine gun social; the Chicago leg rubber; I get the feeling that this is a really bad idea; shouldn't have driven into a sinkhole.

- Devin Ebanks is more than just a scorer.

- Neither side moving in Renardo Sidney soap opera.

- Myles Brand tribute at Indiana.

- Florida gets commitment from Casey Prather.

- Four finalists for the Army job.

- Calhoun talking with UConn about a multi-year contract.

- Maryland freshman Jordan Williams was arrested for assault in August.

- Emmanuel Negedu stayed in the hospital Tuesday night as well.

- Tony Mitchell cuts list down to ASU, Georgetown, and Kansas State.

- Kenyon Martin is not a thug.

- Chuck Knoblauch hit his wife.

- Pole vault fails. Yes.

- Junior Seau in a bull ring.

- Conan O'Brien takes a fall.

- Nice work Jets fans. I can only hope that Yankees fans will do the same.

- Ref pees on the soccer pitch.

Continue reading...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Binghamton Zoo offended by comparison

Clearly, Binghamton AD Joel Thirer has been a bit stressed by the current situation involving his men's basketball team.

When you are the AD of a school with absolutely no basketball tradition, I'm sure it is difficult when you see your basketball team implode just six shorts months after their first trip to the NCAA's.

An hour before the announcement that the five more members of the basketball team would be getting thrown off, Thirer had this to say when asked about who he would blame (from

Truthfully, if I'm the president? Who's running the zoo? I'd start with me.
Now, if I were to tell you that Thirer has received some critical backlash for this quote, who do you think it would be from?

I bet the actual Binghamton Zoo would be pretty far down that list. This is an actual email sent by the Business Manager of the Zoo (first seen at The Dagger via The Quad):
I am tired of hearing that blight on Binghamton University, the men's basketball team, being referred to as a "zoo." The Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park has just received re-accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the industry's governing authority. We achieved this status by being in the top 10 percent of all the zoos in the country.

Our animal care, safety, employees and educational and service standards are set high and met accordingly. Not one of our tigers has been arrested with cocaine. No otter knocks over old ladies to shoplift condoms. Our bear doesn't have temper tantrums and storm off his exhibit. You won't find any of our lemurs busted for smoking pot. So, please, stop insulting zoos by comparing those criminals to us.

Amanda J. Padwa

Business Manager

Binghamton Zoo


That second paragraph was vicious.

The most ironic part about all of this? The Binghamton student section is known as the BU Zoo.

I wonder if they were offended as well?
Continue reading...

2009-2010 Team Preview: Memphis Tigers

2008-2009 Record: 33-4, 16-0 C-USA (1st)

Key Losses: Tyreke Evans (17.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 3.9 apg, Robert Dozier (12.9 ppg, 7.5 rpg), Shawn Taggart (10.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg), Antonio Anderson (10.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 4.5 apg)

Key Returners: Doneal Mack (8.7 ppg), Roburt Sallie (5.8 ppg)

Newcomers: Elliot Williams, Will Coleman, DJ Stephens, Malik Thomas, Tyler Foster, Drew Barham, James Harvey Jr.

Doneal Mack will be the Tiger's leading returning scorer.
(photo credit: Reuters)

The Memphis basketball program had an off-season to forget. It started with John Calipari bolting for greener pastures in Lexington, and taking his loaded recruiting class with him. It continued with the school being stripped of its 38 win and Final Four season in 2007-2008. It ended with the Tigers losing three kids who would have contributed significant minutes this season; Latavious Williams decided to play pro ball overseas while Martin Ngaloro and Angel Garcia both suffered season ending injuries.

But that doesn't mean the Tigers will be devoid of talent this season, as they do add two potential stars to a group of proven role players. The biggest addition, figuratively, was guard Elliot Williams, a former McDonald's all-american who was cleared to play this season after transferring from Duke to be closer to his ailing mother. Williams should fit in perfectly with this Memphis squad as he is a tough defender and an athletic slasher. He showed flashes of promise on the offensive end as a freshman at Duke, and with the Tigers losing their three leading scorers, they will be looking for someone to help handle the offensive load.

The rest of the Memphis back court are names that you should recognize. Willie Kemp and Doneal Mack, both heading into their senior years, seem like they have been Tigers forever. Kemp will have his work cut out for him. He started as a freshman, but with one-and-dones Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans handling the point guard duties the past two season, he was relegated to a bench role. If Memphis wants to win another C-USA title, they are going to need a big year out of Kemp at the point. As I said before, there isn't really a big time scorer on this team like there has been the last few years. For the Tigers to be successful, Kemp is going to have to be able to get in the lane and create.

Mack is the Tiger's leading returning scorer. Known primarily as a shooter, he has struggled with that aspect of him game a bit as his percentages have dropped from 41% as a freshman to just 33% last year. He is streaky, however, and if he can build some confidence early in the season he can be a dangerous weapon for the Tigers.

The x-factor for this team may be Roburt Sallie. Sallie has been a bit of a basketball vagabond, bouncing around from school to school (he originally committed to Nebraska) before finally settling with the Tigers last season. It took him a while to really break into the Memphis rotation, but he is a tremendous shooter, knocking down 47% of his three's. When he gets hot, there may not be a better shooter in the country. Anyone that doubts that should take a glimpse at what he did in last year's tournament - 16-24 from deep in three games, including a 35-point performance (including 10-15 from deep) where he single-handedly kept the Tigers in their first round game against Cal St. Northridge.

The biggest addition, literally, for the Tigers during the off-season was forward Will Coleman, a JuCo transfer. Coleman is a freak of an athlete, checking in at 6'9", 255 lb with a 40" vertical. Coleman may be more Joey Dorsey than Blake Griffin at this point in his career, but there's no denying the potential of someone who can do this. His front court mate will be senior Pierre Henderson-Niles. Niles has constantly battled weight problems since enrolling with the Tigers, but word out of Memphis is that Niles is down to 278 lb. A top 30 recruit before his put on the weight, Niles has a soft touch and quick feet for a big man. If he ever figures it all out, he could end up being a tattooed Big Baby.

The other two players expected to get minutes for the Tigers are sophomore Wesley Witherspoon and freshman DJ Stephens. Witherspoon is a rangy 6'8" wing that is good enough with the ball that he played some point during his freshman season. A fantastic athlete with all the tools you ask for in a prototypical NBA wing, last season he showed that he still needed a lot of polish on the skills aspect of his game. Stephens was a late signee by Pastner after Latavious Williams decided to head to Europe. The 6'5" forward out of Texas is a fantastic athlete (reports say he has a 43" vert), but not much more should be expected out of him outside of a few dunks and some defense.

Outlook: Depth is going to be the biggest issue for the Tigers this season. They only have eight healthy scholarship players, and just two true posts. If Memphis wants to win this season, my personal feeling is that they are going to need to rely on their defense. They have athletes at every position, and if they can play a pressuring defense (and not necessarily in the full court as mush as a smothering half court defense), they should be able to force a lot of turnovers. And with the athletes on this team and the lack of any truly developed offensive weapons, an emphasis on the transition should suit them just fine. While the conference won't be a cakewalk for the Tigers like in years past (especially with how good teams like Tulsa, Houston and UTEP will be), they should still be considered the favorite heading into the season. But if the Tigers disappoint in the non-conference (big games are Kansas, @ Umass, Tennessee, @ Syracuse, and Gonzaga), that sentiment could change rather quickly.

Continue reading...

GWC champ to earn an auto-bid to the CIT

Last year (actually, exactly a year ago to the day, believe it or not), we told you about the formation of the Great West Conference. Essentially, the conference was formed to afford the athletes at a group of DI independents the chance to play games with meaning, receive weekly awards, and win conference titles like the rest of the conference affiliated schools across the country.

For basketball, those schools are:

  • Chicago State
  • Houston Baptist
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Texas Pan-American
  • Utah Valley State
When it is all said and done, this is a good thing, especially for the student-athletes at these schools. These teams aren't going to be earning at-large bids to the dance. Hell, NJIT has won jst a single game in the last two seasons. Essentially, these seven teams were playing an entire season's worth of meaningless games simply because they wanted the opportunity to play, coach, or participate in DI hoops.

It gets better.

Today, word came out that the conference has signed a deal with the Tournament (CIT) to grant the conference champion an automatic bid. While this tourney is a far cry from even the NIT (last year's final was between Old Dominion and Bradley), this gives these kids even more to play for. Most teams in this league are currently NCAA eligible, meaning they could earn an at-large bid (highly unlikely), but an automatic bid for the conference champ to the Big Dance won't happen until at least 2020.

It is rare the NCAA ever does anything that benefits the kids. While there may be alterior motives to the decision to add a conference in DI hoops (another auto bid means another play-in games which equals more games, thus more money for the NCAA), this is still a move that will give the kids playing in the GWC for the next decade a meaning to their season.

(h/t to reader Jason Belzer for the heads up)

Continue reading...

Jim Boeheim could land 2010's best recruiting class

Yesterday, we wrote about how the Duke Blue Devils have a chance to land one of their best recruiting classes in recent memory.

Well, Coach K hasn't been the only guy doing impressive things on the recruiting trail.

In fact, the Devils may not end up with 2010's best recruiting class. If all things go according to plan, that title may go to Syracuse and Jim Boeheim.

It starts with Fab Melo, the 7'0" Brazilian center that is widely regarded as one of the best bigs in the class (7th by Scout, 16th by Rivals). It was thought that Melo was all but a lock to play for Rick Pitino in Louisville before he committed to the Orange two months ago.

Jim Boeheim has landed one of Syracuse's best recruiting classes.
(photo credit: AP)

There's more. 6'3" guard Dion Waiters, a consensus top 30 recruit (28th by Scout, 29th by Rivals), committed to the Orange over a year ago. Boeheim has also garnered commitments from 6'7" wing CJ Fair and 6'10" big man Baye Moussa Kieta, both of whom were ranked in the top 150 by Rivals.

But Boeheim isn't done yet.

Over the weekend, 6'8" point forward Tobias Harris (5th by Rivals, 9th by Scout) was on campus for his first official visit, and reportedly had a great experience. Harris is a New York native (albeit from Long Island) and plays on the AAU team the Unique All-Stars with Fair and Melo. While he has yet to say that Syracuse is his leader, there is already speculation that he will end up in upstate New York when it is all said and done.

What does this all mean?

Boeheim has gone on record saying that he thinks freshman PG Brandon Triche may be better than Jonny Flynn. If he can get juniors Rick Jackson and Wesley Johnson, a transfer from Iowa State who many believe will be one of the best players in the Big East this year, to return to school for their senior seasons, the Orange will be shot right back to the top of the conference in 2010 even if they don't land Harris.

But imagine if they do.

Continue reading...

Tuesday Morning Dump

She must have been awful at karaoke; so Jersey is good for something; pulling out your teeth to spook a friend?; women locks son in closet for four years; another high school hazing story.

- Alabama forward Demetrius Jemison to miss the season with an achilles injury.

- Xavier and Gonzaga to play a home-and-home.

- Yahoo's Dan Wetzel takes a look at the star recruits who won't play for their fathers who coach at mid-majors.

- Why is all of NYC's prep talent leaving the city?

- RTC's take on the goings-on at Grambling.

- Jeff Capel's biggest concern at Oklahoma - how to replace the Brothers Griffin's rebounding.

- Goodman's Big XII preview.

- Gary Parrish says that Kevin Broadus isn't the only one who should be blamed for the mess at Binghamton.

- Meet the sad Mets fan. Wouldn't that be all of them?

- I don't think I wanna see Big Baby dance.

- Michael Crabtree is making money off of endorsements, even though he isn't playing.

- Sal Fasano plays an extra year so his son can have heart surgery. Great read here.

- The video of the 16 year old killed in a Chicago street brawl. Don't watch if you're squeamish.

- All the single babies.

- Hell, I'd be terrified too.

- Hooligan wars!!!

- Yeah, I don't think I'll be going to Jamaica anytime soon.

Continue reading...

Emmanuel Negedu to the hospital

Scary story coming out of Knoxville today.

Vols forward Emmanuel Negedu, a rising sophomore who averaged 7.2 mpg and 1.9 ppg as a freshman, had to be revived with a defibrillator after he collapsed at UT's practice facility.

He passed out after lifting weights, and reportedly had no pulse when the UT athletics staff arrived on the scene. According to GoVolsXtra, he was regained consciousness when EMT's arrived to transport him to the UT Medical Center. He will be held there overnight for observation.

Negedu, a native of Nigeria who attended Brewster Academy and originally committed to Arizona (before the Lute Olson debacle), was expected to contribute significant minutes to the Vols front court this season. But after collapsing, this season, and possibly his career, is now in doubt.

Get well soon, E-Man.

Continue reading...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Coach K is hitting the recruiting trail hard

I don't think anyone will argue with me if I say Duke has one of the best basketball programs in the country.

But over the last few seasons, Coach K's bunch has not been as dominant as they were in the 90's. Since 2001, the Blue Devils have made it past the Sweet Sixteen just once, a 2004 run to the Final Four. They have reached the tournament every season with a smattering of ACC regular season and conference championships thrown in there, which would be a great run for just about any program in the country.

But we are talking about Duke.

Expectations are high down in Durham.

The reason why the Blue Devils haven't been the same Blue Devils is a tough question to answer. Have they had a dominant play maker in their back court since Jason Williams left? Are their stars too soft to handle the pressure of playing in March? Do they rely too much on the three? Does the team break down by the end of the season?

This image has been a common one for recent Duke teams.
(photo credit: photobucket)

The bottom line is that Duke just hasn't been getting the same caliber of talent into their program of late. Instead of landing a Christian Laettner, they get a Josh McRoberts. Instead of Jason Williams, its Jon Scheyer. Elton Brand is now Lance Thomas.

I don't mean to be speaking ill of the current Dukies, because these are still kids that are playing for a team that wins 25-plus games a year in the ACC. That is very impressive. But Thomas, Scheyer, and McRoberts are not going to be making NBA all-star teams. And as we have said time and time again, that NBA ready talent is what you need to win titles in college.

So is the issue recruiting?

It seems to be a fair argument, as Coach K has just missed on quite a few big time recruits over the last couple of summers. Patrick Patterson, Greg Monroe, John Wall, and Kenny Boynton are just a few of the big names that flirted heavily with the idea of playing for Coach K.

Imagine a starting line-up of those four and Kyle Singler.

Scary, right?

But things may be looking up for the Blue Devils.

Kyrie Irving is a consensus top 10 recruit in the class of 2010 (9th by Rivals, 6th by ESPN, 5th by Scout). For most of the summer, it was believed that Indiana and Duke were the two leaders to land his services. But last week, Irving announced that he would not be taking an official visit in Bloomington, putting the Blue Devils squarely in the drivers seat according to most media outlets.

Is Kyrie Irving headed to Durham?
(photo credit: Herald Times)

Irving's official visit to Duke over the weekend only added fuel to the fire. Adam Zagoria reported yesterday that the trip was an overwhelming success as the Crazies were out in full force. Irving raved about his trip on Twitter, and if Justin Young or Jeff Goodman is to be believed, a commitment is imminent.

But there's more.

Most believe that Harrison Barnes, who is arguably the best player in the class of 2010 (1st by Scout, 1st by ESPN, 2nd by Rivals), has favored Duke for a while (he takes his official visit there on October 23rd), but that may have changed after his trip to see the UNC alumni game.

Austin Rivers, Doc's son and Jeremiah's brother, is a top ten recruit in the class of 2011 and has long been committed to Florida. But he recently took a trip to the Duke campus, and some believe he may now be choosing between the two schools.

And do I need to mention that Irving's teammate at St. Patrick's in Michael Gilchrist, a 2011 recruit that may actually be the best player in the country.

While it may be all speculation right now, if Coach K can finally land two or three of these kids, would any be surprised to see the Devils celebrating in Houston in 2011?

Continue reading...

2009-2010 Team Preview: Florida Gators

2008-2009 Record: 25-11, 9-7 SEC (5th)

Key Losses: Nick Calathes (17.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 6.2 apg), Walter Hodge (8.9 ppg, 2.3 apg)

Key Returners: Alex Tyus (12.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg), Erving Walker (10.1 ppg, 2.4 apg), Chandler Parsons (9.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg)

Newcomers: Kenny Boynton, Vernon Macklin, Erik Murphy, Nimrod Tishman

Junior Alex Tyus will be the Gators leading returning scorer.
(photo credit: daylife)

The biggest change for the Gators this off season was the loss of point guard Nick Calathes to Greece. Calathes will be difficult to replace, not only because of the amount of points he produced (17.2 ppg and 6.4 apg is a huge chunk of offense) but because of how instrumental he was in Billy Donovan's offense. Everything ran through Calathes, especially the Gator's transition game as Calathes was as good as anyone in the country leading the break.

But even with the loss of their starting back court (Walter Hodge is gone too), the Gators will still be able to field a talented roster full of potential. The issue will be whether or not that potential will manifest itself in wins. It starts with the Gators front court, which is overloaded with length and athleticism. Alex Tyus is probably their best returner up front, coming off of a season where he averaged 12.5 ppg and 6.2 rpg. But Tyus has not always seemed happy playing in Florida (he came very close to transferring out of Gainesville around the NBA Draft). Tyus' game is all about energy, as he is a slender 6'8". He is never going to out muscle someone in the post, but he is bouncy and very aggressive going to the offensive glass.

The two guys that are going to make or break this season for Florida are Chandler Parsons and Vernon Macklin. Parsons, who was a top 20 recruit in 2007, has all the makings to be a star. As a 6'8", athletic small forward with the ability to hit the three, he has the tools to make scouts drool. But Parsons has yet to be able to put together a consistent offensive performance over the course of his first two seasons. Macklin, who was a McDonalds all-american in high school before struggling through two seasons at Georgetown, is another guy who has yet to live up to his potential. Macklin is a big, strong body with excellent athleticism, but he struggled to get time at Georgetown. Macklin's doesn't have the polish on his offensive game to succeed in an offense like the one the Hoyas run. As a result, he never really was able to build his confidence or the confidence of John Thompson III. I expect him to have a much better year playing in a more open and fast-paced system in Florida.

Dan Werner and Adam Allen will both play an important role for Donovan. They are, for the most part, the same player - a strong 6'8" forward that can play either the 3 or the 4 with the ability to knock down perimeter jumpers. They will both be needed to help spread the floor as Florida is not a great perimeter shooting team. Werner is the lone holdover from Florida's 2006 title team and who has started 71 of the last 72 games. The other two Gator big men that could see time this season are sophomore Kenny Kadji and freshman Erik Murphy.

While the front court is full of x-factors, the kid that will be the star of this team is freshman guard Kenny Boynton. Boynton might be the best scorer in the incoming freshman class (he averaged over 30 ppg in high school) and will be counted on to help fill the scoring void left by Calathes. Listed at just 6'2", Boynton has been focusing this summer on his ability to play the point as well. Boynton's back court mate will be Erving Walker. Walker is just 5'8", but he is quick with the ball. He also showed an excellent shooting touch last year as he was forced to play off the ball much of the season. Coming into last season with a lot of hype as a distributor, Walker seemed to be more effective as a scorer and a shooter (although much of that had to do with the fact that Calathes dominated the ball). Regardless, with two talented guards that are able to move between the point and the two, Florida's back court looks pretty solid.

While Walker and Boynton are talented, the Florida bench does not have a ton of depth. Sophomore Ray Shipman will see a lot of time at the two, but he is much more of a three than a guard (think Paul Harris from Syracuse) as he is at his best when he is defending and attacking the rim, either off the dribble or for a board. The x-factor for this team could be Israeli freshman Nimrod Tishman. Tishman is a big point guard (listed at 6'5") that has drawn rave reviews after his performance at the U-18 World Championship (18.6 ppg 4.6 rpg, 2.4 apg, 53.3% 3's). Draft Express even compared him to Calathes given his size. Tishman, however, was rated just a three star recruit, so how much of an impact he truly has will be seen. Most importantly, he is another body in a back court that would otherwise go just three deep.

Outlook: The SEC is going to be much better than it was last season, when Florida went just 9-7 in the eastern division and failed to make the NCAA's. The Gators also lost their best player to pro ball in Greece. That said, this line-up has a ton of talent and potential. If Parsons and Macklin develop into above-average players at this level, Boynton turns out to be as good as advertised, and guys like Walker, Werner, and Tyus continue to improve, Florida could make some noise in the SEC. I'd expect 10 league wins and a tournament trip from this group.

Continue reading...

Big East Tournament isn't changing yet

About a month and a half ago, we wrote a post about how there were grumblings that the Big East Tournament was going to change.

For the first time since the league expanded, all 16 teams were invited to Madison Square Garden. The way the tournament is currently set up is that the teams seeded 9th-16th play on Tuesday, with the 5th-8th seeds playing the winners after a bye, and the top four teams get a double-bye.

According to Big East associate commissioner Dan Levitt, it is going to stay that way. There was some support for changing the structure to have the top four teams plays the bottom four teams on day one, with the winners getting day two off while the middle eight teams play. No teams would receive a bye in this format.

"It was brought up by the head coaches at the annual meeting in May and I think the (proposed) format makes a lot of sense," Gavitt told "But ultimately, it got back to the timing – and after going from 12 to 16 teams a year ago, the timing didn’t seem right."

"There was certainly support for the change, but there was also support for not making the change right now." Continue reading...

Monday Morning Dump

Chernobyl, 20 years later; guy sneaks into bear exhibit at the San Francisco zoo; not sexiling is now illegal at Tufts; woman assaults boy at a "furry gathering";

- Its old news, but Whitlock and Vitale weighed in on the Kansas fights.

- Derrick Rose says he took the SAT's.

- Top 10 centers.

- Washington's guards will be good.

- Rookie's first big league homer held for ransom.

- Up three with the ball, should you foul?

- The country's best front courts.

- Harrison Barnes has scheduled his remaining visits.

- Mizzou's athletics department doesn't know how to get rid of old cell phones.

- Grambling's Rick Duckett says he didn't resign, he was fired.

- Was the Army coach fired for abusing a player.

- The WaPo catches up with Kenny Anderson.

- Indiana football coach freaks out and throws his gum.

- "That motherf****r hit me in my penis"

- Remember when Dave Chappelle went crazy, then showed up at some comedy show in England? I do.

Continue reading...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Can Binghamton even field a team now?

Yesterday, we wrote about how Binghamton's basketball program had been dubbed "UNLV East" by Phil Mushnick of the NY Post.

In the post, we asked the question "So what's next for the Bearcats?"

Today, we got the answer.

Binghamton kicked five more players off the basketball team - DJ Rivera, Corey Chandler, Malik Alvins, Paul Crosby, and David Fine. According to the school's associate athletic director John Hartrick, they were dismissed because “they are not toeing the line. Their attitude and behavior … is not what we expect from our student-athletes.”

DJ Rivera and Malik Alvins were two of the five players kicked off the Binghamton team.
(photo credit: Binghamton Athletics)

These aren't just walk-ons that are getting the boot either. Rivera, who averaged 20.2 ppg after transferring to BU from St. Joe's (where he was academically ineligible), would have been the league's player of the year if he hadn't been blackballed by the America East coaches. Alvin was a starter that averaged 11.5 ppg and 3.7 apg. Chandler was a top 100 recruit coming out of high school who averaged 11.5 ppg as a freshman at Rutgers (he was dismissed from Rutgers in August, notice a theme here?). Those three, combined with Tiki Mayben (who was arrested on Thursday, sparking this whole controversy), would have formed one of the best back courts in the east.

If you include Milidan Kovacevic, the 6'9" Serb that fled the country after putting a BU student into a coma last summer, Binghamton has dismissed seven players from the team in just over a year. The question one has to ask is why just the players? When more than half of a basketball team is kicked out of school 15 months, wouldn't it make sense that there is something wrong with the brilliant minds running the team?


But we are in a recession, and BU head coach Kevin Broadus just signed a contract extension through 2013-2014. Seeing as Broadus was earning $205,000 a year before the extension, it probably would have cost at least $500,000 to get rid of him. This is college hoops, not the NBA. It is much easier to get rid of a few players than it is to fire a coach.

So what is BU left with?

Well, not much.

They have just 10 players on scholarship, and of those 10 just one, Chretien Lukusa, is a guard under 6'5". (6'0" freshman Jimmy Gray is a walk-on). And he isn't even a point guard; he's an off-guard known for his defensive ability. I guess that's what happens when you kick your entire back court out of school.

Don't count on BU repeating as America East champs this year.
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Friday, September 25, 2009

"UNLV East" would be referring to...

That would be Binghamton.


Well, first there was Miladin Kovacevic, the 6'9" Serbian thug that beat a fellow student into a coma before fleeing the country. Then, there was Malik Alvin, a 6'0" point guard who knocked over a 66 year old woman (giving her a concussion) while running from Walmart security after trying to steal a box of Magnum condoms.

It got so bad that America East coaches blackballed DJ Rivera, who led the league in scoring at 20.2 ppg and was top 10 in rebounds, assists, and FG%, from the all-conference team.

All of this happened at least six months ago, so what brought on Mushnick's claim that the Bearcats are UNLV East?

Emanuel "Tiki" Mayben, who was arrested for slinging rock instead of dishing the rock (terrible joke, apologies).

Once considered a blue chip recruit, Mayben was affiliated with Syracuse, UMass, and Hudson Valley Community College before ending up at Binghamton. He was a key member of last season's NCAA Tournament team as he started and averaged 11.5 ppg and 4.2 apg for Kevin Broadus.

Tiki Mayben, who was arrested on crack cocaine charges, was in the running for the nation's best unibrow.
(photo credit: Binghamton Sports)

So what's next for the Bearcats? From the Quad:
So now the question ... will be asked again about Binghamton’s success: Is it worth it? Binghamton won the America East tournament last season and qualified for the N.C.A.A. tournament for the first time in the university’s history.

“It seems like we don’t learn any lessons here,” said Dennis Lasser, a former faculty athletic representative at Binghamton and an associate professor in its school of management. “It’s sad for a school like Binghamton. Why should we have to be dealing with this kind of stuff? I guess you can almost rationalize it for a school bringing in millions to support an entire athletic program. I personally wouldn’t support it. But at Binghamton? We have 5,000 seats and $10 a ticket. What are we doing here?”
I'm all for giving troubled kids a second, and even a third, chance. But, at some point, when so many stories end in failure across national headlines, isn't it time to change your recruiting strategy?

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Bruce Pearl apologizes for inappropriate joke

I love Bruce Pearl, but the guy is a bit off the reservation.

He's energetic, he's passionate, and he is always up for a good laugh.

But that energy doesn't always manifest itself in an appropriate manner. Put another way, I'm not sure that Pearl has a filter between what he is thinking and what he ends up doing or saying.

Part of Bruce Pearl's appeal as a coach is that he is just a big kid.
(photo credit: Palm Beach Post)

Take yesterday morning's fundraiser as an example. When asked about the newcomers to the Tennessee team, Pearl mentioned Skyler McBee, who is from rural Grainger County, and made the joke
I've got a tough job. I've got to put these guys from different worlds together, right? I've got guys from Chicago, Detroit ... I'm talking about the 'hood! And I've got guys from Grainger County, where they wear the hood.
Pearl apologized in a press release, saying "In no way am I trying to justify what I said, but I'm disappointed that the focus has been placed on me rather than the charities I was there to help. My only hope is that the visibility of this mistake will encourage those who can to give to those in need during these difficult times."

I appreciate the effort that Pearl is putting it to raise money for the charities that he supports, and I think it is a noble gesture. I also understand that when dealing with a guy like Bruce Pearl, sometimes you are going to have to deal with an off-the-cuff remark that is not totally PC. I'm sure there was no malicious intent behind his comments, but Bruce, for future reference, let's keep our jokes about the Klan behind closed doors.

Sound like a plan?


Check out the video of his joke at the fundraiser after the jump:

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Friday Morning Dump

Drunk basketball players; the combover is a great look; failed attempt to prevent a porn convention; marriage proposal kills 60 sea turtles; I can't think of an insult that would properly describe how dumb this guy is; how does this go unnoticed for four months?

- Kansas players apologize, but the fights were years in the making.

- As far as punishments go, the coaches for both teams will keep them private. Which probably means that the practices for both teams will be quite a bit like track practice.

- Top 10 power forwards.

- "Single issue" caused Crews' firing.

- Sportsmanship lives. Warning: both of these stories (here and here) may cause you to choke up a little bit.

- Plax won't have too many friends at Rikers. Maybe he needs to improve his rep.

- 9/11 reference in a game recap from Wisconsin high school football?

- What's scarier - Brad Lidge on the hill for your team with a one run lead, or this guy's reaction to his latest blown save.

- "Are you trying to seduce me? If so, you are succeeding."

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Reactions to Kansas basketball from around the web

- Gary Parrish of CBSSports: But impressions have been made, videos linked. And regardless of who started it or why it escalated to this level, the lasting image from the past 24 hours will be of an assistant athletic director ushering Collins and many of his teammates to a van so that they can be driven from Point A to Point B without further incident. That's embarrassing. But the good news is that Tyshawn Taylor stayed true to his word and conducted himself like somebody who is "always a G about it."

- Luke Winn of What it loosely resembles, though, is a perp walk. And that's the picture of Kansas basketball, a month and a half before it begins its run at a second national title in three years: That of a team foolish enough to brawl -- thrice -- with its own school's outsized football players in the middle of campus, all while coach Bill Self is on the road trying to recruit. If KU is victorious in Indianapolis next March, the Jayhawks can title the season DVD, From Perp Walk To Podium: National Champs!

- jstevrtc of Rush the Court: ESPN is also reporting that Taylor, a vital component for KU’s hoops success this upcoming season and a definite NBA prospect who was the leading scorer on the USA Under-19 team that won the gold medal in New Zealand this summer, could miss around 4 weeks because of this nonsense. If you behold our beautiful Midnight Madness Countdown Clock up in the top right portion of the RTC front page, you’ll notice that we are (thank God) well under a month until first official practices. So, this means that because of a girl, and his aforementioned desire to be a G about it, Taylor could miss (or be less than 100% for) the first few official workouts with the rest of his squad, the almost consensus pre-season #1.

- Eamonn Brennan of The Dagger: Yes, the Morris twins were there, and so was Sherron Collins. Probably not the wisest decision from the school's most important hoopsters. Where was Cole Aldrich? Not fighting football players. Take notes, Sherron. Oh, and it's good to know Brady Morningstar was ready to stunt. He's a formidable presence both on the court and off. Anyway, the scuffle was eventually broken up by "athletics officials." I am glad I am not one of those athletics officials. Keeping angry, muscular D-1 athletes from killing each other would not fit well into my job description. Anyway, why all the acrimony? According to Keegan, a girl that used to date one player is now dating another. Fellas! Have we learned nothing from Yoko Ono?!

- Tom Keegan of Hatfields vs. McCoys, Capulets vs. Montagues, Bloods vs. Crips, Democrats vs. Republicans, Kansas University football players vs. KU basketball players. The credibility of all that happy talk about the Kansas University athletic department being one big, cuddly family has been called into question by football players and basketball players getting into repeated fights with each other. Bar owners and patrons know it. Students know it. Cops know it. The only reason you haven’t read more about it is because precise details of said skirmishes have been difficult to nail down. Funny how athletes who can be such men during competition, putting their bodies in harm’s way, giving everything they have for teammates, can turn into such children when trying to prove their machismo off the field.

- As if athletic director Lew Perkins didn’t have enough things bumming him out Wednesday, he just had to know his archenemy, T-shirt creator Larry Sinks of Joe College, was busy at work cashing in on his misery. Sure enough, Sinks, a marketing genius, already had come up with a blue and white T-shirt sure to be a big seller. On the front, in block lettering: “HAWK FOOTBALL & BASKETBALL.” On the back, in cursive: “Can’t We All Just Get Along?” Funny, but not nearly the funniest thing printed Wednesday in Lawrence. That came hours later, when the athletic department issued a “statement,” from six student-athletes, the captains from the football and basketball teams. The “statement” did not explain just how these six young men came up with the exact same words to say simultaneously, so we’ll assume it was just a remarkable coincidence. It was four paragraphs and could be summed up in four words: Blah, blah, blah, blah.

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Thursday Morning Dump

Look at the size of that baby!; oh god, that must have hurt; a 21 pound tumor taken out of a dog; dogfight and daycare are two things that should not go together; US diplomat caught cheating; I despise people like this; a 30 point buck is a huge deer, right?; the movie Deliverance doesn't sound so far-fetched after reading this.

- Tyler Hansbrough, college basketball athlete of the decade?

- Stacey Poole, Jr., is expected to commit to Kentucky.

- Dana O'Neil catches up with James Forrest, aka this guy.

- Billy Gillispie offered a plea bargain in DUI case.

- Austin Hollins has committed to Minnesota.

- Top 10 small forwards.

- Ben Howland recruits through his appendectomy.

- Possible coaching replacements for Army.

- Q&A with Tyler Smith.

- Binghamton point guard Tiki Mayben was arrested on crack cocaine charges.

- Top 20 back courts.

- St. John's new mascot.

- Ron Artest didn't know San Diego had a baseball ... and he was wearing a Padres hat.

- Mark McGwire was required to take andro?

- Sean Salisbury's meltdown continues.

- Rampage Jackson retired.

- I think there are some matches in women's tennis that are quicker than this point was.

- Goalie cut after trip to Oktoberfest.

- Chewbacca singing Silent Night

- My new favorite football player of all-time

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

2009-2010 Team Preview: Gonzaga Bulldogs

2008-2009 Record: 28-6, 14-0 WCC (1st)

Key Losses: Jeremy Pargo (10.2 ppg, 4.9 apg), Josh Heytvelt (14.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg), Austin Daye (12.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg), Micah Downs (9.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg)

Key Returners: Matt Bouldin (13.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.4 apg), Steven Gray (9.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg), Demetri Goodson (3.8 ppg, 1.6 apg)

Newcomers: Bol Kong, Mangisto Arop, Sam Dower, Elias Harris, Kelly Olynyk, David Stockton, GJ Villarino, Andy Poling (RS), Mike Hart (RS), Grant Gibbs (RS)

Matt Bouldin will be the man for the Zags this year.
(photo credit: Seattle Times)

The 2008-2009 version of the Gonzaga Bulldogs was probably the most talented that Mark Few has had during his tenure in Spokane. With the majority of that talent - Josh Heytvelt, Austin Daye, Micah Downs, and Jeremy Pargo - gone, Few is left with a line-up full of inexperience and unknowns. That is not necessarily a bad thing, however. The Zags built their program on the shoulders of a bunch of guys that no one had ever heard of - Richie Frahm, Matt Santangelo, Dan Dickau, Blake Stepp.

The next in that line is Matt Bouldin, who will be the senior leader for this group and anchor what could turn into the best back court out west. Bouldin is one of the most underrated guards in the country. There is nothing he does not do well - he scores, he can pass, he can shoot, he can defend, he doesn't turn the ball over. Expect his numbers to make a big jump this year as his work load offensively will increase.

Joining Bouldin in the back court will be point guard Demetri Goodson and sharp shooter Steven Gray. Gray is your prototypical scorer - his game is based on an excellent jump shot and when he is on, he can go for 25. But if he's off, he may go scoreless. For example, against UConn and Tennessee, Gray went for 23 and 19, respectively, but scored just one point in two games against San Diego. With a more consistent role on the team this season, expect Gray to post some more consistent numbers, especially if he continues to improve on his ability to get to the rim.

Goodson, who you may remember as Gonzaga's first round hero, is a tough and quick little point guard. He played behind Pargo as a freshman, but in his limited minutes he showed some flashes. He could be the x-factor for the Zags if he can develop into a play maker offensively, taking some of the pressure off of Bouldin. Personally, I think Goodson is going to have a breakout season, especially if he develops his perimeter jumper to the point where you have to respect it. There aren't many defenders that will be able to stay in front if they have to crowd him at the thre point line.

Beyond those three, the rest of Gonzaga's back court (and their roster in general) will be largely unproven and inexperienced. On the perimeter, the Zags will have three newcomers seeing time - freshman Mangisto Arop, redshirt freshman Grant Gibbs, and sophomore Bol Kong. Arop is a slasher with an excellent mid-range game that was the most highly touted of the three recruits (top 100 by Rivals). Gibbs seems to be a bit of a Bouldin clone - a big, strong guard converted to the two after playing the point in high school. Kong is the biggest question mark of the group. An athletic, 6'7" wing, he posted impressive numbers against sub par competition in his few years in Canada, but he also had big games in scrimmages against DI teams. For Zags fans, I see him being another Erroll Knight.

The Zags front line is loaded with question marks. How good are freshman Elias Harris and Sam Dower? Will Robert Sacre develop into a dominant post player? How good is redshirt freshman Andy Poling going to be after putting on some 30 pounds of muscle? There is definitely some potential along this front line, but three of these kids have never set foot on a college court, and the only one who was (Robert Sacre) played five games last season due to injury and has a career average of 2.8 ppg in 34 games. The Zags play a very difficult non-conference schedule (Michigan State, the Maui Invitational, Washington State, Wake Forest, Duke, Oklahoma, Illinois, Memphis), which means that these unexperienced bigs are going to be thrown into the fire right away.

Outlook: This Zags team is going to go as far as Bouldin, Gray, and Goodson carry them. They are probably still the favorite in the WCC (although Portland looks pretty good on paper), but with a brutal early schedule and such an inexperienced team, the Zags may take a while to find their rhythm. As far as the NCAA Tournament in concerned, I think Few's squad will probably need to win the conference to make it. But the Gonzaga teams that everyone fell in love with in the late 90's and early 00's were just like this - a couple good guards surrounded by a bunch of "what's-his-names that made a run through their league and deep into the tourney.

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Perhaps the only bit of comedy from the KU football-basketball feud came from Taylor's facebook account. One of the many posts he was reported by the KC Star to have made said "real (racial slur)s do real things ... point plankn".

Point plankn?

I had no idea what that meant, so, as most people in this day and age do, I googled it.

What came up?

Here is there definition:

The act or state of self-loathing due to one's membership in a group or organization.

Example: Can you blame me for point plankn? How would you feel if you were a Kansas Jayhawk.

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UPDATED AGAIN: Tyshawn Taylor injured in a fight with KU's football team

UPDATE II: This morning, the football and basketball teams at Kansas got into another fight. According to this report, at 10am a football player went after one of the Morris twins, who responded by pushing the player down the stairs. More punches were thrown as more players from each team showed up. Things eventually died down when police and coaches showed up. It is also being reported the cause is a beef that a football team member has with Sherron Collins.

UPDATE: Tyshawn Taylor has admitted that he threw a punch which resulted in him dislocating a finger and landing in the hospital.

How did he admit it?

Via facebook, of course. I'm sure Bill Self is ecstatic.

From the KC Star (via The Big Lead):

"keep my name out ya’ mouth for you get smacked in it," [Taylor] wrote at 11:12 a.m. Tuesday, and 30 minutes later he posted, "never get outta character .. I’m always a G about it."

About 4 p.m., Taylor posted, "(racial slur)s be muggin me know I’m mugging back."

The fight reportedly went down at 6:30 pm Tuesday. After his trip to the hospital, Taylor went back to Facebook:

"I got a dislocated finger ..from throwing a punch don’t let the news paper gas yall up aite," Taylor wrote.

Minutes earlier, around midnight, he wrote: "real (racial slur)s do real things .. point plankn."
TBL also is reporting that the rumor going around Lawrence right now is that the other player is Dezmon Briscoe (a star wide receiver for the Jayhawks) and that the fight was over, what else, a girl. Of course, none of that has been verified yet. Apparently, the fight was over a girl that dated a player from one team and now dates a player from the other.

We'll be keeping an eye on this story, as I'm sure there will be some consequences for all involved.

According to reports from the Lawrence Journal-World, Kansas sophomore Tyshawn Taylor was injured in a fight with members of the Kansas football team at 6:30pm on Tuesday as the two crossed paths at the entrance on a building on campus.

Taylor dislocated his thumb and was taken to the hospital. He will reportedly be out 3-4 weeks. KU's midnight madness, called Late Night in the Phog, is on October 16th, which means that Taylor may not be ready to start the season with the team.

Tyshawn Taylor was injured in a fight with some football players.
(photo credit: Flickr)

It is not known who the other players involved in the incident are, but the Kansas athletics department is aware of and, as of last night, was already looking into the issue. Bill Self was not on campus as he is out on the road recruiting.

Taylor seems to be poised for a big year. The New Jersey native and St. Patrick's product started all but two games as a freshman, averaging 9.7 ppg, before leading the U19 team to a gold medal in the World Championships with a team-high 10.8 ppg.

More on this as the news comes in.

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2009-2010 Team Preview: Florida State Seminoles

2008-2009 Record: 25-10, 10-6 ACC (4th)

Key Losses: Toney Douglas (21.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg), Uche Echefu (8.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg)

Key Returners: Solomon Alibi (8.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.1 bpg), Chris Singleton (8.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg), Derwin Kitchen (7.9 ppg, 2.5 apg)

Newcomers: Pierre Jordan, Michael Snaer, Terrence Shannon, Jon Kreft

FSU is hoping Solomon Alabi becomes a force inside this season.
(photo credit: Dime Mag)

If there is one word to describe this Florida State team it is potential. Three guys on this rosters - sophomores Solomon Alabi and Chris Singleton and freshman Michael Snaer - may all one day end up being lottery picks. But they are also all just as likely to never average double digits in a Seminole uniform.

Alabi is the anchor to what could be one of the best front lines in the ACC. In terms on athleticism, you really cannot ask for much more out of a seven footer. He can run the floor, he has above-average footwork, he can jump (and has an excellent reach, making him a good shot blocker), and his is as mobile and agile as big guys come. The problem is he still needs to add some weight and strength, as he gets pushed around too much on the block. Joining Alabi in the starting front court is Ryan Reid, a 6'8" muscle bound senior who provides the toughness and strength Alabi lacks. With Uche Echefu graduating, 6'11" sophomore project Xavier Gibson could see more time.

The 'Noles could also get a boost up front if another seven footer, Jon Kreft, is ever able to make it into school. Kreft was a five-star recruit in the class of 2006, but did a year in jail for some drug charges. He was enrolled at a JuCo (Chipola College) and was supposed to be eligible to enter FSU in the fall, but did not receive his degree. Hopefully, he will be ready by the start of the winter semester, but FSU does not have him on their roster as of now.

On the wing, it is all about length for Leonard Hamilton's team. The guy you need to watch for is Chris Singleton. A big-time recruit for Hamilton, Singleton got off to a hot start, but struggled mightily once ACC play started. Cut from the same cloth as UConn's Stanley Robinson, Singleton will be counted on for defense, energy, and an increased scoring load.

Also on the perimeter will be top 10 recruit Michael Snaer. Snaer still has a ways to go before his skill level catches up with his athleticism, but what is going to make him effective is his motor. He is a tenacious rebounder and defender with energy for days. FSU does have quite a bit of depth on the perimeter as Luke Loucks, Deividis Dulkys, and Jordan DeMercy should all see a lot of times.

One guy to keep an eye on here is freshman combo forward Terrence Shannon. Shannon flew a bit under the radar after he tore his acl playing AAU ball before his senior season. He is 6'7", athletic, and aggressive, and if he gets paired up front with Singleton and Alabi, FSU will be able to get up and down the floor with any team in the country.

When it comes down to it, the most important player on this team is going to be Derwin Kitchen. FSU didn't just lose 21.9 ppg when Toney Douglas graduated. They lost their point guard, their leader, and their best play maker. Derwin Kitchen was as hyped as they come, but it took him some time to get into Florida State (he finally joined them midway through last season). Kitchen showed flashes on being able to handle a play making role last season, but overall seemed to struggle a bit with his decision making and his shooting. It will be interesting to see if Kitchen can live up to the potential he had coming out of high school now that Douglas is gone and it is his show.

Outlook: Potential, potential, potential. So much of what FSU does this season will be determined by how well some of these guys develop. Will Alabi be a force in the paint on both ends? Can Kitchen handle the point guard duties? Will Singleton and Snaer be able to provide a scoring punch from the perimeter? How will the guys on their bench develop?

Pesonally, I think FSU is still a year away. They have too many question marks and "what-ifs?". I don't see Singleton or Snaer developing into a consistent scoring threat from the wing, and I doubt Kitchen can carry the team like Douglas did. While they have enough talent to win a couple games they shouldn't, I'm betting the will end up around .500 in league play.

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Wednesday Morning Dump

Naked yardwork; never was a fan of the Wii; another case of a teacher getting it on with a student; Darwin award nominee; that's pretty disturbing; the end of "no homo"; how do you have a sexual encounter with a woman whose husband is in the front seat?; 33 best beer pong tables.

- Lance Stephenson is not getting noticed in Cincinnati.

- New interim president for the NCAA.

- Nolan Dennis of Baylor - out to prove his doubters wrong.

- Top 10 shooting guards.

- Top transfers this year.

- ASU lands a 7'2" center.

- SIU guard suspended after arrest.

- Army coach Jim Crews is out.

- Coaches pushing for health care reform.

- Davidson getting used to life without Steph Curry.

- J'Covan Brown may start at the point for Texas.

- CCSU track star suing over being forced to drink blood.

- How much trouble is Delonte West in?

- When you know you have a problem - you call a casino, get yourself banned, then go back and continue to gamble.

- Man gets money back for Oregon tickets.

- This guy is nuts: he climbs to the top of the uprights.

- Dude, perfect.

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