Sunday, July 27, 2008

BIg East off season comings and goings

Hi all, 
Sorry for the posting drought. Its been a combo of personal stuff and just not much going on in BearcatLand. So I thought this weekend I would list all the changes so far in the Big East(all the ones I know about anyway). So here for your reading pleasure are the roster changes excluding incoming freshman and outgoing seniors. I will assume you know who graduated and I will be reviewing the incoming class in a future post. Also, I will go over the coaching changes in the near future.

Uconn - Curtis Kelly left for Kansas State and Doug Wiggins is headed to UMass

DePaul - Eric Wallace has transfered in from Ohio State

Gtown - 2 out 1 in - Vernon Macklin has left for Florida and Jeremiah Rivers is headed against the current(sorry horrible joke) and tranfering TO Indiana. On his way in is Julian Vaughn who will be eligible this season. 

Marquette - Scott Christopherson is headed to Iowa State

Notre Dame - Ben Hansbrough is coming to Southbend by way of Miss. St.

Pittsburgh - Cassin Diggs is leaving the program but has not announced where he's headed as of this post. 

Providence - Dwain Williams is headed to Oregon St. 

Rutgers - 1 in 2 out - Jonathan Mitchell in from Florida, Courtney Nelson and Justin Sofman out to William Patterson and Monmouth respectively

St. Johns is losing 2 players. Larry Wright to Oakland and Mike Cavataio to Holy Cross

Seton Hall - Keon Lawrence in from Mizzou. Larry Davis out to Loyola Marymount. Augustine Okosun is out but his destination is undetermined. 

South Florida - Augustus Gilchrist has transfered in from Maryland and 4 players(WOW) have left for for lesser programs Aaron Holmes to Santa Fe CC, Solomon Bozeman to Ark-Little Rock, Amu Saaka to Furman, and Orane Chin to San Fransisco

Villanova - Taylor King is coming from Duke. 

As of this post UC, Louisville, Syracuse, and West Virginia had no transfers to report. Of course I'm sure my much more thorough colleague Deck will add a few to the list including a few I should have known. Next up - the Big East Coaching Carousel!!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

ESPN Proves X better than UC

At least since the NCAA expanded the tournament in 1984-1985. I actually/truly thought X would be behind the 'Cats but (hehe) that didn't happen. X #17, UC #19. Where has the illustrious bearcat poster Dave been anyway? Fair weather you may say? Hey listen you can argue about the formula they are using but it is fairly subjective. If I had to guess I would say Duke is #1 overall. UNLV has yet to be listed and they don't seem all that prestigous anymore. But anyhow back to the grandstanding I am for any poll that puts Lossalle ahead of the cryers. On top of more good news X has reached an agreement to broadcast at least 15 games with FSN Ohio for the next three seasons. They will also televise some A10 tournament action as well. I sure hope Ari Stewart is paying attention (Wake Forest #38 overall Ari in the Prestige Poll BTW). It is great to be a X fan in the city of Cincinnati right now. To be clear we are the highest ranked team in this poll not to reach a final four but obviously that is the next mountain the team needs to climb.

Overall I truly believe what this says is once again we have tremendous college basketball to be proud of in this region. UK obviously will be top 10, U of L scoring high too. IU will not be great this year but historically a top 5 program. I would like to think this shows X is a model of consistency and has alot to be proud of, starting with the coaches who built this program. It seems each guy starting with Bob Staak in the early '80's has set the bar that much higher for the next coach. A legacy of great players who have played in the league and many having success; Hill, Strong, Posey, Chalmers, Sato, Kimbrough (Detroit Pistons look it up you UC haters), Williams, Braggs, Grant and David West. Name me another school classified as non BCS who has produced so many productive front court players in the NBA as the Musketeers over the last 25 seasons.

I am sure this is annoying as hell to any UC fan reading this and it should be. But please 'Cats being in the top 20 in the words of Jim Rome is 'strong'. ESPN has redeemed themselves a bit in my eye for now. At least they gave us something to talk about in late July.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Josh Headed to France

I have learned that Josh Duncan has signed a one year contract to play with the French team Pau-Orthez. That team has featured current NBA players Boris Diaw and Mikeal Petrus. Hopefully he will continue to develop and again I think Duncan with continued hard work and skill improvement can play in the league one day.

At the recent Alumni Steak Fry on campus Sean Miller reported that Romain Sato is making more money playing overseas than he could playing in the NBA currently. I remember Romain being fluent in something like 13 languages (ok slight exaggeration but you get the point). I think it is every American born basketball player's dream to play in the 'League' though and I think Josh will land there one day. Good luck Josh.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

DSL Finals

The Deveroes Summer League will draw to a close next weekend with John Flessa Law - v- Slats for the championship. More importantly it will be the first installation of FREASE - v- GATES. Slats in my honest opinion is the best team in the league. They have Deonta Vaughn, Mike Williams, Cashmere Wright, and of course Gates. Flessa features the aforementioned Frease and BJ Raymond who has been knocking down NBA range threes with regularity in the DSL.

I also had a chance to see Mark Lyons play for Game Day Communications yesterday and while his three point shots were off his amazing athleticism was on display. He had a vicious down the middle of the lane tomahawk over 6'5" Alvin Mitchell (who by the way has been tearing it up in the DSL).

Anyway I will be in attendance this Saturday to see what the 'Big Freeze' can do against Mr. Gates and vice versa. Should be entertaining. Woodward High School at 1:00 PM see the first battle between the big guys.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hornets = My Favorite NBA Team

James Posey signed a four year 25 million dollar deal with the New Orleans Hornets. Add him to a team with David Freakin West and CP3 and you have a contender right there. If the Hornets can retain Pargo as a weapon off the bench they should build on last year's success. One more reason to like the Hornets is their head trainer is also a X grad.

Travis Steele

It was announced by coach Sean Miller on Wednesday night at the Alumni Steak Fry on campus that Travis Steele has been hired to replace Bill Comar as Director of Basketball Operations. He is a 2004 graduate of Butler University and is the brother of Ohio University Head Coach John Groce. He worked for Indiana last year as a video coordinator and was promoted to assistant coach after Sampson was booted. I am not sure how much more we can take from IU but this appears to be a solid hire.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Great News

The Miami Herald is reporting after 34 loooonnng years Billy Packer will no longer be doing color commentary or even working for CBS. This will make the F4 that much better IMO. I truly lost all respect for this guy before the 2004 tournament began. That is when Mr. Phil Martelli smacked his nose pretty good and 'Fudge' Packer didn't have a whole lot to say. Good bye and good riddance. Hopefully the Big 10 network will give you a job so I don't have to see you at all.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Officially Jordan Crawford is a Musketeer. Kudos to Andy Taylor for living the 'All for One, One for All' mantra in giving up his scholarship for next season. He has been told he will be back on for the '09-'10 season. In the end that means we have only one scholarship spot as of now for rising seniors in this class. I would love to have one of these three make that commit to X: Ari Stewart, Kevin Parrom, or Tevin Baskin in that order.

Back to Crawford: he is a proven commodity at a high level in D1 basketball. Mike DeCourcey feels he is the best transfer we have had and that includes CJ Anderson, Brian Thornton, and Drew Lavender. He scored almost 10 a game as a freshmen on a team that included Eric Gordon and DJ White. He reportedly can play the '1' and both wing positions at 6'4". I seriously doubt the NCAA will grant him immediate eligibilty but the staff will explore every option to make it happen. IF he is eligible for this season I see one of the frosh taking a redshirt this year to balance out the classes. All in all we will have 8 new faces on the team next season so practice in October should be more interesting than usual.

I laugh at UC fans who come on Xavier message boards and report Crawford flunked out of IU when it became apparent that Clifton would not be his destination. Funny, TSN Mike reports that he left IU in good academic standing and would be immediately eligible to play if the NCAA ruled in his favor. Come on now that would be like me going on UC fan boards and letting people know the coaching staff at Withrow told me that Gates is 'lazy'. No sense in doing that and nothing to be gained from it. Just face it we have a lot of momentum behind the program and we are building a national title contender over on Victory Parkway. I temper my expectations for next year due to youth at the point position, but imagine this starting 5 if Crawford is eligible:

PG: Crawford
SG: Raymond
WF: Anderson
PF: Brown
C: Love

That starting 5 would have enough experience to make another 'run'.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Summer School

All of Xavier's freshmen (Lyons, Frease, Redford, Walsh, and Holloway) are on campus and enrolled in classes. They will most likely only play in the Deveroes Summer League on the weekends due to that commitment. The Jordan Crawford recruitment seems to be in a holding pattern and I think it will be very difficult to get him to pay for a year of school at X.

Following the 'meat market' of Grassroots basketball in July it appears X is settling in on a newer target JD Weatherspoon. An undersized '4' at 6-6 he is reportedly a beast nonetheless. Hard not to compare him to Clarence Weatherspoon. If he could be half as good as the original 'Spoon we would be okay with that. Reportedly from he is sporting offers to X and Akron with others involved. Adreian Payne will be a big all three of us (X, UC, and UD) in Southwest Ohio will pursue for the class of 2010. When your 6'9" with a 7'0" wingspan that will happen. Florida may be getting involved though. I would say the Flyers have the lead at this point. However Juwan Staten recently had some very interesting comments along the lines of 'Gregory may not be there when I graduate, if that is the case I am not coming' just how 'hot' is the seat in Dayton for Gregory anyway? Juwan is a consensus top 100 recruit at point guard for the class of 2010. Andrew Fitzgerald is backing away from X and UK and now settling more on east coast ACC and Big East schools. His list has grown. We are also after another big named Glen Bryant. Ultimately I think the staff needs to land one of these three for the '09 class to be considered a success: Ari Stewart, Kevin Parrom, or Tevin Baskin. We are due to lose Anderson and Raymond for sure and DBrown will be gone if he has a great season. They all are 'small forwards' in my mind so replinishment will be necessary along the front line.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Recruiting Update

It would appear that we are on the verge of securing a transfer in Jordan Crawford at IU. He is a 6-4 190 pound wing who averaged close to 10 a game for the Hoosiers. He was down to X and IU last season. He reportedly visited UK with little interest from the program and his mother is quoted as saying he didn't really want to follow in his older brother Joe's footsteps. His final five was listed as X, UC, Texas, Oklahoma, and Central Michigan. He will need to spend his redshirt year focusing on academics. Interestingly we are at the 13 scholarship limit and the hot rumor is Andy Taylor will be asked to be a walk on or there may be some other situation develop that we are not privy too. Either way expect an announcement before the holiday weekend is over.

Also updated their top 150 on 7/1/08. Kevin Parrom was the biggest riser from #141 to #88. He is a strong X lean. His AAU coach was recently quoted after his Marquette visit that he wanted to commit to X on his visit a couple of weeks ago but his father wanted to give 'other teams a chance'. Fair enough. I think Kevin will wait until August to decide. He and team mate Omari Lawrence are both X targets but I believe we have distant interest in Omari. Especially with the news of Crawford. Ari Stewart still remains a four star recruit and ranked at #71. Tevin Baskin is another target at the small forward spot and he resides just outside the top 100 according to rivals at #101. Kevin elevated from a '3 star' to '4 star' recruit in this recent update as well.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Duke 12/20/08

It finally came to pass this long talked about game with Duke on a neutral court. Should be a good one. They have four returning starters and one of the top coaches in the game. Interesting in that they approached us for the game. They have four returning starters but I seem to remember many comments last NCAA tournament about them being 'soft' on the inside. Maybe that is why 6'2" Joe Mazzulla from West Virginia was able to snare 11 boards against them in the second round of the tournament? However they always reload and I am sure they have some blue chip front line talent waiting in the wings.

Well I was correct on the 'Hammer' to the Pacers summer league team but missed JDunc to the Heat. That probably isn't the best spot for him. I think he would have had a better chance of sticking with the Jazz and Wizards but either way he has a lot of work to do.

I also saw that for sure West Virginia and big bad Bob will be coming to town. No exact date yet but that game will obviously generate a lot of fan interest. I would love to have a ticket to that one.

Also starting Sunday the adidastake5 classic will be held at UC. This was an interesting AAU event last year. Adidas is trying to make the summer recruiting meat market more team oriented. Last year I saw Redford briefly on the first day with the Michigan Mustangs. I also spotted Tyler Zeller, Yancy Gates, BJ Mullens and a host of others. It is really hard to stay on top of the action because they run 4 courts at once. The coolest thing was getting to see all the coaches there. Billy Donovan, Bruce Pearl, and Mike Anderson were all highlights last year not too mention many, many more. If you are looking for something to do and love basketball I would highly recommend it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Random Thoughts 7/1/08

1.) The NBA draft came and went without any local players getting picked. Matter of fact no A10 players were selected. I am a firm believer that if Duncan continues to develop overseas he can have a Derrick Strong like career path. I see Burrell playing in Europe for several seasons and Lavender probably making a run in the D-League this year and then the USBL. Lavender is due to play on the Cavs summer league team, I believe Stan will play with the Pacers this summer, and Josh will probably run with either the Jazz or Wizards. The last two are not confirmed as I type this.

2.) Kenny Frease was named to the all tournament team on his recent trip with the U19 group. He was the only American listed among the five named to the team. It is exciting to think of his possibility but I want to temper expectations for him. I think he will have quite a battle trying to rest the '5' spot away from 'Big Lovely'.

3.) Sean Miller called my house! Well he called all season ticket holders encouraging us to re-up next season. Of course we are looking at a price increase of about $2 per ticket.

4.) College Chalk Talk (an internet forum dedicated to A10 basketball) listed recently the sophomores they think will break out next season. Of course Dante' Jackson was listed. Their quick recap mentioned as the season progressed so did his minutes. He was second on the team in steals at 22 in only 10.4 mpg. 'Hammer' was the team leader in steals and he only had 6 more than Jackson. Dante' also shot 37% from 3 land but needs to be more assertive at going to the hole with the ball. I think he will lock down the starting spot at '2' this year and split minutes with Graves. DJ more for defense and AD has a little more versatility on offense at this point.

5.) Freshmen ball players are due to start summer classes next Monday the 7th. That is when I will start visiting Deveroes a little more frequently.