Monday, July 27, 2009

Latham - AAU Showcase

I had a chance to watch Baltimore Elite take on Team Final yesterday on ESPNU. The game was broadcast from Orlando, FL at the Milk House and it is a part of the AAU national tournament there. In the second game I witnessed the CP3 All Stars take on All Ohio Red. Of course those teams feature X targets Jay Canty and JD Weatherspoon respectively.

In terms of watching the actual games ESPN overproduced the show. During gameplay they had a segment called Katz's Korner featuring Andy Katz interviewing three D1 coaches at a time on current developments in the game, their programs, and recruiting in general. While it was interesting to hear the coaches thoughts it made it very difficult to watch the games. The most interesting of those segments to me was when Brian Gregory, Mick Cronin, and Mike Jarvis were on. Katz point blank asked why UD and UC do not meet every year. Gregory was very PC about it while Mickey said they were working on it next year. By the interview you can tell Mick is banking on Lance Stephenson suiting up next year for the 'Cats. He cringed every time Katz mentioned that UD is the top program in Ohio this year. I must admit I cringed too.

All four of the above mentioned AAU teams are loaded with high level talent. Mike Gilchrist is largely considered the best overall player in the 2011 class for Team Final. They ran over Will Barton and Baltimore Elite. There were no less than 7 players from Baltimore area who went to the NBA Top 100 camp so you know this team was loaded. However the kids from Philadelphia and New Jersey area were too much this game.

In regards to Jordan Latham; his frame is bigger than I expected. He showed flashes in this game of his passing ability and mainly played close to the rim. Which if your 6-9 225 is a good idea. Again these teams are loaded and it is hard for individual players to stand out. To give you an idea Tyreek Duren was the game mvp and he is a 6-0 point guard out of Neumann-Goretti in Philadelphia. His current school list included the likes of CAA schools and St. Bonaventure. After a nineteen point outburst and overall solid play for Team Final expect his stock to rise. In the other games, Jay Canty impressed me. He seemed slight of frame but was very active driving and crashing the glass. I saw one nice dunk by JD but when he was in the game it was 'Katz's Korner' on center stage.

There will be more action today at 5 PM on ESPNU. I believe the championship games are today. Even though it is annoying as hell with all the coach interview interruptions (show the games ESPN!) I will be tuning in again to see other potential X targets. Also the Reds have lost 6 straight so there is not a whole lot else to pay attention to on the Cincy sports scene.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Seen the 'Dunk'

Numerous websites now have video footage (from a cell phone) up of Jordan Crawford's infamous dunk on LeBron James. It can certainly be termed a 'banger' on the King's head. The slow moving fellas in the paint up at Dayton need to beware. I was right in my mind regarding it outliving the hype of not seeing it; but still damn proud to have Jordan on my favorite team.

I have seen Jordan play in the DSL a few times this year with 'Cheeks' and I must say I am believing the hype. With Lyons, McLean, and Crawford getting up and down the court next year with Tutu getting them the ball you can expect some highlights. When does the season start again?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Crosstown Date

Circle it on your calendar boys Dec. 13 @ Cintas Center(ever notice the display of janitors uni's? I think they belonged to Dedrick Finn. HAAA!) It is also the 1st game Ibrahima Thomas, Big fella transfer from Ok St. will be eligible. Prediction? With no tape on the big man he will dominate on the D side while he is on the floor. Okay just kidding but it sounded good right?

In all seriousness I think with two local guys running the teams this could get back to the level of nasty from years past. I really hope it does. There is nothing like the Crosstown Shootout when bad blood is involved. Don't get me wrong I want hands shook at the end and respect to be shown. I just want a HARDFOUGHT game played. No pregame handshakes or hugs for guys you know from summer league.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Crosstown Date Set

Sunday December 13th will be the date of the 2009 version of the Crosstown Shootout. I can't say I am real excited about the day. Almost certainly ESPN has something to do with this. Saturday the 12th would seem to be the better date as college football regular season is wrapped up and bowl play is not started in earnest by then. Whatever I guess. My beloved Bengals play on that day at 1 PM so I will be curious as to the time of the Shootout.

With the date being set and the Deveroes Summer League regular season winding down it is getting time to do a 'summer preview' of both teams for next season. There is always plenty of promise and question each and every offseason. Both sides have plenty of questions. First off XU will have a new coach who is unproven as the lead guy. UC fans have to be curious as to what the final roster will look like heading into the season. They do know the Oklahoma State transfer Thomas will be eligible on 12/13 which is good because they are going to need all the help they can get to walk out of the Cintas Center with a victory. <;)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Vacation - XU Steak Fry

I have been on vacation since this weekend and apologize for lack of updates and other information. I went to Saugatuck, MI with my wife and 22 month old son. Six hours is about all a little guy can handle in the car which made our destination great. This was my first trip to Michigan and seeing the sunset on Oval Beach over Lake Michigan is a pleasant memory I will carry for awhile. Also had the chance to stop by Notre Dame's campus on the way back. South Bend as a city was a little disappointing but the Irish are the main attraction. Beautiful campus the Irish have by the way.

While I was taking it easy, Griffen McKenzie was racking up the offers with Vanderbilt and the Ohio State University being the latest to his list. Many Xavier fans want to compare Griff to Justin Doellman but their games are very different. McKenzie is more of a '5' and has mixed it up down low on the summer circuit. His lower back injury kept him under the radar last season as he did not play until mid January. He is making up for it in a big way. Obviously would love to have this kid and I am hopeful a decision comes soon. IF he wants to leave town look for Wake, Northwestern, or Vandy to have a real shot at him.

If we land Griffen (who will be a four star prospect by the end of July) JD Weatherspoon will be on the outside looking in. X is looking for one more frontcourt player with the 2010 class and a wing. Right now JD projects as an undersized '4'. I would be suprised if it wasn't X or tOSU. Let's hope JD makes a decision soon. I would say the top wing targets for this class include Jamail Jones and Justin Martin.

Speaking of 2010 prospects while I was away my print copy of PrepStars Recruiters Handbook showed up. Their pre July camp rankings had Jordan Latham at #92. After reading their write up on him at the NBA Players Camp he will fall from that spot. Apparently Jordan tried to do many things he is not capable of. However they go on to say with polish on his hook and jump shot he will be a high level player in college basketball. Latham is 6'8" and could help at the center position based on his rebounding prowess and strength. Other sites (including say that he played very, very well at the Peach Jam down in Georgia.

I did return home last night to enjoy my first Alumni Steak Fry on XU's campus. The meal was very, very good to a country boy like me. The highlights of course were hearing the coaches speak. Before I get into the men's basketball highlights let me just say coach Kevin McGuff and his staff have raised the bar very high for our women's program. Ta'shia Phillips brought home gold from the World University Games in Serbia earlier this summer, Amber Harris is returning to form, and the schedule is killer once again. They may reach a final four before the men do.

I was glad I had the opportunity to hear Coach Mack speak. He is direct and to the point, which I appreciate. When asked what the biggest question/surprise for next season will be he deadpanned "My coaching." He gave the updates on the staff and current players which was all expectedly positive. Hearing the opportunities Pat Kelsey passed up to be at X were tremendous. Pat passed on them before he decided to join Chris at X which says even more to me. Kelsey had a firm offer to join Billy Donovan's staff at Florida after Shaka Smart was named the VCU head coach. He also could have been a D1 coach (I am guessing High Point in North Carolina) but passed on that as well.

Of course someone brought up the infamous Jordan Crawford dunk over Lebron. Coach said he hasn't seen it but heard 'a little bit about it'. He went on to say being able to do that on one of the best of the best in the game today would put the rest of the A10 on notice. That is not exactly what Mack said (he asked that stay under the tent) but he left no doubt in my mind he expects to compete at a very high level. He gave some schedule updates: we open at home against Youngstown State, road games at Butler, Wake Forest, Kansas State and Florida. Other home highlights include LSU and Cincinnati. We also will participate in the Old Spice Classic at Disney World around Thanksgiving that will feature Alabama, Creighton, Michigan, and Marquette. Concerning conference play he remarked Richmond will be a contender and that Temple will be tough. He made mention that we get the Owls on the road for our single contest this year and that is always a tough one to win up there. He also feels the team 'up north' will be 'pretty good'. To be honest he had plenty of zingers for the Flyers program; including a line about 'offseason championships'. Sorry Dave he did not bash your beloved Bearcats at all. Overall I am excited that we have two Xavier guys leading our program. Clearly Mack will have some on the job training with the schedule we have set up in the non conference but we all expect (including him) that our strong basketball tradition will carry on.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Derrick Brown, ect.

Derrick Brown has reportedly signed a two year guaranteed contract with Charlotte. No terms were disclosed. I say good for him. Show the world what you can do. I saw that DB and Josh Duncan are both playing summer league ball together for the Jazz's team. Charlotte does not field a summer league team. I heard mention that their 'summer league' team actually plays during the winter. Take it for what it's worth.

Mike Dyer from the Cincinnati Enquirer had a story up on Griffin McKenzie from Moeller picking up offers from XU, UC, Wake and Tennessee to go along with a litany of mid major offers. I know most schools were in a "wait and see" mode with Griffin and obviously a few liked what they saw at the adidas Take 5ive classic at UC early this week. He is a face up "4" but also has shown a willingness to get in the paint and do the dirty work. I know he attended a team camp at XU last year but not sure of his current level of interest in the Muskies. Both area schools have had their share of prospects come out of Moeller: Xavier with Duncan and Byron Larkin, UC with Bobby Brannen. Should be an interesting recruitment to follow.

Jordan Crawford is still getting all kinds of 'shine' off his dunk. I don't even want to see it now. It would never do the hype justice. Proud as can be for Jordan; it was great to hear "Jordan Crawford, Xavier sophomore" on the sport talk shows yesterday over and over. I would like to think the fotogs signed a waiver before filming at the camp that stated the film was property of Nike. IF NOT then I have real issues with what went down. Not that it matters what my issues are. For the record Lebron is the ONLY player I would pay to see in a NBA game.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Crawfords Dunk on Lebron

Hey Lebron, You look more like a punk now that everybody knows you had Nike confiscate the tapes of this dunk than you would have if you just left it out there for the world to see.

You get dunked on by a college baller its news for a few days and goes away.

You make it so no one gets to see it because its at your function and now your a toolbox with a big ego. That will stick longer than Crawfords crotch did to your face.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New Strength Coach , ect.

Xavier has welcomed a new strength coach on board and to the family. His name is Matt Jennings and he is being hired away from High Point in North Carolina. Before his stint there he worked at South Carolina (focusing on basketball and soccer) and before that he was at Wake Forest with the same responsibilities. He has a connection with Coach Mack and Coach Kelsey from their Wake Forest days. In the late '90's he was on staff with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Best of luck to Matt in developing the talent at Xavier physically.

Also I have read numerous blogs and message boards today glorifying Jordan Crawford's throw down over King Lebron James yesterday at his skills camp in Cleveland. Mr. Crawford (aka the 'Green Mamba') excited onlookers with his 'man up' dunk on James. Jared Sullinger (#3 rated player in 2010 class) put it up on his facebook page. When Gary Parrish and Adam Zagoria make mention of something like this it tells me Jordan help put his name out there nationally as well. Xavier fans will be lucky if they get to enjoy this talent on the floor the next two seasons.

Dee Davis has played well at the take 5 classic up at UC. Jerry Meyer from noted he is 'a steal' for the Musketeers. Let's hope so. Hopefully he can help convince some of the other great talent in Indiana they need to come down to the Queen City to play their college ball. Again if you get the chance take in some of the action up in Clifton. I believe tomorrow may be the last day of the tournament.

Speaking of the Lebron James camp I know Jamail Jones will be there. There will be far less kids than at the adidas tournament but I think the quality of play will be much greater. If I had my choice I would take Jones over Weatherspoon but I think there is room for both on the Musketeers roster. If Mack and staff don't land either of those guys I would imagine they would target Jay Canty, Jordan Manuel, and Griffin McKenzie to add to their team. The level of recruiting is staying at a high level for the Musketeers and this staff.

Monday, July 6, 2009

adidas Take 5 Classic - Other Notes

If you get the opportunity you should check out the adidas Take 5 Classic going on at UC's campus the next few days. It is one of the premiere events during the July evaluation period. I stopped by today in hopes of getting a glance at Jay Canty (XU target) around lunchtime. There are 3 different age groups playing in this tournament from all over the country. It is a great treat if you are into basketball. Just seeing the coaches is almost worth the $15.00. And the conversations you can have with the AAU coaches, college assistants and parents of some of the players you see is great. There is serious basketball being played and I counted no less than five games going on at once on Ed Jucker court.

In case you missed it Lance Stephenson is official to the UC Bearcats. Some of the faithful are ready to hang the final four banner for next season. In all seriousness he is a tremendous talent on the basketball floor. Paired up with Yancey Gates (who is attending the Lebron James Camp as a counselor this week) on the inside and a proven commodity like Vaughn on the perimeter the Bearcats could make some noise in the always tough Big East. My perspective (with the blue colored glasses off) is Lance has hurdles to clear, the biggest being his amateur status questions the NCAA will ask. My biggest question is will he be at the Deveroes Summer League this weekend?

I also hope to see Jeff Robinson in action at the DSL. School will be entering the second summer session on Victory Parkway and if Mr. Robinson is on campus there is a chance he will play. I will have a summer preview up on the Musketeers soon and would like to see him before that is written.

The Dayton Flyers are starting to assemble a nice recruiting haul for 2010. It started with Daytonian Juwan Staten, now rated #41 by, a superb point guard prospect who is going to prep at Oak Hill Academy this fall. Then Ralph Hill, a wing forward out of Columbus, currently underrated by many made the pledge to Brian Gregory. Then this week 6-1 shooting guard Jesse Berry made a verbal to the Flyers. The three star Lafayette, IN product was also picking up interest from the Bearcats among many others. BG and staff will have two more spots to offer for the class of 2010 and look for them to be in business for top 100 Brandon Spearman and of course every Flyer Fanatic Fantasy Adreian Payne. If they can land those last two watch out A10.