Friday, April 21, 2006

Underclassmen declaring for the draft- Update 5/29

Mock Draft
Ronnie Brewer has signed with an agent... he's not coming back to Fayetteville. Stan Heath was spotted sobbing in his O'Douls.

This will be a running updated post as there's no sense in making multiples

As of 5/29/2006 the following have declared. This list does not include seniors or international players. Remember only first round draft picks get guaranteed money. I suspect most of them are testing the waters and won't declare.

I compiled this from various websites, but want to give credit to as I've found them the most useful.
Draft Express

Bold denotes they have an agent and will not be back.

Darius Washington (so) Memphis PG
Jordan Farmar (so)- UCLA PG
Marcus Williams (jr)- UConn PG
Rajon Rondo (so)- Kentucky PG
Mustafa Shakur (jr)- Arizona PG
Bobby Brown (jr)- Cal St Fullerton PG
Kyle Lowry (so)- Villanova PG
Will Blalock (jr)- Iowa State PG

Daniel Gibson (so)- Texas PG/SG
Albert Weber (juco)- Connors State SG
Ronnie Brewer (jr)- Arkansas SG
Arron Afflalo (so)- UCLA SG
D.J. Strawberry (jr)- Maryland SG/SF
Morris Almond (jr)- Rice SG
Quincy Douby (jr)- Rutgers PG/SG
Danillo Pinnock (jr)- GW SG
Guillermo Diaz (jr)- Miami PG/SG
Trey Johnson (jr)- Jackson St SG
Brandon Heath (jr)- SDSU PG/SG
Thomas Gardner (jr)- Missouri PG/SG
Richard Roby (so)- COlorado SG
Curtis Stinson (jr)- Iowa State PG/SG
Mike Efevberva (jr)- Cal St Northridge SG

Rudy Gay (so)- UConn SF
Adam Morrison (jr)- Gonzaga SF
Shawne Williams (fr)- Memphis SF

Renoldo Balkman (jr)- South Carolina PF
Leon Powe (so)- Cal PF
Tyus Thomas (fr)- LSU PF
Josh Boone (jr)- UConn PF/C
Ekene Ibekwe (jr)- Maryland PF
Alexander Johnson (jr)- FSU PF
Nick Fazekas (jr)- Nevada PF
Paul Millsap (jr)- La Tech PF
Marcus Slaughter (jr)- SDSU PF
Tedric Hill (juco)- Gulf Coast CC PF

LaMarcus Aldridge (so)- Texas C
Aaron Grey (jr)- Pittsburgh C
Cedric Simmons (so)- NC St PF/C
Patrick O'Brien (so)- Bradley C

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Looking back... 2005 recruiting class

I don't pay attention to recruiting (I have my reasons), but I did find reviewing what we brought in for 2005 interesting.
2005 recruits

As you can see, we had 3 immediate contributers to the team. Part of it was due to necessity (as our # were low) and part due to bringing in solid talent ready to play. Hendrix and Gee were impact players and Hollinger was a nice reserve.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Former Dookie (Dukie) Jeff Capel to assume Oklahoma job...

Dickie V got a new school to cheer for?

Another out of nowhere hire, but IMO a pretty decent one. He should be able to continue Sampson's success in Norman.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

What's more important to fans...a conference title or a deep NCAA run?

If you ask most college basketball fans they'll tell you how far you go in the NCAAs is more important. Conference titles are nice, winning your tournament is nicer, but a run in the tournament is king to most college basketball fans.

I'm iffy on this... I think regular season conference titles mean a lot. Conference tourneys are really for those on the bubble to play their way in and I don't hold them in high regard. A deep run in the NCAA tournament can validate a season... or invalidate it by exiting stage left the first weekend.

Relating to Alabama, do we weigh the Elite 8 run in 2004 heavier than winning the regular season SEC title in 2002? I go back and forth on this... on one hand a tournament run is national exposure, but a regular season title is more indictative of a body of work (season summary).

In the end I lean towards how you look in the NCAA tourney. I know it's not fair to judge a team's season by a weekend, but it sort of gives us an indication of how tough a conference is.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

College basketball rumors... head coaches on the move?

The two of note from link below:

1) South Carolina coach Dave Odom had been mentioned as a candidate for N.C. State’s vacant position. Former coach Herb Sendek resigned last week to accept the same job at Arizona State. N.C. State athletics officials’ top candidates for the position reportedly are Texas coach Rick Barnes and Memphis coach John Calipari. Odom, who is 100-69 in five seasons at USC, has two years remaining on a contract that pays the 63-year-old coach as much as $910,000 annually.

2) The Oklahoma men's basketball coaching search continues to be a well-guarded secret. Media outlets have speculated who might be the next coach, throwing out big names (Memphis' John Calipari and Villanova's Jay Wright) and little ones (Wichita State's Mark Turgeon). Fans calling talk radio shows and logging onto Internet message boards want to see OU hire Miami's Frank Haith or Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt.

For entertainment value, not verified

I figured Calapari's name would be linked to every decent opening in the nation. The one that surprised me is Paul Hewitt's name in the rumor mill (according to said site) for the Sooners job. My humble opinion... if Hewitt leaves the Ramblin' Wreck it's either for the NBA (NY Knicks) or a bigger college gig (read a big time Big East school).

Mike Davis to UAB... should Alabama fans care?

Former Indiana men's basketball head coach Mike Davis appears to be close to being offered the job as UAB's head coach but university officials interviewed Florida associate head coach Anthony Grant on Wednesday.

Grant met with UAB interim Athletics Director Richard Margison and two other athletic department representatives on Wednesday to discuss the opening. Grant would not talk about the situation when reached on his cell phone on Wednesday.

Deal not done

Mike Davis is probably more "dangerous" to Alabama than Mike Anderson was, but let's be honest now... how many "star" recruits are going to decide between Alabama and UAB? I bet that number is one every 2 or 3 years. IMO if we're competing for players with UAB, USA, or any other directional or 3rd tier basketball program we're in trouble. I don't think that's the case. We're ok... let UAB have their fun as it's merely a blip on our radar.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Ranking the Bama Greats-Point Guard

This is the first in a series of retrospective looks at Bama hoops history. A few comments about this series.....1. This is one man's opinion and I certainly welcome the feedback and comments of other Bama hoops junkies. 2. These rankings are based on their Alabama careers(including some level of projection for one current player), NOT their NBA career. 3. My Bama hoops perspective dates back to the very early 80's. I have included some of CM's players in this series based on the perspective I've gained from my family and friends that have followed hoops back into the 70's. Of course, the Rocket 8 period is a crucial part of Bama hoops history. And I want to make sure that it is noted that their absence in these rankings is not intended to discount their value in our history. Nevertheless, please keep in mind that when I say UA hoops history, I'm talking early 1970's to present.

Here we go....

Ranking the point guards.

1. Ron Steele. I know. He's only a sophmore. He hasn't won a single SEC tournament title, regular season title nor has he taken his team to the sweet 16. Nevertheless, I think he's the best pt. guard we've had. Let's look at the roles a point guard plays: 1. Leadership 2. Ball handling 3. Passing 4. Perimeter shooting 5. Defense 6. Ability to penetrate and create open shots for teammates 7. Free Throws. Where's the weakness? He's not the best in Bama history at all those categories but he's pretty damn close and he's going to be with us 2 more years and have a bundle of records(and hopefully wins) when he leaves. He'll make this much less debatable over the next 2 years.

2. Ennis Whatley. Probably the most exciting player to play at Alabama. Ennis would have spent hours in the Sportscenter nightly highlights. He was another great UA point guard. He was the best penetrator and creator of open shots for teammates that we've had. If he had Ron Steele's outside touch, Ennis would have been an NBA All-Star. One of the first players I can recall that left college after 2 years. I suspect he'd like to go back and do it again, but he was certainly enjoyable while we had him.

3. Antoine Pettway. Leadership, Leadership, Leadership. Isn't that what PG is all about? Antoine is the best leader in the history of the program--coach or player. Fearless. Tireless. Clutch. He quarterbacked a team with solid but not great talent to the great 8--the best tournament run in UA hoops history. You look at the categories listed above with which I think you'd evaluate a PG and he was the best at one of them and probably wasn't top 3 at any other. But, he was a pure blessing for Mark Gottfried and UA hoops(think for a second about how different the CMG evaluation might be if Pett hadn't made that runner against S. Illinois...) Pett willed himself into a solid 3-point shooter. He was a pretty good ball handler. One of the least appreciated aspects of Pett's game was his ability to will the ball in the hoop from the paint in traffic. He consistently made amazing plays close to the goal. Thank god for Pett. Thrilled he is still directly associated with our program. And oh yeah...Thanks for that first year's tuition Mr. and Mrs. Pett!!!!

4. Terry Conner. Great leader. Catch the theme? Winner. Not the best shooter outside of 16 feet, but inside that range, he was deadly. Great general. Clutch performer. Best penetrator and creator of shots for others we've had. Terry just plain got it done. He had very good players around him, but other than the Hobbs era, there really hasn't been any players come through T-town that didn't have a bunch of years playing with other great players. Terry was the clear leader(and most underrated player, IMO) on the best team in UA hoops modern history(I know. Yet another debate. Bring it on 1976 people).

5. Gary Waites One of the most unfortunate knee injuries in UA sports history(with apologies to Kerry Goode and Marvin Constant). What if today's technology existed in 1988? Would Gary be further up the list and have made a great deal more money playing basketball? I say hell yes. Nevertheless, he was still a GREAT player. Gary and #5 on the list were probably more talented individually than at least 2 ranked ahead of them, but being a PG isn't as much about the individual talent, from this point of view. Gary could shoot. Great ball handler. Solid defender(but wasn't everyone other than Hollywood a very good defender under the Plaid man?). Terry was very good and he has been a friend to UA hoops long after his playing days were over.

Honorable Mention: Anthony Murray & Robert Scott & Mo Williams

That wraps up the first in the series. I welcome feedback. UA hoops history is fun for me to discuss. There have been some great times over the past 25 years thanks to these guys.

SEC/Big East Challenge and SEC underclassman to declare

Via the NY Daily News so take it for what it's worth.

The Southeastern Conference has engaged the Big East in discussions for a similar series that one insider told the Daily News "are looking pretty serious." The SEC also has explored a series with the Big 12 as a possible fallback.

SEC/Big East Challenge on the way?

This would be huge... matching up with the likes of UConn, Villanova, Syracuse, Cincy, etc would be great for national coverage. As long as JP Sports doesn't get the rights to broadcast (rumored ESPN) it I'm for it!

Kentucky's Rondo to enter NBA draft. Every year he's in college further diminishes his value. Good luck to him. Tubby Smith might follow.
Rondo tries to pull a fast one on the NBA

What Does This Year's Final Four Say About Coaching?

Here are a few ideas.

First and foremost, Div. 1 NCAA Basketball coaching is a highly competitive industry. Given the abundance of available talent (both at home and abroad) and the scholarship limits, coaching has become an even more important factor in the upper echelons of elite programs than it has been in the past. Perhaps that will change if they do increase the scholarship limits back from 13 to 15, but for now parity exists at almost every level.

Next, the SEC must have some pretty good coaches. In and admittedly "down" year, the conference placed half its teams in the NCAA Tournament and all but one won at least one game. Two advanced to the Final Four and one won the championship. In a world of parity, that suggest a pretty well coached conference.

Admittedly perception the "down" nature of the SEC was attributable at least in part to the early defection of so many of the previous season's stars. But young talent seems to abound throughout the nation this year. I believe only one senior was named among the starters in last night's game.

So SEC coaches (as well as many of the coaches of the other teams that advanced in this year's tournament) seem to have done a good job with "young" talent. Some of these freshmen and sophomores are not as young as we would expect. (When Tim Brando said that UCLA's freshmen from Cameroon were 20 years old, Coach Mark Gottfried joked that, "They're probably more like 27 from Cameroon!" Someone else piped in something about "dog years.") At the very least these players are new to Division 1 basketball. For these young players to have been so successful, someone must have been doing a good coaching job.

Next, if Billy Donovan is not a great coach then he at least is a vert good one. Only a good coach can persuade a team full of good players to play unselfishly and to work hard all the time. Florida likely had some lapses (against South Carolina, for example). Then again, perhaps Florida ran into teams that simply had decided to play to their potential on that particular day (as with Alabama, for example). At least during the Big Dance when it counted most Donovan had all of his kids playing both hard and smart the entire time.

We saw more evidence that LSU's Brady might not be as good a coach as Donovan. Brady failed to get Glen Davis and company to take advantage of the way the games were being called. I don't know how many times I saw a ball handler lower a shoulder and clear a path to the basket during this tournament, but there were several in every game. Glen Davis should have been able to score at will in that environment.

I say "Kudos to Florida!" I think he's done a remarkable job at Florida. I don't have any reason to believe he cheats. (We do know he has a pipeline to those AAU guys. Certainly that by itself is not cheating.) He's done an excellent job this year and the SEC needs coaches of his caliber if we are going to continue to improve and excell. As one of the tv talking heads said last night, "Not bad for what used to be a football school."

Finally, I think this season taught us that Coach Gottfried and his staff do know how to coach. They got good effort almost every game out of the few players they had. The kids continued to play better and smarter in general as the season progressed and they performed marvelously after the Ole Miss game. Let's hope he continues to build on what he has accomplished. That, along with JD's return and a shooting guard or two could put us in the Final Four next year.

I sure hope Mrs. Alias recants on her demand that I not drive up for Wednesday games next year because it could be very exciting.

Roll Tide! Bring on national signing day and reports from the Rec Center.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Bama Basketball Blog

Bamahoops did a good job of selecting the final two teams. What does everyone have to say about the final game?

I think Florida matches up with UCLA better than LSU did and that Florida's big men won't run out of gas in the first quarter the way Glen Davis did. I don't know anything about basketball but I'll take Florida by three points.

Sendek leaves NC State for Arizona State

While on the surface this doesn't make sense it really does as Sendek's job was shaky in Raleigh.
Surprise hire for Arizona St
I guess I can understand him leaving, but Arizona State has been a coaching graveyard for a while. Maybe he'll turn things around there... I for one doubt it. Good luck to him.