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yoco :: College Basketball
(a sports weblog) news and commentary on men's college basketball and the ncaa tournament

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Saturday, June 19, 2004

Outranking Andy

Andy Katz yesterday went up with his Winners & Losers from Thursday's draft withdrawal deadline. As is often the case, Andy is right on target. Mississippi State, Providence, LSU, and Washington were the big winners while Saint Joseph's, DePaul and Arkansas were the big losers.

But to add my two cents, I thought I'd order the absolute values of players' actions.

1. Saint Joseph's -- Delonte West. Without a go-to player and playmaker, the Hawks are a borderline NCAA Tournament team. How quickly the mighty fall from national prominence.
2. Washington ++ Nate Robinson. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts (i.e. Lawrence Roberts is a better player, but Nate brings the intangibles necessary for productive team chemistry). Robinson, the Huskies' spark-plug, energies and unifies Romar's squad. With Robinson back, the Huskies are a legitimate Top 20 club. Without him, I wouldn't have pegged them to make the NCAA Tournament.
3. Mississippi State ++ Lawrence Roberts. The SEC's Player of the Year enters this season as the favorite for National Player of the Year Honors. A force down low, Roberts' return gives Stansbury a star to build around.
4. Providence ++ Ryan Gomes. If you saw the Friars pitiful NCAA Tournament performance, you'll understand where I'm coming from. Gomes was the team's only legitimate scoring option. Again, he makes the difference between NCAA Tournament admission and exclusion.
5. DePaul -- Dorell Wright. Dave Leitao is building quite a program in Chicago. With Wright, the evolution to conference elite would have occurred at a quicker place. Without him, it'll take Leitao another year or two to lead the Blue Demons to the Sweet 16.
6. LSU ++ Brandon Bass. John Brady was exaggerating when he said "This is Mardi Gras early here in Baton Rouge," but Bass' return gives LSU a significant scoring and rebounding option down low. In a competitive SEC, Bass will be the difference between an NCAA and NIT invite.
7. Arkansas -- Al Jefferson. Probability discounted. Jefferson would have been a huge addition for Stan Heath. But few expected him to wind up in Fayetteville. Heath, however, is a keeper and should have a positive impact at Arkansas over several years time.


Friday, June 18, 2004

One More

Silly ESPN. Updating webpages is for kids...


the little guy who makes a big impact

Washington point guard Nate Robinson yesterday withdrew from the NBA Draft and will return for his junior season.

Nate's return catapults Washington into the PAC-10's -- and the country's -- elite. It was Robinson's leadership that transformed the Huskies from conference also-ran to the country's hottest team in February and March. Although only 5'7", Robinson, a first-team All-Pac-10 selection, led Washington in scoring and was among the conference leaders in steals (53), 3-point percentage (35.4%) and free throw accuracy (85.3%). Using his competitiveness to inspire his teammates and his quickness to frustrate his opponents, Robinson and his 40-plus-inch vertical changed the dynamics of many a game.

The Seattle Times' Steve Kelley has a hard time containing enthusiasm:

This date and this player will be remembered.

Nate Robinson's announcement yesterday that he is staying at Washington for one more season means the university officially is a basketball school.

His return assures us of a March worth anticipating and a tournament trip that should last beyond the first bracket. With Robinson at point guard, the Huskies are almost certainly a Top 25 team, potentially a Top 10. With Robinson, coach Lorenzo Romar can continue his recruiting successes.

Robinson is a building block, the way Luke Ridnour and Fred Jones were at Oregon and the way Sean Elliott and Steve Kerr were at Arizona.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer Columnist Art Thiel is equally as elated, though the one sentence about Robinson that stands out in Thiel's column makes you go hmmm.

He's what Courtney Love should be if she were cool instead of stupid.

Uhhh...right. To hear directly from Nate Robinson and Coach Lorenzo Romar on yesterday's decision, read quotes from the press conference. Although Jameer Nelson's experience wasn't enough to keep Delonte West in school, Nelson's conversation with Robinson played a large role in Nate's decision.


Thursday, June 17, 2004

Gone West

Delonte will skip his senior season -- despite not being projected as a first-round pick. Gutsy move.

Mississippi State's Lawrence Roberts, LSU's Brandon Bass and Indiana signee Robert Rothbart withdrew from the NBA Draft. Wise moves.

I'll have a revised version of my Top 25 up soon.


Delonte

decides today. He wants to remain in the draft, but NBA scouts are telling him he might be better off returning to St. Joseph's.

The latest news on West's thought process here, here and here.

I'm all for players completing their collegiate eligibility. But I'm also all for sticking it to Phil Martelli.


Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Blogger Outreach?

A few moments ago, I received the email below from the kind folks at The New Republic. As far as I can remember, I have never provided "TNR," as the magazine is known in media circles, with my email address.

I therefore interpreted the following as outreach to sports bloggers; The magazine's writers must have visited College Ball, appreciated the content, noted my email address, and added yours truly to their media email list.

Nothing succeeds like flattery. I'll be sure to read TNR's periodic emails and comment on the magazine's sports articles as I see fit.

During the last few months, The New Republic Online has begun publishing an increasing number of articles on sports. While The New Republic is mainly a political and literary magazine--and therefore isn't usually associated with sports journalism--we believe there is value in bringing the magazine's argumentative sensibility to the world of sports, particularly the intersection of sports and politics. This is the inaugural edition of a periodic email that we hope will help you keep track of sports articles being published at TNR Online.

As you probably know, about half of our articles--including many of our sports pieces--are accessible only to subscribers. But these periodic emails will include pass-through links to our subscriber-only sports content. We encourage you to forward these links to friends and colleagues you think would be interested in reading them--and, if you are a blogger or writer, to use these pass-through links if you write about any of our pieces. Your readers will get the benefit of reading some of our subscriber-only material; and we will get the benefit of interesting your readers in TNR Online.

If you prefer not to receive these emails, let us know. And feel free to send us comments at this email address.

Best,
Richard Just
Editor, TNR Online

Most Valuable: With last night's win, the Detroit Pistons rescued the ethos of basketball--again.
by Jonathan Chait

Tale of Two Cities: D.C. and L.A. are both seeking sports teams. Only one knows what it's doing.
by Aaron Schatz

Contempt of Court: The media's nauseating coverage of Kobe Bryant.
by Kevin Canfield


In Good Company

Chris Chase reviews Cincinnati's rap sheet. From the program's past, only one image emerges: Bob Huggins, disciplinarian.

If only I could find his mugshot on the internet...


No News

Is Good News?

Unfortunately, the last couple days have been fairly quiet. Not much to note. Though Gregg Doyel foolishly rated "Bassy" higher than Shaun Livingston in his NBA Draft depth chart, Marco Killingsworth withdrew...from Auburn (I'd care, but hey, we're talking about Auburn, a school that never recovered from the infamous Sports Illustrated jinx that followed "Where Are They Now" candidate Chris Porter's appearance on the magazine's cover), LeMarcus Aldridge gave Rick Barnes a fifth reason to smile, and Ohio State's own Deep Throat came clean.

Update: Portugal.


Monday, June 14, 2004

where there's smoke

Unbelievable. (I'm not going to comment on this one. You need to read it).

Townsend's response.

Self-defense.

Thanks Dave.


two for trent!

After Trent Johnson left Nevada for Stanford, the punditry weighed in, big time. The Sporting News' Mike DeCourcy wrote "Stanford basketball's first opponent each year is the university admissions department. No successful Division I program is as stringent about its standards." The Oregonian's Ken Goe noted the obvious, at Stanford there is "little margin for error." CBS Sportsline headlined Gregg Doyel's thoughts on the subject "Stanford's crazy admission standards will burn Johnson."

Fox Sports then added facts to the fire. The day Mike Montgomery left for Golden State, point guard Bobby Frasor was in Palo Alto for a visit. A couple days later, he signed with North Carolina.

But after less than a month on the job, all is well for Trent Johnson and his Stanford Cardinal. This week Anthony Goods and Lawrence Hill, both Top 100 prospects, signed letters of intent. Given the small number of elite high school players who qualify to attend Stanford, inking a single Top 100 recruit is always cause for celebration.

Signing two during the same week? Monumental. Particularly because Goods and Hill already have good chemistry. Two two informed Coach Johnson of their decision together, over a single conference call.


I'm with Telep

"Louisville made a recruiting statement this weekend." -- National recruiting analyst Dave Telep

After losing both Sebastian Telfair and Donta Smith to the NBA Draft, Rick Pitino this week inked Kansas transfer David Padgett and two Top 35 Class of 2005 prospects, 5'11" guard Andre McGee and 6'9" forward Amir Johnson. McGee and Johnson are quality players, perhaps future McDonald's All-Americans. Read about 'em in the Louisville Courier-Journal.

The trifecta is significant for both material and symbolic reasons. After losing Telfair and Smith, Pitino was in the dumps. His Louisville project was in jeopardy. Under Rick's watch, the Cardinals have yet to contend for a Final Four, much less a national championship. Without incoming talent, they would be an unlikely bet for the future.

Not anymore. The signing of both immediate and long-term help affirms Louisville's chances and gives a shot in the arm to the image of Pitino as a program builder and national championship coach.


Sunday, June 13, 2004

They Said It

"[Huggins] thinks Phil Jackson doesn't work hard enough. Of course, he doesn't. He doesn't have to spend as much time as Huggie does bailing out his players."
-- Charles Pierce of Esquire Magazine

Or bailing out himself.