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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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Friday, September 03, 2004

the Wright stuff?

Gregg Doyel believes Jay Wright may soon be out at Villanova. Perhaps. The 'Cats haven't had much success of late.

Feeling heat from administration and alumni, [Steve] Lappas left Villanova with a .613 overall winning percentage, .559 in nine Big East seasons. Lappas' last three Villanova teams averaged 19.7 victories, with an NCAA Tournament bid in 1999 and NIT appearances in 2000 and '01.

Not good enough, apparently -- yet markedly better than Wright.

Wright has a .531 overall winning percentage at Villanova, .438 in the Big East. His teams have averaged 17.3 victories, with three consecutive NIT appearances.

Add an NCAA scandal or two, Kyle Lowry's recent knee injury, and signee Shane Clark's decision to re-open his recruiting and take visits to Florida and Maryland and you have a recipe for dismissal. On the other hand, Wright is very well respected in New York City. The Daily News' Dick Weiss writes:

Jay Wright, Villanova. He's still extremely popular with coaches in the Catholic League, Brooklyn PSAL and the Island and has three locals - guard Allan Ray of St. Raymond's, forward Curtis Sumpter of Loughlin and center Jason Fraser of Amityville - in the starting lineup for a team that came on in March.

But will a solid reputation be enough? Unless Jay is able to ink a few premier prospects in the coming months, I doubt it. He'll hang on this year. But sooner or later the rubber will meet the road.

They Said It

"I'm telling you, Hakim Warrick will be the best player in the country. Just remember, I said before the season two years ago Carmelo Anthlony wold be the best freshman."
-- Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim

gone fishing

Bob Young at the Arizona Republic retells a story about a Bobby Knight-led fishing expedition to Russia. (Members of the media sometimes seem to like nothing better than writing about the media. Bloggers accentuate this affect/problem by linking without commentary).

Thursday, September 02, 2004

come on, now

Michael Ventre's commentary for MSNBC about the Bob Knight sitcom is much more developed than my write-up for this College Basketball blog.

But, honestly, which one do you like better?

Mike's column mixes poorly framed sarcasm with semi-serious consideration of what Knight's story might have to offer. His attempts at humor fall short, as do his half-hearted suggestions on how the show ought to be put together. Finally, his derisive undertone is strongest during his predictable finale, a clichéd reference to Knight's chair-throwing incident.

a day in the life

of Wayne Simien.


previous previews

The Seattle Times did the Pac-10 back in May.

A Hale Mary?

It's not often an ACC school goes into New Mexico to sign a recruit. Does Skip Prosser know something you don't know?

Yes. Read about Harvey Hale, a lanky 6-3 guard with size-15 shoes, here, here and here.

on campus (via student papers)

-- Kansas' Alex Galindo is happy to have left UTEP and mid-major basketball behind. He'll be among next season's pleasant suprises for Bill Self.

-- Maryland students are upset about a new, stricter, ticket policy that bans students from receiving free tickets for their entire college career if they are no-shows at eight basketball games during their four years. A tough life, indeed.

-- The Marquette Tribune is filling up space with an article about almost inconsequential transfers. Is Crean having personel problems?

-- Florida's Gators recently welcomed Joakim Noah to Billy Donovan's squad. Why should you care? Because before Joakim's college career is over, you'll hear (many more times than you would like) that

His father is the 1983 French Open tennis champion, turned pop music star in France.
His mother, Cecilia Rodhe, was a Swedish beauty queen.
Noah has lived in Europe, Africa and the United States.
He grooves out to Bob Marley, often lugging his boom box around campus

Of greater import, however, is that Noah is also a significant frontcourt addition that will help the Gators compete in the SEC.

-- More than 50 Illinois students lined up to watch prized recruit Julian Wright practice for the coaching staff. Follow the link and learn how Illini fans went more than a little overboard.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Kentucky Pride

Via the Post:

No college basketball team in America will face a more difficult exhibition schedule than Northern Kentucky University in 2004-05.

Somebody ought to let Dave Bezold know it is the regular season schedule that counts.

the class of 2005

Dave Telep just posted his Top 100 prospects in the Class of 2005.

It's still early, but Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Michigan, and Gonzaga have yet to sign a single Top 100 prospect. The final three can be expected to occasionally have a down year in recruiting, but fans of the first three won't be too happy if their team's recruiting fortunes don't improve in the near future.

Where's Andy?

Andy Katz is on vacation through the 6th of September. Too bad ESPN chose not to have another writer cover his bases. I'll miss the Daily Word until he returns.

1 and done

In Madison, Tom Oates mourns the passing of the 1 o'clock Saturday basketball game.

Never was the demise of the traditional game time more evident than when the UW men's basketball schedule was released this week. Of the Badgers' 18 exhibition and regular-season games at the Kohl Center, only one -- the opener against Penn on Nov.20 -- is sure to be played on a Saturday. And it will start at 7p.m...

So what happened to the 1 o'clock start?

Simple, really. This is what happens when you sell your soul to television. Big Ten schools have signed off on TV contracts with ABC and ESPN that give those networks almost absolute power to decide starting times of the games they televise and in some cases even those they don't. TV executives, not the schools, make the call.

A tough trade-off. As a college basketball junkie, I love watching multiple games a weekend. For such a feat to be possible -- and for those games to be attention-worthy -- creative scheduling and collegiate flexibility is a must.

On the other hand, as a fan who believes colleges have a responsibility to educate, not merely exploit, their student-athletes, I am troubled by late-night games and season-long travel schedules that take scholarship athletes away from campus and cut into class time.

On balance, I'm in favor of granting TV executives leeway, but not sole decision-making authority, in schedule design. Understanding, unfortunately, that universities have a significant monetary incentive to go along with the networks' "suggestions."

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

a Knightly sitcom?

According to ESPN, the New York Times, and a host of other media outlets, CBS is considering a pitch from producer Lindy DeKoven and Paramount Television to turn the life of Robert Montgomery Knight into a situation comedy, or "sitcom." According to Variety Magazine, it is a done deal, as Paramount has been sold on the idea.

More power to them. DeKoven is a media heavyweight, having earlier served as executive vice president of miniseries and movies at NBC Entertainment and NBC Studios. Her most recent project? Developing "Listen Up," a new Fox comedy based on the life of Tony Kornheiser, the Washington Post columnist who co-hosts ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption." (Former Seinfeld star Jason Alexander is to play Kornheiser. The physical similarities are striking).

Knight's trials and tribulations give DeKoven plenty of material. Chances are that the General, "a family friend," will also help her publicize the show, both intentionally, as the show launches, and unintentionally, after an episode or two depicts him in an unflattering manner and he objects.

I imagine several former players and current coaches will have cameos in the sitcom. But will Isiah circa 2004 play Isiah circa 1981? How about Quinn Buckner? Will Kevin Bacon play Neil Reed? Or Ken Harvey? He could probably pull off either...

More important is what material to cover. Does the show begin or focus on Knight's childhood? His playing days at Ohio State? His personal life (marriages and divorce, or the kids)? The Pan Am games? Run-ins with the law? Or his players? And the refs? Much of the drama surrounding Knight takes place in the late 90's. Can the sitcom start chronologically and maintain public interest? Or will it effectively transition through time, covering multiple periods in Knight's life during a single episode?

Most if not all of these questions have yet to be answered, as DeKoven has yet to hire a writer for the show she will executive-produce. Here's looking at me, kid.

They Said It (one more time)

"I want to Carmeloize Oregon."
-- Ducks' signee Malik Hairston



1) Fresh off a broken wrist that sidelined him for seven games, Vermont's Taylor Coppenrath scored 43 points (going 14 for 19 from the floor and 14 for 15 from the line) in last season's America East Conference championship against Maine, propelling the Catamounts into the NCAA Tournament.

2) Against UCLA last fall, Coppenrath torched the Bruins for 38 points without committing a single turnover. After the game, Ben Howland praised Taylor's play: "Coppenrath we just had no answer for. The guy's a hell of a player. He's going to make money playing basketball someday."

3) This past summer, playing in China on the National Invitational Tournament All-Star team, Taylor shined. Averaging 10.9 points per game over a seven-game tour, Coppenrath established himself as a skilled post player against many of China's frontcourt stars.

Also Given:

4) Taylor's performance against Connecticut last spring (via John O’Keefe's April 14, 2004 piece for Sports Illustrated):

Taylor Coppenrath, Vermont’s 6’9” star junior forward, who was coming off a 43-point performance in the America East championship game, hit a three-pointer and made two free throws in the opening minutes, and the Catamounts took a 7-0 lead. If Vermont had visions of an upset, reality came quickly, in the 6’10” form of All-American Okafor. Calhoun had started the 6’10” freshman Josh Boone on Coppenrath, but after Vermont’s early flourish, the coach went to the national defensive player of the year. With Okafor hawking him, Coppenrath, a burly 250-pounder, would score only two more points in the rest of the half…Vermont would never threaten again and Coppenrath, who came into the game averaging 24.7 points, would finish with just 12. “He moves his feet really well for a big guy,” said Coppenrath about Okafor. “I was rushing my shot, and it had a lot to do with him.”

(Therefore) Not Entirely Given:

5) The accuracy of Mike DeCourcy's analysis of Taylor Coppenrath and his suggestion that Vermont's star is a potential lottery pick. Coppenrath's lack of experience against big-time college forwards and centers, along with his ho-hum game against Connecticut (granting that few players would succeed against Okafor), suggests he is far from a sure pick for first-round NBA money. At 6'9" he does not fall into the "you can't teach height" school of draft analysis. As an American with four years of college under his belt, he's worked himself out of the (silly) "potential" or "upside" school of thought. Even with a stellar senior season and a third trip to the NCAA Tournament, the jury's out on Coppenrath's NBA future.

Monday, August 30, 2004

always on my mind

The Harricks are booted out the door. Georgia is ridiculed to no end (and rightly so).

But after Dennis Felton takes the reigns, he helps the Bulldogs sign what may soon be the nation's top recruiting class (according to both DeCourcy and Doyel).

Mind boggling, really. I'd love to learn how Felton, with less than a year of Georgia basketball under his belt, managed to stage such a coup. That teammates and likely McDonald's All-Americans Louis Williams and Michael Mercer are both local (South Gwinnett, Georgia) sure helps. But still...Jim Harrick, ethical violations and all, never had this kind of recruiting success.

fyi, 2004-2005, part II

Must See TV (another random 30), By Date
11/25 Washington vs. Utah 01/22 Wisconsin @ Michigan
11/30 Maryland @ Wisconsin 01/22 Texas @ Oklahoma
11/30 Creighton @ Xavier 01/25 Illinois @ Wisconsin
11/30 Michigan State @ Duke 01/29 Texas @ Kansas
12/09 Alabama @ Wisconsin 02/02 Cincinnati @ Louisville
12/11 Wisconsin @ Marquette 02/12 Wisconsin @ Illinois
12/11 Michigan State vs. Stanford 02/12 Cincinnati @ DePaul
12/16 Ohio State vs. Texas Tech 02/12 Duke @ Maryland
12/18 Duke vs. Oklahoma 02/16 Michigan @ Wisconsin
01/02 Stanford @ Washington 02/24 Wisconsin @ Michigan State
01/05 Boston College @ Connecticut 02/24 Marquette @ Cincinnati
01/06 Memphis @ Texas 02/28 Oklahoma @ Texas
01/15 Louisville @ Cincinnati 03/05 Cincinnati @ Memphis
01/16 Michigan State @ Wisconsin 03/05 Oklahoma State @ Texas
01/17 Texas @ Oklahoma State 03/06 Kentucky @ Florida

Many (if not all) of the Big East teams have yet to release their 2004-2005 schedules. You'll notice I've begun to include critical games for non-Top 25 clubs, e.g. Creighton @ Xavier on November 30th. More games (and analysis) to come.

missing is action

Connecticut's athletic communications department has posted the school's 2004-2005 men's basketball prospectus online. Missing, however, is the Huskies 2004-2005 schedule.

A prospectus without the season's schedule? I hope the communications department hasn't sent the materials to the printer...

Sunday, August 29, 2004

a responsibility to educate

promise unfulfilled.

Colleges ought not exploit their players. They ought to ensure they're educated and have a future -- in or out of basketball.