July 6, 2009

Rutgers' Mike Rosario drops 54 in FIBAs

Mike Rosario, who led Rutgers by scoring 16.2 points per game last season as a freshman, scored a tournament-high 54 points for Puerto Rico in a 90-89 victory over France in the FIBA under-19 world championships.

The United States (4-0), coming off a 85-69 win over Greece, will face Puerto Rico (3-1) Tuesday.

Rosario, a native of New Jersey, was 18-for-29 from the field, including 9 of 13 from long range. He added nine free throws, seven rebounds and four steals. He's averaging 31.2 points for the tournament.

Notables on the U.S. roster include head coach Jamie Dixon (Pittsburgh), who brought along fellow Panthers Ashton Gibbs and Dante Taylor (incoming frosh). Butler's Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack made the squad, as did Seth Curry (now with Duke), Howard Thompkins (UGA) and Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas).

Wake Forest swingman Al-Farouq Aminu and UConn's Kemba Walker were late scratches.

The tournament, like the Olympics, was a once-every-four-years event. After the 2007 tournament, however, it began a biannual rotation. The United States is trying to capture the title for the first time since 1991. It won three of the first four tournaments ('79, '83, '91), but only has two runners-up finishes to show for it since ('99 & '07). Serbia defeated the Americans in last year's final, 74-69.

June 26, 2009

NBA Draft: Where the Big East's best went

Nine players from the Big East conference -- four in the first round and five in the second -- were selected in last night's NBA Draft. Here's a quick recap of who went where and why.

For absurdly extensive coverage of the draft, check out Alan Hahn's blog, The Knicks Fix. Hahn and our team of reporters at MSG posted about 50 times over the span of the evening and early morning. Well done boys.

THAB220.jpg

(2) Hasheem Thabeet -- UConn -- MEMPHIS
This is where the big man was supposed to go. We know he'll help the Griz defensively, it's the other end of the floor that may take a few years. The first step, however, is to toughen him up.

(6) Jonny Flynn -- Syracuse -- MINNESOTA
Perhaps the most perplexing pick of the draft, and why many our criticizing the T-Wolves' guard-heavy bonanza draft. GM David Kahn drafted Spain's Ricky Rubio, also a point guard, minutes earlier with the fifth pick. Then they drafted Ty lawson 18th. Kahn insisted he'd keep both Flynn and Rubio, though the latter doesn't exactly want to be there.

(11) Terrence Williams -- Louisville -- NEW JERSEY
Vince Carter is gone. Terrence Williams arrives. I'm not saying Williams will be the next VC, but I think they're similar. Vinsanity is a better shooter, but T-Will, like Carter, has all the tools and is now part of Jersey's rebuilding project.

(14) Earl Clark -- Louisville -- PHOENIX
Could be a steal. Could be a bust. There's no doubt Earl Clark has the body and skill to be an effective pro. The question is ... does he want to be?

(33) Dante Cunningham -- Villanova -- PORTLAND
Cunningham had a terrific year for the 'Cats and Portland must like what they saw -- drafting him ahead of Pitt's duo of Young & Blair. He could be a solid off-the-bench guy for years to come.

(35) DaJuan Summers -- Georgetown -- DETROIT
Summers had an underwhelming junior year for the Hoyas, although you can attribute that to a mid-season ankle injury. When healthy, he's a great shooter and slasher.

(36) Sam Young -- Pittsburgh -- MEMPHIS
I can't believe Young fell this far. Sure, he's pretty streaky. But, he's defintely NBA-ready. Guy has a LeBron-like build ... he might be older than him, actually.

(37) DeJuan Blair -- Pittsburgh -- SAN ANTONIO
The Spurs tend to do this -- luck out late in the draft. They sure did in this case. Not a harder worker amongst these nine than Blair, whose best remembered for tossing around that guy who got picked 35 picks earlier.

(52) A.J. Price -- UConn -- INDIANA
Long Island's own is off to the Pacers. After an up-and-down career at UConn, Price had a lot to prove senior year and led the Huskies to the Final Four. He's more of a backup in the NBA, but he's just as talented as many of the PGs drafted way earlier.

Getty Images

June 10, 2009

Tim Floyd resigns at USC

TIM0610.jpg
AP Photo

Amid allegations that he paid to have O.J. Mayo join the Trojans for his one-year stint as a college player, head coach Tim Floyd has resigned from USC's men's basketball program, according to published reports.

According to the AP, in a one-paragraph letter to the school's AD, he wrote that he was quitting "because he no longer had full enthusiasm for his job."

Yah ... I wouldn't be too psyched about it either.

Back in May, Yahoo! reported that one of Mayo's former associates, Louis Johnson, told investigators that Floyd paid a man named Rodney Guillory -- one of Mayo's "handlers" -- $1,000 if Mayo picked USC as his one-and-done school of choice.

In Mayo's one season at USC, he led the Trojans to a 21-12 record and at-large berth in the NCAA tournament before leaving for the NBA, where he was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies. ESPN's Outside the Lines ran a lengthy report on Mayo's relationship with Guillory and BDA sports agency, which signed him when he turned pro.

Floyd, who was 85-50 at USC, has never addressed the allegations involving Mayo. If the NCAA can prove Floyd paid to have Mayo delivered to USC, that would be considered a major violation, according to the Associated Press.

May 13, 2009

Report: Tim Floyd may be in big, big trouble

FLOYD0513.jpg
AP Photo

Yahoo! Sports is on fire.

The Web site reported Tuesday that USC coach Tim Floyd made direct payments to O.J. Mayo's "handler" in order to persuade him to become a Trojan.

This, clearly, is a major NCAA rectruiting violation.

According to the report, which cites former Mayo confidant Louis Johnson, Floyd gave at least $1,000 to Rodney Guillory, who has been accused of giving benefits to Mayo during his freshman season (and only season) at USC. Johnson told this to NCAA investigators and federal authorities. Mayo left USC after the 2008 season and was drafted in the first round by the Memphis Grizzlies, where he averaged 18.5 points per game his rookie year.

Yahoo! Sports' report comes nearly one year to the day after ESPN's Outside the Lines ran a lengthy report on Mayo's sketchy relationship with Guillory and BDA sports agency, which signed him when he turned pro. Louis Johnson was interviwed for that piece as well.

USC's men's basketball and football programs are already the subject of a three-year investigation regarding alleged improprieties. The football probe concerns former football star Reggie Bush to determine if he received improper benefits while in school.


April 17, 2009

Jonny Flynn is OUT!

Jonny Flynn hires an agent

I have to say, I didn't expect this.

Jonny Flynn has gone ahead and hired an agent, which means he's headed to the NBA instead of returning for his junior season at Syracuse. The Orange were supposed to make a run at a national title in 2010. You have to wonder if that's a possibility now.

Flynn signed with Leon Rose's Creative Artists Agency Sports, according to reports. Syracuse has two candidates to replace him at point guard. Scoop Jardine sat out last season with a leg injury and incoming freshman Brandon Triche will compete for time.

The 6-0 speedster has been one of the most dynamic guards in the college game the past two seasons. Flynn has decided to take advantage of what will be a fairly weak draft class after his great sophomore season (17ppg, 7 apg). Where will he get picked? He must think he's a lottery pick and that's certainly not a stretch.

I thought he loved college? I guess money talks and Flynn listened. We'll miss him in the Big East. Well, I can think of 15 coaches that won't ... but the rest of us will.

AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli

Continue reading "Jonny Flynn is OUT!" »

April 14, 2009

It's official: Hasheem Thabeet is going pro

This surprised nobody.

Hasheem Thabeet, UConn's 7-3 center, will forego his senior season and enter his name into the NBA Draft. He averaged 13.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.2 blocks for the Huskies (31-5) this season and was named the co-Big East Player of the Year with Pitt's DeJuan Blair. More known for his defensive abilities than offensive prowess, Thabeet is the two-time National Defensive Player of the Year.

An interesting stat from the Courant's story:
Thabeet is the 11th UConn player to declare early for the draft. Eight of the previous 10 were selected in the lottery.

What do we know about the FIU Golden Panthers?

Other than the fact that Isiah Thomas is the new coach -- not much. But let's find out a little more:

FIUGoldenPanthers.png

> FIU is a public university in Miami and home to an enrollment that exceeds 38,000 students, which places it in the Top 25 for largest universities in the nation.

> The school colors are blue and gold and the mascot is named Roary the Panther.

> The Golden Panthers compete in the Sun Belt Conference, which includes America's favorite upset special, Western Kentucky -- a team that has won the conference tournament and won at least one game in the NCAA tournament in the last two years.

> Notable alumni include Raja Bell and Carlos Arroyo (and Mike Lowell of the Red Sox).

> The last time FIU appeared in the NCAA tournament was in 1995, when the Golden Panthers fell to eventual champion UCLA in the first round. FIU qualified for the tournament by winning the Trans America Athletic Conference. It relocated to the Sun Belt in 1998.

> This past season, FIU (13-20) fell to top-seeded Western Kentucky in the quarterfinals of the Sun Belt tournament.

> FIU "reassigned" former head coach Sergio Rouco to another position within the FIU Athletic Department. Hey, the same thing happened to Isiah! Rouco held a 55-94 record (.369) in five years at the helm. Thomas, meanwhile, went 56-108 while leading the Knicks (.341) in two seasons.

> The Golden Panthers have not had a winning season since their 1999-2000 campaign, in which they finished 16-14.

> FIU will graduate its two leading scorers from last season. Alex Galindo led the team with 13.3 ppg while Russell Hicks was the second-leading scorer at 12.5 ppg. Galindo also led the Golden Panthers with 6.7 rebounds per game.

> Isiah Thomas already makes an appearance on FIU's Web site under the Coaching Staff link. There's no bio yet, which is understandable. But once they decide to add one -- what do you write?

April 13, 2009

Hasheem Thabeet to discuss future with Jim Calhoun Monday

SHEEM0412.jpg

Interesting post over on Alan Hahn's blog, The Knix Fix, which describes his run-in with UConn's 7-3 center, Hasheem Thabeet, at the Knicks-Heat game Sunday in Miami.

Thabeet was in attendance to witness Dwyane Wade's double-nickel.

Hahn spoke with Thabeet briefly after the Heat's 122-105 win, which clinched the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. I honestly hadn't looked at any NBA standings in months and had no idea the Heat were even in the playoff discussion, so J-Rich has a point when he says Wade should warrant some MVP consideration. Hard to ignore Lebron's season though. Epic.

Thabeet told Hahn he has a meeting with head coach Jim Calhoun today to discuss the possibility of passing on his senior year to enter the NBA draft. Thabeet, an astute shotblocker, is quite possibily the nation's most intimidating defensive presence, but is still very much a work in progress at the offensive end. Most agree that the big man will be a lottery pick. I'd be absolutely shocked -- and overjoyed -- if he stays, but we should find out his plans very soon.

AP Photo of Hasheem Thabeet at the Final Four / Eric Gay

April 10, 2009

Jonny Flynn -- sans agent -- will enter name in NBA draft

SYRACUSE'S JONNY FLYNN-- NBA BOUND?
Photo of Jonny Flynn by Joe Murphy/Getty Images

Syracuse guard Jonny Flynn, guard Eric Devendorf and small forward Paul Harris plan to enter their names in the NBA draft.

Flynn will not hire an agent, leaving open the possibility of returning for his junior season. It is unclear whether Devendorf or Harris -- who both have a year of eligibility left -- will hire agents, according to the statement released by the Orange's athletic department.

Continue reading "Jonny Flynn -- sans agent -- will enter name in NBA draft" »

April 9, 2009

DeJuan Blair: 'I'm not Chris Taft'

DEJUAN BLAIR BOUND FOR NBA
AP Photo/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Matt Freed

DeJuan Blair is off to the NBA, passing on his junior and senior seasons at Pittsburgh for the big show and more importantly -- the big bucks.

The co-Big East Player of the Year and first-team All-American said he had nothing left to prove at the college level, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Pittsburgh had a successful year, but fell short of what many thought could have been a run at a national title when it lost a heartbreaker to Villanova in the Elite 8. Blair averaged 15.6 points and 12.2 rebounds per game in his sophomore season with the Panthers.

Blair is confident in his abilities, obviously, and is sure he'll be a first-round pick. In the Post-Gazette's story, it chronicles Blair's dream of becoming an NBA player, but also sheds light on the possibility of disappointment:

"Blair said the highest he has seen his name on a mock draft is No. 8 and the lowest was No. 22. The Post-Gazette yesterday could not find a mock draft in which Blair was projected to go higher than No. 20 ... Four years ago, Pitt's Chris Taft left after his sophomore season to pursue a career in the NBA. Taft, projected as a first-round pick in April, fell to the second round by draft day. Taft played 17 games in his only season in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors and is out of professional basketball."

Blair is fully aware of Taft's story:
"There were a couple of things that happened with Chris," Blair said. "I feel good about this. I feel good about what I can do. My coach will steer me through the process. I'm going to go in fit and in shape. I'm not Chris Taft. That's another thing."

Continue reading "DeJuan Blair: 'I'm not Chris Taft'" »

April 7, 2009

Blake Griffin is going pro

This one was fairly obvious.

Blake Griffin, the AP and Naismith National Player of the Year, is headed to the NBA draft, where he'll likely be selected first overall June 25. I think he'll have a helluva career with the big boys.

Griffin led the Sooners (30-8) to the Elite 8, where they lost to the eventual champions from North Carolina. Along the way, he led the nation in rebounding (14.4 per game) and averaged 22.7 points per game.

At 6-10, Griffin has exceptional speed and an explosive first step to the basket. While he doesn't have incredible range, he can play a face-up 4 and blow by pretty much anyone. I'm excited to see what this kid will do at the next level.

Continue reading "Blake Griffin is going pro" »

North Carolina destroys Michigan State; Writers write about it

Link party! (Sorry for the massive delay, but our blog server was unavoidably detained for pretty much the entire day.)

Here is a small percentage of what's being said about last night's NCAA national championship, in which North Carolina thoroughly convinced us all that they are the best team in the country.

>> View photos of UNC's win and the entire NCAA tournament

SI.com's Bill Trocci put his professor hat on and graded the NCAA finalists. Mostly A's, obviously for the Heels. Michigan State's Kalin Lucas and Travis Walton were each given C-'s.

His colleague, Joe Lemire, gives LI's Danny Green some love. So does ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil.

Yahoo! Sports Dan Wetzel says Roy Williams and the Heels are the perfect combination. I agree.

CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman followed Staple's lead and called it ludicrous that the Spartans were somehow playing for the embattled auto industry or the country.

Continue reading "North Carolina destroys Michigan State; Writers write about it" »

OTG Bracket Challenge: Final standings

MARTINEK500.jpg
Bruno Gervais congratulates Radek Martinek, right, after he scored against Tampa Bay last Saturday while simultaneously clinching a win in the inaugural Off the Glass Bracket Challenge.
Photo by Ed Betz


Below, you'll find the final standings for inaugural Off the Glass Bracket Challenge. I want to thank everybody for participating and hopefully we'll get you back in 2010 and build this into something bigger and better every year.

Big ups to Islanders defenseman Radek Martinek for claiming the crown. Mets pitcher John Maine and former MLB pitcher Neal Heaton narrowly missed out on the title, but both deserve congratulations as well. And, I beat Staple. Excellent.

Funny Cide's downfall was probably picking Cornell in the Sweet 16 and/or Minnesota and Florida State meeting in the East regional final. The guy followed his heart and you really can't blame him for that.

For a complete list of participants and their brackets, click here.

Continue reading "OTG Bracket Challenge: Final standings" »

VIDEO: One Shining Moment

The song itself is more than a little bit corny, but it's one of the better traditions in sports television. Here's a fairly clear Youtube version ... fast-forward 1:30 in to get to the real deal.





>> View photos UNC's win and the entire NCAA tournament

April 6, 2009

In-game thoughts: North Carolina 89, Michigan State 72

This is it. The National Championship.

The favored Heels attempt to fend off the hometown Spartans and approximately 50,000 of their faithful fans to win their second national title in five years.

Be back a little after tip. Enjoy ...

(If you haven't read Staple's column on a trio of Heels that should have a strong showing at June's NBA draft, click here.)

>> View photos UNC's win and the entire NCAA tournament

Continue reading "In-game thoughts: North Carolina 89, Michigan State 72" »

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