Thursday, May 29, 2008

TESTING REALITY

UNC’s trio of Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green are publicly taking exception to the term “testing the NBA” waters. All of them say they are in the draft to stay unless the situation dictates otherwise. That situation will play out as the three participate in games in the NBA Oralando combine yesterday, today and tomorrow.

All three were invited to participate along with 61 other participants. The key number to know is 15 and why that’s important. Of the 65 invitees, 15 of them which were determined by a secret NBA ballot with results released Sunday for the Monday morning combine are designated “skills, strength, agility and medical testing only” – that’s insider talk for FIRST ROUND.

The list of the 15 top draft prospects are: Joe Alexander, Jr., West Virginia; Darrell Arthur, Soph., Kansas; D.J. Augustin, Soph., Texas; Jerryd Bayless, Fr., Arizona; Michael Beasley, Fr., Kansas State; Eric Gordon, Fr., Indiana; Donte Green, Fr., Syracuse; DeAndre Jordan, Fr., Texas A&M; Brook Lopez, Soph., Stanford; Kevin Love, Fr., UCLA (pictured below); O.J. Mayo, Fr., USC; JaVale McGee, Soph., Nevada; Anthony Randolph, Fr., LSU; Derrick Rose, Fr., Memphis and Russell Westbrook, Soph., UCLA.

Add to that list a couple of European and/or Asian players and some notable absentees for various reasons and first round picks start running dry rather quickly. Not participating for various reasons are: Kansas junior Mario Chalmers, Kansas State redshirt freshman Bill Walker, Florida sophomore Marreese Speights, Cal sophomore Ryan Anderson, NC State freshman J.J. Hickson, Arizona sophomore Chase Budinger, Stanford Sophomore Robin Lopez, Georgetown senior Roy Hibbard, Memphis junior Chris Douglas-Roberts and Ohio State freshman Kosta Koufos.

According to Andy Katz at ESPN: By far the biggest surprise is the willingness of some high-profile underclassmen to participate in the camp, notably the trio from North Carolina.

Sophomores Ellington and Lawson aren't locks for the first round, so they decided to participate and try to play their ways in. Neither has signed with an agent, and this clearly is an attempt to prove they are first-round worthy and should stay in the draft. Teammate Green also decided to play, a necessity if he wants to get into the second round and not return to school.

For more on these three: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/columns/story?columnist=katz_andy&id=3415036

S.S. TURTLE LISTING BADLY

JUCO whiz Tyrese Evans from Richmond won’t be going to Maryland after all. After four years away from the Big Dance and just six years removed from winning it all, Gary Williams’ Terps looked to benefit right away from the 6’3” 23-year-old well travelled shooting guard.

And then reality closed in...

Last week, while the MD was contemplating admission after Williams had offered a scholarship, Evans asked to be released from his commitment. The withdrawal comes less than three weeks after Evans told The Baltimore Sun, "I'm proud to be a Terp," and less than six weeks after he was offered a scholarship by the school's basketball staff. Athletic director Debbie Yow said she didn't know at the time that Maryland was recruiting Evans or much, if anything, about his criminal past.

You want crime? Evans has got some crime…

Evans' abrupt decision came after media reports about his past. In 2005, he was charged with felony possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. He ended up pleading to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to 12 months in jail with all but one month suspended. In 2006, he pleaded guilty to a reduced assault-related misdemeanor after being accused with others of statutory rape of a 15-year-old female classmate at a Massachusetts prep school in 2004. There was also a 2006 trespassing arrest in his hometown of Richmond, Va.

Wait, there’s more -- marijuana possession and handgun charges in Cecil County Circuit Court in November 2005. He received probation on the drug charge, and the handgun count wasn't pursued by prosecutors, county officials said.

All the time Williams championed his cause while Athletic Director Debbie Yow initially claimed no knowledge of his sorted background.

AOL Fan Houser Sportz Assasin put it this way: This is a bittersweet moment for Terps fans as Evans would have contributed immediately. He was a star high school prospect and a JUCO star at Motlow State CC (as well as others). However, he has more baggage than a former Disney teen star.

Evans has bounced around schools over the past several years and has had some serious off-court issues…There was quite a debate around College Park about Evans and if he should even be there. Coach Gary Williams was in his corner, but the heat was apparantly too much to take.

And AOL’s Nathan Folwer had this to say: There's so many things wrong with this entire situation that it's almost impossible to figure out where to even start. To begin with, Maryland never should be in a situation where they are so desperate for talent that they are forced to dip into the JUCO ranks or face a depleted roster. Gary Williams has done a very poor job recruiting in recent years and doesn't seem to have his heart in it, never capitalizing on the back to back Final Four runs in the early part of this decade. That being said, it's also very evident that Williams' and Yow's working relationship has crumbled to the point of being basically non-existent.

Gary Williams is a Maryland alumni and led them to the school's first National Championship, he's an institution in College Park and he can probably coach there as long as he wants to. Debbie Yow is regarded as an excellent athletic director. Sooner than later though, one of them is going to have to move on from Maryland or the basketball program is going to continue to be mired in mediocrity. You simply cannot have your AD and your highest profile coach clearly not only not working together but not even keeping each other informed.

Ouch.

NEW CONTRACTS AT CLEMSON

Brace yourself o' yee of Brentsville High fame, it looks like tuition at Clemson could be on the rise...

According to the Associated Press, Clemson football coach Tommy Bowden will receive more than $1.8 million a year under his newly signed contract.

Bowden's basketball counterpart, Oliver Purnell, earns at least $1 million annually under his new contract extension.

The school released details of the agreements Wednesday after Freedom of Information Act requests from The Associated Press and other organizations.

Bowden's deal ties him to Clemson through the 2014 season. Purnell's new contract also binds him to the Tigers through 2014.

These deals made some people very happy, and others very sad...

PICTURE OF THE DAY

DUE TO THE DECLINING POPULARITY OF HOCKEY…The Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy displayed at the NHL Awards presentation will be sent into outer space aboard the next Space Shuttle and eventually launched into orbit as a transmission satellite for the Outdoor Life Network.

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

NOTE TO SELF…Soccer fans really are crazy.

Algerian fans of the Mouloudia Oran (MCO) football team of Oran clash with riot policemen in Oran City on May 28, 2008, 400 km west of Algiers. Clashes erupted after the MCO football team lost its place in the A' category and relegated to the B' category of the soccer national league.

Things that make you go "Hmmm."

(Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

WHAT CAN BIG BROWN DO FOR THE ECONOMY...? In this photograph released by the New York Stock Exchange, officials and guests of the New York Racing Association and International Equine Acquisitions Holdings (IEAH) Stables attend the opening bell at the exchange on Wednesday, May 28, 2008. IEAH co-owns Big Brown, the Triple Crown hopeful entered in the Belmont Stakes.

(AP Photo/Mel Nudelman, NYSE)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 4


SPEAKING OF THINGS THAT NEED TO BE SHOT INTO SPACE… Don Cherry (doing a mean Haywood Hale Broun imitation) and Ron MacLean of CBC Sports stand on the ice before game three of the 2008 NHL Stanley Cup Finals between the Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Mellon Arena on May 28, 2008 in Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania.
The Penguins defeated the Red Wings 3-2 to set the series at 2-1 Red Wings.


(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

THIS YEAR OREGON STATE WILL NOT BEAT UNC

This year, Oregon State will not beat UNC in the college world series. We guarantee it.

Miami was selected as the top seed for the 64-team Division I college baseball tournament Monday, while two-time defending champion Oregon State was left out of the field. (Told you.)

The Hurricanes (47-8), who won the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament for the first time, will host one of 16 four-team, double-elimination regionals that begin Friday. Miami, making its 36th straight tournament appearance to extend its NCAA record, was ranked No. 1 in various polls for the majority of the season and opens against Bethune-Cookman (36-20).

"There was a lot of discussion about who the No. 1 seed should be, and quite frankly, North Carolina and Arizona State all got a strong look at that position," Division I selection committee chairman Larry Templeton said. "At the end of the night, Miami's play toward the end of the season, particularly winning the tournament -- and we were watching that tournament as the selection process was going through -- probably convinced the committee."

The other national seeds, in order, are: North Carolina (46-12), Arizona State (45-11), Florida State (48-10), Cal State Fullerton (37-19), Rice (42-13), LSU (43-16-1) and Georgia (35-21-1).

(AP Photo/Phil Coale)

NO ACC IN LAX FINAL

Syracuse beat Johns Hopkins 13-10 in the NCAA final on Monday, dethroning the defending national champions and becoming the first school to win its 10th men's lacrosse title. The Orange improved to 3-2 in championship games against the Blue Jays.

Johns Hopkins knocked off Duke in the semis and the Cuse beat UVA to make it the first final without an ACC team in...well...a long time. (Cuse v. Navy 2004 - research department just showed up for work.)

It was Syracuse's fourth championship this decade but first since 2004. Last year, when three players were suspended for off-field behavior, the Orange finished 3-8 and missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1982.

The '83 Syracuse team, which was honored at halftime on the 25th anniversary of its title, is the only other team to win the lacrosse championship a year after missing the tournament entirely.

(AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

ACC SWEEPS NCAA TENNIS SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIPS

Evidently, the tennis boom that sent kids scrambling to public courts and country clubs across the good ole USA is way over. Check it out.

Virginia's Somdev Devvarman became only the fourth player in the last 50 years to win back-to-back NCAA men's singles championships Monday by beating Tennessee freshman J.P. Smith 6-3, 6-2.

Devvarman took just 61 minutes to join Georgia's Matias Boeker (2001-02), Mikael Pernfors (1984-85) and Southern California's Dennis Ralston (1963-64) with the rare repeat title in the past half-century. Nine others won consecutive titles between the sport's start in 1883 and Ralston's back-to-back titles.

HmmmmSomdev, Matias and Mikael.

Over on the distaff side, Georgia Tech's Amanda McDowell defeated 2005 champion Zuzana Zemenova 6-2, 6-3 to win the women's singles title. That would make it an ACC sweep.

The Southern California team of Robery Farah and Kaes Van't Hof beat Mississippi's Jonas Berg and Erling Tveit 7-6 (10), 7-6 (6) in the men's doubles final.

Tracy Lin and Riza Zalameda, who led UCLA to the women's team title, captured the doubles championship over Fresno State's Melanie Gloria and Tinesta Rowe 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.

Let’s recap: Devvarman, Pernfors, Boeker, Zemenova, Farah, Van’t Hof, Lin, Berg, Tveit, Zalameda

Looks like tennis recruiting has “expanded” just like NCAA soccer.

(AP Photos/Sue Ogrocki)

ESPN TOP HOOP RECRUITING CLASSES

According to Antonio Williams of ESPN, these are the top recruiting classes for NCAA basketball:

1) UCLA, 2) Florida, 3) Ohio State, 4) West Virginia, 5) Kansas,

6. WAKE FOREST: The three stellar prospects in Wake's class were all signed by the late Skip Prosser. The trio has honored their commitment to the program and Prosser's predecessor, Dino Gaudio. The most talented player of the bunch is wing Al-Farouq Aminu (pictured left), who could be the ACC's top incoming recruit. The class also consists of centers Tony Woods and Ty Walker.

7. NORTH CAROLINA: The Tar Heels were able to land three top-notch prospects in the early signing period. North Carolina's top signee is versatile 7-foot-1 center Tyler Zeller. He and fellow frontcourt freshman Ed Davis should see the floor despite UNC's outstanding depth.

8. Georgetown, 9. Arizona,

10. FLORIDA STATE: Leonard Hamilton added point guard Derwin Kitchen (pictured right) to his early signing period haul that included Top 25 recruit Chris Singleton, ESPN 100 prospect Xavier Gibson and three backcourt players -- Luke Loucks, Pierre Jordan, and Deividas Dulkys. Hamilton has amassed his best collection of talent ever at Florida State.

HOOS HOOPS RECRUITS EARN ESPN HONORABLE MENTION

UVa’s incoming freshmen hoopsters made the Honorable Mention category at ESPN (not among the top 25, but better than everybody else). The top three commitments are Big Mac All-American Sylven Landesburg, a 6-6 small forward from Holy Cross H.S., John Brandenburg, a 6-11 center from De Smet Jesuit H.S. and Assane Sene a 7-0 center from South Kent High School.

We enjoyed what Scout.com said about Brandenburg: Brandenburg displays great passion for the game but he has some issues to work out. He desperately needs to improve his hands and his ability to finish. It seems as if he brings the ball down to his knees every time he touches it. Right now he is simply a space eater in the paint. The good news is he really wants to get better and works very hard. The potential is there.

In other words, he’s a gigantic white guy who hustles, but he keeps bringing the ball down when he shouldn’t which is a habit he cultivated while being the biggest guy on the court for all of his life…

Here’s what they said about Sene: A long and lean shot blocker, he needs time to develop. His lack of strength keeps him from maintaining possession of the ball (bad hands). He's a great kid who plays hard and really wants to get better. The best word to describe him is raw.

Hmmm…two words come to mind: Manute Bol. Maybe it was the “bad hands” thing…

PICTURES OF THE DAY

KISS THE BRICKS...Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda, kisses the yard of bricks after his victory during the IRL IndyCar Series 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 25, 2008 in Indianapolis, Indiana.



(Photos by Jamie Squire/Getty Images and Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

DID WORLD B. FREE...change his name to Coca-Cola B. Free? Kasey Kahne, driver of the #9 Budweiser Dodge, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 (formerly the World 600) on May 25, 2008 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.

(Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

INCOMING...Travis Logie of South Africa rides a wave to finish equal 17th at the Globe Pro Fiji at Tavarua on May 27, 2008. Logie was defeated by Joel Parkinson of Australia in the third round.

The Globe Pro Fiji is the fourth stop on the ASP World Tour and includes the world’s top 45 full-time touring male professional surfers plus three wildcards.

(Photo by Kirstin Scholtz/AFP/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 4

MATRICULATING INTO THE WHITE HOUSE...U.S. President George W. Bush, speaks to the media as NCAA football coaches (L-R) Tommy Tuberville, from Auburn University, Mark Richt, from the University of Georgia, Randy Shannon, from the University of Miami, Jack Siedlecki, from Yale University and Charlie Weis, from the University of Notre Dame, listen during a media facility at the White House May 26, 2008 in Washington, DC.

Bush welcomed the five university coaches to the Oval Office to thank them for going overseas to boost the morale of U.S. troops.


(Photo by Ken Cedeno-Pool/Getty Images)

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