Every Friday I will give my thoughts on the game I love, basketball.
• Kansas, Missouri, Penn State, Tulsa and NC State all had recent success during exhibition trips to Canada. The young Jayhawks survived a couple of tests on the trip, winning by one and five before a blowout in the final contest. Five players averaged double figures over the three games, led by diaper dandy Travis Releford at 14.3 ppg. One other positive sign: Kansas shot over 53-percent from the floor during the visit. DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons each averaged 15.7 ppg. to lead the Tigers to three easy wins. Mike Anderson's squad scored 100-plus points in each of the contests. The Nittany Lions went 4-0, all double figure wins as Jamelle Cornley led the way. Doug Wojcik's team earned a pair of victories, both by double figures. Brandon Costner and Dennis Horner keyed a pair of Wolfpack wins. Ben McCauley did not make the trip due to conduct detrimental to the team.
• There has been a wild saga over New Mexico State forward Herb Pope. He averaged over 11 points and six rebounds last season, but he wanted to move back to the east coast due to a personal matter. There were reports he was going to go to Seton Hall, then indications were Pope would stay in Las Cruces. Now it looks like Pope will be a Pirate, transferring to Seton Hall. There is a question whether the NCAA will grant him immediate eligibility. Stay tuned.
• My man Garf (Howard Garfinkel of Five-Star camp fame) knows his basketball. My friends, he is putting together an amazing clinic featuring the crème de la crème of coaches. The event will take place at Manhattan College in the big apple on Friday, September 19th. Among the coaches scheduled to appear: Florida's Billy Donovan, Rick Pitino of Louisville, John Calipari of Memphis, Hall of Famer Hubie Brown, high school legend Bob Hurley Sr., former coach and current TV analyst Peter Gillen, plus Five-Star's Joe Stolzer. Garf is even having the event catered by the Carnegie Deli, baby! For more info, call 212-246-3063 or 646-275-9818 and tell Garf that I sent you it will be awesome, baby with a capital A!
• Speaking of Donovan, he is smart enough to stay in the state of Florida in December while the weather is cold up north. The Gators have home dates with Florida A&M (Dec. 2), Florida Gulf Coast (Dec. 10), Georgia Southern (Dec. 22) and Stetson (Dec. 30). Florida will take on Florida State in Tallahassee on Dec. 7, play UCF at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena on Dec. 20 and make its annual visit to the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Classic on Dec. 28, taking on 2008 NCAA Tournament team Winthrop.
• Former Ball State and Houston coach Ray McCallum's first season as head coach at Detroit-Mercy will certainly be challenging. Eleven of the Titans' first 16 games will be away from home, starting with a test at Purdue, Detroit will also play a second Big Ten team, Illinois (Dec. 20), in the opening road stretch along with Big East member DePaul in the first month of the campaign (Nov. 26 in Chicago). McCallum has an experienced staff with former Division I head coaches Jay Smith (Central Michigan) and Derek Thomas (Western Illinois), as well as top-notch recruiter Carlos Briggs.
• New Arkansas State coach John Brady goes back to the SEC right away to start his first season with the Red Wolves. Brady's first regular-season game is at Mississippi. That's right, Brady faces off against Andy Kennedy on November 14.