Hola, amigos. Let's kill those last few interminable hours before the weekend with some quality college hoops chattage. Who's with me?
Before we begin, a couple of plugs that are only slightly shameless because I have a feeling there will be questions about each. The first is today's feature on the viability of the D-League as an option for NBA prospects: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=6490719
The second is a quick blog post I put together examining the teams with the most to gain or lose as players before Sunday night's NBA draft withdrawal deadline: http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebasketballnation/post/_/id/30682/ten-teams-sweating-out-sundays-draft-deadline
What are some potential names you're hearing to replace Gary Williams at Maryland?
I'd urge everyone curious about the possible replacements for Gary Williams at Maryland to read Andy Katz's Daily Word today: http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/blog/_/name/katz_andy/id/6492859/maryland-job-elite-jump?campaign=rss&source=ESPNHeadlines
Sorry for the link dump, but Andy lays out all the possibilities: Mike Brey, Sean Miller, Jamie Dixon, Brad Stevens, Mark Few, Shaka Smart, et al. It's still too early in the process to name a favorite, but one thing's for sure: Maryland is an extremely attractive job for a variety of reasons (facilities, recruiting base, conference, etc), and AD Kevin Anderson will be looking to make a splash.
How much caffeine are you going to have to consume to stay up for 11 pm ET Pac 12 games? Seriously, is the new tv deal going to help get the exposure the Pac 12 needs?
The good news, Ann, is that I already consume extreme amounts of caffeine during the season, so that's no skin off my back. But I do think the deal is good for Pac-12 hoops, if only because having so many games untelevised or only available on regional networks is a good way to make sure people don't see your league no matter what time the game starts.
Eamonn, what is the general feeling about the top 3 to replace Gary? I've read on boards that Sean Miller called UMD about the opening. Is that accurate? Also, Jay Wright seems to be a popular target, could he keep the local Tailor's in business by himself? And the third guy I hear about is Pitt's Jamie Dixon. What's his connection? Anyway, percentage chance for each to 1) apply, and 2) accept?
Miller is probably the most intriguing name on that list, but will he want to leave a top job at Arizona with a stellar recruiting class on its way for another relocation and rebuilding project? Dixon seems equally unlikely to leave Pittsburgh, but he does have a connection with Kevin Anderson through his late sister Maggie, whom Anderson hired as a women's coach at Army. Meanwhile, Wright appears to have taken his name out of the running and is set on staying at Villanova, according to our own Dana O'Neil.
How do you think the Texas Longhorns will do this season with all the players they have declaring for the draft?
The key is the frontcourt. If Thompson stays in the draft -- and all signs point to that result -- then Texas will have to get big contributions from Alex Wangmene and some combination of little-used reserves and incoming freshmen. If Thompson and guard Corey Joseph stay, Texas could be a Final Four contender with Myck Kabongo and Joseph in the backcourt. We'll see.
To me its no question that Syracuse will be set defensively down low ( on the perimeter is questionable) but now that Syracuse is losing its only offensive post threat Rick Jackson, where do you think Syracuse's offense will come from?
I really like Baye Moussa Keita's game, but the big x-factor is Fab Melo. Is he the player Boeheim touted as a potential Big East freshman of the year? Will he command touches in the post against smaller forwards? Or does he need another season to develop and round out his game?
Dixon to MD is garbage right? I feel it would never happen, but reassurance is nice.
Never say never, but it does appear pretty unlikely to me. Maryland is a great gig, but Jamie Dixon has built a prestige program of his own in Pittsburgh. It would arguably be a lateral move.
Stevens isn't leaving Butler for Maryland. He is waiting to see how Crean does at IU (his dream job).
That may be true. It may be wishful thinking by Indiana fans. Whatever the case, Stevens is probably going to have to wait at least a few more years, because Crean is turning it on in recruiting, and I'm told he has solid support from the school's administration and trustees.
Do you think the loss of Coombs-McDaniel is a bad thing or a blessing in disguise given UConn's lack of scholarships and insane amount of local talent in the 2012 class? I think JCM could have had a huge impact so I am leaning towards it being a negative.
You're right: It just depends on how good Coombs-McDaniel ends up being. When you spend so much time recruiting a player, the last thing you want is for those resources to be wasted a year or two later. Then you have to start the process all over again.
It seems like every opinion piece written on the state of college athletics from a broad perspective is primarily concerned with the the situation of the student-athlete or program issues such as rules violations, but what about the economic aspect of college athletics? Schools aren't doing so well, and college sports are expensive, it turns out. For instance, Nevada schools are in financial crisis; athletics budgets are still increasing, and the only thing I've learned from sports news agencies is that UNLV hired Stacey Augmon. Where is this discussion?
Daniel, you're right: This issue deserves more attention. In fact, the best thing I've read on a specific college athletics budget lately came when I was asked to judge a collegiate sportswriting contest. I'll try to find that link.
Maryland is the most overrated college hoops program of the last 10 years. Since winning the NC, they have 5 tourney appearances and haven't been to the Sweet 16 since 2003. This while Gary Williams couldn't graduate anyone. All Gary did well was sweat.
I'm not sure what the point is here. If it's that Williams didn't reach his previous heights in the past five years, well, no kidding. But if you're saying Maryland can't be an elite program in the coming years, I'll have to go ahead and disagree. Which brings us to our next question ...
Why do I get this feeling that Gary Williams career should have been so much more? I get that he stuck to his principles, but if a new guy comes in, recruits the locals and wins an NC within 5 years or so, doesn't that kind of indict Williams for what he could have done?
That's a little unfair, though, isn't it? On one hand, we excoriate college basketball coaches that play the sketchy AAU-runner-shoe-company game. Then, when a coach who avoids all that retires, we indict him for not recruiting as well as he might have had he dived more enthusiastically into the regional recruiting morass. Which do you prefer?
Just read your teams sweating the deadlines column. Brad Wanamaker is not returning to Pitt.
Yeah, that was a flub on my part. It was a busy morning. Post should be updated by now.
Hey Eamonn, It's funny hearing how Maryland will get someone big, and then reading why each won't come! Hopefully one says "YES!"
Someone will. Patience, friend.
This Summer Duke is going to Dubai and China for exhibition games. How much do these trips actually help teams?
I don't think they help all that much on the floor, though it certainly can't hurt to get a head start on the season by playing legitimate games with referees and the like. More than anything, coaches seem to like the trips for the educational and team-oriented value: it's fun to travel overseas, it's good to expose young guys to other cultures, and it can't hurt where friendship and cohesion are concerned.
Brey to MD makes sense and that opens up ND for Stevens. What do you think?
Questionable. First, it seems doubtful Brey will jump at this point in his career. Second, I think Stevens would be a more desirable choice than Brey, so he'd have first dibs at Maryland. And if he doesn't take Maryland, would he really take Notre Dame? Pretty doubtful all around.
True or False: The Tarheels win go undefeated next season?
False. Easiest answer ever. (Not that UNC isn't going to be good, but undefeated seasons are really, really hard.)
Hey Eamonn, I'm sorry but I laughed when I saw Sean Miller's name as an option for Maryland. A top 4 recruiting class next season, top 10 recruit the next, all returning players (except DWill) from an Elite 8. Oh yeah, plus we're ARIZONA! (I might be a little biased) ;)
I don't think you're too far off, though. Miller may well be interested, but he'd be leaving a pretty favorable situation to do so.
Eamonn, my friend, who do you have in tomorrow's Derby?
No one, at least not yet. I did all my research at the track last year. I'm not attending again this year, so I've stopped pretending I know anything about the ponies. I need to review the names before I make any commitments.
True or False: Ohio State is going to be a better team this coming year than they were last year.
False. But not by much.
Sure, Kentucky will still be very good without Knight, but who backs up Teague at PG? Liggins, if he's even there?
What about Jarrod Polson? He seems like a capable-enough backup to me. Certainly preferable to having Liggins handle the ball in a dribble-drive style.
With Brandon Knight now saying he's staying in the draft, do you think that it would be wise for Shelvin to come back and play another year and be drafted in what looks to be a less guard-heavy draft next year? Also, would you think I was nuts if I even considered the Maryland job?
The draft is so fluid and ever-changing that it's no guarantee Mack would be better off coming back, you know? What if his senior season disappoints? What if the age limit changes and high school guards flood the draft? (OK, that one's unlikely, but you never know.) I think Shelvin just has to make the decision one year at a time here. If he's where he needs to be now, go. If not, come back.
As for your second question, Brad, no, I don't think you'd be crazy. You could win big at Maryland. Whether you'd be able to do so without dipping into the seedy underbelly of Baltimore and D.C.-area recruiting is up for debate.
Dave Rice put together a good staff in LV. Thoughts on the Rebs going forward?
Should be a really intriguing program going forward. Baseline expectation: Continue Lon Kruger's solid success. Progressing from there is the obvious goal. And the Stacey Augmon hire was a blast from my childhood NBA past, to be sure.
Hey Eamonn, I have a question about the new "charge circle" under the basket.. basically with it there how do you legally draw a charge? if your foots on the line there is no charge? what if your foot is outside the circle but your upper body is in it and oh look your falling down now? basically how does it work?
From my understanding, it will work in similar fashion to the NBA circle: Both feet have to be established on the ground outside the charge circle -- and you have to be taking a legitimate charge with the rest of your body, same as it ever was -- to earn the call.
Brandon Wood transferring to MSU is great for the Spartans but isn't it a blatant bastardization of an NCAA loophole? Your thoughts?
I wouldn't go that far. This barely qualifies as a loophole, provided Wood follows through on his graduate degree next season. Plenty of other players -- including Justin Knox, who played for UNC last season -- have used this rule to their advantage. Frankly, I don't have a problem with it. (There are far larger loopholes to be worried about in college sports, you know?)
I think so, yes. Tim Hardaway Jr. was great as a freshman and should be able to absorb a decent amount of Morris's role. I was expecting a major leap for Michigan next season. As it is, I think the Wolverines are still a better-than-average Big Ten team, and that usually means a spot in the NCAA tournament.
You haven't mentioned how much you hate Kansas in this chat yet. When does the Jayhawk bashing start? (kidding, of course)
Well played, Dave. I think Kansas fans and I have reached a cool detente. Long live Pax Brenana.
do you still see the Big East as the best conference next year or do you think the B1G or the ACC can compete for best conference?
Let's wait until we hear all the draft decision deadlines before we start (pointlessly and enjoyably) ranking conferences. Right now I'd probably say Big East, simply because the Big Ten looks to be a little shallow and I'm not sure the Big 12 will have the same elite teams it has had in recent years. But the answers will look a bit more concrete by Monday morning.
Are any of the front court players Georgetown has recruited this year NBA good? I see a couple of bench players have already transferred - and I'm assuming it's becuase they were not going to play over these incoming freshman, right? Also, too bad Gary is leaving UMD - I understand G'Town and Maryland are trying to sign a home & home series which is LONG OVERDUE.
I haven't seen much of his game, but I've heard Otto Porter is a potential impact recruit. He might not be one-and-done NBA good, but he could very well get there in a few years.
Maybe Gary Williams will take a year off, then go coach NC State under his best friend Yow, ha
File under: "Things less likely than Eamonn signing a 10-day contract with the Chicago Bulls."
Is it true that Kansas fans spend the offseason staging full-costumed re-enactments of the invention of basketball?
Come on, Daniel. You know Kansas fans and I are trying to repair this relationship. You can't send in irresistibly funny comments like that if this thing is going to work.
WOuld Maryland have any interest in a Wojo or Chris Collins as a replacement?
For one, I think Maryland is rightfully targeting big name splash hires with proven records of success as head coaches and program builders. Two, I can't imagine any scenario in which a Maryland athletic director introduces a former Duke player and longtime assistant as the Terps' new head coach. Talk about losing the press conference. Maryland fans would start heckling before the coach was even introduced.
How likely is it that the Heels have 4 Ist Team All-ACC performers (Henson, Zeller, Barnes, Marshall)?
That's a pretty tough thing to do, if only because coaches typically spread that voting around, and it's tough to get all-conference-esque numbers split four ways. More likely is two. If the Heels are really dominant, maybe three. Even that is unlikely, though.
Dave in NJ is bringing it today. Let that be an example to you all.
Answer: If I had to guess, I would bet the media will avoid anointing Barnes with that sort of honor, if only to avoid an ugly repeat of last year's overzealous preseason All-American claim. (Which Barnes eventually redeemed, even if it took him far longer than anyone assumed.) Besides, Jared Sullinger is an awfully attractive favorite for POY honors.
Yeah, just like folks out here in the South stage full-costumed reenactments of battles in a 150-year-old war. Oh wait... :)FWIW, Eamonn, I don't think you hate Kansas. I'm a diehard fan, but I try to be a realistic one too!
See, KU fans? We're cool now!
Is there any way the Maryland job would be more attractive than the Arizona job (unless of course Miller just preferred the East Coast)?
I do think there are some inherent recruiting advantages that make coaches salivate about the Maryland gig. Those facilities are awfully nice, too. But I don't think it's a clear step up. Let's not forget how good the gig in Tucson has been and, under Miller, continues to be.
Bigger preseason favorite to win the title, 2009 or 2011 Heels?
I'll go with 2009, if only because the outlook in retrospect seemed so obvious, and the returning guys were slightly more proven veterans than this year's bunch, and I think there are a couple of other teams (Ohio State specifically) that will have something to say about the national championship before the season is over. But it's a close call. Does that mean the 2011 Heels are a lock to win the title? Of course not. But they are the favorite right now.
Going into next year Ohio State has basically four concrete starters in Craft, Sullinger, Buford and Deshaun Thomas. Do you think a freshman like Shannon Scott or Amir Williams will get the last spot or will another returning player like Jordan Sibert will get the job?
Whatever happens, I'm not sure it matters, because Matta has used a short rotation for the past couple of seasons and unless one of those players emerges as a must-play stud, that fifth starter will likely be swapped in and out of the lineup far more frequently than the four players you mentioned.
Should we just forget the 2012 NCAA tornament and just anoint UNC right now? Geez
That would be a bad idea. Know why? Because the NCAA tournament is, in the immortal words of Steve Nash, bananers. (See: this year.) That said, when asked for a favorite, I provide the favorite, and the favorite is North Carolina. Cool?
BTW, that wasn't directed at you Eamonn and its cool
Will the Back to Back FF berths elevate the type of recruit Brad Stevens can now bring into the Butler program? Is he now able to compete with the big boys in the Midwest and nation?
It certainly helps the Bulldogs' profile. Does that mean Stevens is going to start competing with Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, Connecticut, UCLA and the rest of the powerhouses for recruits on a yearly basis? Probably not. Nor does Stevens seem too eager to wade into the cesspool of big-time recruiting. But if it means top recruits like Cody Zeller (who had Butler among his top three choices before eventually committing to Indiana) sees the kind of success you can have at Butler, that's a major boost most mid-majors don't get.
If you were Czar of Basketball(Sorry Fratello), what age limit/requirements would you put in place for the NBA draft, if any?
We'll close with a question from chat MVP Dave. Good work out there today, Dave. You get first dibs at the post-game oranges.
We'll close with a question from chat MVP Dave. Good work out there today, Dave. You get first dibs at the post-game oranges.
I'll admit it: This answer vexes me. I am deeply vexed. Part of me thinks high school players should have the option to go to the NBA straight out of high school. Part of me thinks most NBA prospects benefit from a year or two in the college game. Part of me thinks that's a choice each prospect should make for themselves. Part of me thinks those choices aren't always done with long-term best interests in mind. I go back and forth.
There is no ideal solution, far as I can tell. But if I had my druthers, I think a combo system works best. Players can declare for the NBA draft after high school, and if they're drafted, great. And if they decide to come to school, they should make a two-year commitment before they're eligible to enter the draft again. Why two years? I think three is too long, and players deserve some measure of flexibility in their choice. But two years is also long enough to ensure academic upkeep during the freshman season and give players a place to develop for a couple of seasons before they go pro.
Again, not a perfect solution. But one thing is certain: The rule needs to change.
All right, guys. That'll do it for the chat today. Excuse me while I go blog out the rest of the afternoon on the deck -- first nice day of the season in Chicago. (Took long enough. Stupid Chicago.) Anyway, thanks to everyone for the questions. Until we meet again, you stay classy, SportsNation.