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Saturday, August 27, 2011

UConn adds top prep to haul

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Defending national champion UConn on Friday night drastically improved its chances of cutting down the nets at April’s Final Four in New Orleans.

UConn gained a prized late addition to its 2011-12 roster in Andre Drummond, the No. 2-rated player in the recruiting Class of 2012 (behind Shabazz Muhammad).

Drummond on Friday night announced on Twitter that he has decided to leave Wilbraham and Monson prep school and enroll in college immediately.

“It’s official I’m heading to the university of connecticut to be a husky this year! Do I hear repeat?” Drummond tweeted at 6:30 p.m., CST.

The 6-foot-11, 260-pound Drummond joins a stellar recruiting class that includes 6-8 DeAndre Daniels, the No. 10-rated prospect in the Class of 2011, who shocked recruiting analysts by choosing UConn over Kansas and others last spring even though UConn wasn’t on his final list of schools.

In a wild twist, UConn actually has no scholarships available to give for the upcoming season. The Huskies are allowed just 10 scholarship players after losing three because of NCAA rules violations and a poor academic-performance rating.

CBSsports.com reported Friday that Drummond could become a walk-on and pay his own way his only year in college, a remarkable development since he is one of the top prospects in the country. Others have speculated the Huskies will strip one of the returning players of a scholarship before classes begin Tuesday. A player cannot be removed from scholarship once the school year begins.

Just recently, Drummond had narrowed his list of colleges to UConn, Georgetown, Kentucky, Louisville and West Virginia. NBAdraft.net believes Drummond will be the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft.

UConn returns starters Alex Oriakhi, Roscoe Smith, Jeremy Lamb and Shabazz Napier from last year’s national championship team. Coach Jim Calhoun, 69, still has not officially announced he will be back this season.

Snub?

KU had no players make Dick Vitale’s All-Solid Gold team, which consists of the top 25 players in the country. Baylor’s Perry Jones made second team and Texas A&M;’s Khris Middleton fifth team.

Here’s Vitale’s complete list:

First team: Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh; Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin; Jared Sullinger, Ohio State; Terrence Jones, Kentucky; Harrison Barnes, North Carolina.

Second team: Tu Holloway, Xavier; John Jenkins, Vanderbilt; Tyler Zeller, North Carolina; Perry Jones, Baylor, Kris Joseph, Syracuse.

Third team: JaMychal Green, Alabama; Robbie Hummel, Purdue; John Henson, North Carolina; William Buford, Ohio State; Jeremy Lamb, UConn.

Fourth team: Yancy Gates, Cincinnati; Draymond Green, Michigan State; Elias Harris, Gonzaga; Kendall Marshall, North Carolina; Tim Hardaway, Jr., Michigan.

Fifth team: Festis Ezell, Vanderbilt; Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota; Khris Middleton, Texas A&M; Doron Lamb, Kentucky; Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette.

Twitter casualty

Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury booted freshman forward D.J. Gardner from the team Friday, a day after the coach announced that the player would red-shirt.

The Jackson Clarion-Ledger wrote that Gardner had reacted to the red-shirt news by posting “vulgar tweets,” blasting the coaching staff for its decision. Gardner, 6-6 from Okolona, Miss., averaged 32 points a game as a high school senior, choosing Mississippi State over Memphis and others.

Comments

Dillon Davis 8 years, 6 months ago

Dick Vitale is an idiot east coast bias prick. The fact that he picked KU to finish like fifth or sixth last year and now doesn't put Thomas Robinson in the top 25 is just absurd. I could care less about his rankings and I'll be ecstatic the day he retires from announcing. His obvious favoritism is sick.

John Randall 8 years, 6 months ago

Dickie V may look at 12 minutes a game on an adrenaline rush as less than conclusive evidence TRob will be able to meet the HUGE expectations of Jayhawk fans. There is no reason to say he can't, but only speculation to say he will master foul troubles, smooth out his erratic offense, and become a polished product over the course of one off-season.

A lot will depend on completely unproven front court players who will have to provide the support and relief he will doubtless need at least several times next season, or KU will be in dire straits pretty often, IMO. Playing with four guards is only effective as a change of pace or against certain teams.

Mr. Robinson, you know we love you and couldn't be pulling any harder for your success – keep a level perspective and LISTEN to coach D-MAN !!

ROCK CHALK! GO 'HAWKS!

UmbertoConforti 8 years, 6 months ago

Vitale only knows what he reads. He is out of date on his knowledge of players. I would and do put little stock in what he writes or says. Of course, I rarely hear what he says. He is such a bore, I turn him off immediately.

hawk316 8 years, 6 months ago

Ah ha! This may just be the kind of "endorsement" we needed! Expect TRob to have a monster season.

Steve Gantz 8 years, 6 months ago

Do you know about all of the players on that list? I'm not saying TRob isn't a top 25, but maybe it's possible that these guys are indeed better than him. It's one guys opinion don't get so worked up over it because it really doesn't matter.

baldwinjhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

Who Cares what Dicky Lame ass Vitale thinks!

youowethehawks 8 years, 5 months ago

Bad Idea: pissing off Thomas Robinson. Good Idea: watching said pissed off T Rob dominating this coming season.

jaybate 8 years, 6 months ago

Broadcast-endorsements-AAU-gaming complex strikes again.

Message is clear. No KU. No Florida.

Self. Donovan.

Together again....starring in...

The Last Good Men.

jaybate 8 years, 6 months ago

With three (more?) rules violations, plus academic de-performance, Jim "Violation Trifecta" Calhoun may be creating a new winning stat.

How many W's and rings can a 60 + coach win, when he is near retirement and apparently no longer fears recruiting sanctions, nor leaving behind a death penalty.

jaybate 8 years, 6 months ago

Erratum: make that Jim "Program Violation Trifecta" Calhoun. Coaches don't violate rules these days: programs do.

onlylookin2score 8 years, 6 months ago

Yeah how about that. A corporate university model.

Kevin Studer 8 years, 6 months ago

That was exactly my thought. Gee, Calhoun has a program in trouble with the NCAA and is vascilating back and forth on whether to retire to escape it...and he's landing the best recruiting classes he ever has in that atmosphere? Yeah. I hope the NCAA is paying attention to all of this recruiting magic.

UmbertoConforti 8 years, 6 months ago

I wonder how much Calhoun and supporters paid for this player?

s6u6r6f 8 years, 6 months ago

Yes, Vitale is a genius, as he knows that even the 4th best player at UNC is better than Thomas Robinson. Don't doubt him: his in-depth analytic ability allowed him to foresee the Jayhawk's 5th place finish in the league last year.

ESPN continues to pay this guy? Pathetic.

ccarp 8 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

David Friend 8 years, 6 months ago

People.. UConn was always on top of Drummond's list and it was pretty much a foregone conclusion he was going to UConn either this year or next.. Oh and he is from Middletown Ct..

Robert Brock 8 years, 6 months ago

I assumed that he was going for another year of prep - that is what he repeatedly told the scribes he was going to do - and then head straight for the NBA since he would be eligible for the draft.

Clarence Haynes 8 years, 6 months ago

Virtually all of these guys are east of the Mississippi! He probably has been too busy watching Tampa Bay Rays baseball. For whatever reason, Vitale does not seem to like Lawrence or he is flat out ignorant. Boycott future Vitale book signings in Lawrence!!

waywardJay 8 years, 6 months ago

You think he can write books ? On his own ?

Clarence Haynes 8 years, 6 months ago

Virtually all of these guys are east of the Mississippi! He probably has been too busy watching Tampa Bay Rays baseball. For whatever reason, Vitale does not seem to like Lawrence or he is flat out ignorant. Boycott future Vitale book signings in Lawrence!!

Ben Simonett 8 years, 6 months ago

well look at whats west of the Mississippi.

A down big 12 conference and a still struggling pac 12. T Rob is the only guy out west i think was snubbed.

kurules 8 years, 6 months ago

Terrance Jones as a 1st team and Thomas Robinson on none of the top 5 teams??? He has lost his mind. Jones is obviously a better player and I'm not saying Robinson should be first team, but if Robinson improves this year as much as he did last year, he could post better numbers than Jones this year givne the fact Robinson will be our main guy down low. I don't know Jones' work ethic, but I haven't seen many players in KU's history with the work ethic and will to improve like Robinson. I'm looking forward to watching them go at it in Nov. I'd love to see Robinson dunk on his @$%!!!!!. .

Dirk Medema 8 years, 6 months ago

You did mean to put "experts" in sarcasm font, yes?

There was a time, even a few years ago, when rather enjoyed Vitale, but he really seems to be slipping and getting by on the hype of his antics vs. actually playing atention to the games that are currently being played.

Matt Bowers 8 years, 6 months ago

This is completely off topic, but what about an article about Jeff Withley? What type of progress has he made and will he contribute this season?

Rock Chalk

Ben Simonett 8 years, 6 months ago

KUsports staff doesn't like making article with a negative tilt.

if they don't make a "withey has improved so much" article, then you can assume he's going to be the same soft, often lost, center next year he has been in the past.

Dirk Medema 8 years, 6 months ago

Maybe in a month, during boot camp or closer to Late Night, but for now it is football season, and the LJW staff is appropriately focusing their writing on this KU team.

Sparko 8 years, 6 months ago

Not happy with Connecticut's ethical base. But Kansas needs to take it out on them in a meaningful game late in the year. Kansas, if it can get through a killer early season, will be a team to reckon with this year; it should peak bu the Big XII-2 schedule.

Robert Lofthouse 8 years, 6 months ago

not sure what 'bu' and 'Big XII-2' are but I'd like to see them peak in the post-season tournaments

Jeremy Wilhelm 8 years, 5 months ago

'bu' probably = 'by' based on the context. 'Big XII-2' is the Big 12 minus 2. Or maybe you were just being glib?

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 5 months ago

Three NCAA banners for UConn and Calhoun. Makes him an elite coach..and winning the way he did it this year speaks for itself. Big East then NCAA..11 games. UConn usually beats the teams that it should. Also, I hate the guy and hope he gets caught in the act.

KU_Alumn_2000 8 years, 6 months ago

Vitale has not liked KU ever since Roy left. It's almost like he has something against Coach Self.

SEKrep 8 years, 6 months ago

I think I read in Bill's book that Dick actually urged him to not take the Kansas job. Bill had a good thing going at Illinois and Dick thought Roy's long tenure and accomplishments would overshadow Bill's accomplishments here and didn't think he could live up to the expectations. But Self brought us something Roy couldn't. Dickie V must still be pissed.

HAWKTOPIA 8 years, 6 months ago

Hey, its nice here in Connecticut! Easy Guys

REHawk 8 years, 6 months ago

Say, hey, we know that the hoops season is near at hand when Dick the Prognosticating Guru brays again in preseason dissonance to the listening/reading sports universe. Could it be claimed that Bill Self and Co. eagerly await Dick's slights? Dick's 2010/11 Big 12 prediction became such a hoot that it would seem incomprehensibe that the guru would stick his thumb in another light socket so soon after. Daffy Dick....

nuleafjhawk 8 years, 6 months ago

Saw a picture of Drummond on Rivals or somewhere today. Dude could improve his vertical 6" if he'd take off those idiotic earrings......

Sam Constance 8 years, 6 months ago

How very strange.

UConn is embroiled in NCAA recruiting scandal, yet happen to land TWO big-time recruits out of nowhere. Neither were expected to be playing for UConn this year--Daniels because the Huskies were never on his radar until they were his final choice, and Drummond because he was expected to stay in prep school and jump straight to the NBA next year.

Unfortunately, with the "U" creating a nice diversion, I highly doubt anything will come to light regarding the fact that something is fishy over at UConn.

One kid unexpectedly going to UConn is a random occurrence.

Two in short succession starts to look like a pattern.

KULA 8 years, 5 months ago

Maybe they just want to play for someone who knows how to coach in the tournament.

KULA 8 years, 5 months ago

ralster--Does that mean that all you're getting is the sound of crickets while you try to come up with a rebuttal? Keep thinking--maybe something will come to you. But please, not another one of your post-happy hour rambling rants, lol.

Sam Constance 8 years, 5 months ago

Since you clearly understand the difference between "tournament coaching" and "regular season dominance coaching", perhaps you can explain it to me.

What fundamental things is Coach Self doing incorrectly that allows him to have a higher winning percentage than ANY OTHER BASKETBALL COACH over the last 8 years, but be unable to coach in the tournament?

We'll ignore, for the sake of argument, the fact that Bill Self has 3 Elite Eights and a National Championship under his belt at this point in his career.

We'll also ignore that Calhoun has one vacated season (1995-96) and another recent recruiting scandal, whereas Self has no severe scandals of his own.

Ok... go.

KULA 8 years, 5 months ago

Gladly marchphog88. It's really quite simple. In fact, it's so rudimentary that I can't believe you asked me to explain it. But here goes: The difference between regular season coaching and tournament coaching is the pressure factor. In the regular season there's always another game. The pressure is intensified under the bright lights of the tournament where one loss means your season is over. Some coaches have the belly for that kind of pressure and some don't.

VancouverJHawkr 8 years, 5 months ago

Of course, Self's 3 elite eights and national championship clearly show he's got what it takes to deal with the pressure factor.

But of course you're right that some coaches don't have the kind of success that Self and Calhoun have in the tourney.

KULA 8 years, 5 months ago

You're certainly entitled to your opinion on that matter, and so am I. And so are Andre and DeAndre.

Sam Constance 8 years, 5 months ago

That's really your answer? Pressure? No wonder you think it's "quite simple". That's not an actual answer to the question.

It's one of those ballpark, BS answers that don't require any critical analysis or detailed explanation.

The question was--what is Self doing wrong that makes him (apparently) a bad tourney coach?

KULA 8 years, 5 months ago

You've obviously missed my point. I was speaking figuratively when I used the term "knows how to coach." Perhaps I should have written more literally and said "maybe he wanted play for a coach who can handle the pressure of the tournament."

Obviously there's no hard and fast "formula" for coaching in the tournament. It's not like a math problem, or computer code, with an absolute right answer that simply does or does not work. The "ability to handle pressure" is an unmeasurable intangible, like "experience." But it is most certainly a factor. To write it off as a ballpark BS answer is simplistic. Like another (simple?) fellow once said, "90% of this game is half mental." Otherwise, the more talented team would always win, regardless of their youth and experience. But young teams rarely win it all, do they? Just ask Calipari.

As to your question, "What's Self doing wrong," why don't you ask him if he's come up with anything yet. He said himself that they need to re-evaluate how they're handling Elite 8 games, implying that they must be doing something wrong.

Jack Wilson 8 years, 5 months ago

Thomas Robinson not one of the top 25 players in the NCAA hoops? Unbelievable.

Thomas Robinson will be one of the top 15, without question .. and maybe better. He has first team all-american potential.

This sort of snub is exactly what we need. Please, media types, provide more.

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