NCAA Daily Links
Thusrsay's edition of "NCAA Daily Links" was posted late due to site difficulties:
Hello again folks, only 17 more Thursdays until we get into the heat of March Madness! Here are some big news stories happening today:
LBSU shocks No. 9 Pittsburgh Behind Ware's Career Night
(Devin Ugland/Daily 49er)
Long Beach State University had one thing no other team in the nation had coming into this season, a returning conference player of the year. Casper Ware, the Big West's 2010 POY, showed he could play with the country's best, posting a career high 28 points on Pitt's home floor. LBSU's 86-76 victory ended a 58 game win streak at home for Pittsburgh. The marquee match-up was of course Casper Ware against returning All-Big East 1st Teamer Ashton Gibbs. It did not disappoint with Ware's career high performance of 28 with 6 assists while Gibbs put in 20 points to go with 4 assists.
Ware's performance was enough for LeBron James to give him a twitter shoutout, "Casper Ware a problem out there!! And he got players around him to help as well! Ennis, Robinson, Anderson, etc." James Ennis also chipped in with 19 points (13 coming in the first half), 6 assists and 5 steals. Always fun to see a mid-major upset, but I think we might be seeing a coming out party for a pretty legitimate team lead by one of the more under the radar talents in college basketball. If Casper Ware keeps things up, he could be coming soon to a Mock Draft near you.
UCLA Re-instate's Reeves
(Ben Bolch/LA Times)
Some good news for UCLA fans that they get last year's leading scorer and rebounder, Reeves Nelson, back on the court. After losing their first 2 games at home by double digits against mid-major teams, UCLA got an assurance from the junior forward that he will keep his emotions in check. Great news for Bruins fans, better news for Nelson. He has been an extremely talented player for UCLA and a fan favorite due to his relentless work ethic and intensity.
"I acknowledge there are corrections that need to be made and I'm grateful to Coach Howland to have this opportunity to improve and work on being a positive force for our team," Nelson said in a statement.
This is the best thing one could say in that situation. I am really glad when players react to disciplinary situations in this way and hope Reeves a successful return to the court. UCLA definitely can use him as a positive force and leader. Had Nelson left the team, I am sure that UCLA fans would be in a bad way, so I am very glad this has been resolved and hope it sparks a turn around on the team. They have a long way to go, but I think this is a definite start to them turning the season around.
Khris Middleton To Miss 3-4 Weeks
Slightly older news, but Texas A&M junior SG/SF Khris Middleton has partially torn meniscus and will miss close to a month. Middleton was seen as one of the better wing prospects in the draft and looked to suffer the injury during the Aggies first game of the season, an 81-59 win over Liberty. Middleton averaged 14.4 ppg to lead the Aggies in scoring last year. Currently slotted 17th in the NBADraft.net 2012 Mock, Middleton is a slender 6'7 scorer who can hit from mid and long range. Unfortunate to see him hurt, really hoping he gets a chance to come back and show scouts why he is considered one of the better wing options in the 2012 Draft.
Early Look at Coaches on the Hot Seat
While some teams are lucky enough to have coaches that keep winning year in and year out, many schools once in a while go through a rough patch and look for a way to get the glory days back again. This is a list of a few of those schools. I do not necessarily agree with all of Jeff Goodman's choices here, but these are coaches who certainly need to step it up. One coach who I know has had talks of a possible firing is Trent Johnson from LSU, 10th on the list.
Johnson seemed like a coach on the rise after leading Nevada to the Sweet 16 in 2004, which landed him the Head job at Stanford after Mike Montgomery left for the pro's. He somewhat struggled at Stanford, even to the point of their being talks of not re-newing his contract after a strong final year. He started off with a strong first season at LSU, but with back to back 11-20 seasons, Johnson definitely is on a very hot seat right now. Tom Crean is seen as the #1 name on the list, but I feel like he had a very tough task when he took over Indiana. He has finally started to land some big name recruits and I feel that he will do enough to save his job this year. Still situations to keep an eye on, because while some may lose their jobs, others sometimes turn things around and make nice some nice runs to keep their teams.
Steve Lavin brought in a very highly rated recruiting class in 2011, many saying it was one of the nations best. It originally included 9 players, none of whom played HS basketball in the same state! While players such as God'sgift Achiuwa, Maurice Harkless, Nurideen Lindsey and D'Angelo Harrison are all averaging double figures through the Red Storm's first three games, their appear to be a few who will likely never make it to uniform from that initial class. Jakarr Sampson was unable to qualify and left for prep school, and now another non-qualifier, Norvel Pelle, is re-opening his recruitment.
The 6'10 Pelle, who has enrolled at The Phelps School in Philadelphia, was seen as one of the most athletic big men in the entire 2011 HS class. Originally from California, Pelle had offers from Kansas, Oregon, San Diego State, UCLA and Washington before deciding on St. John's. JUCO transfer God'sgift Achiuwa seems to be off to a quick start at St. John's, averaging 17.7 ppg and 8.3 rpg (on an amazing 72.7% FG and 91.3% FT) through St. John's first 3 games, but I am sure Lavin wished he could have had Pelle to work with as a big full of potential. Pelle is supposed to be a bit of a project, but he has tremendous upside.
Have not had a chance to talk about the Badgers yet, but they are definitely going to be a lot of peoples radar. Bo Ryan's club plays some relentless defense and has one of the best returning PG's in the nation in Jordan Taylor. However, this game they were lead by Sophomore Ben Brust with 17 points. In Brust's first two games he has already played more minutes than he had all of last season, making 4-8 triples in back-to-back games.As a team, Wisconsin has hit 25-48 from range in two games, a 52% clip. They also played fantastic defense against Colgate, getting 11 steals and holding them to 34.8% FG. Ohio State is the team to beat in the Big 10, but the Badgers seem to be most people's runner-up. I am sure that they will have another strong season and be on most people's radar in March.
FSU Halts Hatters 79-66
The Seminoles of FSU were an absolute force defensively last season, and they have a lot of athletic talent. Coach Leonard Hamilton claimed before the season started his team "would win games by committee". So far, that has been what has happened for the 3-0 Noles, currently ranked #24 in the nation. Okaro White, an athletic sophomore forward with some NBA buzz, lead the way with 18 points. Lithuanian Guard Deividas Dulkys and Center Bernard James also finished in double figures for the winners.
Bernard James was one of the more interesting stories during last years tournament. Late to the game of basketball, the 6'10 James served a 6 year term in the US Air Force, where he began playing and exceling at the game. Averaging 8.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg and 2.4 bpg last year, James is a 26 year old Senior for the FSU team. His defense is top notch and he is definitely not afraid of contact. While his age may be an issue as a possible NBA Draftee, he certainly seems to have a lot of valuable qualities for the Center position. He definitely seems to be one of the better Center prospects in a very thin 2012 Draft Class at the position.
Shaq Goodwin Signs With Memphis
One of the top prospects in the 2012 HS Class, Shaq Goodwin announced that he will be playing for Josh Pastner's Memphis Tigers. Goodwin is a 6'8 and 230 pound (maybe even more) PF from Georgia and chose the Tigers over UCLA and schools closer to home. This is a big grab for Pastner, who has been known as an excellent recruiter and adds to his class which already included Oak Hill wing Damien Wilson. It definitely eases the blow of losing local talent Alex Poythress to John Calipari and Kentucky. Shaq averaged 18 and 10 last season for DeKalb HS and finished runner-up in the Georgia AAAA State Championship. He is also a highly regarded football prospect, so we will see if he might possibly be a two sport star for the Tigers.
Siva Sidelined, Doubtful For Butler
(C.L. Brown/The Courier Journal)
The Cardinals have had a number of early season injuries, as I outlined in Tuesday's Daily. Unfortunately, it appears that Peyton Siva may be another to add to the long list. The junior PG from Seattle and former McDonald's All-American rolled his ankle stepping on teammate Elisha Justice during the Cards Monday practice. He is listed as "day-to-day" but this reports states he might miss Saturday's game against Butler. Siva is waterbug quick and has fantastic athleticism, he was seen as a likely candidate for being a breakout star this year. Hopefully he has a quick recovery and the Cardinals get he and some other vital pieces back soon.
Trojans Look to Bounce Back Against Aztecs
(Sean McCormick/Daily Trojans)
After netting 16 points in his much anticipated USC debut, sophomore C DeWayne Dedmon was held to 4 points in a double OT loss to Nebraska. Dedmon, who received rave reviews from coach Kevin O'Neill this summer, definitely is a prospect worth watching as an athletic 7 footer. However, he and the young Trojans look to have a ways to go. The team lacks experience, having 9 players who are either freshman or sophomores and 10 who did not play for USC last year. Coach O'Neill dropped this pearl about Dedmon:
“[Dedmon] has had so much publicity without ever really earning it,” O’Neill said. “And that’s no knock on him at all. He doesn’t like the publicity. He has huge potential. He’s going to be a huge-time player. He’s going to play for money some day. Having said that, he’s not there yet.”
Well, the first I ever heard about Dedmon's NBA prospect seemed to directly come from the mouth of Coach O'Neill. Of course Dedmon has a long way to go, and he definitely will have to earn the publicity that O'Neill built up for him. Athletic 7 footers do not grow on trees, they are extremely rare and can be very valuable. Still, Dedmon has to show something for scouts to start taking him seriously. It is still early, but after two games, the jury is still out on just how draftable Dedmon will be in 2012.
If you have any links you would like to share or topics you would like to see address, feel free to leave a comment. Thank you for reading and will be back soon!