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Tag:South Carolina
Posted on: May 12, 2011 12:31 pm
Edited on: May 12, 2011 4:10 pm
 

Jerome Hairston on the high-major radar

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Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – Jerome Hairston has flown under the radar for most of his basketball career, but that might change soon.

With the lack of big-time point guards in the class of 2012, Hairston’s performance this spring has put him on the map with various high-major schools.

This past weekend, Hairston helped lead East Coast Fusion to a U-17 title at the Southern Jam Fest in Hampton, Va. He can get into the lane using the dribble, and then finish at the rim or kick out to a teammate. Hairston plays well in transition, getting baskets with contact and also running the break. He can knock down 3-pointers with consistency as well.

“I’m used to being underrated,” Hairston said. “Being from Wyoming, it happens a lot. It happened to my brother and it happened to my cousin, [former Wake Forest star and current NBA player] James Johnson. I moved out here for exposure.”

Hairston, a 6-foot-3 point guard, is now at Liberty Christian Academy (Va.). With his recent play in Pittsburgh and Hampton, his recruitment is starting to pick up.

“South Carolina is on me really hard,” Hairston said.

He also mentioned UNC-Asheville, Virginia, Boston College, Yale and James Madison as teams currently in the mix.

Recruiting

Hairston is not in any rush to make a decision, but he knows what level he's gunning for.

“Of course I want to play high-major,” he said. “But wherever I play, I want to help the team out, whether it’s starting or coming off the bench.”

Photo: Roanoke Times 

Posted on: May 12, 2011 12:30 pm
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Posted on: March 10, 2011 4:25 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2011 4:26 pm
 

Matt's SEC Conference tournament journal: Part I

Posted by MATT JONES

This is one of my favorite four-day periods of the year. Sure any old sports fan can like next weekend, when wall-to-wall basketball allows even the most casual college hoop aficionado to claim to be his city's Dick Vitale. But for those of us that are real hoop heads, those of us who would know Ian Eagle or Jim Spanarkel if we saw them in public, then Championship Week is the first great weekend of the year. I appreciate the beginning of the week and the chance to seem teams from oddly spelled conferences like the MAAC do their thing, but as with any sporting event, it is at its best when played at its highest level. And Thursday-Sunday, when the major conferences like the Big East and the once major conferences like the ACC take the court, it is time for wall to wall great basketball.

For the 19th consecutive year, I am attending the SEC men's basketball tournament. Among the great college basketball traditions, the SEC basketball tournament is not usually considered one of the best. SEC basketball is often assumed to be a little brother to its more popular football head of the family and usually its tournament is given little notice nationally. Kentucky has dominated the festivities in the past two decades, winning 10 of the 18 gatherings I have attended. The Big Blue Nation descends on the host city and makes it their own, turning even games in which Kentucky does not play into a sea of blue. 

This is my first time covering the events for CBSSports.com and I must admit that it may cause me to approach the festivities a bit differently. Take today. The first game of the tournament was a total snoozer, with Georgia beating Auburn, quite possibly the worst SEC team that I can remember seeing play over my 19 years in the event. If this were the old days and I was simply here for my own gratification, I would have made jokes about the fact that Georgia coach Mark Fox looks like David Wallace from "The Office" or pointed out that in the entire building I saw only eight Auburn fans, one of whom was dressed like Elvis. But this is a new age, one in which I must take my journalism much more seriously.

With that in mind, I will point out the details that matter from an investigative journalism standpoint. I am sitting directly behind Jimmy Dykes of ESPN, who is calling the games for the SEC Network. If you have ever heard a Jimmy Dykes-called game, then you know that his modus operandi is to use a number of catchphrases or allegedly clever plays on words. Whether he is reminding someone to "guard their yard", "drive to the nail", have a "violent cut" or simply utilize a "cautious cutback", Jimmy generally calls a game as some bizarre mix of James Naismath and Dr. Seuss. I used to think the entire gimmick was simply an act, intended to display a deep knowledge of the game that could potentially make him an heir apparent to the "funny announcer" role that will be left behind when Dick Vitale hangs it up. But after sitting behind Dykes today for two games, I am confident enough to say that his announcing is no gimmick. Even when the network goes to commercial, Dykes is still doing the same gesturing and rhyming, shouting so loudly that he gains the attention of all near him. It is as if he fancies himself the SEC's Glenn Beck, minus the chalkboard and the comparisons of Darrin Horn to some European neo-socialist group. It is all a bit exhausting, but I have determined that it is authentic.

So far today, the games have been dreadful. I am assigned the SEC, Big Ten and Conference USA. Here in Atlanta, Georgia beat Auburn in a game that even the players' families stopped following about five minutes in. The celebrity watch has been dreadfully unimpressive, with a passing glance by Kevin Stallings the closest thing I have been to starstruck. The games from around the nation have been exciting however. We saw Kemba Walker do his thing, UAB fall in the first round and potentially watch its NCAA Tournament hopes crash and Tubby Smith finalize one of the worst collapses I can remember in recent years. 

While I wait for some of that excitement to arrive here in Atlanta, I will grace the one part of this game that has garnered the most attention from me. I have met three sportswriters here, all of whom are well known to those who follow sports on a national level. Of those three, two have unbelievable amounts of nose hair. That may not mean a great deal to you, but when you are left watching Ole Miss and South Carolina throw up brick after brick, it can become the highlight of your day.
Posted on: March 4, 2011 7:10 am
 

The Morning Drive: Jordan Taylor turns heads

Posted by Jeff Borzello

Conference tournament action overshadowed the marquee match-ups on Thursday, but there were still games with NCAA Tournament implications. Furthermore, there were a number of extremely impressive performances across the board. Follow me on Twitter: @jeffborzello

Conference Tournaments Update: There were 13 conference tournament games last night. In the Northeast, all four favorites advanced, but it wasn’t easy. No. 3 Robert Morris beat Wagner by four, while No. 4 Central Connecticut State escaped St. Francis (N.Y.) by two. LIU and Quinnipiac cruised. Over in the America East play-in game, Binghamton destroyed UMBC by 26. The Missouri Valley had two games, with Southern Illinois and Bradley advancing. The Ohio Valley semifinals are also set, as No. 4 Tennessee Tech dominated upstart Tennessee-Martin and No. 3 Austin Peay handled Southeast Missouri State with ease. Tech plays Murray State and APU faces Morehead State. We have our first conference championship game finalized, as the Big South final will be between No. 1 Coastal Carolina and No. 3 UNC-Asheville. Coastal came back to beat VMI and Asheville crushed High Point in the second half. Wrapping up the tourney action was the Atlantic Sun. No. 6 North Florida upset No. 3 Jacksonville, while No. 5 Mercer defeated No. 4 Lipscomb. The top performers were numerous, including: Binghamton’s Greer Wright and Moussa Camara, who combined for 61 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists; Justin Rutty of Quinnipiac going for 22 points and 16 rebounds; Coastal Carolina’s Chad Gray and Anthony Raffa, who combined for 50 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists; Robert Morris’ Velton Jones’ 29 points and six assists; Caleb Brown of Austin Peay scoring 28 points; and Bradley’s Dyricus Simms-Edwards going for 26 points, nine boards and five assists.

Top Performer: Wisconsin point guard Jordan Taylor showed once again why his original exclusion from the Bob Cousy finalist list was preposterous, scoring a career-high 39 points to lead the Badgers to a 77-67 victory at Indiana. Taylor knocked down seven 3-pointers and went 10-for-10 from the free-throw line. Overall, he was 11-for-19 from the field. Perhaps most impressively, Taylor did it all on just 55 possessions. 

Steppin’ Up: Faced with a must-win game against UCLA last night, Washington turned to an unlikely source. Freshman guard C.J. Wilcox went 4-for-7 from 3-point range en route to a career-high 24 points, leading Washington to a nine-point win. Wilcox hit all six of his foul shots, and was 7-for-10 from the field. He also helped the Huskies pull away down the stretch with a 3-pointer while getting fouled with 2:38 left.

Stat-Sheet Stuffer: Because of Georgia Tech’s struggles, Iman Shumpert has been flying below the radar this season. Last night, though, he was tough to ignore. Shumpert finished with 24 points, eight rebounds, three assists and six steals to lead the Yellow Jackets to an 80-54 blowout at Wake Forest. Shumpert even went 2-for-3 from behind the arc, an area he has struggled in this year.

Dub-Dubbing: Washington State might be getting back in the at-large mix after last night’s home win over a surging USC team, led by DeAngelo Casto’s 24 points 10 rebounds. Casto was nearly perfect from the field, shooting 10-for-11 and 4-for-6 from the free-throw line. He also had two assists. Casto is on a roll lately, averaging 17.7 points in his last six games.

Filling it up: Seton Hall guard Jeremy Hazell returned to his scoring ways last night against St. John’s, dropping 31 to beat the Red Storm. Hazell hit his season-high by going 9-for-14 from the field and 4-for-6 from 3-point range. He also grabbed four rebounds, dished out three assists and picked up three steals. When Hazell gets it going, Seton Hall can be tough to beat.

In a Losing Effort: South Carolina did its best to come back from a 20-point deficit against Tennessee, but fell short, losing 73-69. Senior Sam Muldrow finished in a major way in his last home game, going for 24 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks. He shot just 9 for-21 from the field, going 0-for-5 from 3-point range, but played well around the rim, grabbing seven offensive rebounds.

Set the DVR: Four conference tournaments start up today, with the CAA, MAAC, Southern and West Coast all getting underway. Moreover, the Missouri Valley, Horizon, Ohio Valley and Atlantic Sun continue.

Numbers Don’t Lie:

  • Jordan Taylor outscored the rest of the Badgers, 39-38.
  • Taylor scored the most points by a visitor at Assembly Hall since Shawn Respert scored 40 in 1995.
  • South Carolina hasn’t beaten Tennessee since 2007.
  • St. John’s hasn’t won at Seton Hall since 1997.

Notes and Notables:

  • Arizona earned at least a share of the Pac-10 title with a 70-59 win over Oregon State. Derrick Williams led the way with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Photo: US Presswire

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Posted on: March 4, 2011 7:04 am
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Posted on: March 4, 2011 7:03 am
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Posted on: January 19, 2011 11:35 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2011 10:11 am
 

What we know and don't know: Wed night edition

Posted by MATT JONES

It was a relatively quiet night in college basketball, headlined by blowouts and embarrasing performances. Duke beat N.C. State, West Virginia got clipped by rival Marshall and Ohio State kept rolling by crushing Iowa. As far as the other important games, a review of what we know and what we don't know coming out of each of the most important scores of the night (picture of current St. John's "assistant" Gene Keady's hair included just for my amusement):

TEXAS 81,  TEXAS A&M 60

What we know: Mark Turgeon’s team is talented enough to get victories against good opponents at home, but tonight showcased that it is nowhere near worthy of its current top-10 ranking. The Aggies were dominated in every facet of the game in Austin and took a beating that should for the time being eliminate them from their status as a March “sleeper." Fortunately for Texas A&M, this was only one of two road games against ranked teams it will play, giving Turgeon’s group a chance to still finish with a gaudy record, before collapsing in March.

What we don’t know:   How good can Texas be? When their freshmen are playing under control and Rick Barnes is able to get big time production from Jordan Hamilton, Texas can look scary. The loss at home to UConn made me skeptical, but maybe we just write that up to the travelling show that Kemba Walker has become. Tonight, Texas was quite impressive and looked like a national contender, setting up a great battle on Saturday versus Kansas for early Big 12 supremacy.

LOUISVILLE   88,   ST. JOHN’S 63 : 

What we know : Louisville coach Rick Pitino has put together one of the better coaching performances of his career, taking arguably the worst set of talent he has had since the early Kentucky days and turning it into a team that will make the NCAA Tournament. This demolition of the team that in the preseason Pitino said could win the Big East, combined with the amazing comeback against Marquette, has the Cardinals sitting pretty as they head to the meat of their Big East schedule.

What we don’t know: What type of team is St.John’s? The Red Storm is in the middle of a brutal stretch in which it plays five ranked teams in six games and thus in theory, one dud of a performance isn’t a shock. But to lose by 25 in a winnable road game against a team that potentially could have provided a needed quality win ... well that makes one wonder if the senior-laden team will be worthy of its assistant coach's marvelous hair down the stretch.

PURDUE 63, PENN STATE 62

What we know:   Purdue got handed a gift by a costly referee error that will sting the 10 people in Nittany Lion country who care about basketball. With Penn State up one and five seconds to go, a ball was clearly deflected off a Purdue player out of bounds, thus giving the Nittany Lions a likely road victory. However the referee standing right in front of the play gave the ball back to the Boilermakers for no discernable reason, giving Purdue one last shot at saving face. The Nittany Lions can only look in the mirror for the poor defense and open look on the ensuing play, but the opportunity should have never occurred.

What we don’t know:   Will Penn State’s run of shocking finishes be enough to get an NCAA Tournament bid? The Nittany Lions are only 3-4 in the Big Ten, but have beaten Michigan State and Illinois and nearly pulled off shocking upsets at Ohio State and Purdue. The schedule still gives Ohio State, Minnesota and Wisconsin at State College, and if the plucky group could win 2 of those 3, they could be the surprise story of the Big Ten.

GEORGIA TECH 74   WAKE FOREST 39

What we know: Wake Forest is bad. I mean, like, historically bad. In the worst ACC in at least 20 years, Wake Forest has a legitimate chance to go winless, placing it in the discussion for worst team in the history of the conference. Think I am exaggerating? Then you didn't watch this travesty of a performance.

What we don’t know: Will Paul Hewitt save his job? Georgia Tech is now 9-8 overall and 2-2 in the ACC. One of those wins is an impressive victory over North Carolina, but the natives are still restless. The non-conference mediocrity probably puts a NCAA Tournament bid out of reach, thus his future job prospects likely rest on a finish above .500 in the ACC.

NOTRE DAME 66, CINCINNATI 58

What we know:   Notre Dame is a different team when in South Bend than when they travel to non-Irish climates. The Irish are now 4-0 at home and 0-3 on the road in the Big East, and every game has been a relatively wide margin of victory or defeat. The Irish are able to beat anyone on their home court, but the chance to get a good seed in March will come down to grabbing road victories in the winnable matchups at Depaul, South Florida and Providence.

What we don’t know:   Will Cincinnati get any win to impress? The Bearcats are an impressive 16-3 overall, but in the Big East, their losses are to Syracuse, Villanova and Notre Dame, while the wins are over Depaul, Seton Hall and South Florida. No team is more difficult to rank nationally, or even in conference, as games against teams of similar strength have been few and far between. One of those however comes this weekend against at St. John’s in the first true test to see if the Bearcats are worthy of our attention.

SOUTH CAROLINA 81 , ARKANSAS 74 (OT)

What we know:   South Carolina’s early conference success means that the six best teams in the SEC likely all reside in the SEC East. The Gamecocks are now 3-1 in conference and have the potential to sneak into the discussion for an NCAA Tournament berth, after a start that included a road win at Florida. Darrin Horn’s team has a huge home game coming against Kentucky on Saturday, which could officially turn them into a conference contender. For Kentucky, coming off a loss to Alabama, the game has become somewhat of a must-win, making Saturday’s game in Columbia a sneaky must-watch.

What we don’t know:   Will any team from the SEC West make the NCAA Tournament? With the return of Renardo Sidney and Dee Bost, Mississippi State looks to have the talent of a member of the field of 68, but early losses while the two were ineligible probably keep them out of the field. The only two other teams with legitimate chances to go dancing are Arkansas and Alabama and the loss by the Razorbacks tonight will hurt come Selection Sunday. The SEC West as a division owns college football and is low mid-major in college basketball.

Posted on: December 27, 2010 7:22 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2011 7:05 pm
 

The SEC is hurting my soul


Posted by Matt Jones

It has not been a stellar year for the SEC on the basketball court.  While their football brethren are basking in the glow of a potential fifth straight national champion from the conference, the basketball teams have taken a decidedly different direction in the start of their 2010-2011 campaigns.  In fact, to say that SEC basketball has performed “poorly” thus far this season is an understatement as large as saying that the NCAA is “inconsistent” in the way it hands out punishments for rules violations.  The SEC has been downright pathetic and an embarrassment to the good names of Wimp Sanderson, Sonny Smith, Hugh Durham, Dale Brown and even Don Devoe.  Take a look at a partial list of teams that have notched a victory over an SEC opponent thus far this season:

UNC Asheville
Samford
Campbell
Presbyterian
St. Peter
Nicholls State
Coastal Carolina
North Texas
Florida Atlantic
East Tennessee State
Furman

That is a list of teams so bad that ESPN wouldn’t even package them together, stick them on a random Caribbean island and try to sell them as a viable “holiday tournament.”  It is a group so poor that only one has even been invited to participate in "Bracket Buster" weekend.  Yet they all were invited into an SEC team's home arena and came away with a victory.  As bad as the losses have been however, the wins have not been much better.  As of now, the conference as a whole only has three wins against teams that are currently ranked in the Top 25, and the two biggest marquee victories (Tennessee’s upsets of Villanova and Pittsburgh) are muted a bit by later losses to Oakland and Charlotte.

The SEC East has been awful, with the Vols losing three of their last four, Florida falling at home to an Artis Gilmore-less Jacksonville squad and South Carolina taking a 16 point stoning at home to Furman that caused South Carolina fans to yearn for the return of Devan Downey.  But the SEC East has looked like the 1985 Big East in comparison to the SEC West, which may have the most miserable collection of BCS teams in a division in the history of major college basketball.  The best team in the division is likely Arkansas, whose most distinguishing quality is that they are the only team in the division not to have lost to a team outside the RPI Top 100.  While at the bottom, Auburn has celebrated the christening of its new arena by insulting the good name of Chris Porter and taking the early lead over Oregon State and Depaul for worst BCS program in the land.

How did it get this bad?  In theory, the SEC should have some real potential.  One could make the argument that it has its best assortment of coaches in the last 15 years, with three of the top 15 in the game (Calipari, Pearl and Donovan), four rising up and comers that were coveted by a number of programs (Anthony Grant, John Pelphrey, Darrin Horn and Andy Kennedy) and four solid X and O guys who have had sustained success in the past (Kevin Stallings, Mark Fox, Rick Stansbury and Trent Johnson).    Over the last few years, many of these programs have kept good Southern talent in-state and the rise in national exposure that has come with Florida’s national championships, Bruce Pearl’s emergence as a media darling and John Calipari’s explosion of talent at Kentucky would seem to have benefited the conference to such a degree that it should be contending for top spot in all of America.  Instead, the conference is at best eighth in the country and an argument can be made that if the NCAA Tournament were held today, only three teams (Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt) would be a lock to be a part of the festivities.

To be fair, it isn’t all bad.  Kentucky will be one of the ten best teams in the nation come NCAA Tournament time.  Vanderbilt and Georgia have played a bit above their preseason rankings and could make some noise in conference play.  And one has to assume that Tennessee and Florida will get out of their December funks to create a solid SEC East.  But with the Western Division giving the conference more dead weight than “Blades of Glory” in a Will Ferrell movie marathon, the prognosis for the SEC does not look bright.  We all know that with the exception of Kentucky and occasionally Vandy, none of these schools care one bit about basketball and would rather obsess over the inseam measurement of a Defensive Line prospect out of Alabama than celebrate the talent of Trey Thompkins or Chris Warren.  But for those of us who do care about basketball in the SEC (meaning Kentucky fans and random old men in stuffy gyms watching high school games throughout the South), couldn’t they fake it just a little bit better?

Photo: AP
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com