Tag:Jeff Borzello
Posted on: September 27, 2011 6:36 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2011 6:46 pm

Detroit big man Eli Holman on leave of absence

By Jeff Borzello

Detroit center Eli Holman has been placed on a leave of absence from the team, the school announced Tuesday evening.

Holman, one of the best big men in the mid-major ranks, averaged 11.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game last season for the Titans. He was one of five double-figure scorers for Detroit, which went 10-8 in the Horizon. Holman earned second team all-conference honors last season, as well as an all-defensive team nod. Expected to take another step forward this season, The Sporting News pegged him as the preseason Player of the Year in the conference.

His prospects for the season seem unclear at this point, though. 

“We have been working with Eli Holman for some time to assist him in addressing his personal matters,” Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Keri Gaither said in a statement.

“At this time, we feel it is in Eli’s best interest to step away from basketball to allow him to concentrate on these matters. He has been excused from all team-related activity for an indefinite period while actively addressing these issues.”

Holman, a 6-foot-10 California native, played six games at Indiana during the 2007-08 season before injuring his wrist. He then transferred to Detroit, where he helped lead the Titans to a 13-win improvement from 2009 to 2010. Holman and sophomore guard Ray McCallum were expected to form one of the best inside-outside combos in the league this season, with Detroit even picked to win the league over Butler by at least media outlet.

Photo: US Presswire

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: September 21, 2011 3:48 pm
Edited on: September 21, 2011 3:51 pm

Perry Ellis stays in-state, pops for Kansas

By Jeff Borzello

Perry Ellis is one of the most decorated players to come out of Kansas in years, winning three Gatorade Player of the Year awards and three state championships, as well as leading his Wichita Heights (Kan.) team to 44 consecutive victories.

On Wednesday, Ellis announced that he would continue his legacy in the Sunflower State by staying in-state and attending Kansas.

"I've been there so many times, I just felt so comfortable there," Ellis said during a press conference at his school. 

Ellis chose the Jayhawks over Kentucky, Kansas State and Wichita State.

"All these schools were real close to me," he said. "They've been there three or four years now. It was a tough decision."

Ellis is a 6-foot-8 prospect who is one of the best offensive forwards in the country. He can score around the rim or from the perimeter, and he has improved his ability to beat defenders off the dribble or run the floor and get baskets in transition. He is ranked No. 27 by CBSSports.com.

He is happy to get the recruiting process over with.

"It's been on my mind for awhile now," he said. "I wanted to do it today because I was ready." 

Photo: ESPN.com 

Posted on: September 21, 2011 8:52 am
Edited on: September 21, 2011 8:59 am

Perry Ellis closing in on decision

By Jeff Borzello

The highly-publicized recruitment of Perry Ellis is just hours away from ending.

The 6-foot-8 forward from Wichita Heights (Kan.) will announce his commitment at 2:45 p.m. local time during a press conference at his high school gym. The finalists for his services are Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky and Wichita State.

Throughout his recruitment, Kansas has been considered by some to be the favorite, but the family has not shown their cards heading into the final day.

“All four coaches have recruited him for at least three years,” Fonda Ellis, Perry’s mother, told CBSSports.com. “They have built a relationship with Perry and our whole family. They are all great programs and we think they all are great choices.”

Fonda Ellis took some time to break down each of the four choices.

Kansas and Kentucky are in the mix because of their tradition.

“They both have it,” she said. “From the history to the winning to the fans to the coaches.”

Ellis likes the desire that Kansas State players have.

“Coach [Frank] Martin has his players playing with heart,” she said.

As for the hometown school, Ellis thinks Gregg Marshall has put Wichita State on par with bigger and more traditional basketball schools.

“Under Gregg Marshall, he has done an awesome job rebuilding the program to the next level,” Fonda Ellis said.

Ellis is ranked No. 27 by CBSSports.com. He is a versatile forward who can score in a variety of ways. Ellis is able to post up defenders and score with his back to the basket, but he is also capable of facing up opponents and knocking down mid-range and perimeter shots. He finishes well at the rim, and is solid on the glass.

Whichever school hears its name this afternoon will be getting an impact performer.

“Perry wants to pick a school that makes him feel totally comfortable,” Fonda Ellis said. “From the coaches to the players to the style of play and the campus. We just want Perry to be happy, and if he is happy, he will be comfortable and successful.”

Photo: Adidas Nations

Posted on: September 21, 2011 12:04 am
Edited on: June 10, 2012 1:34 pm

Archie Goodwin commits to Kentucky

By Jeff Borzello

It’s been an exciting, confusing and interesting few weeks for Archie Goodwin.

He trimmed his list to 10, then eight, then five. Goodwin then said he would likely wait until the spring to make a decision, planning to take all five official visits before sitting down and then committing. On Monday, he suddenly dropped Connecticut and Kansas from his final five and said he would decide within a few weeks from between Kentucky, Arkansas and Memphis.

The whirlwind couple of days continued Tuesday night, when he sent out a tweet: “Everyone stay tuned tomorrow morning it’s going down!!!”

Everything culminated right before midnight on Tuesday, when Goodwin announced for Kentucky.

“If you don’t know by now, I’m a Wildcat!!!” Goodwin tweeted.

Goodwin, a 6-foot-5 guard from Sylvan Hills (Ark.), might be the best scoring guard in the country. He attacks the rim with reckless abandon whenever there is an opening, and he knows how to finish with authority. Goodwin is very difficult to stop off the dribble, and his first step is one of the best.

He should fit perfectly into Kentucky’s offensive system, which allows for creativity off the bounce. The Wildcats were often considered a favorite for Goodwin, although the in-state Razorbacks put a lot of their eggs in his basket. In the end, the allure of going to Lexington outweighed the nostalgia of staying at home.

Goodwin, ranked No. 6 by CBSSports.com, is the first Kentucky commit in the class of 2012. Some were worried about the lack of Wildcat pledges; those people shouldn’t worry any longer.

Photo: Paul Fimpel

Posted on: September 20, 2011 5:22 pm

Myck Kabongo trying to crossover to rapping

By Jeff Borzello

Texas freshman Myck Kabongo might be the nation’s best incoming point guard. He’s also apparently the best rapper in college basketball.

Of course, we’ve all heard the basketball player-turned-rapper routine before. Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Shaquille O’Neal, Ron Artest – they’ve all tried it. Aside from a catchy verse here and there, most athlete/rappers are fairly awful.

Kabongo is confident he won’t be like that.

“When people hear the music, they’ll see it’s not just another basketball player trying to rap,” Kabongo told Jason Jordan of ESPN.com. “I didn’t want it to be corny or anything like that. It’s really good and I guarantee that it’ll be better than what people expect.”

Kabongo, whose stage name is Yung Swag, is a Canada native who had one of the more infectious personalities in the class of 2011. That undoubtedly will help in his quest to be a successful rapper.

“It’s just in me,” Kabongo said. “It’s something that I used to play around with and grew to really love. So I decided to do it for real.”

Kabongo will release a 15-track album next spring entitled “Late Nights and Early Mornings.” He has a feature from Kevin Durant on the album, which is sure to attract some extra attention to the album. Kabongo said it won’t be for sale, but he will make it available for everyone to hear.

With features from Durant and a stamp of approval from Austin Rivers (“Everything I’ve heard from him goes hard. He’s nice.”), Kabongo could rival Tennessee’s Renaldo Woolridge a.k.a. Swiperboy for the top dog in college basketball rapping.

Maybe someone can set up a freestyle battle – and a one-on-one game.

Photo: High School Hoop

Posted on: September 19, 2011 2:23 pm

Sources: Kyle Anderson leaning to UCLA

By Jeff Borzello

With only one day remaining until Kyle Anderson announces his future destination, neither he nor his camp are tipping their hand.

However, multiple sources tell CBSSports.com that one school has emerged as the leader heading into the final hours: UCLA.

Despite the distance from Anderson's home, the Bruins have been considered one of the favorites for much of his recruitment. Sources say that Anderson, a 6-foot-9 point guard/power forward hybrid from St. Anthony (N.J.), likes UCLA's reputation for producing pros and developing point guards. Anderson is ranked No. 4 in CBSSports.com's Top 100.

Anderson trimmed his list to five before the summer, with UCLA, Seton Hall, Florida, St. John's and Georgetown all believing they have a good shot at landing the talented New Jersey native. Anderson, who has played it close to the vest, hosted multiple in-home visits and went on five official visits.

CBSSports.com reported last week that St. John's fell way behind in the pecking order, while Georgetown has been considered the long shot for awhile. Florida attempted to make up ground in the last week with an in-home visit and official visit, but the Gators seem to be in third right now.

The only hold-up right now is Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard's in-home visit with Anderson and his family Monday night. Willard will get the last chance to sway Anderson, and his pitch could be enough to change Anderson's mind.

For now, though, it seems the Bruins are in the driver's seat heading into the final stretch.

Photo: NJ.com
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: September 16, 2011 11:40 am

Jakarr Sampson in a holding pattern

By Jeff Borzello

Jakarr Sampson was the most highly-touted of the nine St. John’s newcomers, ranking in the top 40 by nearly every outlet.

Of course, on Thursday, he was also one of three Red Storm freshmen ruled ineligible for the first semester by the NCAA.

The 6-foot-8 forward from Ohio has not decided on his next move yet.

“Nothing definitive as of yet,” Don Anderson, his former AAU coach, said.

There are a few options: he could head back to Brewster Academy (N.H.) for another prep year, or he could go to a different prep school and take classes in order to get cleared as soon as possible.

Since Sampson never officially enrolled at St. John’s, he can still go back to St. John’s or any Big East school if he does another year at Brewster. Had he enrolled, he would be ineligible to go to a Big East college – including St. John’s – if he did another prep year.

Anderson also cleared up rumors that Sampson has opened up his recruitment.

“No he hasn’t,” Anderson said.

Looks like this will be a situation that continues to evolve.

Posted on: September 12, 2011 10:22 am
Edited on: September 12, 2011 10:54 am

Trippin': Healthy Stony Brook goes to Europe

In our Trippin’ series, we’re talking to teams as they return from preseason trips to foreign locales. Click
here for all Trippin’ related stories.

By Jeff Borzello

It was the last day of Stony Brook’s three-city Europe trip, and the team was standing outside the Louvre in Paris.

Looking to get one last memory overseas, the Seawolves saw a ride that essentially shot you into the air until you were almost out of sight to the people on the ground. At first, everyone on the team wanted to do it.

Sophomores Dave Coley and Anthony Mayo were the first to go (video below).

“The guys wanted to show how tough they were,” head coach Steve Pikiell said. “So two guys step up first, they get sprung up in the air. This thing bounces you a million feet in the air, players were going, ‘Oh my God.’ None of our players wanted to get on the ride after that.”

Overall, the trip to Dublin, London and Paris was a success, both on and off the court.

“It was as good a trip as you can have,” Pikiell said.

What Pikiell learned: “You learn about your newcomers. We have two newcomers, and one, Ron Bracey, led us in scoring and was second in rebounds. You learn how your players improve from one year to the next. It got Tommy Brenton back into playing real games because he hadn’t played one in a year. I think that was a real positive for us. There was some things we needed to work on, but now we’re ahead of the game a bit.”

What impressed him: Depth – “Our depth. We have a lot of guys, and I always look at it as a pro. Our guys are going to fight for minutes, and I think that’s a positive. In the past, we had about seven guys. Our guys know they have to work. I played everyone, and it was still hard to get minutes.”

What concerned him: Health – “My biggest concern is injuries. Chris Martin was one of my best guards, and he missed 19 games last year. Tommy Brenton was my best player; he missed the entire season. Marcus Rouse, missed seven games with a knee injury. Dave Coley missed six games. Coming off that trip, I’m very concerned about injuries.”

- Pikiell said he is leaning on seniors Dallas Joyner and Bryan Dougher as leaders for the upcoming season. “You see who’s leading your team when you go into a museum or something,” he said. “We had pretty good leadership, and that’s something I didn’t talk about before the trip.”

- While Ron Bracey led the newcomers, 6-foot-9 freshman forward Scott King was no slouch. “He can really shoot the ball,” Pikiell said.

- Brenton, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, was back to his old self after shaking off the rust. He led the team in rebounding, steals, assists, field-goal percentage and also took the most charges. “He does a lot of things for us,” Pikiell said. “He’s very valuable to us.”

- In the five games over there – in which Stony Brook went 4-1 – the Seawolves had five different leading scorers. Marcus Rouse went 10-for-10 one game and scored 21 points; Lenny Hayes, Bracey and Dougher also paced the Seawolves in scoring for a game. On the defensive side, Pikiell highlighted Dave Coley as one a player who stood out.

- Senior forwards Danny Carter and Dallas Joyner look ready to take a step forward this season. Joyner was an effective scorer, while Carter shot 56 percent from 3-point range.

CBSSports.com’s list of teams taking preseason trips

Photo: Stony Brook Athletics

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