Posted on: June 6, 2011 9:58 am

2013 big Kennedy Meeks with plenty of interest


Posted by Jeff Borzello

RALEIGH, N.C. – He may go by “Baby,” but Kennedy Meeks is a grown man on the basketball court.

Meeks is listed at 6-foot-8 and 260 lbs., and dwarfs most opponents that try to defend him in the paint. He has great hands and knows how to finish at the rim with post moves and a soft touch. Meeks can pass out of a double team, and is also a very solid rebounder. The West Charlotte (N.C.) product is improving all facets of his game.

One of the top centers in the class of 2013, Meeks is receiving tons of college interest.

“Everybody in the ACC besides Duke and Georgia Tech,” Meeks said. “Also, Georgetown, Louisville and North Florida.”

North Florida? “North Florida.”

Meeks said his favorites are Georgetown and Maryland, and he wants to check out the campuses of Maryland and Miami (Fl.) at some point in July.

The exceptional campaigns by Georgetown’s Greg Monroe and Maryland’s Jordan Williams over the last two seasons are part of the reason Meeks is drawn to those two programs – they utilize their post players.

“They feed the big man,” he said. “I want to go to a place where they use their big man.”

Despite his nickname, Meeks certainly fits the profile.

Photo: Charlotte Observer
Posted on: June 2, 2011 1:00 pm

Gavin Ware "50/50" on going to Mississippi State


Posted by Jeff Borzello

RALEIGH, N.C. – Ever since Gavin Ware transformed his body and became one of the top low-post players in the class, he has been hearing from a variety of high-major schools.

Some people have assumed he would be a Mississippi State lean, though. After all, the 6-foot-9 big man is from Starkville, Miss. and attends Starkville High School (Miss.).

It turns out that it will indeed be tough to pull Ware away from Rick Stansbury and the Bulldogs.

“There’s a 50/50 chance [I go to Mississippi State] because it’s right there,” Ware said over the weekend. “Most of my family is in Starkville. It would be easier to go there, and it would help me.”

He did say Georgetown and Alabama were also in his top three, and Tennessee and other SEC schools are pursuing him, but it would take a lot for one of those schools to swoop in and steal Ware from the hometown program.

“That’s a hard question to answer,” Ware said when asked what would make him leave Starkville. “But my decision is based on the coaches and if I like the school better.”

Ware is still developing at both ends of the floor, but he has a very strong body and great hands. He runs the floor very well and has the athleticism to beat most defenders down the court and finish at the rim. Ware gets good position in the paint and can also knock down face-up jumpers in the mid-range.

After landing Fred Thomas two weeks ago, it looks like Mississippi State could be poised to pick up its second big-time Southern Phenoms prospect.

Posted on: May 19, 2011 10:41 am
Edited on: May 20, 2011 8:38 am

Vee Sanford headed from Georgetown to Dayton

Posted by Eric Angevine

The University of Dayton got some good news this week. Turns out Georgetown transfer Vee Sanford will take his talents to the A-10, and play for new Flyers head coach Archie Miller.

The Dayton Daily News has the full story:

“It was a nice feeling being there,” Sanford said Wednesday night while still in Dayton. “It really seemed comfortable, it’s a nice city.”

Sanford will have two seasons of eligibility remaining after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer rules.

Although he played sparingly at the Big East school, Sanford had a standout high school career, averaging 22.4 points per game and being named first-team all-state by the Louisville Courier Journal.

With former coach Brian Gregory gone to Georgia Tech, and star point guard Juwan Staten leaving the program after just one season in red, this is a feather in Miller's cap. Sanford will have two seasons of eligibility left after sitting out his transfer season. Miller also recently added some much-needed size to his roster by signing Alexandre Gavrilovic, a 6-foot-9, 230-pound forward from IMG Academy.

Photo: US Presswire
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 17, 2011 4:39 pm

Othella Harrington returns to G'town as coach

Posted by Eric Angevine

Othella Harrington never really became a household name like certain other Georgetown players did. He won't be mentioned in the same breath with Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo or Allen Iverson, but he had a strong career in grey. Between 1992-1996 he grabbed more offensive rebounds than any other Hoya ever has, and is still fifth on the all-time Georgetown scoring list.

Now, he's headed back to his alma mater as an assistant coach. Georgetown announced that Harrington, who had a 12-year NBA career after completing his collegiate eligibility, will join the staff of John Thompson III this season.

Harrington's presence should add some cachet to an already strong recruiting machine. His NBA career ended as recently as 2008, so even younger players may recall the 37-year-old forward's playing days. Harrington's connection to the glory days of JTIII's father, and his knowledge of what it takes to forge a professional career, could be a huge draw for incoming freshmen, and a boon to the education of future big men, a la Danny Manning at Kansas.

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: May 12, 2011 4:06 pm

Warren and his "old man's game" attract suitors


Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – Some say T.J. Warren has an “old man’s game” or is coasting through games, but Warren doesn’t let that bother him.

He simply continues to get the job done.

Warren, a 6-foot-7 forward from Word of God (N.C.), starred this past season alongside Torian Graham and Joseph Uchebo and continues to impress on the AAU circuit with Garner Road. He has a versatile offensive game, with the ability to knock down mid-range jumpers and also finish at the rim with his strength. Warren has good hands and runs the floor well.

His skill set makes him a difficult match-up for most opponents.

“It’s because of my size,” Warren said. “I can put it on the floor, I have the ability to handle and I can shoot.”

While he is currently a combo forward who can play inside, Warren is looking to make the transformation to a wing.

“Colleges see me as a three,” he said. “I’m improving my foot speed and my 3-point shooting. I’m trying to get a killer instinct.”

Warren has seen his recruiting take off recently, picking up offers and interest from a variety of schools.

“Right now, in no order, it’s Florida, North Carolina State, Georgetown, Kansas, Ohio State and Louisville,” he said.

Warren also mentioned Arizona State, Arizona and Virginia Tech at one point.

He said he has no favorites or a timeline for a decision.

“I’m wide open,” Warren said. “I’m looking for style of play and location.”

Photo: Highschoolhoop.com

Posted on: May 11, 2011 3:33 pm
Edited on: May 12, 2011 4:20 pm

Sophomore Austin Colbert gets taste of U-17 level


Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – Growing up, it’s always fun to hang out with the older kids a little bit, but everyone seems more comfortable with people their own age.

For Austin Colbert, it is the same way in AAU basketball.

Colbert is arguably the best player in the Team Final AAU program, but the sophomore admittedly struggled playing with the U-17 team.

“They were all in my grill, as far as being stronger and defending me,” Colbert said at the Southern Jam Fest last weekend.

Moving back down to his natural age group, the young power forward looked more relaxed and was able to showcase his full skill set.

“It’s a little bit easier than playing with the 17s,” Colbert said. “I’m real comfortable, we’ve played together before.”

Despite that, Colbert said he enjoyed playing up a level because it gave him a chance to go against the best of the best in the class of 2012.

“It’s good for exposure,” he said. “We get to see where we compare against some real talented players.”

Colbert, a 6-foot-9 prospect from St. Patrick (N.J.), has been ranked among the top players in his class for a few years. He is very long and athletic, showing the ability to run the floor and finish in transition. Colbert is an outstanding shot-blocker who can also guard players off the dribble due to his lateral quickness.

In order to become more attractive at the next level, Colbert is expanding his game to the perimeter. He showed off his outside jumper and spent time around the arc.

“I want to move out a little bit, try to be a three,” Colbert said. “I’m athletic, I can stretch out and guard four of five positions.”

As far as recruiting, Colbert named a top five of Seton Hall, Xavier, Pittsburgh, Georgetown and Oklahoma.

“I want to go to a running school with a good coach,” he said.

By then, expect Colbert to fit right in with older players. 

Posted on: April 26, 2011 1:24 pm
Edited on: April 26, 2011 1:27 pm

Making the Leap: Hollis Thompson needs to return

Posted by Jeff Borzello

Every season, there are early-entry candidates that surprise everyone.

Some do it because they have no school (Olu Ashaolu), some just want to see what it’s like (J.P. Primm), some think they have the right amount of hype (Mamadou Diarra, Troy Gillenwater) and some don’t have much of a choice (Jereme Richmond, Josh Selby).

Then there’s Hollis Thompson.

He doesn’t fit into any of the above categories. He has a chance to take a huge step forward at Georgetown next season, he will become more of a go-to-guy and his stock can only go up.

Right now, there’s no hype surrounding Thompson. He will likely go undrafted if he stays in the draft.

Hopefully, he’s just testing the waters like fellow Big East prospects Terrence Jennings and Carleton Scott. If that’s the case, then this is a fine decision. If Thompson ends up keeping his name in the draft pool, then this is a pretty poor decision.

The 6-foot-7 Los Angeles native was in the starting lineup at the outset last season, but came off the bench for the Hoyas down the stretch, when John Thompson III decided to go with Nate Lubick. Thompson played well overall, averaging 8.6 points and 4.4 rebounds. Thompson saw more minutes down the stretch when Chris Wright was injured, and did finish with 26 points and seven rebounds in the Hoyas’ second round loss to VCU in the NCAA tournament.

Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com tweeted that Thompson was unhappy with his role last season and there was talk of him leaving Georgetown and transferring. His role will undoubtedly increase next season, though, so it doesn’t make sense that he would leave as a result of being the sixth man. Thompson averaged 31.3 minutes over his last four games; he should expect to play that type of minutes next season.

NBA Draft

Next season, Thompson III will be without his top two scorers, Austin Freeman and Chris Wright. Starter Julian Vaughn also used up his eligibility, while sophomore guard Vee Sanford decided to transfer.

Thompson and Jason Clark would be the go-to-guys offensively next season, forming a very solid wing duo. Markel Starks will handle the point guard duties, with incoming freshman Otto Porter and Lubick potentially starting in the post. Returnees Henry Sims and Jerrelle Benimon and freshman Greg Whittington will provide depth down low, with Sims fighting for a starting job.

Georgetown will have plenty of inside depth next season, but Thompson’s starting role on the wing isn’t in doubt. He will have a chance to really show off his offensive game and will be one of the main options at that end of the floor for the Hoyas.

Leaving now doesn’t make much sense for Thompson. He needs to return to D.C.

Photo: US Presswire

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: April 21, 2011 1:18 pm

Too soon? A look at next season's holiday games

Posted by Eric Angevine

Our season just ended, but it's never too soon to start thinking about what will happen next. Certainly not for the organizers of early season tournaments, those resume-building events that often give us meaningful matchups. Recall that UConn and Kentucky met on Maui on November 24, 2010 in a preview of an eventual Final Four game. These early battles usually play out in front of few specatators, but they get a lot of scrutiny come Selection Sunday.

So, with that in mind, let's look at some of the evolving fields that organizers are putting together. Not all participants are settled as of right now, and personnel may change radically over the next month or so, but you can keep track of any changes by visiting the CBSSports.com early season tournament guide.

Some highlights:

Coaches vs. Cancer, Nov. 7-11 and 17-18: The automatic qualifiers -- meaning the four power conference teams that advance even if they lose in the first round -- are set. Arizona will be trying to carry over some momentum without Derrick Williams, and they'll be thrown into a field that includes Mississippi State, St. John's and Texas A&M. MSU was an absolute shambles last season, so it will be interesting to see if that's a thing of the past, or if Rick Stansbury is in a downward spiral in Starkville. SJU will be looking to prove that this season's resurgence was no fluke, and A&M has just been consistently good under Mark Turgeon.

Maui Invitational, Nov. 21-23: You don't need my persuasive arguments to see the value in this field. Duke, Kansas, Memphis, Michigan, Tennessee, UCLA, Georgetown and, of course, plucky Chaminade. One thing that jumps out, however, is Michigan getting another shot at one or more of the programs they faced during their growing season last year. Obviously, this will be quite the melee of blue-blood programs.

Diamond Head Classic, Dec. 22-25 & 25: This one isn't as loaded as the first two we looked at, but it has some intriguing possibilities. There are a couple of big-name programs looking for early statement games in Clemson and Kansas State, plus the always-intriguing mid-majors UTEP and Xavier.

Those three tourneys represent the best fields to date. There are several interesting teams in weak fields elsewhere, such as Marquette showing up in the Paradise Jam, experienced Notre Dame in a field of transitioning programs in the CBE Classic and defending national champs UConn slumming it in the amusingly-named Battle 4 Atlantis. The Puerto Rico Tip-Off throws Purdue in with a whole slew of NIT teams like Alabama, Colorado and Wichita State. Both VCU and Richmond show up as unexpected heavy-hitters in off-off-Broadway productions, as well.

These early tournaments are often just something to have on in the background while digesting heavy holiday meals and conversing dutifully with relatives, but there's usually a little intrigue if you scratch past the surface. There will be new coaches, new players and, best of all, a new basketball season coming, just as the weather starts to turn chilly again this year.

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