Posted on: June 1, 2011 3:34 pm

Memphis, Louisville renew rivalry

Posted by Jeff Borzello

The rivalries between college basketball powers in Kentucky and Tennessee are some of the best in the country.

Beginning next year, Memphis and Louisville will continue the contempt between colleges in the area, with the two schools renewing their series as part of the Basketball Hall of Fame Shootout. It will be a two-year series – televised on CBS Sports – with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

The first game will take place at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, with Memphis hosting the return game in 2012-13.

“Memphis and Louisville have a storied rivalry and a long tradition of competitive games,” Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said in a release. “We’re excited to have them back on our schedule.”

“Since I got this job two years ago, our fans have talked to be on numerous occasions about the Memphis-Louisville rivalry, and how much they want to renew the series,” Memphis head coach Josh Pastner added. “This is a great rivalry not only for the schools and their fans, but it’s also one of college basketball’s top rivalries.”

Memphis and Louisville have faced each other 85 times, but not since 2005, when they were both in Conference-USA. Next season, each team will likely be a top-20 preseason squad.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:49 am
Edited on: May 31, 2011 11:52 am
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Posted on: May 28, 2011 10:46 am

Memphis - Louisville rivalry set to resume

Posted by Eric Angevine

When Louisville left Conference USA for the Big East in 2005, the Cardinals' rivalry with Memphiswas collateral damage. The last time the two programs met was in the 2005 C-USA championship game. The battle for the auto-bid was a real barn-burner (as seen in the video at top) that left Memphis fans wanting more. Looks like they'll get their wish, according to the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. 

Though a few details are still to be worked out, Memphis is expected to begin a home-and-home series with Louisville next season at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville. The teams will then play in FedExForum in 2012-13.

“Obviously it’s not official until every formality is finished,” Pastner said. “I’ve had more fans since I’ve gotten the job come to me and say, ‘Coach, can we play a game against Louisville? Can we get a series going against Louisville?’

“So this is sort of an opportunity to give back to the fans since they’ve kept us in the top 10 in attendance; to start a series that means so much to Tiger Nation.”

The two teams have matched up often throughout the years, even as they leapt conferences from the Missouri Valley to Conference USA. Per the blog Card Chronicle, Louisville owns a 51-34 edge in the series to date. With both teams expected to challenge for NCAA tournament berths in upcoming seasons, this is a perfect time to revive the rivalry.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 13, 2011 4:35 pm
Edited on: May 13, 2011 4:39 pm

Recruiting Notebook: Thornwell on the rise

Posted by Jeff Borzello

The class of 2013 is going to be known for its depth at the wing position, and one player making his way up the rankings is Sindarius Thornwell.

Thornwell, a 6-foot-4 sophomore from Lancaster (S.C.), makes an immediate impact because of his length and athleticism. He handles the ball and distributes well for someone his size, and is also adept at finishing.

“I’m quick and I can handle the ball,” Thornwell said. “I’m always attacking and I play defense.”

Plenty of colleges have taken notice of the versatile 2013 prospect.

Thornwell currently holds offers from South Carolina, Clemson, Tennessee State, Georgia Southern and Charlotte. He also has interest from Louisville, UCF and the entire ACC besides North Carolina and Duke.

Thornwell, who has visited Clemson and South Carolina, knows exactly what he needs in a school.

“I’m looking for playing style, good academics and playing time,” he said. “That’s it.”

2013 big man looking to improve

Most 6-foot-10 sophomores can get by on size and length alone. Andre Walker, on the other hand, is constantly looking to get better.

As it stands, he is a talented but raw big man who can run the floor and finish after he catches it.

“I need to make strong moves and play better defense,” Walker said. “I need to get better, get stronger. I also want to work on my perimeter game. I’m working hard.”

The Clarksburg (Md.) native is hearing from DePaul, Washington State, VCU, Northwestern, George Mason and Maryland.

Whitfield transfers to team with Tyler Lewis

North Carolina is loaded with prospects in the class of 2012. One player flying under the radar is Shane Whitfield, a 6-foot-5 forward.

In an attempt to make a name for himself, Whitfield is transferring next year to Forsyth Country Day School (N.C.). There, he will team up with North Carolina State commit Tyler Lewis in hopes of increasing his recruitment.

“It’s better competition,” Whitfield said. “I want to get better everyday.”

Right now, Whitfield has offers from Delaware, American, Campbell and Holy Cross, with interest from Richmond, Charlotte and East Carolina.

Other notes:

- A Texas team in need of impact players could pick up one this weekend. Recently available Sterling Gibbs and North Carolina State transfer Ryan Harrow are both visiting Austin this weekend.

- Unsigned 2011 center Daouda Soumaoro is currently on an official visit to Washington. Soumaoro took a trip to St. John’s recently, and said he enjoyed it.

- Top-50 2012 forward Ricardo Gathers is taking an unofficial visit to St. John’s this weekend. The Louisiana native also wants to take a trip to Florida.

Photo: 6manbasketball.com 

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 1:58 pm
Edited on: May 12, 2011 4:11 pm

Maryland recruit asks for release


Posted by Jeff Borzello

Wally Judge choosing Rutgers over Maryland was the first recruiting domino to fall after Gary Williams’ retirement.

Another one fell on Wednesday, as Terrapins’ signee Sterling Gibbs has asked for his release from Maryland.

“He’s asking for a release so he can fairly weigh his options,” said Gary Charles, Gibbs’ AAU coach with the New York Panthers. “Until he gets his release, he cannot talk to anyone.

“The same way Maryland had to do what they had to do, Sterling has gotta do what he’s gotta do.”

Since the news broke that Gibbs was opening his recruitment, Charles has heard from several schools. Florida, Louisville, Miami (Fl.), Texas, Seton Hall, Providence and Colorado are some of the schools that have already reached out.

Maryland is also still in the mix for the 6-foot-1 point guard from Seton Hall Prep (N.J).

“Absolutely,” Charles said. “Sterling doesn’t know [head coach Mark] Turgeon from a can of paint, and I don’t think Turgeon knows Sterling either.”

Turgeon did reach out to Gibbs’ family on Tuesday night – which is the first contact Gibbs has had with anyone from Maryland since Williams retired.

The former head coach never called Gibbs to notify him he was retiring.

“Nothing,” Charles said. “Didn’t even contact him.”

While Gibbs does not have a timeline for another decision, Charles said he does want to choose a school before summer school starts in June.

Photo: NJ.com 

Posted on: May 3, 2011 4:12 pm
Edited on: May 3, 2011 4:17 pm

Making the Leap: No turning back for Jennings

Posted by Jeff Borzello

We should have anticipated it when head coach Rick Pitino said he didn’t expect Terrence Jennings to return to the Cardinals, but the decision was made official on Tuesday.

“Everything is looking on the up-and-up right now,” Jennings told C.L. Brown of the Louisville Courier-Journal. “Nobody has given me reason to pull my name out this year.”

Jennings, a 6-foot-9 big man, averaged 9.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks last season. He showed flashes of his potential during one stretch in the middle of Big East play, averaging 14.2 points and 7.2 rebounds over six games.

Likely due to his nonexistent back-to-the-basket game and his mediocre rebounding, most mock drafts do not have Jennings being selected in June’s NBA draft. That apparently did not dissuade him.

“Most of the feedback I had gotten from [GMs and scouts] was I might be able to find a spot this year,” Jennings said.

NBA Draft

Louisville won’t miss Jennings that much. The Cardinals have plenty of talent in the low post, led by shot-blocking extraordinaire Gorgui Dieng and ferocious rebounder Rakeem Buckles. Freshmen Chane Behanan and Zach Price are also expected to make an impact. Stephan Van Treese will provide depth.

The perimeter is equally loaded. Peyton Siva returns to man the point, while Kyle Kuric is poised for another breakout season. Mike Marra provides scoring on the wing, and Jared Swopshire will be back from injury. Chris Smith nearly averaged double-figures last year, and McDonald’s All-American Wayne Blackshear is also welcomed into the fold.

Rick Pitino has plenty of options in the cards for next season.

Photo: US Presswire

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: April 29, 2011 11:34 am

Kevin Ware decommits from UCF, saga continues

Posted by Jeff Borzello

Please, end this already.

In yet another addition to a whirlwind couple of weeks for Kevin Ware, the top-100 recruit decommitted Thursday night from Central Florida.

“There’s a lot of stuff going on right now, personal stuff that I don’t really want to speak about right now,” Ware told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I spoke with my family about everything, and I decided it was time to back off on UCF.”

Originally signed to Tennessee, the 6-foot-4 shooting guard was released from his letter of intent after Bruce Pearl was fired in late March – after some drama, of course. Last week, Ware ended his recruitment by committing to Central Florida – after meeting with Louisville head coach Rick Pitino the day before.

Then, Ware was scheduled to play in the Derby Festival in Kentucky. He told CBSSports.com he would not participate in it because of the backlash he would receive from Louisville fans at the game. Reports began to surface shortly thereafter that Ware was wavering on his commitment to UCF and would play in the Festival. Rumors swirled that he was asked to list his college choice as “undecided” at the game. Making matters worse, Ware refused to talk to media during the days leading up to the game.

Following the game, Ware said he was still committed to UCF and never wavered in that thought. As recently as Wednesday, Ware was still planning to play for the Knights in the fall.

Then everything changed . . . but we’re not sure why.


“I talked it over with my family, and there’s a lot of personal stuff that I need to get figured out before I decide on any school that I want to go to,” Ware told the AJC. “I’m just tired from everything. Once I get my final grades in and know what schools are recruiting me, I will definitely have my choice made up then.”

Ware told the paper that Louisville and Georgia were his favorites, but he has not spoken to either school since he committed to UCF.

Ware did not respond to a message from CBSSports.com seeking comment.

Photo: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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