Posted on: May 29, 2008 8:19 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2008 12:29 pm

Jerryd Bayless is not a fan of Kevin O'Neill

ORLANDO -- You might think O.J. Mayo is looking back on his college experience as a disaster considering he was bounced in the first round of the NCAA tournament and is now in the middle of a scandal that has tarnished his reputation.

But if you think that, you're wrong.

At least that's what Mayo said Thursday.

"Not at all," Mayo answered when asked if he was disappointed with how his college career unfolded. "USC helped me a lot."

Meantime, Jerryd Bayless isn't so chipper.

In his interview session Thursday here at the Hyatt Grand Cypress, Bayless seemed frustrated pretty much any time he was asked about his one season at Arizona, where he signed to play for Lute Olson but ended up playing for Kevin O'Neill and in the process became a part of the circus that at the moment defines Wildcat basketball. I'm not saying Bayless didn't like playing for O'Neill, but when I pointed out how he could be drafted fifth by Memphis and reconnected with his former coach -- who is now an assistant with the Grizzlies -- Bayless didn't seem all that excited about the possibility.

"Hmmm," Bayless responded. "Yeah."

(Note: I know that quote doesn't say much, but try to picture Bayless saying it with a look of total disgust on his face and with his eyes slighly rolling. Then you'll get the idea.)

With Bayless being projected as a possible top five pick, it's reasonable to suggest he would've withdrawn from school and entered this draft even if the situation at Arizona was less bizarre. He doesn't deny that. But Bayless scoffed at the notion that the instability around the program hasn't played a role in his decision because he was always planning to be a one-year student-athlete anyway.

"That's the furthest thing from the truth," Bayless said. "I came to college for an experience that I definitely did not receive."
Posted on: May 22, 2008 7:52 am
Edited on: May 22, 2008 8:03 am

O'Neill to reportedly join the Grizzlies

It seems Kevin O'Neill has found a new gig.

The Commercial Appeal is reporting that Arizona's former interim coach will serve as an assistant on Marc Iavaroni's staff with the Memphis Grizzlies next season. According to the paper, an official announcement could come as early as today.

O'Neill was reassigned within the Arizona program once Lute Olson returned in March. That move -- precipitated by a deteriorating relationship between Olson and O'Neill -- led to O'Neill landing in Memphis, where his apparent hiring is designed to help improve one of the worst defenses in the NBA.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 20, 2008 2:29 pm
Edited on: May 20, 2008 3:18 pm

Arizona releases Negedu from LOI

Arizona has granted Emmanuel Negedu an "immediate and full release" from his national letter of intent.

A 6-foot-7 forward, Negedu told CBSSports.com early Sunday that he requested the release in a weekend meeting with Lute Olson. When Olson left that meeting he gave the prized recruit no indication of whether the release would be granted. But Arizona officials released a statement this afternoon announcing the development, and now Negedu is free to be recruited by other schools.

Scout.com ranks Negedu as the 71st best senior in the nation.

Rivals.com has him at No. 40.

(Update: I just spoke with Negedu by phone. He said the four schools he's considering are Tennessee, Indiana, Memphis and Georgia Tech.)

Posted on: May 20, 2008 1:37 pm

Negedu still waiting to hear from Arizona

Arizona signee Emmanuel Negedu has asked for a release from his letter of intent.

Arizona has reportedly promised a decision by today.

Still, Negedu is awaiting word as I type.

The 6-foot-7 forward told CBSSports.com a little while ago that he hasn't heard a thing yet. But just so we're clear, Negedu has made it clear he will not attend Arizona even if Arizona doesn't release him. So if Lute Olson planned to strong-arm the top 50 prospect into following through on his commitment, he'd better have a secondary plan because Negededu seems determined to do another year of high school if that's what it takes to not be a Wildcat.

To be continued, for sure ...
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 19, 2008 10:17 pm

Jennings is Scout.com's top player in 2008

In the spirit of the recruiting theme, I should mention Scout.com released its final Class of 2008 rankings on Monday.

The new No. 1?

It's Arizona signee Brandon Jennings.

The entire Top 10 looks like this ...

1. Brandon Jennings (Arizona)

2. Samardo Samuels (Louisville)

3. B.J. Mullens (Ohio State)

4. Jrue Holiday (UCLA)

5. Tyreke Evans (Memphis)

6. Demar DeRozan (USC)

7. Scotty Hopson (Tennessee)

8. Greg Monroe (Georgetown)

9. Devin Ebanks (West Virginia)

10. Ed Davis (North Carolina)

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 18, 2008 3:57 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2008 4:25 pm

Ebanks to WVU; Negedu wants out of Arizona

Sunday is turning out to be a big day in basketball recruiting.

Devin Ebanks has verbally committed to West Virginia.

Emmanuel Negedu has asked Arizona for a release.

That means one Top 50 player (Ebanks) is off the board and another (Negedu) is at least trying to get back on it.

So it's been a good day for West Virginia and a bad day for Arizona.

Assuming Arizona grants Negedu a release, the leading candidates to land him will be Tennessee and Indiana. If Negedu wants to play for a legitimate Final Four team, UT should be the spot. But if he wants to be a primary option from the start for a team that'll need him to be a star from the start, IU makes more sense because the Hoosiers will be seriously short-handed during Tom Crean's first season in charge.
Posted on: May 8, 2008 11:24 am
Edited on: May 9, 2008 2:09 pm

Pastner leaving Arizona for Memphis

Josh Pastner, as expected, is leaving Arizona for Memphis.

A source close to the situation told CBSSports.com on Thursday morning that the 30-year-old assistant has agreed in principle to make the move and should be formally introduced in the coming days, soon as everything is signed and official. In the meantime, count this as a huge coup for John Calipari, who has hit a home run by luring the Arizona graduate to replace Derek Kellogg on the Memphis staff.

Kellogg, of course, left Memphis to become the head coach at UMass.

So if you're keeping track, Calipari's revamped staff will feature Pastner, John Robic and either Rod Strickland or a yet-to-be-determined member. Meanwhile, Lute Olson's staff will feature three new assistants. They are Russ Pennell, Mike Dunlap and a yet-to-be-determined member who will essentially fill the void left by the departure of Pastner.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 7, 2008 12:01 pm
Edited on: May 7, 2008 12:03 pm

Livengood's thoughts on Pastner possibly leaving

I've got a column going up later today about the wackiness at Arizona and the difficult task facing AD Jim Livengood.

I spoke with Livengood for about 30 minutes yesterday.

He was candid and addressed everything.

But one interesting tidbit I didn't get to in the column (but thought I'd share with you here) is the seemingly imminent departure of assistant Josh Pastner. To be clear, Livengood said he still wasn't sure whether Pastner will accept an offer to join John Calipari's staff at Memphis. But it's worth noting Livengood didn't sound like a man who expects Pastner to return.

Should Pastner return?

Actually, Livengood said he isn't sure staying at Arizona is best for Pastner.

He explained why in great detail.

"I have personal experience with this," Livengood said. "When I first got to Washington State ... I had no idea that I wanted to be an AD. But after I had been there two or three years I thought, 'You know, I want to be an AD.' And I was not going to be an AD by staying at Washington State. I needed to go somewhere. And the people that counseled me and counseled me very well would've loved to have had me stay at Washington State, but they would not have been helping me. They would not have been serving me. They would've been serving themselves. So I went to Southern Illinois and was there for 22 months and came back as the AD at Washington State.

"Now I don't want you to misread that," Livengood added, "but Josh's entire career as a walk-on student-athlete from Houston, Texas has all been with Arizona. ... So I would love to have him stay. But I'm also interested in what is in the best interest of Josh. His ultimate goal is very simple: He wants to be a Division I head coach as soon as he possible can be. .. We've talked about it a ton every day. He knows how badly I want him to stay. But at the same time, I tell him every day, 'Josh, this needs to be about you. This needs to be about what's in your best interests' because one of the things I can help him with is if he's trying to become more attractive as a future Division I head coach. That part doesn't have anything to do with Arizona or Lute (Olson). It has everything to do with somebody looking at him and saying, 'OK, what kind of background does he bring to the table?' and that's hard for me to say because what a lot of people would like me to say -- and what a lot of people are critical of me for not saying -- is that he's so loyal and he is Arizona basketball and he's done an incredible job recruiting and he's extrememly popular in Tucson and we need to keep him and never let him go. Well, I don't disagree with that. But at the same time, that's probably very selfish, as well."

Translation: Expect Pastner to land at Memphis in the spirit of broadening his resume and becoming familar with C-USA.

Then expect him to become a bigtime candidate for a C-USA school in Texas in the coming years.

At Houston, perhaps
Category: NCAAB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com