Posted on: October 29, 2009 12:07 am
Edited on: October 29, 2009 12:09 am

Another elite prospect about to commit

Adreian Payne is expected to announce his college decision Thursday.

The 6-foot-9 center will pick between Arizona, Kentucky, Michigan State and West Virginia.

MaxPreps.com ranks Payne No. 51 in the Class of 2010, but Scout.com and Rivals.com have him 19th and 20th. Either way, Payne is a devastating defensive presence with the physical gifts necessary to play in the NBA someday. He'll be a great recruit for somebody, either Sean Miller, John Calipari, Tom Izzo or Bob Huggins.
Posted on: October 22, 2009 7:34 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2009 10:20 pm

Report: Wall's eligibility in question

Kentucky freshman John Wall is facing eligibility issues because of his relationship with Brian Clifton, ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil and Pat Forde reported Thursday. According to the story, UK officials are "working feverishly" to clarify the situation, which stems from the fact that Clifton was a certified agent while also coaching Wall's summer league team.

CBSSports.com reported Clifton's background as an agent in August 2008.

He was the point man in Wall's recruitment.

CBSSports.com could not immediately reach UK coach John Calipari for comment. But a source familiar with the situation told CBSSports.com that Kentucky officials are confident the most likely scenario has Wall repaying an undetermined amount of money (for expenses Clifton incurred while accompanying Wall on unofficial visits) and possibly missing "a few games, maybe three or four." Kentucky's first four games are against Morehead State, Miami-Ohio, Sam Houston State and Rider. The Wildcats won't play a team ranked in the preseason Top 25 (and one) until they face No. 5 North Carolina on Dec. 5.

CBSSports.com tabbed Wall as its "Preseason National Player of the Year" earlier this month.

He is expected to be the No. 1 pick in next June's NBA Draft.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: October 21, 2009 7:21 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2009 7:22 pm

Irving to announce college destination Thursday

Kyrie Irving has said he will announce his college decision Thursday.

Barring a surprise, he'll pick Duke.

MaxPreps.com ranks Irving as the No. 19 prospect in the Class of 2010 while two other reputable recruiting sites have him in the top 10. He's a 6-foot-1 point guard from New Jersey. In addition to Duke, Irving is also officially considering Texas A&M and Kentucky.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: October 19, 2009 6:01 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2009 10:35 pm

Wall voted Second Team All-SEC by (dumb) media

The SEC media poll and preseason awards have been released.

Kentucky is picked to win the league.

That's smart.

John Wall was voted Second Team All-SEC.

That's dumb.

In fairness, Wall actually finished second to teammate Patrick Patterson in the Preseason Player of the Year race with six votes, so five people besides me on the 25-person panel voted him that way. And yet Wall still somehow ended up Second Team All-SEC, which is crazy, and you'll see why in time, I'm certain. Speaking of, I have a friend who watched Kentucky practice recently. When it was over, he sent the following text: "Just done watching UK practice. Wow. John is incredible. Most vocal and best leader they have. "

So take that for what it's worth.

Anyway, the SEC Media Poll results are as follows:

(Click this link to view the ballot I turned in last week.)


SEC PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Patrick Patterson


1. Kentucky
2. Tennessee
3. Vanderbilt
4. South Carolina
5. Florida
6. Georgia


1. Mississippi State
2. Ole Miss
3. Alabama
4. LSU
5. Arkansas
6. Auburn


G: Devan Downey (South Carolina
G: Terrico White (Ole Miss)
F: Tyler Smith (Tennessee)
F: Patrick Patterson (Kentucky)
F: Jarvis Varnado (Mississippi State)


G: John Wall (Kentucky)
G: Chris Warren (Ole Miss)
G: DeWayne Reed (Auburn)
F: Tasmin Mitchell (LSU)
C: A.J. Ogilvy (Vanderbilt)
Posted on: October 18, 2009 4:42 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2009 12:11 am

Thoughts on Madness events across the nation

I'm back home after a quick trip to Kansas , doing some reading and trying to catch up on what happened at some other Midnight Madness festivities. Seems a lot of places had record nights -- among them Michigan State.

The Breslin Center was filled to capacity with 14,759 fans.

That's the first sellout at MSU in Midnight Madness history.

Tom Izzo entered in an Indy car because the 2010 Final Four is in Indianapolis.

"I know what it's like to drive an Indy car," Izzo told the crowd. "I hope I know what it's like to play in Indianapolis."

Meantime, Clemson's Oliver Purnell rapelled from the top of Littlejohn Coliseum, Syracuse's Jim Boeheim drove a police car into the Carrier Dome (Was he looking for Eric Devendorf?), and Kentucky's John Calipari gave a 10-minute speech to 24,000 fans at Rupp Arena, and he delivered the following line: "Our history is rooted in our coaches: Rupp and Hall and Smith."

That's Adolph Rupp, Joe B. Hall and Tubby Smith.

Notably missing: Former UK coach Rick Pitino.

I'm certain it was not an oversight.

Anyway, a scan of the country showed there were many great events. But the neatest of all Madness ceremonies might've been at Memphis, where more than 18,000 fans filled FedExForum to celebrate a 32-year-old head coach and his eight healthy scholarship players who are unranked and enduring a period of NCAA probation. Understand, it is not normal for the Tigers to fill FedExForum for Memphis Madness. Even when Calipari was the coach, Derrick Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts were the stars, and the team was ranked No. 1 in CBSSports.com's preseason Top 25 (and one) , the building was not full for this event. But on Friday night the doors had to be closed and people were turned away, and I was enjoying a conversation with former Missouri State coach Barry Hinson -- now the director of external relations at Kansas -- when I got a text about the scene and shared the news.

"I'm so happy for Josh," Hinson said. "The fans were making a statement, weren't they?"

Absolutely, it was a statement.

It was a statement to Calipari and the nation, a statement from a city determined to convince itself (and the prospects in attendance) that it will move along fine despite a rough few months. Since the end of last season, the Tigers have lost their coach, recruiting class and 2008 Final Four banner. They also watched one recruit (Latavious Williams) not enroll to pursue a professional career overseas, and one player (Shawn Taggart) not return to pursue a professional career, well, who knows where?

Additionally, Angel Garcia tore his ACL in an offseason workout.

Memphis is not picked to win C-USA.

And yet more than 18,000 people still made the trip downtown to celebrate the past and the future, and it's worth noting that a five-minute montage shown on the video board featured pictures and clips of every relevant former player and coach ... except Calipari, who was omitted completely.

"It  was a great statement by the city," Pastner said by phone. "I was blown away. It was unreal. And that's what's great about Memphis Basketball, and it's what I've tried to tell people. Memphis Basketball was good way before I was even born, and it's going to be good long after I'm gone. Memphis basketball is not about one individual or two individuals. It has a rich tradition, and the fans are really proud of the program, and they showed it [Friday] night."
Posted on: October 15, 2009 8:02 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2009 8:04 pm

My SEC Preseason Media Awards ballot

I just filed my SEC Basketball Preseason Media Awards ballot with the league office.

It looks like this:

  1. Kentucky
  2. Tennessee
  3. South Carolina
  4. Florida
  5. Vanderbilt
  6. Georgia
  1. Mississippi State
  2. Ole Miss
  3. Alabama
  4. Arkansas
  5. LSU
  6. Auburn


G: John Wall (Kentucky)
G: Devan Downey (South Carolina)
F: Tyler Smith (Tennessee)
F: Patrick Patterson (Kentucky)
F: Jarvis Varnado (Mississippi State)


* Kentucky and Tennessee are clearly the top two teams in the Eastern Division, and Mississippi State and Ole Miss are obviously the top two in the Western Division (though a reasonable man could have the Mississippi schools switched). Where this thing became difficult was when I tried to separate South Carolina, Florida and Vanderbilt. Those three could be in any order from third to fifth and it would make sense to me. But what's most interesting, I think, is how five of the six teams in the Eastern Division (everybody except Georgia) will enter the season with a realistic hope of making the NCAA tournament. My guess is that four of them will -- UK, UT and some two-team combination of South Carolina, Florida and Vanderbilt -- and it really should be fun to watch unfold.
Posted on: September 28, 2009 9:07 am
Edited on: September 28, 2009 9:12 am

Recruiting notes from the weekend

There were some significant recruiting developments this weekend.

Here are some of them:

Irving visits Duke: Kyrie Irving, ranked fifth in the Class of 2010 by Scout.com, visited Duke, then Tweeted about it. "Duke official was great! I enjoyed every single second," he wrote. "Everything there fits me and is right for me...you never know what will happen ." Duke has long been considered the favorite to land Irving, a 6-foot-1 point guard from New Jersey. Still, Texas A&M is among the schools hanging around, primarily because Aggie assistant Scott Spinelli was college roommates with Irving's father, Drederick Irving.

Selby narrows list: Josh Selby, famous for decommitting from Tennessee in July, has narrowed his list of potential schools to six, and UT is not one of them. The final six are Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Baylor, Miami and Syracuse. All indications are that Selby -- a combo guard ranked 14th in the Class of 2010 by MaxPreps.com -- will make a final decision in the Spring.

Jones narrows list: Class of 2010 standout Terrence Jones trimmed his list of potential schools to seven -- specifically Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA, Arizona, Oklahoma, Washington and Oregon. MaxPreps.com ranks Jones as the No. 12 prospect in the Class of 2010.

USC gains fifth Class of 2010 pledge: Kevin O'Neill accepted a commitment from Maurice Jones, according to Scout.com's Evan Daniels. Jones is a 5-7 point guard who reportedly averaged 28 points and 13 assists last season in high school. He's the fifth Class of 2010 prospect to commit to USC despite an ongoing NCAA investigation.
Posted on: September 24, 2009 5:41 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2009 5:43 pm

UK lands first commitment from Class of 2010

Stacey Poole, as expected , gave Kentucky its first commitment from the Class of 2010 on Thursday.

"This decision was very hard," said Poole, a 6-foot-5 wing from Florida. "It came down to the wire."

Poole is ranked No. 86 by MaxPreps.com, No. 58 by Scout.com and No. 27 by Rivals.com.

He was also considering South Carolina.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com