Posted on: October 9, 2008 2:34 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2008 11:33 am

An explanation (for those who can't read)

I was going to try to get through the day without posting this blog.

But I knew I'd never make it.

Unfortunately, some of my readers -- not you reading this; just the stupid ones -- lack reading comprehension skills, which causes me to often times explain things over and over again as if I'm talking to my 5-year-old son. It's frustrating. But it comes with the territory. So let me use this space to further explain my column about "NBA talent" on college teams and address some emails I've received this morning.


Here we go!

Question: My favorite team (insert name here) has a great player named (insert name here) who is probably a lottery pick. How could you not count him as being drafted this year or next year?

Answer: As I clearly stated, whether prospects are considered "NBA talents" is not something I decided for the purposes of this column. I turned that over to DraftExpress.com. In other words, this was a simple process for me. If DraftExpress.com had a player listed as going in the first round or second round of the 2009 or 2010 NBA Draft, I listed him accordingly. If not, I didn't. So any questions about the status of prospects should be directed to DraftExpress.com's Jonathan Givony, not me.

(Sorry Jonathan!)

Also, I explained in the column that this is not an exact science or an absolute predictor of which teams will and will not be great. One reason is because many players considered "NBA talents" in October won't be considered "NBA talents" in March, and vice versa. Another reason is because though I believe with every ounce of my brain that "NBA talents" are necessary to win the national title (just look at the recent history of national champions), I do not believe they are required to make an Elite Eight or even Final Four. For example, I think Notre Dame is going to be great this season, but (according to DraftExpress.com) there isn't a future first-round pick on the team. So while history suggests this suggests the Irish won't be our national champions, it doesn't mean they can't win the Big East and much more.

Question: My favorite team (insert name here) has committed (insert name here). He's ranked 10th in the Class of 2009 and will surely be a first-round pick. Why are you not counting him?

Answer: What on earth does a Class of 2009 prospect have to do with this season?

Regardless of where John Wall signs, he won't have anything to do with what happens on the court in the 2008-09 season because he won't play college basketball until the 2009-2010 season. Same goes for Abdul Gaddy. And Renardo Sidney. And Derrick Favors. And you get the idea, don't you?

Bottom line, only players on the current roster matter.

People who may or may not come in the future have nothing to do with this column.

Question: Why did you only list teams with at least eight points?

Answer: Because there were nine teams with at least eight points, and that took me to 1,500 words. That was plenty. But I did use the same exercise to go further down the list. In all, there were 16 teams with at least six points. So if you want to look at the rest of the list, well, here you go ...

-- Pittsburgh --

  • Number of projected draft picks:  2
  • Number of points: 7
  • 2009 first round: Sam Young (4 points)
  • 2010 first round: DeJuan Blair (3 points)
  • 2009 second round: NA
  • 2010 second round: NA

-- Oklahoma --

  • Number of projected draft picks: 2
  • Number of points: 7
  • 2009 first round: Blake Griffin (4 points)
  • 2010 first round: Willie Warren (3 points)
  • 2009 second round: NA
  • 2010 second round: NA

-- Tennessee --

  • Number of projected draft picks: 2
  • Number of points: 7
  • 2009 first round: Tyler Smith (4 points)
  • 2010 first round: Scotty Hopson (3 points)
  • 2009 second round: NA
  • 2010 second round: NA

-- Arizona State --

  • Number of projected draft picks: 2
  • Number of points: 6
  • 2009 first round: James Harden (4 points)
  • 2010 first round: Jeff Pendergraph (2 points)
  • 2009 second round: NA
  • 2010 second round: NA

-- Georgetown --

  • Number of projected draft picks: 3
  • Number of points: 6
  • 2009 first round: NA
  • 2010 first round:  Greg Monroe (3 points)
  • 2009 second round: DaJuan Summers (2 points)
  • 2010 second round: Austin Freeman (1 point)

-- Memphis --

  • Number of projected draft picks: 2
  • Number of points: 6
  • 2009 first round: Tyreke Evans (4 points)
  • 2010 first round: NA
  • 2009 second round: Robert Dozier (2 points)
  • 2010 second round: NA

-- Texas --

  • Number of projected draft picks: 2
  • Number of points: 6
  • 2009 first round: Damion James (4 points)
  • 2010 first round: NA
  • 2009 second round: Connor Atchley (2 points)
  • 2010 second round: NA
Posted on: August 29, 2008 11:54 am

Wall sets visits to four schools

It looks like Baylor is gonna have to sweat this out.

Jerry Meyer of Rivals.com is reporting that John Wall, the nation's No. 1 recruit, has set four official visits -- to Memphis (Sept. 12), Kansas (Sept. 19), Oregon (Oct. 3) and Kentucky (likely Oct. 10). Surely, a trip to Baylor will come at some point. But the hope Scott Drew had that his hiring of Dwon Clifton, Wall's AAU coach, would secure a quick commitment from the elite point guard seems to have faded away.

"Baylor's situation in hiring Dwon gives John a comfort level that doesn't exist anywhere else," Brian Clifton, Wall's other AAU coach and Dwon Clifton's brother told Meyer. "But there are some schools that John is interested in because of style of play or the incoming recruiting class. Those factors and others might have as much to do with where John goes to school as anything. ... If he wants to go to Baylor or if he wants to go to Memphis, he is going to do what he thinks is best for himself. Dwon did what was best for himself, and that does have some impact on John because his comfort level is the most important factor. But it doesn't obligate John to go to Baylor."

Posted on: August 27, 2008 5:05 pm
Edited on: August 27, 2008 5:05 pm

More on C.J. Henry

I've got a few emails about the C.J. Henry-to-Memphis story and wanted to clarify the situation as best I can.

The one thing people keep mentioning is how quickly this all happened, that it came out of nowhere. But I can honestly tell you this scenario was being bounced around more than a year ago. In other words, the first time I ever heard about the possibility of C.J. Henry and Xavier Henry both playing at Memphis was in July 2007. So while this might've all been finalized in the past week don't think for a second that it wasn't presented to the Henry family in some form for more than a year.

Anyway, the next question is about whether this guarantees Xavier Henry will sign with Memphis.


Probably not.

Kansas will always be a viable option because Bill Self is one of the best recruiters in the business. But it has forever been assumed by industry sources that Xavier Henry would play for the Tigers, and I can't imagine the fact that his brother is now expected to be in school at the UofM will hurt in any way. So again, guarantee is a strong word. But if you've got to bet a paycheck on it, bet on it happening.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 26, 2008 6:51 pm

Memphis gets C.J. Henry; Xavier next?

No wonder the Memphis staff has always seemed quietly confident about its chances of landing Xavier Henry.

The Oklahoman reported Tuesday that Xavier's older brother, C.J. Henry, will enroll at Memphis this week and immediately join John Calipari's basketball program. Consequently, it's difficult to imagine the Tigers not adding Xavier -- ranked fourth in the Class of 2009 by Scout.com -- in the coming months.

For those unfamiliar, the connection dates back two decades.

Calipari was an assistant at Kansas when Carl Henry -- C.J.'s and Xavier's father -- played for the Jayhawks and the Memphis coach has apparently used that connection to help lure C.J. from minor league baseball, where he spent the past four summers bouncing between the farm systems of the Yankees and Phillies after being a first-round draft pick in 2005.

As for his Xavier's future, C.J. insisted he and his brother will make independent decisions.

But this is obviously a sign that Memphis is in great shape with Xavier.

And the presumption is that he'll sign with the Tigers in November.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: August 14, 2008 11:18 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2008 11:37 pm

JUCO standout commits to Memphis

Will Coleman committed to Memphis on Thursday night, a source told CBSSports.com.

The 6-foot-9, 265-pound power forward is a rising sophomore at Miami-Dade Community College. He was FCCAA All-Southern Conference First Team last season and won the NJCAA National Player of the Week award in January after averaging 15.3 points and 15.7 rebounds in a three-game stretch.

Coleman joins Nolan Dennis, a high school guard from Texas, as Class of 2009 products who have now announced they plan to sign with the Tigers in November. Memphis is also in with countless other high-level prospects, among them Xavier Henry, John Wall and Kenny Boynton.

In other Memphis news, there was speculation Thursday that Class of 2008 signees Angel Garcia and Matt Simpkins have been cleared by the NCAA to participate as freshmen this season. However, a source told CBSSports.com that the NCAA Clearing House hasn't yet ruled on Garcia or Simpkins, meaning John Calipari and staff are still waiting to know exactly how their 2008-09 roster will look.

Posted on: August 9, 2008 8:16 pm
Edited on: August 10, 2008 10:28 pm

Wall breaks (somebody else's) recruiting news

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- John Wall finally announced a college decision Saturday afternoon.

No, it wasn't his decision, silly.

It was Jordan Hamilton's.

"I think he's going to Texas," Wall said. "I think that's where he's going."

So that's the (somewhat) big news coming out of the Nike Global Challenge, a three-day event here in the shadows of Nike's headquarters featuring three teams from the United States competing against squads from Senegal, Serbia, Canada, Puerto Rico and Lithuania. After Wall got 11 points, five assists and six steals in 23 minutes to lead his team to an 86-72 win over Puerto Rico, he disclosed Hamilton's future college -- though Hamilton is yet to confirm, it's worth noting -- and then made time to discuss his own roller-coaster ride of a recruitment with great candor.

A 6-foot-3 point guard, Wall has been thrust into the spotlight recently for three reasons:

1. He's the No. 1 prospect in America.

2. Baylor just hired one of his AAU coaches, Dwon Clifton, to be its director of player development.

3. His other AAU coach, Brian Clifton, is a former licensed sports agent, as CBSSports.com reported Friday.

Those developments have put Wall in the position of having multiple fan bases -- and to a lesser degree the entire recruiting world -- hang on his every move. It's strange, he admitted, particularly considering that this time two years ago he was a mostly unknown commodity outside of his home state of North Carolina.

"It's been kinda hard," Wall said. "But when you get on the basketball court you just have to block it out."

As for his recruitment, Wall acknowledged Baylor's hiring of Dwon Clifton matters.

Big surprise, huh?

"It might give them a little edge because (Dwon has) helped me out a lot," Wall said. "He's my AAU coach. He talked me through a lot and worked me out and things like that. I feel like all the schools are the same. But (Dwon) gave (Baylor) a little bit of an edge."

So there you go, Baylor fans.

You have the edge.

But the bad news for the Bears is that Wall said he's not ready to commit and that he will take official visits.

"I think I'll visit Memphis, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Kansas and Kentucky," he said. "And I was talking to Jordan Hamilton and he asked me if I'd put (Texas) back into the mix. So I think I'm gonna give them a look, too. ... But I don't have a timetable (on a decision). ... It could be right before basketball season or during basketball season. It could be anytime."

In other words, stay tuned.

Posted on: July 31, 2008 7:12 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2008 1:09 am

Memphis could be out of Wall/Gaddy sweepstakes

Thursday was a bad day for Memphis.

First, Baylor hired John Wall's AAU coach, Dwon Clifton, meaning the nation's No. 1 point guard will soon commit to the Bears -- and not Memphis -- barring some major surprise. If that wasn't bad enough, the school then had to report an apparent NCAA violation because FedEx Express president and CEO David Bronczek placed a phone call earlier this month to Oseye Gaddy, a FedEx customer service representative who works in Tacoma, Wash., and just so happens to be the mother of Abdul Gaddy, the nation's No. 2 point guard.

According to the NCAA, that's a no-no because Bronczek is considered a Memphis booster and boosters are not allowed to contact recruits or the family of recruits to talk basketball, which Bronczek did. Consequently, it's possible Memphis will be forced to cease its recruitment of Gaddy, per the NCAA rulebook. So that means Memphis might've lost the No. 1 and No. 2 point guards in the country in a matter of hours Thursday, which was bad news for everybody related to the UofM program.

Except veteran point guard Willie Kemp, of course.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: July 23, 2008 12:51 am

A late tip coming to Memphis

LAS VEGAS -- Any UMass fans wanting to watch their new coach (Derek Kellogg) work against their old coach (John Calipari) in a scheduled game at Memphis on Nov. 17 are probably gonna have to stay up late to do it if things go as planned, because right now the plan is to tip it off at 12 a.m. ET, after ESPN's Monday Night Football telecast.

"That's what I hear," Kellogg said, though he added he didn't think everything was finalized just yet. Either way, this is happening barring some breakdown and Calipari is already trying to think of ways to get fans to FedExForum for what will be an 11 p.m. tip local time on a Monday, which isn't good for anybody with a normal job that requires their presence Tuesday mornings.

"We're going to have to turn it into an event," Calipari said.

One idea he's bouncing around is to have the Monday Night Football game broadcast inside FedExForum on the jumbotron and trying to get everybody down to watch the game and party in the building for three or four hours before tipoff. I suggested he hand out free tickets to patrons of the Flying Saucer, a nearby pub that has a "Pint Night" every Monday and always draws a crowd.

"That might work," Calipari said.

It's no surprise ESPN would come to Calipari with this unconventional idea, by the way. There's a natural storyline with him coaching against UMass for the first time since he led the school to the 1996 Final Four, and that's always good for television. Also, Calipari did four "midnight games" when he was at UMass because he values national exposure over anything else, which is why he's leaving Las Vegas Wednesday morning to fly to Los Angeles to co-host the Best Damn Sports Show Period the next two nights.

In other words, ESPN knew Calipari might be the one guy who would go for this crazy plan.

Because it would mean extra national exposure for the Memphis program.

And that's what is most important to Calipari, regardless of the time.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com