Posted on: November 25, 2009 12:06 pm
Edited on: November 25, 2009 12:12 pm
Here's Wednesday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: Is it me or is the Atlantic 10 doing surprisingly well as a conference so far?
I think it's just you, Neil.
Hard to say a conference is doing well when the team picked first, Dayton, already has two losses, including one on a neutral court to the team picked fourth in the Big 12 (Kansas State). The team picked second in the A-10, Xavier, remains undefeated, but the Musketeers haven't played anybody. The team picked third in the A-10, Richmond, has a loss to William & Mary. And the team picked fourth in the A-10, La Salle, lost by double-digits on a neutral court to South Carolina. So the top four in the A-10 aren't off to great starts, although it's only fair to note that Temple -- with a one-point loss to Georgetown and victory over Siena -- appears to be better than anticipated.
Either way, as a league, the A-10 isn't doing surprisingly well.
I still believe in Dayton, I like Xavier, and I'm willing to give Temple the benefit of the doubt because the Owls have looked good. But when three of the supposed top four in a league already have losses (and the fourth hasn't beaten anybody), it's difficult to get too excited. So let's give it a few more weeks, take a closer look and reexamine it then.
Posted on: September 19, 2008 1:14 pm
Rashanti Harris has committed to Georgia State, and that might not mean much to you. But it's worth noting in this space because Harris is rated by Rivals.com as the 26th-best prospect in the Class of 2009 and Georgia State isn't the type of school that typically lures recruits of that caliber.
It's a wild development, honestly.
Arkansas, Memphis and Mississippi State were all heavily involved with Harris, whose academic woes are well-documented and the reason the Mississippi native is now at The Patterson School. But late Thursday night he passed on those programs to commit to Rod Barnes and in the process continued a trend of high-level prospects choosing outside the power programs.
Consider that four of Rivals.com's top 13 centers in the Class of 2009 are now committed to non-BCS programs. This wouldn't be too strange, mind you, if they were committed to Xavier, Gonzaga, Memphis or Nevada. But the four prospects (Harris, Zeke Marshall, Aaric Murray and Greg Smith) have pledged their allegiances to Georgia State, Akron, La Salle and Fresno State, meaning four top 90 national prospects have committed outside the normal power structure (and it should be noted that Rivals.com's No. 2 prospect in the Class of 2009, DeMarcus Cousins, has committed to UAB, i.e., another non-BCS/non-power program).
For those in search of explanation, here's one: Beyond the special relationships that can bond between staffs and prospects (and played a huge role in the commitments of Harris and Cousins), it's fair to partly credit the 2008 NBA Draft for the trend. Multiple industry sources have said kids watched three of the first 26 picks come from Rider (Jason Thompson), Western Kentucky (Courtney Lee) and IUPUI (George Hill) and realized for good that it's possible to be a first-round pick from virtually anywhere. In other words, Harris knows the NBA is an option even from Georgia State, and perhaps that helped make his unconventional decision a little easier.
Posted on: June 2, 2008 11:02 am
Edited on: June 3, 2008 11:00 am
Here's Monday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: It's funny how there is no talk about NCAA 3 point-contest winner Darnell Harris. I guess a lot of reporters/columnists haven't heard much about him other than the fact that he won the 3-point contest. But His story deserves more talk than most of these guys. He is a great player and will be in the NBA as well.
Just so we're clear, Greg, I'm for Darnell Harris making the NBA or achieving anything he wants to achieve. I like people succeeding. But you're hardly fair to criticize anybody for not mentioning Darnell Harris as it pertains to the NBA Draft when he has a 0.00 percent chance of being drafted. I mean, he was a fine college player at La Salle. But he's a 6-foot-1, 165-pound shooting guard, and the list of those guys succeeding in the NBA these days pretty much looks like this:
-- Start of list --
1. Allen Iverson
-- End of list --
Consequently, things aren't looking up for Harris, and it can't be a good sign that he wasn't even one of the 65 players invited to the NBA Pre-Draft Camp, particularly when at least 50 of the guys invited to the NBA Pre-Draft Camp won't end up in the NBA either. Another bad sign: If you do a Google News search for "Darnell Harris" and "NBA" you will get exactly 0 matches. Yet another bad sign: If you go to DraftExpress.com (the fine website run by Jonathan Givony) you'll find profiles for NBA veteran Devin Harris and high school senior Rashanti Harris and a bunch of other Harrises, but nothing on Darnell Harris. And when you aren't even mentioned on a web site devoted to the NBA Draft that's a pretty good sign you aren't going to be drafted. But like I said, I like people succeeding. So I’ll cross my fingers and toss pennies into fountains in the name of Darnell Harris, if you like. But if you're asking me to write about Darnell Harris' NBA aspirations, well, this is probably the best I can do.