Saturday, April 4, 2015

Running Players Off to the Pro's? UK's Dilemma


John Calipari has three seniors on his roster.  He has three commitments for 2015/2016.

Best I can tell, none of Calipari's seniors are scholarship players.  If true, that means that in order for UK to sign its three commitments, three of the team's underclassmen have to go pro.

Not a problem most years for UK, and shouldn't be a problem this year.  I can see Willie Cauley-Stein foregoing his last year.  Karl-Anthony Towns is a talented enough freshman to go high in the draft.  Maybe Dakari Johnson would be a lottery pick.

But what happens if only three leave?  What happens if Johnson, who frankly was outshone this year by Towns, opts to stay?  What if only one of the Harrison twins chooses to leave?  Alex Poythress was injured.  Trey Lyles and Marcus Lee didn't get enough minutes in the platoon system to be guaranteed a high spot in the draft.

Point is that there are realistic scenarios in which UK would have just three spots for three commitments.  But then there is no extra space for Jaylen Brown.  No room for big man Thomas Bryant.

Ten of the top 41 high school seniors are still uncommitted.  Some are waiting to see how much room is available on the UK roster.  Calipari may have to run off some of his players to the pro's.

It's still possible that with all of the coaching moves, graduate transfer situations, late bloomers, and pro commitments (or lack thereof), spring recruitment might yield a very talented player or two for UGA.  Could we get two out of Tevin Mack, Jaylen Brown, Mike Edwards, and perhaps, Mike Thorne?

Hang on.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Fox Bottom Five in SEC Coaches

according to Clay Travis, Fox Sports commentator.


In answering a reader's question about the upgrade in talent in the SEC coaching ranks, Travis put two of the new guys in his top five coaching picks.

I.  Top Five

1.  Billy Donovan

2.  John Calipari

3.  Bruce Pearl

4.  Rick Barnes

5.  Ben Howland

Hard to challenge his top five, though I probably wouldn't put Bruce Pearl in there.  Pearl can coach, but can he stay out of trouble?  His margin for error is very thin, but he has some good recruits coming in.  Will Auburn finish the year in the SEC's top five?  I doubt it.

Billy Donovan can flat out coach.  I wonder how his team will perform this year.  Will his guys take a big leap forward?  Will Chris Walker show why he was a five-star recruit?  Donovan has Noah Dickerson coming in, but other than that, I don't remember any significant recruits.  I expect Donovan to struggle next season.  Maybe he runs off to the pro's.

John Calipari will ride his ridiculous recruiting classes until he leaves for the NBA.  Jaylen Brown will probably end up in Lexington.

I believe that if Georgia gets Mike Edwards, we will win one of the two games against UK next year.

II.  Next Four

6.  Mike Anderson

7.  Kevin Stallings

8.  Andy Kennedy

9.  Frank Martin

I think that Kevin Stallings is a good coach.  Runs the motion offense.  I still argue that the Vandy arena gives their guys an unfair home-court advantage.  Even so, Stallings gets a lot out of his talent.

Disagree that Frank Martin over at South Carolina is any better than Fox.  What has he done?  I mean, other than yell at his guys.

III.  Bottom Five

10.  Mark Fox

11.  Johnny Jones

12.  Billy Kennedy

13.  Alabama's Vacant Spot

14.  Kim Anderson

Wow.  Johnny Jones will win his fair share of games this upcoming season.  Jordan Mickey declaring for the pro's will hurt some, but the new kid Ben Simmons can flat out play.  Jones won't be considered bottom five for long.

Alabama missed on Marshall from Wichita State.  Don't know who they will get.  I expect them to take a step back next year.

Fox is probably a year away from making a significant move.  He's got the program stabilized, but the SEC is getting tougher almost overnight.  The good news is that Jordan Harris and Tyree Crump from southwest Georgia are two 2016 recruits who will make a difference, assuming they sign their LOI's and enroll.  Team those two guys with Turtle Jackson and UGA has a perimeter line-up that can go toe-to-toe with anyone.  But that's year after next.

I expect 2015/16 will be pretty good.  Our line-up top to bottom is probably the best that Fox has had.

Turtle Jackson is better than most people think.  Fox may consider starting him at the point, keeping Charles Mann at the three and going to war with Kenny Gaines at the two, and Yante Maten and Derek Ogbeide in the post.  Now if UGA gets anything from Osahen Iduwe, we might end up quite good.  In any case, a healthy J.J. Frazier and Juwan Parker form a good guard rotation, and we are a recruit or two away from being competitive in the post.

If UGA ends up next season in the top five SEC teams for a third straight year, maybe move Pearl down and put Fox in his place.