Via: Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports
Chicago for the NBA Pre-Draft Combine -- where every NBA executive of note will be in attendance to see some of the top players go up against one another. The problem? Most of the elite guys won't do much more than jump and talk.
Nerlens Noel (knee) and Alex Len (ankle) won't do much of anything, and another lock lottery pick, Anthony Bennett, won't even be in attendance after heeding his doctor's advice to rest his injured shoulder. It doesn't matter, though. None of the three would have done much more than measurements and team interviews, anyway. Few of the likely lottery picks will do anything, and there's little the NBA can do about it.
What ever happened to good, old-fashioned competition?
A year ago, I watched Bradley Beal sit courtside as he heeded his agent's advice not to do any competitive, on-court, actual basketball work. He was salivating to get onto the court, as was Thomas Robinson. But I understood their agents' stance since both Beal and Robinson had already solidified their spots in the top half of the lottery, and why risk it?
Guys like Trey Burke, Michael Carter-Williams, Mason Plumlee and others projected to be taken among the top 12 or 15 picks (i.e. Ben McLemore, Otto Porter, Shabazz Muhammad) will do the same this year in Chicago. I've also been told it's unlikely that Lehigh's C.J. McCollum, coming off a foot injury that ended his college career, will participate. Louisville's Gorgui Dieng is recovering from an ankle injury. C.J. Leslie, Seth Curry and Ryan Kelly are also out due to injury.
Instead of the top 60 guys battling on the court, it'll ultimately be a group of 40 or so -- many fighting to get into the back half of the first round, and the rest likely to be taken in the second round.
For those NBA guys who did their homework this season, a combine setting will do little for them, anyway. Most have already seen these guys in actual game competition, the most effective manner to evaluate. The measurements and testing might be as critical as anything else. Standing reach is more important than actual height.
With that said, there will still be players who have an opportunity to improve their draft stock this week in Chicago. Here are some who will have the magnifying glass on them the remainder of this week at the Harrison Street Athletics Facility:
1.) Rudy Gobert -- NBA guys are enamored by the 7-foot Frenchman's length and his ability to run the court, but they want to see if he can compete physically with college big men. It'll be interesting to see if he can score in the post and hold his own against stronger guys.
2.) Ricky Ledo -- The well-traveled Rhode Island native has the size and skill set for an NBA two-guard. The question is baggage? He has been to five schools and left Providence after never playing a game in college. It'll be interesting to see how he performs both on and off the court for teams and whether he becomes worth the risk of a first-round selection.
3.) Allen Crabbe and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope -- Guys with length who can knock down shots excel in this kind of setting. Crabbe and Pope both look the part, and each are capable of putting on a shooting clinic that would further grab the attention of NBA GM's. Both could easily find themselves going in the 20s come draft night.
4.) Myck Kabongo -- He only wound up playing 11 games after the NCAA forced him to sit the majority of the season. He has the speed that NBA guys want out of the point guard position, and his personality will blow away teams in the interview process.
5.) Glen Rice Jr. -- Was basically a problem child for two different coaching staffs at Georgia Tech and wound up being tossed from the program. He's talented, though, and got a chance the second half of the D-League campaign, where he lit it up. How will he show in Chicago, and will the red flags hinder his draft stock?
6.) Norvel Pelle -- Long, athletic and 6-foot-11, he didn't qualify after signing with St. John's. Has bounced around, but plenty of NBA guys are intrigued with his upside. He'll get a chance to show whether someone will take a flier on him.
With all the so called experts calling this a 'weak draft...' It should be interesting to see how this crop of college players pan out in the league.
Share your thoughts with us by posting where you think the local talent will land on Twitter @ESPN680.
Via: Jeff Borzello CBS Sports
Andrew Wiggins made fans in Lawrence very happy on Tuesday afternoon, officially ending his recruiting by signing with Kansas.
The 6-foot-8 small forward from Canada chose the Jayhawks over Florida State, Kentuckyand North Carolina. All four schools felt like they were squarely in the mix heading into the announcement, as Wiggins played his entire recruitment very close to the vest – despite nonstop attention and speculation for months.
Yet, a quiet ceremony in front of family and friends at Huntington Prep (W.Va.) was the way it ended.
While Kansas can now start planning its roster around the star power of Andrew Wiggins, the other three teams have to feel like they missed out on something special. So where do they go from here? The class of 2013 is essentially closed, meaning we can take a look at the three runners-up and assess what they look like for the 2013-14 season.
Kentucky: Andrew Wiggins was the definition of a luxury item for the Wildcats. John Calipari is bringing in the No. 1 recruiting class of all time either way. The Wildcats will be the preseason No. 1 team in the country either way. With that said, Wiggins is the sort of next-level player that has the ability to make the difference between a national championship and a Final Four loss. He would have given Calipari a dominant wing scorer who can create matchup problems at multiple positions, and guard nearly anyone on the court. With Wiggins in the fold, we would have heard plenty of talk about Kentucky going undefeated and winning the national championship. Now, the Wildcats are among a small group of teams that enter the season as favorites to cut down the nets.
Florida State: The Seminoles clearly take the biggest hit by not getting Wiggins. He would have vaulted them into the top-25 and enabled them to make a run next March. He's a go-to-guy, an All-American, a No. 1 pick -- the type of player Florida State doesn't often get to have on its roster. Without him, Leonard Hamilton's squad might be headed for the bottom half of the ACC. Xavier Rathan-Mayes is a very good freshman, and Hamilton does bring back four starters -- but Michael Snaer is gone, and he was the best player for a 18-16 NIT team. Devon Bookert, Aaron Thomas and Okaro White are all back, but that probably isn't enough for an NCAA tournament run. A Wiggins-led Florida State team would have been a threat in March. This one really hurts the Seminoles.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels seemed like a good fit for Wiggins, as he could have come in and had a chance to win a national championship – while also being the go-to-guy for Roy Williams. He would have provided another frontcourt weapon for the Tar Heels, and a truly consistent offensive player. P.J. Hairston and James Michael McAdoo are both returning, but both had bouts of inconsistency on the offensive end last season. Wiggins would have changed that – while also taking the pressure off of them. North Carolina can still make a Final Four run, but it will come down to point guard Marcus Paige and the development of North Carolina's young post players. Brice Johnson, Joel James, Isaiah Hicks, Kennedy Meeks – someone has to step up.
I must say that in years past I have followed recruiting closely... I interned for recruiting websites and have followed the best high school players... But usually the players give some sort of hint to where he/she is leaning to... With Wiggins there was nothing. He played it close to the chest and chose the Jayhawks. Wish him the best of luck and hope that he lives up to the hype in Kansas.
Entire 2013 Big East Baseball Championship Will Be Seen On ESPN Platforms
ESPN3 to carry every early-round contest; ESPNU slated to cover conference title game
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Each game of the 2013 Big East Baseball Championship, slated for May 22-26 at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla., will be carried live on ESPN platforms for the first time, the Big East and ESPN announced. Each of the 12-to-14 early round contests will be available at no additional cost to fans watching on ESPN3 and BigEastBaseball.com. ESPNU will telecast the conference title game.
The Big East partnered with Miami-based Mobile Content Providers (MCP) to produce each of the early round games for delivery to ESPN3. MCP is a leading provider of cost-effective live production solutions that will use emerging video transmission technology to deliver high definition video of the Big East baseball championship live to more than 85 million homes that have access to ESPN3.
“We are proud to offer unprecedented national exposure to the student-athletes and programs participating in the 2013 conference baseball championship,” said Commissioner Mike Aresco. “A premier event that has featured up-and-coming Major League Baseball stars like Todd Frazier, Jeff Samardzija and A.J. Pollock will now be available to fans via the premier platforms that ESPN offers.”
"MCP is proud to partner with the Big East Conference to produce and distribute its 2013 Baseball Championship for ESPN3 and its own branded digital platforms,” said Mitch Rubenstein, MCP President and Co-Founder. With the help the staff at ESPN, we are able to make these events possible. It is our willingness to embrace and understand how to produce quality college sports content to meet demand, at affordable prices, that has made Mobile Content Providers a success."
The championship features the top eight teams from the Big East playing in a double-elimination College World Series format with the conference champion earning the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Fans can also watch opening ceremonies, the popular Home Run Derby and a fireworks display live exclusively on BigEastBaseball.com beginning Tuesday, May 21 at 6 p.m. ET.
Big East baseball features three teams ranked among various national polls as of May 6. Louisville (No. 12/10), Pittsburgh (No. 24/17) and USF (No. 23/20) are each featured in the latest national polls provided by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball, respectively. Seven Big East teams are listed among the top 100 in the NCAA RPI.
About the Big East Conference
The Big East is the largest and most diverse Division I conference in the country. It was formed in 1979 and represents the athletic interests of 16 member institutions including the University of Cincinnati, University of Connecticut, DePaul University, Georgetown University, University of Louisville, Marquette University, University of Notre Dame, University of Pittsburgh, Providence College, Rutgers University, St. John’s University, Seton Hall University, University of South Florida, Syracuse University, Temple University and Villanova University. The Big East Conference has captured 34 national championships in six different sports and is a founding member of the Bowl Championship Series. For more information on the Conference and its membership, please visit www.bigeast.org.
ESPN3 is ESPN's live multi-screen sports network, a destination that delivers thousands of global sports events annually and accessible online via WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app and through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members. It is currently available to more than 85 million homes at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider. The network is also available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers connected to on-campus educational networks and on-base military networks.
About Mobile Content Providers
Mobile Content Providers is America's fastest growing Small Mobile Unit Production Company, partnering with Networks, Conferences, Universities, Events and other like companies around the United States to produce high quality, affordable productions to meet the growing demand for Content Development.
Via: By Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo!
If anyone thought Rick Pitino's run of good fortune ended with his horse's underwhelming performance in the Kentucky Derby last weekend, a photo that surfaced Wednesday night on Twitter proved otherwise.
Yes, that's Pitino on a boat in the Bahamas with an 80-pound marlin he just caught.
Pitino told SI.com last week one of his friends was taking him to a resort at Baker's Bay, a three-mile stretch of coastline on the island of Great Guana Cay in the Northeastern Bahamas. Marlin fishing was something Pitino said he had never done before, not that it kept him from becoming an instant success.
Of course, the beginner's luck fits with the past few weeks Pitino has enjoyed.
During one magical week in April, Pitino won his second national championship, got inducted into the Naismith hall of fame, landed a horse in the Kentucky Derby and saw his son Richard become the Big Tens youngest head coach when Minnesota hired him.
Via: John R. Karman III Reporter- Business First
NBA in Louisville?
Via: Myron Medcalf | ESPN.com
The NBA draft early entry deadline has passed, so we now have a solid image of what most teams will look like in 2013-14. Recruits have signed letters of intent, many transfers have picked new schools, coaches have been hired and fired, and standout players have announced whether they’ll enter the NBA draft or remain in school for another season.
Now that the smoke has cleared, it appears that the four teams that competed for the national title in Atlanta last month possess the potential to reach Arlington, Texas, for next season’s Final Four. What are the chances that Syracuse, Louisville, Michigan and Wichita State will get back there?
(In order of probability on a scale of 1-10)