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Friday, June 30, 2006

Sons of Former-Tigers Anthony Douglas and Bobby Parks

Sons of ex-Tigers shining

By Jason Smith, Commercial Appeal
June 30, 2006

The two dads have sat side by side over the past week in basketball gymnasiums across the city, watching their sons, Bobby Parks Jr. and Brian Douglas, play a game that was at one time their fathers' livelihood. "Is that your boy, No. 41?" a father from the opposing team asks former Memphis State basketball standout Bobby Parks, who was sitting alongside another former Tiger, Anthony Douglas, on Thursday afternoon in the Neighborhood Christian Center gym in North Memphis.

Then the man, Robert Joy of Dayton, Ohio, recognizes Parks, a Grand Junction, Tenn., native who 22 years after his collegiate career still ranks among the Tigers' top 16 all-time leading scorers. "You had that bank shot," Joy added, looking to Parks for affirmation.

"Nah. That was (Phillip) 'Doom' (Haynes)," Parks replied, obviously unoffended.

With their basketball careers at Memphis and overseas now behind them, Parks and Douglas would rather that their sons, who are playing in this week's Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) 13-and-under Division 1 national tournament, get the attention.

"I have an older kid who played a little high school ball, but at that time I was gone all the time overseas, especially during the season, so I didn't get a chance to see him play other than in pick-up games," said Parks, who following his collegiate career at Memphis (1980-84) spent more than 15 years playing professionally out of the Philippines, where his son, Parks Jr., was born.

"But this one, I've seen him all the way up, and he's just grown real fast. ... He's going to be better than me. He's going to be taller, and he can shoot the 3 and put it on the floor."

Parks' son, who goes by his father's middle name, Ray, is a legit 6-2, and, at 13 years old, weighs between 180-190 pounds. He already wears size 14 shoes, just like his dad.

"I'll do anything to get that respect that my dad has," says Ray, who came to Memphis from the Philippines in April and will enroll in the eighth grade this fall at a to-be-determined area school. "I want to go to the pros."

As does Anthony Douglas' son, Brian, a slashing 6-0 guard with a knack for rebounding like his dad, the former East High McDonald's All-American who played center at the UofM from 1990-93.

"It's really tense watching (Brian) play, but it's a lot of fun also," said Douglas, whose professional career included stops in Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Argentina.

"My oldest son plays basketball a little bit, but he's more into football. (Brian) is the first one that's really following in my footsteps, and at this age, he's more into basketball than I was at 13. He's more passionate about it, so I've tried to teach him little techniques, like going to the (free-throw) line and squaring your body."

Brian, also 13, said Thursday he believes he's due a growth spurt. His father was listed at 6-7 during his senior season at the UofM, though Douglas is probably closer to 6-5.

"I just love the game," said Brian, a rising eighth-grader at Holy Rosary School in Memphis. "When my dad used to play overseas, sometimes I'd go with him, and I'd try to copy everything he'd do."

The duo's 13-and-under Memphis YOMCA coach, Keith Easterwood, believes Brian's game more closely resembles his father's than that of Ray, whose father, Parks, was more of a slasher and a leaper.

"Brian's more like his dad because he's a physical guy," Easterwood said. "Ray is not like his dad because Bobby was a garbage guy and a defensive stopper. Ray's been taught the game from a different style by living in the Philippines. He's more of a scorer and a finesse guy. He's a skill guy."

On Thursday, Ray and Brian's Memphis YOMCA team, one that includes talented guard Terrence Durham (Treadwell), dropped an 83-77 overtime decision to the Southwest Illinois Jets in the first round of the Division 1 national tournament despite 16 points from Ray.

YOMCA, which had finished second in pool play this week to advance to Thursday's first round, will play today at 5:05 p.m. in a loser's bracket game at American Way Middle.

"They've played well," Douglas said. "Playing AAU basketball in the summertime, I think that's where I developed a lot as a person and as a player, getting to play against a lot of different players. ... I just want them to have fun this summer."

Parks agreed, adding that he wouldn't be disappointed in the least should his son -- whom he calls a better ballhandler and a better shooter than himself -- not follow in his footsteps and play professionally.

"I never pushed (Ray)," Parks said. "I just told him to make sure he gets an education. If he stays out of trouble and finishes school, he'll have made me a happy father."

-- Jason Smith: 901-529-5804

Carney, Williams Back-to-Back Draft Picks

Carney, Williams Back-To-Back First Round Picks In 2006 NBA Draft
Carney to 76ers at No. 16, Williams to Pacers at No. 17
June 28, 2006

NEW YORK, N.Y. - After a 2005-06 season full of milestones, the University of Memphis basketball program made even more history Wednesday night in the 2006 NBA Draft held at Madison Square Garden. Rodney Carney and Shawne Williams were consecutive first round selections at No. 16 and No. 17, marking the first time in Memphis hoops history that two Tigers went in the NBA Draft's opening round.

Carney, an Indianapolis, Ind., native was selected No. 16 by the Chicago Bulls and then was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. Williams, a Memphis, Tenn., native, was picked No. 17 by the Indiana Pacers.

Carney and Williams are the ninth and 10th Tigers, respectively, to ever be drafted in the first round. The 2006 Tiger NBA draftees join Win Wilfong (1956; No. 4), Wayne Yates (1961; No. 4), Keith Lee (1985; No. 11), William Bedford (1986; No. 6), Anfernee Hardaway (1993; No. 3), David Vaughn (1995; No. 25), Lorenzen Wright (1996; No. 7) and Dajuan Wagner (2002; No. 6) as Memphis' first round selections.

A consensus All-America second team pick, Carney was selected the Conference USA Player of the Year and was named to the Conference USA All-Tournament and All-Conference USA first teams. The 6-foot-7 forward was a finalist for three national Player of the Year honors (Naismith Award, Oscar Robertson Trophy, Adolph F. Rupp Trophy) and was on the Wooden Award mid-season list. Carney, who participated in the College Basketball Slam Dunk Championships at the 2006 NCAA Final Four, led the Tigers in scoring (17.2 ppg) and three-point field goal percentage (39.1) this past season.

Carney moved into the No. 3 spot on the Memphis career scoring list with 1,901 points (trailing only Keith Lee and Elliot Perry) and set the school's career three-pointers made record with 287 treys. He also set the school's single-season three-pointers made mark with 102 in 2005-06. Carney finished his career ranked among Conference USA career leaders in scoring (No. 4) and three-pointers made (No. 3).

A consensus national Freshman All-America Team pick, Williams was named the Conference USA Freshman of the Year and was an All-Conference USA third team selection. The 6-foot-9 forward, who earned the Conference USA Tournament MVP award, was the team's third-leading scorer (13.2 ppg) and second-leading rebounder (6.2 rpg) and shot a team-high 78.6 percent from the free throw line. Williams posted five double-doubles in 2005-06, including performances in wins over Gonzaga (14 pts/11 rebs) and Tennessee (21 pts/14 rebs).
Check back to for more draft news later tonight.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Indiana Pacers Pick Shawne Williams - Indianapolis Star

Pacers pick Shawne Williams of Memphis

By Mike Wells, Indianapolis Star

Larry Bird said he drafted the mystery player he wanted. But he did it while raising some eyebrows. The Pacers surprised many when they drafted University of Memphis forward Shawne Williams with the No. 17 pick in Wednesday's NBA draft."We felt like Shawne Williams was the guy we wanted all along, and we got him," Bird said during an interview with ESPN. "It was tough because there were three or four teams we didn't know which direction they were going, so we were just hoping and praying our guy would get to us. We got very fortunate."

In the second round, the Pacers selected Alexander Johnson, a forward from Florida State. Indiana then traded Johnson to Portland for University of Cincinnati guard James White, who was the Trail Blazers' second-round pick. Portland also gets two future second-round picks.

Bird planned to speak to Indianapolis media after the completion of the draft, which was too late for this edition of The Star.

Bird was obviously putting up a smokescreen when he said late last week the team would likely continue its trend of drafting players with at least three years of college experience. Williams, 20, played one season at Memphis.

The 6-9 Williams averaged 13.2 points and 6.1 rebounds in 36 games, including 34 starts, with the Tigers, who made it to the West Regional Finals. Williams was Conference USA Freshman of the Year.

The Pacers passed on the opportunity to draft Connecticut's Marcus Williams, arguably the best point guard in the draft.

Some analysts questioned the Pacers' selection of Shawne Williams, especially with their need to get better in the backcourt. The Pacers are trying to catch up with the likes of Detroit and Miami in the Eastern Conference. ESPN's Greg Anthony called the pick, "a reach, I think."

"I wonder, though, if he's a winner," ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said about Williams. "He's physically weak right now. He has to improve that, and he has to be more focused as a defender, as a rebounder. Right now he's only focused on scoring. Frankly, he's such a young player, he plays only when he feels like it. He's got the tools, though."

Williams' coach in college, John Calipari, shot down the notion that his former player has a poor work ethic.

"That's a ridiculous statement," Calipari said. "He was one of our leaders . . . as a freshman. When Larry Bird calls and really, really likes him, and tells me this, I'm like, 'Wow.' You're talking about a guy who's a great teammate, has everybody's respect and accepts everybody. The kid, I'm telling you, they can say what they want, he's going to be the sleeper of the draft."

The Pacers will have three players battling for time at small forward if Peja Stojakovic re-signs when free agency starts this weekend. Danny Granger also plays small forward.

Bird said during his television interview that Williams will be able to play power forward after while. The athletic, versatile Williams made 43 percent of his 3-pointers, but only shot 42 percent from the field.

Call star reporter Mike Wells at (317) 444-6053

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The New Looks NBA Draft ex High Schoolers

High school players gone; draft may have more foreign accent

By Ronald Tillery, Memphis Commercial Appeal
June 27, 2006

Welcome to the new and -- most NBA executives would say -- improved NBA draft. This is the first year of the NBA's minimum age requirement, the rule that requires American-born draft candidates be at least 19 and one year removed from high school.

Part of the reason executives fought hard to change the draft was so that a more mature player would enter the league. About a half dozen high school players, including consensus No. 1 choice Greg Oden and former Mitchell High star Thaddeus Young, were projected as quality draft candidates if not for the regulation.

The absence of prep stars in Wednesday's draft has put the onus on general managers to mine international courts and study the collegiate system more intently. Simply put, there is less concentration on long-term potential, which is the essential makeup of preps-to-pros prospects.

"If you look back at the draft starting in 2002, there's been an average of nine high school players and foreign players who have been selected in the top 22," said Tony Barone Sr., Griz director of player personnel. "But now there are no high school players in the draft. The average number of high school players was six or seven. So that's six or seven fewer players who are now going to appear in that top 22 list. So our job becomes a little bit harder with the 24th pick, to decide who's going to be a factor for us."

Basketball purists believe the NBA's age requirement is a victory for college basketball; a shot in the arm for professional development. But 37 underclassmen, including University of Memphis junior-to-be Darius Washington, remained in the draft. There were 38 college underclassmen in the 2005 draft, and the average amount of early entrants between 1997 and 2004 was reportedly 34.

That suggests the jolt to college hoops is short term because freshmen and sophomores still operate with the mentality of naive prep players. Often those players are led to believe that if NBA scouts and executives are in the stands watching they must be good enough.

Foreign-born players offer a different mindset; more maturity. It used to be that teams would select young international players in the draft and allow them stay overseas for another year or two to develop.

Now, teams have a tendency to go with the perceived preparedness of international player high in the draft. Italy's Andrea Bargnani could be the No. 1 overall pick to Toronto.

"A lot of things have changed," Barone said. "For one, we constantly hear about the European game as not being a physical game. That is totally untrue. They can hand-check, grab, and hold players. As a result, the dribbler really gets beaten up, so the game is definitely physical. The skill level of European players is different from the skill level of American players -- because European kids are going to practice a minimum of two times a day and during preseason they might practice three times a day. And I guarantee, one of the practices focus solely on their skill level.

"They aren't worried about doing 360s, bouncing the ball and dunking. They're worried about their footwork. So you see most of the time, the skill level of European players is at a higher level, because they've worked on it more than Americans kids."

In last year's draft, 14 (four first-rounders) of the 60 players picked were foreign. Houston's Yao Ming (2002) remains the highest draft pick to come directly to the NBA from an international basketball league or federation.

That year, a record 17 international players were drafted, with six in the first round.

"I received an interesting article on the opening day NBA roster. There were 85 foreign players this season, which is an 80 percent increase from five years ago," Barone said. "I thought that was very interesting. We have two international scouts, Paulius Jankunas and Wojciech Barycz -- one is based in Belgrade and one is based in Barcelona.

"You have to pay attention to the European market. It doesn't necessarily mean that there are going to be a number of foreign players in this draft. But, the history proves that you have to pay attention to these international players."

At the end of the day, the draft will take on the character of most others. It's still going to develop as a crapshoot.

Eliminating high school players just means there are more foreign-born players on the dice.

-- Ronald Tillery: 901-529-2353

Darius Washington Makes It Official - Signs with Agent

Tigers' D-Washsigns with an agent
Guard's father confirms U of M career is over

By Ronald Tillery, Memphis Commercial Appeal
June 27, 2006

Encouraged by his predraft preparation and workouts, Darius Washington Jr. has decided to forgo his college eligibility just two days before Wednesday's NBA draft. Washington hired an agent Monday, ending his basketball career with the University of Memphis after two seasons.

Advertisement Washington is "confident and comfortable" with the decision, according to his father, Darius Washington Sr. "I've been with him throughout the process. I've talked to a lot of coaches and general managers myself," said Washington Sr., who shielded his son from agent inquiries before choosing San Antonio-based representative Roger Montgomery.

"I sat down with Darius and gave him feedback. We decided to go all the way and sign with an agent. It's time for me to step back. But we weren't going to jump at the first person."

Washington Sr. said he interviewed several agents and his family became comfortable with Montgomery, who also represents New Orleans' Desmond Mason and Detroit's Maurice Evans.

Montgomery now must work the phones on Washington's behalf but said his client already paved a solid road leading to vast interest in Wednesday's draft. Washington is projected to be selected somewhere between late in the first round and midway in the second.

Several NBA observers said Washington effectively answered questions about his ability to play under control at point guard.

Teams already were intrigued by Washington's scoring ability.

One of his most recent workouts at Seattle was described as impressive by an insider.

"This is not a decision made on impulse. This is a decision made on research," Montgomery said. "The Washington family has done a thorough investigation of this situation. Darius is an NBA player, so I'm not surprised he's going forward."

Washington participated in the NBA predraft camp in Orlando earlier this month. He's since worked out for several NBA teams, including Sacramento, Seattle, New Jersey, New Orleans Oklahoma City and Houston.

Teams have been turned on by Washington's NBA-quality strength and quickness.

"It's paramount that people in the NBA know that Darius is in the draft to stay," Montgomery said. "What's good is that Darius and his family understand the process. Darius has done his work, and it puts him in a situation to make this decision. Now, am I going to be able to find out exactly where he'll go? Probably not. But I can get a range."

The deadline for early entrants to withdraw from the draft was June 18.

Washington remained in the draft but could have returned to school with proof he paid for workout expenses and that he didn't sign with an agent.

Underclassmen are permitted to work with advisers as long as they don't arrange workouts with teams on the player's behalf. Washington Sr. said he's also kept financial records of expenditures so that his son could maintain eligibility.

NBA teams haven't told the Washingtons that Darius Jr. is in over his head.
"I haven't heard that once," Darius Sr. said. "All I've been told is that he's ready for the next level."

-- Ronald Tillery: 901-529-2353

Carney Looks Like Top 15 Hit

Carney looks like top 15 hit

By Jim Masilak
June 27, 2006

Rodney Carney missed his last predraft workout Monday with the Philadelphia 76ers after spraining his right ankle, but not to worry.

The former University of Memphis star, who later said his sore peg was "all right," will be able to convalesce in the comfort of the green room at Wednesday night's NBA draft at Madison Square Garden.

Carney's status as one of 15 players invited to attend the draft in New York City is perhaps the best indication yet that the small forward from Indianapolis will be a lottery (top 14) selection.
Carney, who's aiming to succeed former Tigers like Penny Hardaway, Lorenzen Wright and Dajuan Wagner as top-10 selections, certainly hopes that's the case.

"It feels good to have all (the workouts) over. Now everything's in their hands," said Carney of the league's 30 general managers, one of whom is certain to select the 6-7, 205-pound small forward shortly after the draft begins at 6 p.m. CDT. "It's kind of a combination of emotions. You're excited about the potential of being drafted high, but then you're nervous because you don't know what's gonna happen.

"I'm in the dark a little bit, but because I got invited to the green room, that's a good situation to be in."

Where will Carney land on draft night?

Most experts project him going somewhere between No. 9 and No. 15 overall, the consensus being that the New Orleans Hornets, who own the 12th and 15th selections, will not allow him to slide into the second half of the first round.

"Staying in college four years has only helped him. He'll be gobbled up," said Ryan Blake, the NBA's assistant scouting director. "He could go anywhere in the lottery."

Carney's agent, Chris Emens, certainly doesn't expect his client's wait to be a long one.

"It's a pretty wide margin, but I think there's a chance he could go as high as No. 6 (to Minnesota)," Emens said. "The bottom range is probably 14 (to Utah). Or, more likely, 12 (to New Orleans)."

Carney, who would prefer to play for a team with an up-tempo approach, said he has gotten positive vibes from a number of teams.

Golden State, which has the No. 9 overall choice, Seattle (No. 10), Orlando (No. 11), Phoenix (No. 27 and reportedly looking to move up) and Portland (Nos. 4 and 30) have all indicated a keen interest in the player.

"Those teams really gave me good feedback and have talked about drafting me at some point in time," Carney said. "I just want to stay in the top 10 and have an up-tempo team draft me. A team like that is gonna get the best out of me -- my speed, athleticism and shooting ability. A halfcourt team is not gonna be able to use me to my full potential."

Because Carney's greatest attributes are his athleticism, ever-improving long-range shooting and explosiveness in the open court, he and his advisers are intrigued by the possibility of a fast-paced team like Phoenix, which owns the Nos. 21 and 27 selections, trading up.

"Teams interested in drafting Rodney (think) if he's on a team that has an up-tempo philosophy, he could be a player who could be a potential All-Star," Emens said. "If he's on a team with a halfcourt set, then maybe there's some limits to what he might become in that sort of situation.
"Of course, it's in the teams' best interests to pick a player who fits their style of play. The teams that are most interested in Rodney are teams wanting to take advantage of his ... athleticism."

While Blake said questions remain regarding Carney's ball-handling skills and mid-range offensive game, he believes the player will thrive wherever he lands.

"He still has stuff to work on, but you can't ignore the fact he's an effort player," Blake said. "Obviously he's going to excel in (an up-tempo game) because he's fast. But he's the type of player who can adapt to any type of offense."

-- Jim Masilak: 901-529-2311
How High?
The following shows where various Web sites are predicting University of Memphis senior Rodney Carney might go in Wednesday's NBA draft:

Web site / Pick / Team / 9th / Golden State / 11th / Orlando / 12th / New Orleans (1) / 14th / Utah / 15th / New Orleans (2) / 15th / New Orleans / 15th / New Orleans

Philadelphia 76ers Work Out Rodney Carney

Sixers to work out Memphis star Carney

By PHIL JASNER, Philadelphia Daily news

Rodney Carney has credentials: He's No. 3 all-time in scoring at the University of Memphis, he holds the Tigers' career record for three-point field goals made, he was the Conference USA player of the year as a senior. He even holds the Indiana high school state high jump record.

The 76ers will examine the 6-7 forward's skills this afternoon at a predraft workout that also will include 6-8 Temple forward Antywane Robinson and 6-9 George Washington forward Omar Williams.

Carney averaged 17.2 points as a senior, completing his career with 1,901 points and 287 treys. Robinson averaged 12.7 points and 5.0 rebounds last season, but shot just 39.9 percent from the floor.

Neither Robinson nor Williams is a likely first-round pick in Wednesday night's draft. The Sixers hold the No. 13 overall pick in the first round, and do not own a second-round pick.

Williams is intriguing, because he played at Celestial Prep and Philadelphia Christian Academy, two local high school schools from which the NCAA will no longer accept transcripts because of questionable curriculums. Williams also locally attended Lutheran Christian Academy, another school whose credentials have been under review by the NCAA.

Draft Devastates Big-Time Programs

Monday, June 26, 2006

Draft Devastates Big-Time Programs
By Alan Rubenstein,

(I take exception to Mr. Rubenstein's comment that John Calipari stayed in Memphis thinking Shawne Williams and Darius Washington would be Tigers next year. Calipari obviously counseled both men to go pro if they so desired and believed they were ready. Cal knew this before N.C. State's AD Lee Fowler started calling from Raleigh. Calipari stayed in Memphis for many other reasons - some pro-Memphis and some anti-N.C. State, ed.)

As soon as the last strands of net are cut down and college basketball crowns its national champion, speculation about the next season begins. Dick Vitale anoints his top five on championship night and those who follow the game begin to prognosticate who the top teams will be by the time Midnight Madness convenes in October.

Two dates on the spring calendar that are crucial in college basketball are when players can enter their name into the NBA draft and the date that players who have not signed with an agent can withdraw their name from the draft. Players were required to submit their names to the NBA to enter into the draft by April 29 and players who did not sign with an agent were required to withdraw by June 18.

With the NBA age limit instituted this year, the draft is widely considered weak. No prep stars entering means more open slots for underclassman. Some of the players entering the draft went from no-names or bench-warmers in 2005 to potential lottery picks in 2006. The impact of the early entries staying in the draft and those who chose to return to school will have a big impact on the outcome of the 2007 season. Big-name schools can have their season made or broken by the decisions of 19-21-year-old men.

Programs that would have been Final Four contenders in 2007 can be rendered question marks by early losses to the draft. UConn, Texas, and Memphis took significant hits. All three programs would have been Final Four favorites entering next season before losing multiple players as early entrants. Villanova and LSU have talented rosters returning, but each took a hit in a significant area.

Two years after losing Ben Gordon and Emeka Okafor a year early and a year after Charlie Villanueva ended his college career with two years left, Jim Calhoun took UConn within a game of the Final Four this season. Bigger things were expected from the Huskies. They never seemed to find their rhythm in the NCAA tournament. The loss to George Mason will go down as one of the biggest upsets in NCAA tournament history. Already losing four seniors, UConn also had to absorb the losses of point guard Marcus Williams, forward Rudy Gay, and center Josh Boone to the Association with a year of college eligibility left.

Williams exit gives AJ Price his chance to make up for lost time. The rising sophomore missed his freshman season as a medical redshirt and then was suspended last season. Sophomore guard Craig Austrie did a good job while Williams was suspended for the first 11 games last year. Rising sophomore forward Jeff Adrien also will be counted on to add experience and leadership. With a very young team and a lack of depth, UConn could potentially slip to a bubble team.

Texas might have lost more than anyone in college basketball. Gay and Williams were both expected to leave UConn at the end of this season. Rick Barnes reasonably should have expected LaMarcus Aldridge to bolt at the end of this year. The departures of PJ Tucker and Daniel Gibson were unexpected and potentially devastating blows. Rising sophomore AJ Abrams will take over the point and incoming freshman Kevin Durant is a top-five national recruit.
Reserve forward Mike Williams, who would have been one of Texas' key players next season, decided to move on to Cincinnati. Williams was unhappy with his playing time during his first two seasons in Austin. The move was a curious one as Williams will have to sit out next season as a Bearcat. He would have been a starter and one of Rick Barnes' most important starters in 2007.

Abrams and Durant will form an extremely young nucleus next year. Center Connor Atchley and freshman forward Damion James should become major contributors. James had originally committed to Oklahoma, but was released from his letter of intent when former Sooner boss Kelvin Sampson moved on to Indiana. The maturation process of Abrams, Durant, and James should mirror the success of the 2007 Texas Longhorns.

Like Texas and UConn, Memphis fell one game shy of a Final Four trip. John Calipari's decision to remain in Memphis instead of taking over at North Carolina State seemed to be related to the high expectations in Graceland next season. With young stars Darius Washington and Shawne Williams, the Tigers appeared to be set for at least 2007. When that dynamic duo declared for the NBA draft, Memphis fell from a top-five team to out of the top 25. Senior Rodney Carney is also expected to be a first-round draft pick. Rising junior Joey Dorsey and rising sophomores Chris Douglas-Roberts and Antonio Anderson will be counted on by Calipari to raise their games a level for the Tigers to maintain their status as a program with a national profile.

This time last year, Tyrus Thomas was unknown outside of Baton Rouge. Coming off of a medical redshirt season, Thomas needed to focus on getting better to become a contributor for John Brady. After a Final Four trip, the lanky forward has parlayed himself into a lottery pick. Thomas played only one year for Brady after his redshirt season. He developed into a major star and with Glen Davis, was the primary reason the Bayou Bengals advanced to Indianapolis.

Brady was extremely fortunate to lose only Thomas. Davis is an emerging college basketball superstar and media darling. Garrett Temple, Tack Minor, and Tasmin Mitchell give LSU three other players who contributed significant minutes during their Final Four run. Add in rising sophomore Magnum Rolle and Marquette transfer Dameon Mason and LSU will still be one of the favorites in the SEC in 2007.

A 28-5 record, a share of the Big East regular season championship, and an Elite Eight appearance should solidify 2006 as one of the best in Villanova history. The loss of the star backcourt of Randy Foye and Allen Ray was already a big loss and left Jay Wright with questions entering 2007.

When rising junior point guard Kyle Lowry decided to join them in the NBA, Wright was left with a gaping hole. Lowry became entangled in problems of having his own workouts. It has been speculated that if he had decided to return for his junior season, Lowry would have faced a suspension due to improper workouts. He decided to keep his name in the draft after it appeared he would be a first-round draft pick.

Allen and Foye received most of the publicity, but Lowry was the one that ran the offense. Incoming freshman Scottie Reynolds will be burdened with high expectations and big shoes to fill. Reynolds was originally committed to Oklahoma, but was released from his scholarship when Sampson left. The players remaining around Reynolds should help 'Nova to continue to have a national presence. Mike Nardi is the lone holdover from Wright's frequent four-guard lineup. If Reynolds is not the answer at the point, Nardi could slide over. A deadly three-point shooter and excellent defensive player, Nardi helps the Wildcats more at the off-guard than the point.

Wright will likely shift the focus of the team to the frontcourt in 2007. Dante Cunningham and Will Sheridan showed continued improvement during the season and especially during the deep tournament run. Curtis Sumpter returns after missing last season because of a torn ACL suffered during Villanova's trip to the 2005 sweet 16. Sumpter was an All-American in the making before suffering the knee injury last season and also in 2004.

LSU's unlikely Final Four trip and Texas, Memphis, UConn, and Villanova's run to the Elite Eight were accomplished with a core of players that have moved on to the NBA. How their coaches and programs adapt and are able to fill the spots of the departed players will go a long way towards determining the immediate futures of their teams. The most successful programs are able to reload instead of rebuild, and if these five programs are able to accomplish that, then they will have teams that remain in the national spotlight in 2007.

Draft Decisions for New Orleans Hornets (Story about Rodney Carney)

Hornets have plenty of options

Biloxi, Mississippi

The New Orleans Hornets need offensive firepower to improve their chances of making the NBA playoffs next season.

With two first-round selections in Wednesday's NBA draft, New Orleans could find its missing pieces. The Hornets have a lottery pick at No. 12 and No. 15 overall selection obtained from the Milwaukee Bucks for center Jamaal Magloire.

The Hornets (38-43) have holes at center and shooting guard, two positions which kept them from earning a No. 8 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

New Orleans officials discussed their options to challenge the Denver Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings for a playoff berth.

"We need to add a couple of shooters and get a guy who is a big-time nasty player, a physical presence inside," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "We've got options, which is a good thing."
Most of the Internet mock drafts,, and, have New Orleans picking North Carolina State forward Cedric Simmons in the late lottery.

The 6-foot-10 Simmons worked out for the Hornets earlier this month, and made a great impression. New Orleans and N.C. State both run variations of the Princeton offense, which would make an easy transition as a rookie.

"We ran something similar in college," Simmons said. "I'd be familiar with the offensive sets, everything and be able to pick up things quickly."

The mock drafts are divided on what New Orleans does with its second first-round pick. Swingmen Ronnie Brewer (Arkansas) and Rodney Carney (Memphis) are both strong possibilities.

Carney, the Tigers' most prolific 3-point shooter last season, would make an immediate impact in New Orleans. The Hornets could use his long-range shooting.

Chad Ford, who covers the NBA draft for, wrote this month that "The Hornets would be psyched if Carney was still on the board at the 15th pick."

"I shoot the ball well," Carney said. "Everyone says I'm the best athlete in the draft, but they don't know I can shoot the ball as well as I do. I need to work on my one-on-one skills, and I'll be straight. I can handle the ball O.K. and pretty well for my size, but it can be better."

The Hornets also have a second-round pick, the 43rd overall selection, to add depth. UCLA 7-footer Ryan Hollins will be available, according to many of the mock drafts. Hollins was a key player in the Bruins' drive to the NCAA championship game in April.
Game Plan
What: NBA Draft
When: Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.
Where: New York

Monday, June 26, 2006

Shawne Williams Completes 13 City NBA Tryout Blitz - Draft Status Probably #15 to #25

Grind and bear it: Williams helps cause
Busy workout schedule may pay off on draft night

By Jim Masilak
June 25, 2006

It's a glamorous life being a prospective first-round NBA draft choice. Airport, hotel, gym.


Having spent the past few weeks crisscrossing the country, working out for everyone from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Golden State Warriors and becoming familiar with airport lounges across the continent, Shawne Williams is ready for a break.

More than that, the former University of Memphis and Hamilton High standout is ready to finally learn his professional fate.

"It's been a long process, but I feel like it's something you've got to go through to get where you want to get to," said Williams, who on Saturday completed a 13-city blitz by working out in Oakland for the Warriors, who will draft ninth overall. "It's a lot of sitting around and waiting. I'm practicing being patient.

"It wears you down but, other than that, it's like a vacation."

Williams, who went face-up with former Tiger teammate and projected lottery choice Rodney Carney during a couple workouts, is in no doubt as to the worst moment of his grand tour.

"Sitting on an airplane and watching 'King Kong' twice," he said, apparently still shaken by the experience. "My flight from Chicago to (Philadelphia) was delayed and we sat for six hours on the runway. I got in at 4:30 (a.m.) and had to be up at 7:30. That was rough."

But Williams, who is projected by most experts as a mid-to-late first-round selection in Wednesday's NBA Draft, believes he has helped his cause by attending so many tryouts.

"I feel like I haven't had a bad workout. I feel like a lot of GMs know what I can do," Williams said. "I feel like I'll get picked in the first round."

He's not the only one.

As of Saturday afternoon, Williams was projected in various mock drafts as being either the No. 13 (, No. 15 (, No. 20 ( or No. 25 ( overall pick in the first round of the two-round draft.

His agent, Happy Walters, expects his client to fall somewhere in between, "probably between 15 and 25."

"He hasn't really had any bad workouts," said Walters, who along with Bill McCandless represents Williams through the Santa Monica, Calif.-based Immortal Sports Agency. "I think he's safely in the first round."

Given Williams' relative inexperience -- he declared for the draft following a season in which he was named Conference USA Freshman of the Year -- and what is expected to be a volatile draft, NBA assistant scouting director Ryan Blake said it's difficult to predict exactly when Williams' name will be called.

"We don't even know who's going No. 1," Blake said. "Is he a guy who can go in the first round? Yes. Could he go in the second round? He could slip into the second round. I don't know. This is one of those crazy drafts."

Walters said no team has given Williams a promise that it would select him in the first round if available. That's in part because teams choosing in the second half of the first round have little idea who will still be on the board at that point in what is shaping up to be an unpredictable draft.

"There's no guarantee ... A lot of teams talk, but it's hard to tell what's bull and what isn't," Walters said. "He's not hung up on whether he goes 12th or 22nd. He's eager to go to a team who's really excited about him and can put him in the lineup and really use him over the next few years."

Among the teams mentioned most often in connection with the 6-9, 225-pound small forward, who averaged 13.2 points and 6.2 rebounds for the Tigers last season, include the 76ers, who own the 13th pick, the Chicago Bulls (16th), the New York Knicks (20th), the New Jersey Nets (22nd and 23rd) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (25th).

Could Williams last beyond that?

He could, Blake said, if teams load up on international players who can be left in Europe for a year or two for additional seasoning.

"Anything's possible," Walters said. "I would hope that doesn't happen, but anything's possible. I'd be surprised."

Williams disputed an report that said he had failed to perform even one 185-pound repetition on the bench press during the physical portion of the predraft camp in Orlando. It raised questions about the player's readiness for the NBA's 82-game regular-season slog.

Williams said he was given a "zero reps" score after skipping the bench press due to a sore shoulder.

"I hyperextended my shoulder before my Philly workout, so I didn't lift. I did everything else," said Williams, who has yet to decide whether he will return to Memphis to watch the draft or remain in the Los Angeles area, where Monday he's tentatively scheduled to appear on Fox Sports Net's "Best Damn Sports Show Period" with U of M coach John Calipari.

Williams, however, also reportedly had a lower vertical jump when allowed a step (31 inches) than while standing still (32).

While Williams ran up against most of the draft's top prospects during his travels, it was Washington two guard Brandon Roy who impressed him most.

"But I know I stood out in a lot of people's minds too," said Williams, "Whoever picks me, whatever team likes me, I'm gonna like them back. I believe one of them is gonna like me."
-- Jim Masilak: 901-529-2311

Saturday, June 24, 2006

NBA and ABA Draft History - University of Memphis

NBA and ABA Draft History By Years - University of Memphis

NBA - 41 Players, 42 Picks (Rich Jones picked twice in 1968 & 1969)

1) John Wallesea, NBA Minneapolis Lakers

2) Win Wilfong, Round 1, 4th Overall, NBA St. Louis Hawks
3) Jake Butcher, Round 10, 75th Overall, NBA Boston Celtics

4) Jim Hockaday, Round 3, 22nd Overall, NBA Philadelphia Warriors
5) Orby Arnold, Round 7, 55th Overall, NBA St. Louis Hawks

6) George Price, Round 8, 58th Overall, NBA Los Angeles Lakers

7) Wayne Yates, Round 1, 4th Overall, NBA Los Angeles Lakers
8) Lowery Kirk, Round 4, 34th Overall, NBA Cincinnati Royals

9) Hunter Beckman, Round 7, 59th Overall, NBA Cincinnati Royals

10) George Kirk, Round 5, 44th Overall, NBA Cincinnati Royals
11) Bob Neumann, Round 10, 85th Overall, NBA Cincinnati Royals

12) Rich Jones, Round 4, 49th Overall, NBA Phoenix Suns
13) Mike Butler, Round 10, 121th OVerall, NBA San Diego Rockets

Mackie Don Smith, ABA Denver Rockets
Rich Jones, ABA Dallas Chaparrals
Mike Butler, ABA New Orleans Buccaneers

14) Rich Jones, Round 5, 58th Overall, NBA Phoenix Suns

15) James Douglas, Round 16, 226th Overall, NBA Buffalo Braves

James Douglas, ABA Memphis Pros

16) Don Holcomb, Round 6, 94th Overall, NBA Boston Celtics

Don Holcomb, ABA Carolina Cougars

17) Larry Kenon, Round 3, 50th Overall, NBA Detroit Pistons
18) Ronnie Robinson, Round 4, 60th Overall, NBA Phoenix Suns
19) Larry Finch, Round 4, 68th Overall, NBA Los Angeles Lakers

Larry Kenon, ABA Memphis Tams
Larry Finch, ABA Memphis Tams
Ronnie Robinson ABA Utah Stars

20) Bill Cook, Round 3, 49th Overall, NBA Washington Bullets
21) Marion Hillard, Round 4, 65th Overall, NBA Washington Bullets

22) James Bradley, Round 2, 35th Overall, NBA Atlanta Hawks
23) Rodney Lee, Round 8, 150th Overall, NBA Detroit Pistons

24) Dennis Isbell, Round 5, 100th Overall, NBA San Diego Clippers
25) Hank McDowell, Round 5, 102th Overall, NBA Golden State Warriors

26) Otis Jackson, Round 8, 174th OVerall, NBA New Jersey Nets

27) Bobby Parks, Round 3, 58th Overall, NBA Atlanta Hawks
28) Phillip Haynes, Round 6, 121th Overall, NBA Los Angeles Clippers

29) Keith Lee, Round 1, 11th Overall, NBA Chicago Bulls

30) William Bedford, Round 1, 6th Overall, NBA Phoenix Suns
31) Baskerville Holmes, Round 3, 68th Overall, NBA Milwaukee Bucks
32) Andre Turner, Round 3, 69th Overall, NBA Los Angeles Lakers

33) Vincent Askew, Round 2, 39th Overall, NBA Philadelphia 76ers

34) Sylvester Gray, Round 2, 35th Overall, NBA Miami Heat
35) Dwight Boyd, Round 3, 66th Overall, NBA Denver Nuggets

36) Elliott Perry, Round 2, 37th Overall, NBA Los Angeles Clippers

37) Anfernee Hardaway, Round 1, 3rd Overall, NBA Golden State Warriors

38) David Vaughn, Round 1, 25th Overall, NBA Orlando Magic

39) Lorenzen Wright, Round 1, 7th Overall, NBA Los Angeles Clippers

40) Cedric Henderson, Round 2, 44th Overall, NBA Cleveland Cavaliers

41) Dajuan Wagner, Round 1, 6th Overall, NBA Cleveland Cavaliers

42) Antonio Burks, Round 2, 36th Overall, NBA Orlando Magic


Friday, June 23, 2006

ESPN Profile: Rodney Carney

ESPN Profile: Rodney Carney

College: Memphis
Position: Forward
Height: 6-7
Weight: 205

Memphis forward Rodney Carney was a consensus All-America Second-Team selection after leading the Tigers to a 33-4 mark and a spot in the Elite Eight in the 2006 NCAA Tournament. The 6-foot-7 senior was also a finalist for three national Player of the Year honors (Naismith Award, Oscar Robertson Trophy, Adolph F. Rupp Trophy). Carney finished his collegiate career ranked among Conference USA career leaders in scoring (fourth) and 3-pointers made (third).
As a senior, Carney topped the Tigers in scoring (17.2 ppg) and 3-point field goal percentage (.391, 102-261 3FG) to earn Conference USA Player of the Year. He was also named to the All-Conference USA First Team and the Conference USA All-Tournament Team. Carney also participated in the College Basketball Slam Dunk Championships at the 2006 NCAA Final Four.

Carney moved into third on the Memphis career scoring list this past season, finishing with 1,901 points (trailing only Keith Lee and Elliot Perry). He also set the school records for career 3-pointers made (287) and 3-pointers made in a season (102 in 2005-06). In addition, Carney earned selection on the 2005 All-Conference USA Second Team and the 2003 Conference USA All-Freshman Team.

* ESPN Profile
* University of Memphis Profile

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Draft Profiles on Carney, Williams and Washington, Jr. By Draft Express

Name:Rodney Carney
Height:6' 6"
Weight:204 pounds
Current Team:Memphis , Senior
NBA Position:SG/SF
Date of Birth:4/5/1984 (22 Years Old)
High School:Northwest HS
Hometown:Indianapolis, IN
Earliest Draft Class:2005
Current Position:SG/SF
Possible Positions:SG/SF
Best Case Scenario:Jason Richardson
Worst Case Scenario:Quentin Richardson
Profile Written By:Jonathan Givony
Last Updated:4/17/2006

In terms of physical attributes, few can match those of Carney’s in this draft. He has prototypical size and length for a modern day NBA swingman, with a solid frame to boot. What makes him most intriguing, though, is his incredible athletic ability. Carney has an outstanding combination of amazing quickness in the open floor, a fantastic first step, and possibly the best vertical leap in college basketball. He simply explodes off the ground from unheard of distances and glides his way to the basket for extremely creative dunks.

Carney has athleticism in his genes, as his mother DeAndra Ware held the world record in the Indoor 60 yard dash, and also was an Indiana state champion in the 100 and 200 meter dash. Carney himself was the Indiana state champion as a high school senior in the high jump, with a personal-best jump of 6-11. He also excelled in the 400 meter dash.

Offensively, Carney is not “just an athlete;” showing the ability to score in many ways.
His perimeter shooting stroke is a thing of beauty, elevating high off the ground to get his shot off almost whenever he pleases, and showing deep range and picture perfect mechanics releasing the ball. Carney can heat up in a hurry from behind the arc, but can be fairly streaky as well at times. He shows flashes of being able to use his phenomenal quickness to just explode past his man and elevate instantaneously off the dribble from mid-range as well.

In terms of slashing to the basket, when Carney puts his mind to it there are few that can stay in front of him at the NCAA level. His first step is incredibly explosive and he shows some flashy, although not always highly effective, spin moves and floaters to get his shot off once inside the paint.

Defensively, Carney has improved significantly this year and features all the tools in the world needed to be a lock down defender, particularly his size, length and superb quickness. He’ll usually get in the passing lanes about once a game and entrench himself in that night’s Sportscenter Top 10 highlight reel with the ensuing dunk.

Despite being a senior, the overall impression of Carney is that he still has a massive upside to continue to improve, particularly if he can be coached into understanding the little nuances of the game that he’s missing right now.

While Carney has a legit case to be considered the most athletic wing player in this draft, he really doesn’t take advantage of his athleticism as much as you would hope.

The biggest issue here is the fact that he seems to lack the ball-handling skills and possibly the motivation to actually take his man off the dribble and create high percentage shots for himself. A player with his first step should take the ball to the basket strong to the hoop and either finish or get fouled a dozen times per game at the Conference USA level. Instead, Carney settles for too many mid-range or long range jump-shots, attempting twice as many 3-pointers as he did free throws (7 per game as opposed to 3.5 free throws), attempting more 3-pointers than 2-pointers, and only shooting 43% from the field. His shot-selection can be very shaky at times, as he generally appears to lack the type of feel for the game and understanding of situations you would hope for from a player with his physical tools. Making freshman mistakes were not out of the question for the senior Carney this year. His free throw shooting could also stand to improve at just 71%.

You have to wonder what he is lacking in his game right now that prevents him from going all the way to the basket and just exploding off the ground for an athletic finish. Theories include strength, mental toughness, body control and physical toughness. These same all apply to his rebounding ability at the small forward position, where his natural physical tools should allow him to average more than just a paltry 4.3 rebounds per game. The other parts of the game that make up the boxscore, including his assists, steals and blocks are also not all that impressive, although much of this has to do with the fact that he doesn’t get as many minutes as most top 20 pick draft candidates.

Even though he’s a senior, you still never quite know what you are going to get when Carney hits the floor each night. One game he’ll explode for 37 points and 10 rebounds as he did against Louisiana Tech, and in the Elite Eight he’ll shoot 2/12 from the field for 5 total points. If he misses his first couple of jump-shots, he’ll often just disappear from the game for the rest of the night, looking tentative and awkward out on the floor and not quite knowing how to get himself back on track.

While Carney has improved his defense in his senior year, it still tends to waver depending on how he is doing on the offensive end that night. Coach Calipari did not hesitate to bring him off the bench early on in the season to try and motivate him to play harder. Memphis was one of the deeper teams in the country this year, and they only relied on Carney to play about 27 minutes per contest.

Carney was not considered a highly touted recruit in high school, partially due to the fact that he did not play AAU basketball in the summer (the story says his coach thought it was bad for his fundamentals), but mainly because of the fact that he eventually improved greatly in each of his four years at Memphis.

Memphis was an especially strong team this year, being ranked in the top 10 for most of the season and eventually making the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament. They played in a Conference USA that became very watered down after the departure of all of its top programs to the Big East besides Memphis, but scheduled the toughest out of conference schedule in the entire NCAA, with games against highly seeded NCAA tournament teams such as Duke, Gonzaga, Texas, Tennessee and UCLA, amongst others.

Carney’s numbers improved significantly in each of his four seasons at Memphis.

Carney is exactly the type of player whose stock likely skyrockets as reports begin to filter out about his exploits at private NBA workouts, which are tailor made for him to show off his extremely impressive strengths. He will test out athletically extremely well, show outstanding defensive potential in the 2 on 2 scrimmages, and likely shoot the ball at a great clip from NBA 3-point range in the drills. That, combined with his prototypical physical attributes, his solid college numbers and the fact that he clearly has plenty of upside to continue to improve will likely convince someone to draft him in the mid to late part of the lottery. He would be best suited playing for a team with a good point guard that likes to get up and down the floor and won’t rely too heavily on him to create offense off the dribble.

Facts: Brother Ron Slay was an All-SEC player at Tennessee a few years back, and finished up this past season in Israel.

Name:Shawne Williams
Height:6' 9"
Weight:227 pounds
Current Team:Memphis , Freshman
NBA Position:SF
Date of Birth:2/16/1986 (20 Years Old)
High School:Laurinberg Prep
Hometown:Memphis, TN
Earliest Draft Class:2005
Current Position:SF/PF
Possible Positions:SF/PF
Best Case Scenario:Tim Thomas
Worst Case Scenario:Dermarr Johnson
Profile Written By:Jonathan Givony
Last Updated:6/16/2006

In terms of physical attributes, Williams is one of the more intriguing wing small forwards in this draft. He has outstanding height at just a shade under 6-9 with a terrific wingspan and standing reach, and his frame shows plenty of potential to play either the 3 or the face-up 4 position depending on the direction he decides to head in. As an athlete, the best way to describe him would be “smooth”. Williams is not terribly explosive, but he gets to where he needs to on the floor and is quick off his feet to finish with a dunk or pull down a rebound.

Offensively, Williams has terrific potential as a mismatch threat. His size and the high release point and elevation he gets on his shot means that he will be able to get his shot off almost whenever he pleases, as well as the quickness in which he gets his shot off. Although he is anything but a consistent shooter from long range at this point in his career, there is plenty of reason to believe that he will become a fine outside shooter if he puts the work in. He was used mostly as a pick and pop threat at the collegiate level; and this is what his role in the NBA projects at as well. Whether it was from the high or low post, Williams consistently showed the ability to use his height to see the entire floor and find the open man with his terrific passing skills.

Thanks to his height and length, Williams has nice potential as an all-around stat-stuffer and has put together some nice lines in college with steals, blocks, rebounds and assists.

Considering the direction the NBA is heading towards, players like Williams are en vogue these days. Only being a freshman, he still has plenty of upside to continue to improve.

Williams played the power forward position in college and is still a bit stuck between positions as far as the NBA is concerned. This comes to play the most in his slashing and perimeter defense.
Williams is a bit averse to putting the ball on the floor and will rarely take it all the way to the basket. When he did in college, his dribble looked high and out of control at times, as he doesn’t get very low to the ground and lacks a bit of body control to finish in traffic in the lane.

Instead of taking the ball strong at the hoop, Williams has a tendency to settle for tough fadeaway jump-shots off the dribble, showing poor shot selection and really hurting his field goal percentage. He finished the season shooting 41% from the field and just 32% from behind the college 3-point line, but that did not stop him from attempting nearly five 3-pointers per game. While his shooting mechanics are very pretty, he leaps and lands forward on almost all of his shot attempts.

Learning how to use his size and length better to get higher percentage shots around the basket will help him become a more versatile player. His footwork in general needs to improve, whether it’s on the perimeter offensively and defensively or inside the paint to score over smaller defenders. He does not appear to be the most physical player in this draft, often shying away from contact.

Defensively, there are some questions marks regarding Williams’ ability to defend the perimeter. His lateral quickness is just average and his awareness on this end of the floor is less than ideal, often losing his focus and not always being terribly committed to staying in front of his man. Experience is a major factor here, as concepts like hedging a screen or rotating over on help defense are not things he particularly excels at. Like all Memphis players, he had a tendency to gamble for steals.

Despite only being a freshman, Williams is the same age as some juniors in this draft class, as he spent a year at prep school getting eligible for college after finishing high school.

Williams was a highly touted high school player that did not make the cut for college right away and was forced to go to prep school at Laurinburg prep for a year. He joined Memphis for one season and looked to be on his way to contending for freshman of the year honors after an incredibly hot start, cumulated with a 21 point (5-7 3P), 7 rebound, 4 assist performance against UCLA and a 15 point, 8 rebound outing against Duke, both in the preseason NIT in November. He faded significantly once the in-conference portion of Memphis’ schedule begun, which was ironically substantially weaker than the murderer’s row they faced early on in the year. He finished the year averaging 13 points and 6 rebounds per game.

After an inconsistent freshman season, Williams decided to declare for the draft and eventually ended up hiring an agent after hearing that his stock looks fairly solid for the first round. This didn’t come as a huge surprise considering that Williams has always seemed to have the NBA on his mind since emerging as a top high school player, and even considered declaring after his one year at Laurinburg before coming up extremely flat in the high school all-star games. Some experts say that Williams is a strong candidate to be drafted in the top-20, with much of this having to do with how strongly Memphis coach John Calipari is supporting him through the media. Where he ends up landing is anyone’s guess in what appears to be one of the crazier drafts in recent memory. The team that drafts him will need to have patience, as the word “project” has come up following many of his private NBA workouts.

Name:Darius Washington
Height:6' 1"
Weight:195 pounds
Current Team:Memphis , Sophomore
NBA Position:PG
Date of Birth:12/7/1985 (20 Years Old)
High School:Edgewater
Hometown:Orlando, FL
Earliest Draft Class:2005
Current Position:PG
Possible Positions:PG
Best Case Scenario:Chauncey Billups
Worst Case Scenario:Early Rafer Alston
Profile Written By:Jeremy Osborne
Last Updated:3/29/2005

He is a terrific ball handler at the PG position. Knows how to use the spin move to his advantage and uses it well on the break to free himself up, create space, get to the basket and use his strength to finish strong. Simply put, he knows how to get to the rim and put the ball in the cup. Washington is definitely a scoring guard first and foremost, he is very dangerous in the open court and is extremely fast with the ball in his hands.

Washington has a great first step, and can break people down off the dribble at any moment. He is very good at changing directions, and loves to push the ball up the floor. He always has his head up in traffic, and knows how to find spaces to attack the defense, draw them in and kick it out to the open man. He has good foot-speed both with and without the ball.

Washington has good strength for such a young player, and is very good at finishing plays in traffic. He is not a hesitant player at all, and will attack the basket no matter who is in the paint on defense. He is very advanced for his age at drawing fouls with his ability to get to the rim. He has exceptional quickness and ball handling ability and gets to a line often for a player his size.
Washington is a gifted one on one offensive player, and seems to move effortlessly on the basketball court, possessing the natural scoring instincts that just can't be taught. He is very fluid and is a very good athlete for a guard. Washington has proven to be an effective outside shooter at times, but he is at his best around the hoop, where he is very good at getting his shot off and can make nimble moves while in the air off penetration.

Throughout his freshman year, Washington has become an increasingly productive outside shooter; he is not the type of guard that can only penetrate to create on offense. He has learned how to use pump fakes and jab steps to free himself up, and if he gets an open shot, he will knock it down. In his first season at Memphis, he almost shot 40% from the three-point line, and showed better and better shot selection as the season progressed.

He's shown to be a fiery competitor who does not back down from challenges and is not afraid to take a team on his back, which is great to see from a player his age and surely a good sign for the future.

Washington is not a pure PG at this point in time; he is a scoring guard first and foremost. He turns the ball over just as often as he gets an assist. To be a better NBA prospect he will have to improve his decision-making, shot selection and take better care of the basketball. I doubt he will ever be a true PG because that's just not his game, but he definitely can get better at controlling the tempo of the game, making better decisions with the ball in his hands, and creating for others as much as he creates for himself. Becoming a more consistent outside shooter, especially off the dribble, should also be a priority. Most NBA PG's have a pull-up jumper in their arsenal to compliment their slashing ability. Washington would be well served to work on this area of his game to make himself a more versatile player.

On defense, Washington has the quickness and athletic ability to be a fine defender at the PG position, but he hasn't shown much of that yet. He has the potential to do that, but right now that's an area of weakness in his game. He is not very good at putting pressure the ball, and it's not rare to see his man blow right by him for an easy layup. He'll have to work hard on this area.
Since Washington handles the basketball so often, some might say he cannot be effective without the ball in his hands. Sometimes he tends to over-dribble and force shots going to the basket. During some games, he puts up very good assist numbers, but other games he does not. For his stock to rise he will have to become a better passer, even though I do not think he is a typical true PG because that is not his game. He'll be playing in the NBA with players that are just as good as him, though, so he must show the ability to get everyone around him involved. Consistency and decision making is also something that he needs to work on, but that will hopefully come with time.

Washington started out slow this year as a freshman, looking overwhelmed by having the huge role of being a starting PG on a Top25 ranked team as a freshman, without an adequate backup. As the season went on he has become a lot better and his production greatly increased on the court. His team did not make the tournament, though, and had a pretty disappointing year overall. His breakout game was at Louisville where he scored 25 points, had 5 rebounds and 5 assists. He also had a big game against Charlotte on the road where he had 29. However, against a very good defensive player in Carl Krauser early on in the year, Washington only had 7 points at Madison Square Garden. Later against Gilchrist at Maryland he had 9 points. His best game early on in his career came at Texas, where he had he had 23 points and 6 rebounds. Conference USA does not have many outstanding PG's that can match up with Washington athletically, but overall Washington has had some good games against good competition. When he comes back next year, there is no reason he shouldn't dominant on the offensive and even the defensive end at times.

Washington is a very talented basketball player from what he has shown so far as a freshman and certainly looks like a great prospect for the NBA as he continues to mature. He is extremely quick with the dribble and has a great first step. If he improves his passing and decision making on the court as well as overall shooting consistency, he will be a very good offensive weapon. In addition, if he picks up his intensity on defense, he will be even more of a complete player.
Washington would be best served to come back to Memphis next year and help his team win games, the best measure of a successful PG. If he has a quality sophomore year he could play possibly work himself into the lottery, or at least the 1st round. The only thing with his game that is a major question is his PG skills, and while that's a huge one at his height, his quickness and ability to penetrate along with an unselfish demeanor should help him develop into a player that can really make his teammates better.

Athletically, he is one of the most talented PG's in the nation without question. Currently I believe he is the best PG prospect in this year's freshman class. When he is being aggressive, he is as good as getting to the rim as any PG in the NCAA. The challenge for Washington is to work on rounding out his game and become an even more complete player next year.

Carney Reported to be Invited to NYC for NBA Draft

Former Memphis Tiger Big Deal in the Big Apple
Posted: 6/19/2006 10:21:18 PM

Rodney Carney knows New York City pretty well. The Tigers played eight games in the Big Apple during Carney's four-year career, and though his Tiger days are through, his trips to New York are not.

Eyewitness Sports (Fox affiliate in Memphis) has learned that the Indianapolis native has been invited to New York, NY to shake hands with NBA commissioner David Stern when his name is announced the night of the draft.

A published report has the Phoenix Suns looking to trade up to get Carney. The Suns currently have the 21st and 27th picks but would like to trade both to get a pick in the teens where they hope they can land the athletic Carney.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Profile: Tiger Recruit Jeff Robinson

Profile: Jeff Robinson
Columbus, New Jersey
St. Patricks

Height: 6-5
Weight: 205
Rank: 3 Stars (Out of 5)
Rivals 150 Rank for Class of 2007: #136
Small Forwards Rank: #39

Scouting Report:A bouncy and physically strong lefthander, Robinson is best attacking the basket in transition and spotting up behind the three-point line. He has the physical tools to guard multiple positions, and he can be tough on the boards. His floor game with the ball does need work. -

Quote From Jeff Robinson:"It's a big advantage because I can drive with both hands, so they (defenders) don't really know which way I'm going to go. One time down, I might go left, and the next time, I might go right. They don't know what's coming." -Jeff Robinson on his ability to attack the rim

Interview by Galen Smith with Jeff Robinson
At last weekend’s Rumble in the Bronx I got chance to talk to St. Patrick’s Jeff Robinson to discuss is recruitment. The 6-foot-5, 205-pound small forward/shooting guard hinted that he is leaning heavily toward attending Memphis State.Memphis State, Miami, UConn, and Indiana have offered Jeff a Scholarship. However, Memphis State seems to be his favorite.

“I love the way Memphis plays” said Robinson. “I really like the way they get up and down the floor. It a perfect fit for the way I like to play.”

Jeff has already taken an unofficial visit to Memphis. “I really enjoyed my visit added Robinson. I really liked Coach John Calipari. He’s a good guy.”

“Right now I’m going to explore all of options.” said Robinson. “I’m not sure when I’m going to take my official visits”.

Jeff spend the summer attending the Nike All-American Camp, playing AAU ball with Tyreke Evans and Team Final on the AAU

Galaxy of Stars' Prep Magazine Ranks New Tiger Recruit Jeff Robinson #32 Nationally

Galaxy of Stars' Prep Basketball Magazine
Your #1 Source for Basketball Information In the State of Florida

USA RANKINGS - CLASS OF 2007 -06/19/06

32. Jeff Robinson -6-5- St. Patricks (NJ) Elizabeth (MEMPHIS)

Shawne Williams' NBA Draft Workout Schedule

In last year's draft, 6'9" 230 lb freshman Marvin Williams, with averages of 11 ppg and 7 rpg was in the running for the top overall pick before being selected 2nd by the Atlanta Hawks. However, Memphis freshman Shawne Williams (6'9" 225 pounds), despite averages of 13 ppg and 6 rpg, has been a forgotten figure in this year's pre-draft speculation. Williams though has been working out with many teams after signing with an agent. According to, he still has workouts schedule with Indiana (June 15), Minnesota, Seattle, New Orleans, and Golden State in the next few days.


NBA Draft: Darius Washington Diary, Journal Entry #2

NBA Draft: Darius Washington Diary

Memphis point guard Darius Washington has until June 18th to announce his NBA Draft intentions. After averaging 13 ppg and 3 apg in just 26 mpg during his sophomore season, the Florida native is hoping to work his way into the First Round. For now, he checks in with CHN during this busy workout period.

Journal entry #2 - June 15, 2006
I spent last week at the NBA pre draft camp in Orlando. The week went really well for me. I did what I needed to do. I went out there and played hard. I went 12-17 shooting including 5 three-pointers and finally had the chance to display the different aspects of my game: shooting, defense, leadership and my overall will to win. I think there were some people that came out to the camp skeptical of what I could really do and I definitely feel that I made an impression on those coaches and showed them I am determined to fulfill my dream of playing in the NBA.

I didn't want to go to the camp at first because I thought my high school and college career spoke for itself and I've been working so hard this last month training at IMG and working out with Coach Lucas. It was hard to hear but my dad and my trainers were honest with me and told me I needed to go to the pre draft camp to prove myself to those coaches. As I've been told throughout my entire life, you can't be all things to all people so you have to go out there and show the skeptics a glimpse at what your coaches and supporters see in you and that is the mindset I have going into the next couple workouts I have coming up before the draft. Only time will tell.

Thanks for your support, DWash

Five Programs on the Rise and Five on the Decline

College Basketball: Up, Down, and In Between
By Raphielle Johnson
June 16th, 2006

Although the NBA Finals are in mid-swing (I’ve got the Mavs in six), there isn’t much else to entertain college basketball fan these days. Even with plenty of underclassmen and graduates looking to improve their resumes, the Pre-Draft Camp failed to impress last week. Looking ahead, who are some of the teams to watch heading into 2006-07? Some programs will look to take that next step, either into the NCAA Tournament’s second weekend or just getting into the Dance for the first time. Others, with a fall seemingly inevitable, will look to exercise some damage control. And you also have the schools stuck in limbo, that could either rise or fall depending on a multitude of factors.

Five Teams on the Rise

1. Tennessee (22-8, 12-4 SEC East): All that Bruce Pearl did in his first year at the helm in Knoxville was lead the Volunteers to the SEC Eastern Division title. But Tennessee was sent home by Wichita State in a game that exploited their lack of scoring in the post. But this year, guards Chris Lofton and Dane Bradshaw will receive some help in the form of a highly touted recruiting class, led by power forward Duke Crews. Wayne Chism, also a power forward, is no slouch either, and guards Ramar Smith and Marques Johnson should provide some backcourt depth in light of the graduation of C.J. Watson. Florida may be the reigning national champion, but the Vols will give them all they want and then some in the SEC East.

2. Georgia Tech (11-17, 4-12 ACC): The young Yellow Jackets headed to Raleigh to play NC State with a record of 9-4, 2-0 in the ACC on January 14th. But the 87-78 loss to the Wolfpack showed just how much Tech had to learn about basketball in the ACC. An eight-game losing streak, including three losses by a combined four points, ended any talk of at least an NIT invite for the Ramblin’ Wreck. Well, help has arrived in the form of incoming freshmen Thaddeus Young and Javaris Crittenton. Yes, they lose Zam Frederick, who has transferred to South Carolina, but these two high school All-Americans will be a sight to behold in the ACC. If they live up to their reputations, Paul Hewitt may be able to get back to the NCAA Tournament.

3. Georgetown (23-10, 10-6 Big East): Losing three important seniors from a team that knocked off two-seed Ohio State in the second round and giving Florida their stiffest challenge on the Gators’ road to the national title would normally mean a decline. But the fact that many are picking the Hoyas to win the Big East next season is a sign that the program is on the way back. John Thompson III, also known as “JT III” by fans of the program, has assembled one of the nation’s best recruiting classes to go along with big men Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert. Hibbert improved immeasurably throughout the season, most notably in the Big East and NCAA Tournaments. Adding forwards Vernon Macklin and DaJuan Summers to the mix will only make the Hoyas all the more powerful on the interior. As for the backcourt, look for improved play from Jonathan Wallace and Jesse Sapp. In other words, go ahead and bring that late-1980’s Georgetown Starter jacket out of your closet. “Hoya Paranoia” is back in style.

4. Ohio State (26-6, 12-4 Big Ten): The Buckeyes were supposed to wait until 2006-07 to take over the Big Ten. Well, no one told the sharpshooters from Columbus, who rode outside shooting and the post play of Terence Dials to their first outright Big Ten title in 14 years. They lose Dials to graduation, but they welcome a recruiting class that some point to as the best of 2006. Greg Oden, national player of the year, will be on campus as will his friends Mike Conley Jr. and Daequan Cook. In addition the Dials, Thad Matta will have to replace the likes of J.J. Sullinger, Matt Sylvester, Jekel Foster, and Sylvester Mayes. But with the guys he has coming in, filling those holes may be a nice problem to have.

5. Hofstra (26-7, 14-4 CAA): Yes, it was disappointing for the Pride to be left out of the NCAA Tournament. But unlike many bubble teams who end up in the NIT, they didn’t sit around and pout about their fate. The Pride advanced to the quarters of the NIT, falling to fellow CAA member Old Dominion. The loss of two key players in the paint (Adrian Uter and Aurimas Kieza) was offset by the return of head coach Tom Pecora, who withdrew his name from consideration for the Seton Hall job. With the three-headed backcourt monster of Loren Stokes, Antoine Agudio, and Carlos Rivera also back in Hempstead, look for the Pride to get to the NCAA Tournament.

Also under consideration: Wichita State (they lose MVC Player of the Year Paul Miller, but return the likes of P.J. Cousinard, Sean Ogirri, and Kyle Wilson); DePaul (the Blue Demons only lose Marlon Brumfield, and should be used to play in the Big East); North Carolina (a young team becomes a year older, and that much wiser…they will be a top five team in most polls to start the year)

Five Teams in Decline

1. Wake Forest (17-17, 3-13 ACC): How much worse can things get for Skip Prosser and the Demon Deacons? Well, Justin Gray, Trent Strickland and Eric Williams graduated after a 2005-06 that saw the Deacs start the season with a record of 11-2, only to lose fifteen of their last twenty-one ball games. That’s what happens when you don’t plan for the early departure of Chris Paul (the staff expected Paul to be in Winston-Salem for three years, but obviously his draft stock changed that). Coach Prosser will look to major contributions from a six-member freshman class, including forward Jamie Skeen and guards Ishmael Smith and Anthony Gurley. But freshmen usually have a tough time in the ACC, so if returnees such as Harvey Hale, Shemaine Dukes and Cameron Stanley don’t show significant improvement, Wake could once again find themselves near the bottom of the ACC.

2. NC State (22-10, 10-6 ACC): Well, some folks in Raleigh got their way when Herb Sendek moved on to take the head coaching position at Arizona State. In his place is State alum Sidney Lowe, a member of the 1983 national title team. But the Pack will be a long ways away from that glory this season. Losing the likes of Ilian Evtimov, Tony Bethel and Cameron Bennerman was bad enough. But when you add the loss of sophomore center Cedric Simmons (he has hired an agent and will stay in the NBA Draft) and highly touted recruit Larry Davis (Dan Werner, who was released from his letter of intent, still has not made a decision), things don’t look so well for a fan base eager to reach the level of Duke and North Carolina. With Coach Lowe staying with the Pistons as an assistant until the end of their run, new assistant Monte Towe (member of the 1974 title team) had to handle the majority of the recruiting. Getting to the NCAA Tournament wasn’t enough to keep the masses satisfied during the Sendek era; the Pack may need to win the ACC Tournament in order to get that far this season.

3. California (20-11, 12-6 Pac-10): The loss of Leon Powe is a major one for a team that leaned on the sophomore for a large portion of their offense. The Golden Bears also lose forward Rod Benson and guards Richard Midgley and Martin Smith. The good news is that combo guard Ayinde Ubaka will be back, as will big man DeVon Harden. Head coach Ben Braun will also welcome a solid recruiting class, led by forward Ryan Anderson, along with guards Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher. Two major questions for the 2006-07 edition: who can help Ubaka score from the perimeter, and who can do some work in the paint. With the Pac-10 improving from last season, look for Cal to fall a bit in the conference standings.

4. Memphis (33-4, 13-1 Conference USA): Losing Rodney Carney, although expected, was bad enough. Then Shawne Williams put his name into the NBA Draft pool and hired an agent, ruling out his return. Point guard Darius Washington Jr. also threw his name into the hat, but has not hired an agent. But don’t cry for John Calipari, who isn’t being left with a bare cupboard either. Forwards Joey Dorsey and Kareem Cooper will be back to bang on the interior, and there is also an assortment of perimeter players to choose from. Antonio Anderson, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Andre Allen will all be back, but someone will need to pick up the slack offensively if Washington stays in the draft. Duplicating a 33-4 year is tough for any team, especially if you go into the following season without your top three scorers from the previous season.

5. Villanova (28-5, 14-2 Big East): We know for a fact that half of the vaunted Villanova backcourt (Randy Foye and Allan Ray) will not be back next year. As for Kyle Lowry, it seems like the guard that many regard as one of the best in the draft class this year, may forgo his last two seasons if his stock is high enough. This leaves Mike Nardi as the lone returnee on the perimeter. The good news: Curtis Sumpter took a medical redshirt last season due to a knee injury and will be back for Jay Wright’s Wildcats. Jason Fraser, plagued by injuries throughout his career is gone, but Will Sheridan and Dante Cunningham improved significantly as the season progressed. Will Bilal Benn and Shane Clark be ready to contribute more? Can Villanova receive a contribution from their incoming recruits, most notably guards Scottie Reynolds and Malcolm Grant? Coach Wright will also welcome big men Antonio Pena and Casiem Drummond, adding depth to the frontcourt. As with Memphis however, duplicating last season’s record will be a tough chore.

Also Under Consideration: St. Joseph’s (Despite the improvement of Amhad Nivins, the loss of Abdulai Jalloh (transfer) could be a crushing loss); Gonzaga (Mark Few won’t be without talent, but you don’t find a talent like Adam Morrison everyday, and losing J.P. Batista will hurt some as well); Texas (Yes, Rick Barnes welcomes in a top-ranked recruiting class, but the loss of LaMarcus Aldridge, P.J. Tucker, and possibly Daniel Gibson could make for a steeper learning curve for the talented freshmen).

The Jury’s Still Out

1. Connecticut (30-4, 14-2 Big East): High expectations were everywhere for the Huskies in 2005-06, who ended the season with an 86-84 loss to George Mason in the Elite 8. Jim Calhoun will lose seven players from that squad, including underclassmen Rudy Gay, Marcus Williams and Josh Boone. That would make for an automatically bad year in most cases, but when you can bring in eight recruits, that’s not such a sure thing. Forward Curtis Kelly can seemingly score at will, and the next in a long line of Huskies to win Big East Defensive Player of the Year could be 7-foot-3 Hasheem Thabeet, who just closed out their recruiting class with his commitment last week. Doug Wiggins will join Craig Austrie in the backcourt, as will A.J. Price, who has finally been cleared medically to play. And don’t forget about forward Jeff Adrien. Chemistry may be a concern, but judging by the way in which some of the future Huskies have played together in the famed IS8 Spring Classic AAU tournament recently, that may not be a problem. And if it is, they have a coach who can do a whole lot make sure that it isn’t an issue.

2. LSU (27-9, 14-2 SEC West): Two seasons ago, Glen “Big Baby” Davis didn’t have much help inside, and the Tigers were bounced from the tournament in the first round. Enter Tyrus Thomas, and John Brady’s bunch ends up in the Final Four. Of course, Thomas wasn’t the only reason why LSU made it to Indianapolis, but by the end of the year opponents had to watch him just as much as they did Davis inside. With Thomas off to the NBA (where he should be a top five pick in the Draft), Davis needs a new partner in the paint. Whether or not either Darnell Lazare or Magnum Rolle can fill that space could be the deciding factor in whether or not the Tigers can hold onto the top spot in the Western Division. The SEC regular season champions also need to replace the departed Darrel Mitchell, but Tack Minor returning from injury could take care of that. It’s Mitchell’s leadership from the point that LSU will need to replace.

3. UCLA (32-7, 14-4 Pac-10): In the aftermath of the loss to Florida in the national title game, many felt that the Bruins had the necessary pieces coming back to make a return trip to the Final Four. But with the starting backcourt of Jordan Farmar and Arron Afflalo in the NBA Draft, any postseason aspirations will be dependent upon what their final decisions are. Neither has hired an agent, which is good news for Bruin fans. Add to this the improved play of guard Darren Collison, and interior players Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Lorenzo Mata and Alfred Aboya, and Ben Howland could be in for another good year with or without Farmar and Afflalo. Losing the inconsistent Ryan Hollins (he did improve come tournament time) hurts somewhat, but it’s the unselfish attitude and leadership of Cedric Bozeman that UCLA will be hard-pressed to replace. New recruits James Keefe (forward) and Russell Westbrook (guard) will be added to the program, which will once again count on defense to deliver victories. Whether or not the Bruins can get back to the season’s final weekend is dependent on the draft decisions of their two most talented players.

4. Pittsburgh (25-8, 10-6 Big East): Replacing a talent the likes of Carl Krauser would be tough for any program, but the Panthers are blessed with a deep backcourt that can do just that. Pitt returns the likes of Ronald Ramon, Levance Fields, and Keith Benjamin in the backcourt, three players who saw many important minutes for Jaime Dixon last season. Sam Young, Levon Kendall, and Tyrell Biggs will be back in the paint to bruise opponents in the Big East. But the key is center Aaron Gray, who had entered the NBA Draft. Gray, who still hasn’t hired an agent, could be the difference for Pittsburgh if they hope to challenge Georgetown for the Big East title. Gray, who was the Big East’s Most Improved Player in 2005-06, gained confidence with each start, and each subsequent double-double. Whether or not Pittsburgh is a Final Four contender is tough to tell, but having Gray would give them their best chance at getting there.

5. Oregon (15-18, 7-11 Pac-10): You could make quite an argument for the Ducks being the most disappointing program of the past two seasons. With perimeter players such as Aaron Brooks, Malik Hairston and Bryce Taylor in Eugene, it’s mind boggling that Erne Kent’s squad has not been to the NCAA Tournament since the two Lukes (Ridnour and Jackson) were on campus back in 2002-03. Down low, Maarty Leunen and Adam Zahn lead a group of players looked to for post defense and rebounding. Jordan Kent, a three-sport athlete, offers the intensity that this team as a whole has lacked for the past two seasons. Chamberlain “Champ” Oguchi, an inconsistent offensive threat, came on in the Pac-10 Tournament, and the Ducks will also welcome Xavier transfer Churchill Odia into the rotation. Mental toughness and chemistry have been lacking from this team for a couple of seasons. Whether or not they can discover these traits may decide Coach Kent’s job status at the end of the year.

Also Under Consideration: Arizona (Lute Olson brings in yet another excellent recruiting class, but will Mustafa Shakur be back to continue the progress made in the NCAA Tournament?); Kansas State (How much of an impact can Bob Huggins have on the Wildcat program? Hey, Bill Snyder did it at KSU in football, and they were in a lot worse shape back then); Seton Hall (Bobby Gonzalez comes in and picks up two metropolitan area recruits in guards Eugene Harvey and Larry Davis, but can he replace Kelly Whitney?)

Ole Miss' New Coach Andy Kennedy (Yes, I know Tiger Fans, Just Read It, ed.)

New coach juggles schedule and recruiting

By: Whitney Tarpy
Daily Mississippian
June 19, 2006

University, MS -- New men's basketball coach Andy Kennedy, like all new coaches, was hired to turn the Ole Miss program in a positive direction, and Kennedy plans on achieving this goal.
"I didn't come here to be a martyr," said Kennedy.

"I came here to try to be successful. This job, like any job, has its challenges. I see this as a tremendous opportunity, and I'm excited to be here."

To start his success, Kennedy immediately began recruiting. Kennedy has been searching the country for valuable assets to be added to the team and has had great luck with players in the Southeast, including new recruits from Miami, Atlanta, and Alexandria, La. for next year's team.
"We are constantly recruiting," Kennedy said. "Recruiting is a relationship business. We'll go where we think kids meet our needs. We have to show that Ole Miss is a viable option."

Although the summer is busy with recruiting, Kennedy has also been busy making the upcoming season's schedule.

Rebel fans can expect the usual challenges from SEC teams, and with Kennedy's experience in other tough leagues, Ole Miss will be facing teams such as South Alabama, St. Louis and most notably, the University of Connecticut.

This high-profile matchup occurs during the Hispanic College Fund Classic which begins on Nov. 17.

"We know it's going to be a tremendous challenge," Kennedy said. "But we're playing early in the year so it will give us a very good gauge as to where we are and where we aspire to be."

Ole Miss will also make a trip to the Bluff City for its annual game against the University of Memphis. The Tigers were a No. 1 seed in the 2006 NCAA Tournament.

Kennedy is searching for one final game to complete the slate.

"The logistics of working out a schedule has never been very easy," Kennedy said.

"It's almost like recruiting. You put a lot of time and energy into it and you've got it all just about the way you want. Then one school has a change of heart and it messes everything up."

Returning Rebel players have had time since he was hired to get to know their new coach.

Kennedy said that they had about a month and a half of floor time to evaluate the situation and the needs of the team.

It was also a time for the Rebels to put a face with a name since this was a huge change for them.

Having grown up in Mississippi, moving to Oxford was more like a homecoming for Kennedy, since he had not returned to Mississippi in awhile.

"Oxford has changed tremendously since I was here last," said Kennedy. "The amenities for a town this size are probably second to none. Chancellor Khayat has done a tremendous job of making this a world-class university."

Kennedy said that the staff and the team are trying their best to bring men's basketball up to the rest of the university and make it something that everyone can be proud of.
One thing that caught Kennedy's attention about Oxford was how passionate people are about Ole Miss.

"I saw it firsthand with what Coach Bianco did with the baseball team," said Kennedy. "They had a successful year and everyone got behind them and created an exciting environment, so I know the people here are passionate and love sports and that's very important."

As for players already on the roster, Marquis Young, Mike Smith and Brandon Patterson will not be returning.

However, the Rebels' top four scorers are all coming back in Dwayne Curtis, Bam Doyne, Clarence Sanders and Todd Abernethy.

(C) 2006 Daily Mississippian

Recruit Jeff Robinson Sold on Cal, Style of Play

Jersey Prep Robinson Sold on Cal, Style of Play
By Gary Parrish, Memphis Commercial Appeal
June 16, 2006

On paper it appears the University of Memphis is nearly finished recruiting even before the all-important July evaluation period begins. With this week's commitment from Jeff Robinson, a 6-6 wing from New Jersey, the Tigers currently project to having 12 scholarship players on their 2007-08 roster, meaning only one scholarship remains for rising seniors.

Crisis, right?

Only if you pay attention to such things. Rest assured John Calipari does not, which is why he and his staff will continue targeting Class of 2007 prospects and likely over-sign in November. For proof, consider that Shawne Williams, Sean Banks, Ivan Lopez, Tank Beavers, Ricky Sanchez, Kendrick Perkins, Keena Young, Michael Ford and Darius Washington each projected at one point to be Tigers in what would be this upcoming season. However, none of those guys will be in uniform -- the one possible exception being Washington, but only if he is not selected in this month's NBA Draft and then opts to return to school.

As for the newest commitment, he picked Memphis for the same reasons as seemingly every other recruit who picks Memphis.

"I like the style of play," Robinson said. "And I like coach Calipari."

Robinson accepted the U of M's scholarship over reported offers from, among others, Connecticut, Indiana and Miami. Most recruiting analysts consider him a borderline Top 100 prospect whose hard-nosed approach and athletic ability will allow him to flourish in the Tigers' up-and-down style of play.

"That's what the coaches told me too," Robinson said. "They said they think I can be a combination of (former Memphis standout) Rodney Carney and (former Texas standout) P.J. Tucker."'s Luke Winn on Offseason Winners and Losers's Luke Winn Eventful offseason Five winners and five losers from a wild spring

June 19, 2006

With the deadline for underclassmen to stay in the NBA draft now passed -- and every top-flight prospect not named Aaron Gray opting to remain in the pool -- here are the five biggest winners and losers of the college hoops' offseason:

The Winners

1. Florida
The Gators pulled off the improbable, going from unranked to national champs a year after stars David Lee, Matt Walsh and Anthony Roberson departed. And then something more inconceivable occurred in Gainesville: Florida's nucleus of sophomore super heroes, Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Corey Brewer, decided the NBA could wait a year. And unlike Walsh, Roberson and Lee, these kids were essentially guaranteed first-round picks. One pro scout I talked to at the Pre-Draft Camp in Orlando estimated that had they jumped, Noah would have gone in the top five, Horford in the top 20 and Brewer in the top 25. They'll do that in 2007 instead ... after making a run at another national championship.

2. Pittsburgh
Mike Gray said his son, Aaron, didn't make up his mind about the draft until Sunday morning. "We talked about so much over the past two and a half days," Mike said. "[Aaron] would keep sleeping on [the decision], but we processed all the information and he decided he wanted to go back to Pitt and enjoy his senior year." The Panthers, no doubt, are rejoicing after hearing their 7-foot junior center's intentions. By returning, Gray vaulted Pitt into the preseason top 15 -- and became the front-runner for Big East Player of the Year following a junior season in which he averaged 13.9 points and 10.5 rebounds. "It's a completely different team if I don't come back," Aaron said at the Pre-Draft Camp. With Gray and solid guards Levance Fields and Ronald Ramon -- a backcourt that may get better now that Carl Krauser is gone -- Pitt is a very dangerous team.

3. LSU
No one (at least no one who followed mock drafts) expected Tyrus Thomas to stick around. The Tigers' victory came on the same day T-Time declared for the draft, when the Big Baby sitting next to him at the podium, Glen Davis, said he was staying for his junior year. Davis was the '05-06 SEC Player of the Year after averaging 18.6 points and 9.7 rebounds and said he's in "Terminator Baby" mode this summer, dropping more weight from his 315-pound frame after a disappointing showing at the Final Four. The Tigers' backcourt needed help with Darrel Mitchell graduating, and Marquette transfer Dameon Mason, an athletic, 6-5 scorer, should provide it. Suspended (and injured) point guard Tack Minor will resurface, too; he's a serious upgrade, skill-wise, from freshman Ben Voogd, but Minor needs to shed his team-chemistry-ruining reputation.

4. Kansas State
The Wildcats are in the W category, under the assumption that Bob Huggins' suspension of leading scorer Cartier Martin isn't long-term, because the supporting cast Huggins is bringing in could turn K-State into a bubble team. The controversial ex-Cincinnati coach said he simply "set out to fill needs" after being hired in March, but his first recruit was a bit more than that -- he was 7-foot-3 Jason Bennett out of Jacksonville, the nation's No. 10-rated center. "Who doesn't need a 7-footer?" Huggins joked. He also added Daytona Beach Community College shooting guard Blake Young (as well as Young's coach, Brad Underwood) and Bennett's teammate from the Miami Tropics AAU squad, 6-11 Luis Colon. Tyree Evans, a former Huggins recruit at Cincy, may join the team if he's cleared of charges stemming from an alleged sexual assault at the Winchendon School in Massachusetts -- not exactly a "winning" addition in the upstanding-citizen department, but Evans was a prolific scorer in high school in Richmond, Va.

5. Kansas
The Jayhawks essentially did one thing since their first-round exit from the NCAA tournament: They added yet another McDonald's All-American to their stable (number five in the past two years, if you're counting), 6-foot-9 forward Darrell "Slim Shady" Arthur. He said he saw himself playing for KU in a dream the night before his decision, and therefore eschewed top choice Baylor to play for Bill Self. KU's real coup, however, was simply keeping a trio of future first-rounders -- freshmen Brandon Rush, Mario Chalmers and Julian Wright -- from bailing out of Lawrence too quickly. Now they get a shot to win the Big 12 title and perhaps make a trip to Atlanta (site of next season's Final Four).

Other winners: Duke (for keeping Josh McRoberts and landing five-star New Jersey recruit Lance Thomas), Nevada (Nick Fazekas pulled out of the draft), Seton Hall (new coach Bobby Gonzalez landed a stud backcourt in recruits Eugene Harvey and Larry Davis), Rice (future pro -- and leading scorer -- Morris Almond opted to return to school) and Colorado (retained guard Richard Roby for another season).

The Losers

1. Oklahoma
Kelvin Sampson bolted for Indiana, and as a parting gift left OU on probation until May 24, 2008, due to the 577 impermissible phone calls he and his staff made to recruits. But for new coach Jeff Capel, the real blow was that three fifths of the blockbuster recruiting class Sampson had signed for 2006 -- which was ranked in the top five nationally -- also decided to jump ship. Five-star forward Damion James committed to rival Texas. Four-star point guard Scottie Reynolds headed to Villanova. Three-star power forward Jeremy Mayfield opted instead for UAB. Oklahoma did keep a couple of solid recruits, Keith Clark and Tony Crocker, and landed top-flight power forward Blake Griffin for '07, but there's no massaging this one -- the Sooners did not have a pleasant spring.

2. The Big East
Gray came back, but how far will this league fall in its second season as a super conference? It failed to capitalize on a big '05-06, when none of its powers -- UConn, Villanova and, to a lesser degree, West Virginia and Pitt -- made it past the Elite Eight. Now the Big East is cleared out, with 15 of its biggest stars having graduated or declared early into the draft. Its rep will get a boost when Rudy Gay, Randy Foye, Marcus Williams, Hilton Armstrong, Quincy Douby, Kyle Lowry and Josh Boone all go in the first round, but what's left now that they've departed? A duel between Pitt and Georgetown for the league title? Not nearly as scintillating as what transpired in Year 1.

3. Rutgers
The Scarlet Knights' dream scenario would have unfolded like this: 1) Talented East Coast recruiter Freddie Hill (the man who brought the star-guard quartet to 'Nova) is elevated to head coach. 2) Leading scorer Quincy Douby returns for another season of the "I Douby Lieve" campaign, becoming a first-team All-America who averages 28 points a game. 3) Stud New Jersey recruit Lance Thomas picks State U over Duke. 4) Douby and Thomas team up to lead the Knights to their first NCAA tournament since 1991.

Sadly, only No. 1 happened. Douby declared for -- and stayed in -- the draft, where he's looking like a solid first-rounder. With Douby gone, Thomas signed to play for Coach K. The Knights' revival, therefore, was put on hold.

4. N.C. State
The neighbors have plenty to look forward to: Duke kept Josh McRoberts and landed Thomas. North Carolina is bringing in the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation. And the Wolfpack? They're hurting. They watched as a perfectly good coach, Herb Sendek, vacated an uncomfortable situation in Raleigh to take the Arizona State job. And then their exceptionally promising center, Cedric Simmons, hired an agent and is staying in the NBA draft. Class of '06 recruit Larry Harris, a New York City shooting guard, bailed for Seton Hall, while coveted New Jersey forward Dan Werner switched his commitment from the 'Pack to national champ Florida. And after an uncomfortably long search, the coach N.C. State did hire, Detroit Pistons assistant Sidney Lowe, was far from the school's first choice.

5. Indiana
The Hoosiers wanted Mike Davis out. Mission accomplished. What happened after that was problematic: IU brought in Oklahoma's Sampson and absorbed his sanctions when the NCAA brought down the hammer on the coach in May. Now Sampson is banned from recruiting -- via in-home visits and making phone calls -- for his crucial first year. Star forward D.J. White decided to remain in Bloomington and be Sampson's star in '06-07, but sharpshooter Robert Vaden, a big guard who could spread out (and shoot over) defenses, followed Davis to UAB.

Lesser losers: Texas (lost Daniel Gibson and P.J. Tucker but landed Damion James to play alongside Kevin Durant and D.J. Augustin), UCLA (Jordan Farmar stayed in the draft, but the Bruins have a solid backup at the point in Darren Collison and will also return Arron Afflalo), Memphis (lost Shawne Williams, which was semi-expected, and Darius Washington, but that may not be a bad thing, with Andre Allen and Willie Kemp on the roster) and South Carolina (star-in-the-making Renaldo Balkman would have had a breakout senior season, but he blew up at the Pre-Draft Camp and turned pro).