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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Trivia Question

Patrick Ewing of the Georgetown Hoyas fame played in the National Championship game in his Freshman, Junior and Senior seasons winning the title his Junior year ('84). What team knocked Ewing and Georgetown out of the 1983 NCAA tournament?

Answer: Your Memphis Tigers (or Memphis State back then) along with super-sophomore Keith Lee.

Mike DeCourcy Reports Memphis Lining Up Future Series With Ohio State, Syracuse, Texas and West Virginia

Mike DeCourcy, Sporting News
Inside Dish: Memphis out to play with big boys

Posted: July 29, 2007

Memphis coach John Calipari is taking the unusual step of building out his schedule three seasons into the future, similar to what football programs do. To keep Memphis playing high-profile opponents while a member of low-profile Conference USA, he is lining up games with Ohio State, Syracuse, Texas and West Virginia in addition to already established series with Georgetown and Tennessee.

First Annual Adidas Mid-South Coaching Clinic Set For Sept. 14-16, Calipari, Larry Brown, Bobby Knight, Others Will Speak

First Annual Adidas Mid-South Coaching Clinic Set For Sept. 14-16
Calipari, Brown, Knight highlight featured coaches at clinic.

July 30, 2007

The first annual adidas Mid-South Coaches Clinic is set for Sept. 14-16 in Tunica, Miss. Registration for the clinic -- which is being held at Grand Casino Resort -- starts at 4:00 p.m. (CT) on Sept. 14, with the first session to follow at 7:00 p.m. (CT). The weekend clinic ends on Sept. 16 at 10:45 a.m. (CT).

Among the featured speakers scheduled to speak are Memphis coach John Calipari, Texas Tech coach Bobby Knight, Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon, Pepperdine coach Vance Walberg, Arkansas coach John Pelphrey, USF coach Stan Heath, Dallas Mavericks assistant Del Harris and Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown.

To register on-line for the clinic, go to, click on the appropriate tab on the navigation bar and follow the instructions.

There are two weekend clinic packages at $200 (shared room; two double beds; maximum of three coaches per room) and $270 (single occupancy only; one double bed). The cost to attend the clinic with no hotel stay is $150. If coaches register on the day of the clinic (Sept. 14), the fee is $300.

Included in the cost for out-of-town coaches is a shuttle service from the Memphis International Airport to Grand Casino Resort. The clinic's location is only 25 minutes from the airport.

For more information, contact Andy Allison, Memphis basketball Coordinator of Basketball Operations, at 901-678-2346 or or Megan Baytos, project coordinator, at 901-752-0080 or

Team USA Takes 5th Place at Pan Am, Defeats Panama

U.S. Team Defeats Pamana 77-74 In Pan Am Games Action Sunday
Dorsey has five points, three boards, three steals in victory.

July 29, 2007

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - After an 0-2 start, the United States bounced back to win three-straight contests at the 2007 Pan American Games, the last victory a 77-74 win over Panama to capture fifth place in the men's basketball competition. The U.S. avenged an earlier 75-67 setback to Panama on Thursday.

The U.S. finished the Pan Am Games with a 3-2 record, while Panama was 2-3. Brazil (5-0 record) won the gold medal with an 86-65 win over Puerto Rico (3-2), which took home the silver. Uruguay (3-2) defeated Argentina (2-3) 99-93 in overtime to claim the bronze.

University of Memphis' Joey Dorsey played 19 minutes and had five points, three rebounds and a game-high three steals. It was the third-straight game in which the Tigers' 6-foot-9 forward played double-digit minutes, and all were U.S. victories.

The contest was tied at 20-all after the first quarter, but Panama rushed out to an 11-point halftime advantage at 43-32. The U.S. responded in the third period, cutting Panama's lead to two points at 56-54. The Americans out-scored Panama 23-18 in the fourth quarter to secure the victory.

Derrick Low (Washington State) led the U.S. with 16 points, while Shan Foster (Vanderbilt) and D.J. White (Indiana) each added 14 points. White, Roy Hibbert (Georgetown) and Maarty Leunen (Oregon) each grabbed six rebounds to lead the U.S. on the glass.

Dionisio Gomez and Danilo Pinnock each scored 17 points to lead Panama.

For the first time at the 2007 Pan Am Games, the opposition out-rebounded the U.S., as Panama held a narrow 35-33 advantage on the glass. However, the Americans responded with a solid defensive effort, while shooting 50.9 percent from the floor. The U.S. held Panama to 39.4 percent from the field and forced them to turn the ball over 15 times.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

USA Defeats US VIrgin Islands, Plays Panama on Sunday

U.S. Pan Am Team Rolls To 84-58 Win Saturday
Dorsey posts five points, nine boards in the victory.

July 28, 2007

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - The United States men's basketball team won its second-straight game at the 2007 Pan American Games Saturday, rolling to an easy 84-58 victory over the U.S. Virgin Islands in the consolation bracket. The Americans will play Panama in the fifth-sixth place game on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. (CT).

Panama defeated the U.S. on Thursday 75-67 in pool play.

University of Memphis' Joey Dorsey played well for the second-consecutive contest, scoring five points and pulling down nine boards. The nine rebounds were the second-most in the game. Dorsey also had one assist, one blocked shot and one steal in 21 minutes of action.

The U.S. grabbed a 38-28 halftime lead and then cruised in the second half to the victory. The Americans out-rebounded their foe 48-35, and also held the U.S. Virgin Islands to 35.9 percent shooting from the floor. It was the second-straight contest the U.S. defense held its opponent to under 50 percent shooting from the floor, after allowing over 50 percent in the first two games.

D.J. White (Indiana) posted game highs of 22 points and 13 boards. Derrick Low (Washington State) added 14 points. Frank Elegar led the U.S. Virgin Islands with 10 points.

USA Upsets Argentina 74-71, Dorsey Plays 18 Minutes

U.S. Pan Am Team Upsets Argentina 74-71 Friday
Dorsey plays key role down the stretch in the victory.

July 27, 2007

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - The United States showed some resiliency in Pan American Games pool play Friday, posting a 74-71 upset win over previously unbeaten Argentina. The U.S. improved its record to 1-2.

University of Memphis' Joey Dorsey played 18 minutes and had three points, four rebounds, three assists and one block. The Tigers' 6-foot-9 forward played a crucial role in the win.

With under a minute to play and the U.S. clinging to a 73-71 lead, Dorsey came up with an offensive rebound off a Drew Neitzel (Michigan State) miss to give the Americans another possession. Then, with :22 left, D.J. White (Indiana) missed a jumper, and Dorsey came up with the loose ball and was fouled. The Baltimore, Md., native hit 1-of-2 free throws to extend the U.S. lead to 74-71 with :20.3 remaining.

But, Dorsey wasn't finished, as Argentina had two chances at three-point attempts to tie the contest. However, Dorsey got a piece of Argentina's second trey attempt just before the buzzer to seal the U.S. victory.

As in the previous two games, the U.S. dominated the glass, out-rebounding Argentina 42-27. However, the Americans defended better and it showed in the field goal percentage defense. After allowing opponents to shoot 50 percent or better in the first two games, the U.S. held Argentina to 43.8 percent from the floor.

White led all scorers with 22 points, while Roy Hibbert (Georgetown) grabbed a game-best nine boards. Roman Gonzalez led Argentina with 21 points and seven boards.

The U.S. now plays the U.S. Virgin Islands on Saturday at 3:15 p.m. (CT) in the consolation semifinals.

USA Falls to 0-2 With Loss to Panama

U.S. Pan Am Team Falls To Panama 75-67
Dorsey grabs one board in Thursday's game.

July 26, 2007

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - The United States fell to Panama 75-67 in pool play at the 2007 Pan American Games Thursday. Team USA is 0-2 in its pool and faces Argentina at 5:45 p.m. (CT) on Friday.

University of Memphis' Joey Dorsey grabbed one rebound in one minute of action. Roy Hibbert (Georgetown) led Team USA with 19 points and nine rebounds, while Drew Neitzel (Michigan State) added 15 points, five rebounds and three assists.

Panama's Danilo Pinnock led all scorers with 23 points and also had five assists. Dionisio Gomez had nine boards.

For the second-straight game, the U.S. out-rebounded its opponent, but allowed the opposition to shoot over 50 percent from the field. Team USA won the battle on the glass 46-36, but Panama countered with a 50.9 shooting percentage from the floor. Panama also shot 40 percent from the arc.

Dick Vitale - Comments on Memphis vs. USC and Scrimmage w/ St. Louis

Roundball Chatter
By Dick Vitale

Each Friday I will write about the sport I love, college basketball…

• I hope that the allegations against NBA referee Tim Donaghy do not affect the perception of other officials in the NBA and college. The accusations against Donaghy are scary and very sad, and while you are innocent until proven guilty, the charges seem to have validity. That does not mean that other officials are involved, and I am concerned that fans will make comments against other officials. My friends, there are so many great officials who blow the whistle the right way, doing a great job for years and years. Let's recognize the great job done by 99.9 percent of officials. Yes, the Donaghy saga is very disappointing, but let's realize the referees on a whole do a super, super job.

• I love it when two power programs meet in non-league play. It is a good way to get a true evaluation of your talent. That's why the fact that Michigan State and Texas have agreed to a four-year series is so impressive. How about a salute to Tom Izzo and Rick Barnes for getting together! This season, it is the Spartan Clash at the Palace on December 22nd. Last season Michigan State edged Texas at Madison Square Garden as part of a tournament, 63-61. Drew Neitzel is back and it will be fun to see him going against DJ Augustin and AJ Abrams.

• My best wishes to former Illinois and New Mexico State coach Lou Henson as he continues his fight against cancer. I understand he has started to take chemotherapy again as he battles the dreaded disease.

• I am really looking forward to the Jimmy V. Classic at Madison Square Garden on December 4th. Wow, OJ Mayo and USC, the diaper dandy visits the Big Apple. The opponent is Memphis and John Calipari's squad could be ranked number one at that time. It figures to be a very special game for a special cause in the fight against cancer.

• Speaking of Memphis, there was a recent report that Calipari was going to have a closed scrimmage against Saint Louis on October 22nd. I would love to be a fly on the wall when Calipari and Rick Majerus go at it! On the subject of Majerus, I am looking forward to the game between the Billikens and St. Joseph's in Philadelphia. That's right, what a match-up between Majerus and Phil Martelli! The press conferences before and after the game should be something!

• While the US under-19 team lost in the finals to Serbia, Arkansas fans had to be thrilled with the play of Patrick Beverley. The Razorback guard led the team in scoring over the nine games, averaging 13 ppg. He shot 54 percent from the floor, while totaling 31 steals. Beverley also had an impressive 29 assists and only 10 turnovers. New Razorbacks coach John Pelphrey has to be excited about Beverley's return to Fayetteville.

• Virginia Tech suffered a setback when point guard Nigel Munson, a potential starter this season, decided to transfer. Munson figured to jump in the slot vacated by Jamon Gordon. Munson requested his release from the school and coach Seth Greenberg obliged. The Hokies will be very young in the backcourt.

• It will be interesting to watch the new coaches in the Big Ten this season. Think about it: Minnesota adds Tubby Smith, Michigan with John Beilein and Iowa adds Todd Lickliter. I can't wait to see games against the likes of Izzo, Kelvin Sampson, Bruce Webber, Bo Ryan and Thad Matta should be fun to watch.

• DePaul could receive a boost up front. The school is trying to gain the eligibility of 7-2 center Kobe Obi from Nigeria. He played at South Kent School in Connecticut, which produced a number of standouts, including Dorrell Wright.

Sporting News' Mike DeCourcey "Coaches Must Plan for the Best"

Mike DeCourcy

Coaches must plan for the best
Posted: July 27, 2007

How does a program recruit the next Ty Lawson or Chris Douglas-Roberts when the old one still is around?

Yeah, put that question on the Coaching Principles and Strategies of Basketball exam at Georgia and see if any of the academic snobs laugh then.

The new conundrum for any program that lands an elite player is that no one knows how long he will be on campus -- not the player, not the gentleman coaching him and certainly not the prospects wondering whether there will be room in the rotation if they decide to join up.

"It's a hard problem, and it's one I think Roy Williams is not intelligent enough to solve." Who said that? Roy Williams? He was joking. Sort of.

This probably is a better deal than before the NBA installed an age minimum. Back then, you never knew whether a player would even enroll. But this is trickier.

UCLA was able to replenish its backcourt with Southern Californians Jrue Holiday, Jerime Anderson and Malcolm Lee because of the vacancy Arron Afflalo created by departing in April and the near certainty that point guard Darren Collison will go pro after his junior year.

But until Mechanicsville, Va., power forward Ed Davis committed last week, North Carolina was having the darnedest time adding frontcourt players. There's no telling whether Tyler Hansbrough and Deon Thompson will have had enough college basketball after this season, and their presence helped scare off two elite recruits who no doubt would prefer Thaddeus Young's college course (starting as a freshman and entering the draft) to Daequan Cook's (subbing on a loaded team but off to the NBA, anyway).

"The other schools can say, 'This guy's not leaving.Why should you go there?' "Williams says. "But you're trying to protect yourself and say, 'Well, he could leave.' There are variables you don't have an answer for."

Coaches recognize it's essential they manage this process by considering which players might blossom prematurely into lottery prospects and what repercussions those developments will have.

The day after Memphis lost to Ohio State in the NCAA South Region final, coach John Calipari had a team barbecue at his house. He met in his study with Douglas-Roberts, guard Antonio Anderson and forward Robert Dozier and told all three, "I want this coming year to be your last year." Calipari believes the only way this will occur is if Memphis excels as a team.

He contends programs that consistently develop pro prospects will attract other pro prospects, even if there are occasional traffic jams. He points out three Tigers starters left for the NBA in 2006 - firstround picks Rodney Carney and Shawne Williams and undrafted Darius Washington -- and the team still reached the same stage in the NCAAs in 2007.

But Calipari has faced an instance or two in which a recruit questioned him about the Tigers' wealth of talent at a particular position and whether there would be room for everyone in the rotation.

"I said, 'I must be in the wrong home. I thought you could play,' " Calipari says. "A good player will never worry about who else is in the program."

USA Drops Opener to Uraguay, Dorsey Scores 2 Pts in 5 Minutes of Action

U.S. Pan Am Team Drops Opener To Uruguay 81-72 Wednesday
Dorsey scores two points in only five minutes of action.

July 25, 2007

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - The United States team dropped an 81-72 decision in its Pan American Games opener Wednesday. University of Memphis' Joey Dorsey scored two points in only five minutes of action.

Team USA continues pool play on Thursday against Panama at 5:45 p.m. (CT).

The U.S. dominated Uruguay 40-29 on the glass, but the visitors shot 50.9 percent from the field and 30.4 percent from the arc. Team USA hit 41.3 percent from the floor, but managed only 14.3 percent (3-of-21 treys) from the three-point line.

D.J. White (Indiana) and Maarty Leunen (Oregon) each scored 14 points to lead the U.S. offense. White also grabbed a game-high nine boards. Uruguay's Esteban Batista led all scorers with 25 points.

The last time the U.S. dropped a game in Pan Am Games play and bounced back to win gold was in 1955. That U.S. squad posted a 4-1 record and took home the gold.

He Is Tiger Basketball (Article on Former Tiger Player/Coach Larry Finch)

He is Tiger Basketball

From the University of Memphis Magazine

Larry Finch's name is synonymous with Tiger basketball — who can forget that magical ride to the 1973 NCAA championship game that thrust the Tiger affectionately known as “Little Tubby” into the national spotlight? His 220 wins (1986-1997) are still the most by any Tiger coach, and, despite his failing health, Finch remains a big fan of Tiger basketball.

Finch recently spoke with The University of Memphis Magazine, giving his thoughts on the past, the present and the future of Tiger basketball.

Larry, Coach John Calipari says that Tiger basketball would not be at the level it is now without you as a player and a coach. Tiger fans feel the same way. Can you tell me what Tiger basketball has meant to your life?

Tiger basketball, it's been my life.

What was your proudest moment as a Tiger player?

Playing in the 1973 NCAA Final Four game against Bill Walton.

What about as coach?

For being recognized as the winningest coach at Memphis State, now the University of Memphis.

You coached some great players, like Elliot Perry, Anfernee Hardaway and Lorenzen Wright. Did you have one particular team you liked best?

I enjoyed all of them. I loved all my boys.

What rivalry did you enjoy most and why?

Louisville. They were always competitive, every game. And I enjoyed coaching against Denny Crum most. He and Louisville were always tough.

You said that your proudest moment as a player was being in the 1973 NCAA championship game. It was tied at the half — did you feel like the Tigers would win at that point?

I feel like that if we had gotten ahead [after the half], we could have won, but we never did. We got behind and couldn't catch up.

What was the difference in that game?

Bill Walton! That guy was tough!

Because you helped improve race relations in the early 1970s, and for what you did on the court, former Congressman Harold Byrd says that you are one of the 10 most important citizens in this city's history. How do you feel about that?

I feel very good. Ronnie Robinson, my friend and teammate, we became household names.

What do you see in the future for Tiger basketball?

Cal is doing a good job. He is a very good coach and a good person.

Do you have any messages that you would like to tell Tiger fans?

I miss Ronnie Robinson. He was always there. He would go get that ball! I would like to say also that it is important to continue supporting the team. And to the team, “just keep on winning.”

Coach Cal weighs in on Finch

University of Memphis basketball has flourished as of late under coach John Calipari. A dramatic run to the Elite Eight and a ranking as high as No. 7 this season have placed the Tigers in the national spotlight the past two years. But coach Cal is quick to not forget the past, particularly when the name Larry Finch is associated with it.

“I would have to say if there is one name synonymous with Memphis basketball, it is Larry Finch,” says coach Calipari. “When you go around this city and ask anyone to name one person associated with Memphis basketball, I could guarantee you that between 95 and 100 percent would say Larry. That says a lot there.

“I have said on many occasions that Memphis basketball was going on long before we got here and will go on long after we are gone,” says Calipari. “And Larry is and will be the one Tiger that fans not only will remember fondly, but also will pass on to their children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren for what he did for the basketball program, the University and the city. With respect to others who have done wonderful things for Memphis, Larry is quite possibly the best ambassador the city and the University have ever had. What Larry did in 1973 was incredible, and I'm not just talking about the NCAA title game. Larry and that team brought this city together and helped it move forward when Memphis needed it.”

Calipari said that because of Finch's impact on the city and the University, the U of M nominated him to the National Association of Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame, located in Kansas City.

“We will try as much as we can to get Larry the honor he truly deserves,” Calipari says.

Donations to help offset Finch's medical costs can be sent to: Friends of Larry Finch, c/o John Prince, Bancorp South, 7800 Winchester , Memphis , TN 38125 . Special thanks to U of M Assistant to the President Mark Stansbury, U of M basketball media representative Lamar Chance and to Randy Wade, close friend of Larry's and deputy director in Congressman Steve Cohen's Memphis office, for assisting with this article.

Tiger Hoops Billboards Up Around Memphis

Tiger Hoops Billboards Up Around Memphis
Terrace level season ticket packages on sale.

July 25, 2007

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Tiger hoops is getting posterized, or make it billboardized - and in a good way.

The 2007-08 University of Memphis basketball season is still four months away from tipping off, but the buzz for the much-anticipated season will surely get louder with the unveiling of Tiger hoops billboards around the city Wednesday. There are 13 billboards at 15 locations throughout Memphis.

Some of the Tigers' returning players are featured on the billboards with catch phrases. For example, one has Antonio Anderson shooting a free throw with the slogan, Remember The Alamodome, to highlight his game-winning charity tosses in the thrilling 65-64 win over Texas A&M in last year's NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 game. A billboard that will catch many fans' eyes is the one that has only a photo of a rose.

All billboards have the Memphis Athletic Ticket Office number, which is 678-2331, for fans to purchase $100 terrace level season tickets at FedExForum.

The Tigers have 19 scheduled home dates (18 regular season games, 1 exhibition) at FedExForum in 2007-08, including contests against Arizona, Georgetown, Gonzaga and Tennessee. Memphis also hosts two rounds (four games) in the 2K College Hoops Classic (Benefitting Coaches vs. Cancer).

"These billboards were an awesome idea, and my hope is that it gets the city even more excited about their team," said head coach John Calipari. "Like I've already said, I believe the $100 season ticket package for the terrace level is one of the best deals I know of. We are still planning some things for fans that purchase the $100 terrace level season tickets to make it an event for them."

The Tigers, ranked No. 1 in's and's summer polls, return five starters from their 2006-07 squad that posted a 33-4 record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight. Memphis swept the Conference USA regular season and tournament titles for a second-straight year in 2006-07.

MVN's Pre Pre-Season Top 10

NCAA Basketball Pre Pre-Season top 10
By Patrick Sellars
July 24th, 2007

#1-Memphis Tigers (Conference USA)- This team is looking absolutely unstoppable right now, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Joey Dorsey will bring back that run-n-gun offense that makes this team so very exciting, plus the addition of Derrick Rose and very underrated recruit Jeff Robinson may very well lead Memphis to a NCAA Championship in 2008.

#2-North Carolina Tar Heels (Atlantic Coast)- Not an amazing recruiting class, but they bring back Tyler Hansborough and Wayne Ellington which will be one of the best duos in College Basketball, look for a deep tourney run and ACC championship.

#3-Kansas Jayhawks (Big 12)- This team will have a pretty easy time winning their conference however, Kansas is still a stronger team than everyone thinks, they bring back good offensive players and I think they have a legit shot at the Final Four.

#4-Louisville Cardinals (Big East)- I may have this team here just because of my total respect for the big east but all of the biases aside, this team is pretty stellar. I hate Rick Pitino, but still have to commend what he has done for this program. Expect Final Four from this Cardinals team.

#5-USC Trojans (Pac-10)- The recruiting class is unbelievable, everyone knows Mayo will lead this offense. However, don’t forget that this team did very well in the NCAA tournament last year. This ranking may look a little bit high, but I love the offense and defense of this team and I won’t be surprised if they are left standing in San Antonio.

#6-UCLA Bruins (Pac 10)- Darren Collison and Kevin Love will be an amazing duo, I think this team will not win the Pac 10, but will group everything together by the tourney and make a deep run. I can’t wait for the USC-UCLA rivalry to be replenished in College Basketball.

#7-Marquette Golden Eagles (Big East)- Return their entire starting lineup, plus sixth man David Cubillian. Jerel McNeal will anchor the defense while Dominic James and Lazar Hayward are the big Offensive contributors.

#8-Syracuse Orange(Big East)- Recruits Johnny Flynn and Donte Green will be huge contributors plus Eric Devendorf will be in-charge of one of the most powerful, underrated offenses in college basketball.

#9-Georgetown Hoyas(Big East)-Roy Hibbert and Patrick Ewing Jr. will play big roles on both sides of the floor. Also Austin Freeman will be a good freshman contributor, and my pick for Big East Freshman of the year.

#10-Gonzaga Bulldogs(West Coast)-Return 4 of 5 starters, and get Austin Daye to fulfill that final spot. The key thing to look for is how Pargo reacts to the MAIN leadership role now that Raivio has departed.

Sleepers to look for:Indiana Hoosiers, Villanova Wildcats, Pittsburgh Panthers, Ohio State Buckeyes, and Illinois Fighting Illini.'s Luke Winn "Breaking the Rules: College Hoops"

Editor Note: Luke Winn says that Milt Wagner stayed in the "lowly" basketball ops position for six years - this is true. However, he fails to mention that Milt had to earn his degree from the University of Memphis prior to being eligible to be a full assistant coach. For the record, I am unaware of when Milt actually received his diploma.

Breaking the rules: College hoops
Little separates adhering to rules from violating them
Posted: Wednesday July 25, 2007 12:29PM; Updated: Wednesday July 25, 2007 6:03PM

In the foreward to former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian's 2005 memoir, Runnin' Rebel, he wrote, "In major college basketball, nine out of 10 teams break the rules. The other one is in last place."

At least nine out of 10 instances of rule-breaking, it follows, occur in the murky world of recruiting, where revered college coaches take on the humbling enterprise of begging -- often by any means necessary -- 17 and 18 year olds to sign with their school. It is a widely accepted belief, not just from the towel-chomping mouth of Tark, that nearly everyone cheats, and we only hear of the ones who have the misfortune of getting caught, those being the Jim Harricks and Jim O'Briens of the college hoops world.

The unpunished masses are more discreet with their dealings, as well as more adept at devising other, above-board recruiting strategies that seem to fall in the same ballpark as NCAA violations, yet are considered legal. The NCAA's Division I Manual is 427 pages long, painfully complicated, and yet still, in many ways, inadequate at controlling the recruiting scene. "Believe me," said one current D-I assistant who requested anonymity, "Coaches will talk publicly about the rules being excessive and hard to understand, but all the good ones are fully aware of how to exploit every loophole in the book."

The line between an NCAA violation and something that's deemed acceptable conduct can often be absurdly thin. A game show -- Cheating or Not Cheating? -- could be created with examples from college basketball alone. These five are just the tip of the iceberg:

CHEATING: Making excessive phone calls to recruits.

This was Kelvin Sampson's misstep at Oklahoma, for which he was punished in May of 2006, just after taking the head job at Indiana. Sampson's wasn't the most salacious of scandals, but he and his staff did make 577 of what the NCAA called "impermissible telephone contacts" with recruits -- some of whom included the headliners of his highly ranked (and now dispersed) '06 recruiting class. The NCAA's phone-call window, at the time, began on June 21 following a prospect's junior year of high school, and generally restricted coaches to one call per week after that. Sampson completely ignored this rule -- and was hit with a one-year, off-campus recruiting ban at Indiana as a result.

NOT CHEATING (yet): Sending excessive text messages to recruits.

The NCAA's board of directors will be reviewing legislation on Aug. 9 to either ban text-messaging between coaches and recruits altogether, or restrict it in some form. But presently, and since the beginning of the texting craze amongst cell-phone carrying kids, it has been a completely unrestricted medium. A coach, if he so desired, could text a recruit -- of any age -- at any hour of any day of the year. Take the case of incoming Kentucky freshman Patrick Patterson, a five-star power forward from Huntington, W.V., who waited until the final moment of the spring recruiting season to sign his letter of intent. His mother, Tywanna, said the fierce recruiting battle between UK, Florida, Duke, Wake Forest and Virginia had resulted in a $507 March phone bill ... thanks to the 7,000 texts Patrick had received.

CHEATING: Lining up outside employment for a family member of a recruit.

When LSU was put on three years' probation in 1998 for improper actions surrounding its recruitment of Lester Earl, one of the things the NCAA alleged was that Tigers coaches had assisted Earl's mother in obtaining a job at a local casino, and Earl's sister in obtaining a job as a certified nursing aide. Bylaw 13.2.2 of the NCAA Division I manual states a number of prohibited benefits for recruits, including, "an employment arrangement for a prospective student-athlete's relatives." These violations, among others, helped bring about the end of coach Dale Brown's career in Baton Rouge.

NOT CHEATING: Hiring a family member of a recruit for a job within the basketball program.

Two of the most highly sought-after prep guards of the past decade coincidentally ended up playing college ball with their fathers on the bench -- as recently hired directors of basketball operations. Dajuan Wagner was a mega-recruit out of Camden, N.J., who had scored 100 points in a high-school game. In '00, the season before Wagner arrived in Memphis, his father, ex-Louisville star and 13-year pro Milt, was brought into the program in a basketball ops role. Of the move, Tigers coach John Calipari would tell USA Today, "It disappoints me for Milt and his career that everybody says I only hired Milt to get Dajuan. Milt will be an assistant with me for a long time because I really like him. I've known him for a lot of years, and he's going to be good." Wagner stayed in the same low-level position for six years with the Tigers, then left in the '06 offseason to become an actual assistant coach at UTEP.

In June of '05 a similar scenario unfolded at Kansas. Eight months after Alaskan Mario Chalmers, the top-ranked point-guard in the '05 class, signed with the Jayhawks, it was announced his father, Ronnie, a high-school coach in Anchorage, would be joining the KU staff. In response to speculation about rather obvious signs that it was a package deal, Ronnie would tell the Kansas City Star, "Mario's decision to choose Kansas was solely based on Mario. [My wife] Almarie and I made a decision to stay in Alaska until she retired this spring, then relocate to follow Mario. This is a great opportunity to get my foot in the door at the college level, follow my son and be a part of one of the best programs in the country."

CHEATING: Providing improper benefits to high-school coaches of a recruit.

In '90, when the NCAA cleared Illinois of allegations that it offered cash and cars to recruits Deon Thomas and LaPhonso Ellis, the Illini were handed a one-year postseason ban for a number of smaller violations -- including the sale of their NCAA tournament tickets to high-school coaches of recruiting targets. Illinois' three-year probation sentence was levied in the season directly after its famed Flyin' Illini made a run to the '89 Final Four in Seattle.

NOT CHEATING: Paying high-school coaches of recruits to speak at a university's summer camps.

This is regular practice all across the country; prominent college head coaches earn hundreds of thousands of dollars to run summer camps, which require staffers and speakers ... who frequently happen to be either high school or AAU coaches of recruits or recent signees.

An '06 report in the Dallas Morning News examined the summer-hiring practices of a number of Big 12 teams, and found that during the summer of '05, Texas had paid $3,200 to an assistant coach at Damion James' high school for working seven camp sessions, and Texas A&M had paid a total of $3,015 to three coaches from Donald Sloan and Derrick Roland's high school for camp jobs. Kansas, meanwhile, was the school that exploited this loophole to the max. There were seven coaches on KU's summer-camp payroll who received $2,000 each: One happened to be C.J. Giles and Rodrick Stewart's high school coach, another was Sherron Collins' high school coach, another Collins and Julian Wright's AAU coach, another happened to be Sasha Kaun's high school coach, another was Darrell Arthur's high school coach, while two more were Arthur's AAU coaches.

CHEATING: Head coaches running mandatory summer workouts -- or even being present at voluntary summer workouts.

The end of Nolan Richardson III's tenure at Tennessee State was marked by criminal idiocy, as he brandished a gun at assistant coach Hosea Lewis during a Christmas-night practice in '02. Ten months after Richardson's resignation, the NCAA handed him a three-year show cause (a designation that essentially bars other schools from hiring someone) for, among other things, putting recruits through "tryouts" during campus visits as well as supervising involuntary summer workouts. While the auditioning of recruits demonstrated a brazen disregard for NCAA rules, getting caught keeping tabs on players in the summer ... was simply a case of being too stupid to do it discreetly.

NOT CHEATING: Having an office in the school's basketball complex that happens to overlook -- or at least be adjacent to -- the practice court where offseason workouts are held.

In order for unsupervised offseason workouts to qualify with the NCAA as voluntary, players must not be told by the coach to attend, nor can they be required to report back to the coach afterward, nor can they be punished for not attending. But what happens, say, if in the school's posh new basketball practice facility, the head coach's palatial office happens to have a nice view of ... the court where players conduct their voluntary workouts?

An ethical coach surely wouldn't open the blinds and watch entire pickup games -- but he surely would at least note which players were showing up every day and dedicating themselves to the program. And those players, in turn, even if they weren't obligated to check in with the head coach, surely would deem it rude not to at least stop by and exchange information from time to time, seeing that his office is right next to the court? It's not cheating. It's just intelligent construction.

CHEATING/AGAINST NCAA RULES: Putting recruits through shady prep schools to raise their GPAs and thus gain NCAA eligibility.

A New York Times report from February of '06 -- headlined "Schools Where the Only Real Test Is Basketball" -- exposed the proliferation of sham prep schools that essentially allowed basketball players who would not have been otherwise NCAA-eligible to transfer in, then load up on necessary core courses. Players who did not graduate from their original high schools could transfer to a place like Philadelphia's Lutheran Christian Academy, do minimal classwork and boost their GPA to the point where it canceled out low SAT or ACT scores in the NCAA's sliding-scale eligibility formula.

This loophole served as the gateway for players such as George Washington's Omar Williams and Maureece Rice, Mississippi State's Jamont Gordon, and Georgetown's (now Delaware's) Mark Egerson to become D-I scholarship athletes. In May of '07, the NCAA passed legislation that effectively put an end to this practice; now, players are only allowed to obtain a maximum of ONE core class credit in a fifth year at an approved prep school -- thus severely limiting the opportunity to boost their GPA.

NOT CHEATING: Getting recruits designated as "learning disabled," thus exempting them from the core-class limits at prep schools.

As the rules stand following the NCAA's May '07 decision, this is the prime loophole for getting a recruit eligible, even if he bumbled through his first four years of high school. A recent report addressed the hypothetical -- yet very plausible -- scenario of colleges encouraging "friendly" doctors to diagnose recruits as "L.D.," or learning disabled, allowing said recruit to attend an NCAA-approved prep school and load up on as many core credits as he needs.

L.D. designations have long been methods, during college, to allow academically challenged players -- whether they're truly L.D. or not -- to take untimed exams in low-pressure settings. Now, a shrewd college team can use a doctor's services to help them get access to recruits who might not otherwise be eligible. As devious as this seems, it's already a hot topic of discussion in the college hoops world ... and there's little doubt it will become a widely used strategy.

Dorsey, Team USA Open Pool Play Wednesday, July 25th

Dorsey, Team USA Begin Quest For Gold At Pan Am Games Wednesday
U.S. opens pool play versus Uruguay on Wednesday at 8 p.m. (CT)

July 24, 2007

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - University of Memphis' Joey Dorsey and his 2007 Pan American Games teammates have been practicing the past week, and on Wednesday, Team USA's quest for the gold begins. The U.S. Pan Am Games team opens pool play Wednesday at 8 p.m. (CT) against Uruguay.

Argentina and Panama are the other two teams in Team USA's pool play. The U.S. faces Panama Thursday at 5:45 p.m. (CT) and meets Argentina Friday at 5:45 p.m. (CT). The other pool includes Brazil, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The top two teams from each group advances to the medal round, setting up the championship bracket semifinals for Saturday at 1:00 and 3:15 p.m. (CT). The championship game is set for 9 a.m. (CT).

The 2007 U.S. team is attempting to win the country's first Pan American Games gold medal since 1983. Team USA earned the silver in 1987, 1995 and 1999, the bronze in 1991 and placed fourth in 2003.The United States' overall record in Pan Am competition is 81-11.

Joining Dorsey on the 2007 Pan Am team are: North Carolina's Wayne Ellington, Vanderbilt's Shan Foster, Maryland's James Gist, Georgetown's Roy Hibbert, Oregon's Marty Leunen, Washington State's Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver, VCU's Eric Maynor, Michigan State's Drew Neitzel, Villanova's Scottie Reynolds and Indiana's D.J. White.

Villanova's Jay Wright is the Team USA Pan American head coach. Alabama's Mark Gottfried and Yale's James Jones are the team's assistant coaches. For more information on the Pan American Games team, go to

Roster of U of M's Biggest Supporters Doubles

Roster of U of M's biggest supporters doubles

By David Williams, Memphis Commercial Appeal
July 22, 2007

During a recent gathering of University of Memphis athletic superdonors, talk ranged from basketball's national-championship potential to a possible new football stadium -- to R.C. Johnson's "athletic director handshake."

Hand out and palm up, of course.

It was delivered with a laugh -- not that Johnson would have been offended, anyway. He readily admits the need to solicit millions for a program that doesn't turn a profit despite record-setting fund-raising and a powerhouse basketball team. And his superdonors -- dubbed Ambassadors -- deliver for the U of M like no others.

Membership to the club comes through a $500,000 donation, payable over four years. But in reality, the majority of the club's 24 members have donated much more, typically in seven figures. Their cash helps pay for scholarships, coaches' salaries, contract buyouts, facility construction and other costs of doing business in major college athletics.

In return, yes, they get certain perks. But is there any doubt whether the likes of FedEx Corp. chairman Fred Smith and First Horizon National Corp. chairman Mike Rose could afford a road trip to see the Tigers play football in New Orleans or their very own Ambassador's Club sport coats?

"Obviously, what they give us, we can't give them in return," Johnson said, "and they know that."

Even so, Ambassador's Club membership has grown at a rather stunning rate in recent years. The club was unveiled in late 1998 with nine members and had increased to 12 by early 2001 -- but has doubled since then.

"They love the university, and they know the importance of the university to the city," said Harold Byrd, a major U of M donor and non-Ambassador, but whose brother, Bob, recently joined the club.

That's how Ambassadors tend to see themselves. In describing their motivation, they frame a big picture -- the athletic program's role in promoting the university, the university's importance to the city, the city's potential to grow and prosper.

"I really think that Memphis is on the brink of breaking through, to have something special happening here -- not just the Memphis Tiger basketball team and not just the university, but the whole city," said Dave Bronczek, FedEx Express chief executive. "Of course, I may be biased to say that because of FedEx being here."

Johnson may bleed Tiger blue, but his next-favorite colors must be purple and orange -- 16.6 percent of the Ambassadors work at FedEx: Smith and Bronczek, plus chief financial officer Alan Graf and the newest club member, Lenny Feiler, senior vice president of central support services for FedEx Express.

"I don't think I ever said, 'Hey, Lenny, why don't you become an Ambassador?'" Bronczek said. "But now that Lenny has, and I have, and Fred has and Alan has, there's more people at FedEx who I think are looking at it."

Ambassadors, though, are a varied lot. Ken Lenoir, one of the newest members, is a former Tiger football player from the 1960s and founder of First Mercantile Trust Co., who said, "I just felt the need. I felt like the university had been good to me in my education. It was time to give something back."

Lenoir shrugged off the perks, which also include the right to buy prime seats, increased access to coaches, and regular meetings with Johnson and President Shirley Raines.

"I didn't do it for that," he said. "Perks didn't interest me. It was the university. The university means a lot to the city. It's an investment."

Which isn't to say these corporate-titan types don't care so much about winning games and chasing titles. Talk football sometime with Fred Smith, or basketball with Mike Rose, and you'll learn otherwise.

The Ambassadors are fans. At the recent club gathering, basketball coach John Calipari spoke for a few minutes about the 2007-2008 Tigers, then took questions.

The first one: Can we start tomorrow?

But they're fans who know the Tigers aren't only competing on the field and court. They're in a major college athletic arms race -- to attract and retain coaches in an age of multimillion-dollar contracts, to woo national recruits easily swayed by the chance to play in higher-profile leagues than Memphis' Conference USA.

"The biggest challenge is getting our football program to the point where it pays for itself. And, in a perfect world, actually contributes overall," said Rose, who endorses Mayor Willie Herenton's plan for a new football stadium at the Mid-South Fairgrounds. "At most of the major conference universities, football carries the athletic program. In ours, basketball carries the athletic program."

That was a nod to the economics of big-time college sports, where football rules because of its far-greater revenue potential.

Consider that for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2006, Tiger football had revenue of $5 million -- against expenses of $7 million.

The University of Tennessee had revenue of $27.7 million -- about the size of last year's entire U of M athletic budget -- against expenses of $12.2 million.

Still, Johnson and his Ambassadors had much to celebrate during their recent get-together, in a cocktail party setting on court level at FedExForum. The basketball team is No. 1 or 2 in nearly every national preseason poll. A department record was set recently with $5.6 million collected for the Tiger Scholarship Fund. And the Ambassador's Club had reached two dozen members.

The cost of competing in major college athletics is ever-increasing, though. So, too, is the need for donors -- and, when you can get them, superdonors.

"Every year I have an objective to try and get at least one more," Johnson said, "and we've been able to do much more."

-- David Williams: 529-2310


Kelly and Dale Armstrong

Dave and Judy Bronczek

Ben and Martha Bryant

Bob and Debra Byrd

Hilliard and Harriett Crews

William Jr. and Tommie Dunavant

Evelyn Echols

Lenny and Rhonda Feiler

Frank Jr. and Brenda Flautt

Alan and Susan Graf

Janet and Bob January

Al and Carol LaRocca

Ken and Sandy Lenoir

Bill and Ann Morris

Kyle Rice

Mike and Debbi Rose

Elkan and Laurie Scheidt

Fred and Diane Smith

Rita Sparks

Rick and Sandy Spell

Elaine Springer

John and Anne Stokes

Ron and Wynoka Terry

Tom and Robin Watson

Source: University of Memphis

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Calipari Honored to be #1

Calipari honored to be No. 1

By Dan Wolken
July 22, 2007

John Calipari went on a mini-media blitz this week with local and national reporters, previewing the 2007-08 basketball season. And the question he kept getting over and over centered on how he was handling the monstrous expectations flowing around the University of Memphis program.

After all, most coaches would probably do anything to avoid being preseason No. 1, as Memphis was anointed by national college basketball writers like CBS Sportsline's Gary Parrish, ESPN's Andy Katz and Dick "Hoops" Weiss of the New York Daily News.

But Calipari is seemingly embracing the No. 1 moniker, turning what could be viewed as a burden into a positive. Here's a taste of what he said, and what he probably will repeat many more times before October.
"It's a different setup when you're at North Carolina, Kansas, Duke, Kentucky, UCLA to be No. 1 preseason or the first two weeks," Calipari said. "That adds another thing to what you're trying to deal with. If you don't win the national title, you're not worth anything. Here, it's totally different.

"To be in the league we're in, in the situation we're in, and we're preseason No. 1, that's quite an honor. It also helps in recruiting, which gives us another year under our belt to stay ahead. It has a different connotation when it's Memphis. It's almost like, what? How? That's really crazy. Well, for North Carolina or Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, it's like, 'That's right, and if we don't win the national title we're going to put for sale signs on that coach's front yard.'"

Speaking more in-depth on the issue, Calipari did admit that he'll have a couple key responsibilities. One is figuring out playing rotations and combinations. More important, however, will be ensuring individual agendas don't dissolve the team concept that Memphis developed last season.

"Two years ago, we had one agenda," Calipari said. "We played to win, they gave up minutes for each other, but Rodney (Carney) and Shawne (Williams) struggled a little bit because they were thinking ahead, and they struggled at times. Darius (Washington), the same thing. He was trying to say, 'I'm playing to get a contract.' You can't play for that. We have to guard against that."

Schedule news

The Gazelle Group, which runs the 2K College Hoops Classic Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer, still hasn't officially announced the three teams that will play in Memphis' region of the season-opening event.

But The Commercial Appeal has learned that -- unless there are late changes -- Memphis will play Tennessee-Martin in the first round on Nov. 5, with Richmond and Wyoming playing the other first-round game at FedExForum.

Though Memphis fans can probably go ahead and make their reservations for the semifinals in New York, either Richmond or Wyoming could be a tricky second-round opponent.

Richmond is coached by Chris Mooney, a former Princeton player and head coach at Air Force, who runs a pure Princeton offense. Playing that kind of team, especially so early in the season, can be a nightmare, though it would offer Memphis some meaningful exposure to the offense before facing Georgetown on Dec. 22.

Though Wyoming hasn't had much success the past few years, its backcourt would present a legitimate test. Brandon Ewing, a 6-2 point guard from Chicago, is one of the best unknown players in the country and led the Mountain West in scoring last season at 19.9 points per game.

Familiar foe

When Rick Majerus took the head coaching job at Saint Louis, the idea of renewing an old Conference USA rivalry might have occurred to some Memphis fans.

Indeed, Memphis and Saint Louis will start a series this year. The only catch? Nobody will get to see it, since the teams will play each other in a closed scrimmage on Oct. 27.

The NCAA allows every team to play two preseason exhibition games, which typically are poorly attended and barely competitive. As an alternative, Division I schools can scrimmage each other in a closed setting, with no fans or media members allowed to watch.

Though the scrimmages aren't necessarily played under game conditions, coaches generally consider them more productive than exhibitions.


The John Calipari Basketball School has added a "Summer Hoops Finale" camp for ages 7 through 18. It will run from Aug. 6-8 at the Finch Center (on Spottswood and Echles), and the cost is $125. Lunch will not be provided. Contact Andy Allison at for more information. ... Memphis is currently the 7-1 co-third choice to win the national championship, according to the Caesars Palace sports book. Memphis opened wagering on April 7 as the 6-1 favorite, but North Carolina has been bet down to 4-1, with Kansas at 6-1 and UCLA along with Memphis at 7-1.

To reach reporter Dan Wolken, call 529-2365

Database Source of NCAA Head Coaches Salaries and Contracts

I found this through one of the Tiger chat rooms. Great source for NCAA basketball head coaches salaries and contracts.

Morris Twins Stick With Tigers, Recruiting Targets

Morris twins stick with Tigers
Duo expected to go to prep school, then on to Memphis

By Dan Wolken
July 19, 2007

Twins Marcus and Markieff Morris are still committed to play basketball at the University of Memphis after all.

Just days after telling the Philadelphia Daily News they had re-opened their recruitment, the Morris twins reaffirmed their pledge to coach John Calipari and will arrive on campus in the fall of 2008, according to their mother, Angel Morris.

"They wanted to see other schools, see what was going on with other schools," Angel Morris said Wednesday. "But as we sat down as a family and talked about it, everything worked out, and (Memphis) is exactly where we're going and what we're doing."
The Morris twins, both top-100 prospects, signed letters of intent with Memphis last fall and graduated from Philadelphia Prep Charter in the spring. When they signed, the understanding among all parties was that the twins would go to prep school for a year, re-sign with Memphis, then enroll in college in 2008.

But that plan seemed off track when the twins said they were going to consider other colleges, prompting Calipari and assistant coach Derek Kellogg to make an unscheduled trip to Philadelphia on Saturday in hopes of clarifying the situation.

"(Calipari) came and said, 'Nothing has changed with us; we still want you,'" Angel Morris said. "The boys were satisfied with that. That's where we're going to stay at. By the end of the month, we'll definitely have a prep school. They're going to prep school, and in September of '08 they'll be on the Memphis campus."

That's good news for the Memphis coaching staff, which had backed off recruiting several top players at the forward positions because they had the twins on board.

"I was never worried because I knew why they chose Memphis in the first place," Calipari said Wednesday.

Marcus Morris, a 6-7 small forward, is ranked No. 34 overall by in the class of 2008. Markieff Morris, at 6-8, is more of a low post player and ranked 94th by Rivals.

With their commitments secure once again, Calipari can go back to work on the rest of his 2008 recruiting class. Memphis is still hoping to secure a commitment from Puerto Rican wing/forward Angel Garcia and St. George's guard Elliot Williams.

The Tigers are also involved with 6-6 Craigmont guard Terrico White, who drew a crowd that included Calipari, Tennessee's Bruce Pearl, Missouri's Mike Anderson, Arkansas' John Pelphrey and UTEP's Tony Barbee at last weekend's Battle on the Bluff AAU Tournament.

-- Dan Wolken: 529-2365

More info:

The Tigers' Class of 2008


Marcus Morris, 6-7 forward, Philadelphia

Markieff Morris, 6-8 forward, Philadelphia

Top targets

Angel Garcia, 6-10 forward, East Chicago, Ind.

Terrico White, 6-6 guard, Craigmont High

Elliot Williams, 6-4 guard, St. George's

Memphis Grizzlies Dance Team Auditions

This has nothing to do with Memphis Tiger Basketball, but every once and a while I feel the need to support the Memphis Grizzlies and/or the Dance Team (and she's cute to boot).

Official TIger Videos on Youtube

Official Tiger videos on Youtube...

Just an fyi, some videos have been uploaded by the wonderful folks who run the Official Memphis Tigers Fan Site over at, the UofM Sports Marketing Team.

Videos for the Memphis Tigers athletic teams!

All videos are the property of Running Pony Productions and the University of Memphis and are intended to promote Tigers athletics and for enjoyment of Tiger fans around the world. Videos may not be used under any circumstances without the express written consent of Running Pony Productions and the University of Memphis.

Visit us at!

UofM Sports Marketing

Calipari Proud of Tigers' Slate Outside League

Calipari proud of Tigers' slate outside league
Memphis has early start, will face big names in non-conference schedule

By Dan Wolken
July 20, 2007

Memphis released its non-conference schedule Thursday. The opponents had already been reported, but the dates had not been released.

The Tigers will open the season Nov. 5 -- the first college basketball game in the country -- with a first-round game of the 2K College Hoops Classic Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer at FedExForum. Though the opponent for that night has not been announced formally, Tennessee-Martin will be Memphis' opener barring a late shift in plans.
The schedule includes several highlights, including a Jan. 26 game against Gonzaga and a Feb. 23 game against Tennessee that will fall in the middle of the Conference USA season. The Georgetown and Arizona games, which will be played on consecutive Saturdays in December, are the other marquee home dates.

Memphis' league schedule has not been released, but the Tigers know they will play Houston, UAB, Southern Miss, SMU and Tulsa twice and the rest of the league once.

East Carolina, UCF and UTEP will play in Memphis, and the Tigers will travel to Marshall, Rice and Tulane.

"If it's not the best non-conference schedule in the country, you've got to show me whose schedule is (better)," coach John Calipari said. "Next year, we're adding one of the best Big East teams and one of the best Big Ten teams at home and the year after that we're adding a Big 12 team and another Big East team I think people will be excited about.

"Probably within the next month we'll announce the next two years, so it's kind of like a football schedule where it's out there (a few years in advance), which usually doesn't happen in basketball."

-- Dan Wolken: 529-2365

Friday, July 20, 2007

Philadelphia Daily News "Morris Twins Stick With Memphis"

Morris twins stick with Memphis

Philadelphia Daily News

Yes, they're tall and their sport is basketball, but maybe the Morris twins could play running back.

They certainly know how to reverse their fields.

In Saturday's Daily News, the 6-9 Marcus said he and 6-10 Markieff were reopening their recruiting. Memphis coach John Calipari and assistant Derek Kellogg then flew to Philadelphia to meet with them and their mother, Thomasine "Angel" Morris.

The result: They've recommitted.

The Morrises, first-team Daily News All-City selections who led Prep Charter to two consecutive PIAA Class AA state titles, will still attend a prep school, most likely in Florida. As non-qualifiers, the letters of intent they signed last November are no longer binding.

They intended to reopen their recruiting only to be positive Memphis would be the best choice.

"Coach Calipari was concerned," Markieff said last night. "He talked with us, and also with our mom. Just made sure of some things. Like our mom said, once you make a commitment to something, you really should stick with it." *

- Ted Silary

Andy Katz "Dorsey's Big Mouth Good for the Game"

Dorsey's big mouth good for the game
By Andy Katz,
Updated: July 19, 2007

HAVERFORD, Pa. -- Thank you, Joey Dorsey, for returning to Memphis and, for that matter, being invited to the Pan Am Games trials.

You see, without Mr. Dorsey, we might not have our most quotable player for the 2007-08 season.

Glen "Big Baby" Davis and Joakim Noah both checked out of college after their junior seasons. So, that left a void for all of us scribes and television reporters thirsting for someone to serve up an honest comment or two.

In their much-anticipated matchup, Greg Oden scored 17 points and earned a trip to the Final Four. Joey Dorsey finished with no points and a whole lot of explaining to do.

Mr. Dorsey delivers. (The University of Memphis understands his big appeal so well that it made "That's Mister Dorsey To You" the marketing slogan that will adorn a billboard in the city for the upcoming season.)

Quite simply, there aren't many players who can make the white tank top look rather small. There aren't too many who sport that white tank, with the broad shoulders and powerful biceps bursting out, under a uniform or even just a golf shirt as 6-foot-9, 260-pound Dorsey did when he was taking his visa photo last week at a suburban Philadelphia Marriott for the games in Brazil.

"My physique intimidates a lot of players that I play against," Dorsey said. "I stay in the weight room a lot. That's a big part of my game."

Oh, there's more, there's always more with Mr. Dorsey. And, it's usually very, very good.

Who can forget his sporting that white tank on the bench after fouling out of the Sweet 16 game against Texas A&M in San Antonio. Later that night, I received an e-mail from an NCAA official saying that wouldn't happen again. (Translation: Dorsey was told to keep the uniform on.) But for what it's worth, the sight of Dorsey looking as though he was just through a workout at Gold's Gym and ready to bust through a door certainly was imposing. So much so that Dorsey didn't hesitate to call out Greg Oden in advance of the Elite Eight matchup against Ohio State.

For those who need a refresher course, Dorsey said at the time, "This is the game I wanted." He added that Oden was "overrated as a big man" and that Oden "might be as good as Joey Dorsey." As our columnist Gene Wojciechowski laid out at the time, Dorsey's final prize was saying it was going to be "David versus Goliath." And remember, Dorsey was saying he was the monster.

Of course, Oden dominated with 17 points. Dorsey finished with zilch.

Dorsey had to be asked about his comments when I caught up with him in at the Pan Am trials in Philadelphia.

"I underestimated my opposition, and that's something I never did playing basketball the past five years," Dorsey said. "My opponent was a very great player, one of the best I've played against."

After watching Oden dominate the national championship game, even in a loss to Florida, Dorsey said he understood how good Oden really was. Later, the Memphis resident rooted against the Memphis Grizzlies the night of the lottery because Dorsey wanted no part of Oden in his town.

"It was a lift off my back because if Memphis got the No. 1 pick, then I would have had to hear about David and Goliath the whole year," Dorsey said.

It's all been part of the growing process for this senior.

"Joey took longer to mature, to understand to get rid of the bitterness, and there was a bit of anger in there," Memphis coach John Calipari said. "A lot of kids come to school with an edge and a bitterness.

"But all of the coaches have said he's a good kid and has a good heart. But I've told him he has to get out of his own way. There's only one of him out there. So I tell him if he misses layups and free throws, remember that the other guys can't do what you do. Be proud of what you are and who you are."

Dorsey will lead Memphis, my pick for No. 1 in the pre-preseason. And the Tigers will stay there -- barring some sort of injury in the fall. That's fine with Dorsey.

"We deserve to be No. 1 coming off back-to-back Elite Eights," he said.

The Tigers return seven of their top eight players and add one of the top players in the country, guard Derrick Rose.

Dorsey said, "He's one of the best point guards I've played with so far behind DWash [Darius Washington]."

Dorsey returned as the third-leading returning scorer, at 8.5 points a game and the top rebounder, at 9.4.

Well, according to Dorsey, he'll be grabbing about five-plus more boards a game because he plans to lead the country in rebounding "at 15 a game. I can be one of the dominant power forwards or centers in the country."

"I've been working out since the season was over, working out with Carmelo [Anthony, who -- like Dorsey -- is from Baltimore] and Rudy [Gay] in Memphis and trying to improve my overall game," Dorsey said. "I'm working on my free throws, taking 100 a day, so that there are no flaws in my game.

"[Scouts] told me that I have to improve my skill level because they said I cannot do left-handed layups and left-handed jump hooks," Dorsey said.

That's why he's looked at as being an enforcer on Team USA. No one expects Dorsey to be the finesse player to go to down in the post. No, he's on this team to grab rebounds and to look imposing.

And, to be honest, it won't hurt for Dorsey to get the book down on Georgetown's Roy Hibbert since Dorsey will be defending him when the two top-10 teams play in Memphis on Dec. 22.

That game will be a good barometer for Memphis' national title hopes, although according to Dorsey, there's no question which team will be cutting down the nets in April.

"We talked about me leaving, and a lot of guys said they would come back if I came back," Dorsey said of the decision by himself and Chris Douglas-Roberts to bypass the NBA draft. "With Derrick Rose coming in, this was our chance to win a championship. And that's what I told Memphis University players and the state of Tennessee -- that we'll win a championship."

See? Dorsey is good for the game. He looks menacing. He doesn't back down from an opponent or from saying what's on his mind. Unless Calipari -- who easily is the coach most willing to talk candidly -- reels him in, Dorsey should be the go-to guy to talk Memphis all season long.

Andy Katz is a senior writer at

Article From The Cornell Daily Sun on Next Year's Top NBA Draft Choices

Same Time, Next Year
By Michael Mix, The Cornell Daily Sun (Ithaca, New York)
Sun Senior Editor
Jul 19 2007

It’s almost August, and many sports fans have stopped caring about the NBA (except me, who rejoiced when the Nets decided not to overpay Mikki Moore). Baseball rules the world right now, NFL training camp is around the corner and David Beckham is about to supplant Kobe Bryant as one of the four people ESPN talks about (along with Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez). That is why this will be my last NBA draft blog and next week I will be back about something else. For this entry, though, I want to point out the key college players for next year’s draft. Like last year, which boasted top-4 picks Greg Oden, Kevin Durant and Mike Conley, Jr., there is another bumper crop of freshmen this season, along with a number of veteran prospects.

Derrick Rose, PG, Memphis – Memphis coach John Calipari must be pumped for the current season, as he returns several players from a team which received a No. 2 seed. Rose is a prolific scorer, similar to Dwayne Wade, and is also a lock-down defender. He currently plays point guard, is an excellent passer and really knows how to run a team. Whatever NBA team gets him will have to decide whether they want him to stay at the point or move him to shooting guard to take advantage of his scoring prowess. Rose could be the first guard to be selected with the No. 1 pick since Allen Iverson in 1996. If anything, it will give opposing teams a reason to repeatedly play Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” during games.

Michael Beasley, PF, Kansas State – Beasley is a tremendous athlete who has a great post game and likes highlight-reel dunks. The knock on him is his attitude, because like a lot of players coming out of high school, he does not have much discipline and is a little lazy. Beasley was going to be coached by former Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins at Kansas State, but Huggins left for West Virginia. The Wildcats did everything they could to keep Beasley including retaining his former AAU coach as an assistant, just short of scoring him a copy of the seventh Harry Potter book weeks before it came out. Fortunately for Kansas State, Beasley decided to stay. Together with Bill Walker, the Wildcats will be an unexpected force next season. Also, the battle between Rose and Beasley for the No. 1 spot could become as heated as the feud between Eric and Billy Walsh on Entourage.

O.J. Mayo, PG, USC – Mayo was just a small-town kid from West Virginia looking to make it big under the bright lights of Los Angeles. Unfortunately, making it big meant having some strange representative call USC coach Tim Floyd with an edict that Mayo was coming to USC despite the fact that Floyd hadn’t even heavily recruited him. Mayo said that he wanted a place where he could market himself before the NBA, and Los Angeles was perfect. He also wanted to play for a school where he could make history, so UCLA was out. After this story broke, Pardon the Interruption’s Mike Wilbon launched into a hilarious diatribe against Mayo and Floyd, repeatedly saying that Mayo would ask his coach to “mop up [his] sweat.” As for his playing ability, Mayo can definitely score, with a tremendous one-on-one game. The problem is that Mayo doesn’t exactly play a team game and has been accused of being selfish. His game reminds some of Stephon Marbury, so maybe if the Knicks are bad enough this year, we could see Isiah Thomas, James Dolan, Eddy Curry, Walt Frazier, Spike Lee and Whoopi Goldberg’s character from Eddie all come together to mop up Mayo’s sweat.

DeAndre Jordan, C, Texas A&M – Remember this name. Jordan isn’t talked about like Rose, Walker and Mayo, and most people would currently rank him below fellow incoming freshmen Eric Gordon of Indiana and Kevin Love of UCLA. But Jordan is an amazing talent. He is 6-11 and 225 pounds, and is apparently unstoppable with the ball and force on the defensive end. Jordan’s skills are very raw, as he still needs to develop his post game and his jump shot, but he is going to be a tremendous player one day.

Roy Hibbert, C, Georgetown – Hibbert took his time deciding whether to stay in this year’s draft, and his draft status caused more uncertainty than the current “Is Nicole Ritchie pregnant?” debate. Fortunately for Georgetown, even though Jeff Green went pro, Hibbert decided to come back. He certainly has a lot of skill and is battle-tested, matching up well against Oden during the NCAA Tournament. You can’t teach size, and Hibbert has a lot of it, standing 7-2. Most people thought that the traditional impact center was killed sometime shortly after Shaquille O’Neal starred in Kazaam, but with Oden in the league now and Hibbert next year, the center appears to be back.

Chase Budinger, SG/SF, Arizona – Budinger, along with Oden, Conley, Durant and Spencer Hawes, was supposed to be part of the “one and done” freshmen class of last year. While all the others went pro, Budinger decided to stay in school another year and learn under Lute Olson. Budinger had a very solid freshman year, posting good shooting numbers and showing his prowess in the passing game, though his defense has room for improvement. Budinger never took over games the way Durant did, so it is good for him to return to college and be the man at Arizona, which might push him into the top-5 next season.

Ty Lawson, PG, North Carolina – Lawson was another impact freshmen last year, but was overshadowed at the point guard position by Conley. Lawson was smart to stay in college another year, but unfortunately, he will not be taken before Mayo and Rose. Lawson had a great rookie season, but was awful during North Carolina’s collapse in the NCAA Tournament to Georgetown. Since that game was fresh in everyone’s memory, his draft stock plummeted. In addition, his jump shot must improve and he is hurt by his 5-11 size.

Darren Collison, PG, UCLA – Point guards in next year’s lottery might become as common as getting attitude from the people who work at Wings Over Ithaca. Collison is one of the best defensive guards in the country and excelled in a starting role last year after backing up former first-round pick Jordan Farmar two years ago. Collison is also a very strong offensive player who is good in transition. With the arrival of freshman Kevin Love, UCLA should be one of the best teams in the country for the third straight year.

There are many other prospects for the 2008 draft, including a number of Europeans, but these eight players are enough to focus on. Next week, I’ll be back talking about something else, but in the meantime, I will rack my brain thinking of reasons why Jessica Biel knows enough about sports to have a 10 percent vote in the second round of ESPN’s Who’s Next.

Tigers Release Non-Conference Schedule

Tigers release non-conference basketball schedule
July 19, 2007

The University of Memphis released today the schedule of what may be one of the most ambitious non-conference schedule in the history of its men's basketball program.
And many of the games are at FedExForum.

he Tigers will play Georgetown (Dec. 22), Arizona (Dec. 29), Gonzaga (Jan. 26) and Tennessee (Feb. 23) in Memphis. They will also open the season on Nov. 5 when they play host to the Memphis Regional in the 2K College Hoops Classic benefitting Coaches vs. Cancer. Other teams in the Memphis regional are Connecticut, Kentucky and Oklahoma. The classic's semifinals and finals will be Nov. 15-16 at Madison Square Garden in New York, where the Tigers will also play Southern California on Dec. 4 in the Jimmy V. Classic doubleheader.

Memphis will play a neutral-site game against Middle Tennessee in Nashville on Dec. 15. The Tigers' lone non-conference road game will be Dec. 19 at Cincinnati.

The schedule (times and television to be released later):

Nov. 5-6 2K College Hoops Classic at FedExForum
Nov. 12 Christian Brothers (Exhibition) at FedExForum
Nov. 15-16 2K College Hoops Classic at New York.
Nov. 20 Arkansas State at FedExForum
Nov. 27 or 28 Austin Peay at FedExForum
Dec. 4 vs. Southern Cal (Jimmy V Classic) New York
Dec. 15 vs. Middle Tennessee at Nashville
Dec. 19 at Cincinnati
Dec. 22 Georgetown at FedExForum
Dec. 29 Arizona at FedExForum
Jan. 3 Siena at FedExForum
Jan. 5 Pepperdine at FedExForum
Jan. 26 Gonzaga at FedExForum
Feb. 23 Tennessee (ESPN Gameday) at FedExForum
Mar. 12-15 Conference USA Tournament at FedExForum

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I Got My Tickets - Section C5 FedEx Forum

The University of Memphis reported today that most priority season ticket holders are scooping up their maximum allowance of available tickets.

When I went to pick out my seats this morning, I found that I wasn't going to get quite as good of seats as I would have liked. There were still some seats available in the lower bowl, but they were in section 118 (not my favorite angle).

I was originally hoping for section C4 or C11 (club level mid court), but I would have been near the top of the section and most aisle seats were taken. Instead I moved over a section to C5 and got seats on the fifth row (about even with the baseline near the visitor's bench).

Works for me.

AM Sports 560 Says Memphis Trying to Nail Down a Future Series with Florida

AM Sports 560 in Memphis reported today that Memphis is trying to nail down a future series with the University of Florida.

Cal's Visit to Philly Commits Morris Twins (Again)

Twin recruits sticking with Tigers

By Dan Wolken
July 18, 2007

Twins Marcus and Markieff Morris are still committed to play basketball at the University of Memphis after all.

Their mother, Angel Morris, told The Commercial Appeal by phone on Wednesday that her sons will indeed honor their commitment to the Tigers and be on campus in the fall of 2008. On Saturday, a story in the Philadelphia Daily News quoted Marcus Morris saying the twins were re-opening their recruitment and would look at other schools.

That changed after a weekend visit from Memphis coach John Calipari and subsequent discussions amongst family members, Angel Morris said.

"They wanted to see other schools, see what was going on with other schools," she said. "But as we sat down as a family and talked about it, everything worked out, and (Memphis) is exactly where we’re going and what we’re doing."

The Morris twins, both top-100 prospects, signed letters of intent with Memphis last fall and graduated from Prep Charter in Philadelphia this spring. When they signed, however, it was with the understanding that they would go to prep school for a year, re-sign with Memphis, then enroll in college in 2008.

But that plan seemed to be off track momentarily when the twins said they were going to consider other schools. Upon hearing that news, Calipari and assistant coach Derek Kellogg immediately flew to Philadelphia to re-affirm their interest in the players.

"He came and said nothing has changed with us, we still want you," Angel Morris said. "The boys were satisfied with that. That’s where we’re going to stay at. By the end of the month, we’ll definitely have a prep school. They're going to prep school, and in September of '08 they’ll be on the Memphis campus."
That's certainly good news for the Memphis coaching staff, which had backed off recruiting several top players at the forward positions because they had the twins on board.

"I was never worried because I knew why they chose Memphis in the first place," Calipari said Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007's Luke Winn Interview With Joey Dorsey

Talk hoops all year long in Luke Winn's blog, a journal of commentary, news and reader-driven discussions about the college game.
7/17/2007 11:38:00 AM
Blog Q&A ... With Memphis' Joey Dorsey

Memphis' Joey Dorsey grabbed 9.4 rebounds last year, but says this season he'll average 15.

For the latest edition of the Blog Q&A series, I chatted with Memphis' Joey Dorsey, who was one of 14 players to pass the first cut in USA Basketball's Pan American Games trials last week in Haverford, Pa. The 6-foot-9, 260-pound power forward left a strong impression on the U.S. team's selection committee, playing the role of beastly rebounder and looking like a potential starter alongside Georgetown's Roy Hibbert in the post. Dorsey, who averaged 8.5 points and 9.4 rebounds for the Tigers last season, was also one of the more outwardly goofy players in the camp. During the final seconds of a scrimmage on the day before we spoke, he begged one of the camp's photographers to shoot flashbulbs at Duke's Jon Scheyer while he was on the free-throw line, in hopes of distracting him so Dorsey's white team would pull out a victory. The following is an edited transcript of our conversation.

Luke Winn: You grew up in West Baltimore; do you still connect, or look up to, any basketball greats from back home?

Joey Dorsey: I'm actually really close with Carmelo. We talk a lot, and work out together a lot. Rudy [Gay] is down in Memphis, and me and Rudy are real close. I stayed with him before he went out to Vegas [for the NBA Summer League]. It's mostly those two; I knew Carmelo back when he transferred from Towson Catholic to Oak Hill, and I ended up wearing his number [15] my freshman year at Memphis.

LW: But you've changed it since. Why?

JD: People said I put a lot of pressure on myself by having Melo's number going into college, and I didn't have very good first year. So I switched to 32, Amare Stoudemire's number, and I think I played pretty well doing that. But I'm changing it again for this season, to 3.

LW: And who's that one for?

JD: Coach Cal [John Calipari] wants me to be Ben Wallace so bad, that I thought I might as well just go and be Ben Wallace. I gave in. Both coach Cal and Larry Brown -- he came down for a coaches' clinic -- kept saying, ‘Just be Ben Wallace. Get every rebound and dunk everything.’ So that's what I'm going to try to do.

LW: Are you cool with the Wallace comparisons?

JD: Yeah, I'm cool with it. He's a great player, and I have a big body, I'm real athletic, and one of the strongest guys in college, so the Wallace stuff stuck on me. I've even got the braids, and I'm ready to let the bush out, so it's going to be crazy.

LW: You're going to pick out the Wallace 'fro for games?

JD: Oh yeah. I think they're ready to come out with a bobblehead doll at Memphis with the number 3 on it and my afro. I told the fans I'd wear my bush out this year for them.

LW: You also changed your first name -- from Richard to Joey -- your freshman season at Memphis. Can you explain why?

JD: I was at Laurinburg [Prep, in North Carolina], and they were calling me Richard. But I got the name Joey from mom when I was really young. I jumped around a lot as a kid -- I was real energetic and hyper, and she was like, 'I'm going to name you Joey, like a baby kangaroo,' and it stuck from there. So when I got to Memphis I told the announcer to call me Joey from now on. I didn't like hearing 'Richard Dorsey.' It just didn't sound good.

LW: The jumping around, high-energy rebounding thing is your M.O. at Memphis. How closely do you pay attention to your personal rebounding stats?

JD: I always pay attention. That was one of my biggest things coming into last year -- I wanted to be top five [nationally] in rebounding. I'd always think of things like, how in the game against Tennessee I had about 15 rebounds in the first half, and then fouled out with just 15 rebounds. I was so upset about that, because I knew I could have got 25 rebounds that game.

LW: And what's the goal for this year?

JD: I want to lead the country in rebounding with 15 rebounds a game.

LW: You issued a pretty strong challenge to Greg Oden in the Elite Eight last year, saying you were Goliath, he was David; you were underrated, he was overrated, and then the game didn't turn out very well. How much is that still on your mind?

JD: I've heard so much about that Ohio State game this year. I let my teammates down; I apologized to them after that, because my mind was somewhere else. I was going through a lot of family problems right before that game started. But things happen, and that's why I came back this year. I wasn't going to leave on a note like that.

LW: Did the family problems lead you to say the stuff about Oden, too?

JD: No, not that part. I was just trying to hype it up. I wanted it to be a big matchup, because I'm a great rebounder and he's a great player. It's the same thing as when me and Roy [Hibbert] are going to play each other down in Memphis; people are going to try to hype that up, too.

LW: If you come into another game like that, would you hype it up in the same way? Call an Oden-caliber guy overrated?

JD: No way. Nooo way. The next time I go up against a big guy like that, I'm going to let the giant sleep.

LW: Is that your call or coach Cal's demand?

JD: Coach Cal said you learn from your mistakes. Let 'em sleep.

LW: You have a big-time freshman of your own, Chicago point guard Derrick Rose, coming in this season. I'm assuming you've had a chance to play with him a little bit; what were your impressions?

JD: The first day Derrick got there we played pickup, and me, him, CD-R [Chris Douglas-Roberts], [Robert] Dozier, and Antonio [Anderson] were on the same team, just like a starting five. Rose was amazing. Amazing. I didn't know the kid was that quick -- the first time we threw the ball in, he was down the court in three dribbles. He sees the floor very well and gets all his players involved. He just knows where everybody's at; I'm going to love playing with him because he likes to run, too.

I know he's going to throw me a couple of lobs, and I'll throw him some too. I threw him one coming down on the break, it was back-and-forth, pass, pass and I threw it up to him, without knowing how high he could jump. The kid is athletic. We have to find minutes for him, because I guarantee he's a one-and-done player. He's that good. I'm going to enjoy playing with Derrick Rose this year.

LW: Those old Laurinburg guys -- Anderson, Dozier and Kareem Cooper; do you live with any of them at Memphis?

JD: We actually have a house -- 11 bedrooms, all basketball players, so mostly everybody stays there.

LW: How did you find that place?

JD: It's an on-campus thing; Coach Cal did it. It's almost like a mansion. You can get lost in there. It's decked out, too; the living room's got 42-inch flat screens where we can watch game tapes, or review player personnel. Or we can go upstairs where there's a theater, and just watch movies.

LW: Are you a fan of the HBO show The Wire, seeing that it's set in your hometown?

JD: Oh yeah, I watch it. That's right around in my neighborhood. West Baltimore. And all that stuff in actually happens back home. It's so bad that I stay in Memphis a lot. I go back home for probably three days to see a couple of my friends there, and then I'm out.

LW: And the slang in The Wire is accurate, too?

JD: They sound just like us. Like, how they say the number "two," or I’m going "too." We say it different in Baltimore, like "tue."

LW: Any scenes filmed on blocks where you once lived?

JD: Yup, there was one when Omar came up to the projects. He was like, 'Throw the bag out the window!' and they dropped it to him. That was my neighborhood. We used to stay in the apartments probably a block away from there.

LW: I remember that. One of Omar's dealer-robbery binges.

JD: Right. He was collecting everything. Robbing them with a shotgun.

Joey Dorsey Makes Pan American Team

Dorsey makes Pan-Am team
July 17, 2007

University of Memphis forward Joey Dorsey was one of 12 players named today to the USA Pan American Games men's basketball team that will compete July 25-29 in Brazil.
Dorsey, a stalwart on last year's Elite Eight Tiger team, will be joined under the basket by Georgetown's Roy Hibbert.

"This was as difficult a decision as any I've been involved in with USA basketball," said USA coach Jay Wright. "Every kid here could play on this team and we would be proud to take them to Brazil."

Also selected to the team is Vanderbilt forward Shan Foster.

St. George H.S. (Memphis) Elliott Williams' Narrows List to Memphis, Tennessee, Duke and Virginia

U of M, Vols make Williams' final four
Highly sought shooter also eyes Duke, Virginia

By Jason Smith
July 17, 2007

It's a four-horse race now between Duke, Tennessee, the University of Memphis and Virginia, and Elliot Williams is calling it a dead heat.

"I feel I would fit in at all of them," St. George's star shooting guard said Monday of his recently revised list of college choices.

"They're all the same as far as interest level, and you've also got to look at the fact that some of (those schools' players) might be leaving (next year) for the NBA. You've got to take all that into consideration."

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, Memphis coach John Calipari, Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl and Virginia coach Dave Leitao were all in Philadelphia last week to watch Williams participate in the first RBK U camp (previously known as Reebok's ABCD Camp), where the sweet-shooting lefty poured in 18 points in the camp's all-star game.

"Since I've narrowed it down to those four schools, I've really gotten closer to the head coaches, being able to talk to them more and just really focus in on those four schools," said Williams, who three months ago listed Clemson and Vanderbilt among his "main five" but has since dropped them from his list and added Duke.

"I (revised my college list) four or five days before Philly. I had those four going into Philadelphia, and all four coaches were there to support me. ... As far as Duke is concerned, me and (6-10 Louisiana forward) Greg Monroe are their top two targets. I feel they want me just as bad as any other, and I feel like I can play at any college."

Williams, who last July was a relatively unheralded commodity and a late addition to the ABCD Camp in Teaneck, N.J., is now ranked the No. 16 overall prospect in the class of 2008 by and the No. 2 shooting guard prospect.

"He seems real excited to have gotten it down to those four (schools), and to be honest with you, I don't know which way he'll go from here," St. George's coach Jeff Ruffin said. "He's kind of indicated to me that he would like to make a decision by the fall."

Ruffin said both Texas and North Carolina attempted to make late charges at Williams, but to no avail.

"If I were in Elliot's shoes, it would be a very difficult decision because all four programs offer certain things that maybe the other program doesn't," Ruffin said Monday.

"I mean, Memphis offers a chance to play here with a program that we know is going to be in the top five or top 10 the next few years. But Duke and Virginia, especially Duke, offer such a valuable scholarship, and Tennessee has really recruited him hard."

Ruffin said Pearl told him his star player looked good, but a bit worn in last week's RBK U camp, where Williams continued a hectic summer schedule. Williams' AAU team, the M33M Magic, will travel next to Las Vegas for the the adidas Super 64 tournament before heading to Los Angeles for the Double Pump Best of the Summer Tournament.

"He's been all over the country, and I think it's as much mental fatigue as it is physical," Ruffin said. "We all love to do what we like to do, but as time wears on, everybody needs a break."

-- Jason Smith: 529-5804's Hang Time on Pan Am Trials (See Multiple Comments on Joey Dorsey)

Pan Am Trials: Pan-demonium, A Re-cap of the Trails
By David Scott - July 16, 2007

HAVERFORD, Pa. - What did we learn after three days on the Main Line at Camp Wright on the outskirts of the Losses 10,000 city?

We learned that Eric Maynor (VCU) doesn't just shine in March, that Roy Hibbert (Georgetown) may have cost himself Draft position by not joining ex-teammate Jeff Green in the 2007 NBA proceedings and that Jay Wright, all of the sudden, became one of the elite coaches in college hoops.

Without further ado we present to you the "Hang Time" Haverford Half-Dozen: Six Observations (and Several Booms and Busts) from the 2007 Pan Am Game Trials:

1. Randal Falker Will Play in the NBA

In a camp dominated by the high-majors in every way (invitees), shape (the bigs were BIG) and form (coaches and selection committee members skew heavily to the BCS schools), Falker did for us what hardly any player in Camp could do: Stand out.

His offense is limited but he still manages to score points and as is a trademark of the Salukis, the St. Louis native knows how to draw contact and sell a call, all in one fluid motion. The sight of Falker seeking out coaches to talk to within an hour of the 14-man team announcement was telling. He truly, earnestly wanted to know how he can get better and wanted Wright to give him some suggestions. In other words, he wants to get better. Get ready for a whole new slew of "Meet the Falker" headlines because this kid will be heard from all season.

2. Devendorf and Dookie Disappoint
Shortly after the final evaluation session of the camp was over, Committee Chairman Jim Boeheim had a pressing matter to take care of beyond the final picks. He had to talk to his junior-to-be guard Eric Devendorf and let his player know a few things. So he sat against the upright bleachers on a folding chair next to his young shooter and had a heart-to-heart.

Boeheim was a bit busy to discuss that conversation with "Hang Time," but we think we read the body language pretty well: Do you see how far you have to come, Eric?"

Devendorf did pick things up during the ragged closing session and showed some bursts, but for the most part he was a non-factor. Boeheim needs to be careful with the loose cannon that is the Bay City Roller and make sure that Devendorf knows there were some positives to take out of the camp - namely, that he should now know how far he needs to go to reach the level of a Drew Neitzel and certainly a Wayne Ellington.

Scheyer was a level below Devendorf, meaning the bottom of the pack and it became very clear, very early, that Scheyer's 180-pounds doesn't quite match up to Neitzel's 180 or even Devendorf's 175. Eric Maynor's 165 would appear to be about ten pounds over the under-sized Scheyer. He will be the next, great test of whether players get better over a Duke career. Right now, he's got a long road ahead of him.

3. Method to the Madness

USA Basketball is chart-happy and it's something we probably should have paid a bit more attention to during the sessions. One Team USA insider offered some revealing looks into what the Committee uses for purposes of determining the selections. "It's not quite what the Tournament Selection Committee has in terms of numbers and stats, but they do have access to a lot of numbers," said our mole. "We chart everything during the scrimmages.)

That helps explain why the somewhat surprising picks of Maarty Leunen, Bryce Taylor and Kyle Weaver shouldn't have been all that surprising. Leunen, in particular, came in with a reputation of having an "International" game.

We still don't know what that means because we happen to think a guy like Joey Dorsey is going to have any trouble bringing an "international" game with him to Rio - and about 260 chiseled pounds of USA muscle. We also tend to think that all the West Coast kids are getting strong Boeheim support as he is chiefly credited with extending invites to the impressive list of Pac 10 propsects.

4. Vandy Produces Again

Shan (pronounced SHAIN) Foster (Vanderbilt) had a lot of checks on the plus side of the ledger for his senior status, his versatility and, of course, his touch. Let's remember not to be surprised when this next great Commodore appears out of nowhere in January or February, the way Derrick Byars did last year.

"One big thing we learned at Vanderbilt is importance of team camaraderie the importance of being together at all times," said Foster on Saturday before learning his of his good fortune that night. "It would mean a great deal to be considered one of the 12 best players in the country. There's a lot of great players and great talent. I think I bring a great deal of toughness, I'm a great team player and I think I shoot the ball pretty well from the outside."

Foster does all that and more and he also has really stepped up his defense with some great hands and instincts on D. But he knows it's his shooting that will get him to Rio.

"For a long time they've been saying Americans can't shoot," said Foster. "So I guess they're looking for shooters now and hopefully I'm in that mix."

5. Memphis Means Business

There was one clear cut winner as far as teams go and that was Conference USA's flag-bearer, the Memphis Tigers who seemed to be sending out a warning flare that Cal's Caged Tiger's aren't playing for funsies. Joey Dorsey was simply eye-popping for 80 percent of his time on the floor. "He is a beast and he's only 6'9, but he's a monster," said Foster. "He's big and strong, he can run the floor well, he jumps great. It's just a hard guy to guard with his size."

But it's not just Dorsey's Haverford showing that has Memphis being just about confirmed as the nation's No. 1, it's also the buzz starting to get louder and louder about the gifted Derrick Rose who joins the Tigers this Fall. And don't forget about Chris Douglas-Roberts, the 6-foot-6 guard who some were lamenting wasn't in Haverford for the sake of Team USA.

Memphis might even make a run at back-to-back undefeated conference runs and will once again play a brutal non-conference schedule, including a Dorsey-Hibbert meeting in Memphis and a Rose-OJ Mayo match-up at Madison Square Garden.

6. Upset Special

With the presence of Bill Self on the selection committee (and seeing as Jay Wright was apparently granted the right to add borderline Scottie Reynolds to the roster), we were a bit surprised that neither of Self's players (guards Mario Chalmers and Sherron Collin) were chosen for the 14-man slate. Collins was the weaker of the two and Chalmers probably didn't grade out well when statistics and consistency were taken into account.

รข€¢ Booms and Busts from the Trials:

Eric Maynor, VCU - May The Chain be unbroken and may Maynor make it to Rio

The Maruqette Guys - Wesley Matthews was ill, Dominic James couldn't get clearance from the Pan Am people and Jerel McNeal was too up and down to make a serious run at the roster. The good news for in-attendance (and intense) Tom Crean, is that he now has some motivating material for at least two-thirds of his talented trio. (And he can always use the iffy reviews James got from NBA people to prod along the third guy.)

Stella Blu Restaurant - Located down the hill from the team headquarters at the W. Conshohocken Marriott. Almost as appealing as the veal scalloppini was the fact that co-owner Kim Strengari is a bit of a college hoops junkie. She said the joint had been jumping all week long with coach and scout-types who were also in the area for the high school camp going on at Philadelphia University.

The Wawa, just across the street from the hotel - Which part of TSTD ROLL did the sandwich maker on Sunday morning not understand? Or was it the ***T-O-A-S-T*** line on the order slip that confused the poor lad? The beauty of the Wawa sandwich touch screen ordering system is that you don't need to speak with anyone and you get to choose EXACTLY what you want. You can even pay extra for bacon that never gets included on the un-toasted roll.

It could signal the end of our non-Super Wawa shopping days. All the wee little Wawas pale in comparison to the Super Wawas and the bitty baby Wawas are invariably overcrowded and under-cleaned. (Yes, we have a Wawa obsession and no, we don't feel it's necessary to discuss it further.)

Jay Wright, Villanova - Exactly what USA Basketball needs in terms of work ethic, charisma and coaching ability. He charms even the most hardened and stoic of the Philly press corps and he runs a terrific camp where all the players know exactly who is in charge.

Mike Krzyzewski, Duke- He used to be able to send a full team of guys to Trials like these. This year he sent DeMarcus Nelson, who got injured and left and Scheyer, who would have been better off getting injured and leaving instead of staying and getting exposed.

DJ White, Indiana - We are expecting huge things from White this year and the way he got after it for these three days of trials, he deserves all the success that's coming to him.

Richard Hendrix, Alabama- He disappeared after the first couple of sessions and that can't be a good sign for Mark Gottfried who was raving on Saturday night about how much he is enjoying his first go-round as a coach with USA Basketball.

Jon Brockman, Washington - He stepped up his production a bit late in the camp but he earned the respect of fellow bruiser, Joey Dorsey. if Dorsey says Brockman's strong than we tend to believe Brockman is pretty damn strong.

Scottie Reynolds, Villanova - Will need to have a great few days in order to justify being on the 12 man roster. So far, he looks like Wright's binky that the coach had thrown in along with placing the trials right near his suburban Philly home.

Derrick Low, Washington State - A mini-me version of Joakim Noah, right down to the bushy ponytail. We started off skeptical but he won us over and we fear he may knock Maynor off the squad that goes to Rio.

Chris Lofton, Tennessee - There's no doubt that the senior-to-be is better than he displayed in Haverford, but the recurring thought of him looking so undersized is going to be hard to erase.

NBA scouts - They numbered a consistent 15 or so during the first three days and to a man they seemed to love the level of competition and the depth of talent in camp. "It's better than what we were doing at camps like ABCD and Nike," said one scout. "With this type of setting, we're seeing guys who will be first-rounders next year and they're playing against other first and second rounders."

Roy Hibbert, Georgetown - More NBA Scouts means more scrutiny and more picking apart of the somewhat awkward big man's game. If Hibbert plays as tamely as he did last week, during the Hoyas season, he will cost himself many positions in next year's Draft.

Hang Time - Face it, you really like us. We just spent four days live-blogging and speculating about 30 of the top college players in the country and the thermometer was reading 90 degrees on a mid-July day. Who gives you your college hoops fix ALL THE TIME? Hang Time does.

Hang Time - We completely missed the Pac 10 and Maarty Leunen phenomena as it unfolded, despite fair warnings from committee members and coaches. And we never should have doubted Wayne Ellington - he's super talented.

Oh, and we joyfully ate that mistakenly made Wawa sangwich because we were too far down the road to turn around give Wawa a wagonful of whining.

Posted by David Scott at 12:31 AM on July 16, 2007