• #1 by GoHogs1091 on 06 Mar 2017
  • The final season for SEC teams to have a substantial chance to win against Mississippi State.

    Next season, Howland is going to have the following size.

    Schnider Herard   6'10"  4 Star
    Aric Holman   6'10"  4 Star
    Abdul Ado   6'11"  4 Star   Ineligible this season.  Probably the best shot blocker they have had since Jarvis Varnado.
    Garrison Brooks   6'10"  4 Star
    E.J. Datcher   6'9"  240 lbs.
    KeyShawn Feazell   6'9"
  • #2 by jbcarol on 08 Mar 2017
  • #3 by jbcarol on 08 Mar 2017
  • #4 by jbcarol on 09 Mar 2017
  • #5 by jbcarol on 10 Mar 2017
  •  Brad Shepard‏ @Brad_Shepard

    For all those Barnes haters, Cuonzo and Tyndall left a hot pile of garbage. Just FYI.

     Patrick Brown‏ @patrickbrownTFP 14h14 hours ago

    Patrick Brown Retweeted Brad Shepard

    Next year's team will be entirely players he's recruited/developed, maybe let's see what he does with it.
  • #6 by jbcarol on 11 Mar 2017

    Kennedy and Co. will turn towards an ever-important 12th season for the Ole Miss head coach. He returns an experienced roster led by emerging all-league-caliber players Breein Tyree and Terence Davis. Saiz will be replaced by 7-foot Drake transfer Dominik Olejniczak, who will provide the rim protection and quickness in defensive rotations Ole Miss has sorely lacked in the low block.

    Ole Miss has one scholarship open for the spring, though the Rebels are expected to add at least two players, and possibly up to four, after the dust settles. Donte Fitzpatrick-Dorsey is expected to transfer, and the future is cloudy for rising senior Marcanvis Hymon, who could also be a transfer candidate.

    Ole Miss is looking to add offense at the four. Hymon and Justas Furmanavicius combined to average only 10.0 points per game this season. Ideally, the Rebels would land a player whose offense isn’t reliant on put-back opportunities at the rim, but rather can step out and make shots outside of 10 feet. Jones Community College forward Bruce Stevens is an option, and Ole Miss has kicked the tires on former Memphis and Virginia forward Austin Nichols, though the SEC’s new rules regarding previous disciplinary issues for transfers makes it all but impossible for the Rebels to add him.

    Ole Miss could add a guard, too, and the Rebels will make it a priority to get more athletic on the wing. Former Texas guard Tevin Mack is a name being floated, among a host of others.
  • #7 by jbcarol on 11 Mar 2017

    Kentucky had De'Aaron Fox and Malik Monk.

    Alabama didn't have Collin Sexton and John Petty.

    To a man, Alabama has no reason to hang its head after losing to a legit Final Four contender and falling to 19-14 overall. Avery Johnson's second team has squeezed almost every drop out of its talent, winning 12 games against SEC opponents between the regular season and the conference tournament. Of their nine conference losses, five came by five points or less.

    Now the Tide has every reason to look forward to the NIT and beyond. More experience for the likes of Key and Dazon Ingram is a positive, and considerable help is on the way.

    Sexton, the explosive 6-2 point guard out of Georgia, is the No. 7 national recruit in the 247Sports rankings for 2017. Petty, the versatile 6-5 shooting guard from Huntsville, is No. 30. Both can play at a high level, both can score in bunches and both can get you points in a variety of ways when you need them most.

    A year ago, Kentucky dismissed Alabama from this tournament by 26 points. This elimination game was anything but easy for the regular-season champs.

    Imagine what might happen next year should they meet on this stage again.
  • #8 by jbcarol on 12 Mar 2017
  • It was a season filled with moral victories, though Barnes made it clear that he expects more next season, in his third year as Tennessee’s head coach.

    “I know one thing, this time next year we want to be in a position where we’re a postseason team,” Barnes said. “I’m proud of the young guys, and I think they learned a lot, but we want more.”

    Tennessee’s stretch run was undone by injuries and illnesses.

    The Vols started four different lineups in their final four games of the season.

    “This time of year you want to have a rhythm, and you want to know what you have got,” Barnes said. “This will be a learning experience for them, and the biggest thing they have to understand is how quickly it can end.”

    Postseason tournament invites go out tonight, but Tennessee’s season likely is over.
  • #9 by jbcarol on 14 Mar 2017

    AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn coach Bruce Pearl feels his program "is in really, really good shape" following a season marked both by progress and disappointing defeats.

    For the first time in his tenure, the Tigers' coach will get most of his scoring and rebounding production back, including talented freshmen Mustapha Heron, Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy. It still didn't take the sting out of failing to make the NCAA Tournament or NIT, losing six of the last eight games or suffering some painful second-half collapses.

    Pearl scoffs at any notion that his fourth season will be "critical" to his job security with a program that hasn't had a winning record since the 2008-09 season under Jeff Lebo. His own expectations will be high, though.

    "We are in the upper division of any power 5 conference as far as the status of our program, where we are right now," Pearl said. "That's how coaches should be judged. Do I want to go to the tournament next year? Absolutely. Should there be an expectation that we go to the tournament? Absolutely.

    "Our program is in great position. Our program is in really, really good shape."

    The Tigers, who finished 18-14 and 7-11 in Southeastern Conference games, were the only team in the country to have its four leading scorers all be freshmen. That includes the program's first two five-star signees, Heron and Wiley. Wiley played in 23 games after enrolling at midseason and turned 18 during the season.

    Heron led the Tigers in scoring and rebounding. Fellow freshmen Purifoy and Jared Harper also started while Anfernee McLemore played a key role off the bench. A pair of four-star signees, forward Chuma Okeke and point guard Davion Mitchell, are scheduled to join the team next season.

    Pearl said the 6-foot-11, 255-pound Wiley is "just scratching the surface" of his abilities and could be one of the top offensive centers in the country next season. Wiley averaged 8.8 points and 4.7 rebounds and was second to McLemore on the team with 31 blocked shots despite his late start.

    Still, Pearl knows that fans would be justified in thinking Auburn should have won a few more games. That certainly would include the first-round, overtime loss to 14th-seeded Missouri in the SEC Tournament after blowing a late lead. Auburn also squandered a 23-point second-half lead in a loss to Mississippi in another example, but did sweep rival Alabama.

    Pearl, who has led teams to 17 NCAA Tournaments, wouldn't talk much about postseason hopes before this season. He's already talking up his next team.

    "Next year our expectations should be to be in the NCAA Tournament," Pearl said.
  • #10 by jbcarol on 14 Mar 2017

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee coach Rick Barnes doesn't want his players to get accustomed to ending their season this early.

    The Volunteers finished 16-16 and won't be playing in the NCAA Tournament or the NIT for a third straight season. They haven't ended a year with a winning record since their 2014 Sweet 16 appearance.

    This also marks the first time in over two decades that Barnes has spent back-to-back seasons without reaching the NCAA Tournament. Barnes' teams at Clemson and Texas had earned 19 NCAA Tournament bids in the 20 seasons before he took over Tennessee's program in 2015 .

    "We're trying to teach our guys how hard it is to get into this," Barnes said Monday. "I want them to know it's something they're going to have to earn."

    That's why Barnes already was trying to teach his underclassmen about the upcoming season shortly after the 2016-17 campaign ended.

    "I want them to feel the sting of what it's like when you don't meet your goals," Barnes said. "I know one thing, it took me a couple of days before I even wanted to watch TV and watch another basketball game. I want them to feel that. I want them to understand there's no givens in what we do. It's why it's called competition. We've got to go out and embrace the competition.

    "I've been doing this a long time, and the best people I've been around, they don't let losing just slip off their back 30-40 minutes after a game. It stays with them a little bit."

    Tennessee actually outperformed preseason forecasts, as the Vols got the No. 9 seed in the SEC tournament after being picked to finish 13th in the league. More will be expected of Tennessee next season.

    The Vols must replace leading scorer Robert Hubbs III, but senior reserve forward Lew Evans was the only other upperclassman on this year's roster by the end of the season. Tennessee regularly started three freshmen, including leading rebounder and second-leading scorer Grant Williams. An international exhibition tour this summer should help this young team get a jump start on the 2017-18 season.

    Tennessee needs to find stability at the point guard position next season. Jordan Bone, Lamonte Turner and Shembari Phillips all took turns handling the point this year with varying degrees of success.

    The Vols also must figure out how to avoid the late fades that have marked each of Barnes' first two seasons on the job. Tennessee lost seven of its final 10 games in 2015-16 and dropped six of its last eight games this season.

    Tennessee started struggling this year shortly after it entered February as a legitimate contender for an NCAA bid. The Vols must respond better when the stakes get higher next season.

    "I don't think we were tough enough because February is a tough month," Barnes said. "I think it's a grind. I think people who finish strong are mentally tough. ... To get where we want to go, I do think we've got to get mentally tougher. How do you do that? I think you raise the bar in everything that you do."
  • #11 by jbcarol on 14 Mar 2017

    They clearly have a ways to go if they hope to break their 14-year NCAA Tournament drought.

    "We're accountable, that's the biggest thing," Pearl said last week after losing in the opening round of the SEC Tournament for the second straight year. "Every one of us has to look inward. We didn't finish the season strong. I thought our team improved in a lot of ways, but the competition being what it is, teams got better."

    Led by four freshmen in the starting lineup, the Tigers scored in bunches while simultaneously struggling on the other end of the court. Auburn ranked 31st nationally and second in the SEC behind Kentucky with 80.4 points per game. Comparatively, Auburn ranked 321st in scoring defense at 79.6 points per game allowed.

    "Defense and rebounding was an issue for us all year long," he said. "We lost a lot of leads partly because we just weren't able to hold on on the defensive end."

    Auburn failed to hold onto double-digit leads multiple times in the second half of the regular season, and it resulted in two losses to Georgia and two more to Ole Miss.

    The issue came to a head at the SEC Tournament -- eleventh-seeded Auburn led No. 14 seed Missouri by 10 points with less than five minutes to play and was up by six with 19 seconds to go. Missouri managed to hit a pair of 3-pointers before the end of regulation and two more in overtime to send Auburn packing.

    "We know the reasons why we did what we did and got what we got," Pearl said. "I've got a good, young team that I think has learned an awful lot of what it takes and where we came up short."

    Pearl is now 44-54 in three seasons at Auburn after finishing 15-20, 11-20 and 18-14. He is optimistic about the 2017-18 campaign, in part because the meat and potatoes of his starting lineup will be returning --
  • #12 by jbcarol on 15 Mar 2017

    Scarblog: Opportunity knocked loudly for the Alabama basketball team Tuesday night in Coleman Coliseum. The first round of the NIT gave the Crimson Tide a home game against solid-but-unspectacular Richmond a mere three days after pushing Kentucky for 40 minutes.

    But as has been the case too often this season, Alabama missed its shot.

    Richmond 71, Alabama 64 won't go down as the worst loss of a 19-15 season that veered from frustrating to encouraging, but it'll serve as a lingering reminder as the program turns the page toward a promising future. As much as this team scratched and clawed, Johnson's second edition simply wasn't good enough to overcome its limitations.

    That explanation won't fly next season if Alabama doesn't reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012. Two trips to the NIT in Johnson's first two years have been encouraging. At least, the invitations were. The performances, going one-and-done against Creighton last year and Richmond last night, not so much.

    Quick. Name the last Alabama coach to win an NIT game. You get a gold star if you said John Brannen.

    For two years, Johnson has earned pats on the back for getting the most out of a limited roster. He's filled the roster's obvious holes with this recruiting class, especially in terms of explosive perimeter scorers with high-profile signees Collin Sexton and John Petty. So the expectations for Johnson's third season already have gone to another level.

    It'll be his job to lift the team to that level. Next season, Alabama should miss a lot fewer shots. That should keep the Tide from missing its best shot at the NCAA Tournament in years.
  • #13 by jbcarol on 18 Mar 2017

    Auburn, which has not been to the NCAA Tournament since 2003, went 18-14 overall and 7-11 in SEC play this season and lost to last-place Missouri in the first round of the SEC Tournament.

    "From Charles' lips to Gods Ears!" tweeted Auburn coach Bruce Pearl, who is working as a guest studio analyst for the Tournament. "That's what we came to Auburn to do! Blessed to have his confidence and support."
  • #14 by jbcarol on 19 Mar 2017

    Vanderbilt’s 2016-17 basketball season is over, and that means its roster moves forward.

    The Commodores finished 19-16, including a late-season hot streak to advance to the NCAA tournament, despite carrying only nine active players. Here is what’s next:

    Jeff Roberson: The most well-rounded player returning next season will only see his role expand. Roberson is perhaps the team’s best perimeter defender, but he will continue to play near the paint, where his toughness is an asset. Next season, Roberson is certain to step into the senior leadership shoes of Kornet and Cressler.

    Fisher-Davis: The team’s leading scorer faces a critical offseason. Fisher-Davis will enter his senior year as one of the SEC’s most dangerous offensive weapons, but he finished this season coming off the bench because of past disciplinary reasons. If Fisher-Davis can avoid off-the-court issues, he will be an All-SEC guard. If not, he could get lost in the lineup as Drew reshapes the team...

    Riley LaChance: After his career was revived as a point guard in Drew’s debut season, LaChance’s value has skyrocketed heading toward his senior season. LaChance could still play point guard. But it’s more likely he’ll move to his natural position of shooting guard as other point guard options arrive.

    Joe Toye: The ceiling may be the highest for Toye, a guard who will enter his junior season as a possible rising star. He can defend in a physical style and drive and dunk over defenders. If Toye can improve his 3-point shooting, he could develop into an All-SEC selection.

    Payton Willis...
  • #15 by jbcarol on 21 Mar 2017
  • #16 by jbcarol on 22 Mar 2017

    Sixth-seeded Georgia Tech ended the fifth-seeded Rebels' season in the NIT quarterfinals Tuesday night.

    Now coach Andy Kennedy ventures into the offseason trying to figure out how he can get Ole Miss (22-14) back into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015.

    The biggest loss will obviously be in the front court with center Sebastian Saiz, who averaged 15.1 points and 11.4 rebounds, was a first-team All-SEC player and won the Howell Trophy.

    The Rebels, who finished tied for fifth in the SEC after preseason projections had them at ninth, had a bunch of newcomers and a few young players, like Terence Davis and Breein Tyree, in key roles. The team never found a real flow until the end of the season.

    Next season, Davis will be a junior, will have a year worth of meaningful playing time under his belt and will have another offseason to tighten his game. Tyree will be a sophomore that has have gone through the ups and downs of a season and will be further removed from the knee injury which limited his athleticism this year.

    Deandre Burnett and Cullen Neal probably won't have quite the adjustment period they had this year.

    "I think we saw the development of Terence Davis, we're all excited about the next step for him. Breein Tyree certainly shows flashes," Kennedy said. "We're obviously going to miss Sebas, Rasheed (Brooks) had his moments. ... The rest of the guys are intact, again, excited about what we're doing moving forward."

    During his postgame press conference, Kennedy said he was excited about three players they've already signed — forward Jamarko Pickett, guard Devontae Shuler and combo guard Parker Stewart.

    Kennedy also mentioned 7-foot Drake transfer Dominik Olejniczak, who he said will step into Saiz's spot at center. While that may be the case, it's hard to imagine Olejniczak reproducing Saiz's 23 double-doubles from this year.

    During the off months, Kennedy will also spend time trying to find answers for a problem that plagued the team this season: home losses. Ole Miss lost six home games this season. Two of which came to Sweet 16 teams, Kentucky and Baylor, and another came to Middle Tennessee State, which won an NCAA Tournament game.

    The three back-breaking home losses were to Georgia (19-15), Texas A&M (16-15) and Georgia Tech (20-15).

    "I guarantee you, there's 24 teams playing in the NCAA and NIT as of tonight, and I guarantee you they all had one common denominator: they all protected home floor," Kennedy said. "That was our sixth loss at home. That's inexcusable. I'm going to really evaluate in the offseason ways to maybe eliminate some distractions. Something's going on, we just don't seem like we're as locked in.

    "You can't have six home losses and expect to be successful."

    The latest loss came in front of 9,091 fans, which was the second-largest crowd of the season behind Baylor.

    "People who say Ole Miss doesn't care about basketball are crazy," Kennedy said.
  • #17 by jbcarol on 23 Mar 2017

    Juwan Parker, the third-leading scorer this past season for the Georgia men’s basketball team, had surgery to repair the Achilles in his right leg on Tuesday. It was the player’s second such injury in three years.

    This surgery was on a different leg. Parker missed the entire 2015-16 season after recovering from Achilles surgery on his left leg. He returned to be injury-free almost to the end of this past season, before hurting his left Achilles late in the season.

    Parker ended up missing the team’s final game of the year, the first-round loss in the NIT, after trying to play through the injury in the SEC tournament. The team said last week that Parker had a partial tear in the Achilles.

    A team spokesman confirmed that Parker had a “procedure” on Tuesday. Parker posted a picture of himself on Instagram after the surgery, with the right leg wrapped.

    A 6-foot-5 small forward, Parker started 31 games this year, averaging 9.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. He was also second on the team with 57 assists.

    Parker, who graduated prior to the season, has said several times that the plan was for him to return for his final season of eligibility.
  • #18 by jbcarol on 26 Mar 2017

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Now Kentucky’s coaching staff and fans wait for the annual exodus of talent from Lexington.

    After Sunday’s gut-wrenching, 75-73 loss to North Carolina in the Elite Eight, the Wildcats are definitely losing seniors Derek Willis, Dominique Hawkins and Mychal Mulder, while star freshmen Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo — projected to be the 5th, 6th and 30th NBA draft picks, respectively, by Draft Express —

    Sophomore Isaiah Briscoe, despite few projections listing him as a draft pick at all, seems likely to join them. There could be other decisions looming, too. Sophomore 7-footer Isaac Humphries struggled to find playing time late in the season — until Sunday’s stunning 12-point, 5-rebound outburst that almost made him an unlikely hero — and recently expressed both frustration and a desire to explore his options after the season.

    Five-star freshman Sacha Killeya-Jones did not log a single minute in Kentucky’s final 20 games and would not shock anyone if he decided to look elsewhere. Another 5-star freshman, Hamidou Diallo, enrolled early and was eligible to play the second half of this season but sat out instead to prepare himself for the 2017-18 campaign. But he is eligible to enter this year’s NBA draft if he chooses.

    SEC Country caught up with each of those underclassmen except Killeya-Jones

    Briscoe — “I’m not thinking about that. I don’t know, I’m not thinking about nothing. We just lost. I’m not thinking about that.”

    Humphries — “I have nothing yet. Now that we’re kind of done I’m just going to assess every option that I have. I have nothing yet.”

    Diallo — “I haven’t really spoken (to family or coaches) about next year, but as of right now, I’m 100 percent returning. This isn’t a great feeling, but these guys had a heckuva run. This has been a great experience for me, just learning from these guys. Just have to bring it into next year.”

    The good news for Kentucky is that, in addition to having an elite building block like Diallo, coach John Calipari has once again landed the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class, which includes six top-50 recruits, four McDonald’s All-Americans, and could still add one or two more top-10 prospects.
  • #19 by jbcarol on 27 Mar 2017
  • SEC’s strong run in the NCAA tournament serves as some validation for Georgia’s season, but not an excuse

    That seemed to be the message Mark Fox conveyed

    Fox ruefully mentioned: “Kentucky came up a bucket short, and unfortunately we know that feeling.”

    Georgia finished the season 19-14, the top-rated SEC team not to make the tournament, with an RPI rank of 52. It subsequently bowed out in the first round of the NIT to Belmont, in a game starters Yante Maten and Juwan Parker missed because of injuries.

    “This group is close. We’ve got to get over the hump,” Fox said. “And we’ll spend the offseason working to do that.”

    A few other team-related notes from Fox during his appearance:

        Maten, dealing with a sprained knee, won’t require surgery, but will not return to basketball activities until mid-April. Fox didn’t mention or indicate how that affects any decision the junior power forward has on exploring the NBA draft.
        Parker’s latest Achilles injury, which required surgery last week, isn’t as serious as the previous Achilles problem, which was in his other leg. “He should fully recover and be as good as new here in a couple months,” Fox said of Parker, who has one year of eligibility remaining.
        Incoming recruit Rayshaun Hammonds, rated a top 50 recruit, was described by Fox as “a very versatile small forward” who was big for his position. Said Fox: “He’s a big wing who I think can make plays off the dribble. He’s a very instinctive passer. He’s going to be somebody who offensively can make a very immediate impact on our team.”
        Nicolas Claxton, the team’s other fall signee, was described by Fox as “ultimately” a stretch-four, as in a power forward who can go outside and shoot 3s: “Nic’s got a very good shooting touch, and he’s very good with the ball … He almost has the skills of a small forward.”
        When it comes to replacing J.J. Frazier’s minutes at the point, Fox pointed at Turtle Jackson only having 26 turnovers and Tyree Crump only having four turnovers. (Fox didn’t mention that part of the reason for that is playing time, especially in Crump’s case.) Said Fox: “They’re both going to need to take a step forward. But I think they’re both probably excited about being able to gobble up some of those minutes.”
        Finally, Fox had a few updates on next season’s schedule. The SEC schedule isn’t in yet, so it’s only known that Georgia will have two games apiece against its three permanent rivals: South Carolina, Auburn and Florida. As for the non-conference, Georgia goes to Marquette and UMass, and has Georgia Tech at home. A scheduled return game by Oakland will probably be moved back a year at Oakland’s request, because of a scheduling conflict. The rest of the slate is being worked on, with Fox saying that after this season – when the Bulldogs were in the top 20 in schedule strength, but failed to get the needed wins for an NCAA bid – that he would be weighing “what’s strong versus what’s too strong.”
  • #20 by jbcarol on 27 Mar 2017

    Scarblog: If South Carolina can do it, why not Alabama or Auburn?

    The last time we asked that question about an SEC program making its Final Four debut, it was 1996. With senior guard and Alabama native Darryl Wilson as its leading scorer, Mississippi State made its one-and-only trip to college basketball's ultimate weekend that year.

    South Carolina has become the seventh of 14 SEC schools to break that barrier.

    Only three SEC programs have captured that big ring. Kentucky has eight titles, Florida owns two and Arkansas has one.

    In terms of reaching the Final Four, there are now seven SEC schools who've yet to get there. So who's got next? Alabama or Auburn? Ole Miss or Missouri? Tennessee, Texas A&M or Vandy?

    Five of them - Alabama, Auburn, Missouri, Tennessee and Vandy - have been to the Elite Eight but failed to take the next step. Ole Miss and Texas A&M have never advanced past the Sweet 16.

    But South Carolina's run should give each of them confidence that the Final Four is not an impossible dream. It starts with hiring the right coach, as Carolina did with Frank Martin...

    Tennessee's Rick Barnes has been to the Final Four with Texas. Auburn's Bruce Pearl took Tennessee to the Elite Eight. Texas A&M's Billy Kennedy led the Aggies to the Sweet 16 a year ago. New Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin led Tennessee to the Sweet 16 just three years ago.

    Mississippi's Andy Kennedy has won NCAA Tournament games. Vanderbilt's Bryce Drew has led three different teams, two at Valpo and his first Vandy team this season, to the tournament.

    Alabama's Avery Johnson is the only coach at one of the seven SEC programs without a Final Four trip who's never led a team to the NCAA Tournament, but he's been a college coach for just two years. He knows what postseason success looks like, having led the Dallas Mavericks to the 2006 NBA Finals.

    With coaches in place who know how to recruit and win, the ingredients appear to be there for another SEC program to follow South Carolina's lead and break through to the Final Four for the first time in the coming years.

    A bold prediction: It won't be another 21 years until one of them gets it done. Who's got next? It's impossible to predict, but my money's on the home teams. Crimson Tide or Tigers or, better yet, both.
  • #21 by jbcarol on 28 Mar 2017

    One year ago, Texas A&M was the toast of college basketball. Down 12 points with less than 45 seconds left to play against Northern Iowa, the Aggies completed one of the biggest comebacks in NCAA Tournament history.

    Texas A&M lost four senior starters, so a rebuilding season was expected. However, it hit harder than expected. After winning the SEC title in 2016 and being picked third in the preseason SEC poll, the Aggies finished tied for ninth in the conference with a paltry 16-15 overall record. Despite having top talent on the roster, Texas A&M missed every postseason tournament.

    However, Texas A&M basketball got a significant gift last week. Power forward Robert Williams announced his intention to return for his sophomore season.

    Williams was a surprising freshman standout, ranked just the No. 62 player in his class coming out of high school. With a 6-9 frame, 7-6 wingspan and elite athleticism, NBA teams took notice. Before he announced he was returning, DraftExpress rated him a top-10 prospect.

    In college basketball, having an athletic, long front court player is a huge advantage. Pairing Williams with All-SEC center Tyler Davis with another year of experience is a front court that almost no SEC team can counter.

    But while Williams’ return immediately helps the roster, it instantly raises the expectations on coach Billy Kennedy and the program.

    With Williams’ return, the Aggies have the talent to be competitive in the SEC. If they can’t be, the conference will move on without them.
  • #22 by jbcarol on 29 Mar 2017

    First, the losses: On his final call-in radio show of the season, coach John Calipari said Monday that in addition to three seniors — Dominique Hawkins, Derek Willis and Mychal Mulder — he figures four others are likely to leave early for the NBA draft. He didn’t name them, but it is reasonable to assume freshmen De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk and Bam Adebayo, all projected first-round picks, are gone. Sophomore Isaiah Briscoe is likely the fourth, despite draft stock that is shaky at best.

    That would mean Kentucky is losing its top seven scorers, who accounted for 2,882 of the team’s 3,225 points (or 89.4 percent) last season. So the cupboard will be bare, right?

    Barring transfers — and that is still a possibility — the Wildcats could have three former 5-star recruits returning next season: forwards Wenyen Gabriel and Sacha Killeya-Jones and guard Hamidou Diallo. Plus 7-footer Isaac Humphries, whose 12 points and 5 rebounds against North Carolina on Sunday represented...

    If there is a transfer among that group, Humphries is the best bet. Tai Wynyard, a forward from New Zealand who averaged just 3.6 minutes per game as a redshirt freshman, would be another candidate to seek more playing time elsewhere.

    Diallo also provides a bit of uncertainty. He was a top-10 recruit in the Class of 2017 who enrolled in January and sat out despite being eligible to play the second half of this season for UK. His stated goal was to hone his skills by practicing with this year’s team and be ready to lead the 2017-18 squad.

    However, he is eligible to enter this summer’s NBA draft...

    Including Diallo, who was No. 9, Kentucky landed six top-35 prospects for 2017, per the 247Sports composite rankings. The others are No. 13 P.J. Washington (6-8 PF), No. 14 Nick Richards (6-11 C), No. 20 Jarred Vanderbilt (6-8 SF), No. 24 Quade Green (6-1 PG) and No. 35 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (6-5 PG/SG).

    Washington is one of the nation’s best rebounders, Richards a classic center who dominates defensively and on the glass, Vanderbilt a versatile forward who can play on the wing, Green arguably the top pure point guard in the country and Gilgeous-Alexander a valuable utility guard who can help both on and off the ball.

    Then there’s this: Green, Washington, Vanderbilt and Richards are all McDonald’s All-Americans and they’re spending this week in Chicago trying to convince two other top-10 prospects, 6-11 center Mohamed Bamba and 6-8 small forward Kevin Knox, to join them...

    — Bamba has a 7-foot-8 wingspan and 9-7 standing reach — and a potential game-changer. As of this moment, we at SEC Country believe he’ll be a Wildcat. And Calipari still might not stop there.

    When the dust settles, here’s our educated guess at how the 2017-18 Kentucky basketball lineup shakes out.
    Starting five

    PG Quade Green (6-1), 5-star freshman

    SG Hamidou Diallo (6-5), 5-star redshirt freshman

    SF P.J. Washington (6-8), 5-star freshman

    PF Mohamed Bamba (6-11), 5-star freshman

    C Nick Richards (6-11), 5-star freshman

    Next five

    PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (6-5), 4-star freshman

    SG Mark Smith (6-5)/Jemarl Barker (6-2), 4-star freshman

    SF Jarred Vanderbilt (6-8), 5-star freshman

    PF Wenyen Gabriel (6-9), 5-star sophomore

    C Sacha Killeya-Jones (6-10), 5-star sophomore
  • #23 by jbcarol on 31 Mar 2017

    Collin Sexton is a total freak show.

    That's what the college coach told me.

    Actually, he paired another, earthier term with "show" to try to capture this one-man flying circus of a point guard headed for Alabama next season.

    I didn't fully understand what the coach meant, but after seeing highlights of the McDonald's All-American Slam-Dunk Contest and the McDonald's All-American Game, I do now.

    Sexton, all 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds of him, won the slam-dunk contest with the kind of vicious, ridiculous hops possessed by the last one-and-done talent to spend a single season in Tuscaloosa on his way to the NBA. But Childersburg's Gerald Wallace, also the Crimson Tide's last first-round draft choice in 2001, was 6-7.

    In the all-star game itself, Sexton wowed the United Center crowd in Chicago with the kind of pinpoint passing Nick Saban would love to see from Jalen Hurts.

    With the game barely a minute old, Sexton jumped in front of an outlet pass for a steal, but that was routine compared to what came next. In one motion, he whipped a backwards, one-hand, through-the-legs pass on the mark to a teammate for an easy dunk. Cole Mazza never delivered a flashier long snap.
  • #24 by jbcarol on 05 Apr 2017
  • #25 by jbcarol on 05 Apr 2017

    How quickly will 5-star talents Collin Sexton, 2-time Mr. Basketball John Petty and the rest of Alabama's star-studded signing class return Crimson Tide basketball to national prominence?

    Plenty of people think it's a foregone conclusion that Alabama will be dancing again in March.

    Alabama's incoming players are too talented not be dancing in March.

    It was no big surprise Tuesday when John Petty was announced as the 2017 recipient of the Mr. Basketball award, presented by Alfa Insurance. He became the third player to win the award in back-to-back seasons, following John Carroll's Ron Steele and Butler's Trevor Lacey.

    Steele emerged as an All-American point guard at Alabama before a knee injury wrecked a sure-fire NBA career, and the Crimson Tide hasn't won an NCAA Tournament game since his playing days in 2006.

    Alabama's class also includes Sexton, 6-foot-9 Pelham forward Alex Reese, versatile 6-foot-7 Hale County guard Herb Jones and 6-foot-10 Mississippi big man Galin Smith. Oh, don't forget that 6-foot-11 Ohio State transfer Daniel Giddens will also be eligible.
  • #26 by jbcarol on 06 Apr 2017
  • #27 by jbcarol on 12 Apr 2017
  •  Evan Daniels‏Verified account @EvanDaniels 4h4 hours ago

    Kentucky's Isaac Humphries is turning pro, per release. No surprise, per my tweet last week. Likely headed to Europe or Australia.
  • #28 by jbcarol on 17 Apr 2017
  •  Jeff Goodman‏Verified account @GoodmanESPN

    If Bam Adebayo signs with an agent, the lone returning Kentucky player who played a role last season will be Wenyen Gabriel.
  • #29 by jbcarol on 17 Apr 2017

    PJ Dozier is two feet out of the door now, signed with an agent and the door closed on returning to South Carolina basketball.

    Gamecocks are losing arguably their three most important players from a team that made a run to the Final Four. Sindarius Thornwell and Duane Notice graduated and now Dozier is departing after his sophomore season.

    Chris Silva is the only returning player who averaged more than 10 points per game, leaving the junior as a crucial player for the Gamecocks next year. But Silva was already going to be that, with or without Dozier on the roster. The same holds true for Maik Kotsar.

    Dozier’s decision hits the backcourt hard, leaving the Gamecocks returning only Hassani Gravett from their top five players from a minute-per-game standpoint.

    Much of the success the Gamecocks want to have next season now trickles down to the trio of Rakym Felder, transfer Kory Holden and incoming freshman David Beatty.
  • #30 by jbcarol on 20 Apr 2017
  • A lot of roster turnover in Lexington:

    Kentucky basketball is in the midst of its most massive exodus yet under coach John Calipari, and that’s saying something. But is it over now?

    Seven players from the 2016-17 Elite Eight team are gone: seniors Dominique Hawkins, Derek Willis and Mychal Mulder, plus underclassmen De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Isaiah Briscoe and Isaac Humphries, all of whom announced intentions to pursue professional careers and hire agents.

    Freshman Bam Adebayo is likely leaving, too, but he is the Cats’ only 2017 NBA Draft entrant who left the door open for a return to school by not hiring an agent. We’ll start with Adebayo and cover the other former 5-star recruits still on Kentucky’s roster — Hamidou Diallo, Wenyen Gabriel and Sacha Killeya-Jones —

    Bam Adebayo
    Don’t get your hopes up for an encore from the 6-foot-10 forward who averaged a double-double over the final 13 games...

    Hamidou Diallo
    This is an interesting case. A top-10 recruit in the 2017 class, Diallo enrolled at Kentucky in January and was eligible to play but elected to sit out... he is eligible for this year’s NBA draft. If he declares by 11:59 p.m. ET on April 23, Diallo can participate in the NBA combine and work out for teams to get feedback before deciding whether to stay in college.

    Wenyen Gabriel
    6-foot-9 forward and former top-15 recruit nationally, Gabriel had an inconsistent freshman season. After starting 23 games early on, he started none of the Wildcats’ final 9. He scored 23 points against LSU, had 16 rebounds against Auburn, had 10 games with multiple blocked shots — but then averaged 6.5 minutes in 4 NCAA Tournament games.

    Gabriel seemed to lose confidence late...

    No player was the subject of more transfer speculation than this 6-foot-10 former McDonald’s All-American. Killeya-Jones scored 40 points all season and didn’t play a minute after Jan. 21. He never left the bench for the Wildcats’ final 19 games...

    The good news is that Jones will not count against the APR and the bad is he is expected to come back and take a roster spot.
  • #31 by jbcarol on 20 Apr 2017
  • #32 by jbcarol on 21 Apr 2017

    OXFORD - With the No. 16 recruiting class in the country, according to 247 Sports' composite rankings, Ole Miss had already put together a pretty solid offseason.

    The addition of coveted Memphis grad transfer Markel Crawford on Wednesday made the offseason haul even better.

    Crawford filled the Rebels' final scholarship opening. Despite that, a source said Ole Miss, which reached the NIT quarterfinals, will still pursue Pitt transfer guard Cameron Johnson, whom it has already visited.

    But for now the roster is filled...

    Breein Tyree went through the typical peaks and valleys of a true freshman season, but eventually asserted himself as the Rebels' point guard.

    Deandre Burnett was Ole Miss' leading scorer at 16.5 points per game, and Terence Davis came on strong through the second half of the year and averaged 14.9 points...

    Crawford will find a role for himself somewhere in that rotation. He can play all three guard spots, but more important to those within the Rebels' program is the fact he can guard all three guard spots.

    Rebels signed four-star wing prospect Devontae Shuler (6-foot-3, 180 pounds). Cullen Neal, who averaged 9.4 points in his first season at Ole Miss, will be back.

    Parker Stewart, a three-star guard, will also join the fold in a few months.

    Rebels lost the most consistent piece of their team last season with the departure of senior center Sebastian Saiz, who averaged 15.1 points and 11.4 rebounds.

    Saiz's spot will be filled by 7-footer Dominik Olejniczak. Marcanvis Hymon and Justas Furmanavicius rotated at the power forward spot, but neither grabbed control of the position.

    Ole Miss signed first-team NJCAA All-American power forward Bruce Stevens last week. Stevens (6-foot-8, 257 pounds) averaged 16.2 points and 11.6 rebounds at Jones County Junior College as a sophomore. Stevens also shot 37.5 percent from 3...

    Jamarko Pickett is listed as a small forward, but can play either forward spot and will likely end up at power forward...  Pickett is a four-star prospect, who was rated as the No. 73 player in the class of 2017 by 247.
  • #33 by jbcarol on 23 Apr 2017
  • UK basketball two decisions away from ‘unbelievable front line’

    Chad Ford, ESPN’s analyst of NBA drafts, can envision next season’s Kentucky team featuring a big man tandem of Bam Adebayo and Mohamed Bamba.

    “That would be an unbelievable front line,” Ford said in a recent telephone conversation.

    Of course, two big decisions must fall Kentucky’s way in order for the Wildcats to put a double “Bammy” on opponents.

    Adebayo, who declared for this year’s NBA Draft but did not sign with an agent, must decide to return to Kentucky next season. Ford recommends just that.

    And Bamba, one of this recruiting year’s top prospects, must sign with UK. Recruiting analysts increasingly believe that will happen.

    Depending on which of this year’s mock drafts you follow, Adebayo would be taken in the latter half of the first round (Ford, or early in the second round (

    Adebayo’s strong finish to this past season halted a perceived slide and moved his possible draft position into the “17-to-25 range,” Ford said. But with the 2018 NBA Draft considered not nearly as bountiful, and given the improvement a player can make in a year, Adebayo could be a top 10 pick next year...
  • #34 by jbcarol on 24 Apr 2017
  • #35 by jbcarol on 24 Apr 2017
  • #36 by jbcarol on 25 Apr 2017

    New Florida graduate transfer Egor Koulechov says he knew this past season would be his last with the Rice basketball program...

    He’ll head to Gainesville to help replace the talent lost from Florida’s Elite Eight roster while looking to prove himself at college basketball’s high-major level.

    “Throughout the year I kind of already had thoughts of what I was going to do next year. I was kind of set in my mind I wasn’t going to be coming back to Rice, but throughout the year I thought it was going to be to go pro,” Koulechov said in a phone interview Sunday. “I had a good year and thought maybe I want to do one more year (of college basketball), and do it back at a high-major.”

    Koulechov, who spent his freshman season at Arizona State, averaged 18.2 points and 8.9 rebounds per game for Rice as a redshirt junior. He shot 47.4 percent from 3-point range (81 of 171) and earned first-team All-Conference USA honors.
  • #37 by jbcarol on 27 Apr 2017
  •  Shelby Mast‏ @BracketWAG 17h17 hours ago

    Not much going on today, so I finally put out a way-too-early bracket for next season, name calling is permitted

     2 UK
     4 UF
     7 Bama
     8 Vandy
    10 USC
    11 Auburn (Last Four In)

    First Four Out: Arkansas

  • #38 by jbcarol on 12 May 2017

    “Ar’mond at one time talked about transferring, but he had a change of heart,” Johnson told Ryan Fowler during a radio interview on 102.9 FM, Tuscaloosa. “Ar’Mond’s going to be back with the Tide next year, so look for him to be enrolled, unless something happens out of the blue.

    “Look for Ar’Mond to be enrolled in summer school and start summer school on May 30 and return to the Crimson Tide next year.”

    The 6-foot-6 senior had announced his intention to leave Alabama on Twitter on April 4. Earlier this week he promised to come back “stronger than ever.”

    After transferring to Alabama from Southern Idaho, Davis played in 32 games last season and averaged 6.0 points as a reserve. He ranked fourth on the team in 3-pointers (32) and was third in 3-point attempts (129).

    Johnson did not have an update on sophomore forward Braxton Key, the 6-8 forward who declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft, but wasn’t invited to this week’s combine.
  • #39 by jbcarol on 12 May 2017
  • #40 by jbcarol on 14 May 2017
  • The final season for SEC teams to have a substantial chance to win against Mississippi State.

    Next season, Howland is going to have the following size.

    Schnider Herard   6'10"  4 Star
    Aric Holman   6'10"  4 Star
    Abdul Ado   6'11"  4 Star   Ineligible this season.  Probably the best shot blocker they have had since Jarvis Varnado.
    Garrison Brooks   6'10"  4 Star
    E.J. Datcher   6'9"  240 lbs.
    KeyShawn Feazell   6'9"

     Jon Rothstein‏Verified account @JonRothstein May 12

    Ben Howland's combined career record in Year Three at Northern Arizona, Pitt, and UCLA: 82-20. Big season ahead for Mississippi State.
  • #41 by jbcarol on 15 May 2017
  •  Jon Rothstein‏Verified account @JonRothstein 1h1 hour ago

    Jeremiah Tilmon's commitment to Missouri reiterates this narrative: Bottom of SEC should be much stronger next season than it was last.
  • #42 by jbcarol on 20 May 2017

    “I’m a Florida Gator in my heart, so I wanted another chance to come back and be a Gator,” Egbunu said. “I’ve graduated from here, and I love playing here, being a part of the culture and being with my teammates – it’s a fun team to be around. It’s also a chance for me to continue to improve and grow as a player and help the team however I can. And I can’t forget to mention how great it is to play in front of the Rowdies and all of our Gator fans.”

    Egbunu was averaging 7.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game during his junior season before tearing his left knee ACL in February in a win over Auburn.

    Egbunu continues to rehab from surgery and expects to return in mid-January.
  • #43 by jbcarol on 21 May 2017
  • #44 by jbcarol on 23 May 2017

    “After visiting with TeMarcus, he just cannot get his body to respond to continue to play basketball,” Gamecocks coach Frank Martin said in a statement. “It absolutely breaks my heart that somebody with such incredible spirit can no longer play, however, he will continue to be a big part of Gamecock basketball.”

    The bright spot is that a roster spot opens up for Martin.
  • #45 by jbcarol on 23 May 2017
  • #46 by jbcarol on 23 May 2017
  • #47 by jbcarol on 24 May 2017
  • #48 by jbcarol on 25 May 2017

    Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported late Wednesday night that several teams picking in the 20s were interested in Diallo, but he never got a high enough guarantee from a franchise to stay in the draft.

    “I wanted to see where I was in the draft process so I could get a proper evaluation,” Diallo wrote in his announcement. “I hope to play in the NBA one day — just not this season. Based on the information I received by testing the waters, I believe it’s in my best interests to return to school.”

    Wildcats will now have 11 former top-100 recruits and eight former 5-star prospects on the roster next season. Diallo, point guard Quade Green, small forwards Kevin Knox and Jarred Vanderbilt, power forwards P.J. Washington, Sacha Killeya-Jones and Wenyen Gabriel and center Nick Richards all were consensus top-25 recruits nationally.

    The one major concern: every contributor next season will be a freshman or sophomore unless Kentucky adds one last piece in the form of Pittsburgh graduate transfer Cameron Johnson, a 6-8 wing who shot 40 percent from 3-point range in ACC play last season.


    Projected Starters

    PG Quade Green, 6-1, 5-star freshman

    SG Hamidou Diallo, 6-5, 5-star freshman

    SF Kevin Knox, 6-9, 5-star freshman

    PF P.J. Washington, 6-8, 5-star freshman

    C Sacha Killeya-Jones, 6-10, 5-star sophomore

    Projected Reserves

    PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, 6-6, 4-star freshman

    SG Jemarl Baker, 6-4, 4-star freshman

    SF Jarred Vanderbilt, 6-9, 5-star freshman

    PF Wenyen Gabriel, 6-9, 5-star sophomore

    PF Tai Wynyard, 6-10, 4-star sophomore

    C Nick Richards, 7-0, 5-star freshman
  • #49 by jbcarol on 25 May 2017


    A&M: Robert Williams was considered a lock as a first-rounder and possibly even a lottery pick, but the athletic freshman big man didn't even bother to test the process. His return, along with the addition of point guard J.J. Caldwell, is huge for Billy Kennedy and the Aggies. Texas A&M also returns Tyler Davis and Tonny Trocha-Morelos up front and D.J. Hogg and Admon Gilder on the perimeter.


    South Carolina: The Gamecocks, like Oregon, are still getting over the Final Four hangover. However, Martin took a huge hit with the departure of his perimeter trio. Sindarius Thornwell and Duane Notice were expected, but the early departure of Dozier was not, and that'll likely put Martin & Co. in rebuilding mode this season.
  • #50 by jbcarol on 26 May 2017

    State freshman guard Mario Kegler has expressed an interest in transferring, sources confirmed after Evan Daniels of first reported the news late Thursday night. Ben Howland has not returned a request for comment and MSU has not provided a statement. MSU did add, however, that Howland is out of town.

    Howland is expected to meet with Kegler on Wednesday, a source said.

    Kegler started in all 31 of MSU's 32 games last season. He scored in double-figures 16 times and averaged 9.7 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game. He was the Bulldogs’ third-leading scorer and second-leading rebounder.

    Bulldogs have several options in the backcourt, with Tyson Carter, Lamar Peters, Eli Wright and incoming five-star freshman Nick Weatherspoon. Therefore, they could go with a small lineup and be effective, but could end up missing Kegler’s presence either way.

    The biggest problem MSU may face if Kegler leaves is with depth.

    The Bulldogs added Keyshawn Feazell as a three-star forward in their incoming class and he may provide depth off the bench. MSU granted four-star forward Garrison Brooks his release from his national letter of intent in April. Without Kegler, Brooks and Joe Strugg, along with the graduation of I.J. Ready, the Bulldogs would have two open spots on their roster. It's unclear if MSU is looking to add a graduate transfer for the upcoming season.

    Kegler was part of MSU's highly-touted 2016 signing class.