Same ol’, same ol’ on the recruiting trail for John Calipari, even with a national title in tow. You know the drill: land the player everyone in the game would give their left… eye for, then mess around and drop in a few other blue-chip dudes to carry his water. Ho-hum, yawn, back to bed.
Once Nerlens Noel gave his verbal notice of intent to join the Wildcats next season, much of the pressure was off for Coach Cal. He can probably find another 17-year-old hoop genius, give him a come-hither look, and finish off that No. 1 recruiting class ranking the easy way. Or, he could do something a little different, and add some age and experience through the transfer ranks. John Clay of the Lexington Herald Leader has a few thoughts on which players might be in the running for that final, coveted slot on the defending national championship squad:
Julius Mays: A 6-foot-2 guard from Marion, Ind., Mays is transferring after averaging 14 points last year at Wright State. He played two years previously at North Carolina State. He is graduating, so is eligible to play immediately.
Montrezl Harrell: The 6-foot-7 forward from Hargrave Military Academy was a top-100 recruit when he signed with Virginia Tech and Harrell has asked for his release.
Tony Trocha: The 6-10 forward from Colombia, who played at a Houston prep school, is reportedly attempting to reclassify and join the Class of 2012.
Torian Graham: The 6-4 guard from Raleigh, N.C., bounced around at four different high schools before landing at Christian Faith. He may attend prep school, pushing him back to a Class of 2013 recruit.
Amile Jefferson: For a while, there was a report each week the 6-foot-7 forward from Philadelphia was ready to announce his decision. It still hasn’t come.
You’ll notice that there’s little rhyme or reason to this list in terms of size, position, etc. With N.C. State transfer Ryan Harrow eligible to run the point this season, Cal has a talented and self-assured floor general ready to guide the team. Calipari can probably grab any one of these players he wishes and find a way to make him fit into the offense, with that one major piece in place.
Jefferson is the player keeping everyone in suspense, and Calipari can afford to wait until that domino falls before he has to do anything else. Jefferson has said that he will announce his decision on Tuesday.
When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.
LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.
Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).
All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.
The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.
Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.