Billy Gillispie

Billy Gillispie: the king of turning over a roster

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It’s only natural to think that, after an 8-23 season that saw his Texas Tech team go 1-17 in the Big 12, Billy Gillispie would want to start over with a new roster.

Based on the way that players are defecting from his program, it seems like Gillispie is doing just that.

For the sixth time this offseason, a Texas Tech player has left the program. This time it is Kevin Wagner, who started six games this season, averaging 2.5 points, but missed the second half of the season with a knee injury. Wagner — who follows Jaron Nash (North Dakota), Terran Petteway (Nebraska), DeShon Minnis (Rhode Island), Javarez Willis (Ohio) and Cameron Forte (Northern Arizona) out the door — will enroll at a Junior College in Waco.

With Robert Lewandowski graduating, that frees up seven scholarships for next season. Believe it or not, that may not be enough. Tech has nine players signed for the Class of 2012, and while one (who has remained unnamed) has agreed to walk-on, that still means that Gillispie has one player more than he has scholarships available.

What makes this turnover even crazier is that Gillispie’s nine-man recruiting class isn’t even the biggest in his tenure at Tech. The Red Raiders brought in ten newcomers prior to last season. Five of them left in the past month and a half.

Now THAT’S roster turnover.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Marcus Paige, Joel Berry lead No. 9 North Carolina past No. 2 Maryland

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.

For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the Preseason National Player of the Year.

On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.

Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.

Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.

In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.

As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.

(More to come from Chapel Hill…)

VIDEO: Melo Trimble drops Nate Britt with a crossover

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North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.

(H/T: The Cauldron)