The 16-player coaches’ preseason All-Southeastern Conference list was revealed on Friday, and I still have a huge problem with a preseason all-conference list containing 16 players. I know some coaches can’t make up their mind (hi, Dana Altman) but last I checked, a traditional all-conference team had five players per team. One for every spot on the floor, not one for every spot in an 8-on-5 press-break drill.
Getting to the point, Florida leads the first team with two players in guard Kenny Boynton and Patric Young. Kentucky put freshman (who else?) Nerlens Noel on there, with Phil Pressey (Missouri), Trevor Releford (Alabama), B.J. Young (Arkansas), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Georgia) and Jeronne Maymon (Tennessee) rounding (?) it out.
The second team features another eight players for the preseason starting five and bench. They include Arkansas’ Marshawn Powell, Alex Poythress of Kentucky and Johnny O’Bryant of LSU. Ole Miss puts two on the second team with Murphy Holloway and Reginald Buckner. Tennessee joined the Rebels duo with Jarnell Stokes and Trae Golden, while Elston Turner lands on the list in Texas A&M’s first season in the conference.
The most telling thing about this team is the exclusion of any Vanderbilt players. They lost a ton off last season’s team, and Kevin Stallings didn’t seem to bring in a top recruiting class to replace them. It might be a long season in Nashville. Auburn (still rebuilding under Tony Barbee) and Mississippi State, who was gutted by transfers and players turning pro, also failed to put a player in the roster in Rick Ray’s first season as coach. South Carolina also gets turned away from this list. All indicative of what kind of seasons those three coaches are expected to have.
I’d bring up any snubs I thought were made — LSU’s Anthony Hickey, Mississippi State’s Jalen Steele and Kentucky’s Archie Goodwin I thought could’ve been on this list — but really, who can do that? Practically every impact player from the conference made this team. Granted, it’s still preseason list, I know. But hey, 16 is still too many. If that’s the case, just don’t have one. What point does it truly serve outside of telling everyone what we already know?
David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.
With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.
Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.
“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”
Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.
As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.
Duke is coming off of a national championship but the roster will look almost completely different for the 2015-16 season. That means last season’s approach to things on the offensive and defensive end will have to change and head coach Mike Krzyzewski mentioned to reporters on Friday how the Blue Devils are still figuring some things out.
“We’re putting in a different offensive system, to personalize it for these guys,” Krzyzewski said to reporters. “And a different defensive system so that we can max out on the talents that they have.
“We’re really proud of our team. I think we’re going to be a really good team.”
Without Jahlil Okafor in the middle, Duke’s offense could shift to a mostly perimeter-oriented team, as the wing and guard depth is superior for this year’s group. Coach K and his staff making adjustments to schemes to fit personnel is a nice move from the Hall of Famer, as he’s done a better job in recent years of making adjustments like this after his stint with USA Basketball.
As the program moves on from Okafor, Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow and Quinn Cook, it’ll be intriguing to see who emerges as a potential go-to offensive player early in the season and how Duke’s offense potentially evolves as the season wears on.