Monday, October 12, 2009

12 @ 12: Weekend randomness

The fall is slowly disappearing and the basketball season is right around the corner. By next Monday, teams will have already practiced. The energy is growing stronger for the year. Can you feel it?

In the meantime, here are 12 things bouncing around my brain on a Monday.

1. This will be the last week of self-promotion in the Monday 12 @ 12. I can’t say enough about my upcoming camp on Saturday, Oct. 17. Former University of Georgia interim head coach Pete Hermann is our lead instructor at the camp. What a goldmine of knowledge he is for young players.

I’ve spent the fall going to showcases across the Southeast and I can promise you that none will provide the type of instruction that Hermann and our staff will provide. Our coaches combine for over 200 years of coaching and playing at the NBA, European, NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA, junior college and high school levels. Are you in the camp? If not, you can register today by clicking HERE.

ESPN and are our official media partners for the event – the two most visited recruiting websites on the Internet.

2. I took in a day’s work at the Pangos All-South camp over the weekend. The camp was stocked with good, young talent from the class of 2012 and 2013 classes. It wasn’t as strong as the camp has been in the past (few camps are this fall) but there were still several that stood out.

3. The top 2012 player from the Pangos All-South camp was: Charles Mitchell of Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler (pictured). The big man has really improved his offensive skill work in the post and scored with both hands all over the paint. He’s a below the rim player but knows how to use his body to score and rebound. Nice day’s work on Saturday.

4. The top 2013 player from the Pangos All-South camp was: A.J. Davis of Greater Atlanta Christian (Ga.). The 6-6 lefty and son of former NBA player Antonio Davis won the individual battles I saw him in on Saturday. He’s able to score down low, from the wing and defended the post. Impressive fall so far for the youngster.

5. Pangos All-South 2012 notes: Haven’t seen an athlete like Shaquille Johnson of Conyers (Ga.) Salem in a long time. Kid is incredibly explosive…Really liked the way Jack Montague (Brentwood, Tenn.) ran his team. Probably the best PG in the building. Really knew how to play…Mississippi post Gavin Ware of Starkville is a hoss. He couldn’t be moved on the low block…Lithonia (Ga.) Miller Grove always has players. Tony Evans, a 6-4 wing, could be next...Damien Wilson, a 6-4 guard, had it rolling as a scorer on Saturday…Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler always lands a big transfer. Keep an eye on New Yorker move-in Winston McCleod. He’ll be on the JV because of the move-in this year but he’s a player to watch much like Winthrop bound Joey Jerome was after he moved in…Mississippi big man Devonta Pollard is one of the biggest sleepers for high-majors in 2012…Same goes for Memphis guard Chris Jones. He’s a blur with the ball and strong to boot.

6. Pangos All-South 2013 notes: Southwest Atlanta Christian forward Chris Davenport could be one of the best power forwards in the Southeast’s 2013 class. He’s skilled in the post and a great outlet passer…Brandon Bibbs of Atlantic Shores (Va.) was one of the best ball-hanlders at the camp…Looking forward to see Ishmael Martin of Lilburn (Ga.) Parkview again at my camp this weekend. Nice looking young player…Nick Gorski, a 6-7 forward from Richmond (Va.) Cosby has a chance to be a player. Thought of the Wear twins from California when watching him…Terrence Thompson of Alpharetta (Ga.) will be asked to wear a lot of hats this high school season. The 6-3 wing could be a surprise player in Atlanta.

7. No mailbag this week at the National Hoops Report.

8. If you don't have an ESPN Insider account, I'd urge you to get one for Jay Bilas and Jay Bilas alone. He's the smartest man in college basketball analysis. He is honest, well-spoken and backs up his points exceptionally well. He breaks down a number of items in his weekly column including: Phone Call Sensibleness, Recruiting, Letter of Intent, The Rules Committee, Ollie from Hoosiers, The Food Police and fun with numbers. Well worth the read for lunch today.

9. Gary Parrish of CBS Sports nailed it with Louisville. A day after Rick Pitino said: "Don't become part of that negative environment that just knocks and constantly says things that tear things down. Build things up. That's what positive people do," two of his players were arrested.

When I interviewed Parrish last month, he said "One of the keys to this business is not giving your opponent any fuel for ammunition. Louisville right now has a lot of ammunition against that program."

Louisville is loading up on ammo for all the wrong reasons right now.

10. Really thought’s Dave Telep knocked it out of the park with this outside-the-box story about visits and the anxiety level of college coaches during the process. The .com recruiting industry needs more stories like this. It reveals more from the coach's perspective. It's raw and honest - something that isn't always the case in recruiting.

A number of quotes stand out but this one, I thought, was intriguing: "Positioning of the visit depends completely on a kid's timetable. If we think we can get it done, we'd love to have the first visit. If the recruit is truly committed to taking all his visits, we'd rather go last. If it's unclear, we'll go first. As a rule, we try to get our most critical guys on campus as early as we can."

11. Ready for the college season to start? These guys are. Make sure you bookmark these guys. You'll probably be reading them a lot this year. Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports, Gary Parrish of CBS Sports, ESPN's crew of Jay Bilas, Andy Katz, Fran Fraschilla and Doug Gottlieb, Frank Burlison, Mike DeCourcey of The Sporting News, Basketball State, Rush the Court, The Mid-Majority and Ballin' is a Habit.

12. Here are my 12 football thoughts from the weekend:

A. Wide receivers, stay far away from Deion Sanders. Again. And again. And again. And M.C. Hammer for that matter.

B. Forget the ups and downs of offense in the SEC, the defenses in the league are scary. Florida beat LSU on the account of its defense. And LSU’s defense wasn’t too shabby either in defeat. Alabama’s defense may be the most physical in the league, too.

C. Thursday night games in NCAA football are becoming equally as exciting as Monday Night Football games. This week’s match-up of undefeated Big East teams – Cincinnati (5-0) and South Florida (5-0) – will have BCS nerds chewing their fingernails.

D. BYU quarterback Max Hall was a preseason Heisman candidate. Wonder why he isn’t considered one right now? The Florida State loss doesn’t help. But it is his 10 interceptions. He threw 14 last year.

E. Speaking of quarterbacks…can’t wait to watch Arkansas’s Ryan Mallett in the NFL. He’s 6-7, strong-armed and being groomed by All-American jerk and smart offensive coach Bobby Petrino…Florida State is struggling but not because of Christian Ponder. The junior from Texas has only thrown one interception this season. He was great in the first half against Georgia Tech…Central Michigan’s Dan LeFevour has 20 total touchdowns this year. He’s 6-3 and 240 pounds. Think he’ll get a sniff for a first round pick?

F. Did anyone outside of the Denver Broncos locker room think the team would be 5-0 and have a win against the Patriots under their belt? And Kyle Orton would be as good as he’s been? Josh McDaniels, the youthful leader of men at Mile High, let it all hang out at the end of the game. That was great to see. Imagine if Bill Belichick did that after a win? Think it would inspire the Patriots, a team that looks a little lost right now?

G. Very emotional day for the Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinate Mike Zimmer. His wife, Vikki, died last week. After struggling with her shocking death, Zimmer piloted his defense to a great win at Baltimore. What was more stirring was the immediate out-pouring of emotion from every single player on that Bengals team on the sidelines and locker room to Zimmer. You could tell Zimmer is very well respected in that locker room.

H. Tom Cable, however, is not in Oakland. Amazing story

I. Good thinking, Owen Schmitt.

J. It seems like the officials spent more time on their backs than quarterbacks on Sunday.

K. Who would have thought the UFL had better jerseys than a team in the NFL (see the Denver Broncos).

L. Who is the Heisman leader right now? While I’m not a big Jimmy Clausen fan and certainly not one that believes he will win the Heisman, his best chance to earn the award will come this weekend when the Irish play Southern Cal. Clausen will shoot up the charts with a big win. Call the race wide open right now. Something makes me want to push hard for Eric Berry of Tennessee. Sure, defenders never win. But this kid is Ed Reed like.

M. Who is the early NFL MVP leader right now? Peyton Manning is clearly the best player in the NFL right now. He’s winning big games. He is directing his offense. He is taking the confidence of teams. Five games in, the Colts are undefeated and rolling. After a week 6 bye week, the Colts have a tough slate ahead of them with games against San Francisco, Baltimore, Denver and the Texans twice.

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