1. A big move to help clean up the college basketball recruiting landscape just passed this week. The rule limits or eliminates package deals and, what has been called extortion by some college coaches, “scouting services” by AAU coaches.
It was ruled that:
- Coaches will no longer be allowed to hire a high school or AAU coach that coaches a prospective student athlete at a camp or a clinic
- Make payments to non-profit entities that is associated with a prospect (i.e. to a grassroots team that has a player the school is recruiting)
- Use 1-900 numbers for recruiting purposes
“It’s about time,” one Division I head coach, who requested anonymity, said. “We’ve bought reports from guys for $400, $500, $600 and never received a report. You have to buy their report because if you don’t, you’re screwed. That coach won’t let you recruit his guys. It’s sick. They handcuff you so they can make a little money. You wonder how many programs they’ve squeezed money out of.”
Not anymore…let’s hope so, at least.
2. Prep Stars has released it's fall rankings for the class of 2010.
There aren't many new revelations, other than Kyrie Irving making a jump to number four overall. The New Jersey guard recently committed to Duke.
The site also has European big man Enes Kanter at number 13 overall. Kanter has bounced around several American high schools since coming to the United States. Multiple sources have told me that the hopeful NBA lottery pick will never play college basketball because of questions about his amateur status.
The only other two players that were of a surprise inside the top 25 are Ray McCallum (No. 23) and Dominique Ferguson (No. 24). Neither player is in the National Hoops Report top 50.
3. I love Halloween because it almost forces you to talk your neighbors that live four or five houses down from you that you only speak to every so often. This Halloween, a neighbor (David) and I sparked up a conversation about hoops recruiting. He’s a big Tennessee fan and surprised me with this question: “How good is Jayvaughn Pinkston?” That is a loaded question. Pretty good was my initial answer to David. But the more we spoke and the more I thought about the bruiser from New York, my answer changed. And I don’t know why I haven’t thought more about this. My answer soon became this: “Pinkston will be one of the top winners from the 2010 class.” Why not? He’s won more times than not since he was a pre-teen bully on the hardwood. He’s a major match-up problem. He’s college ready. Now, I’m not sure if he goes to Tennessee or not. I think Villanova is the big winner but nevertheless, Pinkston could be a guy that gets overlooked in this class but has a great college career. For the record, David and his lovely wife, Tina, gave away bright orange Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. Not surprising at all.
4. There has been a couple of themes amongst the college coaches that I’ve talked to this past week: 1. They are ready to play a team that isn’t their own. 2. The class of 2010 is very weak for instant impact talent, especially with the players that are still yet uncommitted.
5. That being said, look for a number of names that very few people have heard of to emerge this month. Prep school players usually become hot targets in November simply because they are already playing and college coaches can see them in real time situations. Don’t be surprised if, at the minimum, five players emerge from the National Prep Showcase as heavily recruited players.
6. Jay Bilas pointed something out in his weekly column on ESPN.com. He noted Coach K’s time with Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim on the USA Basketball team is something to note as the Duke Blue Devils use more of a zone this season. Duke always plays man-to-man. But with a lack of athleticism in the backcourt of late, the Blue Devils have been burned by athleticism on the wing, and even down low for that matter. With a bigger team and recognizing a need for change, Duke could switch things up and zone much more this season. That’s something to watch this year in the wide-open ACC.
7. I was talking with a coaching friend of mine who is starting a program from scratch this year. He beat a prominent non Division I team in an exhibition game. The coach that just lost berated his team and offered this gem: “We just lost to a team that’s been together for 20 days, dadgummit.” Friend says to me: “I have a feeling we won’t be playing them again. Ever.” I love this time of year.
8. I'll keep saying it until the season starts but the most important freshman on Georgia Tech’s roster isn’t Derrick Favors. It is Mfon Udofia. Favors is all-world. I’m not naïve or down right stupid to think his impact will be monstrous but the Jackets lacked focus at the point guard position last year but have it this season with Udofia. Jeff Goodman spoke to Western Kentucky head coach Ken McDonald, who scrimmaged the Jackets over the weekend, and Udofia impressed.
9. My good friend Aran Smith of NBADraft.net has Lithuanian big man Donatas Motiejunas as the third pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. I’ve seen the young man once and that was against the likes of John Wall and the other 2009 stars in the Nike Hoop Summit. He’s talented. No doubts about it. He’s long. He can shoot it. He has good range. He’s a skilled lefty. But why would any team draft him not only third overall but in the lottery or even in the first round? Of the top 40 scorers last year in the NBA, only six were foreign born players. Tim Duncan is one of the six, too. After watching Ricky Rubio’s absolute denial to play for a bad team, teams have to worry whether or not top international players will even sign if they aren’t happy with their situation.
10. I get the feeling that this NBA season could be the best we’ve seen in 10 or so years.
11. I like the new Twitter Lists feature that allows you to sort those you follow on the social networking site. I have created a college coaches list, featuring 114 college coaches that actively use Twitter. Feel free to follow the list.
12. Here are my 12 football thoughts from the weekend:
A. What a weekend for college football. If you didn’t see Oregon dismantle Southern Cal, you missed one of the finest offensive outputs in Pac-10 history. The Ducks looked like one of the top three teams in the country in that game. If you aren’t buying Oregon, make sure you watch them this season.
B. Ole Miss faked the football world in the preseason but Dexter McCluster isn’t faking anyone. The Rebels should find more ways to get him the ball and not let Jevan Snead try out for NFL teams every week. McCluster is the best player in the SEC that gets the least amount of pub.
C. Brandon Spikes, Big Brother is always watching. And that is dirty.
D. Speaking of Florida, the Gators made athletic play after athletic play against a very average to below average Georgia team. Every interception Florida made was amazing.
E. The Houston Cougars will be a fun team to watch in a bowl game. These guys score points like they are on PlayStation.
F. My top five looks like this: 1. Florida. 2. Texas. 3. Boise State. 4. Oregon 5. Alabama. If Alabama beats LSU this weekend, then it is time to jump the Tide back into discussion for the top spot overall in the top five. Thank goodness I don’t cover college football. It’s too confusing.
G. Why isn’t anyone talking about Brett Favre as the league’s MVP? Another week, another amazing performance in a game that matters. His play has earned back the respect of a number of those that looked at him with disdain after a drama-filled off-season (again). Favre is one of the most exciting player the NFL, or even sport for that matter, has ever had. At 40 years old, he’s as fun to watch as he was when he was 27. And this Vikings team might be the second best team he’s ever directed.
H. Philadelphia is incredibly fast. Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin make for two speedy wideouts for Donovan McNabb to throw the long ball to. He’s never had that in his career in Philly.
I. Monday Night Football has been great this season. Good chance that tonight’s New Orleans-Atlanta tangle could be the best of the year so far.
J. Tom Cable, you sound like a real horrible person. Downright sad, actually.
K. These guys, statistically speaking, are some of the best wide outs in the NFL today: Steve Smith (NY Giants), Sidney Rice (Minnesota) and Miles Austin (Dallas). Guarantee you that no one drafted any of these guys before round 14 in fantasy drafts if they were drafted at all.
L. Who is the Heisman leader right now? Put six names on a dice, shake up it, roll it out and Yahtzee! You have a winner. Colt McCoy, you should be the winner, right?
M. Who is the early NFL MVP leader right now? Peyton Manning sits atop my list. Drew Brees is second. Favre is third.