With a loaded incoming freshmen class, and with the success of one-and-done stars in the 2006 class like Kevin Durant, Greg Oden and Brandan Wright, the pressure is on for some of the biggest names in recent high school basketball history. O.J. Mayo, Michael Beasley, and Kevin Love are just a few of the kids who will enter campus this fall, trying to prove they can live up to the hype.
According to Gary Parrish of CBS Sportsline.com, Memphis sophomore Kareem Cooper and freshman Tre’von Willis are going to transfer from the Tigers. Sources close to the situation said that both players want more playing time after getting lost in the deep Memphis rotation under coach John Calipari. One source said neither player has chosen a destination, adding Cooper is "wide open" while stating Willis will "likely transfer out west." Cooper, who has had multiple off-court problems during his stint with the Tigers, averaged 4.4 points and 3.6 rebounds per game last season, while Willis averaged 2.6 points and 1.0 rebound per contest.
According to Jeff Goodman of FOXSports.com, Tulsa freshman forward Jamel McLean has announced that he will transfer to Xavier. “For me, it was the competition and the ability to develop and get better," McLean said. "They have been really good and I can see myself improving a lot." He averaged 6.0 points and 4.8 rebounds per game last season.
According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Arkansas sophomore forward Cyrus McGowan has announced that he will transfer from the Razorbacks. He is leaving to find more playing time, but is not upset with the Arkansas program. “It’s not anything negative,” Florence McGowan said. “There’s no animosity.” Cyrus would have stayed if he could have redshirted, but new coach John Pelphrey said that was not an option. McGowan, who averaged less than three minutes per game last season, is the third Arkansas player to transfer since Pelphrey was hired.
Dick “Hoops” Weiss of FOXSports.com writes about how Memphis coach John Calipari is using a very similar method to build up the Tigers as he did with Massachusetts in the 90s. Calipari recruits in a way that most coaches don’t, he plays a difficult schedule, and the Tigers dominate Conference-USA. "BCS teams all want to do the Wal-Mart thing,'' Calipari said. “They all want to dominate the world. We're like a thorn in their side. Here we are, just like the UMass days. We've bumped into their parade, their party.''
Dan Wolken of the Memphis Commercial Appeal writes about the Tigers’ 2007-2008 non-conference schedule. The marquee match-up of the season should be when the Tigers face Tennessee at home on February 23, in what will be the “College Gameday” featured game of the night. Also on the docket are home games against Arizona, Gonzaga, Holy Cross, Appalachian State, Austin Peay, Arkansas State, and Pepperdine; road games against Ole Miss and Cincinnati; neutral-court contests against USC and Middle Tennessee; as well as an appearance in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. "I probably overscheduled again this year," coach John Calipari said. "But if you're going to do it, this is probably the year." Memphis is ranked #1 in several preseason rankings, and is a legitimate Final Four contender.
Early Offseason All-Rookie Team Projection
G. Derrick Rose - Memphis
G. OJ Mayo - USC
G. Nick Calathes - Florida
F. Michael Beasley - Kansas state
C. Kevin Love - UCLA
G. Eric Gordon - Indiana
G. Austin Freeman - Georgetown
F. Corey Stokes - Villanova
F. Donte Green - Syracuse
F. Alex Tyus - Florida
G. Corey Chandler - Rutgers
G. Alex Legion - Michigan
F. Kyle Singler - Duke
F. JaJuan Johnson - Purdue
C. DeAndre Jordan - Texas A&M
1. UCLA - Back to back Final Four trips could yield championship if Afflalo returns.
2. Kansas - Even if one of Rush or Wright go pro, this is a top 5 team.. but there's a good chance they wont win it all.
3. North Carolina - This assumes Wright is gone but Hansbrough returns. This team is still loaded regardless.
4. Memphis - Even without Derrick Rose, Calipari's squad is primed for a Final Four run.
5. Louisville - With continued improvement from Derrick Caracter, there's no limit to the Cards success.
- Yesterday's UCLA-Kansas game went just as planned. The Bruins were able to shut down Kansas' offense just like SIU did.. but unlike the Salukis, UCLA had a hot Arron Afflalo coming off two subpar games which enabled them to pull away. The only thing that's gone more according to plan is this tournament in general. I don't see Oregon or Georgetown ending that trend unforutnately..
- Lets be honest, you've been disappointed with Greg Oden's play. He's been less future hall of famer.. and more Dikembe Mutombo on an off night..
Its obviously been a while since the last Daily Dribble. I didn't mean to pull a JetBlue and leave you all hanging for a few days.. but the site was down last week and Ive been spending my time getting things running again.