It’s Thursday and time for more lists:
1. Amari Cooper, Alabama: Alabama sneaked him out of Miami where he was considered a very good, but not great prospect coming out of high school. Cooper was a Heisman finalist in 2014 when he caught 124 passes for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns. He made All-American in 2014 and won the Biletnikofff Award as the nation’s top receiver as well as SEC Offensive Player of the Year. He holds all the Alabama receiving records: 228 catches for 3,463 yards and 31 touchdowns.
2. Wes Sandy Chandler, Florida: Had he played under a coach like Steve Spurrier he would have set records that no one would have ever broken. He caught 93 passes for 1,994 yards and 22 touchdowns and was a first team All-American in 1976-77 as well as a two-time Academic All-American. Additionally, he ran for 356 yards and 6 more touchdowns. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
3. Terry Beasley, Auburn: Beasley teamed with 1971 Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan to form college football’s most feared pass-catch tandem. In his three seasons he caught 141 passes for 2,624 yards and 30 touchdowns, earning first team All-America honors in 1970-71. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
4. Ozzie Newsome, Alabama: Ozzie was the Alabama passing attack when he was a two-time All-America tight end/wide receiver. Bama ran the wishbone and rarely threw so he was always doubled. Still he caught 102 passes for 2,070 yards and 16 touchdowns, making All-America and All-SEC in 19766-77. He is a member of both the Pro Football and College Football halls of fame.
5. Jabar Gaffney, Florida: He was considered a marginal prospect when he signed out of Raines in 1999 but he more than proved his critics wrong. After taking a redshirt in his freshman season (1999), Gaffney made first team All-America the next two seasons when he caught 138 passes for 2,375 yards and 27 touchdowns. He won the Paul Warfield Award in 2001 as the nation’s top receiver.
6. Carlos Alvarez, Florida: When he came out of North Miami High School he was the state sprint champion (9.6 100 yards) and was known as the Cuban Comet. In 1969, he caught 88 passes for 1,329 yards and 12 touchdowns. Knee injuries and Florida’s switch to a veer offense under Doug Dickey his junior and senior seasons kept his numbers down, but they are still rather spectacular: 172 catches for 2,563 yards and 19 touchdowns. He is a member of both the College Football and Academic All-American halls of fame.
7. Josh Reed, LSU: Reed won the Biletnikoff Award in 2001 when he caught 94 passes for 1740 yards and seven touchdowns. A consensus All-America that year, he was All-SEC in 2000-01 and finished his career with 167 catches for 3,001 yards and 17 touchdowns.
8. Percy Harvin, Florida: He might rank as the #1 wide receiver or no worse than the #4 running back in conference history if he had spent a majority of his time at one position. He was a two-time All-American who caught 133 passes for 1,929 yards and 13 touchdowns and ran for 1,852 yards and 19 more touchdowns.
9. Randall Cobb, Kentucky: His numbers could have been off the charts if he had concentrated on catching the football, but he caught 144 passes for 1,661 yards and 13 touchdowns, ran for 1,313 yards and 22 touchdowns, threw for 689 yards and 5 touchdowns and totaled 1,700 return yards for two more scores.
10. Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt: Matthews topped his 94-catch, 1,323-yard season in 2012 with a spectacular 112-catch, 1,477-yard season in 2013. His career numbers are 262 catches for 3,759 yards and 24 touchdowns. A first team All-America selection in 2013, he was first team All-SEC in 2012-13.
Honorable mention: Ike Hilliard, Florida; Julio Jones, Alabama; Wendell Davis, LSU; Joey Kent, Tennessee; Marcus Nash, Tennessee; Reidel Anthony, Florida; Craig Yeast, Kentucky; Derek Abney, Kentucky; A.J. Green, Georgia; Terrence Edwards, Georgia; Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina; Sidney Rice, South Carolina; Chris Doering, Florida; Carl Pickens, Tennessee; David Palmer, Alabama; Mike Evans, Texas A&M; Jack Jackson, Florida; Frank Sanders, Auburn; Willie Jackson, Florida; Earl Bennett, Vanderbilt; Jarius Wright, Arkansas; Richard Trapp, Florida; Larry Sievers, Tennessee; Tim McGee, Tennessee.
1. Vince Carter, Daytona Beach Mainland: He led Mainland to the Class 6A title and then went on to become an All-America at North Carolina. He’s still playing in the NBA, where he is an 8-time NBA All-Star with a career average of 20.2 per game.
2. Otis Birdsong, Winter Haven: After leading Winter Haven to the state 4A championship he went to Houston, where he averaged 24.4 points per game for his career including 30.3 as a senior in 1977 when he was a consensus All-American. He was a 4-time NBA All-Star, averaging 18 points per game.
3. Mychal Thompson, Miami Jackson: He led Miami Jackson to the state championship in 1974, a title that was vacated because most of the team was from The Bahamas (Thompson included) and ineligible. An All-American at Minnesota, he averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds for his college career. He averaged 13.7 points and 7.4 rebounds per game in his NBA career.
4. Darryl Dawkins, Orlando Evans: “Chocolate Thunder” went straight from Evans to the NBA. He played 20 professional seasons, 12 in the NBA and eight in Europe. Evans lost to Miami Jackson and Thompson in the 1974 state championship game then came back to win it in 1975.5. Gregory Lowery, West Palm Beach Roosevelt: Roosevelt went unbeaten (27-0) and averaged more than 90 points a game in 1968 when Lowery routinely scored more than 40 per game. Lowery went on to be an All-Southwest Conference performer at Texas Tech, where he averaged 24.4 per game as a senior. He went on to have a long career playing in Europe.
6. Mitch Richmond, Fort Lauderdale Boyd Anderson: He was a great high school player but considered a 6-5 ‘tweener so he went the juco route to Moberly where he became a wing guard and then to Kansas State where he scored 1,327 points in two years, averaging 20.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. In the NBA Richmond was a 6-time All-Star who scored 20,497 points and averaged 21 per game.
7. Leonard “Truck” Robinson, Jacksonville Raines: A great two-sport athlete at Raines, Robinson was a tremendous quarterback who had as many football offers as he had basketball. He was a 20/20 (20 points, 20 rebounds) in high school. At Tennessee State he averaged 20.3 points and 13.5 rebounds per game in his four-year career. He averaged 15.5 points and 6.8 rebounds in the NBA where he led the league in rebounding in 1978.
8. Derek Harper, West Palm Beach North Shore: After leading North Shore to the state 3A title in 1980, Harper went north to Illinois where he made All-America in 1983. He went on to score 16,006 points and average 13.3 points per game in a 17-year NBA career.
9. Vernon Maxwell, Gainesville Buchholz: He was one of the top five players in the nation as a high school senior, choosing the Gators over North Carolina State. Although some of his Florida records have been wiped from the books, he scored 2,450 points in four years and averaged 18.8 points per game. In the NBA he averaged 12.8 points per game and scored 10,912 points.
10. Frank Johnson, Lake Weir: He was considered the top point guard prospect in the country in 1975 when he led Lake Weir to the state 2A championship. An All-American at Wake Forest where he scored 1,749 points in his career, he went on to play 10 years in the NBA and four years overseas in Italy and France.
Twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison became the first two of what is expected to be a seven-man exodus to the NBA from the University of Kentucky. Leaving with two years of eligibility remaining, the twins have been projected second round in most mock draft models, but Kentucky coach John Calipari, who usually has a pretty good handle on these things, says he’s hearing first round for the 6-6, 210-pounders. Aaron averaged 11 points per game while Andrew averaged 9.3 points and 3.6 assists.
There are unconfirmed reports that Dakari Johnson is going to announce Thursday that he’s leaving. Almost certain to follow are Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Trey Lyles and Devin Booker. Towns could be the top overall pick in the draft while Cauley-Stein, Lyles and Booker could all wind up as lottery picks.
Kentucky will return five scholarship players next season: Alex Poythress, Marcus Lee, Tyler Ulis, Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis. The Wildcats have three 2015 signees in Isaiah Briscoe, Skal Labissiere and Charles Matthews. They are in hot pursuit of Malik Newman, Jaylen Brown, Cheick Dialo and Thon Maker.
Never one to bite his tongue, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban railed Wednesday about the college game, lamenting the slowdown style and lack of fundamentals that results in prospects poorly prepared for the NBA. Cuban saved his biggest gripe for the zebas:
"The referees couldn't manage a White Castle. Seriously, the college game is more physical than the NBA game, and the variation in how it's called from game to game [is a problem]. Hell, they don't even have standards on balls. They use different balls. One team's got one ball, the other team's got another ball. There are so many things that are ridiculous."His comment on the overall NCAA game:
"You've got three kids passing on the perimeter. With 10 seconds on the shot clock, they try to make something happen and two other kids stand around. They don't look for anything and then run back on defense, so there's no transition game because two out of five or three out of five or in some cases four out of five kids aren't involved in the play.
“It’s uglier than ugly, and it’s evidenced by the scoring going down. When the NBA went through that, we changed things.”
Who are your top three wide receivers in SEC history?
Billy Joel concerts turn into these great big sing-alongs, which is one of the reasons I’ve always enjoyed catching him live. I’ve always thought his concerts are one of the best bargains because he always delivers a lot of music and then plays these long encores. Today’s music is a live performance “My Life,”recorded at the Tokyo Dome in 2006.